And when the Laws of England are Flat, and the Devil Turns on you?

A reader who says he hates lawyers has a comment. He gives what I think is a telling reason. Telling, because it condemns our soceity with a just condemnation.

“I’m not saying lawyers are bad people. Some people are just bad and some of them happen to be lawyers. No, I just hate their profession. Yes, I understand that the rule of law is necessary, but it just seems so arbitrary. Physics is what it is. You may misunderstand it and in consequence have to go rewrite the books, but the underlying concepts don’t change. The legal system is built on human opinion and we all know that that changes with the political wind.”

Before I address this comment, I have to make a more general comment about the Twentieth Century, the last century of the last millennium.

The Twentieth Century will be remembered by future historians as the Century of Bad Ideas. They will call it the Benighted Times, the time when the ideals of the Enlightenment were rejected: a time of world war, of genocide, of megadeath. It will be recalled as the Days of Democide.

The Twentieth Century is the century of ideology.

An ideology is a theory, not of justice, but of social engineering and human behavior, that is, how to organize human laws and customs to as to produce a desirable society, how to organize buying, selling, working, living, relations between men and women, diet and dress, and, most of all, it is a theory of correct thinking.


Ideology is a sharp break from previous political philosophy, but it did not come out of a vacuum. Ideology is based on the ideas of previous centuries, political and judicial philosophy reaching all the way back to Aristotle.

The difference between an ideology and a theory of political justice is a difference of scope and meaning. Ideologies are meant to be all-embracing, to inform and influence every aspect of life. A theory of political justice, as Aristotle or Aquinas, is a theory about one aspect of life. An ideology is your life.

An analogy might be instructive. The difference between the classical paganism in the Roman Empire before Constantine, and the Church after Constantine is the difference between a ritual belief that informed part of a man’s life, and a faith that penetrated all aspects of life. The development of Christianity as a total society bloomed at the time of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire in France: religion was the underpinning of every social bond, from marriage to fealty to land-ownership to military service. The reverence for the gods of Olympus and the respect paid augurs and shrines of the ancient world was nothing like this: a man could become a votary of Serapis on Tuesday, and sacrifice to Isis on Wednesday, and burn incense to the Divine Emperor on Friday, without it making the least difference to anyone if he did the same thing next week or not.

Likewise, the political theory of Aristotle dealt with the virtues ruler and ruled must possess, the proper roles of the parts of society, but being an “Aristotelian” is not like being a “Marxist”. Being a “Marxist” is much more like being a “Christian”; Marxists are followers of a creed that changes every aspect of their lives.

The roots of the Ideological revolution came during the Enlightenment, when the theory of the Rights of Man, and the political ideas of limited government and of government ‘by the people and for the people’, were discovered and preached. Whether this early form of political theory is called an ideology or not is a matter of semantics. For my part, I will define the term ideology to mean only those all-embracing theories which spring out of this root. The reason why I cannot, without paradox, call this an ideology is that it has no name, no program, and it promises the opposite of what ideologies promise: it is a laissez-faire school of thought, which says that the governments which governs least, governs best. The Enlightenment is an attempt to limit the government to a certain sphere of life, and to leave religion, and all that religion entails, a private matter. It is an attempt to leave alone man’s property rights and his thoughts.

If we had to be technical, we would call this school of thought Liberalism, or classical Liberalism. While technically correct, this word is misleading, because its meaning has been corrupted: the word now means the stark opposite of what it once meant.

I trust the reader will simply make the appropriate adjustment in his reading: the word Liberal here means what today would be called a non-doctrinaire libertarian, a stance that is weirdly mislabeled “Conservative.”

Liberalism is “conservative” only in the sense that it seeks to conserve the classical liberal roots of the revolutionary anti-monarchist and (small-r) republican notions of the Founders in America. In no other country on Earth are these notions conservative. No where else are revolutionaries described as conserving anything.

