Discussion:
WI: No Italian Mafia
(too old to reply)
jerry kraus
2017-05-08 13:03:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its collateral descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history. How does this change things:

1. In Italy and Europe?

2. In the United States?

Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their implications for European History.
Dean
2017-05-08 17:48:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
2. In the United States?
Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their implications for European History.
No Sopranos on HBO.
jerry kraus
2017-05-08 18:13:44 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dean
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
2. In the United States?
Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their implications for European History.
No Sopranos on HBO.
So true, so true, Dean. I think, though, I may be suggesting a somewhat greater historical role for this somewhat infamous organization. Specifically, fighting against oppressive and arbitrary power. Is it at all possible, that that's why governments hate the Mafia so very much? They represent a kind of alternative government that can be just as mean and tough as the actual, official one? And, sometimes, force a redistribution of wealth and power not entirely to the liking of those at the top?

Personally, I suspect we'll never get decent wages again in the U.S., until the Mafia makes it clear to the rich that, otherwise, they seriously risk being, quite literally, sawn in half. It was this "moral deterrent" that formed the basis of Union power in the U.S. in the mid-twentieth century, I believe.
Ned Latham
2017-05-08 22:01:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dean
Post by jerry kraus
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its
collateral descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history.
1. In Italy and Europe?
2. In the United States?
Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with
Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were
largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the
Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their
implications for European History.
No Sopranos on HBO.
So true, so true, Dean. I think, though, I may be suggesting a
somewhat greater historical role for this somewhat infamous
organization. Specifically, fighting against oppressive and
arbitrary power.i
I think that if you look into Mafia otigins, you'll find that it
was formed for that very reason and purpose.

----snip----
The Horny Goat
2017-05-09 00:04:35 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 08 May 2017 17:01:32 -0500, Ned Latham
Post by Ned Latham
So true, so true, Dean. I think, though, I may be suggesting a
somewhat greater historical role for this somewhat infamous
organization. Specifically, fighting against oppressive and
arbitrary power.i
I think that if you look into Mafia otigins, you'll find that it
was formed for that very reason and purpose.
You must not forget their role as pathfinders during the 1943 invasion
of Sicily - there were all sorts of deals made between NYC Mafiosi and
the US Army. Wink wink nudge nudge if you know what I mean.
jerry kraus
2017-05-09 13:06:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by The Horny Goat
On Mon, 08 May 2017 17:01:32 -0500, Ned Latham
Post by Ned Latham
So true, so true, Dean. I think, though, I may be suggesting a
somewhat greater historical role for this somewhat infamous
organization. Specifically, fighting against oppressive and
arbitrary power.i
I think that if you look into Mafia otigins, you'll find that it
was formed for that very reason and purpose.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by The Horny Goat
You must not forget their role as pathfinders during the 1943 invasion
of Sicily - there were all sorts of deals made between NYC Mafiosi and
the US Army. Wink wink nudge nudge if you know what I mean.
I think, Horny, this plays into my notion of the "constructive" role of the Cosa Nostra in American society, something the government likes to downplay. After all, the government really doesn't like direct competition, do they? And, direct competition is exactly what the government gets from really well organized "crime". And, after all, what is any government, at all, if not really well organized crime?
Dimensional Traveler
2017-05-08 19:37:30 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dean
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
2. In the United States?
Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their implications for European History.
No Sopranos on HBO.
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming expertise on
the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I understand the Mafia is
pretty much the linear descendant of the Empire at least in organization.
--
"That's my secret, Captain: I'm always angry."
jerry kraus
2017-05-08 20:04:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dimensional Traveler
Post by Dean
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
2. In the United States?
Bear in mind, John Kennedy was barely elected President with Cosa Nostra assistance, and the American Labor Unions were largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra. Also, consider the Sicilian Vespers and other Mafia activities, and their implications for European History.
No Sopranos on HBO.
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming expertise on
the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I understand the Mafia is
pretty much the linear descendant of the Empire at least in organization.
--
"That's my secret, Captain: I'm always angry."
Interesting, Dim, I've never heard that before, actually. My understanding was that the Mafia was a direct response to repeated foreign invasion and oppression in Sicily in the Middle Ages, and was a more or less spontaneous organization of the citizenry to violently oppose same. So, no particular connection to the Roman Empire, as far as I can tell. Over time, this organized violent opposition to foreign oppression became traditional, and represented a kind of anti-government, sub-government in Sicily and Naples.

I suppose more stability and better government and defense in Sicily might eliminate the development of the Italian Mafia. Presumably that could have occurred in a variety of ways, such as more unified government in Italy, or in Europe as a whole.
Ned Latham
2017-05-08 22:08:38 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Dimensional Traveler
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming expertise on
the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I understand the Mafia is
pretty much the linear descendant of the Empire at least in organization.
Interesting, Dim, I've never heard that before, actually.
Nor I.
Post by jerry kraus
My understanding was that the Mafia was a direct response to repeated
foreign invasion and oppression in Sicily in the Middle Ages, and was
a more or less spontaneous organization of the citizenry to violently
oppose same.
I see you know more than I assumed. You might as well ignore my earlier
post.

----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
I suppose more stability and better government and defense in Sicily
might eliminate the development of the Italian Mafia.
I think so.
Post by jerry kraus
Presumably that could have occurred in a variety of ways, such as
more unified government in Italy, or in Europe as a whole.
Ned
jerry kraus
2017-05-11 13:15:45 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Dimensional Traveler
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming expertise on
the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I understand the Mafia is
pretty much the linear descendant of the Empire at least in organization.
Interesting, Dim, I've never heard that before, actually.
Nor I.
Post by jerry kraus
My understanding was that the Mafia was a direct response to repeated
foreign invasion and oppression in Sicily in the Middle Ages, and was
a more or less spontaneous organization of the citizenry to violently
oppose same.
I see you know more than I assumed. You might as well ignore my earlier
post.
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
I suppose more stability and better government and defense in Sicily
might eliminate the development of the Italian Mafia.
I think so.
Post by jerry kraus
Presumably that could have occurred in a variety of ways, such as
more unified government in Italy, or in Europe as a whole.
Ned
You know, Ned, what I find interesting is that, despite the fact that no one disputes that the historical purpose of the Mafia was to defend Sicilians against oppression and exploitation, none of the posters other than myself seem to be willing to acknowledge that this function was transferable to the United States. Or, that it still applies to some degree in Italy, itself.

This is very curious. Of course, the oppressors will never acknowledge that they are oppressing anyone. They are just "enforcing the law". Their law, of course! And, no doubt, even in their presumed role as defenders of native Sicilians, the Mafia exhibited, at times, the same brutality, exploitation and control of their "people", as the Mafia currently do with their own. Indeed, currently, the Mafia is depicted as pure evil by much of the Italian government, while having great respect, particularly in the South of Italy, and works hand in glove with the Vatican simultaneously with the Pope denouncing them!

I think what we're dealing with, here, is simply the fact that human nature, and human behavior, are always selfish, and usually not very pleasant, at all. So, it's possible to both be defender, and exploiter, good, and bad, almost precisely at the same time. The real advantage of alternative governments is simply that -- additional options. They aren't perfect options, none are, but, they may be useful, and probably will be, at times, anyway.

The media's portrayal of the American Cosa Nostra is indicative of this. It tends to be highly ambivalent. They are vicious, at times, but "very human". We can relate to them. We can use them. It's only in the government circles that directly compete with them for power, that they are thoroughly detested. No surprise there, is there.

Of course, we can say that the Mafia does "bad things". Drugs, Prostitution, Gambling. So much worse than our great, American national institutions -- The Pharmaceutical Industry, The Marriage Business, and The Stock Market!!??!! As I say, they're just an alternative government that works like any other government -- money, brutality, control, exploitation.
Ned Latham
2017-05-13 11:23:27 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Dimensional Traveler
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming
expertise on the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I
understand the Mafia is pretty much the linear descendant
of the Empire at least in organization.
Interesting, Dim, I've never heard that before, actually.
Nor I.
Post by jerry kraus
My understanding was that the Mafia was a direct response to repeated
foreign invasion and oppression in Sicily in the Middle Ages, and was
a more or less spontaneous organization of the citizenry to violently
oppose same.
I see you know more than I assumed. You might as well ignore my earlier
post.
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
I suppose more stability and better government and defense in Sicily
might eliminate the development of the Italian Mafia.
I think so.
Post by jerry kraus
Presumably that could have occurred in a variety of ways, such as
more unified government in Italy, or in Europe as a whole.
You know, Ned, what I find interesting is that, despite the fact that
no one disputes that the historical purpose of the Mafia was to defend
Sicilians against oppression and exploitation, none of the posters
other than myself seem to be willing to acknowledge that this function
was transferable to the United States. Or, that it still applies to
some degree in Italy, itself.
True. We all tend to believe the obes who use the mass media most.
Post by jerry kraus
This is very curious. Of course, the oppressors will never acknowledge
that they are oppressing anyone. They are just "enforcing the law".
Their law, of course! And, no doubt, even in their presumed role as
defenders of native Sicilians, the Mafia exhibited, at times, the same
brutality, exploitation and control of their "people", as the Mafia
currently do with their own.
And the States do with *their* owm.
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed, currently, the Mafia is depicted as pure evil by much of the
Italian government, while having great respect, particularly in the
South of Italy, and works hand in glove with the Vatican simultaneously
with the Pope denouncing them!
Yes. Well, Christianity is rooted in terrorism too. Cooperated quite
profitably with the Axis powers in WW II, too.
Post by jerry kraus
I think what we're dealing with, here, is simply the fact that human
nature, and human behavior, are always selfish, and usually not very
pleasant, at all.
Yep.
Post by jerry kraus
So, it's possible to both be defender, and exploiter, good, and bad,
almost precisely at the same time. The real advantage of alternative
governments is simply that -- additional options.
ISTM that the gangsters reduced people's options in the USA.
Post by jerry kraus
They aren't perfect options, none are, but, they may be useful, and
probably will be, at times, anyway.
The media's portrayal of the American Cosa Nostra is indicative of
this. It tends to be highly ambivalent. They are vicious, at times,
but "very human". We can relate to them. We can use them. It's only
in the government circles that directly compete with them for power,
that they are thoroughly detested. No surprise there, is there.
Of course, we can say that the Mafia does "bad things". Drugs,
Prostitution, Gambling. So much worse than our great, American
national institutions -- The Pharmaceutical Industry, The Marriage
Business,
The baby business...
Post by jerry kraus
and The Stock Market!!??!! As I say, they're just an alternative
government that works like any other government -- money, brutality,
control, exploitation.
It's their failure to abstain from the exploitative behaviours of
the establishment that condemns them. If the godfather's no better
than the president, why support him?

Ned
jerry kraus
2017-05-15 13:08:49 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Dimensional Traveler
When and how are you removing the Mafia? I'm not claiming
expertise on the Mafia or the Roman Empire but from what I
understand the Mafia is pretty much the linear descendant
of the Empire at least in organization.
Interesting, Dim, I've never heard that before, actually.
Nor I.
Post by jerry kraus
My understanding was that the Mafia was a direct response to repeated
foreign invasion and oppression in Sicily in the Middle Ages, and was
a more or less spontaneous organization of the citizenry to violently
oppose same.
I see you know more than I assumed. You might as well ignore my earlier
post.
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
I suppose more stability and better government and defense in Sicily
might eliminate the development of the Italian Mafia.
I think so.
Post by jerry kraus
Presumably that could have occurred in a variety of ways, such as
more unified government in Italy, or in Europe as a whole.
You know, Ned, what I find interesting is that, despite the fact that
no one disputes that the historical purpose of the Mafia was to defend
Sicilians against oppression and exploitation, none of the posters
other than myself seem to be willing to acknowledge that this function
was transferable to the United States. Or, that it still applies to
some degree in Italy, itself.
True. We all tend to believe the obes who use the mass media most.
Post by jerry kraus
This is very curious. Of course, the oppressors will never acknowledge
that they are oppressing anyone. They are just "enforcing the law".
Their law, of course! And, no doubt, even in their presumed role as
defenders of native Sicilians, the Mafia exhibited, at times, the same
brutality, exploitation and control of their "people", as the Mafia
currently do with their own.
And the States do with *their* owm.
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed, currently, the Mafia is depicted as pure evil by much of the
Italian government, while having great respect, particularly in the
South of Italy, and works hand in glove with the Vatican simultaneously
with the Pope denouncing them!
Yes. Well, Christianity is rooted in terrorism too. Cooperated quite
profitably with the Axis powers in WW II, too.
Post by jerry kraus
I think what we're dealing with, here, is simply the fact that human
nature, and human behavior, are always selfish, and usually not very
pleasant, at all.
Yep.
Post by jerry kraus
So, it's possible to both be defender, and exploiter, good, and bad,
almost precisely at the same time. The real advantage of alternative
governments is simply that -- additional options.
ISTM that the gangsters reduced people's options in the USA.
Post by jerry kraus
They aren't perfect options, none are, but, they may be useful, and
probably will be, at times, anyway.
The media's portrayal of the American Cosa Nostra is indicative of
this. It tends to be highly ambivalent. They are vicious, at times,
but "very human". We can relate to them. We can use them. It's only
in the government circles that directly compete with them for power,
that they are thoroughly detested. No surprise there, is there.
Of course, we can say that the Mafia does "bad things". Drugs,
Prostitution, Gambling. So much worse than our great, American
national institutions -- The Pharmaceutical Industry, The Marriage
Business,
The baby business...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
and The Stock Market!!??!! As I say, they're just an alternative
government that works like any other government -- money, brutality,
control, exploitation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
It's their failure to abstain from the exploitative behaviours of
the establishment that condemns them. If the godfather's no better
than the president, why support him?
Indeed. On the other hand, why not support him? To some extent, what the Mafia really represents is local government, rather than national government, and, at least in the U.S., that's often been considered to be preferable. Equally brutal and exploitive, but, more in touch with local needs and issues.

