OK – so due to the interview between Scott Adams and Stefan Molyneux, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, about habits, patterns of thought, free will, and tools to reprogram ourselves. So now – government.
The constitution, the original document as written, is a system. A tool. Like all tools, it is morally neutral, and it is actually the Bill of Rights that provides moral boundaries, or guiding principles to it, while the earlier Declaration in a way provides aspirational inspiration. Even in it’s time the framers of the Constitution believed that their system of government would not last the ages, and was only suitable for a christian, moral people.
So when some on the alt-right mock the conservative fixation on “muh constitution” – it bothers me, I value it – but I get it.
It’s just a system, a set of habits, methods, algorithms. There are other ones. Some are “better”, some are worse, and in a number of ways that valuation depends on what kind of people the system is helping -for lack of a better word – govern, and their temperament. Just like developing new habits, we can put new systems in place. The choices made will increase or reduce administrative and bureaucratic friction, encourage or discourage entrepreneurs, and make treaty decisions and foreign relationships more stable or not. In the end, it’s a methodology – just like solving a word problem. There may be an easy way and a hard way, ways that are better matches for your priorities, but as long as you reach the truth, or the correct answer, they are morally irrelevant.
But what if the government decides the answer is to round up every left-handed redhead and execute every tenth one? Well…. that’s why we have the Bill of Rights.
To me, the first ten amendments in the Bill of Rights are far more important than the actual system of government administration and legislation. They are also mostly agnostic to the system they are attached to. Those rights are either recognized, or they are not. In being recognized they will limit the form of government – for example by preventing the government from rounding up and executing redheads “just because” – but as we are seeing in the US these days, the system is mostly still in place, while the rights the government is supposed to leave alone are eroded year by year.
The safeguards in place, the system matters, but not if the goal is not to limit the power of government. Without those limits, the system will rapidly devolve, expand per Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracy, to further its own existence without limit.
In this, I include corporations. No, you’re not going to see an “occupy” rant about evil corporations, but, concentration of power is concentration of power. A company town is still a state – just a corporate one.
Of course, you can’t simply regulate the power of corporations. Power is one of the most addictive drugs out there, and so those with money and clout will bend their will to realign political power to their own advantage.
So this brings us back to the people. If the people don’t care about freedom of speech instead of limiting “hate” speech. If they don’t care about freedom to practice one’s faith, to be armed to effectively defend oneself, then they will undermine the systems until those rights are effectively null and void. A society that wishes to preserve those things must value those things, and must demonstrate that value by teaching the following generations what they have, and how to preserve it. More importantly, they must have and raise those following generations.
In this case, importing those generations via mass immigration is not only a cheat, but guarantees – whether you think it’s simply cultural inertia or statistical trends in genetically driven personality traits of populations – that those values die out.
If you value those freedoms, have kids, raise them, teach them, don’t take shortcuts. Don’t import another culture.
The future belongs to those who show up.