• frank
    7.9k
    Was the emancipation proclamation statist?


    Perhaps it was.
    NOS4A2

    count me in, then
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    I mentioned earlier that the state moves begrudgingly and only under great pressure towards any benefit to the citizenry, but with alacrity towards anything that increases its own power and benefit. That's probably why the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to the enemy states, and not to the slavery within its own borders.
  • frank
    7.9k
    That's probably why the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to the enemy states, and not to the slavery within its own borders.NOS4A2

    Since it was done with war power, the jurisdiction ended at the MD line.

    Yes, sometimes state power is the only way to accomplish some good, but once the state has power, it will be used by the corrupt.

    Welcome to the human race.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    Since it was done with war power, the jurisdiction ended at the MD line.

    Yes, sometimes state power is the only way to accomplish some good, but once the state has power, it will be used by the corrupt.

    Welcome to the human race.

    I often wonder how the country would have been had the state listened to the brilliant individualism of Frederick Douglass. On the question of what should be done with the slaves once emancipated he gave the perfect answer: "Our answer is, do nothing with them; mind your business, and let them mind theirs. Your doing with them is their greatest misfortune. They have been undone by your doings, and all they now ask, and really have need of at your hands, is just to let them alone. They suffer by every interference, and succeed best by being let alone."

    But statism couldn't help itself. So-called "black codes" restricted black people's right to own property, conduct business, buy and lease land, and move freely through public spaces. It went to great lengths to meddle in their lives, essentially slavery by a different name.
  • frank
    7.9k
    [qute="NOS4A2;545308"]But statism couldn't help itself. So-called "black codes" restricted black people's right to own property, conduct business, buy and lease land, and move freely through public spaces. It went to great lengths to meddle in their lives, essentially slavery by a different name.[/quote]

    So the federal govt passed the 14th amendment in response. By the 1890s black votership was 40-70%. Blacks owned businesses, worked side by side with whites, were accumulating wealth, and were entering into politics.

    This progress was halted by violent opposition to the state by white supremacists who hired thugs to terrorize black voters.

    We can only speculate what sort of history the South would have if certain parties could have had respect for the authority of the state.

    We can do this all day, you know. There isn't going to be an uprising in the US. You know that, right?
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    Under many black codes freed men weren't allowed to bear arms, and the KKK were their enforcers. So the state authority and their thugs first denies the right of a man to defend himself, then it presents itself as the solution to his woes, like a protection racket. Martin Luther King himself was denied this right to own a gun nearly a century later, as were many others fighting for their freedom.

    No, I don't think there will be an uprising in the US.
  • frank
    7.9k
    Martin Luther King himself was denied this right to own a gun nearly a century later,NOS4A2

    He favored nonviolent resistance, so he probably didn't care.

    No, I don't think there will be an uprising in the US.NOS4A2

    :up:
  • James Riley
    1.2k
    Under many black codes freed men weren't allowed to bear arms,NOS4A2

    It's my understanding Ronald Reagan first championed gun control in CA in response to black folks packing guns at rallies and occupations. Gun control is evil, unless it means black folks. Then it's okay. Guns seemed to have worked for some blacks in the 50s and 60s. Read "Negros With Guns" by Robert F. Williams, 1962. Apparently him and MLK had some back and forth.
  • Gnomon
    1.6k
    I fear the latter end of the spectrum because it approaches a degree of statism expressed in fascism and made concrete by a variety of totalitarian regimes.NOS4A2
    In philosophical discussions, it usually helps to narrow the range of responses by defining primary terms. In this case, the core problem to be addressed seems to be the degree of centralized control. For example, a positive assessment of a Fascist Dictatorship, is that "they make the trains run on time", while laissez faire decentralized governments tend to be disorderly and inefficient. Which is why democratic states, in their official charter, tend to aim for a happy middle-ground. For example, the framers of the US Constitution argued on one side for the individual freedom of a Greek Democracy, while the other side preferred the communal stability of a Monarchy. The result was a strained compromise.

