Category Archives: Politics and International Relations

Brexit: A revolt against the feudalization of Britain

There has been a great deal of speculation about the reasons for the British people voting to leave the European Union, mostly slanted to imply that those voting to leave didn’t really want to leave. But for anyone with even the remotest insight into the lives of ordinary people, not just in Britain, but across the Western world, the reason would be obvious. It is the start of a new political disposition in revolt against the feudalization of Britain.

Although this article addresses the feudalization of Britain, it is a plague that infects the West as a whole.

The economic cause of this new feudalization is that giant global corporations are running out of cheap labor in the Third World to sustain their profitability and the disproportionate remuneration packages for their executives.

At the same time, the dishonesty and incompetence of the Western financial industry plunged Western economies into the worst recession in a century, which left millions of unemployed and low-paid workers requiring government assistance in order to meet the basic necessities of life.

The West’s financial and corporate elite thus saw an opportunity. The unemployed in the West could be compelled to replace the loss of cheap Third World labor under threat of losing their government assistance. Governments called this scheme ‘austerity’.

A stark admission of this policy came from Britain’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, in an interview on Britain’s Channel 4 Dispatches program, ‘How the Rich get Richer’, presented by Fraser Nelson of the Spectator magazine (17 November, 2014).

When it was explained to Iain Duncan Smith that people working even 10 hours a day were unable to support themselves and their families, and were less well-off than they would be on welfare, Duncan Smith’s answer was that the Government’s welfare reforms would ensure that people would always be better off working than claiming benefits.

But since the Government does not propose to ensure that global corporations and financial institutions be compelled to pay a living wage, Duncan Smith clearly meant that the already inadequate welfare support will be cut to such a level that people will be forced to work under any conditions and for any wage under threat of sanction.

The unemployed are thus harvested as a cash crop under threat of starvation and homelessness.

And while the Government relentlessly presses ahead with its feudalization reforms, forcing many British people, the unemployed and workers alike, to resort to food banks to feed their children, and charity shops to clothe them, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer was pre-occupied with challenging an EU directive from Brussels to cap bankers’ bonuses.

Yet, bankers’ bonuses are only possible because the Government has pumped billions of pounds into the hands of the incompetent and corrupt financial institutions that brought about this economic catastrophe in the first place. Across the Western world the greatest welfare checks in history were written out to the greatest economic villains in history.

But to deflect criticism from the villains in the story, the Government, supported by a compliant media itself in the power of the new ‘economic royalists’, or beholden to the Government for its funds, set about demonizing the victims by portraying them as welfare ‘scroungers’ crippling the economy, and living off ‘hard-working’ taxpayers.

This demonization of the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed, has instilled in even otherwise decent people a sense of contempt which has conditioned them to accept that their fellow human beings ‘deserve’ to suffer indignity, abuse, and hardship at the hands of a morally ambiguous Government, and morally vacuous global corporations.

But this is not the first time in recent history that free people have faced the threat of the malevolent aspirations of economic tyrants. It is, however, the first time that they have faced them without a leader of vision up to the challenge.

The last time free people faced such a challenge, the American people at least had a leader ready and willing to confront the menace. He was Franklin D Roosevelt.

He faced down ‘the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power.’

He condemned the ‘small group [that] had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives.’

And he recognized that ‘against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government.’

But today, the organized power of government is itself in the service of the ‘economic dynasties’. It is imposing on its own people an economic tyranny for the benefit of ‘the privileged princes’.

Government is rendering itself the enemy of the people. And when people are forced into serfdom, then they become free to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure their own survival, and regain their dignity and freedom.

Freedom is that one thing that ‘no man gives up but with life itself.’

So it is not surprising that when Duncan Smith was asked whether the government’s policies towards the poor and oppressed might lead to revolution, he was silent.

However, the fear of revolution may just explain the extensive and intrusive surveillance programs of Western governments. And it may also explain the multitude of ‘threats’ we are told we need to fear; some real, like Islamic terror, for which our own governments are largely responsible; others contrived, like the idea of an expansionist Russia intent on invading Europe.

As long as the people have enough to fear, then Government and the new economic royalty have less to fear – or so they had hoped.

Perhaps Brexit will give them pause for thought. And they would be well advised to use it, before it’s too late.

Joseph BH McMillan

This article is adapted from an article first published in 2014.

Copyright © Joseph B.H. McMillan 2016 All Rights Reserved

 

The Reason Delusion: The Dark Side of the Enlightenment

Invoking reason in support of an argument is like banging on the table.[i]

Those who invoke ‘reason’ are essentially asserting that ‘if you ‘reason’ in the right way, then you’ll agree with them; if you don’t agree with them, that ‘proves’ that you haven’t ‘reasoned’ in the right way.’

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment is claimed to have ushered in the ‘age of reason’. And to give credit where it’s due, it did bring some relief to the plight of many people. It also fed the appetite for revolution against the authority of self-appointed political and religious rulers. But there was a dark side of the Enlightenment which remains to this day.

There were essentially two broad philosophical camps in this ‘new’ way of ‘thinking’. The first claimed that knowledge could be attained when reason is applied to our experiences in life as they are processed through our physical senses. In philosophical-speak, this was called ‘empiricism’. Basically it means that we make it up as we go along.

The other camp claimed that the application of ‘reason’ alone was sufficient to acquire knowledge, because knowledge was an innate attribute of human beings. But unlike Buddhism, for example, they could not explain the precise mental technique to be applied in order to access this knowledge, other than the application of ‘reason,’ of course. These were called the ‘rationalists’.

Utilitarianism

Along with the Enlightenment there was a parallel ‘philosophy’ developing across the sea in England, also claimed to be rooted in the application of reason. It was championed by that most pernicious of philosophers, a certain Jeremy Bentham. Bentham claimed to have made the revolutionary ‘discovery’ that human beings prefer pleasure to pain. So he devised a ‘philosophy’ centered on maximizing pleasure and avoiding pain. This became known as Utilitarianism.

Immanuel Kant – the Hybrid Philosophy

Immanuel Kant, probably one of the few philosophers the average person could identify if asked to name a philosopher, blended these various camps to create a hybrid philosophy. Essentially he claimed that ‘practical reason’ makes known to human beings a ‘moral law’ which, when violated, ‘makes even the boldest sinner tremble.’ But he couldn’t identify what this ‘moral law’ was. So he simply asserted that it was ‘presented to us for our obedience.’ But that did not mean that we shouldn’t also seek pleasure and avoid pain. We only need to curtail our appetite for pleasure when it offends the ‘moral law’. That’s what ‘practical reason’ tells us.

The Reason Delusion

Now all these philosophers got so ‘puffed up with vanity’[ii] at their new discoveries that we could be forgiven for wondering whether they had invented some brand new way of thinking – by applying ‘reason’. Kant even discovered two distinct kinds of ‘reason’ – ‘pure reason’ and ‘practical reason’.

‘Reason’ thus became the new religion. Instead of invoking the authority of the divine or royal blood to impose their will and beliefs on others, the new ‘rationalists’ invoke their superior ability to ‘reason’. ‘Reason’ is the rhetorical weapon wielded to belittle those who disagree with them.

But the fact is, ‘reason’ on its own account tells us nothing.

The Human Brain

The human brain comprises three broad faculties, each made up of neurological networks – instinct, morality and reason.

Humans share most of the primitive instincts possessed by animals, such as the instincts for reproduction, survival and security. But they also have a number of peculiarly human instincts, such as the instinct to understand how the world works. This latter instinct improves the human ability to service the more primitive carnal instincts. For example, knowing how to cast iron helped humans to hunt better, and to better dispose of perceived threats.

Pleasure and Pain

All these human instincts are activated by the prospect of pleasure, or the fear of pain. And that’s where ‘reason’ comes in. When some or other instinct dangles before ‘reason’ the promise of pleasure, or the risk of pain, ‘reason’ springs into action. It devises ways to maximize pleasure, and eliminate, so far as possible, the risk of suffering pain.

Animals do the same, of course. But here is the difference. Once animals have satisfied the urge for pleasure or eliminated a perceived threat, they move on. Not humans. With their enhanced capacity to ‘reason’, they devise all manner of mischief to service their insatiable appetite for pleasure, and to eliminate even the remotest threat to their survival, security, or indulgence in pleasure.

‘Reason’ in the service of primitive human instinct has caused human beings to inflict the most unspeakable atrocities, degradations and humiliations upon their fellow human beings, mostly without a hint of remorse. It accounts for war, betrayal, slavery, poverty, starvation, genocide, child abuse, greed, deceit, murder. In short, it accounts for everything we call evil. And we find it everywhere, from the playground to the corridors of power; and especially in the corridors of power.

The Moral Network

But there is hope. And that hope comes in the form of a moral network within the human brain. The moral network acts as a restraint on instinct by appealing for an audience with ‘reason’. If granted a hearing, the moral network counsels ‘reason’ to resist over-indulging the demands of our primitive instincts. It can even counsel suppressing primitive instinct entirely by renouncing pleasure and courting pain. But that’s for the saints.

For the rest of us, activating the neurological moral network on a sufficiently wide scale is the only real hope for the future. But it will require a supreme effort, because catering to the demands of our primitive instincts has become a twisted kind of ‘virtue’.

Modern Context

There are encouraging signs, however. There are signs that people are beginning to see through the fog of deception. They are beginning to recognize that ‘reason’ is not the preserve of a select few. And they are beginning to realize that ‘reason’ is not some ‘supernatural’ force that can elevate human beings to new heights of ‘enlightenment’ and ‘civilization’. They are becoming wise to the ‘reason delusion’.

What is really happening is that the neurological moral network is awakening in many people. And that awakening directly challenges the cozy alliance between ‘reason’ and instinct. The internal struggle within each of us to escape from bondage to our primitive instincts is also playing out in the political and economic arena as a struggle by the people to escape from bondage to political and corporate servitude.