And, in any case, what's the alternative? Who are the "good guys". Robin Hood didn't give most of what he took from the rich to the poor, he kept the vast majority of it for himself and his gang, according to the Robin Hood stories themselves. His power stemmed from the superior fighting skill of his gang, and both local authority and the local population deferred to him because of it. Who are the "good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Post by Ned Latham
Ned
The Horny Goat
2017-05-15 16:43:02 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Mon, 15 May 2017 06:08:49 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed. On the other hand, why not support him? To some extent, what the Mafia really represents is local government, rather than national government, and, at least in the U.S., that's often been considered to be preferable. Equally brutal and exploitive, but, more in touch with local needs and issues.
And, in any case, what's the alternative? Who are the "good guys". Robin Hood didn't give most of what he took from the rich to the poor, he kept the vast majority of it for himself and his gang, according to the Robin Hood stories themselves. His power stemmed from the superior fighting skill of his gang, and both local authority and the local population deferred to him because of it. Who are the "good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
I heard almost identical arguments from a cabbie we took a tour with
in West Belfast last June.

West Belfast is of course the home of both the Falls Road and the
Shankill Road and it was clear from the first minute that he was a
strong Republican and from his tattoos had almost certainly done
prison time for his IRA activities.

He said a lot of released prisoners were now driving cab as it was a
career easily gotten into especially in view of the fact that most
ex-bombers had a very good geographical knowledge of their city.

He said that the IRA maintained order in the wilder areas of west
Belfast and that contrary to their reputation "kneecapping" was
generally used not against political rivals but those engaged in
sordid acts like child molestation. That a terrorist (he didn't call
them that!) might end up dead but probably wouldn't be crippled and
that collections from pubs were a big part of their cashflow.

Which is pretty much the argument you're making.
jerry kraus
2017-05-15 18:33:53 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by The Horny Goat
On Mon, 15 May 2017 06:08:49 -0700 (PDT), jerry kraus
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed. On the other hand, why not support him? To some extent, what the Mafia really represents is local government, rather than national government, and, at least in the U.S., that's often been considered to be preferable. Equally brutal and exploitive, but, more in touch with local needs and issues.
And, in any case, what's the alternative? Who are the "good guys". Robin Hood didn't give most of what he took from the rich to the poor, he kept the vast majority of it for himself and his gang, according to the Robin Hood stories themselves. His power stemmed from the superior fighting skill of his gang, and both local authority and the local population deferred to him because of it. Who are the "good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
I heard almost identical arguments from a cabbie we took a tour with
in West Belfast last June.
West Belfast is of course the home of both the Falls Road and the
Shankill Road and it was clear from the first minute that he was a
strong Republican and from his tattoos had almost certainly done
prison time for his IRA activities.
He said a lot of released prisoners were now driving cab as it was a
career easily gotten into especially in view of the fact that most
ex-bombers had a very good geographical knowledge of their city.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by The Horny Goat
He said that the IRA maintained order in the wilder areas of west
Belfast and that contrary to their reputation "kneecapping" was
generally used not against political rivals but those engaged in
sordid acts like child molestation. That a terrorist (he didn't call
them that!) might end up dead but probably wouldn't be crippled and
that collections from pubs were a big part of their cashflow.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by The Horny Goat
Which is pretty much the argument you're making.
Frankly, Horny, by this stage, I'm really not quite clear what the difference is between established military forces of national states and "terrorists". They both use violence to achieve their ends, the their ends are always deeply intertwined with self-interest. Indeed, as we saw in the early years of the State of Israel, the Jewish "terrorists" were remarkably quickly transformed into a "noble fighting force" by the British government, between 1948 and 1956! It's particularly instructive to read a "great historian" like Arnold Toynbee rail at the Jewish settlers in Palestine in the immediate post-WWII period with a near Josef Goebbels like antisemitic intensity in his "A study of History", and, then, in the next volume in the series, in the mid-1950's, describe the Jewish people as being very nearly the rivals of of Classical Greece for their nobility and cultural significance!!! I don't think many people have commented on this rather gross inconsistency in the series. I guess they're just being tactful!

Like I say, violence looks very differently depending on whether it's defending your interests, or supporting them.
Ned Latham
2017-05-15 17:02:53 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Of course, we can say that the Mafia does "bad things". Drugs,
Prostitution, Gambling. So much worse than our great, American
national institutions -- The Pharmaceutical Industry, The Marriage
Business,
The baby business...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
and The Stock Market!!??!! As I say, they're just an alternative
government that works like any other government -- money, brutality,
control, exploitation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
It's their failure to abstain from the exploitative behaviours of
the establishment that condemns them. If the godfather's no better
than the president, why support him?
Indeed. On the other hand, why not support him?
Because in the long run, he will either go down or join the
establishment. Las Vegas was a mob town in Bugsy Siegels's day.
Post by jerry kraus
To some extent, what the Mafia really represents is local government,
rather than national government, and, at least in the U.S., that's
often been considered to be preferable. Equally brutal and exploitive,
but, more in touch with local needs and issues.
And, in any case, what's the alternative? Who are the "good guys".
Oh, I agree with you: there are none.
Post by jerry kraus
Robin Hood didn't give most of what he took from the rich to the poor,
he kept the vast majority of it for himself and his gang, according
to the Robin Hood stories themselves.
I don't see Tobin Hiid as a food example gere, partly because of the
muthiv element and partly because there is no story (AFAIK) that has
him harming or threatening poor people.
Post by jerry kraus
His power stemmed from the
superior fighting skill of his gang, and both local authority and
the local population deferred to him because of it.
Actually, I don't think that even the myths support that notion.
The stories seem to indicate that Robin Hood chose his battles
wisely. The standard image is that he stole from the rich and
gave to the poor, but I've seen no story that has him fighting
to protect a village (say) from the exactions of established
power.
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?

Ned
jerry kraus
2017-05-16 13:23:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Of course, we can say that the Mafia does "bad things". Drugs,
Prostitution, Gambling. So much worse than our great, American
national institutions -- The Pharmaceutical Industry, The Marriage
Business,
The baby business...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
and The Stock Market!!??!! As I say, they're just an alternative
government that works like any other government -- money, brutality,
control, exploitation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
It's their failure to abstain from the exploitative behaviours of
the establishment that condemns them. If the godfather's no better
than the president, why support him?
Indeed. On the other hand, why not support him?
Because in the long run, he will either go down or join the
establishment. Las Vegas was a mob town in Bugsy Siegels's day.
Post by jerry kraus
To some extent, what the Mafia really represents is local government,
rather than national government, and, at least in the U.S., that's
often been considered to be preferable. Equally brutal and exploitive,
but, more in touch with local needs and issues.
And, in any case, what's the alternative? Who are the "good guys".
Oh, I agree with you: there are none.
Post by jerry kraus
Robin Hood didn't give most of what he took from the rich to the poor,
he kept the vast majority of it for himself and his gang, according
to the Robin Hood stories themselves.
I don't see Tobin Hiid as a food example gere, partly because of the
muthiv element and partly because there is no story (AFAIK) that has
him harming or threatening poor people.
Post by jerry kraus
His power stemmed from the
superior fighting skill of his gang, and both local authority and
the local population deferred to him because of it.
Actually, I don't think that even the myths support that notion.
The stories seem to indicate that Robin Hood chose his battles
wisely. The standard image is that he stole from the rich and
gave to the poor, but I've seen no story that has him fighting
to protect a village (say) from the exactions of established
power.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about? What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human government?

Then again, given the title, and the book's implications, it's quite clear Hobbes' conception of "good" government isn't particularly good, at all. It's clearly, merely, a necessary evil to prevent human beings from destroying themselves, completely. Is there any way of getting beyond Hobbes' conception, to one of government as, in the idealized American sense, a vehicle for promoting human freedom and development? While Libertarians speak in glowing terms of such a concept, they're rather short on details, aren't they? Indeed, Marxism, is, in principle I believe, intended to promote human liberty and development, but, it doesn't seem to usually work very well at all, does it?
Post by Ned Latham
Ned
Ned Latham
2017-05-16 16:00:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----sbip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about?
Don't know; I've bever read it.

< What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the
Post by jerry kraus
entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles
of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human
government?
Damn you, Jerry. Now I have to read a book. Some nasty thing with
words in it, no doubt. Erk.
Post by jerry kraus
Then again, given the title, and the book's implications, it's
quite clear Hobbes' conception of "good" government isn't
particularly good, at all. It's clearly, merely, a necessary
evil to prevent human beings from destroying themselves, completely.
That's a very pessimistic view. I see it as necessary for improving
the human condition and the human prospect, but mot as inherently
evil.
Post by jerry kraus
Is there any way of getting beyond Hobbes' conception, to one of
government as, in the idealized American sense, a vehicle for
promoting human freedom and development?
There is an element of that in my approach. My main thesis is that
in over 5000 years of civilisation, pretty much the only thing we've
learnt about governance is how to keep the current estavlishmen in
power, whereas we should be looking at ways keep the Law in tune
with our nature and our mores, and at ways to use our abilities
to improve the quality of human life in as many ways as we can
think of.
Post by jerry kraus
While Libertarians speak
in glowing terms of such a concept, they're rather short on details,
aren't they?
Libertarianism, to me, has always suffered from a lack of imagination.
ISTM that Libertarians alway think in terms of current political forms
and individual policies, never about developing systems that function
without the corruptions and injustices that past and present systems
always entail (and on that, I think I see something of where Hobbes
might be coming from).
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed, Marxism, is, in principle I believe, intended
to promote human liberty and development, but, it doesn't seem to
usually work very well at all, does it?
IMO, that's in part because it doesn't address the issues of human
nature with sufficient rigour, and partly because it's very easy for
its proponents to pervert it. Indeed, they *are* always arguing about
it, arent they? Their various "interpretations" of it, I mean.

I've so far defined three areas for radical reformation, and I've
outlined some of the reformations necessary, but I still haven't
worked out whether the three areas I've defined are sufficient,
or whether the reformations I'm working on are sufficient. I have
pretty much concluded that "good governemnt" is unachieveable
without democracy[1], and that whatever the final picture is,
I must formulate it so that it's unpervertable.

That, I think, will be the nost diffucult aspect of the job.

Ned

[1] By "democracy" I mean a genuine, but constrained democratic
form: it has to give the people real power over the laws that
affect their lives, and it has to be incapable of degenerating
into mob rule.
jerry kraus
2017-05-16 18:23:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
----sbip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about?
Don't know; I've bever read it.
Here it is, Ned, it its entirely, all online, just for you.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
Post by Ned Latham
< What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the
Post by jerry kraus
entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles
of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human
government?
Damn you, Jerry. Now I have to read a book. Some nasty thing with
words in it, no doubt. Erk.
Ned, I'm going to save you some time here, by simply copying what I see as the "kernel" of the book, in terms of the modern reader.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120

CHAPTER XIV. OF THE FIRST AND SECOND NATURALL LAWES, AND OF CONTRACTS





Right Of Nature What

The RIGHT OF NATURE, which Writers commonly call Jus Naturale, is the Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life; and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and Reason, hee shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.




