You know PCR is a smart guy and I’m sure you’ve already read his blog at:
Spandrell is a smart guy and you should read his blog at:
It’s an updated version of his post at:
If you read PCR and Spandrell, I hope you will agree with my claim that the common thread is tyrannical violence.
I forgot to blog about the anniversaries of two related events – the Waco massacre (ended on 19 April) and the Oklahoma City massacre (also 19 April).
Spandrell recommends a book in his blog posts.
Spandrell doesn’t dig into the text of the book, which is breezy and low-effort and engaging and rambling. Example follows:
James Madison, a revolutionary trying to bring his brand of politics into power, was, like Hobbes, looking revolution in the face. Unlike Hobbes, however, Madison actually liked what he saw. In Federalist 10, Madison contemplated the problem that was to bedevil the
citizens of Bell a quarter of a millennium later,“whether small or extensive Republics are most
favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal:and it is clearly decided in
favor of the latter.”
…Madison’s view was at odds with that of Montesquieu, who maintained that, “In a large
republic the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views; it is subordinate to exceptions;and
depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses have a lesser extent, and of
course are less protected.”
…For Montesquieu, the Enlightenment, the new Cartesian thinking, and the emerging
constitutional monarchy of Britain all combined to stimulate his insightful ideas of political checks and balances. Through these checks and balances he hoped to prevent exactly the
corruption of public welfare …
[In an example USA city]
… fewer than a quarter of registered voters, themselves only a quarter of the city’s population, bothered to vote. That’s not enough to prevent the very corruption Montesquieu hoped to avoid.
Spandrell criticizes the book’s love of democracy, and I pile on a criticism: the book seems to be ignorant of the importance of tyrannical violence.
The people who are ambitious enough to govern are often violent, and they often kill their fellow citizens.
These tyrants usually call themselves protectors.
It’s something I should have been blogging about on 19 April. Instead I was looking at pictures of the girl who modelled for Mass Effect, and wondering how the animators managed to screw up her facial motions so badly. So in case you wonder why I haven’t ascended to philosophical heights and brought down stone tablets of commandments for the vulgar masses – I was distracted by youtube videos of games I don’t even play. And by photographs like the one below:
With high-carb bread and circuses called video games, the masses will never think about tyranny!
The problem, of course, is when tyrants are so incompetent that they actually screw up in their delivery of the bread and circuses. Accidents can happen.