Please interpret this.
1/ “As of 1 January 2020, 74.3% of the population of Denmark are members [of the Church of Denmark], though membership is voluntary.” (Wikipedia: Church of Denmark, May 26, 2021)
2/ “Percentage of population who are nonreligious. Denmark: 61%.” (Wikipedia: Irreligion, May 26, 2021)
Is it safe to say that the Church of Denmark is not a religious organization?
According to the above figures, 39% of Danes have faith while 74.3% of them are voluntary members in the Church of Denmark (Folkekirken). Given that among the 25.7% who are not members of the Church, there are religious persons too (earnest Catholics, Calvinists, Muslims…), the percentage of religious Danes who belong to the Church of Denmark is obviously below half the number of Church of Denmark members (below 37.15% of population), that is, more than half of Folkekirken members do not have faith and probably never had.
New open letter asks Trudeau to stop plans to harm the internet.
This is the person who claimed that derogatory speech is the same as shouting fire in a crowded theater, the classic SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) example of what derogatory speech is not and can never be. How dare Canadians allow their politicians to talk such humbug when they have had the world’s beacon of liberty as their sole neighbor for more than 250 years? Are they all eyes for Greenland? Yes, it must be that: for the last 250 years Canada has had eyes for Greenland only and now derogatory speech is like shouting fire in a crowded theater in Canada.
Canada Justice Minister pushes for censorship bill and limited freedoms. David Lametti said freedoms are not “absolute.”
250 years with the world’s beacon of liberty for sole neighbor and Canadian politicians know no better than telling Canadians freedoms are not absolute – in order to pass censorship bills. How is it possible? How can American First Amendment law exist and spread not like fire over the world? – Because of politicians.
Since the US failed to export its unique free speech spirit abroad, now the country is at risk of losing it at home. The US failed to export it because it has not been a politician’s job to begin with: American free speech law is entirely judge-made.
It takes independent judges tenured for life to defend free speech, to prevent elected, corrupt policitians from making it an empty shell.
“French trial opens over anti-Asian Covid tweets.” (RFI in English, March 25, 2021)
“Protesters gathered in front of the Paris court, with one man carrying a placard which read ‘In Atlanta or in Paris, no to anti-Asian racism,’ in reference to last week’s mass shooting in the US that killed six Asian women.”
“‘My mother has been attacked, my aunt too. Because we are Asian, people think that we have money,’ Darith, a 30-year-old of Chinese-Cambodian descent, told French news agency AFP at the protest in Paris.”
Note the rhetoric. “Protesters” gather against defendants who are facing prison. It’s a lynch mob. (That the defendants are “most likely facing damages if convicted rather than prison” is only due to the fact that none of them has a criminal record, otherwise the likelihood would be quite the reverse.)
The journalist then quotes one protester, an Asian woman, who talks of relatives having been physically attacked. Why is this woman not protesting in front of the court that judges the attackers instead of protesting in front of a court that judges people for speech? Because there is no trial? Most likely because there is no trial and there will never be a trial. It is easy to prosecute people for speech, child’s play, but it makes no difference on people’s safety and only allows governments to conceal facts.
The rhetoric consists in slipping in the assumption that prosecuting speech is an efficient way to guarantee people’s safety.
I wish the US exported more of its free speech spirit and less of its mass culture. In fact, as they have not exported the former at all, the risk is now quite serious that they lose this unique spirit.
L’argument des défenseurs du violeur présumé Roman Polanski, que la victime ou l’une des victimes a retiré sa plainte, est, contrairement à ce qu’ils semblent penser, accablant pour lui : le procureur américain insiste parce qu’il a la preuve de la culpabilité du violeur présumé. Et ces défenseurs ont encore à apprendre qu’une action pénale ne se résout pas par un accord entre parties mais par une condamnation réparatrice du corps social lésé ou par un innocentement en bonne et due forme, un acquittement.
I shut down my Twitter account in protest against their censorship policy. I then opened a … account and found some are posting the “news” I already read from “white nationalists” twenty years ago: the same black on white crimes. Have they done nothing except posting these couple of crime stories again and again these last twenty years? I can see no future for such people.
My other feeling about … is that half posters are cops in their free time and the other half are cops on duty.
White Plakkers in South Africa: A Libertarian Issue
We all have heard of the phenomenon of white slum dwellers (aka squatters or, in Afrikaans, ‘plakkers’) since the end of apartheid in South Africa.
These new white poors are obviously from two categories of people: 1/ private sector employees who were dismissed because of affirmative action policies and 2/ public sector employees, dismissed for the same reason.