In every sense, it is becoming a battle between good and evil. Perhaps it is even nearing the final battle. The outcome will determine the future of humanity. But we should be in no doubt that the forces of ‘reason’ in service to primitive instinct will stop at nothing to get their way. The dark side of the Enlightenment has served them well, and they intend to hang on to it at any cost.

Now this may all sound very apocalyptic. But we should not underestimate the ‘irrationality’ of ‘reason’ in the service of primitive instinct. Neither should we underestimate the rage of a neurological moral network that has been deceived, abused and violated for too long.

The battle lines have been drawn. The first skirmishes are under way. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Either way, it’s going to get very ugly.

******

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Notes

[i] Adapted from the jurist Alf Ross on ‘justice’.

[ii] A description of scientists by Albert Schweitzer.

Introduction to a Video Presentation of the Science in Genesis Day Two – Expansion: A Legal Proof for the Existence of God (Part III)

There is a curious but crucial omission in Day Two of Genesis that appears in each of the other Days; only in Day Two are the words “And God saw …” missing.

But as this video explains, that is not a clumsy oversight, it is very deliberate; and it reveals a profound understanding of the scientific origins of the universe.

To understand why, we need to examine two important elements of the story: the methodology employed in Genesis, and the original meaning of the word that is translated “firmament” in the English version[1].

Methodology

Day One started with “the heaven and the earth”, which were described as being “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The “earth” clearly refers to matter, while “the heavens” refer to space. Matter is perfectly described as being “without form, and void,” and space is accurately described with the words “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That is a description of what physicists today call a gravitational singularity.

The “heaven and the earth” are then re-described collectively as “the waters, symbolizing the latent life-creating properties of matter and space. And that fits perfectly with what the physicist Martin Rees says about matter and space: “Even if shrunk to a ‘point’, … it is LATENT with particles and forces.[2]

The “waters” are then ‘converted’ into “light when matter and antimatter interacted to create photons of light. But because there was a slight excess of matter over antimatter, some matter was not converted into light. That excess matter was described as “the darkness”, which was separated from the “light”. This excess matter would form the building blocks of the universe. Everything that exists in the universe, or will ever exist, is made up of this initial matter and energy (light).

But it was essential that the amount of matter had to be exactly right and could not subsequently be converted into light. “As Sakharov points out, our very existence depends on an irreversible effect that established an excess of matter over antimatter … Had that not occurred, all the matter would have been annihilated with an equal amount of antimatter, leaving a universe containing no atoms at all.”[3]

It is precisely at that point of Day One that Genesis says there was an intervention: “And God saw …” An observation was made that created the “irreversible effect” that guaranteed that there would be enough matter in the universe to build everything we see around us today.

A Literal Interpretation?

Now some people may claim that this is a rather ‘creative’ interpretation of Day One of Genesis, but it is in fact based on a literal reading of the words in the original Hebrew. And that is confirmed by the great Jewish scholar Nahmanides (1194 – 1270 AD), also known as Ramban. And we should remember that he was commenting on Genesis some 700 years before scientists had any real idea of the origins of the universe.

First, Nahmanides[4] makes clear he is adopting a literal interpretation: –“And now, listen to a correct and clear explanation of the text according to its simple understanding.”

This is what Nahmanides then says about Day One: “He [God] brought out a very fine element from complete nothingness; it has no substance, but it is the energy that can create, that is able to accept a form and to go from the potential to the actual … And the heavens and all that is in them are one material, and the earth and all that is within it is [another] material; and the Holy One, blessed be He, created both of them from nothing … And behold, with this creation, which was like a small [and] fine dot, and without substance, were created all of the creations in the heavens and the earth.

That description perfectly conforms to modern cosmology.

Furthermore, as we saw in the video on Day One, that is the basis of the mathematical equation – how a substance can change into something else while maintaining its intrinsic value, like the most famous equation of all, E = mc2.

It is also the basis of the principle ‘freedom under law.’

So at the end of Day One, Genesis tells us that the universe was composed of light and darkness, which means photons of light and the excess matter that was not converted into light because there were no antiparticles to pair-up with. And we know today that these particles formed the first lighter elements.

Accordingly, at the start of Day Two, the embryonic universe would have contained about 75 percent hydrogen, 23 percent helium, and traces of deuterium and lithium. The Big Bang did not generate enough heat to create the heavier elements needed for life.

Genesis then again re-describes this mix of lighter elements and photons of light as “the waters.”[5]

Firmament

It is into these “waters” that God is said to insert “a firmament,” and it was to “divide the waters from the waters.[6] But the next verse suggests that “the waters” were already in different places: “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.”[7]

But if “the waters” were already in different places, that must have been a consequence of Day One, and Day One was about quantum physics.

This is what Brian Greene says about the effect of quantum physics on the unfolding universe: “the initial nonuniformity that ultimately resulted in the formation of stars and galaxies came from quantum mechanics.”[8] And as Rees says, that is because the “slightly OVERdense regions [of space], expanding slower than average, were destined to become galaxies and clusters; others, slightly UNDERdense, were destined to become VOIDS.”[9]

This was a result of the interaction of gravity and what physicists call today expansion.

The effects of quantum physics meant that the distribution of matter (the lighter elements) in the early universe was not completely uniform. Some areas of space were more dense with atoms than others, which meant that over time gravity pulled these atoms together into enormous ‘clumps’ of matter. At the same time, the expansion force was pushing the ‘clumps’ apart leaving ‘empty’ space, or what Rees calls “voids.”

Expansion was and still is crucial to maintain the universe in the way we see it now, and for the creation of life. And Genesis recognized that.

The word that is translated “firmament” in Day Two is actually raqiya in the original Hebrew, which means expansion.

So suddenly Genesis reads exactly like the modern day scientific understanding of the forces that created the universe, and especially this crucial expansion force that was the cause of the formation of galaxies, stars, and ultimately life. Without it, the universe would not exist.

But did the reference to expansion in Genesis actually refer to what science calls expansion today?

On the ‘best evidence rule’, the answer is yes. And that is again confirmed by Nahmanides.

This is what he says about Genesis 1: 6:  “He [God] said about the material that existed at the beginning when He created it from nothing, that it should be STRETCHED out like a tent in the midst of the water and separate the waters from the waters.”

And this is how a physicist describes it today: “The tremendous outward swelling [of inflationary expansion] resulted in space being STRETCHED enormously large and extremely smooth …[10]

Also, “Calculations show that [a] nugget of space need only to have been tiny – on the order of 10-26 centimeters across – for the ensuing cosmological expansion … to have STRETCHED it larger than the universe we see today.”[11]

But why no reference to the words “And God saw …”?

Rees describes the universe at this stage as follows: “after half a million years of expansion, the temperature dropped to around 3,000 degrees … As the universe cooled further, it literally entered a dark age … [which] persisted until the first protogalaxies formed and lit it up again.[12]

At this early stage, the universe consisted of giant protogalaxies composed only of the lighter elements, so it was essential that the state of the universe should not yet be made “irreversible,” and as we saw in the previous video, the words “And God saw …” does precisely that.

The protogalaxies had to continue to condense, forming giant stars whose incredible density would create supernovae, because it is this process that creates the heavier elements necessary for life.

Omitting any reference to “And God saw …” shows that Genesis understands the importance of the universe taking its course before being ‘locked-in’ with an observation. The observation comes in Day Three; in fact, there are two observations in Day Three, and for good scientific reasons.

So by the end of Day Two, everything was in place for the next step towards the ultimate purpose behind the universe – the creation of heavier elements, and ultimately human life.

These are the issues addressed in this video.

Previous videos in the series can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7fbq0r39xQXDVs-qOnIeKQ

For the article on which this video is based, click here: http://wp.me/p5izWu-8y

This series of videos is based on the book A ‘Final Theory’ of God by Joseph BH McMillan.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan All Rights Reserved 2015

[1] References are to the King James Version.

[2] Rees, Martin. Just Six Numbers. Phoenix, London 2000, page 145.

[3] Rees, page 155.

[4] http://www.sefaria.org/Ramban_on_Genesis.1.1.3?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

[5] Genesis 1:6.

[6] Genesis 1:6.

[7] Genesis 1:7.

[8] Green, Brian. The Fabric of the Cosmos. Penguin, London 2005, page 305.

[9] Rees, page 119, emphasis is mine.

[10] Greene, page 321, emphasis is mine.

[11] Greene, page 318, emphasis is mine.

[12] Rees, page 119.

Who is really responsible for the massacre in Tunisia?

Last week the first inquests opened into the deaths of the British citizens killed in the Tunisian massacre.

On Friday, a minute’s silence was held across the UK during which British Prime Minister, David Cameron, bowed his head in a display of pious indignation. Cameron has declared a “generational struggle” against the likes of those responsible for the massacre and has pledged a permanent memorial to the victims.

Cameron’s attendance conjured up images of those Mafia movies where the crime boss responsible for ordering the killing of a rival attends the funeral to express his condolences and shock. His hypocrisy is quite breathtaking.

It was clear to me that the bombing of Libya, and the removal of Gaddafi, would create a terrorist haven on the shores of the Mediterranean from which Islamic terror attacks would be launched, and I said as much in a number of letters to the Daily Mail of London in 2011, the last of which was published in edited form on the 25th August.

In that letter, I warned that it would be the British people who would pay the price for Cameron’s ridiculous adventure. That has proved true, not just in monetary terms, but also in the lives of innocent British citizens. And I was not alone in issuing such warnings.

The Libyan bombing was simply an international criminal enterprise conducted by the West at the behest of its Gulf paymasters, in spite of the fact that donors in these Gulf countries,  principally Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are recognized as the “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.[1]

The UN “No Fly” Resolution did not give any legitimacy to what, in reality, amounted to an aggressive war. The West simply supplied air support for Gulf-sponsored jihadists.

