Saturday, June 19, 2010

Algernon Sidney and "Classic Natural Right"



Political philosopher Algernon Sidney [1623-1683] was among the greatest influences on the Founders along with John Locke. Per Eli's recent request in our comments section, Sidney's view of "Classic Natural Right" [Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, etc.] as proposed here in Leo Strauss' Natural Right and History.

From Thomas G. West's foreward to Sidney's seminal Discourses Concerning Government [1680]:



"Prudence dictates that political constitutions are to some extent relative to the particular circumstances of a people. Rome became so corrupt that “the best men found it...impossible to restore liberty to the city.” But Sidney was not a relativist. The principles of government are eternally true; only their application varies with the times.

Sidney opposed hereditary monarchy not only because it denies liberty, but because it denies equal opportunity for merit. Unlike some other writers whose political theories were based upon man’s natural liberty, Sidney accepted the principle, taught by Plato and Aristotle, that the most virtuous ought to rule. “Detur digniori [let it be given to the worthier] is the voice of nature; all her most sacred laws are perverted, if this be not observed in the disposition of the governments of mankind.”

Sidney was even willing to admit, with Aristotle, the right of a godlike prince to rule without the consent of the governed. “When such a man is found, he is by nature a king.” But Sidney went on to deny, in Aristotle’s name, that any such being could be found among imperfect human beings. Thus the apparently aristocratic Aristotle turns out to be a teacher of republicanism.

From this argument we may better understand why Thomas Jefferson said the Declaration of Independence was based on “the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c.” and why the monarchical philosopher Thomas Hobbes complained that the ancient Greek and Roman authors taught Englishmen that democracy was the best form of government."


47 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Virtue in leadership is important, as virtue would allow temperance to guard them from making assumptions, as they would learn from history the mistakes made and steer around these kinds of mistakes in their own governing.

Temperance would guard these from consuming another's property or "right to life".

Virtuous leadership would be humble to listen to a broad range of opinions, before coming to conclusions...and they would be open to those they represent and not govern dictatorially!

And honesty would guard leadership from dissolving public trust. Then, the people in our country would no longer be disillusioned about our country and its ideals, and could hope to make change by their own voices and efforts. Civic service would grow because of the trust in our ideals and the leaders who represent and uphold these ideals.

The issue of virtue would make a distinction among people such that Americans wouldn't have the question about our immigration policy, terrorists and their rights, etc...Many issues would be resolved because distinctions could be made amongst people....

Tom Van Dyke said...

That's the romantic view. But as a somewhat disillusioned Washington wrote to John Jay in 1796, "We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals."

Are Plato's "Guardians" of The Republic really possible? No property, no desires but public virtue and service?

We can shoot from the hip on all this, but to get up to speed with what Eli's talking about [and Strauss, and Sidney], this overview provides some necessary background.

When the Founders [and Sidney] were discussing all this, the "state of nature," etc., they were well-versed in the necessary background. We cannot come to the discussion directly off the 21st century turnip truck.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Thanks, Tom.

Off the top of my head, I recognize that any organization must structure itself with it goals in mind, thus, it must plan, arrange and pre-determine how to get to that goal.

In one of the books I've read on Leadership, the justification was given that there were times when one in an organization was not to be given information but be guided into the proper "role", so that the organization could reach its fullest potential.

Although I recognize that organization (businesses) must prosper, otherwise there is no reason for their existence, there is something unethical about secrecy in the arena of one's job.

In a free society, ideally, one can choose what his education will be and how to use that education to further his own goals, and thus prosper society. Society must not pre-determine another's place beforehand without the person being fully informed and compliant. I think Hayaek wrote about this in his book "The Road to Serfdom".

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I thought that slavery was "outlawed" a long time ago...

King of Ireland said...

Jefferson stated that men needed to be chained down by the Constitution. Lets face it crap rises to the top more often than not. In modern America is seems that the traits they want in a boss is a self-centered person that cares enough about having theirs that they have no problem treating people as objects and caring little that the people under them get theirs.

I am not better at times and look back at most of this recession when I really making really good money and did not think about all the people working harder for less or not working at all. I disgust myself sometimes. But then we all have to realize that no one is above these things.

