Lessons in Law 10: Libertarian Law
Bipartyism vs Multipartyism For Dummies
(Completes “Multipartyism is a corrupt form of people’s government” in Lesson 9)
From plurality voting to majority rule there must be, as for as the constitution of assemblies is concerned, a step of behind-doors negociations between parties that escape voters’ choice entirely.
Bipartyism, the two-party system, means majority voting: The result is an absolute majority (above 50%). The electoral platform can be applied at once.
Multipartyism means plurality voting. Let’s take three parties A, B and C with respective results 40%, 35% and 25%. Because the government needs majorities above 50% to have bills passed, party A must negociate a coalition pact with B or C to get a majority in Parliament, usually in exchange of governement positions. So there will be a coalition governement A+B or A+C formed upon a coalition pact that is different from all platforms presented to the electorate.
Let’s now look at France, a multipartisan and parliamentary regime, that is, the government’s head is from the majority party in the legislative body. The head of government thus governs based on a coalition pact bargained behind doors and not an electoral platform.
(There is in France another head of the executive, namely the president, elected in a two-stage election that eliminates all candidates but two in the first stage, which could be seen as a kind of primaries, by which most voters are asked to express their best choice and then, at the general election, their second best (runoff principle). The president in France has no power if the legislative assembly is of a different party, so I leave the dealing with him in parentheses even though he is the real ruler in case he is of the same majority as the assembly, so the real guy remains in parentheses, which shows you how absurd that system is.)
In fact the French president is in no way the “real guy” in the system, even when of the same party of the majority in Parliament: this is an illusion of commentators. Although he is elected on a platform which he does not have to discard the very next day, and he probably derives his greater aura as an institution from this, he cannot apply but the coalition pact of the coalition government. He is the coalition’s puppet.
“Because the government needs majorities above 50% to have bills passed”: Allow me to expatiate.
A vote on a bill is basically a yes-no question, votes are yes or no, so yes or no (pass or not) will at least get 50 percent of the votes. Those not present to vote (or with no proxy) or abstaining may make the result less than 50 (51) percent of members but that is not taken into account (a majority of members is not asked).
One could also imagine an actual abstention vote (yes, no, or abstention, as in polls) that could then make the result less than 50 percent of voters, and then a bill could pass by a plurality vote.
All in all what a government needs in the legislative body is enough people to vote the bills. This is why most multipartisan regimes make it compulsory for the first past the post (plurality winner) to start forming a coalition after election day, that is, to enter in a secret, clandestine coalition deal.
Some regimes do not, however (like Denmark, if I’m not mistaken): A government is formed from the party that has got a plurality of, say, 40 percent of the electorate’s vote and 40 percent of the seats in the legislative body. This minority government withholds the electoral platform for which it was elected but it will present bills to a legislative body where he has only 40 percent of yeses secured (we’re talking of an ‘ideal’ situation where party members are 100 percent aligned on the government’s platform but figures for US Congress, for instance, give a 90 percent congruence). At some point or other, even there the government will have to form a coalition, as it has no bargaining power with the opposition but in this way (because a government’s only power on representatives is to offer government positions, as parliamentary regimes are those where representatives have no other ambition than to make it to the governement, so a political coalition can only mean a coalition government in the final analysis).
Now such a system as I am describing is so disrepectful of the citizenry that even when parties make electoral deals where some withdraw candidates from some districts in exchange of the other parties withdrawing their candidates from other districts, that is, even though they are already agreed to form a coalition in case of victory, both parties still has no common platform and pretend to defend a platform of their own they know they won’t withhold unamended in case of victory.
This is the vicious nature of multipartyism.
In contrast I call the attention on the ‘top two’ system in the State of Washington, where after the primaries two candidates from the same party may be competitors in the general election. This is the true essence of a two-party system: The idea is not to get as many political parties as there are political ideologies, or currents, or opinions, or nuances (and in fact as there are politicians’ ego trips) but to get two parties where all ideas can find expression and in the frame of which they compete with one another. Two parties for all ideas.
One critic of the American Electoral College writes: “Certainly, if one believes that the person who receives the most votes should win, the implications for democracy are evident.” (L.S. Maisel) He means the suppression of the electoral college.
But certainly such implication is not at all evident. In both federal and unitary (nonfederal) systems the winner gets the most votes (so a “minority winner” is a bogus notion anyway): In US he gets the most votes of the electoral college, elsewhere he gets the most votes according to the respective systems.
Look at the following map. (Found on Twitter a while ago with no source mentioned.)
In all these countries one observes a marked demographic imbalance between geographic parts (Canada and Australia are particularly salient cases). In all these countries, without a single electoral district system there can be no “one man one vote” principle unless one divides the blue area in a multitude of districts and the grey area in few districts, which would be absurd as the districts would then be mere geographic fictions, which states in a federal union are not (they have historical meaning).