In other countries than this one (and, in this country, in this century but not in previous) liberalism would be radical, since it would require dismantling decades and centuries of policy and political philosophy, virtues and habits, all sanctified by time. In America before FDR, liberalism was not radical, since all that the American Revolution sought to do was to conserve for the colonists the rights and liberties which the British constitution owed freeborn British subjects, the rights proclaimed during the Glorious Revolution of the generation previous. In Virginia, my home, the House of Burgesses continued in business before, during, and after the Revolution with no change. Local governments and state governments were unaltered by the new federalist arrangement.  The Revolution was not revolutionary.

Before the modern age, the ancient regime in Europe rested on classical and clerical theories of the role of the church and the duties of the prince. Machiavelli, in his much-maligned appeal for practicality and ruthlessness in a leader, can be considered the first liberal. His ideal was to form a republic, not a monarchy, taking ancient Rome or Athens as the model, and to safeguard the rights of man through arming the militia, and through limiting the powers of the executive, legislative, and judicial bodies.

Ideology is the opposite of this Liberal school of thought. Since the days of the French Revolution, an ideology is a belief-system that preaches that “The People” as a mass, are a semi-divine being, in which we, as members of the People, mystically participate. The Will of the People is semi-divine, and incapable of error. All legitimacy springs from The People; anything which The People opposes is heretical, an offense against the ideology.

Ideology has several noticeable hallmarks.

Ideology is totalitarian, in the sense that laws and institutions cannot stand as a check against the power of the self-anointed representatives of the Will of the People. The officers of the state have not only the right, but the positive duty, to root out and destroy ideological heretics wheresoever situate, and no limitations on government, no laws, no institutions, must be allowed to stand in the way. The purpose of ideology is to lay the laws flat, so that the Devil can be caught and hanged (or the Capitalists, or the Jews, or the Reds, or Reactionaries, or Wreckers, or Gusano, or Goldstein. Any enemy will do.)   The point here is that ideologues always oppose the separation of powers and the sanctity of individual rights.

Ideology is totalitarian in that sense that no matters are apolitical. The state cares if you are overweight, if you are eating too much red meat, if you are teaching your children the correct ideas, if you are treating your apprentices and field hands correctly, if you are not patronizing the fine arts in sufficient numbers, if you are not speaking the approved and politically correct words and phrases, if you are not thinking the right thoughts.

Now, the paradox here is that ideology–at least some schools of it– may at first seem to be preaching in favor of limited government in the particular areas of its concern. Morality (so runs the famous slogan) cannot be legislated. When you do in the bedroom with your catamite is your concern alone, no one else’s. However, sad experience lends a lie to this limitation: it is not toleration of various victimless crimes and vices ideology seeks. Toleration is insufficient. It is approval. A neutral attitude is not desired by ideologues (even if neutrality in a binary, either-or issue were logically possible, which it is not). The desired attitude is approval for vice and contempt for virtue; approval for perversions, sexual and otherwise, and disapproval for what is normal, proportionate and sane. (“Otherwise” here means that artistic perversion is included in the definition: modern art that is visual gibberish, poem that neither rhyme nor scan nor enlighten nor edify, novels without characters or plot, music without melody or harmony. The aesthetic has infinite forms but only one object: the destruction of a healthy aesthetic norm, the rebellion against standards. Certain ideologies treat a return to older forms of art as a political matter; other variations treat the perversion of art as a political matter. The essential point is that art is a political matter to an ideologue.)

 Ideology is utopian, youth-oriented, and visionary. It is not always brutally violent, but it always excuses brutal violence, even among allegedly pacifistic branches of the movement. The swooning affection of ideologues for the most brutal of thugs, third-world mobsters, and dictators is a source of continual astonishment.

Ideology is not a theory of anything: it is a theory of everything. For example, Marxism, the most famous and coherent of the ideologies, was not an economic theory merely. Economic theories concern the market, and deal with topic like interest rates.  Marxism is a millenarian vision that explains (or pretends it explains) the origins of society, the forces behind historical evolution, the science of man, the emergence of consciousness, the relations between classes and categories of human beings: it maps out the future of mankind with scientific inevitability, predicting the downfall of the capitalistic system of exploitation, a prediction now ninety years overdue and counting. This is a total theory of everything. Everything from proletarian art to the rights of women is covered in Marxism. Other ideologies are as ambitious, even if they tend to have something of a crazy-quilt pattern to them, being made of bits and pieces of other theories and popular prejudices.