Considering (a) the apartheid economy as bureaucratic and (b) any government’s room for affirmative action to be larger in the public sector, a majority of current white plakkers must be the result of dismissals from the public sector, as the new South African economy remains bureaucratic but with new colored staff. It’s not farmers who became plakkers (they have trouble of their own with targeted killings meant as intimidation to have them leave the land and make room for land reform) nor entrepreneurs nor highly qualified employees (for a time shielded by their qualifications). Low-qualification jobs in the public sector that were the preserve of white (and preferentially, in the context of Afrikaner nationalism, Afrikaans-speaking) South Africans shifted to blacks.
Expelled from protected niches where their productivity was not, in fact, an issue, these white functionaries had no qualification whatsoever to market. They were like those people in European countries doing menial jobs in administrations like bringing sparkling water to the director or taking the coat of the minister on his arrival, and in poorer countries opening doors or saluting militarily anybody walking down the corridors. They were trapped while thinking they had made it in life.
Even if their position made sense, like cops, when the figures are in excess because of the bureaucratic, subsidized nature of the sector, they cannot all convert to the private security sector, and yesterday’s cop is today’s squatter.
From this I expect racism to be highest, in every country, among low-qualification protected jobs, not because of a lack of education (in fact culture is likely to make one’s racism more articulate if anything) but because of the at the same time coveted and exposed nature of said positions, at the government’s discretion. Governments are pressed to make societies that are more diverse also more equal, which basically requires that more jobs at the government’s hand be reserved for minorities. This is the statistics you need to know in order to assess government’s racism: Are the people working for government as diverse as the society? A government can tell you anything about how to fight racism and how it fights it (with hate speech laws etc), as long as it keeps its jobs disproportionately white, it is racist, make no mistake about it.
(The reader understands I do not know the particulars about plakkers’ past – and perhaps such a survey has not even been carried out – but I laid down my assumptions and I believe they are plausible, perhaps with some tilting towards the public sector. Another phenomenon to take into account is the massive white qualified workers’ flight from South Africa at the end of apartheid, called chicken run by some, which no doubt caused a slump.)
I want to make a confession: I burnt books… Well, as I don’t have a fireplace I dropped them in the trash can anyway. I needed to make room.
If the government has the right to want to discourage drugs consumption, then it has the right to want to discourage homosexual conduct, and the discourse vindicating equal rights for homosexuals is an attempt to silence those who hold the view that homosexuality is a choice except for a miniscule minority and that equal rights would therefore cause a risk of homosexualization of the society (like pagan societies of old) – same as the prohibition of drugs which intends to prevent a generalization of drugs consumption, whether this generalization would take place or not. Remember that pornography was first legalized in Denmark in 1969, with the Danish national church (Church of Denmark) approving on the ground that pornography owed its attraction to the prohibition – yet people have not turned their back on pornography in spite of its legalization, quite the contrary.
When the discourse of equal rights is adopted by the government, then it is a state-sponsored ideology acting with the aim of prevailing against other ideologies, a breach of state neutrality.
The previous paragraph is a reply to the claim that granting equal rights would put an end to a current breach of state neutrality (in the US). It would not, as it would be a breach of neutrality. (This is not to say the state must remain neutral on the issue, as my thought is that it cannot.)
When the government adopts the equal rights discourse it is buying one ideology, namely that people engaging in homosexual conduct are not free agents making a choice, as if homosexuality, therefore, were like one’s race. Thus the government dismisses and actually opposes another ideology according to which those engaging in homosexual conduct thereby make a choice and it is at best a small part of them, resulting from genetic drift, who simply cannot have intercourse with a person of the other sex as a result of their genetic makeup. As we find such conclusions in medical books I guess it could be possible for medical authorities to issue permits for these, let’s call them genetic-drift homosexuals, so that they would not be discriminated against. But as far as the others are concerned, who are in reality bisexuals, the government deals not with something like race but with a practice which it has the right to want to discourage.
Second Amendment: A ‘Collective Right’?
The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) (which was followed by McDonald v. City of Chicago, 2010, about state and local governments), the Supreme Court ruled that the Amendment protects an individual right against federal encroachments.
Some people had argued that the right was only a “collective right within the context of a militia.” To no one’s surprise the same people call Heller a “very controversial decision.” In fact there is no possibility that the Amendment be interpreted as they do, even though their opinion would be held by all liberal scholars in the US. There is nothing controversial with Heller and on the contrary these people’s contrived interpretation of the Amendment is outrageous.