    So, in practice, due to the polarization of populist politics, states typically swing back & forth between too much freedom and too much regulation. However, does that erratic balancing act indicate "obsequious human tendency towards statism", or simply a Hegelian dynamic of progressive historical evolution? We do indeed now seem to be at a tipping point between recent world-shaking experiments in both directions : Communism & Fascism. And each attempt at Utopia showed a tendency to "totalitarian" rule, working in the interest of the heads-of-State, rather than the masses. So "government by the people", despite its frustrating tendency to disorganization and confusion, at least provides a tipsy balance of freedom within determinism. :cool:

    Statism : a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs.
    Definitions from Oxford Languages
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    I defined statism as “the belief that a select coterie of fallible human beings should operate an all-powerful institution to meddle in the lives of everyone else”. Philosophical discussion should rarely appeal to the dictionary, anyways, because dictionaries define common usage, what it may have meant to the authors at a certain time, and not what words should mean. Either way, the Oxford definition you provided suffices for my own tastes.

    I don’t think it’s true that democratic governments swing back and forth between individual freedom and regulation. There is a great quote of James Madison’s that exemplifies a common excuse for the conversion of individual liberty into state power. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson he wrote “you understand the game behind the Curtain too well not to perceive the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in the Government”. Little more needs to be said. The most glaring example of this in recent times was the contingency of megadeath upon which the state would pilfer our liberties.

    This transfer of power is progressive, like a disease. The sum of federal laws in a country like the United States is seemingly uncountable; no lawyer or judge, let alone the layman, could know what they all are. In a system where ignorance of the law is no excuse this presents a problem. When the laws of the US were codified as the United States Codes in 1926 they occupied a single volume. This is to say nothing of state and local laws. Each principle recorded in these volumes are intended to restrain the individual in directions where his actions were previously unchecked and compel his actions which previously he might perform or not as he wished.

    The corresponding effect of this progressive diminution of individual liberty is statism, in my opinion.
  • Apollodorus
    2k
    The corresponding effect of this progressive diminution of individual liberty is statism, in my opinion.NOS4A2

    Correct. But suppose we decide we don't want statism. That won't take us very far if we have no knowledge or ability to resist.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    In his Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, La Boétie wondered why people will suffer under a tyrant who has no other power than what they give him. He concluded that it was simply customary to do so. In order for a citizenry to shrug the tyrant from their backs, all they must do is refuse to consent to their own enslavement. As for the tyrant, “it is not necessary to deprive him of anything, but simply to give him nothing”.

    It’s not that easy, of course, especially in a tyranny without a tyrant.
  • Valentinus
    1.3k

    The State sucks, for sure.
    The absence of State sucks too.
    There are various arguments from Hobbes and Rousseau who put the matter into relief. For them, the issue considered where the arrangements between persons cancelled some more "natural" order that was in force before.
    And that approach does have the virtue of owning the opposite idea.
    If "statism" is an idea by itself, I am not able to perceive it.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    I don’t see the use of any social contract theory of the state. I prefer the idea that states form and rule by conquest and exploitation, and never by voluntary or consensual association. Colonialism and imperialism are examples of this. Vast empires have seized power and exploited the people all across the globe throughout recorded history.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    I recall my first conversation with you in which you criticised the lawlessness (a statist notion) and implicit communism (a boogeyman of the American state) of a group of people protesting their oppression and lives lost in the hands of a violently oppressive state.

    Now here you are bemoaning the oppressiveness of any state at all. You've come a long way (too far, perhaps). Or is it just hypocrisy? Someone who is against the state oppression of its most victimised demographics is in charge, time to rally the people against the state sort of thing?

    Anyway, I kind of agree with you in principle of not in practice. The state exists because large, self-policing social groups are untenable but agriculture favours large social groups. Historically the state has favoured the owners of production over its consumers, hence the importance of private property laws, trespass laws and more severe punishments for proletariat crimes than for crimes committed by the powerful, which remains true in a less severe form today. The state is oppressive because the powerful favour oppressive states

    It needn't be that way. Yes, there has to be some degree of policing because the larger the social group, the higher the number of people who end up with no stake in it. But there's no reason not to have a state the does the opposite to what ours does: protecting the natural egalitarianism of our species rather than the greed of its more resourceful, violent, and antisocial elements. That is, after all, the principal mode of our natural self-policing: to stop freeloaders, exploiters and other maniacs from taking control of the group.

