"Revolutions start inside."
"Revolutions start within." Bob Mould
You read philosophy (don't yawn and run screaming yet) and you realize that revolutions do indeed start inside.
The United States in the 1700's and the French literally had to rationalize their revolutions based upon the philosophies of the time.
We are screwed right now. Yes, that really didn't need to be said. That being said, here are my thoughts:
Our culture claims to be "blessed by god," our "experts" are deified, be they economists, lawyers, senators, mayors. Our founders are regarded as prophets, though they were slave owners.
These are just people. That is why an economic/social system can never be divine; it is made by flawed people.
We haven't changed much in 300 years. This really isn't a lot of time. I've known black friends who've met slave ancestors.
It is SO important to be aware of these issues. The idea that there needs to be rationale for revolt (?!), in prim and proper Western society is a big one to swallow. Then again, it isn't really so much just about Western society. We as humans, mostly have instinctual issues with killing. Veterans are said to often remember the faces of every man they've killed. The normalization of taking life can only take place from afar. An actual decision to kill from an ordinary human not being egged on by a leader, sergeant, zealot or whatever is more complicated.
Making the decision to kill does go against something in us.
When killing is done in self defense, there is said to be less an internal protest.
Note that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has its greatest instances (highest frequency) in veterans who've participated in meaningless wars, wars which weren't about self defense like Iraq and Vietnam. PTSD is a sign of part of our conscience being unable to compute the world. Easy to have happen if your world is insane.
The truth is that this system was borne from revolution which was rationalized by the philosophies of 300- 400 years ago by the thinkers of the time. These philosophies were based on very limited knowledge, glib attitudes towards the new peoples discovered around this time. Oh, and they were developed largely hypocritical Caucasian males with questionable intent. It isn't just that simple though. The knowledge of the origins of this culture have to be understood or else divorcing from is difficult. Knowing a bad idea is fine. Knowing most bad ideas come wrapped in good ones is more difficult to cope with.
The revolutions of the 1700's in America and France were novel in their own right and the leaders of these used the philosophical reasoning of the time; which was pretty limited.
Here's a run down: John Locke in the 1600's wrote the piece, "The Two Treatises of Government."
This piece influenced both the French and American revolutions and the shape the states borne of these revolutions.
I hated philosophy, but going over some things recently related to this I realized that philosophy itself is the linchpin in why we live in this insane culture. They say, "know where you came from." Oh, I think this is advised, particularly now.
So, I'm when I'm quoting about Locke, it is mainly from this page:
The following is a general summary of what Locke believed. He drew on the works of Rousseau, who created a concept called "The State of Nature," which was all about the noble savage. The noble savage idea, came from seeing how the Native Americans lived. Rousseau is the main contributer to that idea. Don't think that this meant that "state of nature" believers have any regard for these "noble savages," they came to kill.
"The Two Treatises is divided into the First Treatise and the Second Treatise. The original title of the Second Treatise appears to have been simply "Book II," corresponding to the title of the First Treatise, "Book I." Before publication, however, Locke gave it greater prominence by (hastily) inserting a separate title page: "An Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government." The First Treatise is focused on the refutation of Sir Robert Filmer, in particular his Patriarcha which argued that civil society was founded on a divinely-sanctioned patriarchalism. Locke proceeds through Filmer's arguments, contesting his proofs from Scripture and ridiculing them as senseless, until concluding that no government can be justified by an appeal to the divine right of kings.
The Second Treatise outlines a theory of civil society. Locke begins by describing the state of nature, a picture much more stable than Thomas Hobbes' state of "war of every man against every man," and argues that all men are created equal in the state of nature by God. From this, he goes on to explain the hypothetical rise of property and civilization, in the process explaining that the only legitimate governments are those which have the consent of the people. Thus, any government that rules without the consent of the people can, in theory, be overthrown."
Idea in more detail:
"Locke believed that the relationship between the state and its citizens took the form of a 'contract,' whereby the governed agreed to surrender certain freedoms they enjoyed under the state of nature in exchange for the order and protection provided by a state, exercised according to the rule of law. However, if the state oversteps its limits and begins to exercise arbitrary power, it forfeits its 'side' of the contract and thus, the contract becomes void; the citizens not only have the right to overthrow the state, but are indeed morally compelled to revolt and replace it. A secondary view on Locke's position of revolution argues that Locke requires that the legislative power must be dissolved, not by the actions of the common people, which effectively puts people back into the state of nature. This view would not suggest that people have the right to revolt, but rather to resist an arbitrary power to dissolve itself in order to make way for a new political structure."
Yet, Locke was two faced. One example was his involvement in slavery and believed that a slave owner should have absolute power:
"Locke exercised a profound influence on political philosophy, in particular on modern liberalism. Michael Zuckert has in fact argued that Locke launched liberalism by tempering Hobbesian absolutism and clearly separating the realms of Church and State. He had a strong influence on Voltaire who called him "le sage Locke". His arguments concerning liberty and the social contract later influenced the written works of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers of the United States. In fact, several passages from the Second Treatise are reproduced verbatim in the Declaration of Independence, most notably the reference to a "long train of abuses." Today, most contemporary libertarians claim him as an influence.
But Locke's influence may have been even more profound in the realm of epistemology. Locke redefined subjectivity, or self, and intellectual historians such as Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigel argue that Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) marks the beginning of the modern conception of the self.
