Not While The Second Lives

David Harsanyi: "The First Amendment Is Dying."

As noted two posts below, they're still only thinking about each other. They haven't begun to consider our perspectives, which will be quite shocking to them. Or they will be, if they can wrap their heads around them well enough to be shocked.

How do you explain that concept to someone who came from a background of looking for 'safe spaces'? The idea that we mean to defend their freedom as well as our own -- but only on the same terms -- will be as difficult to imagine as the complete rejection of safety as an ideal. I don't need to feel safe from you. I don't require your approval. I don't, in fact, even care about it.

Perhaps we should give some thought to trying to explain it, as in any conflict there are a certain number of conversions and we ought to be prepared to go fishing for men. Somehow their very fine educations have not given them the history or the philosophy they would need. What would you have to tell them, if you found a heart that was good soil for this mustard seed?


raven said...

Where to start?! The neglect has been so extreme, the field has been so salted. All the old tales and stories, all the examples of courage, freedom, sacrifice, will be received as the racist, rage induced fantasies of the old white men. We actually have to go back to the beginnings. ever start to have a conversation with a leftist and realize the common cultural ground is gone?

OK- #1 Who owns you?
#2 Why do we have a government?
#3 What is a right?
#4 What is freedom?
#5 Is freedom a right?
#5 Is equality a right?

Grim said...

Great questions. Do you have answers to them? I'm editing a chapter I recently wrote on the last one that exceeds a hundred pages, and I don't think it nearly fully treats the subject.

Tom said...

Well, and what is equality? We cannot mean mathematical equality: A = A only gives us A, not two individuals. And we celebrate our individuality, don't we?

In the old days, liberals still had that radical individualism about them; think of the ideals of the hippies: finding ourselves, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Dead Poets Society, all that.

Now it's moved to collectivism. There's an inherent conflict there that we may be able to exploit with some people.

Grim said...

Great question too. Plato treats it in the Laws, around 757d. He thought there were two equalities, proportional and direct. Proportional equality is the one he likes. He praises it to the sky. It means nothing like equality as we understand it: it means the better men get better positions, rights, honors. It's equal in formula: if someone is x good, he (or she -- Plato was an early adopter of female 'equality,' as he describes at length in the Republic) gets x better positions/honors/duties/rights.

There's a problem, though, which he is aware of: this approach will lead to insurrection. The worse won't stand for it. So he comes up with a solution, a kind of direct equality that he hates. It's equality by lot: literally, you hold a lottery for some honors/rights/positions, and give it to whomever wins. But you have to breathe a prayer every time you do it, he says: after all, anyone could win, and they might end up a terrible kind of person with a great kind of honor or power.

Kant has a better answer for the second kind of equality. Or so I think. Rather than tell you what I think, maybe I should press you for answers of your own. Philosophy is a human business, after all, not the business of the great. It's our own essential nature to pursue it, and there's just a chance you might come up with better answers than Plato or Kant or anyone so far.

Tom said...

Proportional equality doesn't seem like equality to me. It's just power proportional to ability or quality.

We could look at equality as "equality under the law" -- the law will treat all individuals the same (with some exceptions, e.g., children).

So how would political power be rationed out? Voting is one way, and as long as every vote is equal, to that extent every voter has the same political power.

Grim said...

Proportional equality doesn't seem like equality to me.

Well, I said that we don't use the word "equality" that way. It conditions what Plato means so much that I even put the word in scare quotes when talking about how he describes female 'equality' in the Republic. He means proportional equality.

On the other hand, if you think seriously about equality for a little while, you end up right up against the necessity of proportional equality very quickly. Take the recent case of the Army admitting women to Ranger School. This is an equality concern. What was it that the Army said over and over? "Standards will stay exactly the same." (And, in fact, the first non-test-case women just started Ranger school -- and all five of them failed in the first four days.)

The reason this proves to be necessary is that otherwise equality concerns lead to all the craziness we see people mocking in the current debate. We want to say not just that people are equals, but that they're being treated equally in the sense of being held to the same standards. We want people to be 'equal' not in the sense that they get the same grades, but that they only get the same grades if they do the same quality of work. I would say that Plato's concern ends up being the concern that people have over these equality movements.