Liberty What

By LIBERTY, is understood, according to the proper signification of the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which Impediments, may oft take away part of a mans power to do what hee would; but cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his judgement, and reason shall dictate to him.




A Law Of Nature What

A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved. For though they that speak of this subject, use to confound Jus, and Lex, Right and Law; yet they ought to be distinguished; because RIGHT, consisteth in liberty to do, or to forbeare; Whereas LAW, determineth, and bindeth to one of them: so that Law, and Right, differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty; which in one and the same matter are inconsistent.




Naturally Every Man Has Right To Everything

And because the condition of Man, (as hath been declared in the precedent Chapter) is a condition of Warre of every one against every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason; and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth, that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing; even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this naturall Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live.




The Fundamental Law Of Nature

And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason, "That every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre." The first branch, of which Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is, "To seek Peace, and follow it." The Second, the summe of the Right of Nature; which is, "By all means we can, to defend our selves."




The Second Law Of Nature

From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; "That a man be willing, when others are so too, as farre-forth, as for Peace, and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe." For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre. But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he; then there is no Reason for any one, to devest himselfe of his: For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law of the Gospell; "Whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them." And that Law of all men, "Quod tibi feiri non vis, alteri ne feceris."




What it is to lay down a Right

To Lay Downe a mans Right to any thing, is to Devest himselfe of the Liberty, of hindring another of the benefit of his own Right to the same. For he that renounceth, or passeth away his Right, giveth not to any other man a Right which he had not before; because there is nothing to which every man had not Right by Nature: but onely standeth out of his way, that he may enjoy his own originall Right, without hindrance from him; not without hindrance from another. So that the effect which redoundeth to one man, by another mans defect of Right, is but so much diminution of impediments to the use of his own Right originall.




Renouncing (or) Transferring Right What; Obligation Duty Justice

Right is layd aside, either by simply Renouncing it; or by Transferring it to another. By Simply RENOUNCING; when he cares not to whom the benefit thereof redoundeth. By TRANSFERRING; when he intendeth the benefit thereof to some certain person, or persons. And when a man hath in either manner abandoned, or granted away his Right; then is he said to be OBLIGED, or BOUND, not to hinder those, to whom such Right is granted, or abandoned, from the benefit of it: and that he Ought, and it his DUTY, not to make voyd that voluntary act of his own: and that such hindrance is INJUSTICE, and INJURY, as being Sine Jure; the Right being before renounced, or transferred. So that Injury, or Injustice, in the controversies of the world, is somewhat like to that, which in the disputations of Scholers is called Absurdity. For as it is there called an Absurdity, to contradict what one maintained in the Beginning: so in the world, it is called Injustice, and Injury, voluntarily to undo that, which from the beginning he had voluntarily done. The way by which a man either simply Renounceth, or Transferreth his Right, is a Declaration, or Signification, by some voluntary and sufficient signe, or signes, that he doth so Renounce, or Transferre; or hath so Renounced, or Transferred the same, to him that accepteth it. And these Signes are either Words onely, or Actions onely; or (as it happeneth most often) both Words and Actions. And the same are the BONDS, by which men are bound, and obliged: Bonds, that have their strength, not from their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.




Not All Rights Are Alienable

Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or Renounceth it; it is either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred to himselfe; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some Good To Himselfe. And therefore there be some Rights, which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his life; because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chayns, and Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his death or not. And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and transferring or Right is introduced, is nothing else but the security of a mans person, in his life, and in the means of so preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a man by words, or other signes, seem to despoyle himselfe of the End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Much of the book deals with aspects of the Christian religion that are likely to be of rather less interest today than they would have been to a contemporary English reader.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Then again, given the title, and the book's implications, it's
quite clear Hobbes' conception of "good" government isn't
particularly good, at all. It's clearly, merely, a necessary
evil to prevent human beings from destroying themselves, completely.
That's a very pessimistic view. I see it as necessary for improving
the human condition and the human prospect, but mot as inherently
evil.
Post by jerry kraus
Is there any way of getting beyond Hobbes' conception, to one of
government as, in the idealized American sense, a vehicle for
promoting human freedom and development?
There is an element of that in my approach. My main thesis is that
in over 5000 years of civilisation, pretty much the only thing we've
learnt about governance is how to keep the current estavlishmen in
power, whereas we should be looking at ways keep the Law in tune
with our nature and our mores, and at ways to use our abilities
to improve the quality of human life in as many ways as we can
think of.
Post by jerry kraus
While Libertarians speak
in glowing terms of such a concept, they're rather short on details,
aren't they?
Libertarianism, to me, has always suffered from a lack of imagination.
ISTM that Libertarians alway think in terms of current political forms
and individual policies, never about developing systems that function
without the corruptions and injustices that past and present systems
always entail (and on that, I think I see something of where Hobbes
might be coming from).
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed, Marxism, is, in principle I believe, intended
to promote human liberty and development, but, it doesn't seem to
usually work very well at all, does it?
IMO, that's in part because it doesn't address the issues of human
nature with sufficient rigour, and partly because it's very easy for
its proponents to pervert it. Indeed, they *are* always arguing about
it, arent they? Their various "interpretations" of it, I mean.
I've so far defined three areas for radical reformation, and I've
outlined some of the reformations necessary, but I still haven't
worked out whether the three areas I've defined are sufficient,
or whether the reformations I'm working on are sufficient. I have
pretty much concluded that "good governemnt" is unachieveable
without democracy[1], and that whatever the final picture is,
I must formulate it so that it's unpervertable.
Well, of course Plato's Republic is also about the ideal government. Plato was very antidemocratic however, having seen that Athenian democracy led to a disastrous civil war in Greece. Plato favored a an aristocratic dictatorship of "philosophers". Of course, everyone's going to want to be a philosopher then, aren't they?
Post by Ned Latham
That, I think, will be the nost diffucult aspect of the job.
Ned
[1] By "democracy" I mean a genuine, but constrained democratic
form: it has to give the people real power over the laws that
affect their lives, and it has to be incapable of degenerating
into mob rule.
Ned Latham
2017-05-18 04:13:00 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
----sbip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about?
Don't know; I've never read it.
Here it is, Ned, it its entirely, all online, just for you.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
All I got from that was a error message. A search om "hobbes leviathan"
founf the same link (got the same error). Also got the Wiki page, where
it's described as "ranks as a classic western work on statecraft
comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince'. Whoever wrote that gives
Macchiabelli far mpre dignity than he deserves: "The Prince" is a
handvook on how to stay in power, nothing more.

Wikipedia also says "Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule
by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute
situation of a state of nature ("the war of all against all") could
only be avoided by strong, undivided government."

IOQ. he's not asking what the requirements of good gobernment are;
like Plato, he's arguimg for his predetermibed idea of good government.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
< What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the
Post by jerry kraus
entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles
of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human
government?
Damn you, Jerry. Now I have to read a book. Some nasty thing with
words in it, no doubt. Erk.
Ned, I'm going to save you some time here, by simply copying what
I see as the "kernel" of the book, in terms of the modern reader.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
Same error messhae. Which means, omong other things, I can't check
on who publisged and ecited it *the reason for my interest vecomes
apparent below).

So thankyou for the copy; it gives me a chance to see what Hobbes
wrote, rather than having to rely on what some anonymous Wikipedia
contributor wrote *about* him.
Post by jerry kraus
CHAPTER XIV. OF THE FIRST AND SECOND NATURALL LAWES, AND OF CONTRACTS
Right Of Nature What
The RIGHT OF NATURE, which Writers commonly call Jus Naturale, is the
Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for
the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life;
and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and
Reason, hee shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.
Or as we'd put it nowadays, an unfettered right of self-defence (none
of that smarmy bullshit about "appropriate response" to attack).
Post by jerry kraus
Liberty What
By LIBERTY, is understood, according to the proper signification of
the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which Impediments,
may oft take away part of a mans power to do what hee would; but
cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his
judgement, and reason shall dictate to him.
THat's very muddy. Is "as reason shall dictate" supposed to cover our
responsibility to "impede" our liberty from infringing upon that of
others?
Post by jerry kraus
A Law Of Nature What
A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.
Is he talking here about forbidding suicide? That's religious, not
philosphical, and I disagree with it completely.
Post by jerry kraus
For though they that speak of this subject, use to confound
Jus, and Lex, Right and Law; yet they ought to be distinguished;
because RIGHT, consisteth in liberty to do, or to forbeare;
Agree on that.
Post by jerry kraus
Whereas
Law "determines" what? and "binds" what to what?
Post by jerry kraus
so that Law, and Right,
differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty; which in one and the same
matter are inconsistent.
Not "inconsistent": incompatible (might be just shift in meaning over
time); and therefore both must ve defined so as not to infreinge upon
each other.

The previous paragraph contained a couple of instances of clumsy
punctuation; this paragraph is riddled with them. Was this text
edited by a modern Americam?
Post by jerry kraus
Naturally Every Man Has Right To Everything
And because the condition of Man, (as hath been declared in the
precedent Chapter) is a condition of Warre of every one against
every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason;
and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help
unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth,
that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing;
even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this naturall
Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security
to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the
time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live.
Wow. That's a very jaundiced view of human nature. I reckon that if it
were accurate, we the species would not have survived. About the only
think that can be said for it is that it offers an explanation as to
why our ancestors used the term "savages" to describe hunter-gatherer
peoples.
Post by jerry kraus
The Fundamental Law Of Nature
And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason, "That
every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of
obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and
use, all helps, and advantages of Warre." The first branch, of which
Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is,
"To seek Peace, and follow it." The Second, the summe of the Right
of Nature; which is, "By all means we can, to defend our selves."
Erm. Looks like mere repetition to me. Is the intent actually ...The
first two paragraqphs laid out the precepts, what followed is their
justification?
Post by jerry kraus
The Second Law Of Nature
From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded
to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; "That a man be
willing, when others are so too, as farre-forth, as for Peace,
and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down
this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty
against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe."
Very sensible.
Post by jerry kraus
For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing
he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre.
Where did he get that notion? It's just not sensible, and AFAIK,
it's not a Christian teaching...
Post by jerry kraus
But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he;
There is no reason for any of us, at any time, or in any circumstance
whatever, to surrender our unfettered right of self-defence.

And "right of self-defence" should ve read as including the right
to defend our friends, families, lovers and communties.
Post by jerry kraus
For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound
to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law
of the Gospell; "Whatsoever you require that others should do to
you, that do ye to them." And that Law of all men, "Quod tibi
feiri non vis, alteri ne feceris."
The goilden rule is a good one, but needs to be applied with care
and caution.
Post by jerry kraus
What it is to lay down a Right
To Lay Downe a mans Right to any thing, is to Devest himselfe of
the Liberty, of hindring another of the benefit of his own Right
to the same. For he that renounceth, or passeth away his Right,
giveth not to any other man a Right which he had not before;
because there is nothing to which every man had not Right by
Nature: but onely standeth out of his way, that he may enjoy his
own originall Right, without hindrance from him; not without
hindrance from another. So that the effect which redoundeth to
one man, by another mans defect of Right, is but so much
diminution of impediments to the use of his own Right originall.
So. Our rights are unfettered except insamuch as they would infringe
upon the rights of others. Agamemnon would have disputed that; I
think Thersites would have agreed with it.
Post by jerry kraus
Renouncing (or) Transferring Right What; Obligation Duty Justice
Right is layd aside, either by simply Renouncing it; or by
Transferring it to another. By Simply RENOUNCING; when he cares
not to whom the benefit thereof redoundeth. By TRANSFERRING; when
he intendeth the benefit thereof to some certain person, or
persons. And when a man hath in either manner abandoned, or granted
away his Right; then is he said to be OBLIGED, or BOUND, not to
hinder those, to whom such Right is granted, or abandoned, from
the benefit of it: and that he Ought, and it his DUTY, not to make
voyd that voluntary act of his own: and that such hindrance is
INJUSTICE, and INJURY, as being Sine Jure; the Right being before
renounced, or transferred. So that Injury, or Injustice, in the
controversies of the world, is somewhat like to that, which in
the disputations of Scholers is called Absurdity. For as it is
there called an Absurdity, to contradict what one maintained in
the Beginning: so in the world, it is called Injustice, and Injury,
voluntarily to undo that, which from the beginning he had
voluntarily done. The way by which a man either simply Renounceth,
or Transferreth his Right, is a Declaration, or Signification, by
some voluntary and sufficient signe, or signes, that he doth so
Renounce, or Transferre; or hath so Renounced, or Transferred the
same, to him that accepteth it. And these Signes are either Words
onely, or Actions onely; or (as it happeneth most often) both
Words and Actions. And the same are the BONDS, by which men are
bound, and obliged: Bonds, that have their strength, not from
their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans
word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.
It looks to me as if he's confusing "right" and "privilege" (which
is a very aristocratic thing to do). If you replace "right" in that
paragraph with "ptivilege" (as in the privileges of the aristocracy),
it makes sense; if you don't, it's nonsensical drivel.
Post by jerry kraus
Not All Rights Are Alienable
Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or Renounceth it; it is
either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred
to himselfe; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it
is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the
object is some Good To Himselfe. And therefore there be some Rights,
which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to
have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the
right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his
life;
Everyone who submits to the execution of their death sentence does
*exactly* that.
Post by jerry kraus
because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good
to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chayns, and
Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such
patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be
wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he
seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his
death or not.
That is what justifies us in demanding that our right to self-defence
be completely unbounded.
Post by jerry kraus
And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and
transferring or Right is introduced, is nothing else but the
security of a mans person, in his life, and in the means of so
preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a
man by words, or other signes, seem to despoyle himselfe of the
End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be
understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that
he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted.
So hge whose opinion we fisagree with is ogmprant.Where have I
jeqard that before?
Post by jerry kraus
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Much of the book deals with aspects of the Christian religion that
are likely to be of rather less interest today than they would have
been to a contemporary English reader.
You're not wrong.