Western politicians cannot profess abhorrence of atrocities committed by Islamic extremists while working hand-in-hand with the main sponsors of such terror. States like Saudi Arabia are so confident of a compliant West, even when it comes to terror against Western civilians, that Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s spy master, threatened President Putin of Russia with terror attacks at the Winter Olympics in Sochi if he opposed a UN Resolution to bomb Syria. Stating that he had “spoken with the Americans before the visit, and they pledged to commit to any understandings that we may reach,” Bandar then warned Putin that “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move … without coordinating with us.

In effect, Bandar was threatening terror attacks against civilians at the Olympics with the knowledge of Western leaders. (see Grounds for Impeaching President Obama)

As I said in my article Western Leaders Take Orders from their Saudi Paymasters on Syria, too many Western politicians are so beholden to Saudi and Qatari funding that they cannot, in any real sense, be considered independent. Neither can they profess ignorance of the terror their Saudi and Qatari paymasters support and fund around the world, not just in Tunisia and Libya, but Syria, Nigeria, Russia, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen, and the West itself. That makes them complicit in these terrorist atrocities.

The extent to which Western leaders are in the power of Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia was evident after the death of the Saudi dictator King Abdullah, when we saw the spectacle of Western ‘leaders’ dropping everything to rush over to Saudi Arabia to pay condolences to their deceased lord, and homage to their new lord.

So it may be clear who pulled the trigger in Sousse last week; but it is also clear who created the conditions that facilitated the massacre, and on whose behalf they did it.

I doubt that the inquests into the deaths will even consider the question of Cameron’s culpability, or indeed that of any other Western politician. Neither, I suspect, the culpability of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And for the most part, mainstream media will resort to the complicity of silence.

However, these are precisely the issues that should be examined, because until we do start holding our own leaders and politicians to account for their actions, and those of their friends, we should only expect a lot more of the same.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Notes

[1] Washington Times December 23, 2010 – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/23/wide-saudi-loopholes-let-charity-funds-slip-to-ter/

 

Philosophical Origins of the Modern Liberal Fundamentalist State – Part II

“Hereby it is manifest that during time when men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man.”
And then there is this: “The desires, and other passions of man, are in themselves no sin. No more are the actions that proceed from those passions till they know a law that forbids them; which till laws be made they cannot know, nor can any law be made till they have agreed upon the person that shall make it.”
That is Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) in Leviathan, also known as the Matter, Form, and Authority of Government – which really says it all.
This is quite frightening stuff, but remarkably, such sentiments still represent exactly the modern Liberal Fundamentalist state.
What Hobbes is saying is that human beings are too stupid and selfish to act in their own long term interests, or to ‘know’ what is right and wrong. So, he says, we need to elect one or more of our number to tell us how to act in our own best interests, and to tell us what is right and wrong.
He doesn’t explain how a group of stupid, selfish people, electing a stupid, selfish person from their midst, suddenly endows that person with the ‘wisdom’ to know what is right and wrong, and to act in a way that does not reflect his own stupid and selfish character.
Yet that is precisely what modern day politicians claim is the effect of their ascendance to power – that somehow they gain some superior ´wisdom´, ´conscience´, and sense of ´justice´, to the rest of us.

John Locke (1632 – 1704)

So although modern day ´philosophers´ will claim that Hobbes´ was too crude, the fact remains that his formula is precisely the model of modern day Western democratic government.
John Locke ‘refined’ Hobbes’ model. He started his ´philosophy´ of government with what is my Principle 1 – that no person has any natural authority to tell another person what to do.
He agrees that the natural state of man is “a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature; without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
He also said that men are in “a state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another.”
So, at first sight, it seems as though Locke is heading in the right direction.
But Locke carried with him plenty of baggage. He was an academic at Oxford University, then later the personal physician and companion of a certain English nobleman called the Earl of Shaftesbury. Locke was also teacher to Shaftesbury’s children.
I always find it ironic that someone so absolutely beholden for his living to another, especially an English nobleman, should be preaching about freedom.
And this quickly comes out in his writing.
Unlike Hobbes, Locke looks to the law of nature; “for the law of nature would, as all other laws that concern men in this world, be in vain, if there were nobody that in the state of nature had a power to execute that law, and thereby preserve the innocent, and restrain offenders.”
So, within 3 numbered paragraphs of his Second Treatise, Locke is already looking for someone to govern; to enforce the “law of nature.”
Accordingly, after justifying, in his chapter “Of Property”, why the likes of Shaftesbury can legitimately ‘own’ enormous amounts of property, to the exclusion of “common possession,” Locke latches onto the concept of “the majority”, and the “perfect democracy.”
Locke claims that “no one can be put out of [his freedom, equality, and independence], and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.”
Phew, so far so good!
And “consent” is exactly what Locke claims men do, “for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another.”
But here is where Locke becomes bankrupt in his ´thinking´. He is unable to identify any principles to which all people would consent in order to conduct relations within their new community, so he simply claims that man “divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of civil society, … by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community, for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any that are not of it.”
And where do the ´rules´ to govern come from? Alarmingly, Locke says this: “ … the majority have a right to act and conclude the rest.”
So there it is – a “right” of the “majority” to dictate to the rest of us.
And done, says Locke, because “when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only the will and determination of the majority; … it is necessary the body should move that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority: … and so every one is bound by that consent to be concluded by the majority.”
What a devious little man! But I’m sure his noble Earl was pleased.
Locke’s ´thinking´ is a perfect example of turning logic on its head. We consent to relinquish our freedom to the majority, so that I have unwittingly ‘consented’ to be ruled by “that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority.”??
How can I consent to relinquish my consent to the consent of the majority, but still retain my freedom?
But this inverted logic is only the start of Locke’s ‘treatise’.
He goes on to claim that men give up their freedom “to be regulated by laws made by society.”
Locke argues that man consents to “give up the equality, liberty, and executive power [he] had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society,” because of “three defects” which make “the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy.”
Those “three defects”, he claims, are: no “established, settled, known” laws of right and wrong to settle controversies; no “known and indifferent” judges, with authority to determine disputes by reference to laws; and lastly, no “power” to execute punishment.
So, Locke argues, man consents to give up his condition of freedom (or as Locke describes it, “the equality, liberty, and executive power [he] had in the state of nature”), only “with an intention [to] better preserve himself, his liberty and property.”
Thus, says Locke, “the power of the society, or legislative constituted by them, can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good; but is obliged to secure every one’s property, by providing against those three defects above-mentioned, that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy.”
After briefly outlining the bounds of government, Locke sets out his idea of the “perfect democracy.”
“The majority having, as has been showed, upon men’s first uniting into society, the whole power of the community naturally in them, may employ all that power in making laws for the community from time to time, and executing those laws by officers of their own appointing; and then the form of the government is a perfect democracy.”
Locke then delineates the “bounds” of government: to govern by promulgated established laws; the laws must be “designed for no other end ultimately, but the good of the people;” government “must not raise taxes on the property of people, without the consent of the people;” and the legislator must not “transfer the power of making laws to anybody else.”
The “good of the people”? Tax, by consent of the majority? The “common good”? The majority ‘consenting’ on my behalf? “the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority”?
What on earth is left of my freedom?
I have sacrificed freedom to the common good, to the majority, to the “greater force” of the “consent of the majority”? I have agreed that the majority can consent to government appropriating my property under the guise of tax?
Oh Yes, I nearly forgot! If government is naughty and ventures beyond its mandate, say by imposing additional taxes, we can – wait for it – we can be “aggrieved.” And we can take our grievance to ….? Well – to the government. And if government laughs at us, what then? “The appeal lies nowhere but to Heaven.”
I’m not kidding, that’s what Locke says. The nobleman, the Earl of Shaftsbury, must have been pleased with his child-minder!
But it gets worse. “The legislative can never revert to the people whilst the government lasts; because having provided a legislative with power to continue for ever, they have given up their political power to the legislative, and cannot resume it.”
Really? Where, and when, exactly did man consent to get ‘Shafted’ by government.
But can we please perhaps vote a government out which has abused and exceeded its mandate?
Well, “if [the people] have set limits to the duration of their legislative, and made this supreme power in any person, or assembly, only temporary; or, else, when by the miscarriages of those in authority it is forfeited; upon the forfeiture, or at the determination of the time set, it reverts to the society, and the people have a right to act as supreme, and continue the legislative in themselves; or to erect a new form, or under the old form place it in new hands, as they think good.”
So here is the first big problem. If the government has abused its mandate to please the majority who, for example, want the minority to be compelled to hand over large amounts of property to the majority, how do you get rid of the government?
You can only do so if you can get the majority to relinquish its iron grip on your possessions! Remember, it’s all about the “greater force” of the “consent of the majority.” How likely is that?
The other possibility Locke envisages is the people expelling the government. But this he reserves only to the case where government uses force upon the people without authority and in breach of its mandate. Then, says Locke, “the people have the right to remove it by force.”
Fat chance!!
By this time, government has, by majority consent, usually reserved most or all force to itself. So the aggrieved have to overcome two obstacles: the majority; and if they can achieve that, the power the people have vested in government. And, of course, all governments make insurrection a criminal offence, even a treasonable offence, entitling government to suspend all ‘rights’; in the common good, and for the preservation of law and order, of course.
Locke himself describes this state as “a state of war with the people.”
Now, anyone thinking this through should quickly see that placing government in the hands of a majority, and endowing it with absolute authority to use force, makes it impossible to remove government so long as it attracts majority support, no matter how much it tramples over its original mandate. And the easiest way to maintain majority support is to take from the minority and give to the majority. But we are not talking here about some tiny proportion of the people having their freedoms trampled on. Usually it means 50% or more of the people, as any Western democratic election shows.
Even providing that “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” as in Amendment II of the United States Constitution, does not come close to curing this mechanism of oppression.
The well regulated Militia would have to be a rival army equal to, or more powerful than, the government forces, to be effective in such a circumstance. Government can also simply define what this Militia may comprise, as it does, or simply maintain that the military forces of the state are that Militia.
Most governments also simply restrict the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Any half-wit should know that no government is going to allow an effective rival army to exist to act as a regulator of its affairs and power.
If we follow Locke’s ‘reasoning’ through therefore, we discover that man has consented to surrender his freedom in order to attain those basic securities necessary to remedy the defects of man’s state of nature, what I call his condition of freedom, the three rather insignificant “defects” of his freedom, only to find he will be subject to the whim of the majority, backed up by a force that he has no hope of challenging. In man’s condition of freedom, the principal threat came from those of relatively equal strength to himself; under Locke’s formula, the threat is from an immensely more powerful entity, supported by an easily manipulated majority.
Who in their right mind would consent to such an inversion of threat?
‘Nanny Boy’, Shafter’s child-minder and ‘companion’ – companion? Hmm? – reinforced his vision of tyranny in a piece of drivel called A Letter Concerning Toleration.
Nanny Boy poses himself a hypothetical question: “What if the [government] should enjoin any thing by his authority, that appears unlawful to the conscience of a private person?”
Well, Nanny Boy says this is unlikely to happen – because remember, there are such great people in government as Shafter – but if it does, we should follow our consciences and bear the consequences of the unlawful law.
But he goes even further. A private person – note, no longer a free person – should “abstain from the actions that he judges unlawful; and he is to undergo the punishment, which is not unlawful for him to bear; for the private judgment of any person concerning a law enacted in political matters, for the public good, does not take away the obligation of that law, nor deserve a dispensation.”
To compensate for the loss of freedom, Locke offers us religion. As long as we are all free to follow our own religion, we should be grateful. So our freedom has been reduced to freedom of religion. But that itself depends on government ‘tolerating’ our religion.
Nanny Boy thus distinguishes between “political society” and “the care of each man’s soul.” And the care of our souls must be “left entirely to every man’s self.”
And “political society is instituted for no other end, but only to secure every man’s possession of the things of his life.”
It is the duty of government, says Nanny Boy, to safeguard men’s lives and their property. “Therefore the [government] cannot take away these worldly things from this man, or party, and give them to that; nor change propriety amongst fellow subjects (no not even by a law), for a cause that has no relation to the end of civil government.”
Then Nanny Boy poses another hypothetical question. What if government does make laws taking away from one person and giving to another? What if government makes laws “to enrich and advance [it’s] followers .. with the spoils of others. What if the [government] believe[s] that [it] has a right to make such laws, and that they are for the public good; and [it’s] subjects believe the contrary? Who shall be judge between them?”
“I answer,” says Nanny Boy, “God alone.”
So there we are! By ‘consenting’ to relinquish only a tiny fraction of our condition of freedom, so as to have a common mechanism to protect that freedom, Nanny Boy leads us into servitude. Our only remedy is to appeal to Heaven, and to God.
This all brings me to ‘rights’. What a convenient and devious little device.
Nanny Boy refers to ‘rights’ as “civil interests.”
These “civil interests” are the governments business, says Nanny Boy, which must be distinguished from “religion”, which is not the government’s business.
Government “neither can nor ought in any manner to be extended to the salvation of souls.” This is reserved for “religious society”, the end of which “is the public worship of God, and by means thereof the acquisition of eternal life.”
But the government even has a part to play here. This is where Nanny Boy throws us the crumbs left over from our freedom. It is the “law of toleration”. The government’s “duty in the business of toleration” is “certainly very considerable.”
So, together with our “civil interests,” the “law of toleration” in respect of religion constitutes the sum total of our ‘rights’. That’s all that is left of our freedom; which is nothing!
But what exactly are these ‘rights’, this combination of our “civil interests” and “law of toleration.”
Man’s ‘rights’, says Nanny Boy, are “life, liberty, health, and indolence of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture and the like.”
Anyone violating these ‘rights’ is “checked by the fear of punishment.”
That punishment is deprivation of that person’s civic interests. Taking away from him in proportion to what he has taken from another.
According to Nanny Boy, government should be restricted to remedying these violations. That is the end of civil government.
So when Locke says the government cannot take property from one person and give it to another “for a cause which has no relation to the end of civil government,” this is what he means. Civil government should be restricted to restoring to one person what has been taken from him by another. It does not entitle government to take from one person and give to another because government thinks ‘justice’ requires a different distribution of wealth between people; or because government believes that everyone should be ‘entitled’ to health care; or because government thinks people should be ‘entitled’ to an income in their old age; and so on. Those things are specifically excluded, even by Locke. It is no business of government, says Locke, to take from one person and give to another because one person has provided for his health, old age, and so on, and another hasn’t.
On that I agree with Locke. Freedom includes, and necessarily implies, freedom to screw up. It does not mean freedom to screw up, and then require another to pay to sort out the mess.
But let me return to the other element of Nanny Boy’s ‘rights’. That is tolerance.
In short, Nanny Boy says we have a ‘right’ to expect the government to tolerate whatever religion we wish to pursue in order to save our souls.
But there are certain exceptions: “opinions contrary to human society, or those moral rules which are necessary to the preservation of civil society”; religions which pay allegiance to other governments; and atheists.
So it is this hodgepodge of ‘rights’ that today supposedly constitutes our freedom.
But these ‘rights’ are a dismal failure. They do not enhance our freedom, they undermine and diminish it. They are a charter for oppression and tyranny.
They constitute a tyranny of ‘rights’; the enslavement of man; the enshrinement of ignorance and oppression.
They are the enforcement of pity, sympathy, and compassion. They are charters for abuse, open to what Nietzsche called “interpretation”.
And this is all because Locke, and his imitators, started from the wrong end. They sacrificed man’s freedom for ‘rights’. Whereas they should have preserved man’s condition of freedom absolutely, subject only to those principles men freely and universally agree to adopt. Not by majority consent, but by universal consent.
So Locke took the same ‘social contract’ approach as Hobbes – that man is compelled by the State and society to act in the common good. But he also mobilizes God who, by dispensing rewards and punishments in eternity, knocks some further sense into man.
As Schweitzer says, “the essential point of distinction between them is that with Hobbes society alone plies the whip, while with Locke God and society wield it together.”
Neither could see that before we cede any authority to someone else, including government, we all need to agree on the principles to which they must adhere in exercising that authority.
Now I should give credit where credit is due. Locke did establish rudimentary procedural safeguards against abuse of power by government; he just couldn’t come up with any “ideas” when it came to finding substantive safeguards to protect individual freedom. So he gave us the booby prize – ‘rights’. And now we are showered with ‘rights’.
But we do not build a temple of freedom by stacking one right on top of another like bricks; instead, we build ourselves a prison, a prison governed by a tyranny of rights.
Thanks a bunch, Nanny Boy!
Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2015 All Rights Reserved

