Part I: From Bitcoin Declaration of Sovereignty:
“Rights” are a poor substitute of liberties much like railroad tracks are poor substitutes of wings, for on wings one may soar and on his liberty one may soar, but on the railroad tracks of alleged rights one can but trudge
As with individual people, the measure of a nation is its productive output. No, it’s not its railroads of rights, its consensus on all matters of perceived import, nor equalitarianism, the measure of a nation is simply its ability to create and the freedom it provides to do so. That’s it.
Part III: From the skit Inalienable Rights in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, adnotated:
(A huge Roman amphitheatre, sparsely attended. REG, FRANCIS, STAN and JUDITH are seated in the stands. They speak conspiratorially.)
Judith: Any Anti-Imperialist group like ours must *reflect* such a divergence of interests within its power-base.i
Reg: Agreed. (General nodding.) Francis?
Francis: I think Judith’s point of view is valid here, Reg, provided the
Movement never forgets that it is the inalienable right of every man–
Stan: Or woman.ii
Francis: Or woman…to rid himself–
Stan: Or herself.
Reg: Or herself. Agreed. Thank you, brother.
Stan: Or sister.
Francis: Thank you, brother. Or sister. Where was I?
Reg: I thought you’d finished.
Francis: Oh, did I? Right.iii
Reg: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man …
Stan: Or woman.
Reg: Why don’t you shut up about women, Stan, you’re putting us off.
Stan: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
Francis: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
Stan: (pause) I want to be one.
Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on I want you all to call me Loretta.iv
Stan: It’s my right as a man.
Judith: Why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Stan: I want to have babies.v
Reg: You want to have babies?!?!?!
Stan: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But you can’t have babies.
Stan: Don’t you oppress me.
Reg: I’m not oppressing you, Stan — you haven’t got a womb. Where’s the fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?
(Stan starts crying.)
Judith: Here! I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually
have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the
Romans’, but that he can have the *right* to have babies.
Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to
have babies, brother. Sister, sorry.
Reg: (pissed) What’s the *point*?
Reg: What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he
can’t have babies?
Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
Reg: It’s symbolic of his struggle against reality.
___ ___ ___
- This is precisely how all populist pretenders to the throne start out, intending to consider all the various and sundry woes of “the little man.” This is seen to be very noble, very high-minded, and very “progressive” despite the fact that whether we’re talking Rome ca 300 AD, Moscow ca 1920 AD, or Washington ca 1970, this promotion of “diversity” and “inclusion” * at the expense of vision and sanity is a hallmark of decline and a portent to totalitarianism.
There’s no getting away from the fact that large groups of people are bat shit insane, and averaging out dumpster leftovers in the hopes that something edible will emerge makes about as much sense as trying to make the earth perfectly spherical so that we don’t “inefficiently waste” so much energy walking up and down hills all the time.
And as much as a spherical earth would atrophy our muscles and put us all in wheelchairs, so too do our minds suffer from the Procrustean bed of populism.
*The reader will observe that tolerance, particularly as practised by the 1st and 2nd century AD Roman magistrates, is an altogether different affair. From Edward Gibbon:
In their writings and conversation, the philosophers of antiquity asserted the independent dignity of reason; but they resigned their actions to the commands of law and of custom. Viewing, with a a smile of pity and indulgence, the various errors of the vulgar, they diligently practised the ceremonies of their fathers, devoutly frequented the temples of the gods; and sometimes condescending to act a part on the theatre of superstition, they concealed the sentiments of an Atheist under the sacerdotal robes. Reasoners of such a temper were scarcely inclined to wrangle about their respective modes of faith, or of worship. It was indifferent to them what shape the folly of the multitude might choose to assume; and they approached, with the same inward contempt, and the same external reverence, the altars of the Libyan, the Olympian, or the Capitoline Jupiter.
It is not easy to conceive from what motives a spirit of persecution could introduce itself into the Roman councils. The magistrates could not be actuated by a blind, though honest bigotry, since the magistrates were themselves philosophers; and the schools of Athens had given laws to the senate. They could not be impelled by ambition or avarice, as the temporal and ecclesiastical powers were united in the same hands. The pontiffs were chosen among the most illustrious of the senators; and the office of the Supreme Pontiff was constantly exercised by the emperors themselves. They knew and valued the advantages of religion, as it is connected with civil government. They encouraged the public festivals which humanise the manners of the people. They managed the arts of divination, as a convenient instrument of policy; and they respected the firmest bond of society, the useful persuasion that, either in this or in a future line, the crime of perjury is most assuredly punished by the avenging gods.
- Or woman! See An uncivilised breath of fresh air, footnote vi for more on this point and why it does more harm than good. [↩]
- How easy it is to lose track of your place during a responsive reading in synagogue when the rabbi and congregation insist on swapping out “Lord” and “Father” for “Adonai” and “Hashem.” Because it’s not important that anything makes sense, so long as everything’s fair!” [↩]
- Hell, why even “Loretta?” Why not something even more generic and less incriminating like beta/sigma/zeta? [↩]
- If you can’t build a business, or even climb the career ladder, how else are you supposed to bring life into this world, and thus, provide meaning to your own existence? It’s little wonder that men incapable of personal success advocate for equality in all its forms, giving them at least some hope of socially justifying their ineptitude.
Of course, once even a few indiscriminate and unstriving men tip the scales in that direction, socialist policies like welfare, universal health care, and lots and lots of schooling are close behind. From there, it’s just a quick jaunt down to the Soviet-style National Cheese Emporium! [↩]