Ideology is intellectual, rather than experiential. It is based on theory rather than on experience, reality, or a sober assessment of human nature. The weird sensation that one gets talking to ideologues is that they are men from Mars, who never met a human being, and never read a book about one; that sensation has its roots in the institutional naivety endemic to ideologies.

Ideology is coercive. Ideology is a vision, not an argument: ideologists yearn for force and power. There metaphors and themes come from Darwin, particularly its emphasis on a struggle red in tooth and claw, out from which a stronger breed emerges. Individual suffering counts for nothing, as long as the race or the collective is advantaged. The metaphors and themes also come from from Hegel, with his clash of dialectic opposites, or from  Nietzsche, with his ‘will to power’ as the root of moral (or amoral) behavior.

Ideology is historicist. Unlike Darwin, who spoke only of change through modification, ideologues are intoxicated with the notion that all change is necessarily change for the better. A mystical force, an unnamed goddess of history, ensures that whatever acts, good or bad, is done by the people will create a finer, better, and more just social arrangement. This theme is stronger in some streams of ideology than others, but the anti-conservative impulse, the will to change for the sake of change, underpins most ideological thinking.

Because of this intoxication with the metaphor of evolution, ideology is paradoxically experimental. Mussolini and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were famous for their insistence that laws and customs be overthrown without any planned legal arrangements to take their place. The Leader interferes with the workings of the market, the family, the law courts, with no clear ideas, no ideas at all, of where they are going or how they are going to get there.

Ideologues, absurdly, think of this lack of practical plans as practical. This willingness to build a complex engine without blueprints is thought of as being pragmatic, even though, in real life, this is the opposite of pragmatism. What is really going on is that the ideologue is a mystic. He does not understand economics or politics, human nature or the nature of peace or war. Instead of understanding, he has a vision, an all-consuming vision.

What is really going on is that the ‘pragmatic’ impatience with theory is insincere rhetoric; their own theories, the ideologue believes with the fervor of a true believer; it is merely the theories of the science of economics, the liberal theories of limited government, that the true believer does not believe. When you tell the true believer that the workingman’s labor is worth the time he puts into making a good, the labor theory of value, that is accepted as merely a practical reality; when you tell the true believer that the workingman’s labor is worth what the law of supply and demand dictate, and that you cannot raise wages without producing unemployment, that is rejected as being ‘too theoretical’ and ‘impractical’ and wags joke that we need not look at the long term cost of meddling in the market, because ‘in the long run, we are all dead’.

Absurdly again, ideologies also embrace the exact opposite of the idea of an experimental alteration of laws on a case-by-case basis. They are fetishists for planning. One of the saddest and most risible aspects of the Bolshevik Revolution is that the words “a planned economy” had been on the lips of socialists for over a generation. The moment the soviet system was open for business, 7:00 Monday morning, so to speak, of Year One of the revolution, all the revolutionaries set down, shouted “hurrah for a planned economy!” and then looked at each other numbly, wondering who had drawn up the plans.

Of course, there were no plans. The revolutionaries did not know enough about economics even to know what would have to go into a plan. When the time came for the People’s Wage and Price Control Board to meet, instead of using the scientifically planned system they had promised the world they would use to distribute the resources of human labor and talent in their so-called planned economy, the board looked to see what was being charged for various goods and services in the West, and ordered their underlings to follow suit. If potatoes were selling for a franc apiece in Paris, the commissar ordered the grocer to charge a ruble a apiece in Moscow. There was no rhyme nor reason to it: it was the opposite of planning. It was merely economic chaos, random actions having no connections to any articulated goal.