    Ensuring that everyone has an equal stake in their town would be the most effective route to minimising state interference: it would allow people to do what you guys say you want people to do (decide for themselves, do the right thing out of self-interest, etc.) Problem is, sounds kinda like communityism.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    I don’t recall conversing with you at all so it might not have been that interesting. But yes I tend to criticize violence, rioting theft, and the destruction of property, and my own statism require rights and properties be defended. I also think all collectivist ideologies are pap, and should be criticized, communism included.

    But yes, wherever a faction of human beings is in control that’s where the powerful and powerless alike seek influence and favor. They cannot do otherwise. So why put a faction of human beings in control?

    I don’t believe there is a natural egalitarianism in our species, nor would I want an equal stake in a land that is unequal. It seems to me building and enforcing such an association would require totalitarian methods and an unfathomable suppression of regular human activity. I’ll pass.
  • Gnomon
    1.6k
    The sum of federal laws in a country like the United States is seemingly uncountable; no lawyer or judge, let alone the layman, could know what they all are. In a system where ignorance of the law is no excuse this presents a problem.NOS4A2
    Now that is a problem of centralized government that could, and should, be alleviated, if not eliminated. I've long thought that a rule-of-law should be : for every new law passed, an old one should be removed. Instead of just piling law on top of law, until common sense is legislated away, and replaced with an overwhelming Tower of Legal Babel. :cool:
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    But yes I tend to criticize violence, rioting theft, and the destruction of propertyNOS4A2

    Ah okay, so when black people protest, however peacefully, it's still a violent crime, so you can freely substitute those occurrences as if they were the same. I guess this is the logic certain police officers employ too. Anyway, good to know the world hasn't turned upside down.

    But yes, wherever a faction of human beings is in control that’s where the powerful and powerless alike seek influence and favor.NOS4A2

    A faction of human beings in control is powerful, they don't need to seek favour. Or do you mean between factions, like land owners and politicians? Then yes.

    I don’t believe there is a natural egalitarianism in our speciesNOS4A2

    I suppose people imagine human beings to be approximately like them. I don't know how seriously you take science, but the reigning wisdom is that, yes, human beings are naturally egalitarian and altruistic by default. We've had tens of thousands of years of social cooperation within groups; the exploitative power dynamics we're used to are thought to be relatively recent, post-agricultural. There are still many hunter gatherer tribes in the world now who, far from civilisation, remain egalitarian and altruistic.

    However, key to their success is staying small. Basically it relies on everyone being close. This gives everyone a reason to want to help each other, while also allowing everyone to keep everyone else in check.

    Power differentials are at odds with that, and that's one reason why you need a state to maintain them. I don't think there's anything untotalitarian in brainwashing people into thinking that their disadvantage from birth isn't real and enforcing the point with violence and dual-standard policing. It seems infinitely better, if we must have a state, to have one that ensures everyone's stake in society is comparable. After all, the lie that is the American dream is meant to appeal to precisely that sense of egalitarianism and self-realisation.
  • Apollodorus
    2k
    It’s not that easy, of course, especially in a tyranny without a tyrant.NOS4A2

    I think there is tyrant alright but he is hiding behind Big Bucks, Big Tech, the Media, and George Soros.
  • Valentinus
    1.3k

    The "idea that states form and rule by conquest and exploitation" is an odd place to find the "individual liberty" you also advocate.
    So, you have two "statisms." One you like and one you don't. You eschew the use of social contracts but seem to be expecting a better deal in one system versus another for yourself.
    I don't understand the difference you are claiming.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    What I said was I see no use with the social contract theory of state. I simply don’t believe that is how man transitioned from earlier times to what we have now. I believe states form through conquest and exploitation. I didn’t say or mean to imply I eschew the use of social contracts.