Plato's notion of equality is therefore a necessary part of getting equality right. It's just inadequate to fully capture everything we want to get right. We can't do without it, though, and recapturing it as an important principle is a major part of the work we need to do.

Ymar Sakar said...

Equality is a system imposed from above, by a warlord for example. Those with power can treat people as equals, although it doesn't make them actual equals.

The other way around, is that individuals can decide for themselves who is equal in their own eyes, but this is not a Newtonian view applied to equality. It is more like an Einstein's theory of relativity as applied to equality, where equality is relative to one's pov. Meaning, it doesn't really exist in its own framework. It is not the constant.

Ymar Sakar said...

This is an equality concern.

That is a program initiated by the Leftist hierarchy to infiltrate and undermine the US military. From the pov of a patriot, it might be an operation designed to improve the national defense of America for the benefit of said patriot.

How are people going to "equalize" those different points of perspective? It's impossible, absent that warlord.

Grim said...

Equality is a system imposed from above, by a warlord for example.

It can be that, too -- in fact, that's arguably how we got the equality we have today, i.e., the 14th Amendment sort of equality. It's an equality that was imposed by force. It's equal in the sense that one actor is treating everyone the same way, so it's another 'equality of formula.'

On the other hand, 'imposed from above' can mean God, too: that's the Medieval concept of equality of the dignity of the soul. God loves all souls, and He does it in just the same way (even in the same motion, since for Medieval thinkers God is outside of time). That ideal of equality is also a kind of equality from above, but it is one with only positive effects as far as I can see. It just won't persuade people who don't believe in God.

Grim said...

That is a program initiated by the Leftist hierarchy to infiltrate and undermine the US military. From the pov of a patriot, it might be an operation designed to improve the national defense of America for the benefit of said patriot.

It is possible that the equality agenda as applied to the military is a conspiracy to weaken the military. Certainly, there's a real danger it will have that effect; and many of the loudest advocates outside of the military have also been advocates of other means of weakening the military (especially budget cuts).

On the other hand, the women who wanted to go to Ranger school probably really are highly motivated patriots. I don't think they think they're contributing to the weakening of American military might in this way, though quite possibly they are in fact doing so.

How are people going to "equalize" those different points of perspective?

This is another point to Plato: if you try to equalize the perspectives of the patriot and the traitor in a non-proportional way, you end up destroying the state. You have to be able to say that the better perspective deserves more support. It's equal only in the sense that you're giving them the same formula: the more virtuous perspective is the one that deserves more power and authority, but their virtue is being judged on the same scale.

Ymar Sakar said...

It's an equality that was imposed by force.

Force can be imposed from any direction, from up or down.

Before the Civil War 1, pro slavery forces used bounties and other SJW esque tools to intimidate the opponents of slavery.

The reason why equality doesn't exist merely due to force, is because it requires a hierarchy to establish itself, before the warlord can impose orders down the chain and have it obeyed. Since they can always use force to kill the warlord or whomever is at the top of the chain.

Thus force is merely a method, the social hierarchy, the chain of command, is required for those at the top to enforce equality down the chain.

Ymar Sakar said...

That ideal of equality is also a kind of equality from above, but it is one with only positive effects as far as I can see. It just won't persuade people who don't believe in God.

Force and swords can be used to convince people to believe in a god, which is Islam's preferred method over their 1400 year history of slave economies.

The reason why a religious hierarchy may be more stable is because no earthly authority is allowed to merely "rearrange" the natural hierarchical order by unseating God, and then beginning to issue directives. Although that doesn't necessarily stop earth governments and factions.

Under feudalism, the feudal lord or aristocrat was at the top of the hierarchy, absent Christianity. And the people lived as good or as harsh a life, as the feudal lord could provide using force of arms or economy. That's why having a good feudal lord was paramount, why certain things were considered virtues for the martial or aristocratic classes to have. There were actual benefits to it.

Under religion, hierarchies were unified due to other reasons, such as under Christianity.

During the Albigensia Crusades, when the Pope of western Christianity decided to stamp out the heresies of the Cathar Perfects and the various other factions of Christianity that had a more poverty, individual centered belief in where God's power came to, this was an example of how hierarchies often find the tool of violence to be very useful. Until it is used against them, at least.

Equality doesn't exist. Force, violence, power, and hierarchies do exist. The latter matters a lot more than the perceived importance of the former.

Grim said...