In short, radical and selfish individualism simply will not do. I think we live in license not liberty today for the most part. This is seen most in our leaders.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I thought that slavery was "outlawed" a long time ago...

Hell, it was abolished, at least in the "civilized" world!

This is where "classic natural right" breaks down, since it doesn't recognize an innate "dignity of the human person" [Aquinas] nor liberty or rights as we know them.

This is all "inside baseball" for you, Angie, but it was Eli's request we deal with classical philosophy, so I complied, via Sidney. But in your way, you got to the nub of it.

I like Leo Strauss very much, but I'm not a "Straussian."

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...

I often argue how "modern natural right" cannot sustain this idea, but this time around I thought we'd look at how the classical falls short, per Eli's request, if he ever shows up.

[And if I understand Hayek correctly, our quest for "equality" cannot be allowed to make us all slaves of the state, or of each other, under some utopian-communitarian ideology that ignores the reality and dynamics of human nature.]

Pinky said...

.
Strauss is an interesting read if a bit confusing. I have to read and reread his work to get to the place where I think I have a good idea of what he wants us to learn from the lessons he wants to be teaching.
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One of the problem, Angie, seems to be our inability to come to terms on what it takes for a leader (any person?) to be seen as virtuous. How would we know a virtuous person if we saw one?
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When we see virtue in virgins explaining the worthy uses of sex, I have to scratch my head in wonder.
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secular square said...

I am not sure I undestand what you mean when you suggest that modern natural right cannot sustain Jefferson's statement. Can you elaborate?

Tom Van Dyke said...

SS, skip ahead in Strauss' Natural Right and History [linked to the Google preview in my essay], to the "modern natural right" section to see the context of this discussion on Strauss that Eli requested.

[Strangely enough, the very exacting Platonist Strauss has a very soft spot for Rousseau. I don't. Heheh.]

King of Ireland said...

I read a good part of the link at it was like reading Chinese. Maybe you should do some posts summarizing the main points to catch some, perhaps most of us, that have not had that much exposure to Greek thought and Straussian interpretations of it.

The summary of Plato you linked was helpful though. Aquinas reads better now that I know some of the context.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I read a good part of the link at it was like reading Chinese.

Cheers for reading the link, King. "Chinese" is about right, although those steeped in classical philosophy get the vocabulary, mostly.

I cannot explain Leo Strauss to anyone, since his own aficionados disagree about the 'real" Strauss. [Like the "real" Locke? Exactly!]

I'm actually anti-Strauss in many ways. I'm a Thomist, and I argue Aquinas stands athwart Strauss' project, to separate reason from revelation, "Athens" from "Jerusalem."

I'm only doing Strauss here at Eli's request [will Eli show up?], although Jonathan Rowe and I, both acquainted with the classics, speak this "Strauss language" and that's why we can discuss stuff productively despite our divergent points of view.

Believe me, you'd be better off studying Chinese than Strauss unless you have a spare few years of your life to spend on him. You can't really fake it or pick it up in an hour or a month or two. [Heheh, I tried! Philosophy ain't as easy as it looks.]

In a way, you're already getting Strauss' echoes in many historians' analyses of the Founding documents, so that's cool.

I'm leaving the rest for Eli here, or anybody who wants to take on Chinese. But good on you for trying Natural Right and History, King. You're a good sport.

King of Ireland said...

"In a way, you're already getting Strauss' echoes in many historians' analyses of the Founding documents, so that's cool."

Seems as if he does what they all do:

Take his philosophy and throw out the theology it is based on. Jon has honed in on the fact the Locke is the key to most of this. The fact that Locke believed in redemption puts a whole gaping whole in his arguments that Enlightenment thinking trumped Christian thinking in the founding era.

Though I go agree with Jon that both overlap in certain ways. But also agree with you that it matters what Enligtenment you are talking about. I am reading a book called "The Age of Federalism" that states that even Jefferson turned on the French Revolution once he saw where it was going.

King of Ireland said...