Why Government and Big Business are Intent on Destroying the Last Remnants of Marriage, Family and Faith

The last century has seen a concerted campaign by Western governments to erode the important role played by marriage, family and faith in people’s lives.

‘Controlling behavior’

The latest assault on these institutions comes from the British Government, which is to introduce a new law of “controlling behaviour” to make it a criminal offence, under threat of a 14 year prison sentence, for a husband, for example, to ‘monitor’ the activities of his wife if he suspects that he is being deceived.

According to the Daily Telegraph of London, the new law will make it “illegal for someone to exercise ‘coercive control’ over their partner. It means [that] for the first time men who control their partners through threats or by restricting their personal or financial freedom, could face prison in the same way as those who are violent towards them.” And “there will be no statutory time limit for the offences, meaning abuse dating back years can be taken into account.

But such a law will not be peculiar to Britain. According to the Telegraph, similar laws have been implemented in the United States which “led to a 50 per cent rise in the number of women coming forward to report domestic abuse.” Many other Western countries have similar laws, while yet others will no doubt follow suite in short order.

It seems most curious that governments that justify monitoring our every movement and our every word, on the basis that we ‘have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide’, should consider it worthy of criminal penalty if a husband or wife does the same.

In the vast majority of cases, a husband or wife will have far better justification for resorting to such measures than government. So perhaps it would be more appropriate to apply an offence of “controlling behaviour” to governments and their agencies.

Reasons for the New Law

But why would Western governments be so determined to introduce laws that will quite patently serve only to further undermine marriage and family?

The most obvious reason is that the majority of people have been conditioned, mostly willingly, into believing that promiscuity and adultery are a ‘right’, and they see no reason why their ‘freedom’ to indulge that ‘right’ should be inhibited in any way by the small ‘inconvenience’ of marriage, or children.

Governments have been eager to promote that perception, and for good reason. It undermines the institution of marriage as a sanctuary in which people find refuge and strength. People derive their moral compass from the family, not from government. And when family is the centre of people’s lives, governments have less control over them.

So governments needed to drive a wedge between husbands and wives. And the best way to do that is to engender mistrust between them. That was done by promoting sexual ‘liberation’. Promiscuity before marriage has the natural effect of eroding the sanctity of marriage. Marriage becomes just another in a series of relationships (see article The Meaning, and Essential Ingredients, of Marriage). That inevitably leads to instability because, quite naturally, one or both parties will feel apprehension about the other’s previous sexual partners and practices. And apprehension leads to suspicion. When someone then becomes suspicious that they are being betrayed, they take measures to protect themselves and their security, and especially the security of their children. In fact, they have a moral duty to do so.

Yet, the consensus is that someone’s previous life is not the business of the person they marry, and with whom they have children. ‘What I did before is none of your business!’ is the usual refrain.

This mistrust between husbands and wives was further compounded when government declared that there should be no penalty for adultery. In fact, the person who does the betraying is often rewarded, which is hardly a disincentive.

Adultery has thus become commonplace. People see it all around them, every day. So it is not unnatural that they should fear that their own spouses may be doing the same, especially when patterns of behavior and routines suddenly and inexplicably change. So it should not be surprising that they would want to reassure themselves.