Indeed as countries with single election districts are a small minority, the principle one man one vote is a rarity among democracies for national level elections of assemblies.
In any case, whether one in demographically imbalanced nations, which are the rule rather than the exception, adopts a single district system or a multiple districts system with mathematic precision as to district equality re population numbers, departure from one man one vote in a federal system is constitutionally mandatory at the federal level. If this is not democratic, then a federal constitution is not either in the first place and the subject is not the electoral college but the federal structure.
The Criminal’s Debt To Whom?
We all have heard of cases of alleged rape ending because the accused man pays money to his accuser and there is no trial. Something I don’t understand. Rape is a crime coming under criminal law. If one can have a rape trial cancelled by a financial deal, which satisfies prosecuting authorities, why is it not the same with, say, murder? The victim’s relatives could be given money (blood money) and the prosecutor would drop the case as a result of this financial compensation. Yet it does not happen: With murder there is a trial, only with rape there is not.
The implication is disturbing, as it amounts to saying that well-off rapists have no debt to the society but only to their victims.
If we’ve got criminal law rather than an all-encompassing tort law, it is because the government says criminals must pay their debt TO THE SOCIETY. Where there is no trial because of a financial agreement, like, as I said, in some rape cases, we are not talking of crime.
Assuming with great certainty that some other crimes (on paper), like assault, are subject to the same treatment (although the legislator never said a word on where to draw the line), the idea that justice treats differently the rich and the poor takes a more precise shape: No matter what they do, short of homicide, the rich must pay their debts not to the society but to their victims only, they cannot be criminals according to the system.
Prone Restraint: The Ballad of Chauvin and Floyd
Derek Chauvin must have had an extremely incompetent lawyer as he’s been found guilty even though his innocence is self-evident according to so many right-wingers. I’m urging the latter to be lawyers if they aren’t already.
Let me tell you what the defense of Derek Chavin should be, of which I haven’t heard a word among the vocal right-wing “lawyers” taking Chauvin’s fate at heart.
Derek Chauvin used, according to his training, a technique called prone restraint which is banned in several cities in the states and several countries in the world for being haphazardly deadly.
Therefore, as he conformed to his training, Chauvin is not to be held responsible for the death of George Floyd, but the authorities that allow the use by police of a haphazardly deadly technique are.
Derek Chauvin obviously could not be convicted for intentional murder. He has been convicted for, in a nutshell, unintentional murder and depraved-heart murder, that is, the jury found he applied the prone restraint technique that he is trained to apply, in an unsuitable manner.
Yet the ban on the technique in several cities of the states and several countries in the world is proof enough that the technique is hazardous in itself or at least difficult to handle without lethal risk for the persons subjected to it. Therefore Chauvin must be cleared and the administration that keeps training police officers to apply prone restraint must compensate George Floyd’s relatives for their loss, which was predictable and thus avoidable through the banning of the technique.
That Floyd said he couldn’t breathe is no proof of Chauvin’s neglect, as the latter might have perceived that Floyd was simulating in order to escape (even if Floyd was already handcuffed, as being handcuffed never was an obstacle to running except for those who run on their hands).
A few months before Floyd’s death a similar affair had occurred in France, with the death of Rémi Chouviat on the occasion of a routine trafic control which degenerated in an altercation between Chouviat and the police and to Chouviat’s death after a prone restraint. It is known that trivial altercations are a significant source of homicide and it is an even sorrier state of affairs when it is trivial altercations with the police that cause the termination of innocent citizens.
How To Curtail Crime
To reduce crime, numbers of police officers must be cut.
70 percent of homicides result from trivial altercations (Kenrick & Griskevicius, 2013). Merely pushing someone away, if he stumbles and falls on his head he may die from skull injuries. That will be counted as crime in statistics, and this is what crime statistics are: 70 percent of trivial altercations turning bad. You don’t need cops to fight “crime” like this.
You need cops to fight criminal organizations, but you never hear of criminal organizations being terminated. Here there is a philosophy of fatalism: Suppress one organization another will take its place, besides they aren’t bad for the economy when you think about it, and Epstein committed suicide in his cell when the camera wasn’t working. Corruption is rampant. The less cops the less state protection criminals will receive.
Government protectionism of the black market goes far beyond police. And less cops on inner city streets equates to more dead blacks. L.A. riots were due, in part, to LACK of policing. And look at what’s happening now with that same return to lack of policing: violence in black communities. But it’s ok, it’s not the cops hurting them, now it’s their ‘own kind’… right? Faux libertarian circular logic. (D.B.S.)
