“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 8) (1835)

Chapter 8: What Tempers the Tyranny of the Majority in the United States

  • I – Absence of Administrative Centralization
    • 2 types of centralization – government & administrative
      • Only government centralization in the US
      • If directing power had both, there’s be no freedom because it have the right to command, & the faculty & habit to perform everything
      • US lacks the tools of tyrants
    • Central government only occupied with small number of matters & doesn’t regulate secondary concerns, nor has the desire to do so
      • wouldn’t expand absolute authority of central government
      • majority can’t make all citizens obey in everything & at anytime
    • Central government’s commands carried out by agents but retarded by city & county governments, who divide the popular will so that even with oppressive laws, enforcement is difficult because of decentralization
  • II – The Temper of the American Legal Profession and How it Serves to Counterbalance Democracy
    • Prestige & influence of lawyers are strongest barriers against the faults of Democracy
      • European political movements are led by lawyers either against authorities or on behalf of authorities
        • Extends power of the king or aristocracy
      • Lawyers have habits & tastes for formality, not the revolutionary spirit, & have privilege of intellectual class with aristocratic tastes
    • In free governments, lawyers are in the leading ranks of the parties, along with aristocracy
      • All democratic movements are led by lawyers
      • Aristocracy & lawyers make natural allies but lawyers have the ability to overthrow governments
        • Love ordered life -> authority is the guarantor of order
        • Less afraid of tyranny than arbitrariness
    • Democracy favors political power for lawyers because when the rich, noble & prince are excluded from government, lawyers take over
    • If they gravitate toward aristocracy & prince, the people can bring them back with the promise of powers
      • Lawyers don’t want to overthrow Democracies but to try to guide it with familiar methods
      • One with the people but aristocratic in habits – make natural liaison between the two
        • Aristocratic nature of the legal mind is largest in the UK & US due to common law & legal procedures
      • UK & US lawyers look at what’s been done while French lawyers look at what’s wished to be done.
      • French lawyers more interested in their own opinions than US & UK lawyers who defer to ancestors, tradition & precedents
        • French laws are opaque but clearly available for all to read.
        • US & UK laws require reading precedents & interpreting them like Egyptian priests
    • In UK, lawyers are the cadet branch of aristocracy. They value laws not because they’re good but because they are old, & don’t want to innovate
    • In the US, people distrust the rich but lawyers effectively make up the political & intellectual upper class & only stand to lose from innovation – making them fairly conservative
      • US’s form of aristocracy
    • Lawyers apply a brake to public passions & ideas
      • Judges are lawyers who like the stability of their office, where their knowledge gives them high standing among peers & political power gives him privilege
        • Judges can be removed by the legislature & some are even elected
          • May lead to bad results someday
    • Americans are reluctant to change civil laws
    • Hardly a political question that doesn’t turn into a judicial one
      • Legal language has been introduced into common speech because it infiltrates society
  • III – The Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution
    • Judicial Aspect – English started juries when they were barbarians & have grown attached to it, especially with Enlightenment & have spread it all around the world
    • Political institution – a jury is made of citizens selected by chance & given the right to judge. May have aristocratic members but juries have a republican element – real control is in people’s hands, not the rulers’.
      • True sanction of political law is penal sanction & when that’s missing, law loses power.
      • Man who’s judge in a criminal trial is true master of society
        • Jury puts control into people’s hands
        • UK uses aristocratic juries making it an aristocratic society
        • US – any citizen who votes can be a jury member -> sovereignty of the people as universal suffrage.
          • Responsible for execution of laws along with legislature who has the duty of making laws
    • Laws unsteady if unsupported by mores, which are the only tough & durable power in a nation.
      • Criminal & civil juries -> System infiltrates into business of life & has influence on national character by instilling habits of judicial on everyone’s minds & are the best way to prepare a people to be free
      • Spreads respect for court decisions & idea of right throughout all classes, teaching equity in practice & invests each citizen with magisterial office & a duty toward society & share in government
    • Greatest Advantage – effective in shaping a nation’s judgment & increasing its natural rights
      • it is a free school, always open, where the juror learns his own rights & comes in contact with the best educated & most enlightened members with practical lessons in laws
      • Judges & lawyers only aristocratic body to check people’s movements but without physical power & only influence on people’s mind
      • Civil suits – judge acts a disinterested arbiter but the jury is mostly incompetent & useless.

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 7)