There are senses of equality that don't exist. There are other senses that do. But you're on Plato's ground in looking for a hierarchy: he also was only concerned about principles of equality because he was trying to think about how to establish a stable state. The problem in the Laws is how to do that. The reason he came up with the two principles he did was that the 'equality of proportion' is necessary to ensure that people are in the right positions. But 'the equality of the lot' was necessary because less-good people will eventually rebel over what they see as the unfairness of being held to standards they can't meet.

If I administer a math test to you and five other people, I can judge you equally by judging you in the same way, i.e., by the number of questions whose answer you determine correctly. That's a kind of equality that really exists. (It's Plato's preferred kind.)

And if I then go on to say that only people who can pass math tests should be administrators, or politicians, or doctors, or FBI agents, then in a sense I'm treating everyone equally. There's one standard for all. But in another sense I'm holding a lot of people to standards they will never be able to meet. They're going to resent it, eventually, and that's what we're seeing today.

So what we have decided to do -- to take the real-life example of the FBI exam, which is mathematical -- is to grade on a curve for populations that are "underrepresented" in the force. That's not one of Plato's approaches, for good reason.

raven said...

I like Jerry Pournelles statement.

"Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free".

One of the horrid unintended consequences about the affirmative action campaign is that now, every time I have to interact with a minority in a position of importance, there is a sneaking question - did they get there because of ability , or because of favored treatment. If we fill the ranks of any organization with the favored, rather than the qualified, we risk a terrible result when the cocoon is torn away and really serious issues come to the fore.

Ymar Sakar said...

did they get there because of ability , or because of favored treatment.

The same would be true of women in fire departments and combat branches. There might be half a percentage point of them that would and have qualified, but since the sample is so small, any hint of corruption or favoritism would automatically downgrade the entire population's "fidelity" so to speak.

Which is generally why the Americans of Navajo and Japanese descent fought so hard in US units. They were on the plank, so to speak. But that's only because they weren't given favored outcomes and leverages. They were the underdogs and they knew it. When a slim population is elevated to the elite because of the power of victimhood, what people get isn't competency. It is something very different.

It is true that equal standards exist, such as the Declaration of Independence's statement that humans are created equal. Although they may not have included women in that remark about men, technically speaking. In many of the cases the minorities and underdogs exceeded expectations, precisely because they were not given a fair chance or an equal chance. They were just given a chance. That drives humans to exceed their limits, social or otherwise. However, those standards only exist because somebody with a powerful civilization behind them, is willing to expend blood to enforce it. Most of the world is still a jungle hierarchy, where the big predators eat the little ones.

Humans don't function efficiently in a hierarchy that is based around equality. They become stale and start to degrade. Humans like equality because they like their loved ones to treat them as equals, but that doesn't mean they need a hierarchy to do so. Plato's work is based around the betrayal of Athenian democracy against his mentor, father figure, and master, Socrates. The idea of working at the problem from underneath, at the smallest scale, was something I believe Socrates understood, but Plato did not at the time. That is because Socrates' wisdom was only available to a slim fraction of humans, those who had conquered the fear of death and generated a powerful Will. It was not enough to empower a Plato Republic to save people like Socrates, in the minority. Socrates was also rather anti SJW and anti Leftist like in his adherence to non orthodox views and beliefs. People can see the pressure a society brings down upon them for being "racist" or "homophobic" even now, when death is not an automatic punishment of their beliefs. Wait until they experience what Socrates was given. Then the "True nature" of mankind will be revealed.

I write of hierarchies because the Japanese language is a unique and omnipresent occupation of that concept. And it also conveniently applies to other things, like Republics and democracies, when equality is promoted. That is not what I am looking for, however. I was looking for the indomitable human will to Resist Evil, meaning society and other humans. What I found was that such power was only present in a bare 3% of any human population sample. Shrugs, it is what it is. Not enough to create a society at all in fact.

Ymar Sakar said...

The Japanese culture and language cores in my head, I use to process, in parallel these concepts, with the cores invested with English language and culture.

It is parallax or stereoscopic vision. Two eyes provides different, not necessarily better, functionality than one eye.

It is like running a virtual OS, a dosbox, inside your actual OS, which is run by hardware peripherals by a different OS, the human brain and its computational cores. It is useful for isolating viruses and studying things that most humans cannot see.