Sunday, August 29, 2010

PJM Article: The Fragility of Statist Societies

Another of my articles has been published at Pajamas Media: The Fragility of Statist Societies.

Here's an excerpt:
"The ultimate justification for a free society rests on moral principles. Individuals have inherent rights — to life, liberty, and property — that governments are always wrong to violate, no matter the (temporary) benefits to others. But even on their own terms, the pragmatists who argue that coercion works are mistaken."
Your comments are invited, here and there.


Brett_McS said...

An excellent article, which made me want to see your blog.

I thought you may have confounded the unrest of the Tea Parties with the unrest which arises naturally out of statist societies. They are two very different kinds of unrest.

Jeff Perren said...

Thanks, Brett, and welcome to Shaving Leviathan. Maybe you could expand your thought.

I see the actions - and the attitudes - of those involved with the various Tea Parties as very much a reaction to the growing statism of the past two years, with an incubation period of the past 40. In fact, that seems to me plainly obvious.

But maybe I wrote unclearly in the article. I grant you, though, that there are many other areas and types of unrest that naturally arise in statist societies.

In what way to do you see them as significantly different, or that I erred?


Brett_McS said...

As you describe very well, the unrest seen in countries such as Greece arises from the zero sum economics of statism. It's an antagonism of one citizen against the other - two dogs with one bone.

However, the Tea Party people seem to be very strongly in the positive sum camp of free exchange. They just want to be left alone, they are not looking to steal something from their neighbor.

Jeff Perren said...

Ah, yes, thanks for clarifying, because I agree with you completely - not only about the differences between Greece and Tea Party protests but the underlying motivations.

I regret if I wrote in such a way to suggest I thought they were in any way the same.

I was only making the point I made in my prior comment, that statism leads to social unrest. But, of course, you're right that the motives in the two different circumstances are quite opposite.

Jim Hlavac said...

Mr. Perren, we've talked about gay rights before, even gay existence -- and it's this sort of post of yours on Inherent rights, which most strongly points to gay rights too - life, liberty and property, and the pursuit of happiness, and individualism, and the government should neither hinder or promote beyond equal laws for everyone.

Gay people are productive members of society, by the millions, and regardless of what this or that religion or group of people think, they should have no right to use the government to penalize gay people, or prohibit the exercise of the same rights such persons might exercise. Sure, gay people have come a long way, but still, there's a little further to go. Proposition 8 is not it, neither is Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DOMA, or the panoply of laws which still exist limiting to some degree or another gay American's inherent right to join in the society of which we are an integral part.

No gay person knows why we're gay, but we are. No explanation ever pushed by a heterosexual of any stripe explains what we feel. And there is no such thing as a spokesperson or leader of gay people. We have no MLK, or Lincoln, or Beck or Palin, nor even Obama, nor anyone. And what some socialist gays say should not be extruded to the vast majority of patriotic, tax paying, family honoring, traditional American values adhering gay people who are as deeply afraid for the future of this nation as the vast majority of straight Americans now are.

I heard a lot of Values at the Beck rally, and I know that gays are not excluded -- so long as it's "don't ask, don't tell," writ large. But I wonder if we're included. Which is different.

That's all gay Americans ask the rest of you to think about.

Jeff Perren said...


It's a bit late so I won't say much just now, but is there something - anything at all - in the content of my article, or anything else I've ever written - that causes you to believe I disagree with a word you've said here?

I really don't care - you can believe this or not, but it's true - if a person is homosexual, Lebanese, Chinese, fat, female, or over 80, they all have exactly the same rights in my book.

I won't insult you with the line "some of my good friends are gay" but I spent years in the theater and had the same attitude then. I just don't give a damn about any of that stuff.

What I do care about is a person's character, his or her values and beliefs... in short, the panoply of things within his choice and whether those choices are pro-human or anti-human.

I have absolutely zero interest in "including gays" or "excluding gays." I don't think in terms of identity politics, groups, or collectives and never have.

Are you of the impression somehow that I am a conservative? Or, even sillier, a Christian?

If you've got a grudge - and I don't say you wouldn't be justified - it can't possibly be with me.

And, just for the record I'm neither a fan nor detractor of Glenn Beck - I've never seen his show, nor listened to his radio program. I might have read all of one article he's published.

Also, finally, are you not aware that I'm an atheist (and have been since before my teens)?

By the way, I appreciate the respect suggested by using my family name, but please call me Jeff.

Jim Hlavac said...

Actually, you are quite reasonable on gay people. My comment was not against you, or corrective, or anything like that; sorry for that impression.
The point I was making is that gay Americans can be a part of restoring traditional American values which the statists are trying to steal or destroy, and I was just trying to include us in this revival, from which I fear that some might try to exclude us. Which was apparent from lots of other websites in the past few days since the Beck Honor Rally in DC. The rhetoric that gays are anti-family is all around, (and I'll admit I read more into some things than I should.) And, to say that gay people should not ever go for the statist mentality, for it's more inimical to us than liberty-minded people, atheist or religious. And of late I've been promoting sites like yours to my gay friends, which is an eye-opener for them, for they are often assuming they're Obama-socialists, and then they discover they are anything but that.
Sorry for any wrong impressions, but for some reason the post spurred a thought and I blurted it out; I should have been more judicious in my words.

Jeff Perren said...

Thanks, Jim. Here's the second part of what I thought last night:

Just to be utterly clear, for what it's worth, I find the idea that anyone would dislike or disapprove of someone solely or even chiefly because they were gay, black, fat, female, over 80, Chinese, Jewish, Caucasian, asthmatic, legless, blind, deaf... simply revolting and ridiculous.

That's true even though, whenever some Progressive gets on his identity politics high-horse, I become completely aloof, when I'm not downright scornful. Some group's suffering, as such, usually means nothing whatever to me. When a particular individual suffers unjustly, then I am a lion in his defense.

That sort of collectivist non-thinking is a major root of everything from which our society suffers.

Thank you for continuing to read, think, and comment.