Chapter 7: The Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects

  • Democratic government’s essence is absolute sovereignty of the will of the majority
    • Legislature is chose to represent the majority directly for short terms – almost all government power is here
    • Laws weaken the executive to the point where it has no stability
    • Moral authority of majority rule is the number of representations is more important than how they’re chosen & there’s more wisdom in an elected body than in one man
      • power seems more legitimate it by majority
    • vs. ancien régime France – king could do no wrong & any blame was put on advisers, making obedience easier by exonerating the king of responsibility for outcome
    • Parties affect respect for majority because if nation is divided by irreconcilable differences, majority is disregarded as unpleasant to submit to
      • Aristocracy would have to give up its privileges to rule like a majority
  • I – How in America the Omnipotence of the Majority Increases the Legislative and Administrative Instability Natural to Democracies
    • Instability comes from turnover of representatives & Democracy is only applied to most important matters
      • laws & constitutions change, but activity never slows down which causes instability
      • omnipotence of majority & quick execution of laws make laws unstable because improvements are being made all the time
        • e.g. Prison reform was brought up, public got excited, prisoners & prisons were reformed due to the majority wanting it. Penitentiaries compared to old prisons & it became obvious new system was better.
  • II – Tyranny of the Majority
    • Majority shouldn’t have complete control
      • Justice forms boundary to people’s rights & majority is merely a representation of society – can’t go beyond justice & reason
      • Juxtapose majority to minority – no difference in character, only number
    • No such thing as a “mixed government” – society has some principle of action which dominates others
      • When contrary principles occur, revolutions happen & society crumbles
    • Necessary to place one social power over others but freedom is in trouble if that power can’t be restrained & moderated
    • When omnipotence in an authority, seeds of tyranny planted
      • in US, there’s a shortage of guarantees against tyranny
    • If you suffer injustice in US, where do you turn to?
      • All institutions are represented by majority
  • III – Effect of the Omnipotence of the Majority on the Arbitrary Power of the American Public Officials
    • Tyranny can use law as an instrument – no longer arbitrary but usually makes use of arbitrariness, can do without it
    • Arbitrary power can be non-tyrannical if used in public interest
    • Omnipotence of majority favors legal despotism of legislators & arbitrary power & magistrate
      • public functionaries passive agents – freer but rarely abuse power
  • IV – The Power Exercised by the Majority in America over Thought
    • Absolute monarchy can’t completely control thoughts hostile to it from circulating in courts & public
    • King’s power is physical, controlling actions not desires
    • People in US talk when majority is in doubt & then shut up when it’s clear, & act accordingly
      • Less independence of mind & freedom of discussion in the US
      • Only one authority & source of strength/success – nothing outside of it
    • Democracy restrains the intellectual area, threatening those outside of what’s acceptable it with ostracism & persecution
      • Bruyère & Molière criticized government of Louis XIV. As dangerous as this was in France, it would never happen in the US
      • Majority in US lives in perpetual state of self-adoration
    • No literary geniuses because there’s no freedom of spirit – absolutely necessary for them to arise
      • Even Spain under the Inquisition had opposition in public arena
  • V – Effects of the Majority’s Tyranny on American National Character; the Courtier Spirit in the United States
    • Outstanding politicians are rare due to despotism of majority in the US
      • A ton of them during the Revolution to guide men without tyrannizing them
      • Intellectual movement & their greatness brought honor to the nation
    • Courtiers flattered absolute monarchs but majority don’t, & only submitted out of weakness, rather than to abase themselves in bootlicking
      • In democracy, all opinions are given, & public & private life is mingled
        • As in the spirit of the court, put within the reach of all classes to participate
    • Majority having absolute & irresistible sway causes many to renounce their rights if they diverge from it
    • Not many willing to stray from public opinion – which is completely different to the generation of the Revolution
    • Despotism corrupts a man who submits to it than the man who imposes it. The absolute monarch may have virtues but courtiers are always vile.
    • American moralists excuse this by appealing to the majority’s vanity
  • VI – The Greatest Danger to the American Republics Comes from the Omnipotence of the Majority
    • governments collapse from impotence or tyranny – either power slips from its grasp or is taken from it
    • Anarchy in Democracy seen as nature of a democratic state to be weak but really, government influence stops during a war between 2 factions
      • Always abuse of strength & ill use of resources brings the government down
      • Usually from tyranny or inability – not impotence
    • Governments of US more energetic than absolute monarchs of Europe
    • If freedom is lost in America, it’ll be due to omnipotence of the majority making minorities resort to desperation & physical force
      • Madison – justice is the purpose of government & civil society. When a majority can oppress the weaker, anarchy reigns & we go back to a state of nature
      • Jefferson – tyranny exists in the executive but mostly in the legislative. Keep an eye on both

“Democracy in America” by Tocqueville (Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 6) (1835)

Chapter 6: The Real Advantages Derived by American Society From Democratic Government

  • I – The General Tendency of Laws Under the Sway of American Democracy and the Instincts of Those Who Apply Them
    • defects of Democracy are obvious but the benefits are only seen in the long run
      • laws can be defective & incomplete
      • most of them violate rights or sanction dangerous ones
    • If a legislator wants to favor one at the expense of many he has to propose it quickly & without much attention to it
      • efficiency of passage makes it dangerous
    • Aristocracy is more skillful in legislating then Democracy, not subject to transitory impulses, & moves with intelligence & efficiency
    • Democracy’s laws are defective or untimely but often unintentionally works against itself
      • If a society organized by nature or Constitution, can tolerate passing effect of bad laws & the general tendency of laws without disaster
        • In America, great privilege is to be able to make retrievable mistakes
    • American democracy often makes mistakes in choice of men it entrusts power
    • Democracy’s rulers are less honest & capable but the governed are more enlightened & more alert
      • People more occupied with own affairs, jealous of their rights & prevent representatives from deviating from public’s interests
      • Democratic magistrates may abuse power but only have it for a short time
    • Rulers should have virtues & talents but shouldn’t have interests contrary to the governed
    • Political structure equally favors growth & prosperity for all classes
      • Classes like distinct nations within a nation
      • It’s dangerous to entrust the fate of all to one class just as it is to entrust one nation’s fate to another
    • When rich alone rule, poor’s interests are in danger
      • When poor alone rule, rich’s interests are in danger
    • Advantage to Democracy to serve the well-being for the greatest number
      • Those entrusted are often inferior in capacity & morality
      • interest is mingled & identified with the majority
      • Power is untrustworthy & mistake-prone but will never systematically follow a tendency hostile to the majority
    • Bad administration’s effect small due to terms of office being short
      • corruption & incapacity not in common interests of men
      • Won’t work in concert – vices of magistrates are personal & hardly shared
    • Aristocracy is distinct from majority’s interest
      • Aristocratic magistrates think in the long term, sees class spirit & unconsciously shapes society to convenience of their descendants
    • Only England has a liberal aristocracy with Enlightenment but the welfare of the poor has been sacrificed for that of the rich
    • US officials have no class interest to promote
      • government is beneficial even if rulers are inept & contemptible
      • tends to promote general prosperity in spite of vices & mistakes
      • aristocratic institutions have secret bias to contribute to afflictions of the country
        • Good men do evil without intending it
      • US – brings good results without thinking
  • II – Public Spirit in the United States
    • Older form of Patriotism from feeling tying a man to where he was born
      • habits, ancestors, memories, tradition
      • similar to religious zeal – doesn’t reason – feels & acts
      • Can be personified in a monarch & people are proud of his power
      • decays in peace & grows in a crisis
      • When mores are simple, society rests & legitimacy is not contested
    • New for of Patriotism – more rational, less generous, more creative, less ardent, longer lasting, enlightened, grows with help from laws, rights are mingled with personal interest
    • Man understands the country’s well-being influences his own & laws allow him to contribute to it.
      • Gives him an interest in its prosperity
      • At first, it just seems useful, then he thinks he’s created it
    • Maybe the best way to interest people in the fate of their country is to give them a stake in it
    • The newly arrived take such an interest in new country because they are actively taking part in it
    • Common man understands influence of general prosperity because it’s his responsibility
    • Americans feel duty to defend what’s criticized
      • But sometimes Patriotism turns into national pride, childishness & vanity
  • III – The Idea of Rights in the United States
    • Virtues & rights are mingled
      • Rights have defined the nature of license & tyranny
      • with them we can be independent without arrogance & obedient without servility
    • Submission to force debases a man because he knows a fellow mortal has the right to give him orders
    • No man can be great without virtue & no nation can be great without respect for rights
    • Children grab what they can & must be taught to respect property & that it can be taken from them too
      • Eventually learns to respect others’ property
    • America has no proletarians – everybody’s got some possession to defend
      • High idea of political rights because they all have some & don’t want to be violated themselves
    • Democracy – political rights to benefit the least of the citizens & property is within the reach of all
    • New form of Patriotism
      • beliefs giving way to arguments & feelings giving way to calculations
    • Links idea of rights to personal interest
    • Despotism presents itself as repairer of all ills, support of just rights, defender of oppressed & founder of order
      • People are lulled to sleep by its temporary prosperity & when they wake up, they are wretched
      • Liberty is born in stormy weather, growing with difficulty in civil discord & only when it’s old do we see its blessings
  • IV – Respect for Laws in the United States
    • Parties are aware expression of the will of the whole can’t easily be smothered
      • Often cast doubts on majority’s validity
      • Without majority, they claim it from those who abstained from voting or that the majority have no right to vote.
      • Those who want to attack laws must either
        • 1 – Change the nation’s opinion, or
        • 2 – Trample its wishes underfoot
    • Americans feel a person interest in obeying laws – majority may one day become minority, minority may one day become majority & will demand laws of its own
      • Americans will submit as the work of the majority is of his own choosing
    • No numerous or perpetually turbulent crowd regarding the law as a natural enemy to fear or suspect
  • V – Activity Prevailing in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; the Influence Thereby Exerted on Society
    • In free countries, lots of activity
      • In unfree countries, not much activity
    • Democracies are in a rush to attain happiness
      • the state of society is the concern of the whole nation – including all classes
    • As soon as you show up in America, things are happening
      • noises, voices, movement, plans being made & carried out
      • choosing representatives & talking about morals, values & laws
    • With legislatures, agitation comes from all classes
      • to take hand in the government & talk about it is important
      • even women get involved
    • In some countries, political rights are seen as burdensome – worrying about communal interest is annoying
      • If an American did this, he’d lose all reason for living
    • Renews agitation goes into civil society
      • People manage public affairs badly but concern keeps the government going
      • A man of the people gets his self-esteem from listening to proposals & acting on them
    • Enemies of Democracy claim that a single man can do a better job than a government for all.
      • Correct, BUT
      • It provides a social & civic energy never seen before
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WON’T DO
      • raise mankind
      • cause scorn for material goods
      • engender devotion & conviction
      • refine manners
    • WHAT DEMOCRACY WILL DO
      • turn man’s intellect & moral activity toward the necessities of physical life & use the to produce well-being for all
      • create tranquil habits
      • fewer crimes, vices & greater deeds
      • prosperous society
      • not build glory for the nation but the well-being of individuals