"I am not sure I undestand what you mean when you suggest that modern natural right cannot sustain Jefferson's statement"

Because there is a very good chance that Jefferson was paraphrasing Locke via Hooker and thus the foundation of that statement is imago dei, which Strauss and others reject.

secular square said...

Thanks KOI (and TVD)
I'll put Strauss on my list for next weeks trip to the library. Maybe I have not been visiting AC frequently enough to keep up to speed. I guess I am puzzled because I have always understood Jefferson's DofI to be the classic statement of modern natural right theory: the truths that all men are created equal (no one is born to rule over others, that they have God-given natural rights, and that they form governments to protect those rights, and that these truths are self-evident rather than propositions established through divine revelation. Of course, because Jefferson believed in Providence and that rights come from God complicates the enlightenment vs Christianity paradigm. I suppose that after Aquinas it becomes nearly impossible to disentangle purely philosophical thought theological thought. And Jefferson's ideas differs from ancient thought.

Pinky said...

.
You'd better set aside a little more time than "next week's trip to the library" if you ever want to get a handle on Strauss.
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He promotes an elitist view of reality.
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He would surely explain virtue to you without a shadow of doubt in his mind. His thinking underpins the foundations on that which neo-conservatism stands.
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It's good to get a handle on his teachings.
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secular square said...

Thanks Pinky. I'll be checking out his book from the library rather than skimming it my local bookstore so I can devote adequate attention to it. I've heard of realist views of reality and idealist views of reality, but never elitist views of reality. What do you mean?

Pinky said...

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You've heard of survival of the fittest?
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Try prevalence of those that appoint themselves to be the most worthy and who are also greedy and cunning enough to bamboozle the dumbed down.
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The ones who are pretty much in position today. Who is there to blame?
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Pinky said...

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How about cream rises to the top?
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That's a "natural right", isn't it?
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eli said...

Tom,

I do my best to keep up here, but I have 3 little ones and the fourth is due this week... that should tell you enough. I read as much of the blog as I can, and I comment less frequently. I wish I could be more involved - I like it here.

Anyway, on to the issue:

What I specifically was talking about in my comment on NRH was chapter 3, "Origin of the Idea of Natural Right".

I mentioned that chapter because in my (somewhat limited) experience, it is the supreme poetic treatment of the philosopher's mindset, not to mention some of the realities of politics and the state, and I thought it was appropriate to mention it given your comments on the US government.

Full disclosure: I strongly identify with Murray Rothbard --perhaps I have my own narrative ;) I ought to carefully examine -- and we anarchist-leaning types tend to view Strauss just as the other commenter Pinky does. (I know you probably strongly object to my position.) Nevertheless, I find Strauss to be highly valuable. One of these days I'd love to dive into a good long discussion of Strauss. I have a lot of questions and troubling thoughts I'd love to discuss with a fellow traveller.

PS, Secular Square - I've been reading and rereading NRH for 3 years now and I've only made it through the first 4 of 6 chapters. It is difficult and dense. That or I'm just slow.

Pinky said...

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Anyone that tells you they understand Strauss on a first, second, or third reading tends toward lying.
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It is important to discuss his work; but, never to be instructed on his work.
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Strauss needs to be studied as so much of his teaching has been put in place by our political leaders.
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What is is that Rush Limbaugh sez of himself as being a mental genius on loan from God? You think he has ever read any Strauss?
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Tom Van Dyke said...

One of these days I'd love to dive into a good long discussion of Strauss.

Well, I thought you were asking for one, Eli, so this was it. But clearly, the wrong week for you.

I think Sidney's answer cuts deeply to the heart of the problem with "classic natural night," and I happened to be on it this week.

As for Strauss and the neo-cons, that's all nonsense. What we can say is that Strauss is a Platonist.

What deranged anti-neocons miss is that the philosopher does not wish to rule. He wants to spend his time on philosophy.

As for the "best and brightest," JFK's phrase, we have it in America, so folks shouldn't act so shocked. The closest thing to a "philosopher-king" or Plato's Guardians is the Supreme Court, "elite" by any measure, each from either Harvard or Yale law school, and collectively, with as much power and unaccountability as any king.

This was a development unforeseen by the Founders and Framers.