Having created this state of extreme distrust between the sexes, government is now intent on criminalizing the consequences. That is because government has declared that the kind of ‘controlling behavior’ such distrust engenders is ‘abusive’; it is, according to government, akin to physical violence.

There can be no doubt that once this law is introduced in Britain, there will be a concerted campaign by government and the sponsors of the law to exacerbate the distrust that already exists between husbands and wives. Even the slightest suspicion will be considered an infraction of the law and portrayed as ‘abusive’, requiring intervention by the police. The law will amount to a license for infidelity which will cause further discord in the family – hardly a conducive environment for children. But then, the object of the law is to facilitate infidelity and undermine family, not to create a harmonious environment for children.

Even where there is a strong suspicion of betrayal, voicing concern or requiring proof to the contrary will be considered abusive. That will leave spouses with only two options: To suffer the humiliation of being a victim of infidelity in silence in the hope of keeping the family intact for the sake of the children, or walking out and getting a divorce. And that will simply add to the number of children from broken homes, and thus compound the social problems already prevalent in society.

If government was even remotely interested in providing secure and stable environments for children, it would be taking steps to strengthen families, not destroy them. And the way to do that is to encourage parents to be thoroughly open with each other, not secretive and evasive. Parents should have shared bank accounts so that each can monitor the family’s finances; they should have unrestricted access to each other’s passwords for email and social media accounts; each should encourage the other to check email and social media messages as a means of reassurance; each should have mobile phone passwords for the other, and be encouraged to check calls and costs; and each should, as a matter of course, recount to the other their day’s activities.

Partners in marriage, and indeed any kind of personal relationship, especially when children are involved, have an obligation to make every effort to reassure each other. Each needs to ascertain what causes the other discomfort or apprehension and do whatever is required to allay any fears.

Parents should recognize that such actions are not concessions, and neither do they amount to submissive behavior. They are fundamental obligations parents have towards each other so as to provide the kind of harmonious environment for bringing up their children. These are the actions that create trust between people. But today, trust is something people believe they can demand as a ‘right’, not something that has to be earned.

Families are built on sharing and reassuring, not on secrecy and suspicion. A divided institution is weak, unstable and contentious.

And it is just such weak, unstable and suspicious families government wants to create. So it portrays such obligations as ‘abuse’.

The difference between marriage and work relationships

In order to fully understand governments’ intent and method to destroy marriage, family, and faith, we should briefly note the fundamental differences between marriage and work relationships.

Marriage has at its heart the aim and expectation that the relationship will result in the creation of a new human life, whereas work is a means of providing for our physical needs. Work is what we do to provide for our families. We do not have families so that we can work.

Of course, government has sought to invert the obvious commonsense of that premise by promoting the silly idea that the most important issue in life, apart from sex, is ‘career’; and many have been keen to delude themselves with that fiction.

But irrespective of that self-deception, the fact is that a relationship that has as its focus the wellbeing of a human life – and not any human life, but the human life that two people bring into this world by their own voluntary act – must necessarily attract fundamentally more onerous obligations on the parties than a relationship that involves stacking shelves, tending a check-out, treating patients, servicing clients, or pleasing shareholders. All of those things simply involve catering to the needs of others.

The elements for a strong and stable marriage and family

The obligations that attach to two human beings who create new human life form the bonds that define marriage and family. And they comprise three principal elements.

First, both parties have an obligation to ensure that the relationship is unique, exclusive and special for the benefit of the new life that is the objective of the relationship.

Secondly, it requires the autonomy of at least one of the parties. At least one of the parties must be free from the authority of other human beings; that is, not in service to a boss, patient, corporation, client, shareholder, or institution. The autonomy of at least one party to the relationship establishes the autonomy of the relationship itself. And there can be no doubt that, in the main, women have the unique strengths and qualities to secure such autonomy within a relationship.

And thirdly, the relationship requires a moral authority to bind it together, but which subjects neither party to the dictate of the other. And only mutual faith in God can provide such an impartial moral authority.

It is precisely these elements that define marriage and family, and which make it autonomous and secure, that are an impediment to government and big business exercising absolute control over people. So they have come under relentless attack.

How government seeks to undermine marriage, family and faith.

In respect of the first element, we have already seen how government, with the aid of devious marketing strategies by big business, has created the perception that uninhibited sexual indulgence is a ‘right’. That has created distrust between the sexes, thus undermining marriage and family. And those who have the autonomy, self-respect and self-discipline to resist indulging their new found sexual ‘liberties’ are made to feel “thoroughly ashamed”. Embarrassing someone into abandoning deeply held convictions is itself blatant emotional abuse, yet it is rife. But it is not only emotional abuse. Young people, and especially young girls, are pressured and ridiculed into turning their bodies into little more than pleasure-generating objects, and that is tantamount to physical abuse. And once they succumb, the consequences are irreversible.

In respect of the second element, the campaign by government and big business focused on belittling, ridiculing, and denigrating the autonomous role of mothers as the anchor of marriage and family. Mothers were portrayed as being ‘tied to the sink’, occupied in ‘baking cookies’ or knitting, and incapable of engaging in ‘intelligent conversation’ because they are focused on ‘bringing up children’. The most unpleasant aspect of this ongoing campaign is that it was, and still is, conducted mostly by women – women exhibiting the worst aspects of “masculine stupidity”. It is surprising that the women who engage in scorning those women who dedicate their lives to their children and families are unable to recognize that they are attempting to inflict emotional abuse on their fellow human beings, and indeed fellow women. Perhaps it is self-guilt that generates the kind of hostility that can only be assuaged by attempting to humiliate others.

This campaign also appealed to human vanity. Remarkably, many women easily succumbed to the peculiar notion that ‘autonomy’ was to be found in submitting to the authority of another in the workplace. They deluded themselves that being ‘chained to the bosses desk’, or punching timecards in a factory, or filling in timesheets in some office, gave them ‘freedom’. It was more ‘satisfying’ to please the boss than cater to the needs of their own children – probably because the latter is considerably more demanding than the former.

The final element of marriage and family that had to be undermined was belief in God. God provides a moral authority that transcends government, and transcends ‘career’. God provides the moral authority that determines the obligations we have, first and foremost, to our children. That requires one parent, at least, to be autonomous, which deprives big business of compliant labor. But perhaps even more concerning to business and government, God also provides a meaning to life that does not require the pointless and useless branded products produced by big businesses. And that is not good for demand. Those who have God don’t need logos to give their lives meaning.

So those who believe in God are ridiculed for the “narrowness of their intellects.”

The campaign to belittle those who believe in God has as its objective establishing government as the supreme authority, and the supreme lawmaker. Restraint in action should not be as a result of recognizing obligations that emanate from a Supreme Lawmaker, but by fear of punishment from government. God is replaced by ‘values’, which need to be imposed on children from an early age. Of course, nobody can identify the ‘authority’ for these ‘values’ other than the dictate or custom of some person or group of people. Then the only ‘moral’ prerogative is that anything goes as long as you can get away with it.

That gives government the authority to determine what is right and wrong, and compel people to obey under threat of sanction.

Belief in God directly challenges that ‘authority’. So God had to go.

The proper context and true intent in destroying marriage, family and faith

We can now go back to the issue of “controlling behavior”, and see it in its proper context and true intent.

Those very obligations and elements that are the rock on which marriage and family should be built are an impediment to government exercising unfettered authority and control over people. Neither are they conducive to a compliant and submissive workforce, and an easily manipulated market for pointless products.

The very qualities that give strength to marriage and family are the qualities government and big business want to appropriate and subvert to their own authority. And they have already achieved that for the most part. These new offences are directed at eliminating the last remnants of resistance.

A comparison between ‘abuse’ in marriage and the workplace

In order to ascertain what exactly this new law would consider to constitute ‘abuse’ in marriage, it would be informative to conclude this analysis with a comparison of the respective conditions under which parents operate in marriage, and the conditions imposed on them in the workplace.

So let’s start with that notion that pre-marital sexual practices and partners have nothing to do with the other party to a marriage; that refrain of ‘what I did before is none of your business.’

Those who invoke this ridiculous refrain in marriage should perhaps attempt to invoke it at an interview with a prospective employer. They could tell that employer that their previous education, interests, work experience, possible criminal convictions, are none of their business. They could insist that the prospective employer should simply ‘trust them’ to be the perfect person for the job.

In order to test the arguments and conclusions in this short article, I recently applied for a job as “Warehouse Operative” with a global corporation.

The job involved stacking shelves, so it seemed that my work and life history could hardly be relevant. On the contrary. But they were not looking for any higher qualifications, or even experience, in shelf-stacking, but they did require disclosure of pretty much everything else about my life, and they required the authority to conduct extensive and intrusive background checks, including police checks. That involved waiving most legal protections for personal data. And any untruthful or inaccurate information would be grounds for summary dismissal without pay, and a claim for compensation should the company suffer any damage as a consequence. Then there were the stringent confidentiality agreements, preventing disclosure of any information about the company, of whatever nature, to any other party. All for the privilege of stacking shelves.

Why would stacking shelves entitle an employer to such a detailed history of a person’s life, while creating new life gives no such entitlement?

Common sense would dictate that it should be the other way round. Parties to marriage are far more vulnerable to betrayal and deceit than a global corporation. And the consequences are considerably more damaging, especially for children.

However, if a party to a relationship contemplating marriage and children required the kind of detailed disclosure from the other party that is required for a shelf-stacking job, that would be regarded as ‘abuse’. So people contemplating marriage will just have to rely on blind trust; or better still, simply don’t get married or have children.

Yet, this kind of absolute disclosure for a job is just to get in the door.

Once in the door, things get considerably more tyrannical. In the case of the Warehouse Operative, an outline of employees’ duties was provided by a representative of the company to the mass of applicants who had been herded together like cattle at market – men and women, young and old.

Some of these duties were set out in a detailed employment contract that had been handed out to the candidates. But remarkably, the candidates were told that they need not read the contract, nor the waiver of legal protections against hours worked, because the contract was non-negotiable.