I think I've read enough of Hobbes to decide that I don't need to
read more.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Then again, given the title, and the book's implications, it's
quite clear Hobbes' conception of "good" government isn't
particularly good, at all. It's clearly, merely, a necessary
evil to prevent human beings from destroying themselves, completely.
That's a very pessimistic view. I see it as necessary for improving
the human condition and the human prospect, but mot as inherently
evil.
Post by jerry kraus
Is there any way of getting beyond Hobbes' conception, to one of
government as, in the idealized American sense, a vehicle for
promoting human freedom and development?
There is an element of that in my approach. My main thesis is that
in over 5000 years of civilisation, pretty much the only thing we've
learnt about governance is how to keep the current estavlishmen in
power, whereas we should be looking at ways keep the Law in tune
with our nature and our mores, and at ways to use our abilities
to improve the quality of human life in as many ways as we can
think of.
Post by jerry kraus
While Libertarians speak
in glowing terms of such a concept, they're rather short on details,
aren't they?
Libertarianism, to me, has always suffered from a lack of imagination.
ISTM that Libertarians alway think in terms of current political forms
and individual policies, never about developing systems that function
without the corruptions and injustices that past and present systems
always entail (and on that, I think I see something of where Hobbes
might be coming from).
Post by jerry kraus
Indeed, Marxism, is, in principle I believe, intended
to promote human liberty and development, but, it doesn't seem to
usually work very well at all, does it?
IMO, that's in part because it doesn't address the issues of human
nature with sufficient rigour, and partly because it's very easy for
its proponents to pervert it. Indeed, they *are* always arguing about
it, arent they? Their various "interpretations" of it, I mean.
I've so far defined three areas for radical reformation, and I've
outlined some of the reformations necessary, but I still haven't
worked out whether the three areas I've defined are sufficient,
or whether the reformations I'm working on are sufficient. I have
pretty much concluded that "good governemnt" is unachieveable
without democracy[1], and that whatever the final picture is,
I must formulate it so that it's unpervertable.
Well, of course Plato's Republic is also about the ideal government.
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea of what
it is. He doesn't ask the question.
Post by jerry kraus
Plato was very antidemocratic however, having seen that Athenian
democracy led to a disastrous civil war in Greece.
Er, as I see it, he hated it because it killed Sokrates.

I don't see the Peloponnesian War as a civil war: other than the
Games (Olympian, Pythian, Nemeam and Isthmian) there was no
genuinely Panhellenic notion until modern times. In fact, I see
that war as the last round in the ethnic wars of the Dorians
and the Ionians, which had begun some 600 years earlier at the
beginning of the Iron Age. You'd be justified in asking how I
could possibly think that, given that having Athens at its mercy,
Soarta vetoed the Korinthian and Theban demand for its extinction,
but there's a very simple practical explanation for that: the
war had increased the martial capabilities of both Korinth and
Thebes to the point where the Spartans could see where the next
threat would be coming from, and they took step to forestall it.
Post by jerry kraus
Plato favored a an aristocratic dictatorship of "philosophers".
That's part of why I don't rate Plato the aristocrat as a philospher;
I think he looks significantly less thoughtful that his uncle Kimon,
who is said to have wriyyen something (a play?) depicting the gods
as invented by man to facilitate ruling over man.

But I gotta admit that "The Republic" is a damned good read.
Post by jerry kraus
Of course, everyone's going to want to be a philosopher then,
aren't they?
Yes. I rather like the idea of the philosopher king actually;
the problemn is, it's very frail; Dion, Tyrant of Syrakuse,
couldn't tolerate the demands of philosophy, Marcus Aurelius,
Emperor of Rome and philosopher, had the unwisdom to die
(leaving the job at the mercy of his spoilt brat lunatic son
Commodus) ...

That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.

Ned
Ned Latham
2017-05-18 04:49:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Previous bersion (message <***@woden.valhalla.oz>)
riddled with typoes. Sorry. Corrected version follows.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
----sbip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about?
Don't know; I've never read it.
Here it is, Ned, it its entirely, all online, just for you.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
All I got from that was an error message. A search on "hobbes leviathan"
found the same link (got the same error). Also got the Wiki page, where
it's described as "ranks as a classic western work on statecraft
comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince'. Whoever wrote that gives
Macchiavelli far more dignity than he deserves: "The Prince" is a
handbook on how to stay in power, nothing more.

Wikipedia also says "Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule
by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute
situation of a state of nature ("the war of all against all") could
only be avoided by strong, undivided government."

IOW, he's not asking what the requirements of good government are;
like Plato, he's arguimg for his predetermibed idea of good government.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
< What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the
Post by jerry kraus
entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles
of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human
government?
Damn you, Jerry. Now I have to read a book. Some nasty thing with
words in it, no doubt. Erk.
Ned, I'm going to save you some time here, by simply copying what
I see as the "kernel" of the book, in terms of the modern reader.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
Same error message. Which means, among other things, I can't check
on who published and edited it (the reason for my interest becomes
apparent below).

So thankyou for the copy; it gives me a chance to see what Hobbes
wrote, rather than having to rely on what some anonymous Wikipedia
contributor wrote *about* him.
Post by jerry kraus
CHAPTER XIV. OF THE FIRST AND SECOND NATURALL LAWES, AND OF CONTRACTS
Right Of Nature What
The RIGHT OF NATURE, which Writers commonly call Jus Naturale, is the
Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for
the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life;
and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and
Reason, hee shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.
Or as we'd put it nowadays, an unfettered right of self-defence (none
of that smarmy bullshit about "appropriate response" to attack).
Post by jerry kraus
Liberty What
By LIBERTY, is understood, according to the proper signification of
the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which Impediments,
may oft take away part of a mans power to do what hee would; but
cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his
judgement, and reason shall dictate to him.
THat's very muddy. Is "as reason shall dictate" supposed to cover our
responsibility to "impede" our liberty from infringing upon that of
others?
Post by jerry kraus
A Law Of Nature What
A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.
Is he talking here about forbidding suicide? That's religious, not
philosphical, and I disagree with it completely.
Post by jerry kraus
For though they that speak of this subject, use to confound
Jus, and Lex, Right and Law; yet they ought to be distinguished;
because RIGHT, consisteth in liberty to do, or to forbeare;
Agree on that.
Post by jerry kraus
Whereas
Law "determines" what? and "binds" what to what?
Post by jerry kraus
so that Law, and Right,
differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty; which in one and the same
matter are inconsistent.
Not "inconsistent": incompatible (might be just shift in meaning over
time); and therefore both must ve defined so as not to infringe upon
each other.

The previous paragraph contained a couple of instances of clumsy
punctuation; this paragraph is riddled with them. Was this text
edited by a modern Americam?
Post by jerry kraus
Naturally Every Man Has Right To Everything
And because the condition of Man, (as hath been declared in the
precedent Chapter) is a condition of Warre of every one against
every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason;
and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help
unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth,
that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing;
even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this naturall
Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security
to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the
time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live.
Wow. That's a very jaundiced view of human nature. I reckon that if it
were accurate, we the species would not have survived. About the only
thing that can be said for it is that it offers an explanation as to
why our ancestors used the term "savages" to describe hunter-gatherer
peoples.
Post by jerry kraus
The Fundamental Law Of Nature
And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason, "That
every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of
obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and
use, all helps, and advantages of Warre." The first branch, of which
Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is,
"To seek Peace, and follow it." The Second, the summe of the Right
of Nature; which is, "By all means we can, to defend our selves."
Erm. Looks like mere repetition to me. Is the intent actually ...
The first two paragraqphs laid out the precepts, what followed is their
justification?
Post by jerry kraus
The Second Law Of Nature
From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded
to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; "That a man be
willing, when others are so too, as farre-forth, as for Peace,
and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down
this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty
against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe."
Very sensible.
Post by jerry kraus
For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing
he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre.
Where did he get that notion? It's just not sensible, and AFAIK,
it's not a Christian teaching...
Post by jerry kraus
But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he;
There is no reason for any of us, at any time, or in any circumstance
whatever, to surrender our unfettered right of self-defence.

And "right of self-defence" should ve read as including the right
to defend our friends, families, lovers and communities.
Post by jerry kraus
For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound
to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law
of the Gospell; "Whatsoever you require that others should do to
you, that do ye to them." And that Law of all men, "Quod tibi
feiri non vis, alteri ne feceris."
The golden rule is a good one, but needs to be applied with care
and caution.
Post by jerry kraus
What it is to lay down a Right
To Lay Downe a mans Right to any thing, is to Devest himselfe of
the Liberty, of hindring another of the benefit of his own Right
to the same. For he that renounceth, or passeth away his Right,
giveth not to any other man a Right which he had not before;
because there is nothing to which every man had not Right by
Nature: but onely standeth out of his way, that he may enjoy his
own originall Right, without hindrance from him; not without
hindrance from another. So that the effect which redoundeth to
one man, by another mans defect of Right, is but so much
diminution of impediments to the use of his own Right originall.
So. Our rights are unfettered except insamuch as they would infringe
upon the rights of others. Agamemnon would have disputed that, as
would any "absolute" monarch; I think Thersites would have agreed
with it.
Post by jerry kraus
Renouncing (or) Transferring Right What; Obligation Duty Justice
Right is layd aside, either by simply Renouncing it; or by
Transferring it to another. By Simply RENOUNCING; when he cares
not to whom the benefit thereof redoundeth. By TRANSFERRING; when
he intendeth the benefit thereof to some certain person, or
persons. And when a man hath in either manner abandoned, or granted
away his Right; then is he said to be OBLIGED, or BOUND, not to
hinder those, to whom such Right is granted, or abandoned, from
the benefit of it: and that he Ought, and it his DUTY, not to make
voyd that voluntary act of his own: and that such hindrance is
INJUSTICE, and INJURY, as being Sine Jure; the Right being before
renounced, or transferred. So that Injury, or Injustice, in the
controversies of the world, is somewhat like to that, which in
the disputations of Scholers is called Absurdity. For as it is
there called an Absurdity, to contradict what one maintained in
the Beginning: so in the world, it is called Injustice, and Injury,
voluntarily to undo that, which from the beginning he had
voluntarily done. The way by which a man either simply Renounceth,
or Transferreth his Right, is a Declaration, or Signification, by
some voluntary and sufficient signe, or signes, that he doth so
Renounce, or Transferre; or hath so Renounced, or Transferred the
same, to him that accepteth it. And these Signes are either Words
onely, or Actions onely; or (as it happeneth most often) both
Words and Actions. And the same are the BONDS, by which men are
bound, and obliged: Bonds, that have their strength, not from
their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans
word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.
It looks to me as if he's confusing "right" and "privilege" (which
is a very aristocratic thing to do). If you replace "right" in that
paragraph with "privilege" (as in the privileges of the aristocracy),
it makes sense; if you don't, it's nonsensical drivel.
Post by jerry kraus
Not All Rights Are Alienable
Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or Renounceth it; it is
either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred
to himselfe; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it
is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the
object is some Good To Himselfe. And therefore there be some Rights,
which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to
have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the
right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his
life;
Everyone who submits to the execution of their death sentence does
*exactly* that.
Post by jerry kraus
because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good
to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chayns, and
Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such
patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be
wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he
seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his
death or not.
That is what justifies us in demanding that our right to self-defence
be completely unbounded.
Post by jerry kraus
And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and
transferring or Right is introduced, is nothing else but the
security of a mans person, in his life, and in the means of so
preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a
man by words, or other signes, seem to despoyle himselfe of the
End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be
understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that
he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted.
So he whose opinion we disagree with is ignorant. Where have I
heard that before?
Post by jerry kraus
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Much of the book deals with aspects of the Christian religion that
are likely to be of rather less interest today than they would have
been to a contemporary English reader.
You're not wrong.