Pinky said...

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What deranged anti-neocons miss is that the philosopher does not wish to rule. He wants to spend his time on philosophy.

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ha ha ha -- That's a good one, Tom. Real good. You should get it copyrighted.
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But, Strauss just loved being in Washington, D.C., where he held seminars teaching our political leaders their role in governmnet starting with Gerald Ford, if I'm not mistaken.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

You are mistaken. Strauss had no wish to rule. He also died in 1973, before those seminars even started. To my knowledge, he spent zero time in Washington DC. The university was his milieu.

This is a fair article, for the uninitiated:

http://www.jeetheer.com/politics/strauss.htm

Again, there's nothing in Strauss that's not in Plato. This blog has been mature enough to accept that many or most great thinkers up to the Founding and IN the Founding were suspicious of pure democracy, and didn't insist that the present American system is the ONLY legitimate form of government.

Yes, Jefferson hated the rise of the Supreme Court as we know it today. Strauss [and Plato] would probably think it's the best thing.

I'm no Straussian because I believe he misses Thomism and thereby the American Founding completely, but anyone can benefit from his clarity about the history of politics and political philosophy. That's why I know leftists and [a shrinking number of] neo-cons who both regard Strauss as invaluable about disciplining one's thinking.

On both the ancient and modern worlds [America excepted], his clarity is stunning, his "ontology" [philosophical vocabulary, as it were] is used by many analysts today, at least the ones who don't use the marxist dialectic.

The best introduction to reading Strauss for oneself instead of what people say about him is the essay "What is Political Philosophy" [in the book of the same name] which you can probably read most of in this Google preview.

[Also in there is Strauss on Locke's unpublished work on natural law.]

secular square said...

Pinky-

I do not believe Rush (or other bloviators-left or right-read many books. Research staff members read books and create talking points.

If Strauss believes elites in the sense of the most talented should hold positions of power in government, its hard to argue with that. I prefer "the cream" to coffee-mate. That many of our politicians think themselves worthy but are really greedy bamboozlers is a problem. The chief challenge of our political system might be to sort out the talented from the demogogues.

Pinky said...

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Strauss also promotes the ancient Greek idea that there is such a thing as a Noble Lie.
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Democracy, as we know it today, was unheard of in the Greek experience.
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The neocons are straussian in many ways.
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Strauss--once again--cannot be taught. It must be learned and the only way to do that is through reading Strauss and discussion with others who are also seeking to learn. It is important to be wary of those who would teach you what Strauss means.
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That's my take.
.
I wouldn't trust Dick Cheney any further than I could throw him.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

.
Strauss also promotes the ancient Greek idea that there is such a thing as a Noble Lie.


Where?

This, BTW, is why I seldom discuss Strauss and try not to even mention his name, Eli. Outside of mature scholarly discussion, he's too much a lightning rod and the contemporary partisan stuff poisons the well, as someone so wisely put it here recently in another context.

Pinky said...

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Like I said, TVD, you cannot be taught Strauss, you have to learn it.
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Did I not read here a few posts ago where you claimed Strauss supported Plato and his ideas?
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Wouldn't that mean that Strauss promoted the Nobel Lie?
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Wasn't the Nobel Lie an important part of what Plato taught? Didn't Strauss believe in his writings that the idea of god is an example that keeps order in society?
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I can't find my two Strauss books. Someone borrowed them. Otherwise, I might be able to come up with page numbers and actual quotes.
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Dang!! You'll just have to go on and on about how un-disciplined I am in my studies.
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Aquinas was an Aristotelian. Does that mean he accepts everything Aristotle says? Of course not.

Strauss is a Platonist, but you have to the prove the slanders of Shadia Drury and Claes Ryn, not just repeat them.

Like I said, TVD, you cannot be taught Strauss, you have to learn it.

Roger. Over and out.

Pinky said...