Thomas Babington Macaulay – Machiavelli

Lord Tommy Sideburns

 

Nicky, the Prince

Thomas Babington Macaulay – Machiavelli

  • Machiavelli is usually referred to as a
    • tempter
    • presenter of an evil principle
    • pushing ambition, revenge, perjury
      • Only got this reputation after The Prince
      • As if these things didn’t exist before the Prince
      • Gunpowder Plot blamed on him, as well as other plots
  • People are/were horrified by what they read by/about him
    • Scientifically writing how to back stab & overthrow nations
  • B/c he was Republican & his book scared people. he was thrown in jail
    • Maybe the book was intended to motivate de Medicis?
  • Other works quote Livy & don’t get such reactions
  • Many passages in the Prince have a more patriotic & public good tone
    • Strange mixture of cruelty, selfishness, heroism & enigma
    • This felling is only for outsiders – those who knew him weren’t shocked at all
  • Medici Pope Clement VII patronized books later condemned by the Council of Trent
    • Including the Prince
    • Condemned by English Catholics & French Protestants
  • Focus on city-states in Italy, unlike the rest of Europe
    • Cities survived by being undesirable to invaders
    • Later survived by strength but paid for by money earned in trade
    • Rest of Europe was weak
    • Church supported city-states (popes were from there)
      • Guelph & Ghibellines
  • In the rest of Europe, wealthy families stamped on the people in spite of the government
    • Either taken down by the people or dominated them
  • Lombards & Tuscans gov’ts survived by placating people of city w/ entertainment & food
    • Crusaders brought wealth back
    • Italians became merchants, manufacturers & bankers
    • Economy took, arts flourished
    • Classics returned to Italy & new works created too
    • Patrons bid for artists, writers
  • Military campaigns not feasible b/c army was mostly farmers
    • Need to stay home & farm
    • Handicapped rulers in military most of year able to fight in off-season but not in growing season
    • W/ commerce & industry growing, almost no army
  • From Ionian league era – too rich to fight
    • Hired mercenaries
    • Spartans had slaves to plant while the Spartans fought
  • Italian military was very antiquated
    • Knights were OK but the infantry was useless
    • Swiss had no problem with them
  • War needed a soldier class – standing army
    • Needed to encourage patriotism to get volunteers
    • Italian princes hired mercenaries from all over
    • No loyalty after end of contract
    • Mercenaries didn’t fight for home, only money
    • Had more in common with enemy than employer
  • Italy was vulnerable to France, Spain & Switzerland
    • These nations had valor as its highest virtue
    • Italy – peace & civility were the virtues
  • Successful rulers, Sforzas, used techniques praised by Machiavelli – underhanded
    • Francis – made himself but had no real friends – passing alliances
    • Maybe Shakespeare’s role of Iago based on him
  • Greeks & Romans differed in 2nd century BC
    • Roman conquerors – brave, resolute, faithful, religious, ignorant, arbitrary, cruel
    • Mirrored by Non-Italians in The Prince
    • Greek conquered – had art, science, literature, painting, architecture, polished manners, perceptive, tolerant, humane, sincere
  • Mirrored by Italians in the The Prince
    • Italian statesman
      • half demon (w/ ambitious goals in mind)
        • Impetuous, passionate, full of hatred, revenge
        • no outward courage, cowardly, unscrupulous, very perceptive, intelligence
        • dangerous enemy & accomplice
      • half angel (w/o goals in mind)
        • fair-minded, soft humane, graceful, sublime, patronizes freely
  • Machiavelli – far more virtuous than his intended audience
    • Other works very impressive
      • Mandragola – up there w/ Shakespeare & Molière
      • Clizia – based on a Plautus play
      • Belphegor – borrowed by Ben Jonson
  • Correspondence published in 1700s
    • Wrote that he wasn’t pleased w/ Italy’s circumstances
    • States weren’t independence
    • France, Spain interfering w/ Italy politics
  • Served as a diplomat
    • Ran into Cesare Borgia
    • Wrote about him – impressed
    • Hoped he’d lead for a return to Roman times – Patriotism
  • Proposed:
    • placate people – protection, arts, property rights
    • placate rulers – no interference w/ peasants
  • Saw Naples under foreign occupation
    • Florence extorted again & again
    • Hoped for Medici return in Florence
  • Wrote “Art of War”
    • dialogue talking about arms, military strategy, diplomacy
    • emphasizes Romans, infantry
  • “Discourses on Livy”
    • supported any form of gov’t to give Florence independence
    • Talks about this at end of Prince
  • Looked to Greeks
    • Patriotism was principle & not a passion
  • Compared to Montesquieu
    • Spirit of Laws (1748) was startling to hear a Frenchman arguing for gov’t checks
    • General think but very flowery language
    • The Prince was a specific call for help to save Italy – very honest approach
    • Based on enthusiasm, patriotism
  • At end of his life
    • Saw Medicis return but the foreign powers fought them all the way
  • Misrepresented, abused by people who sought to keep Italy down
    • Patriotism overall