Since ideology is experimental, one would think that each experiment with the social machinery would be conducted under carefully controlled circumstances, and the results carefully noted. One would think the nature of mankind, the nature of the free market, the nature of political arrangements, the customs and laws would be studied as carefully as a doctor studies his patient, so that the object of the experiment would be defined. In fact, the opposite is the case. The reason why ideology is experimental is not because the ideologue has discovered a new truth about human nature or human rights. The ideology is experimental for the same reason a man in a burning building will try any door or any window, the same reason a ship will try any port in a storm.

The ideologue rejects the liberal theories on market place forces, and the industrial society that results is intolerable to him. Because he has no rational alternative to a free market system, the ideologue dismisses the rational approach: his motto becomes ‘try anything.’

In a calm debate, no free people would tolerate for a moment allowing their neighbors to trample their rights; how much less would they be willing to allow their neighbors to trample their rights for no reason? For the sake of an aimless experiment?

(“Gee Mr. Wizard, what are we doing today?” “Well, FDR, today we are going off the Gold Standard, just to see what happens! Then we will see what happens if we revoke the licenses of any radio stations broadcasting crimethink!”)

But in an emergency, people are willing to do exactly that. In a crisis, you experiment, because doing something, doing anything, is better than doing nothing.

Inevitably, ideologies are wedded to crisis. Everything is a crisis. No matter what time it is, the time for talk is over. It is no longer responsible or respectable to question whether the emergency has reached crises proportions. No matter what time it is, it is too late to question whether the proposed policy with be counter-productive. No time ask whether drilling holes in the hull as opposed to bailing the boat is a better method of draining water from the boat. The boat is sinking! All hands to the pumps! Stop asking questions! You don’t want us to drown!

Ideologies do not operate at room temperature.

Ideology is both elitist and populist in different aspects. The emotional strength and drive of ideology rests in the discontent found (or created) during the industrial revolution, the same period where religious sentiment, for the first time in European history, had lost its hold on the political imaginations of man.

Unmoored from the Church, men drifted into this substitute Church. Their envy and resentments now at large to strike down the ancient regime, ideology is populists in the sense that old authority figures are held in contempt. In Europe, this is a hatred for kings, aristocrats, popes, priests, and the other power structures of the ancient regime; it includes hatred of bankers and Jews and industrialists and landowners, and, to a lesser degree, hatred of scholar and intellectuals. In America, populism is hatred for bankers and Jews and industrialists, and, to a lesser degree, hatred of scholars and intellectuals. Oddly enough, in America, a hatred for popular entertainers, Hollywood people, is also a populist theme, the ones who popularized this theme of rebellion. Even more oddly, intellectuals and scholars in Europe and America support these attitudes, and support revolutions and regimes that would, if brought to power, send them to the gulag and the firing squad.

It must be remembered that the main appeal of Nazism in Germany was egalitarianism; strength through unity. Class divisions were to be overcome. All Germans, born high or low, were to put aside their social ranks, and work shoulder-to-shoulder to defeat the international Jewish conspiracy of Bankers and Bolsheviks.  He was not just preaching hate: Hitler also preached teamwork, equality, fraternity, and, above all, unity.

Ideology is elitist in the sense that it appeals to the vanity of the intellectual: he tells himself he is smarter and more morally astute than the main body of mankind, even though, honestly, his own real-world accomplishments are usually quite modest. The appeal of ideology, after all, is an intellectual appeal: the beauty of having a simple explanation that totally explains everything in life is the primary aesthetic pleasure of the physical sciences.

Most scientists are aware of the beauty of science; many are ravished by it. It dazzles the mind when one sees the elegance, nay, the beauty, of the reduction of all moving bodies to a few simply-phrased, precise Newtonian laws. Ideologies are envious of this scientific approach, and many of them use the words and metaphors of science to describe themselves. In others, the envy is opposite, and the intellectual embraces a romanticized or mystical hatred of intellectuals.

Ideology is stupid. It is this hunger for elegance, for simplicity, is why ideologies are so risible. The application of this scientific standard of elegance to the complexities of human behavior, morals, manners and political economy of past and present leads the intellectual immediately to absurd and comically bone-headed paradoxes.