Of course, those who could take the time to read the contract, and who were in a financial position to decline the job if they were not happy with the draconian terms, could simply walk out. But what I discovered is that a large proportion of the candidates had been compelled to apply for the job because they were in receipt of state benefits. If they declined the job, or were rejected for seeking to negotiate any of the terms, they would lose their state benefits. That would leave them and their families homeless and penniless. No doubt the representatives of the company were well aware of the plight of so many of the applicants, and so able to take advantage of the situation.

In effect, people were being compelled to labor for the company under duress and threat. But worse, if they found the conditions of work intolerable and resigned, or if they were fired, they would likewise lose their right to claim state benefits. And that is nothing short of forced labor.

Quite rightly, Western governments do not condone similar duress when it comes to marriage. Forced marriage violates the most fundamental principle of morality – freedom. People must be free to decide whether or not to assume obligations, especially the onerous obligations of marriage.

However, government does not consider compelling people to labor an infringement of their freedom. The argument is that welfare benefits are a privilege, and people should be compelled to take whatever job is available, or lose their ability to sustain themselves and their families. That enables big business to capitalize on the situation by imposing intolerable working conditions on employees knowing that if they refuse they starve.

But we should also consider for a moment the argument that welfare benefits are a privilege.

Human beings, by virtue of the simple fact that they are human beings, are free to provide for their survival and security, and are therefore free to access the resources of the Earth to do so. The Earth is a resource common to all who inhabit it. Human beings are no less free to access the resources of the Earth to eat, than they are free to access the air to breathe. So when a small minority of human beings, mostly under the guise of artificial corporate entities, appropriate to themselves the vast majority of the resources of the Earth, they do not become owners of those resources to the exclusion of all other human beings; they become trustees. And trustees have onerous fiduciary duties towards the beneficiaries of the resources they hold. As the Preacher says, “the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.” Eccl 5:9. That is a fundamental principle not only in the Christian and Jewish traditions, but all religious traditions of any worth.

To argue that superior entrepreneurial ability vests ownership in the resources of the world to the exclusion of others is exactly the same thing as claiming that superior strength does so. Economic tyranny can no more vest authority in one person over others than can any other kind of tyranny.

So the fact that giant global corporations and financial institutions have appropriate so much of the Earth’s natural resources to themselves does not deprive human beings of the freedom to provide for their survival and security, and it does not relieve those institutions of their fiduciary duties towards those deprived access to those resources. Neither does it vest in any one person, group of people, or institution howsoever constituted, an authority to subvert the life of other human beings to their control. Economic tyranny is no different to military tyranny. Against either, human beings are free to exercise their freedom to provide for their survival and security if it is denied them. And history bears testimony to that truth.

We should now address the actual conditions under which people labor, and contrast that with marriage.

In the case of the Warehouse Operative job, the representatives of the company briefly described employees’ duties. Nearly 12 hours a day alternately on day and night shifts; half an hour for lunch/midnight dinner: two 15 minute coffee breaks a day; work activities would be monitored to the minute, and recorded; toilet breaks would be timed, and a point would be deducted from employees exceeding the allotted toilet time allowed; time off sick would also lose a point; loss of three points would result in summary dismissal; no telephone calls, texting, emails, or web browsing during work hours; a security check on entering the warehouse for work; and constant CCTV monitoring of the interior and exterior of the premises.

And all this for the minimum wage.

Now, we should just imagine if a husband or wife sought to impose such conditions on one another. It would, quite rightly, be considered abuse. Yet government considers such abuse to be absolutely acceptable when inflicted by a faceless giant corporation on those who have no option but to accept such conditions if they want to survive. Government even facilitates such economic tyranny by applying the necessary duress and threats to provide corporations with the cheap labor they are finding hard to recruit in the Third World. (see article The Feudalization of Britain.)

Yet, that is precisely why government and big business are intent on destroying marriage and family. Once they do so, there is really little else in life but work. So people have been conditioned to believe that even such work is preferable to, and more ‘admirable’, than looking after children in our own homes in order to build strong marriages and strong families.

Of course, there are those who will argue that such work conditions are the exception, and that other occupations, as in the professions, are in fact ‘rewarding’ and ‘liberating’.

Well, to finish off, let’s just compare the conditions imposed in even a relatively high paying job, an accountant or solicitor for example, with the kinds of things government considers abuse in a marriage or relationship.

Strict working hours will be required, mostly nine to five. Hours worked will have to be recorded in timesheets, and reviewed by the boss or management team. Telephone calls will all be logged, and will have to be allocated to clients. Some calls will be monitored and recorded. Email and social media activities will all be monitored. Receipts for expenses incurred on work related activities will have to be submitted for approval. Lunch and coffee breaks will be time-limited. There will be regular ‘performance reviews’ to check that performance is in line with expectations, and that will include a full review of time keeping, personal use of telephones, email and social media, interpersonal interaction with other staff and clients, and so on, and so on. In other words, every single aspect of a person’s work, performance and activities will be reviewed to see whether they are making a sufficient contribution to justify their continued employment. And if the review proves negative, a warning will be followed by dismissal if the person’s performance does not show considerable improvement.

Imagine now that one spouse sought to impose such conditions on the other. Every single aspect of such ‘controlling behavior’ would be regarded as ‘abuse’ justifying police intervention, and a severe prison term, especially under Britain’s proposed new law. And that will even be the case where one spouse suspects the other of betrayal.

Imagine also an employee telling the boss that it is none of his or her business where they’ve been all morning when they should have been at work; or that it is none of the boss’s business who the employee calls, what emails they receive or send, or what they read and write on social media; or that the employee’s expenses should not be questioned; or refuse to complete timesheets on the basis that it is an unwarranted monitoring of their time.

Imagine too the consequences of an employee betraying the employee, especially if that employee happens to be a government employee with access to sensitive information.

And yet, by a staggering inversion of logic, submitting to such ‘controlling behavior’ in pursuit of a career is regarded as ‘liberating’, while anything remotely similar in marriage is considered to be ‘abuse’. And betrayal of spouse and children in marriage is considered almost a duty if someone does not feel totally satisfied, or feels that their ‘liberty’ is being even remotely inhibited.

But that is precisely the outcome sought by government and big business: a total erosion of the obligations we have towards our families and children, and absolute submission to government and big business.

Human beings have been institutionalized in the corporate image, leaving children to be groomed by government as tomorrow’s productive economic units, or more properly, economic serfs of the new financial lords of the world.

Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2014 All Rights Reserved

British Government to ‘regulate’ relationships

The British Government intends to introduce a new law of “coercive control” to make it a criminal offence for a husband, for example, to ‘monitor’ the activities of his wife if he suspects that he is being deceived.

It seems odd that a government that justifies monitoring our every movement and our every word on the basis that we ‘have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide’, should consider it worthy of criminal penalty when a husband or wife does the same.

Mostly, I expect, a husband or wife has far better justification for resorting to such measures than government.

So perhaps it would be more appropriate to apply an offence of “controlling behaviour” to government and its agencies.

The Feudalisation of Britain

Although this article addresses the feudalisation of Britain, it is a plague that infects the West as a whole.

The economic cause of this new feudalisation is that giant global corporations are running out of cheap labour in the Third World to sustain their profitability and the disproportionate remuneration packages for their executives.

At the same time, the dishonesty and incompetence of the Western financial industry has plunged Western economies into the worst recession in a century, which has left millions of unemployed and low-paid workers requiring government assistance in order to meet the basic necessities of life.

The West’s financial and corporate elite thus saw an opportunity. The unemployed in the West could be compelled to replace the loss of cheap Third World labour under threat of losing their government assistance. Governments called this scheme ‘austerity’.

A stark admission of this policy came from Britain’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, in an interview on Britain’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme, ‘How the Rich get Richer’, presented by Fraser Nelson of the Spectator magazine (17 November, 2014).

When it was explained to him that people working even 10 hours a day were unable to support themselves and their families, and were less well-off than they would be on welfare, Duncan Smith’s answer was that the Government’s welfare reforms would ensure that people would always be better off working than claiming benefits.

But since the Government does not propose to ensure that global corporations and financial institutions be compelled to pay a living wage, Duncan Smith clearly means that the already inadequate welfare support will be cut to such a level that people will be forced to work under any conditions and for any wage under threat of sanction.

The unemployed are to be harvested as a cash crop under threat of starvation and homelessness.

And while the Government relentlessly presses ahead with its feudalisation reforms, forcing many British people, the unemployed and workers alike, to resort to food banks to feed their children, and charity shops to clothe them, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer has been pre-occupied with challenging an EU directive from Brussels to cap bankers’ bonuses.

Yet, bankers’ bonuses are only possible because the Government has pumped billions of pounds into the hands of the incompetent and corrupt financial institutions that brought about this economic catastrophe in the first place. The greatest welfare cheque in history was written out to the greatest economic villains in history.

But to deflect criticism from the villains in the story, the Government, supported by a compliant media itself in the power of the new ‘economic royalists’, or beholden to the Government for its funds, set about demonising the victims by portraying them as welfare ‘scroungers’ crippling the economy, and living off ‘hard-working’ taxpayers.

This demonization of the poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed, has instilled in even otherwise decent people a sense of contempt which has conditioned them to accept that their fellow human beings ‘deserve’  to suffer indignity, abuse, and hardship at the hands of a morally ambiguous Government, and morally vacuous corporations.

But this is not the first time in recent history that free people have faced the threat of the malevolent aspirations of economic tyrants. It is, however, the first time that they have faced them without a leader of vision up to the challenge.

The last time free people faced such a challenge, the American people, at least, had a leader ready and willing to confront the menace. He was Franklin D Roosevelt.

He faced down ‘the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power.’

He condemned the ‘small group [that] had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor — other people’s lives.’

And he recognized that ‘against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government.’

But today, the organized power of government is in the service of the ‘economic dynasties’. It is imposing on its own people an economic tyranny for the benefit of ‘the privileged princes’.