What is a militia? A militia is a group of armed persons who get together in order to perform duties that need guns. First you have armed individuals, then, when they get together, a militia. You cannot place the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms inside a militia instead of individuals, that is, in a militia that would not exist before individuals associate and which then would provide them with guns, because then it would not be the militia that provides the guns but the government, which has nothing to do here according to the notion of a militia.
Of two things it would be either one or the other: either the militia would be a mere paper formality for individuals to buy guns (namely, they would have to attest militia membership and as freedom of association is guaranteed it would be a mere formality without substance) or you intend the membership condition to restrict access to guns and that is not possible if you do not curtail freedom of association at the same time, namely if you do not insist on the government controling militia duties, and then not only you make the right to bear arms dependent on the government but also you suppress militias qua militias (said groups would be something like the standing army or its reserve), but they are “necessary to a free state.”
Opponents to an individual right are opponents to the Amendment plain and simple.
Besides, if the right to bear arms were collective (“collective right within the context of a militia”) instead of individual, the individuals who would form a militia would be unfamiliar with the use of guns and their association would be a very ineffectual militia. Likewise, a new member joining a militia would be an ineffectual member. In fact it is hard to imagine how people with no individual right to bear arms would ever think of forming or joining militias; a collective vs individual right would be nothing but an obstacle to forming militias, which, again, are “necessary to a free state.”
Arguably this is what is meant by the words “well regulated” of the Amendment: a well regulated militia needs members who know how to use guns, otherwise it is not a militia, it’s a shooting club.
(The reader understands I am not talking about militia in the sense of the military reserve but about citizen militias, which result both from freedom of association and one’s responsibility to defend oneself. It is even more sinister when one thinks the advocates of a Second Amendment “collective right,” who made up this contrivance in order to void the Amendment as they know they cannot repeal it, fancied the right could be limited to a military reserve.)
Kant: A Very Short Introduction (2001) by Roger Scruton is a deluge of scepticism. It saddens me that they had a sceptic write a very short introduction on Kant, as if they could not find someone more receptive to Kantian thought to share it with the public.
There is no “crucial ambiguity” (p. 55) in Kant’s philosophy about the thing-in-itself. That the thing-in-itself cannot “cause, or stand in any other relation to, an appearance” (56) is true and yet the thing-in-itself is the same thing as the apperances, the trial they make (Scruton following) is absurd. Appearances can have no causal or other relation to the thing-in-itself because these categories are only applicable to our experience (appearances), this is precisely what Scruton explained in the previous chapter. So a lack of category relation is a necessary conclusion.
Kant simply says our experience is what our intellect makes of the thing-in-itself. No ambiguity.
Kant’s philosophy is not dependent on Newton’s works, as if one could discard it because “we know” Newton has been surpassed by later physicists. In fact, Kant explained why physics like all empirical science will always advance while metaphysics can achieve its goal. Philosophers who keep dogging the advances of physics to get the fundamentals of their thinking from it are not philosophers, and my Apologie de l’épistémologie kantienne (PDF available in this blog’s table of contents) is the denunciation of philosophical scientism (which makes philosophy ancillary to empirical results), exploding the so-called philosophies that have been built on such theories as relativity and quantum mechanics, their inconsistent juggling, their “revolutionary” bombast.
“It is fair to say that the transcendental deduction has never been considered to provide a satisfactory argument.” (46)
I don’t know if it is fair, although I rather understand Kant’s epistemology has got the universal credit it deserves, but I for sure find it satisfactory and the proof being in the pudding it remains, I find, an extraordinarily convenient tool for demolishing everything that has since been trying its feeble teeth at the calf of the giant (as Schopenhauer would say).
Scruton is a case of Jekyll and Hyde: on practical reason he shows much more patience and understanding. I guess it is because he had no clue about what to think of the transcendental deduction and had to rely on more “proficient” than himself. But as he writes that in the final analysis Kantian practical reason is “common-sense morality,” is it because it is trite that he is patient and comfortable with it?
And the comical touch at the end of the chapter: “Even in our most private and intimate encounters, reason covertly abstracts from the immediate circumstances and reminds us of the moral law.” (94) Reason in the most private and intimate moments abstracts…
First, this clandestine homage to Mrs Scruton or whomever it might be, is comical. Second, it reminds one, by contrast, of Kierkegaard’s words. It is in a moment of anguish, because man is furthest away from his mind, that man is conceived. Then birth is another moment of unfathomable anguish for the woman and thus a new babe is thrown into this vale of tears.