“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Introduction

  • Communism is coming. All of the old powers of Europe right and left to stop it
    • This is an acknowledgement that Communism is a force to be reckoned with
    • Communists need to stop hiding and make themselves be heard

Chapter 1 – Bourgeois and Proletarians

  • Bourgeois – class of modern capitalists, owners of means of social production and employers of wage labor
  • Proletarians – class of modern wage-laborers who by having no means of production of their own are reduced to selling their labor power to live

 

  • All written history is a class struggle and every era has different classes arranged by social rank
  • Modern social hasn’t got rid of class antagonism
    • It just has new classes, conditions of oppression that replace old ones
  • The Bourgeoisie has simplified class antagonisms by pitting 2 classes against each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
  • Bourgeoisie created in chartered town in the Middle Ages
  • Guilds couldn’t keep up with production demand of expanding markets àmodern industry took over and leaders were the Bourgeoisie
  • Modern Bourgeoisie is a product of development and revolutions of production and trade
    • Each step has given the class more political power à ended Feudalism, patriarchal and idyllic relations trying men to their superiors and replaced it wash cash payment for work à pure self-interest
    • All energy put into religious fervor, chivalry and sentimentalism has been replace by cold calculation
    • All changes – free trade, personal value diminished à exploitation
    • These lower the status of doctors, lawyers, priests, poets and scientists to wage laborers
    • Reduced the family to a money-based relation
  • Bourgeoisie can’t live without revolutionizing production and consequently, production relations
    • à Preservation of modes of production maintained in class relations
  • Old established national industries are withering away
    • à Inputs from far away are making the production truly global à nations aren’t independent anymore and are connection Barbarian nations into Civilization
  • Countries like China cannot resist the West’s cheap goods and have caved to the West
    • They must adopt this mode of production or suffer the consequences
  • Bourgeoisie have created huge cities whose populations make up the majority of the country
    • The Barbarian and Semi-Barbarian nations are dependent on the civilized ones à the East is dependent on the West
  • Bourgeoisie is concentrating power into fewer hands and doing the same with political power
    • Laws, government customs/tariffs all to benefit them
  • Means of production = means of growth of Bourgeoisie
    • Eventually free competition had to step in economically, socially and politically
  • Notice that production changes are coupled by social, economic, political changes
    • We’re not yet at the point where any production improvements won’t do them any good
    • Any progress beyond now will harm them but creating its own enemy à Proletariat
  • The Proletariat sells its self to get a wage to continue to live and can only do so if labor can increase capital’s output
    • They are slaves to the Bourgeoisie and machines
      • It is dehumanizing and stripping them of any real skill
      • Making women relatively better off because their labor isn’t worth less than a man’s because the machines are stripping the men of their old value
    • Labor receives wages and forced to buy stuff from the production of the Bourgeoisie à from the landlords, shopkeepers, etc.
      • Lower middle class are squeeze out of the Bourgeoisie and into the Proletariat because their scale of production isn’t enough
    • Development must:
      • Struggle with the Bourgeoisie
        • Individual workers à
        • Factory worker force
        • Factory workers of an entire industry à
        • Factory workers of an entire region à
        • Factory workers of an entire country à
          • Everybody against 1 man
        • Proletarians are still disorganized – still fighting what remains of the monarchy for the Bourgeoisie à also landowners, non-industrial Bourgeoisie and petty Bourgeoisie
        • The losers of these battles become proletarians and the total number grows
          • Machines eliminate class distinctions and reduce wages to the same low level since all skill is low or non-existent
          • The class struggle grows throughout the whole world
        • Proletarians form a political part and force legislative actions for them: reforms, education, etc.
        • The inevitable happens à the bourgeois begins to splinter – they buy off some proles and some bourgeois join the proles
        • The minority accrue numbers slowly and steadily until it becomes a majority
          • It either wins through legislation or victorious rebellion
          • The Bourgeoisie’s greed is what kills it in the end