Government is rendering itself the enemy of the people. And when people are forced into serfdom, then they become free to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure their own survival, and regain their dignity and freedom.

Freedom is that one thing that ‘no man gives up but with life itself.’

So it is not surprising that when Duncan Smith was asked whether the government’s policies towards the poor and oppressed might lead to revolution, he was silent.

However, the fear of revolution may just explain the extensive and intrusive surveillance programmes of Western governments. And it may also explain the multitude of ‘threats’ we are told we need to fear; some real, like Islamic terror, for which our own governments are largely responsible; others contrived, like the idea of an expansionist Russia intent on invading Europe.

As long as the people have enough to fear, then Government and the new economic royalty have less to fear – or so they hope.

Joseph BH McMillan

Philosophical Origins of the Modern Liberal Fundamentalist State – Part I

Like everything else in life, all philosophy can be reduced to simple analogy.

I shall demonstrate this by reference to those philosophers who have had the most dramatic impact on the way we think and behave today.

Jeremy Bentham (1784 – 1832)

Few people outside of academia will have heard of Bentham, never mind understand how much influence his ‘thinking’ has had on their lives.

Bentham traveled back in time to the Garden of Eden, there to dig up the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and plant in its place the tree of pleasure and pain. And it is of this tree that Adam and Eve ate, claims Bentham.

“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” Pain and pleasure, claims Bentham, determine what we ought to do, what is right and wrong, what we say, and how we behave. He acknowledges that he cannot prove this, but claims that is because “that which is used to prove everything else, cannot itself be proved.” Convenient!

So Bentham claimed that he had discovered the philosophical calculator, or what he called “felicific calculus” – happy arithmetic. Punch in the data, and out pops the answer. This is Bentham’s “principle of utility” – every action is determined by “the tendency it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question,” and that is done by adding to “the sum total of his pleasure,” and diminishing the “sum total of his pains.”

Now if Bentham were true to his thesis, even pain should be capable of producing pleasure. Some people sacrifice and endure pain because it relieves their consciences; others because they derive a kind of pleasure from starving themselves of pleasure for what they consider some higher calling, or for the benefit others may derive from their sacrifice; others will even sacrifice their own lives for the benefit of others, or simply because they cannot face another day of their high pleasure diet. In short, Bentham could simply have said that all actions are selfish.

But he couldn’t do that. If he did, his “felicific” calculator would not work: punch in 2 and up pops 4; punch in 4 and up pops 3. Suddenly we have a hall of mirrors. So Bentham simply declares that any principle which differs from his “principle of utility” must “necessarily be a wrong one.”

He identifies two wrong ones: “asceticism” and “sympathy and antipathy.” The former are religious people who court pain as a matter of “merit and duty” because of the “narrowness of their intellect,” and those who want to cleanse themselves from “the sordes of their impure original.” The latter are those who approve or disapprove of actions because of their own prejudices.

Bentham didn’t seem to recognize the irony in identifying these ‘exceptions’ to his principle. If there are people who do not always seek to maximize pleasure, and some who even court pain, then mankind cannot be under the “governance” of pleasure and pain as Bentham defines it.

But that does not deter Bentham. Instead of re-evaluating his “principle of utility,” he simply says that those who do not respect it “must always be regulated” to prevent them “doing mischief.” And they must be regulated by his “principle of utility.”

And this ‘regulation’ must be done by government: “the business of government is to promote the happiness of society, by punishing and rewarding.”

So Bentham hands government two electrodes: one to infuse pleasure; the other to inflict pain. Thus government compels everyone to be happy. Use of the electrodes is determined by the “effect” actions have on others pursuing their pleasure. Sometimes it is necessary to modify behavior by applying the pleasure electrode to infuse a “disposition” for the kind of pleasure that has a “tendency” to be less harmful to the pleasure of other, while the pain electrode should be applied to those who seriously malfunction – those who simply cannot get enough pleasure, irrespective of the “consequences” to others.

If Bentham’s analysis were purely academic, it could be almost entertaining. Unfortunately, it is the model of the modern democratic state. The right to “the pursuit of happiness” is even enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence. And Western government and society are slaves to the pursuit of pleasure – as long as it does not harm others, of course.

The ‘harm principle’ which has emerged from the “principle of utility” dictates virtually every aspect of modern life, and has defined modern ‘morality’. ‘Morality’ is a function of pleasure; everything and anything which enhances pleasure is good, as long as it does not “harm” others; and everything and anything which inhibits the indulgence of pleasure is bad. Bentham’s contempt for ‘morality’ is the staple of today’s society: “we see the emptiness of all those rhapsodies of commonplace morality, which consist in the taking of such names as lust, cruelty, and avarice, and branding them with marks of reprobation.”

Thus, for decades, we have been showered with “studies” and “research” which ‘prove’ that this or that action, or this or that indulgence, does not cause “harm”. Or “studies” which show that inhibiting certain indulgences does cause “harm” to those who want to engage in them. To put it crudely, ‘morality’ today means doing whatever gives you a kick, as long as it does not ‘hurt’ someone else.

Now on the face of it, who could object to that? The problem is that we know little, if anything, of the consequences of defining human beings as nothing more than creatures in search of pleasure. What we do know is that modern Western society is plagued by a myriad of ailments. Divorce is soaring; juvenile delinquency is out of control; crime is commonplace; drug and alcohol abuse is rampant; teenage single mothers are a dime a dozen; venereal disease is as common as the common cold; and so we could go on. Yet, we do not question whether the ‘philosophy’ of modern society may be the problem; a ‘philosophy’ which has it origins in Bentham’s “principle of utility.” Instead, we call on government to wield the electrodes more, especially the pain electrode, in the hope that government can “regulate” us out of the mess. So humans are being reduced to a species lower than Pavlov’s dogs, except government does not wield a bell to make us salivate, it wields Bentham’s electrodes.

Bentham’s claim that man is governed by pleasure and pain, and must therefore always seek to maximize pleasure, is the same thing as saying that because a car consumes fuel, its sole purpose and use is to consume as much fuel as possible. He cannot conceive that a car may have a purpose other than the consumption of fuel.

Neither can he conceive that this relentless consumption of fuel may release harmful emissions into the atmosphere which may, in the end, see the demise of the car entirely, and the destruction of the environment as we know it.

But at least in respect of carbon emissions we have started questioning the true effects; we haven’t even started questioning the true effects of the relentless pursuit of pleasure.

John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)

Bentham’s “principle of utility” has been ‘refined’ by others. Mill, for example, argued that intellectual and aesthetic pleasures should be accorded more weight than purely sensual pleasures. That’s like arguing that a car consuming high-octane fuel is preferable to a car consuming regular fuel.

Philo (20B.C. – 40A.D.)

Bentham was not original in claiming that man is governed by pleasure and pain. Philo had the pleasure advocates in his day, and predicted others, such as Bentham.

Now when I talk about Philo, I don’t mean the character played by Clint Eastwood in the film Every Which Way But Loose. I mean Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Egypt, who lived at about the same time as Christ, although there is no evidence that they ever met each other.

It is appropriate here to bring in Philo because he specifically talks about the Garden of Eden, which is where I started with Bentham.

In explaining the significance of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Philo says this about the serpent that tempted Eve. “And the serpent is said to have spoken in a human voice, because pleasure employs innumerable champions and defenders who take care to advocate its interests, and who dare to assert that the power over everything, both small and great, does of right belong to it without any exception whatever.”

Now what I find particularly interesting about Philo is his explanation about the origins of pleasure. He says that animals “pursue pleasure only in taste and in the acts of generation,” that is, for reproduction. So it was with man, he says, until he succumbed to the serpent.

Philo explains it this way. “Now, the first approaches of the male to the female have a pleasure in them which brings on other pleasures also, and it is through this pleasure that the formation and generation of children is carried on. And what is generated by [pleasure] appears to be attached to nothing rather than to it[self], since they rejoice in pleasure, and are impatient at pain, which is its contrary.”

Philo is saying that man was once exactly like an animal, reproducing to ensure the survival of the species. Generally, animals instinctively reproduce at predetermined times and even places. Man, on the other hand, can and does reproduce at any time. But most importantly, man has the ability to reflect on the reasons for reproducing, the consequences, and the obligations that attach to, and arise from, the act of reproduction. Man has the ability to weigh in the balance the instinctive drive to reproduce, and the pleasure to be derived from it, against the consequences of the act. Humans can ask themselves whether they should engage in the act with this person, or at this time of their lives. They can ask themselves whether they should engage in the act of reproduction with only one person, or should they simply satisfy their desire for the pleasure derived from the act, irrespective of the number of people involved. And it is the ability to reflect on these questions which gives rise to what we call ‘obligations’, and what we call ‘morality’.

That is the fundamental distinction between Bentham and Philo. For Bentham, mankind is simply driven on by the pursuit of pleasure like a paper bag in a hurricane.

Philo sees this enhanced perception as an opportunity for man to rise above pleasure which, he says, if pursued for no purpose other than itself, is “more miserable than death.”

Philo warns that “those who have previously become the slaves of pleasure immediately receive the wages of this miserable and incurable passion.”

It is this ability to harness pleasure, and the ability it brings to designate acts as good or bad, that defines man, and differentiates him from beasts.

So Philo would have seen that a car does have a purpose other than the consumption of fuel. He would even have noticed that the consumption of fuel for no other purpose than the consumption of fuel would cause harm to the environment. Philo had the benefit of witnessing the unrestrained pursuit of pleasure by the Romans of his day; a passion for pleasure which ultimately led to their downfall.

Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)

Kant can be summed up like this: he would have noticed that cars do not simply consume fuel for the sake of consuming fuel; sometimes they slow down, and even stop, consuming less fuel; he would have noticed that there are signs which seem to have this effect on cars, and that these signs are mostly obeyed because of fear of the police.