Kierkegaard adds that only by primitive people is anguish absent at birth. The babe slips out and it’s done. The baby doesn’t even cry (and elsewhere on this blog I have commented Kant’s remark that the babe of man is the only born crying!) I saw it in a documentary film, Africa ama (1971) by Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni: only after the mother blows in the babe’s nose, evacuating mucus or something, does the baby start crying.
English language and a pinch of French.
There’s been a crack pandemic in Paris, France, these last years, with an area now known as Crack Hill (la colline du crack) in the North-Eastern parts of the city. Neighbors talking of “hell,” “nightmare” and other such words has become commonplace. Authorities are pouring millions of taxpayer money in a so-called crack plan doing nothing but distributing under police surveillance new crack pipes every Thursday to the 1.500 crackheads (they know the numbers!) roaming on Crack Hill, and paying for 400 hotel rooms for crackheads.
Thus the bureaucracy’s sole policy is to prevent the crackheads’ habit from turning them into blood felons, with the result that they will remain an endless source of unpunished misdemeanors, an everlasting nightmare for the neighborhood. – This in a country where the numbers of police officers per inhabitant are extremely high.
« Le Gilet jaune Jérôme Rodrigues relaxé » (Le Parisien 7/3/21) : une bonne nouvelle, bien que je ne comprenne pas le jugement. Rodrigues avait traité de « bande de nazis » des membres d’un syndicat policier et le ministre de l’intérieur avait saisi la justice pour injures. Le juge dit que les propos « visaient non l’ensemble des policiers mais les méthodes de certains d’entre eux » et que le syndicat « ne se confond pas avec l’administration publique qu’est la police nationale ». Oui et alors ? Rodrigues était poursuivi pour injures et non pour diffamation envers un corps constitué (la police nationale), donc le fait que les propos ne visaient pas le corps mais certains membres de ce corps ne disculpe pas en soi de l’injure.
La question est de savoir si traiter les gens de « nazis » est une injure. Or comment cela ne serait-il pas une injure alors que la loi française condamne pénalement l’idéologie nazie et que donc un nazi est un hors-la-loi ; si traiter quelqu’un de voleur est une injure, traiter quelqu’un de nazi est forcément une injure, qui doit être condamnée en tant que telle. Il est donc évident que le ministère public ou le ministre auteur de la plainte va faire appel et a bien des chances de gagner, suite à un jugement sans queue ni tête (du moins tel que rapporté par le journal). Le calvaire de Jérôme Rodrigues est loin d’être fini. « Allez en dictature »…
The ‘shield’ for ‘extremist’ views is the First Amendment
The Wikipedia page ‘Gab’ (the internet platform) says: “Gab claims that it promotes free speech and individual liberty, though these statements have been criticized as being a shield for its alt-right and extremist ecosystem.”
Under American law an “alt-right ecosystem” has no need of a shield, its shield is the law (First Amendment), so the critics alluded to are irrelevant unless the problem is the very shield American law offers alt-right ideas, that is, the problem is free speech.
The construction “Gab claims… though” is objectionable, there can be no “though” here, free speech is indeed what it is all about. When one creates a business for money laundering, as money laundering is illegal, then the business is a “shield.” Therefore, as alt-right views are shielded by the First Amendment, describing Gab as a “shield” is libelous.
It strikes one as odd, given the First Amendment law, that still some Americans, like the author(s) of this Wikipedia page, seem rather to have been raised in a European legal environment where freedom of speech exists only for what the powers that be allow, and everything they label extremist is doomed to endless persecution.
Finnish minister says sexist online comments about female politicians is a “threat to democracy.”
The utterance is even more ominous when one thinks that under Finnish democratic law derogatory comments on public figures such as elected officials might be prosecutable and severely punished. I’m not saying this is the case, as I don’t know Finnish law, but that wouldn’t surprise me given the state of the law in my and other continental European countries.
Pro-liberty Skidmore students blocked from creating a club after “cancel mob” organized against them.
Before cancel culture there’s the heckler’s veto, a cancel mob is a heckling mob. I don’t know how a “Student Government Association,” which blocked the club’s creation under pressure of a heckling mob, relates to government, if at all, in free speech law (any form of government support would suffice) but the doctrine about heckling is: “the core concern … is that allowing the suppression of speech because of the discontent of the opponents provides the perverse incentive for opponents to threaten violence rather than to meet ideas with more speech.” (mtsu.edu) Link
Instagram deletes post of President Biden falling up the stairs under its “violence and incitement” policy.
MSNBC analyst says Biden falling meme could incite violence.