Chapter 2 – Proletarians and Communists

  • What is the relation between Communists and Proletarians?
    • They share the same interests but shape and mold the proletarians’ movement
  • They are only distinguished in two ways
    • They bring up and point out what proletarians problems are internationally
    • They represent the movement of the proletarians in their struggle as a whole
  • Communists are the most advanced and resolute of the working-class parties because they move them to act and understand the movement, conditions and goals of it all
    • The goal is to form proletarians into a party, overthrow Bourgeois supremacy and get all political control
    • They remind everyone of political and class struggles and urge the abolition of property relations (there’s historical evidence for this)
      • Only goal is to abolish bourgeois property which is the final and most complete expression of production that produces class antagonism and exploitation
      • ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PROPERTY
    • But to what level? The level of the artisan? The peasant? Or the modern Bourgeois private property?
      • Capital is not just personal but social – a collective product that can only be set in motion collectively
    • When capital is made into common property, most also make personal property collective because it is also social à only its social character has changed.
    • A wage is the minimum needed to keep a laborer. It only produces a bare existence. Abolition of the private nature of capital only frees the worker from the existence of working just to increase capital and benefit the bourgeoisie
    • Labor only exists to benefit the Bourgeoisie in a capitalist society but in a communist society, labor exists to promote itself
    • Bourgeois society has capital as independent and with individuality but the living person is dependent and has no individuality
    • Bourgeois focus on freedom and the conditions of production lead to free trade which is purely selling and buying
    • Private property for 90% is already gone and only exists to benefit the few financially
    • When labor can no longer convert to capital, rent, money and individuals’ property can’t be made into bourgeois property – individuality vanishes
      • MUST ELIMINATE THE BOURGEOIS
    • Communism only prevents a man from subjugating the labor of others through appropriation
    • What if abolition of property leads to laziness?
      • It should have happened under bourgeois system but didn’t because they don’t do shit while the workers do everything
    • What about the disappearance of class culture?
      • That’s fine as long as it’s the bourgeois culture that disappears. It’s based on previous ownership which is based on previous ownership…
    • What about the abolition of the family?
      • The bourgeois family is based on capital ownership and private gain only to benefit the Bourgeoisie but Proletarians have nothing to pass on to their children.
      • We must stop parents from exploiting their children
      • Education is only there to indoctrinate us with apologies or excuses for the bourgeois system
    • What about women?
      • The bourgeois uses his family as an instrument of production to be exploited
      • Communists have always fought for women and don’t treat them like prostitutes like the Bourgeois do
        • Bourgeois marriage is legalized prostitution
      • What about individual countries
        • Communists want to abolish them because working men haven’t got any country of their own. They have only served the Bourgeoisie’s needs for themselves and to antagonize the Proletariat of other countries.
      • When the Proletariat take over, countries will disappear for a universal emancipation of the Proletariat
      • We won’t even consider any religious, philosophical or ideological objection to Communism because it goes without saying that views, ideas, etc. change with the conditions of material existence, which is all going to change anyway
      • We have historical evidence that the ruling class have imposed ideas on workers – new eras will erase the old, bad ideas
      • Christianity was broken or had been transformed by newer ideas à Bourgeois ideas will be changed too
      • Why will Communism abolish all of our sense of morality and eternal truths?
        • All of past society saw the exploitation of the Proletariat as moral – it’s only right to part from it
        • Advent of Democracy has change legality and it’s inevitable that proletarians will take over, take all capital and eliminate the Bourgeoisie
      • The Following will happen
        • Abolition of property, land, rent – all will be public
        • Heavy progressive/graduated income tax
        • No inheritance
        • Confiscation of emigrants’ and rebels’ property
        • Centralization of credit to the state
        • Creation of a national bank and allow the government a monopoly on banking
        • Centralization of communication and transport to the state
        • Extension of factories and production to the state – all waste lands will be cultivated and improve land according to a common plan
        • Equal obligation to work. Establish industrial armies à especially agriculture
        • Combine agriculture with manufacturing industries and abolish distinction between city and country by re-distributing population
        • Free education. Abolish child factory labor. Combine education with industrial production
        • Eliminate all political parties that push for exploitation of one class over another
          • If revolution is necessary, so be it

Chapter 3 – Socialist and Communist Literature

A – Reactionary Socialism

I – Feudal Socialism

  • Actually, developed by aristocrats in England and France, focusing on problems of the Proletariat
  • Considered exploiters in power with no understanding of historical progress
  • Feudal Socialism à Clerical/Christian Socialism concerned with reinstating social order
  • Christian Socialism is the Holy Water that the priest consecrates the burning heart of the aristocrat

II – Petty Bourgeois Socialism

  • Small peasant bourgeoisie and Medieval Burgesses – a class that comes and goes between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie but depends on the Proletariat and will eventually be subsumed by them
  • This class has pointed out the problems with modern production and economics theories presented
  • However, they still try to uphold Bourgeois classist manners and the status quo

III – German / “True” Socialism

  • Was a response to French Socialist literature that described a world in France that had not yet come to Germany because there were no proletarians there yet
  • Germans took these ideas and filtered them through reason – without concern for any particular class
  • However, it was too early for the proletarians to win over. The Aristocracy and the Bourgeois were against each other. Proletarians didn’t want a violent upheaval

B – Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism

  • This sort of Bourgeois want to reform its class and interclass relations, rather than destroy the class altogether
  • But they also don’t want to take any responsibility for any oppression they might have done – just more harmony – ultimately ending in more oppression

C – Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism

  • Early writers didn’t understand Proletarians as a class
  • Proletarians to them were just the oppressed and it wasn’t inevitable to them that they’d take over
    • They thought that they could plead with the Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie to make things better for them
    • As class antagonism built up, their ideas became sill and far less likely
    • They wanted to abolish class conflict without abolishing reasons why class exists in the first place
    • As divisions grew their relevance waned

Chapter 4 – Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties

  • Communists are the only ones looking out for the long-term interests of the Proletariat and the only ones able to do so
  • The primary focus should be on Germany because its Bourgeoisie have not yet won out against the Aristocracy and Proletarians can take advantage of this because they are more developed than the English and French were when they got their independence and squandered the chance to make it a Communist revolution
  • The Proletarian revolution will happen first in Germany and then spread
  • Communists every will support and fight for the abolition of private property and advancement of the Proletariat
    • They’ve got nothing to lose but their chains
    • All workers should unit for the cause

“Second Treatise of Government” by John Locke (1689)

Chapter 1 – Introduction (1-3)

Adam was created by God and told to rule and cultivate the earth. But can we really know who is true heirs are? So, divine right of kings is bullshit. Political power is not parental power. Political power is the power to write and execute laws, regulate property and defend the nation for its own good.

Chapter 2 – Of the State of Nature (4-15)

The state of man in nature is freedom unrestrained by others. They are all equal, same species with same humanity. No subordination or subjection. All differences in ability and wealth come from God.

Natural liberty is not license. We are bound not to harm each other because it violates reason, which is the basis of natural law. This violation of reason is taking another’s life, liberty and property.

Men must be restrained from violating others’ rights. That requires execution of laws and must be applicable to every man. Criminals place themselves outside of nature and the offended party has a right to reparation.

In nature, man has 2 rights:

A – To punish crime and restrain or prevent further crime. In society, this is in the hands of the magistrate.

B – To seek reparation for the crime. Only the victim has the right to this.

These two apply to all crimes big or small but only in proportion of the crime. In society, a man cannot be a judge if he’s involved with the case because he may lack objectivity or calmness to handle it. Civil government will handle it. Any other government is a violation of nature/rationality. Civil society or community preserves rights. Natural law allows us to get what we want from or in others without violating others’ rights.