What Kant claimed to have discovered is a moral faculty in man. He claimed that man is conscious of a “moral law” through reason, and that the ‘impulse’ to conform to this “moral law” is not through some “intervening feeling of pleasure and pain,” or even “intuition,” but through “the concept of freedom.”

This is how Kant sums it up: “these laws are only possible in relation to freedom of the will; but freedom being supposed, they are necessary; or conversely freedom is necessary because those laws are necessary, being practical postulates. It cannot be further explained how this consciousness of the moral law, or, what is the same thing, of freedom, is possible.” Perhaps Kant should have called his book on the subject A Critique of Pure Impractical Reason.

Kant’s “moral law” can be explained like this: the “law” part = freedom = freedom to choose; the “moral” part = good and evil. So the “moral law” means we are free to choose between good and evil. Using the motor car analogy, Kant is saying that there are signs (laws) which, if obeyed, make a good driver, but that we are free to obey them or not, and face the consequences. This is what he says: “There is something so singular in the unbounded esteem for the pure moral law [the road signs], apart from all advantage, as it is presented for our obedience by practical reason [freedom], the voice of which makes even the boldest sinner tremble [the police], and compels him to hide himself from it ..”

Obeying the signs defines a “person himself as a good or evil man.”

Now Kant does not advocate renouncing pleasure altogether, but only that when “duty [to obey the moral law] is in question we should take no account of happiness.” Using the car analogy again, all Kant is saying is that consuming as much fuel as possible is good, except when we come across a sign; then we should obey the sign, even if that means we don’t consume any fuel.

And that, thought Kant, is the purpose of a car – consume as much fuel as possible, except when obeying a sign means we should slow down, or stop: a kind of Utilitarian Buddhism.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

Nietzsche believed that only one kind of car mattered: the powerful, fast and glitzy sports car. All other cars are “common” – “similar, ordinary, average, herdlike.” They are all “mediocre.” Or at least that is the general consensus.

That is Nietzsche’s “will to power.” He despaired at the trend toward universal similarity; the creation of a dull world – “this degeneration and diminution of man into the perfect herd animal … into the dwarf animal of equal rights and claims.” Nietzsche did not want a world where everyone drives around in a Trabant, scrupulously obeying the signs, terrified that they may have an accident. He hated the “imperative of herd timidity: [that] we want that some day there should be nothing more to be afraid of!”

At least Nietzsche acknowledges that he has no idea of a car’s purpose. But since we have them, he says, we might as well have the most powerful, the fastest, and the most aesthetically pleasing, not one of those ordinary cars without style, with plastic seats, chugging along on a puny diesel engine.

And Nietzsche doesn’t care about carbon emissions.

Yet Nietzsche would be the first to acknowledge that his “will to power” is only his “interpretation.” The genius of Nietzsche is his observation that everything is “interpretation, not text,” especially when it comes to philosophy. In that he agrees with the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: “[God] hath set the world in [man’s] heart, so that no man can find the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” [Eccl 3:11], and “though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it” [Eccl 8:17].

Because we cannot, or have not yet, identified a discernible purpose for mankind being on this earth, says Nietzsche, we simply make up the rules as we go along. But sooner or later someone will come along to throw all these rules out the window, and impose his own tyrannical rules. Nietzsche says this: “It is interpretation, not text; and somebody might come along who, with opposite intentions and modes of interpretation, could read out of the same ‘nature’, and with regard to the same phenomena, rather the tyrannical inconsiderate and relentless enforcement of claims of power – an interpreter who would picture the unexceptional and unconditional aspects of ‘will to power’ so vividly that almost every word, even the word ‘tyranny’ itself, would eventually seem unsuitable, or a weakening and attenuating metaphor – being too human – but he might, nevertheless, end by asserting the same about this world as you do, namely, that it has a ‘necessary’ and ‘calculable’ course, not because laws obtain in it, but because they are lacking, and every power draws its ultimate consequences at every moment. Supposing that this also is only interpretation – and you will be eager enough to make this objection? – well, so much the better.”

Nietzsche was right, of course! We’ve had Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and now the likes of Al Qaeda. And there will be more. Ironically, though, the greatest danger stems from our so-called democratic institutions. The prospect of such a tyrannical “interpreter” gives government license to wield Bentham’s electrodes with ever greater enthusiasm and urgency. So we see a proliferation of laws to “regulate” us into discarding our ‘prejudices’ so that some day we shall have “nothing more to be afraid of!” – except, perhaps, our own ‘tyrannical’ governments?

But government has to protect us, we are told, not just from the tyrannical “interpreter”, but also from our own predilection for causing ourselves harm; especially through carbon emissions. And that brings me to Albert Schweitzer.

Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965)

Before I have every ‘philosopher’ screaming at me that Schweitzer is not a philosopher, let me acknowledge that. His existential tendencies, it seems, banished him from that exclusive club.

He said this: “In this world we can discover nothing of any purposive evolution in which our actions can acquire meaning.” So he agrees with Nietzsche and the Preacher on that.

But he claims that our “will to live” comes to the rescue. “As in my own will-to-live there is a longing for wider life and for the mysterious exaltation of the will-to-live which we call pleasure, with dread of annihilation and of the mysterious depreciation of the will-to-live which we call pain; so is it also in the will-to-live all around me, whether it can express itself before me, or remains dumb.

“Ethics consists, therefore, in my experiencing the compulsion to show all will-to-live the same reverence as I do to my own. There we have given us that basic principle of the moral which is a necessity of thought. It is good to maintain and encourage life; it is bad to destroy life or obstruct it.”

This is how Schweitzer describes “reverence for life” man: “Life as such is sacred to him. He tears no leaf from a tree, plucks no flower, and takes care to crush no insect.”

So Schweitzer wants us to fill our cars with unleaded fuel, take care not to splatter insects on the windscreen, and not drive over grass.

That, for Schweitzer, is the purpose of a car because, he says, we can never discover any other purpose.

So Schweitzer, even if he isn’t a ‘philosopher’, rounds off the ‘thinking’ that influences us today – consciously or unconsciously. An inspiration for the environmentalists, the greens, and even the animal rights brigade.

Conclusion

These ‘philosophers’, together with those who have ‘refined’ and expanded on their ‘thinking’, have thus defined modern Western ‘morality’. A ‘morality’ that is an amalgam of the pursuit of pleasure tempered by the ‘harm principle’, environmentalism, banishment of prejudice (for which read – those who do not subscribe to the accepted norms of political ideology), and the quest for safety, all held together by Bentham’s electrodes.

Yet this amalgam doesn’t identify the purpose of a car – it describes dodgem cars at a fair ground. And it has created the modern Liberal Fundamentalist state!

Furthermore, it has also created modern Logo Man – Nietzsche’s herd man with a brand. Life only has meaning in proportion to the accumulation of Logo’s: more Logos, more happiness.

And since we labor under the fiction that we agree to be governed by the majority, the majority is easily manipulated, by appealing to their ‘will-to-vanity’, into believing that the pursuit of Logos is the pinnacle of civilization – and ‘studies’ prove that!

That we ‘consent’ to be governed by the majority is again, not surprisingly, another philosophical ‘waste product’.

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan 2007 All Rights Reserved

 

Humanitarian Intervention: International Law or International Vigilantism?

Although this article was originally written in response to moves by Western Governments to find ‘justification’ to overthrow the Assad government in Syria under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’, the general arguments set out in the article apply to the concept of Humanitarian Intervention in general.

The ‘doctrine (or duty, or responsibility) of Humanitarian Intervention’, as construed by Western powers, notably the United States, Britain and France, as justification for military intervention in Syria, is a most curious doctrine indeed.

An analogy in Domestic (National) Law would be this: If I take a grievance to court, and I lose my case because the court doesn’t believe my ‘evidence’, then I acquire a sort of secondary legal right to take the law into my own hands. And that right extends to me gathering a group of friends to assist me exact the ‘justice’ I believe I was denied by the court.

That is nothing more than vigilantism. It is peculiar that countries which proclaim their belief in ‘law and order’ should be advocating anarchy.

The countries most vocal in proclaiming this curious doctrine also appear to do so for slightly different reasons. The United States claims that a breach of an international treaty gives it the right. The British claim that it is a breach of humanitarian law, even though some 100,000 civilians are said to have died before they discovered that they had this ‘right’. And the French – well, who knows?

In support of this right, these countries also claim that not resorting to this kind of international vigilantism threatens their ‘national interests’. It seems that Western powers today have difficulty distinguishing between their ‘interests’, and what they are interested in. If any country has national interests at stake in Syria, it is clearly Russia, not the West.

But worse, the doctrine the West is advocating can only threaten their national interests. If the rest of the world adopted the same approach to resolving disputes where the Security Council could not agree, International Law would amount to nothing more than International Vigilantism.

So, for example, if a country sought a Security Council resolution requiring Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders, and the United States or Britain vetoed the resolution, other countries would acquire a right to attack Israel to drive it out of the occupied lands.

The same case could be made for almost every dispute between countries, of which there are many. Even if the doctrine were strictly applied to humanitarian issues, it would not be hard to invoke it in a great number of instances around the world.

If this is the kind of International Law the West considers is in its interests, then it would be considerably preferable, and much cheaper, to scrap the United Nations, and revert to the age-old practice of simply requiring a country to declare war on another country in order to give its actions, even its aggressions, some kind of legitimacy.

Should the United States, along with France and such other compliant ‘allies’ America can muster, resort to this kind of International Vigilantism, in the face of overwhelming opposition from the international community and their own people, Obama’s legacy to the world will be an ugly International Tyranny under which the weak will be subverted to the will of the strong. And International Tyranny will inevitably lead to national tyranny in Western countries as the people are told that they have to sacrifice what freedoms and privacy they have left, so that their governments can protect them from the inevitable blowback caused by imposing tyranny on the rest of the world through sheer aggression.

By Joseph BH McMillan

Copyright © Joseph BH McMillan All Rights Reserved