They expect him to fall a lot…
Joe Biden has been would-be candidate for POTUS for 35 YEARS.
Here’s what Robert H. Bork wrote for year 1987: “Senator Biden’s presidential aspirations came to a sudden end, probably for all time. The campaign staff of Governor Michael Dukakis gave the press videotapes demonstrating that Biden had plagiarized speeches by other politicians such as Britain’s Neal Kinnock. In addition, the press learned that Biden had misrepresented his law school record. As the damaging facts began to pile up, Biden at first tried to explain and finally had to hold a press conference at which he withdrew as a candidate for his party’s nomination.” (The Tempting of America, 1990)
For a discussion of Robert Bork’s ideas, see Lesson 8.
‘It started with words’ so free speech is not okay?
Biden appointee Timothy Wu once questioned whether the First Amendment was “obsolete,” has questionable free speech views.
A fair statement is that all elected officials and their appointees have questionable free speech views, because a political class will always want to mutate into a political cartel, which requires speech control and suppression, so the condition for free speech is a truly independent judicial power and irremovable judges, something that apparently does not exist in this world except in the USA (God bless America). Do not make as if Republican majorities had no questionable free speech views: the many anti-BDS laws, which will be struck down one after the other, and the sooner the better, are a recent example of the tendency.
Force is the one thing we’re not allowed to advocate.
The First Amendment allows one to advocate force. “Advocacy of illegal conduct” is protected speech, what is not protected is “incitement to imminent lawless action” (Brandenburg v. Ohio), the word to emphasize here being “imminent.” Case law explains that, for speech to be unprotected, the lawless action it advocates must be not only imminent but also likely to follow from speech. I would argue that there is an intrinsic impossibility for online speech to be incitement to imminent action, the law is aimed at speech “brigaded with action,” that is, speech to and from among a mob prone to act, or, in the classic example, shouting fire in a crowded theater.
It’s legal, but it will still get you banned.
Being legal it depends on the carriers’ policies whether speech is suppressed and so far they have had quite discretionary powers.
Given what I just said about online speech I am surprised that a former shareowner of a platform, namely Parler, is raising funds for his legal counsel in view of a Congress hearing about the platform’s responsibility for the Capitol storming. It looks like rogue intimidation. I question the legality of any step by the legislator that compels private citizens to legal counsel expenses. The judiciary, not the legislative, is the power that examines particular responsibilities.
Is there rationality in the affirmation that as blacks make a disproportionate part of prison inmates in America the American society is racist? Looking at the figures of wealth beside the figures of prison inmates, one finds consistence across the two sets, that is, the less wealthy group is also the group with disproportionate numbers of prison inmates, which makes perfect sense on the merely economic and sociological level as poverty is ridden with deprivation and incentives to illegal conduct. As it is to be sociologically expected that crime be more rampant in poor neighborhoods than in wealthy ones, it is also to be expected that blacks have more prison inmates, as the figures show they are poorer in the main.
Therefore, although the affirmation according to which the society is racist can be inferred from prison inmates figures is hardly challenged because of the fear the challenge could be construed as a claim that blacks are intrinsically (like genetically) more criminal as a race, in fact there exists an entirely economic cause for penal figures.
This shifts attention to the cause of economic inequalities, as one might then ask if there is something intrinsic to racial groups that some thrive more and some thrive less in the economy? If inequalities in prison figures can be inferred from wealth group status, the latter cannot be inferred away, so to speak.
The anti-racist idea is that, given equal opportunities, all racial groups must and would equally thrive in the economy. So, as there are economic differences between racial groups, it must be that the society does not give equal opportunities to all and this because it is racist. Thus the American society is to be called racist as long as each racial group does not have the same proportions of wealth and poverty as the global average, that is, as long as they are not all the same in terms of wealth.
That this can and will result from the free market is, I am sure, what no one among Americans believes, so the fact that Americans keep talking of their economy as a free-market economy, having at the same time an anti-racist agenda, is questionable.
As you know, ex-post-facto legislation is expressly prohibited by the US constitution.
(On the eve of the sesquicentennial of Ohio’s Statehood in 1953 it was discovered that while the Ohio constitution had been ratified, the territory of Ohio was never formally admitted to the union. President Eisenhower made a joke about Ohio state officials drawing salaries under false pretenses and then had congress RETROACTIVELY ratify Ohio’s statehood.)
