The notion of patterns transcending the material world is the cornerstone of tradition and of any sane brand of spirituality. Plato, for one, held that all materially existing things necessarily decayed and that the only thing universal behind them was the Idea.
Therefore, the serene supple skin of the healthy and well-developed female body expresses the essence of the female nature; soft, caring and pleasant. A good woman is one which brings out the qualities of the female being and brings to them to their fulfilment – in which the essence is realized. Therefore, the whim of a woman, if it strikes her mind, to go around prostrating how she is independent and autonomous and doesn’t need any man at all, is a step away from, instead of towards the fulfilment of this essence.
Last time (The End of the World Anthem) I discussed about the future of the State, and how this State relates itself to whims. For the State, whims are not good or evil. Whims are seen as absolutes that the machinery of State uses to calculate the movements of its subjects – that is, the consumers – like a physicist predicts the trajectory of an atom based on the quarks. So too, we are now atoms travelling on trajectories that are not virtuous or vicious, but that need to be channelled by the State in order to balance its own existence.
One might say that this means the State has broken away from the tradition of finding patterns transcending the material universe, and seeking to express this pattern through the organisation of the public life. That one would conclude that the State has no connection to a higher ordering principle outside of itself and is, as such, directionless.
The point is not direction. The point is directionlessness. Which demands perpetual stabilization. Random whims need to be funnelled, our civilization decrees, so that people have an occupation. It just works in circles. There are no grand objectives for humankind or nations just live to work and work to live. The State finds its duty in the need to hold these whims in check before they endanger the whim-pursuits of others. No qualities are ascribed to these whims other than ‘lawful’ and ‘unlawful’.
A writer recently stated:
“I’m in the American military. Guys still cannot grow their hair beyond their ears and neck. Yet I’ve seen very mannish women buzz cut their hair. Yuk! Girls have to be feminine and men masculine to tell one from the other–everyone knows that clear role patterns allow for the most order and harmony.”
Obviously, any good Amerika.org reader who sometimes engages in debate about his thoughts instead of keeping them private, can see the following objection coming:
“It could be said that clear differentiation between the sexes adds colour to our world and no one appreciates a beautiful woman more than me. Yet having free rights and free choices means that someone may look as he or she wishes, so long as it doesn’t infringe on others. Looking like an alien is an unalienable right.”
Objections like these, as I will make clear, inevitably rest upon short-term thinking. Liberty only exists by grace of societies’ moral fabric in which it lies embedded. Accept gradual poisoning of the moral fabric, and the institutions as well as the laws will shift away from the original spirit behind them. “Do as you wish as long as you don’t bother me or others with it”, can never be the foundation on which Liberty rests. This is because any society is held together by a sense of morality and aesthetics (we appreciate aesthetics because it means that thing depicted so eminently expresses its essence – usually meaning a fulfilment of its potential) before the laws are written (codified).
By saying: “Liberty is the license to do anything as long as one doesn’t violate the law,” one pretends as if the laws are the foundation of morality while it is really the opposite way around: Laws shift with the shifting of morality. Accept the degeneration of clear role patterns within the family (men flourishing with the qualities and abilities of men and women excelling in those of women), and eventually you will find yourself with a majority of proles who will change the laws anyway.
And then by proles I don’t mean ‘a member of the working class’, but people with no time or patience to explore history, culture and philosophy, as such have no affinity with the spirit beneath the laws of their countries’ legal system, and instead will focus on the immediate satisfaction of the desires they find surfacing in them: “Let me wear stockings and petticoats on military service else it is an infringement on my individual authentic expression,” etc…
And, another important point, (Western) societies are held together by a strong sense of civil society. That is, people participating in institutions out of a sense of the common good, such as low-level government. People participating in such organisations always do so because they are driven by certain values which they seek to uphold. If a government resorts to sticking to the letter of the law, such as tolerating despicable behaviour because there is no specific law against it or because the despicable behaviour is deemed part of someone’s inalienable rights, this will estrange the populace from the public institutions and thus destroy the motivation beneath valuable civil society.
People’s motivation to participate within civil society is always to imbed their values in it, or at least to act on its behalf in accordance to one’s values. By saying: “The letter of the law is the letter of the law, and everything is OK unless the law says otherwise”, one replaces the moral fabric of society by regulated indifference, and almost nobody will feel burning zeal to defend that.
It has been said that moral law transcends and predates civil or criminal law: Certain behaviour is never right even if there is no law against it. The presence or the absence of a specific law does not mean people need it defined in order to follow it. Moral behaviour is found, for example, in religious thought. In the American Constitution there are few negative liberties and most of them are laid upon the federal government. The vast positive liberties rests with and within each State. The old saying that “we cannot legislate morality” is true because the moment people won’t obey a moral command unless it’s made into a law, it is already too late; laws are too general and can never account for specific circumstances. This is why Plato wrote:
“Good people do not require good laws to do the good, and evil people will always find ways to practice their evil around those laws.” – Politeia
This saying could be said to apply to criminals who can hire expensive lawyers to twist the explanation of laws in their favour and use legal loopholes. The saying also concurs with my ‘Liberal’ conviction that man nor society are malleable and that it is therefore folly to try and nail down everything shut with laws, regulations and procedures to cover for every possible violation – this creates a vast bureaucracy and destroys common sense. The best thing is probably to educate people in general civil society and then if some disgusting abuse occurs to stomp down on it, setting an example. This, however rests on people’s readiness to recognize that that authority recognizes the moral law transcending the civil and criminal law, and in a society conditioning us to think of ourselves as unique and equal this is unlikely. So we only rally behind ‘transparency’ which is in fact boards upon boards – smokescreens. We all want to have a say, we want to have our ‘perspectives’ taken into account, but none of us want final accountability – this is typical of the democratic citizen.
