Government since 1908

Of cabbages and kings

Democracies were encroaching upon monarchies…

Fivescore and eleven years ago HL Mencken held forth on his interpretation of the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzsche. Mencken’s parents were German. Germans had flowed into both Texas and the USA during the build-up to the Opium Wars, and published newspapers. Henry Lewis was uniquely positioned to understand, and that he did.

The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche is an eight-dollar book not discussed much in objectivist circles. In it unfolds an examination of Christian beatitudes oddly reminiscent of Galt’s Speech–that part of Atlas Shrugged mystical conservatives scrupulously avoid reading and never attempt to refute. Yet the German’s perorations, as interpreted in American, shed light on the previous and upcoming elections.

Before individual rights were defined, as mankind wearily shrugged off God’s Own Papist monarchies, semi-log paper made a logistics curve appear as a straight line in which monarchies shrivel toward zero and “democracies” gain market share. The planet was approaching the point of inflection in the sigmoid substitution curve.

Government was just being defined and would in 1914 acquire stable meaning as a bounded monopoly on legitimate force. But rights, hence legitimacy, were undefined other than by Jefferson’s tentative and partial enumeration and “freak legislation” had the year previous transformed the Pure Food Law into machinery for destroying the U.S. economy.

Ayn Rand wrote fan mail to HL Mencken, obviously read his writings on Nietzsche, and just as obviously noticed the absence of individual rights. What passed for rights to the German were 1. things the individual is able to do despite opposition by his fellow men, and 2. things he is enabled to do by the grace and permission of his fellow men. Meh.

While Germans were swinging from the gallows in Nuremberg, Ayn Rand reformulated life, eudaimonia, as the touchstone standard of moral value whereby rights could be legitimized in terms of choices that make happiness possible. Another writer, mathematician Larry Niven, in Protector developed a race of Nietzschean alien supermen that were brave, competent, smart, but lacking in the happiness Jefferson associated with rights and even Nietzsche associated with philosophy.

 

New and happy replacing Old and senile parties

Votes for Libertarian Freedom replacing Collectivism and Sacrifice party votes

Rand’s Non-Aggression Pledge handily trashed Aldous Huxley’s “peace through inanition” policy and lay the ethical framework for a society unbowed by braying mystics, unsubmissive to the sacrificial demands of grim totalitarians, and unyielding in its commitment to progress toward happy freedom in the minimization–perhaps eventual elimination of the initiation of force–one war criminal at a time, if need be. In Rand’s Hollywood days, filming King of Kings while Calvin Coolidge restrained dangerous fanatical zeal, pledges were still a popular thing.

Can you explain whether Prohibition and The Crash were related by causation or coincidence? Amazon Kindle has the answer for the cost of a craft pint readable on any smartphone in either of two languages. Learn why by 1932 voters were pledging “I’ll never vote republican again!”

Prohibition and The Crash, on Amazon Kindle

Appeasing religious fanatics

 

Neville Chamberlain gave Europe a good lesson on the futility of Utilitarianism. But wait a minute… Isn’t Utilitarianism a good thing? The greatest good for the greatest number sure sounds democratic. Then again,   German Democratic Republic and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also sound democratic. Enter the Utilitarian Monster. 

The Utilitarian Monster lives in a Gedankenexperiment in which an evil monster in, say, a Zeppelin, arrives at the city gate and demands the sacrifice of one individual or else the entire town will be bombed. The City Fathers vote to sacrifice you, dear reader–BECAUSE THEY LOVE YOU! Yes, true Christian sacrifice is the surrender of that which you value more in exchange for what you value less. If they valued your egotistical selfishness, they would never have surrendered you. It is precisely because altruistic collectivism says you are innocent and good that your life gets crushed. Cowardice is preserved, and everyone is happy–happy, that is, until the Utilitarian Monster returns the following day with the same ultimatum. Yes, this is headed in the same direction as those chapters on sequences and series in math class… Everyone in a utilitarian village can be wiped out, one at a time, by bluffing.

But to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, mathematics was just theory. Peace was the important thing and sacrifice by appeasement was what everyone–the teachers, reverend clergy, government school philosophy and ethics teachers, Adolf Hitler–all said was good, right, socially benevolent. The ethics was settled, and it was time to put it into practice. Unfortunately, the Czechoslovakians were the ones being pushed onto the altar of altruism and sacrifice, and the experiment was real, not Gedanken.

Not everyone agreed with Hitler, of course. The one person who had the guts to speak out against the cowardly monstrosity–against the cringing sanction of the next victim–was a young woman born in 1909 who worked in Hollywood. Her name was Carmen Miranda and she wrote a samba describing Europe’s capitulation to militant German National Socialist religious conservatism. The 1938 samba is titled “Salada Mista.”

Conservatives hate Carmen Miranda and Mae West for pretty much the same reason. Conservative ideology hates freedom and worships superstition and coercion.

If you want to replace bad ethics and politics with something better, you might want to look into the Libertarian party.