In its purity the principle holds in criminal law only, but such a construction may be argued to be unconstitutional indeed:
“Thomas Jefferson described them [ex post facto laws] as ‘equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases.’ Over the years, however, when deciding ex post facto cases, the United States Supreme Court has referred repeatedly to its ruling in Calder v. Bull, in which Justice Samuel Chase held that the prohibition applied only to criminal matters, not civil matters, and established four categories of unconstitutional ex post facto laws.” (Wikipedia)
Like Jefferson I see no reason why the principle should be limited to criminal law, because even if ignoring the principle must be particularly dramatic in criminal law it doesn’t mean such neglect is benign in other legal domains.
Multipartyism is a corrupt form of people’s government
Multipartyism is a corrupt form of people’s government. The point is to bring not more than two platforms to the electorate’s choice because that’s the only way to ensure that the elected majority will apply the electoral platform rather than coalition pacts bargained behind closed doors between various elected parties. The platform itself is the result of primaries so what Perot and others do as third parties could well be done in the frame of one or the other party.
In multipartyism parties run for platforms they know they will amend behind closed doors the very day after election day!
That is, if no party gets absolute majority (50 percent or more of the votes, that is, of the seats). With two parties competing one will get absolute majority, but with more than two parties competing absolute majorities are exceptional and coalition pacts must be reached between parties to form majority governments. Where absolute majorities are not exceptional one may talk of a de facto bipartisan system.
La différence entre un Français et un Américain, c’est que l’un chante « Aux armes » et que l’autre a le droit de porter des armes. « Vous chantiez, j’en suis fort aise… »
On Legalizing Polygamy
Polygamy is as good as nonexistent in the Arab Gulf states:
“Today, because of higher standards of education and additional leisure time to spend, compatible spouses are more desired. This issue also contributed to the almost complete eradication of polygamy in Gulf. Although permitted under Islam, the custom even in the past was rarely practiced. Often women include specific paragraphs in their marriage contract prohibiting the husband from taking a second wife.” (Article Marriage, in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Arab States, Maisel & Shoup ed., 2009)
The phrasing is ambiguous. “Eradication” would not make one expect the following sentence: “the custom even in the past was rarely practiced.” Because if it was rarely practiced in the past, then it was already “eradicated,” in the sense that it was rare already, and the conclusion is that the custom is as uncommon today as it was in the past, so there has been no change, and certainly no eradication. The situation was and is that only the wealthiest men, typically of the ruling families, had and have multiple wives. Besides, this “monopoly” must by necessity be consolidated by the rent economy, as one fails to see how individual males depending on the state for their income would be allowed several wives without the state correspondingly increasing their income, which would be perceived as unwarranted by the rest of males, whereas coming from the free market this kind of perception does not obtain.
So one point for allowing polygamy would be that it’d remain uncommon anyway, as it was and is in the Gulf states.
In an online summary of Edward Dutton’s book Why Islam Makes You Stupid… But Also Means You’ll Conquer the World (2020), I find Dutton includes among the reasons why Islam makes one stupid… and likely to conquer the world… polygamy. But on this he’s wanting on the side of sociological data, as polygamy is hardly more practiced by Muslims than by others.
I have already written on the issue on this blog (here), warning against assuming that the legality of polygamy translates into high degrees of polygyny, as the figures in fact show that polygyny is high in sub-Saharan countries (not all Muslim) and the Caribbeans (where polygamy is illegal).
Back to Dutton: How can Muslim polygamy, i.e., the legal acceptance/tolerance of it can be a factor of stupidity if it does not translate into major differences with countries where it is prohibited? That’s the same as saying that I would become dumber by tolerating my neighbor’s using intoxicants, without using them myself, as the dumbing effect (if there’s any) of intoxicants is limited to the user and does not extend to the one who tolerates it.
Therefore, when in the recent French bill against ‘separatism,’ commentators and, in the travaux préparatoires and debates, the legislators themselves conflate Islam with issues that are in fact connected with the culture of sub-Saharan migrants, be them from Muslim communities or not, namely polygamy and female genital cutting (same as with polygamy female circumcision predates Islam and has been maintained in whole communities, Islamic or not).
Of course it does not make sense to speak of an Islamic “tolerance” for polygamy, as the Prophet of Islam had several wives. Another word must be used to convey the idea that it is a good thing that some men at least have multiple wives even though almost all of them will have only one, as it probably turned out to be the case throughout the history of Islam in its main centers.