I think I've read enough of Hobbes to decide that I don't need to
read more.

----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
I've so far defined three areas for radical reformation, and I've
outlined some of the reformations necessary, but I still haven't
worked out whether the three areas I've defined are sufficient,
or whether the reformations I'm working on are sufficient. I have
pretty much concluded that "good governemnt" is unachieveable
without democracy[1], and that whatever the final picture is,
I must formulate it so that it's unpervertable.
Well, of course Plato's Republic is also about the ideal government.
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea of what
it is. He doesn't ask the question.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
[1] By "democracy" I mean a genuine, but constrained democratic
form: it has to give the people real power over the laws that
affect their lives, and it has to be incapable of degenerating
into mob rule.
Plato was very antidemocratic however, having seen that Athenian
democracy led to a disastrous civil war in Greece.
Er, as I see it, he hated it because it killed Sokrates.

I don't see the Peloponnesian War as a civil war: other than the
Games (Olympian, Pythian, Nemeam and Isthmian) there was no
genuinely Panhellenic notion until modern times. In fact, I see
that war as the last round in the ethnic wars of the Dorians
and the Ionians, which had begun some 600 years earlier at the
beginning of the Iron Age. You'd be justified in asking how I
could possibly think that, given that having Athens at its mercy,
Soarta vetoed the Korinthian and Theban demand for its extinction,
but there's a very simple practical explanation for that: the
war had increased the martial capabilities of both Korinth and
Thebes to the point where the Spartans could see where the next
threat would be coming from, and they took step to forestall it.
Post by jerry kraus
Plato favored a an aristocratic dictatorship of "philosophers".
That's part of why I don't rate Plato the aristocrat as a philospher;
I think he looks significantly less thoughtful that his uncle Kimon,
who is said to have written something (a play?) depicting the gods
as invented by man to facilitate ruling over man.

But I gotta admit that "The Republic" is a damned good read.
Post by jerry kraus
Of course, everyone's going to want to be a philosopher then,
aren't they?
Yes. I rather like the idea of the philosopher king actually;
the problemn is, it's very frail; Dion, Tyrant of Syrakuse,
couldn't tolerate the demands of philosophy, Marcus Aurelius,
Emperor of Rome and philosopher, had the unwisdom to die
(leaving the job at the mercy of his spoilt brat lunatic son
Commodus) ...

That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.

Ned
jerry kraus
2017-05-18 18:25:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
riddled with typoes. Sorry. Corrected version follows.
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
----sbip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Who are the
"good" authority figures we should really defer to, and why, exactly?
Yes. We need to create them. I'm minded of a question that I've been
looking at for some decades now, and which, AFAIK, has never been
asked before: what are the constituents of good government?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Ned, isn't that preciely what Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan" is about?
Don't know; I've never read it.
Here it is, Ned, it its entirely, all online, just for you.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
All I got from that was an error message. A search on "hobbes leviathan"
found the same link (got the same error). Also got the Wiki page, where
it's described as "ranks as a classic western work on statecraft
comparable to Machiavelli's The Prince'. Whoever wrote that gives
Macchiavelli far more dignity than he deserves: "The Prince" is a
handbook on how to stay in power, nothing more.
Wikipedia also says "Leviathan argues for a social contract and rule
by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute
situation of a state of nature ("the war of all against all") could
only be avoided by strong, undivided government."
IOW, he's not asking what the requirements of good government are;
like Plato, he's arguimg for his predetermibed idea of good government.
Well, yes, of course. Plato likes philosophers, so, he wants them to rule, and writes a book rationalizing this. Hobbes is afraid of civil war, from the English Civil War, so, he's willing to do anything to avoid that, and writes a books rationalizing THAT. Welcome to the wonderful wide world of science and philosophy -- rationalizing your prejudices, at great length!
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
< What constitutes the proper basis for good government? Isn't the
Post by jerry kraus
entire book an attempt to logically derive from first principles
of human history and psychology, what is the proper form of human
government?
Damn you, Jerry. Now I have to read a book. Some nasty thing with
words in it, no doubt. Erk.
Ned, I'm going to save you some time here, by simply copying what
I see as the "kernel" of the book, in terms of the modern reader.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3207/3207-h/3207-h.htm#link2H_4_0120
Same error message. Which means, among other things, I can't check
on who published and edited it (the reason for my interest becomes
apparent below).
So thankyou for the copy; it gives me a chance to see what Hobbes
wrote, rather than having to rely on what some anonymous Wikipedia
contributor wrote *about* him.
Post by jerry kraus
CHAPTER XIV. OF THE FIRST AND SECOND NATURALL LAWES, AND OF CONTRACTS
Right Of Nature What
The RIGHT OF NATURE, which Writers commonly call Jus Naturale, is the
Liberty each man hath, to use his own power, as he will himselfe, for
the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life;
and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his own Judgement, and
Reason, hee shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.
Or as we'd put it nowadays, an unfettered right of self-defence (none
of that smarmy bullshit about "appropriate response" to attack).
Post by jerry kraus
Liberty What
By LIBERTY, is understood, according to the proper signification of
the word, the absence of externall Impediments: which Impediments,
may oft take away part of a mans power to do what hee would; but
cannot hinder him from using the power left him, according as his
judgement, and reason shall dictate to him.
THat's very muddy. Is "as reason shall dictate" supposed to cover our
responsibility to "impede" our liberty from infringing upon that of
others?
Hobbes isn't too big on liberty Ned. Led to the English Civil War, in his view.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
A Law Of Nature What
A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.
Is he talking here about forbidding suicide? That's religious, not
philosphical, and I disagree with it completely.
Much of the book is religious, Ned. The seventeenth century was a very religious age, you know.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
For though they that speak of this subject, use to confound
Jus, and Lex, Right and Law; yet they ought to be distinguished;
because RIGHT, consisteth in liberty to do, or to forbeare;
Agree on that.
Post by jerry kraus
Whereas
Law "determines" what? and "binds" what to what?
Post by jerry kraus
so that Law, and Right,
differ as much, as Obligation, and Liberty; which in one and the same
matter are inconsistent.
Not "inconsistent": incompatible (might be just shift in meaning over
time); and therefore both must ve defined so as not to infringe upon
each other.
Basically, Hobbes -- what was a mathematician, by the way -- is trying to "prove" that our Liberty must be restricted by Law. He doesn't say that's what he's doing, but, effectively, that's what he's doing. He has to waffle around quite a bit to do that, of course! Thus, his prejudices become rather apparent, here
Post by Ned Latham
The previous paragraph contained a couple of instances of clumsy
punctuation; this paragraph is riddled with them. Was this text
edited by a modern Americam?
LEVIATHAN

By Thomas Hobbes

1651


LEVIATHAN OR THE MATTER, FORME, & POWER OF A COMMON-WEALTH
ECCLESIASTICAL AND CIVILL

Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury


Printed for Andrew Crooke, at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Churchyard,
1651.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES ON THE E-TEXT:

This E-text was prepared from the Pelican Classics edition of Leviathan,
which in turn was prepared from the first edition. I have tried to
follow as closely as possible the original, and to give the flavour of
the text that Hobbes himself proof-read, but the following differences
were unavoidable.

Hobbes used capitals and italics very extensively, for emphasis, for
proper names, for quotations, and sometimes, it seems, just because.

The original has very extensive margin notes, which are used to show
where he introduces the definitions of words and concepts, to give in
short the subject that a paragraph or section is dealing with, and to
give references to his quotations, largely but not exclusively biblical.
To some degree, these margin notes seem to have been intended to serve
in place of an index, the original having none. They are all in italics.

He also used italics for words in other languages than English, and
there are a number of Greek words, in the Greek alphabet, in the text.

To deal with these within the limits of plain vanilla ASCII, I have done
the following in this E-text.

I have restricted my use of full capitalization to those places where
Hobbes used it, except in the chapter headings, which I have fully
capitalized, where Hobbes used a mixture of full capitalization and
italics.

Where it is clear that the italics are to indicate the text is quoting,
I have introduced quotation marks. Within quotation marks I have
retained the capitalization that Hobbes used.

Where italics seem to be used for emphasis, or for proper names, or just
because, I have capitalized the initial letter of the words. This has
the disadvantage that they are not then distinguished from those that
Hobbes capitalized in plain text, but the extent of his italics would
make the text very ugly if I was to use an underscore or slash.

Where the margin notes are either to introduce the paragraph subject,
or to show where he introduces word definitions, I have included them as
headers to the paragraph, again with all words having initial capitals,
and on a shortened line.

For margin references to quotes, I have included them in the text,
in brackets immediately next to the quotation. Where Hobbes included
references in the main text, I have left them as he put them, except to
change his square brackets to round.

For the Greek alphabet, I have simply substituted the nearest ordinary
letters that I can, and I have used initial capitals for foreign
language words.

Neither Thomas Hobbes nor his typesetters seem to have had many
inhibitions about spelling and punctuation. I have tried to reproduce
both exactly, with the exception of the introduction of quotation marks.

In preparing the text, I have found that it has much more meaning if
I read it with sub-vocalization, or aloud, rather than trying to read
silently. Hobbes' use of emphasis and his eccentric punctuation and
construction seem then to work.



TO MY MOST HONOR'D FRIEND Mr. FRANCIS GODOLPHIN of GODOLPHIN


HONOR'D SIR.

Your most worthy Brother Mr SIDNEY GODOLPHIN, when he lived, was pleas'd
to think my studies something, and otherwise to oblige me, as you know,
with reall testimonies of his good opinion, great in themselves, and the
greater for the worthinesse of his person. For there is not any vertue
that disposeth a man, either to the service of God, or to the service
of his Country, to Civill Society, or private Friendship, that did not
manifestly appear in his conversation, not as acquired by necessity,
or affected upon occasion, but inhaerent, and shining in a generous
constitution of his nature. Therefore in honour and gratitude to him,
and with devotion to your selfe, I humbly Dedicate unto you this my
discourse of Common-wealth. I know not how the world will receive it,
nor how it may reflect on those that shall seem to favour it. For in a
way beset with those that contend on one side for too great Liberty, and
on the other side for too much Authority, 'tis hard to passe between the
points of both unwounded. But yet, me thinks, the endeavour to advance
the Civill Power, should not be by the Civill Power condemned; nor
private men, by reprehending it, declare they think that Power too
great. Besides, I speak not of the men, but (in the Abstract) of the
Seat of Power, (like to those simple and unpartiall creatures in the
Roman Capitol, that with their noyse defended those within it, not
because they were they, but there) offending none, I think, but those
without, or such within (if there be any such) as favour them. That
which perhaps may most offend, are certain Texts of Holy Scripture,
alledged by me to other purpose than ordinarily they use to be by
others. But I have done it with due submission, and also (in order to
my Subject) necessarily; for they are the Outworks of the Enemy, from
whence they impugne the Civill Power. If notwithstanding this, you find
my labour generally decryed, you may be pleased to excuse your selfe,
and say that I am a man that love my own opinions, and think all true I
say, that I honoured your Brother, and honour you, and have presum'd on
that, to assume the Title (without your knowledge) of being, as I am,

Sir,

Your most humble, and most obedient servant, Thomas Hobbes.

Paris APRILL 15/25 1651.




CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS


THE FIRST PART


OF MAN


INTRODUCTION

1. OF SENSE

2. OF IMAGINATION

3. OF THE CONSEQUENCES OR TRAIN OF IMAGINATIONS

4. OF SPEECH

5. OF REASON AND SCIENCE

6. OF THE INTERIOUR BEGINNINGS OF VOLUNTARY MOTIONS, COMMONLY CALLED THE
PASSIONS; AND THE SPEECHES BY WHICH THEY ARE EXPRESSED

7. OF THE ENDS OR RESOLUTIONS OF DISCOURSE

8. OF THE VERTUES, COMMONLY CALLED INTELLECTUALL, AND THEIR CONTRARY
DEFECTS

9. OF THE SEVERALL SUBJECTS OF KNOWLEDGE

10. OF POWER, WORTH, DIGNITY, HONOUR, AND WORTHINESSE

11. OF THE DIFFERENCE OF MANNERS

12. OF RELIGION

13. OF THE NATURALL CONDITION OF MANKIND AS CONCERNING THEIR FELICITY
AND MISERY

14. OF THE FIRST AND SECOND NATURALL LAWES, AND OF CONTRACT

15. OF OTHER LAWES OF NATURE

16. OF PERSONS, AUTHORS, AND THINGS PERSONATED


THE SECOND PART


OF COMMON-WEALTH


17. OF THE CAUSES, GENERATION, AND DEFINITION OF A COMMON-WEALTH

18. OF THE RIGHTS OF SOVERAIGNES BY INSTITUTION

19. OF SEVERALL KINDS OF COMMON-WEALTH BY INSTITUTION; AND OF SUCCESION
TO THE SOVERAIGN POWER

20. OF DOMINION PATERNALL, AND DESPOTICALL

21. OF THE LIBERTY OF SUBJECTS

22. OF SYSTEMES SUBJECT, POLITICALL, AND PRIVATE

23. OF THE PUBLIQUE MINISTERS OF SOVERAIGN POWER

24. OF THE NUTRITION, AND PROCREATION OF A COMMON-WEALTH

25. OF COUNSELL

26. OF CIVILL LAWES

27. OF CRIMES, EXCUSES, AND EXTENUATIONS

28. OF PUNISHMENTS, AND REWARDS

29. OF THOSE THINGS THAT WEAKEN, OR TEND TO THE DISSOLUTION OF A
COMMON-WEALTH

30. OF THE OFFICE OF THE SOVERAIGN REPRESENTATIVE

31. OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD BY NATURE



THE THIRD PART


OF A CHRISTIAN COMMON-WEALTH


32. OF THE PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN POLITIQUES

33. OF THE NUMBER, ANTIQUITY, SCOPE, AUTHORITY, AND INTERPRETERS OF THE
BOOKS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE.

34. OF THE SIGNIFICATION, OF SPIRIT, ANGELL, AND INSPIRATION IN THE
BOOKS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE

35. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF THE KINGDOME OF GOD, OF HOLY,
SACRED, AND SACRAMENT

36. OF THE WORD OF GOD, AND OF PROPHETS

37. OF MIRACLES, AND THEIR USE

38. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF ETERNALL LIFE, HEL, SALVATION,
THE WORLD TO COME, AND REDEMPTION

39. OF THE SIGNIFICATION IN SCRIPTURE OF THE WORD CHURCH

40. OF THE RIGHTS OF THE KINGDOME OF GOD, IN ABRAHAM, MOSES, THE HIGH
PRIESTS, AND THE KINGS OF JUDAH

41. OF THE OFFICE OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR

42. OF POWER ECCLESIASTICALL

43. OF WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR MANS RECEPTION INTO THE KINGDOME OF HEAVEN



THE FOURTH PART

OF THE KINGDOME OF DARKNESSE


44. OF SPIRITUALL DARKNESSE FROM MISINTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE

45. OF DAEMONOLOGY, AND OTHER RELIQUES OF THE RELIGION OF THE GENTILES

46. OF DARKNESSE FROM VAINE PHILOSOPHY, AND FABULOUS TRADITIONS

47. OF THE BENEFIT PROCEEDING FROM SUCH DARKNESSE; AND TO WHOM IT
ACCREWETH



48. A REVIEW AND CONCLUSION
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Naturally Every Man Has Right To Everything
And because the condition of Man, (as hath been declared in the
precedent Chapter) is a condition of Warre of every one against
every one; in which case every one is governed by his own Reason;
and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help
unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth,
that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing;
even to one anothers body. And therefore, as long as this naturall
Right of every man to every thing endureth, there can be no security
to any man, (how strong or wise soever he be,) of living out the
time, which Nature ordinarily alloweth men to live.
Wow. That's a very jaundiced view of human nature. I reckon that if it
were accurate, we the species would not have survived. About the only
thing that can be said for it is that it offers an explanation as to
why our ancestors used the term "savages" to describe hunter-gatherer
peoples.
Again, this books comes out of the English Civil War. It was published in 1651. That's all you really know, to understand where Hobbes is coming from, and the true nature of his very real prejudices. He is attempting to couch, in pseudo-mathematical terminology, a very distorted view of reality.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
The Fundamental Law Of Nature
And consequently it is a precept, or generall rule of Reason, "That
every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of
obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and
use, all helps, and advantages of Warre." The first branch, of which
Rule, containeth the first, and Fundamentall Law of Nature; which is,
"To seek Peace, and follow it." The Second, the summe of the Right
of Nature; which is, "By all means we can, to defend our selves."
Erm. Looks like mere repetition to me. Is the intent actually ...
The first two paragraqphs laid out the precepts, what followed is their
justification?
Hobbes is trying to pretend philosophy and mathematics are the same thing. You'll see similar waffling in Thomas Aquinas.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
The Second Law Of Nature
From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded
to endeavour Peace, is derived this second Law; "That a man be
willing, when others are so too, as farre-forth, as for Peace,
and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down
this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty
against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe."
Very sensible.
Post by jerry kraus
For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing
he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre.
Where did he get that notion? It's just not sensible, and AFAIK,
it's not a Christian teaching...
Again, the books is published right at the end of the English Civil War.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
But if other men will not lay down their Right, as well as he;
There is no reason for any of us, at any time, or in any circumstance
whatever, to surrender our unfettered right of self-defence.
And "right of self-defence" should ve read as including the right
to defend our friends, families, lovers and communities.
Post by jerry kraus
For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound
to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law
of the Gospell; "Whatsoever you require that others should do to
you, that do ye to them." And that Law of all men, "Quod tibi
feiri non vis, alteri ne feceris."
The golden rule is a good one, but needs to be applied with care
and caution.
Post by jerry kraus
What it is to lay down a Right
To Lay Downe a mans Right to any thing, is to Devest himselfe of
the Liberty, of hindring another of the benefit of his own Right
to the same. For he that renounceth, or passeth away his Right,
giveth not to any other man a Right which he had not before;
because there is nothing to which every man had not Right by
Nature: but onely standeth out of his way, that he may enjoy his
own originall Right, without hindrance from him; not without
hindrance from another. So that the effect which redoundeth to
one man, by another mans defect of Right, is but so much
diminution of impediments to the use of his own Right originall.
So. Our rights are unfettered except insamuch as they would infringe
upon the rights of others. Agamemnon would have disputed that, as
would any "absolute" monarch; I think Thersites would have agreed
with it.
Post by jerry kraus
Renouncing (or) Transferring Right What; Obligation Duty Justice
Right is layd aside, either by simply Renouncing it; or by
Transferring it to another. By Simply RENOUNCING; when he cares
not to whom the benefit thereof redoundeth. By TRANSFERRING; when
he intendeth the benefit thereof to some certain person, or
persons. And when a man hath in either manner abandoned, or granted
away his Right; then is he said to be OBLIGED, or BOUND, not to
hinder those, to whom such Right is granted, or abandoned, from
the benefit of it: and that he Ought, and it his DUTY, not to make
voyd that voluntary act of his own: and that such hindrance is
INJUSTICE, and INJURY, as being Sine Jure; the Right being before
renounced, or transferred. So that Injury, or Injustice, in the
controversies of the world, is somewhat like to that, which in
the disputations of Scholers is called Absurdity. For as it is
there called an Absurdity, to contradict what one maintained in
the Beginning: so in the world, it is called Injustice, and Injury,
voluntarily to undo that, which from the beginning he had
voluntarily done. The way by which a man either simply Renounceth,
or Transferreth his Right, is a Declaration, or Signification, by
some voluntary and sufficient signe, or signes, that he doth so
Renounce, or Transferre; or hath so Renounced, or Transferred the
same, to him that accepteth it. And these Signes are either Words
onely, or Actions onely; or (as it happeneth most often) both
Words and Actions. And the same are the BONDS, by which men are
bound, and obliged: Bonds, that have their strength, not from
their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans
word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.
It looks to me as if he's confusing "right" and "privilege" (which
is a very aristocratic thing to do). If you replace "right" in that
paragraph with "privilege" (as in the privileges of the aristocracy),
it makes sense; if you don't, it's nonsensical drivel.
Again, Hobbes wants to turn philosophy into mathematics, and, outside of purely mathematical logic, that doesn't tend to work very well, at all.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Not All Rights Are Alienable
Whensoever a man Transferreth his Right, or Renounceth it; it is
either in consideration of some Right reciprocally transferred
to himselfe; or for some other good he hopeth for thereby. For it
is a voluntary act: and of the voluntary acts of every man, the
object is some Good To Himselfe. And therefore there be some Rights,
which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to
have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the
right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his
life;
Everyone who submits to the execution of their death sentence does
*exactly* that.
Post by jerry kraus
because he cannot be understood to ayme thereby, at any Good
to himselfe. The same may be sayd of Wounds, and Chayns, and
Imprisonment; both because there is no benefit consequent to such
patience; as there is to the patience of suffering another to be
wounded, or imprisoned: as also because a man cannot tell, when he
seeth men proceed against him by violence, whether they intend his
death or not.
That is what justifies us in demanding that our right to self-defence
be completely unbounded.
Post by jerry kraus
And lastly the motive, and end for which this renouncing, and
transferring or Right is introduced, is nothing else but the
security of a mans person, in his life, and in the means of so
preserving life, as not to be weary of it. And therefore if a
man by words, or other signes, seem to despoyle himselfe of the
End, for which those signes were intended; he is not to be
understood as if he meant it, or that it was his will; but that
he was ignorant of how such words and actions were to be interpreted.
So he whose opinion we disagree with is ignorant. Where have I
heard that before?
Scratch any great writer, philosopher, scientist, you'll ultimately find an intellectual dictator, Ned. We are still a very ignorant species, and, rather little has been accomplished in the entire history of civilization. To justify our incoherent ravings, we have to dismiss anyone who challenges them.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Much of the book deals with aspects of the Christian religion that
are likely to be of rather less interest today than they would have
been to a contemporary English reader.
You're not wrong.
I think I've read enough of Hobbes to decide that I don't need to
read more.
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
I've so far defined three areas for radical reformation, and I've
outlined some of the reformations necessary, but I still haven't
worked out whether the three areas I've defined are sufficient,
or whether the reformations I'm working on are sufficient. I have
pretty much concluded that "good governemnt" is unachieveable
without democracy[1], and that whatever the final picture is,
I must formulate it so that it's unpervertable.
Well, of course Plato's Republic is also about the ideal government.
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea of what
it is. He doesn't ask the question.
They always do. How can we know what good government is, Ned, when we can't clearly define "right" from "wrong", when we don't really know why we exist, at all, when we all die, and can do nothing about it?
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
[1] By "democracy" I mean a genuine, but constrained democratic
form: it has to give the people real power over the laws that
affect their lives, and it has to be incapable of degenerating
into mob rule.
Plato was very antidemocratic however, having seen that Athenian
democracy led to a disastrous civil war in Greece.
Er, as I see it, he hated it because it killed Sokrates.
Sure. But, I don't think Plato was exactly thrilled the the Democratic Athenian leadership, in general.
Post by Ned Latham
I don't see the Peloponnesian War as a civil war: other than the
Games (Olympian, Pythian, Nemeam and Isthmian) there was no
genuinely Panhellenic notion until modern times. In fact, I see
that war as the last round in the ethnic wars of the Dorians
and the Ionians, which had begun some 600 years earlier at the
beginning of the Iron Age. You'd be justified in asking how I
could possibly think that, given that having Athens at its mercy,
Soarta vetoed the Korinthian and Theban demand for its extinction,
but there's a very simple practical explanation for that: the
war had increased the martial capabilities of both Korinth and
Thebes to the point where the Spartans could see where the next
threat would be coming from, and they took step to forestall it.
Post by jerry kraus
Plato favored a an aristocratic dictatorship of "philosophers".
That's part of why I don't rate Plato the aristocrat as a philospher;
I think he looks significantly less thoughtful that his uncle Kimon,
who is said to have written something (a play?) depicting the gods
as invented by man to facilitate ruling over man.
But I gotta admit that "The Republic" is a damned good read.
Post by jerry kraus
Of course, everyone's going to want to be a philosopher then,
aren't they?
Yes. I rather like the idea of the philosopher king actually;
the problemn is, it's very frail; Dion, Tyrant of Syrakuse,
couldn't tolerate the demands of philosophy, Marcus Aurelius,
Emperor of Rome and philosopher, had the unwisdom to die
(leaving the job at the mercy of his spoilt brat lunatic son
Commodus) ...
That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.
Ned, we have no idea what the purpose of our existence is, and, our existence will inevitably terminate. So, how, exactly, do we even tell the difference?
Post by Ned Latham
Ned
Ned Latham
2017-05-18 21:45:40 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
The previous paragraph contained a couple of instances of clumsy
punctuation; this paragraph is riddled with them. Was this text
edited by a modern Americam?
LEVIATHAN
By Thomas Hobbes
1651
Neither Thomas Hobbes nor his typesetters seem to have had many
inhibitions about spelling and punctuation. I have tried to reproduce
both exactly, with the exception of the introduction of quotation marks.
Aha. Thanks.
Post by jerry kraus
In preparing the text, I have found that it has much more meaning if
I read it with sub-vocalization, or aloud, rather than trying to read
silently. Hobbes' use of emphasis and his eccentric punctuation and
construction seem then to work.
Nope. Doesn't work.