    There are plenty degrees of statism, not just two. I mentioned this already. But it is true that I prefer and expect a better deal from one side of the spectrum over the other.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    Ah okay, so when black people protest, however peacefully, it's still a violent crime, so you can freely substitute those occurrences as if they were the same. I guess this is the logic certain police officers employ too. Anyway, good to know the world hasn't turned upside down.

    I was speaking about riots, violence and theft. So why bring up black people and peaceful protest? Logic?

    A faction of human beings in control is powerful, they don't need to seek favour. Or do you mean between factions, like land owners and politicians? Then yes.

    I mean between those who possess the monopoly on violence and those who do not.

    I suppose people imagine human beings to be approximately like them. I don't know how seriously you take science, but the reigning wisdom is that, yes, human beings are naturally egalitarian and altruistic by default. We've had tens of thousands of years of social cooperation within groups; the exploitative power dynamics we're used to are thought to be relatively recent, post-agricultural. There are still many hunter gatherer tribes in the world now who, far from civilisation, remain egalitarian and altruistic.

    However, key to their success is staying small. Basically it relies on everyone being close. This gives everyone a reason to want to help each other, while also allowing everyone to keep everyone else in check.

    Power differentials are at odds with that, and that's one reason why you need a state to maintain them. I don't think there's anything untotalitarian in brainwashing people into thinking that their disadvantage from birth isn't real and enforcing the point with violence and dual-standard policing. It seems infinitely better, if we must have a state, to have one that ensures everyone's stake in society is comparable. After all, the lie that is the American dream is meant to appeal to precisely that sense of egalitarianism and self-realisation.

    Equivocating between protean and compulsory egalitarianism makes it all the more confusing. To me it doesn’t follow that because people are generally altruistic or egalitarian they all must be given a comparable stake in some combination of civil order, presumably by some benevolent and incorruptible group of brokers.

    I’m all for people starting their own communes, so long as people are there by their own free will. I’m against the involuntary, statist communes, however. The list of failed attempts and the corpses they are built upon is long enough for me dismiss the notion outright.
  • Echarmion
    2.2k
    This transfer of power is progressive, like a disease.NOS4A2

    But that's not true in historical terms. Power has repeatedly be decentralized as well.

    Each principle recorded in these volumes are intended to restrain the individual in directions where his actions were previously unchecked and compel his actions which previously he might perform or not as he wished.NOS4A2

    The idea that individual actions are unchecked until a law concerning them is codified doesn't hold up to any scrutiny. Pre-state societies often have very elaborate rules for conduct.

    What I said was I see no use with the social contract theory of state. I simply don’t believe that is how man transitioned from earlier times to what we have now. I believe states form through conquest and exploitation. I didn’t say or mean to imply I eschew the use of social contracts.NOS4A2

    No-one actually thinks states historically formed through a social contract, and if you believe that is what social contract theories of state argue, then you have not understood them very well.

    To me it doesn’t follow that because people are generally altruistic or egalitarian they all must be given a comparable stake in some combination of civil order, presumably by some benevolent and incorruptible group of brokers.NOS4A2

    That's because you're not actually responding to the argument. What you're missing is that the "protean" altruism is based on direct interpersonal relationships, but humans are only capable of forming such relationships with a couple dozen to maybe a few hundred people. Beyond that, additional institutions are necessary in order to organize communal action. We ignore the constitution of these institutions at our own peril - if we don't take an active part in their design, we are allowing someone else to do it for us, and we already know the likely consequences of that.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    I was speaking about riots, violence and theft. So why bring up black people and peaceful protest? Logic?NOS4A2

    Because the first time we spoke about this you were quite happy to tar every BLM protestor, however peaceful, with the same brush as it's worst individuals and, indeed, opportunistic looters who had nothing to do with the protests (while maintaining that a minority of murderous, racist cops does not look bad for the police system that arms and trains them). And you seem to be doing that again here: I spoke of protestors; you substituted protestors for rioters and looters, not me.