The Marxist, for example, reduces the complexity of human intellectual growth to an ad Hominem: everyone’s conclusions are no more than an ‘ideological superstructure’ programmed into helpless humans by material forces of production. Standing near a millwheel convinces a man to believe in Feudalism, and standing near an steam engine or assembly line makes him a Capitalist. So goes the theory. An honest man, if asked what Marx was standing next to, when Marx was programmed to be a Socialist, would wondering if shoving Marx next to a millwheel would make him a medievalist. If Marxism is true and all conclusions are mere by-products of social forces (and therefore not true) and if Marxism is a conclusion, then Marxism is therefore not true. If Marxism is true it is not true.

Ideologies, in other words, are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe in them. The agile intellect and book-learning of the intellectual allow him to explain away (usually by an ad Hominem attack on any critic) the various inconsistencies and shortcomings that inevitably surround such a system.

Because ad Hominem is the main defense, usually the only defense, of an ideology, another hallmark of ideology is terror. The critic is always an enemy, and is always sinister. There is no honest dissent, no polite disagreement between men of good faith. All dissent is disloyalty, and worse, disloyalty during the crisis (whatever the present crisis happens to be) which means that dissent is sabotage. The ideologue lives in a world of pod people, of secret foes with sinister designs. He is always fighting a world-wide conspiracyof some sort, Oil companies, Jewish Banking Interests, World Monetary Powers, the forces of reaction, the Bourgeoisie. This zany conspiracy style of analysis springs directly out of the simplicity of the world view, its attempt to copy scientific elegance, and its innately mystical and religious trappings. You cannot be one of the Sons of Light if there are not Sons of Darkness out to get you.

Ideology is not merely false, but in love with falsehood. The reason for this spring from the nature of the hunger for theoretical simplicity. Because the theories are simple rather than correct, the system has shortfalls. The data do not fit the prediction. The intellectual is the opposite of the scientists. The scientist abandons his theory and seeks a new one in order to save the appearances, in order to fit the facts. The facts are the ultimate arbiter. Nature is mute, but she tells no lies. The intellectual, on the other hand, takes either the writings of his founder as the authority, Mein Kampf or Das Kapital, or the charisma of his Leader. The existence of contrary facts, data that contradict the theory or fall outside the theory, must be denied. To face facts is thoughtcrime.

Keep in mind the central difference between ideology and science. Ideology is concerned with a vision, the ideal of a new heaven and a new earth. Ideology is a theory of everything. Science is particular and specialized. An entomologist discovering a new type of beetle would have no effect, none at all, on an astronomer discovering a new type of star. Ideologies, on the other hand, are global and universal. An intellectual discovering, for example, that pacifism cannot bring about the world socialist revolution, but that nationalism can, would change from an international version of socialism to a nationalistic version, and, on the spot, become a heretic. One error, one thoughtcrime, one heresy in the system, destroys the ideology.

Ideologies are therefore wedded to the practice of rewriting history, ignoring evidence, and altering the meaning of plain words to mean their opposite.

Because ideologies are totalitarian, they are incompatible with checks on power. Ideologies never support private ownership of firearms, because an armed populous is difficult to cow, difficult to reduce to sniveling dependency. This issue in particular looms large in the psychology of the ideologue, because it is the touchstone for all issues fundamental to the rights of man. If you discover what a partisan of one party or another thinks of gun control, you know what he thinks of mankind. You know whether he is a liberal, in love with freedom, or an ideologue, in love with terror. If he wants to take your gun away, you can be pretty sure he wants to take everything away. You might not use your liberties in the right way, or spend your money as the party, the elite, would like it spent. See?

Now, the question naturally arises, how did Liberalism come to mean the exact opposite of the meaning of the word?