Personally, I don’t think at the moment we have any authority that could recognize moral law transcending civil and criminal laws. Therefore, the authority figures will first have to be replaced with men educated to think in Truth-claims. But for more about this see: ‘The Inviolate Truth‘ and ‘Characterless Society II’.
Now where was I? Oh yes, I was making a point about masculinity and femininity, and I better do so before this article becomes so long that people will feel disinclined to read it – which I fear happens frequently as 85% of our comments are left by The Crow. Unless of course the majority of our readers are teachers who print texts like these and discuss them in class instead of at the page’s bottom – speaking frankly I would have a lot of respect for that, as I used to teach myself; until I encountered this website and gave it up in order to write the articles.
After hearing my response, the hypothetical interlocutor might claim that I had misrepresented his statement. After all, he did not profess: “Do as you wish as long as you don’t bother me or others with it,” but said that every individual should have the right to live their lives as they see fit best for them, provided the exercise of their natural rights does not infringe on any other individuals’ natural rights.
From this position he will then argue that not allowing to wear whatever hairstyle one chooses is nonsense; in 1776, (thus far, by my humble knowledge concerning the matter, not one of the many accursed historic dates frequently used by Brett Stevens to refer to those nightmarish visions he considers most defiling) many men wore powdered wigs, and those who didn’t had much longer hairstyles. That fact is relatively meaningless in any intellectual conversation, other than as a historical footnote, and that the next step might be to say that girls have to be feminine and men masculine, and if not should be forced to be so, for the good of society?
But then again hairstyle is part of dress code, and dress code is part of the military, so it exists already. Playing on the sentiment that forcing people to do something is bad and evil is a dishonest way of manoeuvring around an elaborate argument which rests upon confirmation by the empirical facts of history. Fact is that families with clear role patterns produce children with better performance in education, and that societies which drifted away from the standard marriage pattern have always done so at the stage of perishing. Read Montesquieu if you won’t take it from me.
The history of philosophy and statecraft itself backs this up. The idea of inalienable freedoms is part of contract-philosophy and comes from John Locke, who held that these rights were given to men by God. The contract-philosophy itself comes from the fictional idea of Thomas Hobbes, who postulated the existence of a lawless, anarchistic ‘natural situation’, in which people lived and did as they pleased without being subjected to a higher authority. According to Hobbes, the result was that they fought each other to the death over the appropriate ways to please their gods, over conduct they found dishonouring, and over all sorts of property quarrels.
This anarchy was only subsided, Hobbes imagined, once a higher authority was put in charge, and this institution would carry out the law. Not because it was morally better to act according to those laws, but because people had consented to transfer some of their sovereignty to the authority. Before they had agreed to the specific content of civil and criminal laws, they had agreed to obey them in order not to destroy one another (here you see the highest regulating principle, the last common ground of our society – that we shall at least not destroy each other).
This is basically Hobbes’ conviction that there is no moral law and that expressions regarding it are fictional statements said by speakers to manipulate others into backing their power claim. “So,” Hobbes thought, “let’s just regard anything that anyone can say as a claim said by that person to trick others into serving his interest” (as Thrasymachos argued in Politeia), and for this reason it’s best to condense all of these claims into just giving a vote to a person. “Yes,” or “no”. Simple enough. Or, hell, give nobody a vote. Just appoint one sovereign as the head to the body that is society. (Thing is just that this latter aspect of the contract-philosophy was a little too undemocratic for the Americans, hence they heralded Locke and not Hobbes.)
As pointed out, the contract-philosophy itself comes from the fictional idea of Hobbes, who postulated the existence of a lawless, anarchistic ‘natural situation’ – this fictional idea in an absolute sense is the idea that “every individual should have the right to live their lives as they see fit best for them, provided the exercise of their natural rights does not infringe on any other individuals’ natural rights.”
That this is fictional becomes clear by taking a look at for example the philosophy of Aristotle, who observed that a stable family life is a requirement in order for a society even to arrive at the political stage (unless there is an exceptional situation such as men planning to found a city, as under Romulus, yet even Livy makes clear that Rome’s leader could not succeed without the virgins accepting their domestic position). This means that reverence for one’s parents, among things, are all underlying, non-fictional values already at work before the political process begins to make those values ‘hard’ through legislation. This is a very roundabout way of saying that the legal system and the public order shouldn’t allow masculinity and femininity to decay as long as they do not want to dismantle the very requirements of their existence.
But I’m honestly very curious about the ideas of the reader – what do you think about the remark that men wore powdered wigs earlier in history? I mean when I think of powdered wigs I think of make-up using men enrolled in French court intrigues, backstabbing lackeys courting each other through homosexual affairs while setting up diplomatic conspiracies – no wonder they couldn’t see the Revolution coming. Do you think it is utterly insignificant or is there more to it?
Alright, alright, before we get more complaints about our self-debasement; it’s not 85 but only 62%.