A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.

Reading that aloud doesn't improve it. Changing the puncruation does.

A LAW OF NATURE (Lex Naturalis) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit that by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.

----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
So he whose opinion we disagree with is ignorant. Where have I
heard that before?
Scratch any great writer, philosopher, scientist, you'll ultimately
find an intellectual dictator, Ned. We are still a very ignorant
species, and, rather little has been accomplished in the entire
history of civilization. To justify our incoherent ravings, we have
to dismiss anyone who challenges them.
I'd rather dispute what they say. THEN dismiss them. <snigger>

----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea of what
it is. He doesn't ask the question.
They always do.
Er... always do ... begin from a predermined idea?
Post by jerry kraus
How can we know what good government is, Ned, when we can't clearly
define "right" from "wrong",
I don't see that "right" and "wrong" apply at this stage. I have
determined that a legal system that is dynamically responsive to
the mores of society is an aspect of what good government must be;
questions of "right" and "wrong" are irrelevant until someone
proposes a Bill. At *that* time, people will consider the morality
of the matter, and they will need to consider the morality of only
*that* matter.
Post by jerry kraus
when we don't really know why we exist,
I see no reason to postulate a "reason" for our existence.
Post by jerry kraus
at all, when we all die, and can do nothing about it?
I consider that there's a distinct possibility that at some time in
the not too didtant future, we (our descendants) will be able to
change that.

----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.
Ned, we have no idea what the purpose of our existence is, and,
our existence will inevitably terminate.
See above.
Post by jerry kraus
So, how, exactly, do we even tell the difference?
Er... what difference are you referring to?

Ned
jerry kraus
2017-05-19 14:54:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
The previous paragraph contained a couple of instances of clumsy
punctuation; this paragraph is riddled with them. Was this text
edited by a modern Americam?
LEVIATHAN
By Thomas Hobbes
1651
Neither Thomas Hobbes nor his typesetters seem to have had many
inhibitions about spelling and punctuation. I have tried to reproduce
both exactly, with the exception of the introduction of quotation marks.
Aha. Thanks.
Post by jerry kraus
In preparing the text, I have found that it has much more meaning if
I read it with sub-vocalization, or aloud, rather than trying to read
silently. Hobbes' use of emphasis and his eccentric punctuation and
construction seem then to work.
Nope. Doesn't work.
A LAW OF NATURE, (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.
Reading that aloud doesn't improve it. Changing the puncruation does.
A LAW OF NATURE (Lex Naturalis) is a Precept, or generall Rule,
found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which
is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving
the same; and to omit that by which he thinketh it may be best
preserved.
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
So he whose opinion we disagree with is ignorant. Where have I
heard that before?
Scratch any great writer, philosopher, scientist, you'll ultimately
find an intellectual dictator, Ned. We are still a very ignorant
species, and, rather little has been accomplished in the entire
history of civilization. To justify our incoherent ravings, we have
to dismiss anyone who challenges them.
I'd rather dispute what they say. THEN dismiss them. <snigger>
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea of what
it is. He doesn't ask the question.
They always do.
Er... always do ... begin from a predermined idea?
Yep. There is absolutely no such thing as pure reason, or absolute objectivity, Ned. Almost inevitably, we end up simply rationalizing our own self-interest, one way, or another.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
How can we know what good government is, Ned, when we can't clearly
define "right" from "wrong",
I don't see that "right" and "wrong" apply at this stage. I have
determined that a legal system that is dynamically responsive to
the mores of society is an aspect of what good government must be;
questions of "right" and "wrong" are irrelevant until someone
proposes a Bill. At *that* time, people will consider the morality
of the matter, and they will need to consider the morality of only
*that* matter.
Fair enough, Ned, you're taking a step back from the issue, that's not a bad idea, I'd say.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
when we don't really know why we exist,
I see no reason to postulate a "reason" for our existence.
If we have no purpose in existence, why do anything, at all? Why even continue living, for that matter?
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
at all, when we all die, and can do nothing about it?
I consider that there's a distinct possibility that at some time in
the not too didtant future, we (our descendants) will be able to
change that.
It's a possibility, by no means a probability. Despite the exaggerated claims of some medical researchers. I'm not sure maximum life expectancy has improved much, at all. At least, maximum "functional life" expectancy. We made terrific progress in eliminating the fantastically high rate of child mortality that had plagued humanity from the dawn of time, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since 1950, average life expectancy has increased about 15% in the developed world, but, that may simply be attributable to a greater availability of nursing care for the very old and decrepit.
Post by Ned Latham
----snip----
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.
Ned, we have no idea what the purpose of our existence is, and,
our existence will inevitably terminate.
See above.
Post by jerry kraus
So, how, exactly, do we even tell the difference?
Er... what difference are you referring to?
Between what we should, and shouldn't do, as a society. How do we know? Is it simply a majority decision? If so, why, exactly?
Post by Ned Latham
Ned
Ned Latham
2017-05-20 15:26:20 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----snip----
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
So's his "New Statesman". But both begin from his current idea
of what it is. He doesn't ask the question.
They always do.
Er... always do ... begin from a predermined idea?
Yep. There is absolutely no such thing as pure reason, or absolute
objectivity, Ned.
That sounds very doctrinaire; Kantian, evem. Who said it?
Almost inevitably, we end up simply rationalizing
our own self-interest, one way, or another.
And then there's "cogito, ergo sum".
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
How can we know what good government is, Ned, when we can't clearly
define "right" from "wrong",
I don't see that "right" and "wrong" apply at this stage. I have
determined that a legal system that is dynamically responsive to
the mores of society is an aspect of what good government must be;
questions of "right" and "wrong" are irrelevant until someone
proposes a Bill. At *that* time, people will consider the morality
of the matter, and they will need to consider the morality of only
*that* matter.
Fair enough, Ned, you're taking a step back from the issue, that's not a bad idea, I'd say.
It's my opinion that getting the fndamentals of an issue right tends
to set the details up to look after themselves.

Only "tends to", mind.
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
when we don't really know why we exist,
I see no reason to postulate a "reason" for our existence.
If we have no purpose in existence, why do anything, at all? Why even
continue living, for that matter?
The survival imperative makes us desire to continue living. We can
easly reject that as a reason for living, but it does make wilfully
ceasing to live somewhat difficult, emotionaly.

And then, what about the enjoyment that some of us get out of it?
It's purely subjective, but it seems to me a perfectly good reason
for living.

And having decided to be alive, why not do stuff? Especially stuff
we enjoy. Or stuff that could improve the human condition, and thus,
perhaps, our own enhoyment of life?
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
at all, when we all die, and can do nothing about it?
I consider that there's a distinct possibility that at some time in
the not too didtant future, we (our descendants) will be able to
change that.
It's a possibility, by no means a probability.
Loose language. In normal English usage "possibility" and "probability"
are synonyms, with most seeing "probability" as indicating a greater
likelihoof than "possibility" does. I treat "probability" as the
mathematical concept.

I said "possibility" above because there's no way to estimate the
probabilty. I gather you mean to assert that the provability is low.
Despite the exaggerated claims of some medical researchers. I'm not
sure maximum life expectancy has improved much, at all.
I totally agree.
At least, maximum "functional life" expectancy. We made terrific
progress in eliminating the fantastically high rate of child mortality
that had plagued humanity from the dawn of time, in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since 1950, average life
expectancy has increased about 15% in the developed world, but, that
may simply be attributable to a greater availability of nursing care
for the very old and decrepit.
Nope. Given a healthy environment and good nutrition and excercise,
we can live into and beyond our nineties without such care. That's
true now, and it was true millennia ago. Sophocles was sued in his
nineties by his son Iophon for the headship of the family on the
ground of senility. He defeated the suit.

What I'm referring to is microbiological. We already know the proximate
causes of ageing and the various cancers, and research is going on to
learn about the processes involved. If we solve those two problems,
we'll be able to give ourselves indefinite lifespans.

Of course that would create a few teeny weeny social problems....
Post by Ned Latham
Post by jerry kraus
Post by Ned Latham
That's one of the reasons I reject monarchy: it's utterly
dependent on the character of the individual; and villainy,
stupidity, insanity and even caprice are common.
Ned, we have no idea what the purpose of our existence is,
and, our existence will inevitably terminate.
See above.
Post by jerry kraus
So, how, exactly, do we even tell the difference?
Er... what difference are you referring to?
Between what we should, and shouldn't do, as a society.
Protagoras said "man is the measure of all things". I think that
we, as a society, should adopt that as a basis for all qualitative
judgements; IOW, we, as a society, should apply the golden rule
in all things. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
How do we know? Is it simply a majority decision?
Changing circumstances mean that some things can never be finally
decided. Current issues should be aired and debated so that decisions
can be informed, and decisions should be the call of a majority of
those interested in the matter; ie, not a simple majority, but a
weighted one.
If so, why, exactly?
If a decision doesn't have majority support, its implementation must
inevitably be imposed by force. That violates the golden ruke.
Ingo Siekmann
2017-05-09 09:04:32 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its collateral
descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history. How does this
Depends what do you mean with "Mafia".

The modern Sicilian Mafia (there are more, even in Italy), the Cosa
Nostra, started as a bunch of "self protection" societies. They could
only spread across Italy because after the foundation of the modern
kingdom of Italy (starting in the 1860s), power and money were in the
north of the new nation. The south, and esp. Sicily, were willingly
neglected.
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
If you have a stronger, more united Italy, with more wealth and
representation for the South, the Cosa Nostra could be weaker. This
would mean far less corruption, and far less influence of the organized
crime in Italian (and European) politics. Life would be a lot better -
in 2009, there were 90 Mafia - related murders in Italy. Sounds not
much, bit that were about 1/6 of all murder cases in Italy.
Post by jerry kraus
2. In the United States?
Difficult. A better life in Italy would lead to lesser immigration to
the USA. There would be probably another ethnic crime organization that
would fill the market niche. Irish? Greeks? Swedes? Germans? Arabs?
And if the Prohibition is not butterflyed away, this group would would
step in.

Thoughts?