The answer is quite simple: ideology is a corruption of liberalism in the same way it is a corruption of science. It is a rotted, bloated, stinking corpse of what was once a beautiful and powerful ideal. The ideologues, seeking a substitute for religion, take as their object of faith several of the valid and useful discoveries of the Enlightenment. They borrow the terminology of the Liberal Enlightenment for the same reason they borrow the terminology of Darwin and the Physical Sciences. These things have a glamour and prestige.

It is not a coincidence that the most ruthless totalitarianisms on Earth named themselves “People’s Republics.” This was merely to barrow the prestige the Enlightenment had earned for republicanism and for equality. Show trials and show ballots are put on display for  the same reason.

Liberalism gets its strongest intellectual support from the findings of economics. When Adam Smith discovered, and Ricardo clarified, the principle of comparative advantage, for the first time in political theory, the idea of a natural harmony of interests, of a rational and non-destructive avenue for selfishness and greed, emerged.

The implications of this idea are tremendous. Before the Enlightenment, writers operated from the assumption that Man exist in a natural and eternal and irreconcilable conflict of interests. The only way for irreconcilable enemies to coexist in peace was for a divinely-anointed sovereign to keep them all in awe by means of the power of the sword, or for some equally supernatural body, a philosopher-king or the spirit of the church to teach the mutual enemies self-abnegation. In the first case, the irreconcilable enmity is suspended while the crown’s power commands peace; in the second case, people voluntarily act against their own best interests, and serve the society for the sake of the common good, not for the sake of their own good.  

Modern readers might scoff at these ancient concepts, but experience more often confirms these concepts than denies them. 

When a tyrant topples in the Middle East, the tribes whom the tyrant held at bay immediately draw daggers and have at each other, to settle ancient feuds. The sword of the sovereign did indeed impose peace by imposing terror.

In a society organized by hierarchy, where each man is born to his place, high or low, and cannot move from it, those who serve act against their own best interest by serving well. Their hard work is not rewarded by gaining rank. In such societies, the Promotion Board never meets. Maybe a lucky yeoman will be knighted on the battlefield, but if you do not speak the French they speak in the capital, forget it. Rewarding a Saxon dog for his efficiency and loyalty is out of the question: what if the other Saxons saw him dressed up in clothing fit for his betters, and grew discontent? In such a society, whether resting on the backs of serfs or on the backs of slaves, the philosopher-king and the church must teach each man to be content with his lot, humble or high. Morality consists of teaching the princes and nobles to govern their base appetites, so as not to oppress the people, to be moderate and gentle masters. This is the flip side of the same coin; it is not in the prince’s self-interest to check his base instincts, because you don’t vote for princes. He does not get a pay cut if he misbehaves. He cannot get impeached. He cannot be fired.

So sad experience rendered the theory of harmony of interests counter-intuitive. Economics, as a science, is the most maligned and misunderstood. It is as counter-intuitive as modern physics, but since it also speaks directly to the best and worst passions of man, an objective hearing is rare. Envy is one of the ugliest passions festering the human heart, once of the easiest to enflame: and all one need do to enflame it is to tell a discontented workingman that the entrepreneur that gave him his job did not come by his fortune honestly.

Guilt is also an easy passion to enflame, and all one need do to enflame that is tell the rich man’s son his father did not come by his fortune honestly.  Righteous indignation over the injustices of the world is the easiest of all to inflame because honest men already are indignant with injustice.

All these passions militate against the cool and collected reflection on the conclusions of the dismal science of economics. Nonetheless, despite all these obstacles, the doctrine of a harmony of interests is a true one: not all human interactions are irreconcilable enmity; not all games are zero-sum. 

The contrast between the ancient regime and the liberal society would be hard to overstate.  For the first time in human history, in one limited area of human life, natural harmonies of interest were recognized and allowed. Now, allowing men to be selfish is not without dangers, and it runs against the entire history of moral philosophy: but the success of the industrial revolution is without precedent. There closest thing in history to be found was the agrarian revolution, when hunter gatherers changed from a nomadic hand-to-mouth existence to a civilized and calendar-based existence, tied to the land.

The genius of the Founders of the American Republic follows this same model, and has the same intellectual roots.