Chapter 3 – Of the State of War (16-20)

State of War = enmity and destruction, declaring one man’s life the goal of the other. There is no superior authority to adjudicate matters. In this state, you have the right to defend yourself until it is over. Your enemy is declaring war on you by trying to kill you or enslave you and you have the right to stop him.

State of Nature = mutual assistance, preservation, goodwill, living together according to reason with a superior authority to adjudicate differences. In peace, law prevails. If someone violates it, a law separates the state of war from the state of nature. When forces stop and both sides are subject to the same judgment, peace and state of nature continue

Chapter 4 – Of Slavery (21-23)

It’s natural to be free from authority. Liberty is not under legislative authority without any consent. It is a standing rule to live by for all according to nature. Freedom from arbitrary power is necessary for one’s preservation.

Not having this, a slave cannot give consent to his captor. It is a perfect state of war between the conqueror and the captive. If there is consent, then it’s not really slavery because the “slave” in this case is fine with the situation.

Chapter 5 – Of Property (24-51)

We can’t really use Adam as a basis for anything. But we’ll start with God. He gave humans the world, animals and plants in it to use to our benefit. They are in a state of nature and were given to us for our use.

Our bodies are ours and so are our labor and the fruits of our labor. Whatever we do or transform is ours. Possession begins when something is taken out of nature (being man-made). Before it is changed, it is common property.

In civilization, if you do the work, the product is yours. The limit is when your product spoils because it wasn’t used due to overproduction. This is wasteful and not productive. The world was meant for industrious and productive or rational use.

Land is scarce these days and naturally we have divisions between property, counties and countries. God’s commandment created dominion and natural private property. Our labor is limited to our physical productivity. Divisions weren’t necessary before the world got so crowded.

Land is to be common property until someone starts working it. Labor makes an unproductive thing productive. Men move from crowded places to make use of land and in doing so en masse, form societies and law.

Eventually relative value is established between products and money acts as a symbol of that value. Most land requires some labor to get anything out of it. In 1600s America, Indians had huge amounts of land and never did a thing to it. This is why they were poor. When labor is added, value goes up. Nature gives us little but adding work to it makes us much richer.

When land is scarce, distinct divisions arise and societies form to protect individuals’ land, property, etc. from violation. Most Indians subsist on whatever falls to the ground or runs through the forest. It’s a form of temporary property with no long-lasting value. Cultivation gives the land value and money cements it. This allows different degrees of industry but also leads to inequality. But that also leads to expansion of industry, division of labor and increase of wealth.

Chapter 6 – Of Paternal Power (52-76)

Paternal power should be referred to as parental power because Mom plays a role too. God commanded us to honor both parents, not just Dad. Somehow this turned into regal, absolute power. Maybe if Mom had a bigger say in raising kids, we’d have a penchant for multiple powers and not a quasi-dictatorship.

In nature, men are equal but it is true that some have more money and influence. But we are subject to the same laws. It’s a bit different with kids. Parents have a special reign. Children get equality as they age. Adam was given reason and understanding upon his creation but that wasn’t normal. Children are born helpless and irrational. They need guidance and protection until they grow up and have these faculties on their own. You must be able to understand natural law in order to have its rights.

Once old enough, a person is responsible for his actions, safety and survival. Then he owes no one any allegiance or loyalty. To set a child free too early is detrimental. Parents are rulers as long as they accept the guardian’s role for the kid. Problems may arise with a death of or abandonment by a parent. But a parental presence is necessary. They are the instruments of protection and education.

The rule ends at a child’s majority age. Until then the duty of a child is to honor and obey. He gets protection and education in return. Education can be handled by a hired hand but protection is also necessary. The relation may continue into his adulthood but it is not required. We as a society owe honor to our elders, defense to friends and help to those who need it but outside of this parent-child relationship, it is not obligatory.

Political and parental powers are separate but are somewhat parallel. Princes have no right to claim this power over their people because most of them are adults and he is not their father. Parents are free to bequeath property to kids but not required to do so. That’s not part of the deal. Somehow history has this power turning into a monarchy.

Chapter 7 – Of Political or Civil Society (77-94)

God created us to live in a society, to learn and understand the world around us. The first society was a family – parents and kids. The second was a relation between a master and a servant. But conjugal society is a voluntary compact between a man and a woman for procreation, mutual supper and shared interest. This is continuation of the species is distinct to humans because in most other species, the father is never around. But pregnancy is long and the woman needs a man to help her during the pregnancy with the unborn and the older kids too. But there’s more to marriage than just raising kids.

Things get hairy sometimes because they might not always see eye to eye on things. Usually the man ends up the leader because he is stronger and more capable of providing but this does not mean he’s in complete control of her life or property. Civil society settles disputes. In places where the wife is 100% property, the government will usually enforce husbands will on her.

Of the master/servant relationship. In a free society, a man can choose to be a servant for money. This is with consent. He is under the command of the master but under terms of a contract. Slavery is absolute dominion with no consent.

We were born with a right to preserve ourselves and our property and punish those who violate that. When we combine ourselves, we make a civil society and agree to live under one set of laws for the common good. We put together a list of rules and punishments and surrender our natural right to decide those rules and punish their violation all by ourselves.

Absolute monarchy is not a civil government. There’s no agreed upon authority. The monarch answers to no one. He is in a state of nature but declaring war on all his subjects as his slaves. They can appeal to him but he doesn’t have to answer them. Only a parliament can deal with this.

Chapter 8 – Of the Beginning of Civil Societies (95-122)

Men can only be taken from nature without consent and can only join a civil society with consent. In this case, the majority have a right to act. When it’s created on consent, man must agree to the majority’s decision because there are always going to be disagreements and this way most people get what they want. If you go against the majority, you are placing yourself outside of society and back into nature, alone. There needs to be a constitutional basis for majority rule.

There are 2 objections to this and 2 responses:

A – Objection: Man’s never been outside of society. Answer: History can only go so far back but there are plenty of examples of men leaving one society and forming another voluntarily (Rome, Venice, Sparta). Somehow the first leader became a father figure and this led to a monarchy.

B – Objection: Most people would rather stay with their form of government than try anything drastically new. Answer: True but there are plenty of examples of governments evolving throughout history. Old laws change. A man has no obligation to follow his father in staying in a government/society. But you tacitly agree to law when you establish a life and get and keep property and enjoy society’s protection of it. If you move, you must engage in the society to be considered a part of it.