Polygyny can take many forms. No one really has to relinquish it in a state where polygamy is not allowed and only the legal institution of it does not exist; a polygynous man can adapt to any legal system, find arrangements within the law, for instance as to heirloom etc, and I fail to see what obstacles there are to de facto polygyny in the West. The French legislator thinks he has adopted measures just now (the bill I have been briefly discussing in ii) to prevent de facto polygyny in France but this will only serve to make the bureaucracy still more intolerably intrusive in all people’s lives. They can never think out of that box, it’s always more bureaucratic control, like readers of Tocqueville know.
The classic work of sociological literature, The Children of Sanchez, may be described as a case depiction of polygyny in Mexico. Sanchez, a restaurant waiter (I wouldn’t call that high status, although evolutionary psychology, EP, tends to associate polygyny with status), had several wives and children in various barrios of Mexico City, sharing his earnings between all of them, and all of them living in misery. – Polygyny is not legal in Mexico. Would Mexican authorities make it legal, they would adjust the legal system to the reality of their country. A migrant to Mexico from a country where polygyny is legal, would still think polygyny is permissible there, albeit not legal. By practising it, he would conform to a Mexican reality and couldn’t be accused to be a cause of disruption.
(In the U.S., what would be disruptive is the same migrant’s will to live in a nucleus family of single wife and children, as the de facto model is communal child-rearing under Amazons’ control. Wait and see.)
An alternative to consociationalism may be the American constitutional theory as exposed by Supreme Court judges:
“We are not an assimilative, homogeneous society, but a facilitative, pluralistic one, in which we must be willing to abide someone else’s unfamiliar or even repellant practice because the same tolerant impulse protects our own idiosyncracies. … In a community such as ours, ‘liberty’ must include the freedom not to conform. ” Justice Brennan, on Michael H. v. Gerald D. 1989
That may make America sound pretty much liberal but I still perceive it is more conservative than continental Europe (it is no accident, by the way, that of all European countries the UK left the EU), where they have got authoritarian liberalism whereas in the States it remains PC liberalism.
Kierkegaard Against ‘Christendom’
Isn’t it astonishing that one would need a “school of intelligence,” Epicureanism, to “contend” that we ought to look for pleasure? Is it something people need be told or rather they needn’t be told that they like and want pleasure more than displeasure? Kierkegaard is talking through me right now: He strongly objected to Christianity turning into a form of Epicureanism, with the indicting question: What is the point of making eternal bliss dependent upon what people want in this life? If the good life that leads to eternal bliss is what everybody wants without being told, namely a comfy pleasurable existence, then there was no need to warn them of eternal damnation. ‘Christendom,’ that is, Christianity as Epicureanism, is nonsense.
A call to a pleasurable life has no meaning except as opposition to the thought of an afterlife or a supernatural order of things, as ‘superstitious beliefs’ (in Epicurus’s words) can hinder one’s correct conduct on the way to a pleasurable life, leaving aside the question that the obstacles are also in the very craving for pleasure as it is more often than not self-contradictory and requires a method, a guidance which Epicurus proposed to delineate (with what success?) – Precisely because of Epicureanism’s rejection of superstition, the grounds are lacking for Christianity to be an Epicureanism, that is, to be of this world. This life is ultimately about winning the afterlife, not about making life comfy. For the latter one needs Epicureanism but for one who heeds the warning from beyond Epicureanism is miserable blindedness. One cannot reconcile both views, and this is the reason Christendom is anti-Christian. The idea that the routine observance of sacraments, received from priests, moreover, who are in nothing different from their herd except that they have a MORE pleasurable life than most of them (in terms of wealth –being high functionaries of the state in the Scandinavian Lutheran churches– and good name and family life and leisure and so on), is what a Christian life is about, is appalling when one thinks, like Kierkegaard, of it.
The clergyman in Christendom, when asked how to live the good life, might answer: “Be in my shoes.” Hinting not as much as to what is be done as a Christian, as to a collective situation where the good life is partly inherited (the bishop is the bishop’s son) and partly the result of worldly shrewdness that has nothing to do with Christian teachings and everything with an Epicurean quest for pleasure, including the pleasure to slit others’ throats (metaphorically speaking, at least, that is, as there are in the state church x or y bishop tenures then you’ll get x or y incumbents and the other candidates will be failures). Ultimately the guidance for Epicureanism is how to make this school of intelligence compatible with a state of things where people are not at each other’s throats all the time. We all know we want our pleasure and we all have some notions of how to get it (although our pleasures conflict with each other too), and yet it happens more often than not that our pleasure must depend on an object that we don’t own.