In a government of separation of powers, checks and balances, it is not in the self-interest of any one officer of the state to abuse or overstep his annotated powers, because the other branches, equally jealous of their own prerogatives, will step in to check him, or the voters through the ballot box, or, if all else fails, the militia through force of arms. In short, Locke and the Founders used the principle of self-interest rightly understood as the core of their understanding of how government must work if it is to work.

The French Revolution, dating from the same period, was a spectacular failure for the same reason the American was a spectacular success. The French Revolutionaries were ideologues and corrupted the idea. Their aims were radical and totalitarian. All of the evils of the Twentieth Century are present in miniature or are foreshadowed in the French Revolution, from the use of terror, to delators and secret police, to the idolatrous grant of divine honors to the Will of The People and The State, to the revolutionary impatience with settled forms of constitution, to bitter hatred of religion.

John Adams famous warned the revolutionaries of France to enact a bicameral legislature, but the French theory was too high flown for mere Yankee practicality. The whole body of the General Assembly would handle everything. The Committee of Public Safety would handle everything. The Emperor would handle everything.  

What the American rebels wanted was settled law. Their charters and grants, some of them hundreds of years old, were being trampled, not by the constitution of England, but by the innovations of the King acting beyond His Majesty’s constitutional authority. Had the parliament checked His Majesty, the American rebellion might never have happened. The Americans wanted objective, settled, fixed, reliable law and order. In American there was no titled nobility, except perhaps for Lord Baltimore, and no clerical rights and abuses, except perhaps in Massachusetts. There was no deeply-rooted Aristocracy to uproot, no ancient Church with ancient possessions and rights. To build a new house on virgin ground is not the same task as tearing up the foundations of an old house hauling the rotten stone away, and digging new ones. The French Revolutionaries saw their mission as destroying the old regime to found the new.

The reason is this: the classical liberals believe in law, fixed law, and in natural rights. They view mankind as naturally free, innately born equal. The ideologies believe in force and power. They view mankind as naturally childlike, and needing a strong Leader, coming from an innate Elite of our moral superiors. They believe in a Living Constitution and an ever-evolving every changing swamp of meaningless regulations.   

After the Second World War, after the abomination of the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, classical liberalism died in America. Socialism, under a new name, or given no name at all, was adopted as the new national philosophy. Both parties adopted it to some degree, or, in the case of the Republican Party adopted it in fact even though they continue, at least to a degree, to speak like classical liberals in theory, even thought they vote like ideologues in every practical matter.

For all the reasons given above, the legal system in America is no longer liberal, no longer a guarantor of freedom, no longer based on Enlightenment principles of the natural Rights of Man. It is ideological, and therefore experimental, mystical, irrational, intrusive.

So. Here we come to the crux of the matter. Our current legal system is built on human opinion and changes with the wind.

The comment is correct in part and incorrect in part. The Anglo-American notion of Common Law is not meant to change with the political wind. Indeed, the second strongest guarantor of our liberties is the edifice of  judicial opinion which abides by the established precedent of our ancestors against the winds and shocks of current political opinion. (The first guarantor, of course, is the right to bear arms.)

But keep in mind the conservative, Whig, traditional, Enlightenment and rationalistic attitude toward law. It can only exist in a culture that respects law and founds its law on eternal and immutable truths: the natural rights of man discovered, not invented, by natural reason.

The other view of law is the ideologue  view. Their view of law is evolutionary, encroaching, pliant, arbitrary. A ideologue would not even bother to laugh if you told him the Rights of Man are self-evident and eternal truths: he would stare at you like a cow in the headlights, stunned and stupid, because the word “truth” has no corresponding concept in his mind.

Under the influence of the Progressive movement in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century, the role of judges devolved rapidly from upholders of precedent to extra-legislative ad hoc dictators– I mean a “dictator” in the original Roman sense of the term, an emergency leader granted temporary but extraordinary powers.