Chapter 9 – Of the Ends of Political Society and Government (123-131)

Why give up life and possessions to absolute dominion? A man may be vulnerable to attack and give up rights of enforcement to band together with others for each other’s benefit and preserve property and establish a common standard of right and wrong.

In nature, there’s no legal judge and men get heated when in dispute or may not even care for others. It’s hard to execute judgment for fear of retribution. So, people form societies to overcome this chaos and selfishness. In nature, a man has 2 powers:

A – Ability to decide what is needed to preserve self and property. He gives this up in society to a legislative power.

B – Ability to enforce needs and punish those who violate them. He gives this up in society to an executive as well.

Political society’s authorities must respect established laws and not change them without consent, as well as enforce laws and protect community.

Chapter 10 – Of Forms of Commonwealth (132-133)

If power is in the majority, it is a Democracy. If power is in a few, it is an Oligarchy. If power is in one man, it is a monarchy. A commonwealth is not a specific form of government but an independent community.

Chapter 11 – Of the Extent of the Legislative Power (134-142)

In setting up society, we establish a legislative power. These laws they write can only be changed with consent. People agree to obey its laws. The Rules are

A – Power cannot be arbitrary. People give up some rights in order to be protected, not enslaved, destroy or impoverished. It is only for the public good.

B – Laws are permanent and available for the citizens to know and understand. They must know them. Laws must not be misinterpreted, misapplied or disobeyed without punishment. Disputes are to be remedied. Arbitrary power make men worse off than before because at least in a state of nature, they could settle matters themselves.

C – Supreme power cannot take away property without consent. The government was the reason to guard the property in the first place. If it can be taken away so easily, it’s not really property at all. The fewer people you have in this power, the more likely you are to see abuse.

The military is a bit special in that it need something of an absolute (but not completely so) monarchy. Governments costs money, so taxes need to be taken in order to maintain it – but only with consent and representation.

Chapter 12 – Of Legislative, Executive and Federative Power of the Commonwealth (143-148)

The legislature doesn’t always need to be in session. In fact, it shouldn’t be there too often because the representatives might use their power for their own personal gain against the people. Laws need to be constant and long-lasting and need perpetual execution. The legislature and executive must be separated to ensure good government.

A Federative power deals with society as a whole, as well as dealings with foreign powers (trade, war, peace, etc.).

The executive power deals with local laws within the commonwealth which have been passed by the legislature and consented to by the people. The Federative should be left to the wisdom and care of experts. They are distinct powers but should be kept together in one body. To do so otherwise is impractical and in-fighting might occur.

Chapter 13 – Of the Subordination of Powers of the Commonwealth (149-158)

The legislative power represents the people, has their consent and is the supreme government body. In it, people make laws for themselves. Laws don’t need constant up-dating. It needs to meet occasionally but not constantly. It needs occasional updating through elections and Constitutional changes needed by changes in society, wealth and population.

The executive power has one man representing it with supreme power but no law-making powers, only executive powers. It is subordinate to the legislature and accountable to it. It is purely through to execute laws passed. It is nimbler and can do things the legislature cannot anticipate. It can even convoke a legislature to session

Chapter 14 – Of Prerogative (159-168)

The executive is given powers when the legislature is unavailable and it exercises discretion. If it needs to circumvent the law, so be it. This can only be for the public good, even if it violates the Constitution. The legislature is slow and may even be harmful, so it might be necessary to violate its laws. It should be rare to do so and watched closely for abuse. It can only do so if in the public interest.

It may violate laws but not natural law. This can happen if the law is bad or there is no law at all. Sometimes a little violate does a lot harm and sometimes a lot of violation does little harm. It depends on what is being done.

Chapter 15 – Of Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power, Considered Together

Paternal Power – to nourish and educate child until adulthood. There’s no control over life or property. The child must obey and honor the parents. This is a natural power but not a political one.

Political Power – given to authority of a commonwealth. It only exists to preserve prosperity and punish violations. It is not arbitrary or abusive and only exists in consent between the ruler and the ruled.

Despotical Power – absolute and arbitrary. One man’s domination over other. It is unnatural and non-consensual and only by forfeiture. One man declares a state of war over others and has won.

Chapter 16 – Of Conquest (175-196)

History is loaded with war and conquest. It is not consent or establishment of a government. That can only be done with consent. The vanquished must be patient to try to overthrow the conqueror.

IF an unjust war is waged, the people aren’t responsible for the ruler’s actions. But the conqueror has the right to the lives of those who fought against him. He must not touch their children, wives or property. That is a declaration of war on them. Innocent bystanders must be spared. The price is to obey eternal and fundamental laws of nature and God.

Chapter 17 – Of Usurpation (197-198)

It is never justified to usurp. The usurper has violated the will of the people and declared war on them. They have the right to overthrow him because they have not given him their consent.

Chapter 18 – Of Tyranny (199-210)

The tyrant exercises power beyond what is right and does so for personal gain. A king is bound to observe fundamental laws of a nation and protect it. Once he strays from this, he becomes a tyrant. This can happen in Democracies and Oligarchies, too when authority goes beyond any natural law. If people are wrong in claiming violation the can oppose the law. The legislature and executive can be tried for this. Head of executive will often be spared as it is a sacred position. But if the people can’t appeal to the government, they may force change. It is unlikely to end in chaos because people will only revolt when things are really bad. If they’re correct in assuming they’re being abused, they have the right to start all over and establish a government based on natural law.

Chapter 19 – Of the Dissolution of Government (211-243)

There are differences between governments and society. A dissolved society is sent back to the state of nature with frequent states of war. It has no civil society and no government. But a dissolved government is just one where the government has ceased to represent the people and must be reestablished.

A hereditary government with absolute power goes beyond natural laws, prevents a legislature from meeting. The prince has tampered with the legislature or sold his people out to a foreign power. This needs to be dissolved. The executive must be dissolved if he neglects his duty, doesn’t enforce laws. Society then is in a state of anarchy. Bribes, threats and the like are examples of him declaring war on his people by refusing to execute the law.

If the people fear the new legislature will be just as bad as the last, remember people rarely like drastic change in government. If it’s really bad, they’ll want drastic change. But if it’s a small change, there will probably be little to no rebelling because revolutions don’t occur for minor infractions.

People won’t let a king ruin the nation if they can stop him. That happens when he actually ruins the county (like Nero or Caligula) or he becomes dependent on a foreign power and does what it wants and not what the people want. People will react to this. They will be his judge and judge if there is tyranny or not.