Constitution of Carolina
Appraisals of Locke have often been tied to appraisals of liberalism in general, and also to appraisals of the United States. Detractors note that (in 1671) he was a major investor in the English slave-trade through the Royal Africa Company, as well as through his participation in drafting the Fundamental Constitution of the Carolinas while Shaftesbury's secretary, which established a feudal aristocracy and gave a master absolute power over his slaves. They note that as a secretary to the Council of Trade and Plantations (1673-4) and a member of the Board of Trade (1696-1700) Locke was, in fact, "one of just half a dozen men who created and supervised both the colonies and their iniquitous systems of servitude" Some see his statements on unenclosed property as having justified the displacement of the Native Americans. Because of his opposition to aristocracy and slavery in his major writings, he is accused of hypocrisy, or of caring only for the liberty of English capitalists.
Theory of value and property
Locke uses the word property in both broad and narrow senses. In a broad sense, it covers a wide range of human interests and aspirations; more narrowly, it refers to material goods. He argues that property is a natural right and it is derived from labor.
Locke believed that ownership of property is created by the application of labor. In addition, property precedes government and government cannot "dispose of the estates of the subjects arbitrarily." Karl Marx later critiqued Locke's theory of property in his social theory."
Here's some more detail about his beliefs about money:
Locke distinguishes two functions of money, as a "counter" to measure value, and as a "pledge" to lay claim to goods. He believes that silver and gold, as opposed to paper money, are the appropriate currency for international transactions. Silver and gold, he says, are treated to have equal value by all of humanity and can thus be treated as a pledge by anyone, while the value of paper money is only valid under the government which issues it.
Locke argues that a country should seek a favorable balance of trade, lest it fall behind other countries and suffer a loss in its trade. Since the world money stock grows constantly, a country must constantly seek to enlarge its own stock. Locke develops his theory of foreign exchanges, in addition to commodity movements, there are also movements in country stock of money, and movements of capital determine exchange rates. The latter is less significant and less volatile than commodity movements. As for a country's money stock, if it is large relative to that of other countries, it will cause the country's exchange to rise above par, as an export balance would do.
He also prepares estimates of the cash requirements for different economic groups (landholders, laborers and brokers). In each group the cash requirements are closely related to the length of the pay period. He argues the brokers - middlemen - whose activities enlarge the monetary circuit and whose profits eat into the earnings of laborers and landholders, had a negative influence on both one's personal and the public economy that they supposedly contributed to."
End of quote.
Rousseau in the 1700's took Locke's ideas further and was more influential in the French Revolution. He said this:
Theory of Natural Man
" The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody. "
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754
YET, all he really quoting the Native Americans!
Here's a quote from Tecumseh (oldest dated quote of the Native American, "Own the land? You are fucking crazy!" concept:
"" (Governor William Harrison), you have the liberty to return to your own country ... you wish to prevent the Indians from doing as we wish them, to unite and let them consider their lands as common property of the whole ... You never see an Indian endeavor to make the white people do this ... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? How can we have confidence in the white people? "
—- Tecumseh, 1810, 'The Portable North American Indian Reader"
He wrote a piece called, The Social Contract," and this too was a key influence in the ideas of the period:
"The Social Contract was a progressive work that helped inspire political reforms or revolutions in Europe, especially in France. The Social Contract finally expelled the myth that the King was appointed by God to legislate; as Rousseau asserts, only the people, in the form of the sovereign, have that all powerful right." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Contract
Oh, and Rousseau converted to Calvinism, which is an Christian ideology. Calvinism was highly influential in the formation of our society, since it was the brand of protestantism practiced by the early settlers. Calvinists believe that God's chosen people are picked before hand and wealth and good fortune are indicators of this. It is the origin of the "status" symbol- because in their mind, the presence of things and wealth indicated God's favor.
It isn't like Rousseau didn't have any ideas that weren't good. It is creepy how the bones of Anarcho-primitivism seem to emerge from this (not like Zherzan hasn't seen this):
"Wikipedia summarizes Rousseau's thinking here: He suggested that the earliest human beings were solitary and differentiated from animals by their capacity for free will and their perfectibility. He also argued that these primitive humans were possessed of a basic drive to care for themselves and a natural disposition to compassion or pity. As humans were forced to associate together more closely by the pressure of population growth, they underwent a psychological transformation and came to value the good opinion of others as an essential component of their own well-being. Rousseau associated this new self-awareness with a golden age of human flourishing. However, the development of agriculture, metallurgy, private property, and the division of labour led to humans becoming increasingly dependent on one another, and led to economic inequality. The resulting state of conflict led Rousseau to suggest that the first state was invented as a kind of social contract made at the suggestion of the rich and powerful. This original contract was deeply flawed as the wealthiest and most powerful members of society tricked the general population, and thus instituted inequality as a fundamental feature of human society. Rousseau's own conception of the social contract can be understood as an alternative to this fraudulent form of association. At the end of the Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau explains how the desire to have value in the eyes of others comes to undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, hierarchy, and inequality."
So, I've shared some information. I did this in order that we know how close the past and the present actually are.
Well, its been 300 years since Amerikkka began. I think we better start doing some more novel thinking!!!!!
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