I’ve already made several forays into the realm of the nature of proper governance. Here’s the most extensive of them:
Which was itself heavily informed by the writings of one Frederic Bastiat, some of which passages I have commented on here:
But in this article, I’d like to explore a few unusual arguments, take them to their extremes, and hopefully gain a better understanding of the nature of political power. Because political power is an evergreen source of contention, mainly because it is all about contention. Politics is about who should be on our side whom we should always defend and opportunistically admire, and who should be on the other team whom we should always despise and opportunistically destroy.
One of the first reactions I would expect is the stance that there is no “other”, and that we should make every effort to never attack and destroy people. And that’s a valid political stance, but it boils down to anarchy and the dissolution of the state itself. And if that’s what you want, okay, but you’re not really playing the game at that point. “This game is stupid, let’s play something else!” might be true, but it’s not a legal move. It’s a rejection of the game, turning the face toward something else. I’m something of a libertarian, and as this whole first objection is basically radical libertarianism I feel compelled, by way of cleaning my own house to simply point out that “Christ will rule with a rod of iron” and that God is the “Lord of Hosts” and if you want to rebel against that, I will not stand with you. Furthermore, that is exactly the kind of argument that can only be answered by violent force, so if your aim is the elimination of violence, your ends will be best served by silence.
I suspect this first reaction is rooted in the addition of the feminine perspective to our modern political landscape. In a family, casting out the children is unthinkable, nearly the worst signal of familial failure, second only to preventing the children from leaving when they are ready. And this is the deeply dogmatic framework we have introduced to our political system. It is an ancient voice, speaking from the most unassailable seat of authority, the seat of life itself, which is the woman. But for these same reasons, it does not need a voice in the political scene. The saying that “A woman’s place is in the home” is not only true, but deeply helpful, and we have ignored it with the perilous results which are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
So the first argument I would like to make is an argument against the extension of the franchise to women. The most telling examples I can offer are the historical examples of the Iroquois and the Hawai’ians. The Iroquois practiced a matrilineal system. If you like the way the Iroquois lived, very good. But I do not, and that is a very different discussion. As for Hawai’i, they gave the vote to women in 1840 when they first began their experiment in democracy. Without getting lost in the details, I will simply point out that they found it necessary to amend their constitution twelve years later in order to restrict the vote to male property owners. This second move indicates the other half of my franchise proposal, which is that:
We must resume making a distinction between slave and free. This distinction has existed for nearly all of human history. Fundamentally, the distinction is made in order to clearly answer the question “Are you responsible for yourself?” or, put another way “Is someone else taking care of you?” which points to another question we moderns seem to have forgotten how to ask “Where are your parents?” Which is another major problem, who takes care of children, and which really I’m not prepared to address at this point except so far as it concerns slavery. The traditional answer is that children are the slaves of their parents. The modern answer is that children are slaves of the state.
This assertion is often met by the statement that we have eliminated slavery, and no one is a slave. But this is patent nonsense, because such a thing is impossible. It is impossible to remove the need for someone to take absolute responsibility for children. And it is impossible to separate responsibility and authority. So it is impossible to remove slavery from politics unless we remove children from politics. And, of course, while we’re at it, we need to remove those who choose to act like children, that is, irresponsibly. The name for such a person is “slave”, in that someone else agrees to take responsibility for their physical well-being in exchange for the authority over their whole physical being. For an irresponsible person, there is no choice between slavery and freedom. It is a choice between slavery and death. While this sheds a fascinating light on the modern confusion of death and freedom, I pass it by, too, for the present.
It might be possible to find a society where every mature person has personal authority and responsibility. I would point to Singapore as a fairly good example of such a society. But in the USA, we have not done this. We have simply removed the distinction between slave and free, and then given half the reins of the society to the only unavoidable slaveholders, that is, to women. So it is no surprise that instead of making all people free, we have made all people slaves. It is stunning, in fact, that we could possibly imagine any other outcome.
So I propose that we alter the franchise to extend to only living free men. This, by itself, will not solve any political problems. But it will allow for the possibility of freedom, a possibility which does not exist at all at present. As a citizen of a nation which dares to style itself the “land of the free” this seems a rather disastrous shame that it is a practical impossibility for anyone to be free in the United States. Not that I object to the state of slavery. It is an honorable station, and has been held by saints and great rulers. I simply object to the modern presumptions that it is the only morally acceptable state for all of mankind (which is nonsense), and that we should call it by the name of “freedom” (which is simply deceptive).
Now, this idea will no doubt elicit accusations, of which I choose three broad enough to hopefully be representative. The first is “What you propose is tyranny!” which is true enough. Or, I should say it is half true. I support the possibility of tyranny, in so far that such a possibility must be admitted in order to allow free men to give up their freedom and become slaves, and then for their free master to freely choose to act tyrannically. To refuse this possibility is to twice thwart freedom. Perhaps the possibility of freedom for all is not worth the possibility of even one tyrant. That is more than I know. But in so far as we the people of the United States of America are devoted to upholding the possibility of “liberty and justice for all” it seems beholden on us to bear the cost which such possibilities require. As it stands, we have defaulted.
Another objection might be “So, you support communism then?” which I can not deny. In my system, every woman and every man would form a communist society, into which would be born (Lord willing) slaves over whom they would hold absolute authority, and for whom they would be absolutely responsible. That this “communism” goes by the more common name of “family” I need not point out. I thus do so freely. I feel the fact that this communism is voluntary on the part of its founding members (who hold, together, the means of production of their subjects) is sufficient differentiation from the more intrinsically violent forms of governance which moderns in their new culture uphold as communism and which more experienced cultures called more simply “conquest”.
And finally, the opposite objection may be offered “This would make all men fascists, ruling women absolutely” which is also true enough. It is even more true than the other two objections, in that there is no real blunting of the force of it, except to offer its corollary, that women would rule men absolutely, and its historical context, that these two things have always been true, continue to be true, and will likely be true long after this and all other “modern” nonsense has settled, like all dust “blown this way and that by every whim of doctrine” eventually does, to the bottom of the sea.