The power that men get from nature is given up in joining the commonwealth. The power in the legislature is carried out by the executive. If either one steps out of line, the commonwealth crumbles into a state of nature and war and a new commonwealth must be formed.

“Of Custom; We Should Not Easily Change a Law Received” by Michel de Montaigne (1580-1595)

Even Montaigne's (the inventor of the essay) Essays came back with with scribbled notes from his fucking professor. "Nice set up but your evidence needs improvement."

Even Montaigne’s (the inventor of the essay) Essays came back with with scribbled notes from his fucking professor!!
“Nice set up but your evidence  and phrasing need improvement.”

“Of Custom; We Should Not Easily Change a Law Received” by Michel de Montaigne

There is a story that warns us about not being comfortable with customs. A woman starts holding a calf and feeding it. She did this every day until the calf was no longer a calf but an ox. Custom can be a bitch and really run things that ought not to do. It starts off small and innocent and turns into something unstoppable.

Even the smartest of men do what they do because of custom. People have gotten used to eating mice, grasshoppers and all sorts due to custom. And they wouldn’t be able to stomach our sort of food. You can eventually get used living next to a noisy place after a while. You might not even notice it. You’ll eventually stop smelling perfume if you wear it a lot. I barely notice the bells from the church next door.

Our vices are cemented when we’re kids. Some parents encourage children to do something bad by either actively encouraging it, giving an example of it, or not stopping it and they will eventually learn that this is the thing to do. That’s how evil begins, through custom. If they have smaller vices and aren’t corrected, they will turn to larger vices. My upbringing reinforced good morals and I have a hell of a time trying to cheat in cards, even if nothing’s on the line.

I met a dude in Nantes who’s got no arms but can sew, try his shoes, cook and all sorts with just his feet. He doesn’t think anything of it. It’s as natural as can be. There’s a young boy who’s really handy at weapons because he practiced so much when he was even younger.

Custom goes even deeper than our minds. It’s really important in judgment and belief. All sorts of very smart people are religion and the custom of religion makes them do all sorts of crazy shit because they have that custom embedded in them. It’s no way to learn anything. Custom makes us do totally inexplicable things. They are custom to some while foreigners would find them very strange. They salute to people facing away from each other. Some people use linen to trash. Why do we use handkerchiefs to blow our noses on and carry them around all day but we don’t do the same with piss and shit? Why is snot so special? We’re just as weird to foreigners as they are to us. You could travel the world and come up with a huge list of ways this is true. Some of these differences seem horrifying to us.

Violence and abuse is something passed down from generation to generation. This has more to do with custom than nature. We’re so ingrained in our customs and what is seen as acceptable to the public that it is so rare that we stop following them. Laws of conscience are from custom not from nature like we claim. When open-minded people hear a good phrase, it’s not really a good phrase but an indictment on our stupidity that we didn’t think about this before. But most people take it on board not out of ignorance from themselves but as something they think others just don’t know yet.

People who’ve grown up in a free environment look at other forms of government as monstrous and unnatural. Those who live under a king think the same way. If the people get rid of a tyrant, they very likely will find another because they are used to it and that’s what they really want. People tend to like the place where nature has put them and are very unlikely to adopt the customs of others.

I have found that the foundation of authority and law to be very weak. Plato looked at what was popular of his time and what was he found to be good and tried to compare them. He thought that the poems written, the public opinions, various interpersonal customs to be abhorrent and tried to propose cutting them out of children’s education because he didn’t want them to grow up repeating the same mistakes of their parents due to their same education.

We see chastity as a virtue. But it’s difficult to say whether or not it is merely a custom that it is a virtue or if it is one by nature. It’s so difficult to find out where these customs come from and we can only assume that they were just passed down through the ages.

Imagine trying to withdraw from all of these customs. It would really strange to have to go through all the things we find “normal”. You probably wouldn’t understand any of it: marriage, donation, wills, selling, buying, etc. But when we look at our own country, it seems pretty savage that justice can be bought and sold and that following through on laws will get you into heaps of trouble and not will get you reprimands.

When you think about it most of our customs, all the fancy clothes that we think really make us us are really just bullshit and don’t really help us understand who we are and anything about the world. The way others behave and act aren’t really all that important to us, as far as what we do individually and we often avoid tending to ourselves in order to tend to what others are doing.

But as much as custom is silly, it is important to leave laws as they are. The government is not just a monolith. It’s a body of many moving parts and if you start tinkering with it, you may just bring the whole thing crashing down. The Thurians forced anyone who wanted to change a law to carry a noose around his neck and if someone had anything against his proposal, they’d have him hanged. I’m not really into novelty because I see all the shit that goes down because of it. Quote from Ovid: “Alas!  The wounds were made by my own weapons.”

The first ones to fuck with the state are usually the first to suffer when all the shit kicks off. The really crafty ones will follow behind as well as the copy cats. Both will do only what has been done to them personally and whatever their wild imaginations can dream up. They’ll come up with all sorts of wonderful titles to call them and all sorts of wonderful excuses for them.

But isn’t it really arrogant to be so in love with one’s own opinions as to try to overthrow the government on their basis? If you know all the shit that will happen as a result of your ideas and you’re still on board with the idea you either must be Jesus or a fucking lunatic.

About Christianity: It has a unique commandment that you should not yield completely to the government but also orders you to obey its laws. Jesus died and was resurrected – defeated death. He sacrificed himself for our sins but still ordered us to obey earthly laws as well as heavenly laws. Christianity seems to prefer to preserve earthly laws and let heaven deal with it than to change anything. It lends itself to moderation rather than excess.

I’ve taken these ideas on board. It seems dangerous to subject the public to my private wishes which may go against their wishes and may be based on misunderstanding. But God has made rules beyond those of the earth but doesn’t allow us to do the same.

In our current civil war, hardly anybody has taken into account all the points of each side and has given a good, reasoned opinion of the matter. People have only exacerbated the situation through their words and demagoguery. All the words to try to calm things down did nothing. When we put our faith in an asshole to solve our problems, it seems to make matters worse.

When we attempt to upset the natural order of things, we do so with passion and heat. When we follow clearly laid out procedure, we do so calmly and coldly. On the other hand, if you sense a huge blow coming your way, you should be ready to yield a little in order to make sure it doesn’t break you but you still maintain the customs that mostly seem to have been working. Who knows what will result from all the violence?