Last but not least, Epicurus wrote for a leisure class that doesn’t exist any longer. His thinking must be thus qualified that it answers the question of how to be happy with so much time on our hands, surrounded by slaves working for us, whereas in many cases we are not even able to secure the least bit of free time in our existence nowadays. So talking of Epicureanism to today’s public is like telling them “there were better days, you know.” Carpe diem, pluck the day, usually summarizes Epicureanism in a nutshell. Carpe diem makes sense if I can say the day is mine, if I am no floatsam, floating with the stream or winds of the workday from morning till night, with no direction but that of the steady flow. Floating is not what the vessel does but its wreck.
A few quotes from Kierkegaard’s Articles to The Fatherland and The Instant (from Attack Upon ‘Christendom’, translator Walter Lowrie, Princeton University Press, Tenth Printing 1991)
Articles in The Fatherland
28 the impudent fudge about Christianity being perfectible
35 in Protestantism, especially in Denmark, Christianity marches to a different melody, to the tune of «Merrily we roll along, roll along, roll along» – Christianity is enjoyment of life, tranquillized, as neither the Jew nor the pagan was, by the assurance that the thing about eternity is settled, settled precisely in order that we might find pleasure in enjoying this life, as well as any pagan or Jew.
37 I am not a Christian severity as opposed to a Christian leniency. By no means. I am neither leniency nor severity: I am… a human honesty.
38 as soon as the Christian requirement of poverty is brought to bear, family is a luxury
110 Imagine that a man with a loaded pistol stepped up to a person and said to him, «I’ll shoot you dead,» or imagine something still more terrible, that he were to say, «I’ll seize upon your person and torture you to death in the most dreadful manner, if you do not (now be on the watch, for here it comes)…make your own life here on earth as profitable and enjoyable as you possibly can.» This surely is the most comical speech; for to bring that about one really does not need to threaten with a loaded pistol and the most amazing kind of death; perhaps neither the loaded pistol nor the most agonizing kind of death would avail to prevent it. And so it is here: by the dread of eternal punishment (frightful menace!), by the hope of an eternal blessedness, to want to bring about…yes, to bring about what we are (…) that we may live as we most like to live–for to refrain from civil crimes is nothing but plain shrewdness.
165 If in the natural man there is any instinct so strong as the instinct of self-preservation, it is the instinct for the propagation of the race, which therefore Christianity tried to cool off, teaching that it is better not to marry, yet, if worse comes to worst, it is better to marry than to burn. But in «Christendom» the propagation of the race has become the serious business of life, together with Christianity; and the priest (this epitome of nonsense enveloped in long robes), the priest, the teacher of Christianity, of the Christianity of the New Testament, has even got his income fixed in proportion to his activity in promoting the propagation of the race, getting a definite amount for each child.
183 So there is a difference as wide as the earth, as wide as heaven, between the Mynsterish [Bishop Mynster’s] life-view (which properly is Epicureanism, enjoyment of life and the lust for life, belonging to this world) and the Christian view, which is that of suffering, of enthusiasm for death, belonging to the other world; yea, there is such a difference between these two life-views that the latter (if it were taken seriously, and not at the very most expressed rarely in a quiet hour) must appear to Bishop Mynster as a kind of madness.
185 By indifferentism one commonly understands having no religion at all. But resolutely and definitely to have no religion at all is something passionate, and so is not the most dangerous sort of indifferentism. Hence too it occurs rather rarely.
189 I am unable to endure this thought [«The situation is this: the more thou hast to do with God, and the more He loves thee, the more thou wilt become, humanly speaking, unhappy for this life, the more thou wilt have to suffer in this life»], and therefore merely investigate this true definition of what it is to become a Christian, whereas for my part I help myself to endure sufferings by a much easier thought, one which is Jewish, not in the highest sense Christian, the recognition that I suffer for my sins.
190 And only by the help of this canst thou see that the Christianity of the New Testament does not exist, that the little religiousness there is in the land is at the very most…Judaism.
205 [Christianity] that religion precisely which extols the single state.
215 man is reduced to insignificance by marriage
223 Christianly it is egoism in the highest degree that because a man and a woman cannot control their lust another being must therefore sigh, perhaps for seventy years, in this prisonhouse and vale of tears, and perhaps be lost eternally.
263 And inflexibly as the human race stands up for its will to punish, to punish even by death, those who are not willing to be like the others, just so firmly does eternity stick to its purpose of punishing with eternal perdition those who are tranquillized by being like the others.
281 Worldly shrewdness is eternally excluded, despised and abhorred, as things are in heaven, more than all vices and crimes, because in its nature it of all things most belongs to this wretched world, and most of all is remote from having anything to do with heaven and the eternal. [Shrewdness=Klugheit (Kant)]