Bye
Ingo
The Old Man
2017-05-09 11:05:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its collateral
descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history. How does this
Depends what do you mean with "Mafia".
The modern Sicilian Mafia (there are more, even in Italy), the Cosa
Nostra, started as a bunch of "self protection" societies. They could
only spread across Italy because after the foundation of the modern
kingdom of Italy (starting in the 1860s), power and money were in the
north of the new nation. The south, and esp. Sicily, were willingly
neglected.
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
If you have a stronger, more united Italy, with more wealth and
representation for the South, the Cosa Nostra could be weaker. This
would mean far less corruption, and far less influence of the organized
crime in Italian (and European) politics. Life would be a lot better -
in 2009, there were 90 Mafia - related murders in Italy. Sounds not
much, bit that were about 1/6 of all murder cases in Italy.
Post by jerry kraus
2. In the United States?
Difficult. A better life in Italy would lead to lesser immigration to
the USA. There would be probably another ethnic crime organization that
would fill the market niche. Irish? Greeks? Swedes? Germans? Arabs?
And if the Prohibition is not butterflyed away, this group would would
step in.
Thoughts?
Bye
Ingo
The Purple Gang of Detroit were primarily Jews and Al Capone was NOT Mafioso
as he was from Naples at a time when the Mafia was Sicily-centered. Also there were numerous big-name criminals (Dillinger, Baby-Face Nelson, Ma Barker, Bonny and Clyde, etc.) who had nothing to do with "the Mob". I don't think that things would change all that much.
About the biggest change would come after WWII, when the Mafia got into white collar crime. Besides, it was just a "business organization" 8^P.

Regards,
John Braungart
jerry kraus
2017-05-10 13:09:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by The Old Man
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its collateral
descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history. How does this
Depends what do you mean with "Mafia".
The modern Sicilian Mafia (there are more, even in Italy), the Cosa
Nostra, started as a bunch of "self protection" societies. They could
only spread across Italy because after the foundation of the modern
kingdom of Italy (starting in the 1860s), power and money were in the
north of the new nation. The south, and esp. Sicily, were willingly
neglected.
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
If you have a stronger, more united Italy, with more wealth and
representation for the South, the Cosa Nostra could be weaker. This
would mean far less corruption, and far less influence of the organized
crime in Italian (and European) politics. Life would be a lot better -
in 2009, there were 90 Mafia - related murders in Italy. Sounds not
much, bit that were about 1/6 of all murder cases in Italy.
Post by jerry kraus
2. In the United States?
Difficult. A better life in Italy would lead to lesser immigration to
the USA. There would be probably another ethnic crime organization that
would fill the market niche. Irish? Greeks? Swedes? Germans? Arabs?
And if the Prohibition is not butterflyed away, this group would would
step in.
Thoughts?
Bye
Ingo
The Purple Gang of Detroit were primarily Jews and Al Capone was NOT Mafioso
There were Jews who were intimately connected with the Cosa Nostra --Meyer Lansky, Bugsey Siegel etc. -- and Al Capone would certainly be considered a key member, if not THE key player in the Cosa Nostra for some time.
Post by The Old Man
as he was from Naples at a time when the Mafia was Sicily-centered. Also there were numerous big-name criminals (Dillinger, Baby-Face Nelson, Ma Barker, Bonny and Clyde, etc.) who had nothing to do with "the Mob".
True, I'm not talking about all criminal activity, here, just Italian Mafia and Cosa Nostra activity. So, simple independent gangsters like Dillinger and Bonny and Clyde don't count.

I don't think that things would change all that much.

Not so sure about that, John. Again, the involvement of the Mob in organized labor was intense in the U.S., and undoubtedly put the fear of God into quite a few rich Capitalists. Could have played a significant role in wealth redistribution in the U.S.
Post by The Old Man
About the biggest change would come after WWII, when the Mafia got into white collar crime. Besides, it was just a "business organization" 8^P.
One could argue that all of government is just a "business organization". Indeed, the American Right does just that!
Post by The Old Man
Regards,
John Braungart
jerry kraus
2017-05-09 13:15:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
Suppose we extract and excise the Italian Mafia, and its collateral
descendant, the American Cosa Nostra, from history. How does this
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Depends what do you mean with "Mafia".
Indeed, Ingo, the concept of the "mafia" is a very complex one. For example, I'm really not sure the Russian Mafia and the Italian Mafia are really the same thing, at all. Even taking into account differences in national character, that is. The Russian mafia strikes me as having much less of a constructive social role, than the Italian Mafia.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ingo Siekmann
The modern Sicilian Mafia (there are more, even in Italy), the Cosa
Nostra, started as a bunch of "self protection" societies. They could
only spread across Italy because after the foundation of the modern
kingdom of Italy (starting in the 1860s), power and money were in the
north of the new nation. The south, and esp. Sicily, were willingly
neglected.
Again, the function of the Mafia is to oppose government oppression/incompetence/neglect. They are a kind of "Robin Hood" society.
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
1. In Italy and Europe?
If you have a stronger, more united Italy, with more wealth and
representation for the South, the Cosa Nostra could be weaker. This
would mean far less corruption, and far less influence of the organized
crime in Italian (and European) politics. Life would be a lot better -
in 2009, there were 90 Mafia - related murders in Italy. Sounds not
much, bit that were about 1/6 of all murder cases in Italy.
Do these represent de facto government executions of political enemies, in a sense?
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
2. In the United States?
Difficult. A better life in Italy would lead to lesser immigration to
the USA. There would be probably another ethnic crime organization that
would fill the market niche. Irish? Greeks? Swedes? Germans? Arabs?
And if the Prohibition is not butterflyed away, this group would would
step in.
Interesting. Again, I suggest that the very high wages enjoyed by American workers in the mid twentieth century might have been the direct result of Capitalist fear of the Mafia/Cosa Nostra. The rich are very reluctant to part with money, nothing short of the fear of painful death is likely to do the trick, you know. Also, the Italian Mafia has always been very associated with the Communist Party in Italy, to the point that Italians frequently using the term "Communist-Mafiosi" as a single, pejorative term.
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Thoughts?
Bye
Ingo
Ingo Siekmann
2017-05-09 16:24:12 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Hallo,

Am 09.05.2017 um 15:15 schrieb jerry kraus:

-snip
Post by jerry kraus
Again, the function of the Mafia is to oppose government
oppression/incompetence/neglect. They are a kind of "Robin Hood"
society.
And this is complete BS.
The Mafia has no "function", and the people only buy this "Robin Hood"
BS because Hollywood sells them the crap that the Mafiosi are "tough but
fair heavies".

Face it - they are purely in it for the money. A German journalist once
stated that "if one could make more money by selling cheese than by
selling heroin, the mobsters would be respectable businessmen."

In real life, organized crime is a parasite that drains whole economies
and spreads misery, violence and desperation.

There is no honor among thieves.

Bye
Ingo
jerry kraus
2017-05-09 18:07:19 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Hallo,
-snip
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Post by jerry kraus
Again, the function of the Mafia is to oppose government
oppression/incompetence/neglect. They are a kind of "Robin Hood"
society.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Ingo Siekmann
And this is complete BS.
The Mafia has no "function", and the people only buy this "Robin Hood"
BS because Hollywood sells them the crap that the Mafiosi are "tough but
fair heavies".
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Have you ever actually read the Robin Hood stories in any standard form, in their entirety, Ingo? Robin and his Merry Men steal for money, essentially paying what they choose to the local countrymen in order to maintain their support. They steal from the rich, rather than the poor, because that's where the money is, and because there are fewer of them. As such, they create an alternative economy, and government. They serve themselves, primarily, but, in so doing, there is a certain "trickle-down" effect that benefits the local countrymen. In any case, they are too strong to be easily defeated, by anyone, so, no one really wants to fight them, if they can avoid it, including the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin chooses him Merry Men for their fighting ability, and they are friends because they are too strong to be able to defeat each other. How, exactly, is this different from successful organized criminals, like the Mafia.
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Face it - they are purely in it for the money. A German journalist once
stated that "if one could make more money by selling cheese than by
selling heroin, the mobsters would be respectable businessmen."
Of course they're in it for the money. Just like any other government. Do you really think the German government has no interest in money?!?
Post by Ingo Siekmann
In real life, organized crime is a parasite that drains whole economies
and spreads misery, violence and desperation.
Or, a competitor of same, in the form of national governments.
Post by Ingo Siekmann
There is no honor among thieves.
Or, among nation-states, is there?
Post by Ingo Siekmann
Bye
Ingo
Bradipus
2017-05-26 21:02:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
Also, the Italian Mafia has
always been very associated with the Communist Party in
Italy, to the point that Italians frequently using the term
"Communist-Mafiosi" as a single, pejorative term.
Where did you get that bizarre idea?

Mafia had strong ties with DC (Christian democrat party) that
ruled Italy and Sicily since WW2.
--
Bradipus
jerry kraus
2017-05-31 14:13:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Bradipus
Post by jerry kraus
Also, the Italian Mafia has
always been very associated with the Communist Party in
Italy, to the point that Italians frequently using the term
"Communist-Mafiosi" as a single, pejorative term.
Where did you get that bizarre idea?
Mafia had strong ties with DC (Christian democrat party) that
ruled Italy and Sicily since WW2.
I recall reading on some Italian political sites about the connection, but, you're the expert, Bradipus. Certainly, Mussolini drove the Mafia underground in Italy, so, at at times at least, there was some kind of alliance between Communists, who were also enemies of Mussolini, and the Mafia.
Post by Bradipus
--
Bradipus
Bradipus
2017-06-01 02:34:45 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by jerry kraus
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Bradipus
Post by jerry kraus
Also, the Italian Mafia has
always been very associated with the Communist Party in
Italy, to the point that Italians frequently using the
term "Communist-Mafiosi" as a single, pejorative term.
Where did you get that bizarre idea?
Mafia had strong ties with DC (Christian democrat party)
that ruled Italy and Sicily since WW2.
I recall reading on some Italian political sites about the
connection, but, you're the expert, Bradipus. Certainly,
Mussolini drove the Mafia underground in Italy, so, at at
times at least, there was some kind of alliance between
Communists, who were also enemies of Mussolini, and the
Mafia.
I don't think so.

During Fascist rule Communist party was in jail or in exile
abroad.

After the war Communist Party was strong in Tuscany and Emilia
not much in Sicily.

Ever heard of Portella della Ginestra?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portella_della_Ginestra_massacre
--
Bradipus
jerry kraus
2017-06-01 13:21:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Bradipus
Post by jerry kraus
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post by Bradipus
Post by jerry kraus
Also, the Italian Mafia has
always been very associated with the Communist Party in
Italy, to the point that Italians frequently using the
term "Communist-Mafiosi" as a single, pejorative term.
Where did you get that bizarre idea?
Mafia had strong ties with DC (Christian democrat party)
that ruled Italy and Sicily since WW2.
I recall reading on some Italian political sites about the
connection, but, you're the expert, Bradipus. Certainly,
Mussolini drove the Mafia underground in Italy, so, at at
times at least, there was some kind of alliance between
Communists, who were also enemies of Mussolini, and the
Mafia.
I don't think so.
During Fascist rule Communist party was in jail or in exile
abroad.
After the war Communist Party was strong in Tuscany and Emilia
not much in Sicily.
Ever heard of Portella della Ginestra?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portella_della_Ginestra_massacre
--
Bradipus
OK, fair enough. Certainly, I knew that the Russian Mafia and the Communists were natural enemies, but, I had thought the Italian Mafia was perhaps a little more leftist in their orientation. I suppose, given their natural "local" orientation, the mafia is likely always to be opposed to central authority, whether fascist, or communist.
Bradipus
2017-06-06 19:14:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 9:34:16 PM UTC-5, Bradipus
Post by Bradipus
On Friday, May 26, 2017 at 4:02:47 PM UTC-5, Bradipus
I don't think so.
During Fascist rule Communist party was in jail or in exile
abroad.
After the war Communist Party was strong in Tuscany and
Emilia not much in Sicily.
Ever heard of Portella della Ginestra?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portella_della_Ginestra_massacre
OK, fair enough. Certainly, I knew that the Russian Mafia
and the Communists were natural enemies, but, I had thought
the Italian Mafia was perhaps a little more leftist in their
orientation.
No preference, whoever is ruling (=managing the money of
taxpayers) they try to get part of the pie.
I suppose, given their natural "local" orientation, the mafia
is likely always to be opposed to central authority, whether
fascist, or communist.
They try to do their business with the least interference from
outside.

Usually they try to give support to politicians in change of
favours.


Anyway it's not a monolithical organization, there are regional
differences.
Sicily more organized, Calabria more familistic (clans), Naples
more anarchic...

Then there are various periods, usually they don't like going
to military confrontation (killing policemen and magistrates),
they prefer quieter systems.
--
Bradipus
Loading...