My interlocutor obviously is for a police state. He made a mistake that no true libertarian could make by conflating on the one hand “policing” and on the other hand “police” meant as police forces paid on taxpayer money. Saying more policing is needed, he wants us to hear more police bureaucracy, which is precisely the stance a libertarian is trained to dismiss from the outset.
That policing and police bureaucracy are not conflatable is what the history of the states tells us:
“One defining element in American criminal law had not yet emerged by the opening of the nineteenth century: the idea that localities, states, and eventually the federal government should supply professional police forces to enforce criminal laws and protect the public from criminal behavior. Eventually, members of police forces would emerge as the primary enforcers of the criminal law, but for much of the nineteenth century those forces were nonexistent. Instead, private citizens would be summoned to respond to antisocial behavior, as when a ‘hue and cry’ would go up when someone had been accused of theft or an assault against a citizen.” (G. Edward White, American Legal History, 2014)
Now the change on this point is no more “defining” than any other characteristic of American criminal law, even though non-libertarians believe there can be no turning back from bureaucracy’s cancerous growth.
For sure I am for defunding the police as much as I am for the suppression of standing armies and am for the citizens’ right to bear arms, of which right it is my deep-seated belief the police bureaucracy is the foremost opponent, although it says nothing about it for a bureaucracy isn’t supposed to have an agenda of its own and yet it is what all bureaucracies have.
The Political Cartel
I believe in Free Speech. Whatever I say, you can mull over, agree, disagree, argue with, and I’ll do the same, respectfully. (P. Little)
“Respectfully” is Little’s own version of free speech but if we set a “respectful” criterion on speech before allowing it to be free, then there’s no free speech. A lot of speech is actually scornful and this is the kind of speech that needs protection. If the government tells me to be respectful with them but their policies infuriate me, actually this is speech suppression by the government.
There is a distinction to make. It is less acceptable that you use scornful speech with your neighbor, because, although he may be a strong supporter of the policy that infuriates you, he isn’t directly responsible for it and has not asked for your vote in an election, unless he’s a public official, in which case your scornful speech will be more acceptable and protected.
Thus the scale of offensive speech acceptability is such in American law, from more to less: public officials, public figures (known personalities without public office but somewhat influential in the debate) and then the ordinary citizen (“your neighbor”). This is quite in agreement with the nature of the democratic debate.
In state terror states such as many European countries, the scale is the reverse: Public officials get more protection from speech than the ordinary citizen. This is how a political cartel shields itself from criticism.
The Latest on Wikipedia’s Moon Landing Hoax Debunking
On the English page one reads: “The flag was rippled because it had been folded during storage – the ripples could be mistaken for movement in a still photo.”
On the French page one reads: “The flag is not fluttering, it only seems to flutter because of its apparent ripples. The flag was made of rigid cloth reinforced with iron wire in order to imitate the rippled aspect of a flag fluttering in the wind.” (My translation of: « le drapeau ne flotte pas, il donne l’air de flotter en raison de son aspect plissé. Il est en fait fabriqué dans une toile renforcée de fil de fer rigide imitant l’aspect fripé d’un drapé battant dans le vent » Wikipedia page « Théories conspirationnistes sur le programme Apollo », at the date of April 29, 2021)
Assuming the details of the French debunking page are right, although the English page says nothing about a special make of the flag, that means they FAKED THE FLAG. They used a contrived flag to give the illusion that it was fluttering in the wind (where there is no wind).
Now let us examine the English story. The flag looked rippled because it had been folded during storage and remained still on the Moon, they say. So the astronauts did not even take the pain to smooth the cloth for the picture, like by stretching it a little bit? My! they took the pain to make a photo with the flag, because it would be nice and patriotic, but it did not occur to them that the flag would look awkwardly rippled because of having been folded during storage!
No, my friends, the French-speaking page has to be the more honest of the two: They wanted the flag to look as if it were fluttering in the wind and they FAKED IT to that end.
People who do not shy away from tricks, what credit should they be given?
What’s wrong with making it look like it’s rippling? Isn’t an artistic touch possible?
My interlocutor’s question is: What’s wrong with making a flag look as if it were fluttering in the wind where there’s absolutely no air? This flag is and will remain forever a fiasco.
“Neil, it’s cool you went on the Moon but… a good artistic picture is what matters.”
A few years ago, the ripples on the flag, as one debunking went, were not due to air but to the shock caused on the flag by sticking the pole in the lunar ground.
Apparently, as none of the two pages I quoted mention it, said debunker was nuts and I’m the only one who remembers his debunking. I hope he wasn’t relying on official sources because that would mean they are changing their debunking versions over time. That two contemporary pages differ in their debunking, such that for one the ripples on the flag are accidental and for the other intentional, is enough trouble like that and one already wonders: Who the heck are these nutty debunkers?
Lessons in Law 9: Crack Hill
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)]