No English nor American judge of one hundred years ago could have even understood the legal theory on which, for example, bussing black schoolchildren to white schools was based. Judges simply did not have the power to invent new rights and write new laws out of their own imaginations, no matter what the emergency. Even sovereign monarchs of Christian lands, for hundreds of years, in theory were upholders of the law, supreme executives not inventors of the law.  

The overlawyering of lawyers in America today is entirely a product of modern ideology. It is the ideologues, not the classical liberals, who lust, as men in heat lust for the flesh of women, to regulate and supervise every tiniest aspect of life; it is they who thrive, as vermin thrive in the dark, on the politics of grievance, the economics theory that to envy another gives you the right to take his goods. It is they who hunger, as barbarians hunger to sack the splendid cities of ancient civilization they cannot emulate, to tear down family, community, church, and local authority, and award all power to a charismatic Leader, and emergency dictator with the power to make and unmake laws as he sees fit.

An objective and unchanging law is the very hallmark of civilization. Laws that change and fade and spring into being from nothing is the hallmark and herald of barbarism.

We are correct to hate the profession of ideological lawyers, judges, and to hate and fear the awards of ideological juries.   Nonobjective law is worse than an honest barbarism, because it rests on “white blackmail.” In order to work, the victimizers have to have no respect for law, and the victims have to have respect for law, so that when the victimizers dismantle the machinery of the law in order to carry out their legalized looting and power-grabbing, the victims are willing to abide by the decisions of a corrupt system as if it were a legitimate and objective system. The victims have to be willing to defer to a kangaroo court as if it were a real court.

A “real court” is one who applies the same law to all comers, with a justice who is blind to faction, to party, to special interests. A real court is one where all men are created equal, and the special members of grievance groups do not have special laws and set-asides to grant them privileges denied to the rest of us.

So it is not lawyers who are hateful. In a society that respects the law, they do a useful and socially beneficial service. They help you guard your rights. In a society corrupted by the mental disease I here called “ideology”, they turn into a socially detriment, and accelerate the corruption of the law from an objective standard to a meaningless exercise of coercion.


There are three touchstones that define the difference between a classical liberal and the corruption of liberalism I here call Ideology:

The first is the sanctity of private property. Socialists are economic retards. They do not understand the science of economics, they don’t grasp the rudiments, and they don’t speak the language. They say things like “the free market leads INEVITABLY to a monopoly” but then they don’t understand what a monopoly price is. They think minimum wage laws don’t create unemployment. They think fiat currency is money. They think businessmen create recessions and depressions, not state interference in the credit cycle. And so on. When it comes to economics, for them, the earth is flat.

The second is the Orwellian corruption of the language. Anyone who, in an organized way, falsifies his language to make it an instrument of deception and mind-control rather than an instrument of communication is a totalitarian in essence, even if he calls himself a socialist or a fascist or a Third Way or something else. For a classical liberal, thought is a private matter. For an ideologist, political ideas are religious dogma and a public matter.

The reason why Capitalists use the word “capitalism” to describe the free market system is the same reason why liberals allow their archenemies to call themselves liberals. We are not word-fetishists. We don’t think it matters if you call your cat a dog: it still will not fetch. The ideology is the opposite. To him, words are hoodoo dolls. If you use the phrase “African American” as opposed to the word “Negro”, you can pretend you are not thinking and feeling thoughts and emotions you might otherwise.  You can pretend that discord between the races is caused solely by factors within the control of the state and polity, and that sufficient power awarded to your party would solve all discord. Or whatever the fashionable word-game is for that season, whatever the agreed-upon pretense might be, you can play.

All that happens when you word-magicians use words to mean the opposite of what you really mean, is that the old meanings mutate to the new meanings. Everyone now uses the word “Capitalism” as a badge of honor, as a synonym for freedom. The word “Liberal” now means “Welfare-state crypto-totalitarian.”

The third and the only really important one is the disarmament of the citizen: anyone who seeks to disarm freeborn men is a totalitarian in essence.

These three are the keys. Everything else is non-essential: merely a matter of time and fashion, priority or rhetoric.