    Equivocating between protean and compulsory egalitarianism makes it all the more confusing.NOS4A2

    You don't seem to understand. I'm not equivocating between humans in their natural state and larger groups with an egalitarian policy: I've said twice now that larger groups can't support that default behaviour. I'm saying that modelling a state on our natural egalitarianism would be better than carving one out protect tyrants, oppressors, exploiters and thieves from the masses, which I gather is your preference.

    I’m all for people starting their own communes, so long as people are there by their own free will.NOS4A2

    One of your straw men against BLM was that it had communes. I guess you mean you're all for white people starting their own communes?
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    Because the first time we spoke about this you were quite happy to tar every BLM protestor, however peaceful, with the same brush as it's worst individuals and, indeed, opportunistic looters who had nothing to do with the protests (while maintaining that a minority of murderous, racist cops does not look bad for the police system that arms and trains them). And you seem to be doing that again here: I spoke of protestors; you substituted protestors for rioters and looters, not me.

    You accuse me, falsely, of criticizing people “protesting their oppression and lives lost in the hands of a violently oppressive state”. In fact, I was criticizing the rioting, looting, and assaulting, which left dozens deceased and the damage in the billions of dollars. Then it turned out I was criticizing the black people protesting. Now its BLM protesters. I fear we’re entering duck-speak territory.

    In any case it’s probably better to ask my opinion on these matters instead of inventing them.

    You don't seem to understand. I'm not equivocating between humans in their natural state and larger groups with an egalitarian policy: I've said twice now that larger groups can't support that default behaviour. I'm saying that modelling a state on our natural egalitarianism would be better than carving one out protect tyrants, oppressors, exploiters and thieves from the masses, which I gather is your preference.

    Of course larger groups can’t support support natural human behavior. It’s why collectivism has always sought to wipe out natural human behavior and association in order to enforce compulsory behavior and association. So no matter which way you model your state, at some point you’ll run out of voluntary participants and move right to force. In the end this scheming and state building will snuff out natural human behavior, not compliment it.

    One of your straw men against BLM was that it had communes. I guess you mean you're all for white people starting their own communes?

    That’s not true. I claimed then that no activist network such as BLM can substitute for family or community, and still stand by that.

    Curious question, but why do you keep bringing up race?
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    Again, it still doesn’t follow. The idea that “humans are only capable of forming such relationships with a couple dozen to maybe a few hundred people” does not lead me to the conclusion “additional institutions are necessary in order to organize communal action”. Why would you need to force someone into “communal action” because he doesn’t know enough people? You don’t; you do it because you require his labor, his wealth, and his obedience to complete your schemes, and you will take it by force.
  • Echarmion
    2.2k
    Why would you need to force someone into “communal action” because he doesn’t know enough people? You don’t; you do it because you require his labor, his wealth, and his obedience to complete your schemes, and you will take it by force.NOS4A2

    It has nothing to do with needing to do it. I want to do it. So do most other people. Most people prefer a technological civilization with all their comforts, long livespans etc. to subsitence farming somewhere.

    You can only get to and maintain a technological society via communal action.
  • NOS4A2
    4.8k


    It has nothing to do with needing to do it. I want to do it. So do most other people. Most people prefer a technological civilization with all their comforts, long livespans etc. to subsitence farming somewhere.

    You can only get to and maintain a technological society via communal action.

    The problem I have is I see state "communal action" as compulsory, maintained through coercion and funded by exploitation. This is why I cannot see it as something desirable, no matter the comforts it may be able to provide.
  • Echarmion
    2.2k
    The problem I have is I see state "communal action" as compulsory, maintained through coercion and funded by exploitation. This is why I cannot see it as something desirable, no matter the comforts it may be able to provide.NOS4A2

    But who could be convinced by such a viewpoint? I don't think you can even live according to a standard of "all compulsion is bad", unless you are a hermit subsistence farmer somewhere.
  • James Riley
    1.2k
    he problem I have is I see state "communal action" as compulsory, maintained through coercion and funded by exploitation. This is why I cannot see it as something desirable, no matter the comforts it may be able to provide.NOS4A2

    You're thinking of capitalism.
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