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I was wrong in saying that Strauss taught in Washington seminars. It's not so good to trust memory unless you are the Rain Man.
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Here are some comments about the teaching. http://www.aei.org/article/101559
They are written by:
1.Walter Berns,
2. Lynne V. Cheney,
and
3. Donald Rumsfeld
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It was Robert Goldwin, a student of Mr. Strauss, that held the seminars.
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Interesting that the American Enterprise Institute plays a role in the continuing saga.
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No, I don't believe Strauss wanted to be a ruler; but, I believe he wanted to educate the rulers.
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And, he did either by direct or indirect teaching.
.
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eli said...

Tom,

Re: Shadia Drury - she wrote two books on Strauss that I'm aware of. One is more or less universally panned as a weak polemical attempt to connect Strauss to the neocons. The other, "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss", gets quite different reactions. I discovered it accidentally at a used book sale several months after I began struggling with NRH. All I will say is that she confirms in vast detail what I thought I was sensing in Strauss - that if you read what he was saying very carefully, you will see he was actually arguing for positions that he seemed to be arguing against.

I am just curious - have you read her book?

I am not asking for a Strauss discussion right now, but if I were, I would start with the following points. (Drury answers them all, but hey, there may be better, fairer answers):

* What exactly *is* Strauss's definition of classic natural right? He never explicitly gives a single definition, but I have noted many places in NRH where he hints at aspects of it.

* What really is the difference between Strauss's conception of classic natural right, and his conception of conventionalism? Is the argument for natural right really that much better than for conventionalism?

* I'd leave aside all discussion of historicism and modern natural right for the present.

(Hey by the way - I keep a list of books that I think might be worth reading to help catch me up... have you heard of Ed Feser, and if so do you recommend his recent Aquinas book?)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, I follow Feser's blog:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

He takes on both the New Atheists and Intelligent Design, neither of which have enough heft to hang with Aristotelian-Thomism [A-T].

But most of the time, it's metaphysics, which I confess makes my puddinhead hurt.

Yes, I bought his Aquinas book, which has no theology, only A-T metaphysics. My puddinhead skipped to the part about natural law. Feser argues that philosophically speaking, natural law can hold up without the God of the Bible [contra Strauss' contention in Natural Right and History, p. 164], but contra neo-Thomists like Finnis and Griesz, still requires an A-T metaphysics.

[Strauss also puts the neo-Thomists in his sights more than Thomas.]

What really is the difference between Strauss's conception of classic natural right, and his conception of conventionalism? Is the argument for natural right really that much better than for conventionalism?

Strauss rejects "natural law" because he [wrongly, in my and other views] sees it as too rigid, too formal to allow for genuine wisdom, say, of a philosopher-king, who represents genuine wisdom, philosophy, and "classic natural right."

That's my best summary after years of study and conversing with Strauss scholars, anyway. But as Pinky is fond of saying, don't take anyone's word for anything, especially mine.

;-)

The reason I cited [Tom West on] Algernon Sidney here against "classical natural right" is only on the practical plane:

But Sidney went on to deny, in Aristotle’s name, that any such being could be found among imperfect human beings.

Washington also:

"We must take human nature as we find it, perfection falls not to the share of mortals."

Plato/Strauss' ideal of "the philosopher" does not exist in the real world: Martin Heidegger, the most brilliant philosophical mind of the 20th century in many eyes [and probably Strauss'] was a fucking Nazi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidegger_and_Nazism

God save us from philosophers.

eli said...

You made two interesting statements:

1. Strauss rejects "natural law" because he [wrongly, in my and other views] sees it as too rigid, too formal to allow for genuine wisdom...

and

2. Feser argues that philosophically speaking, natural law can hold up without the God of the Bible [contra Strauss' contention in Natural Right and History, p. 164]

These seem contradictory to me. Strauss rejects natural law. Is it because of his atheism, or his view of natural law's inflexibility? It can't be both. Natural law might be flexible, or inflexible but adequate, with or without God.

Anyway, I think I know where you stand - for natural law but against Rothbard and against Aquinas himself - they're right for the wrong reasons! Remember saying the following?

...I'm not sure natural law works without the presumption of a knowing and loving God, which is why Locke and the Founders reinserted Him, finding Thomas and Suarez and Grotius' attempts to argue it without Him.

Although the neo-Thomists try, Finnis and Rothbard to name two.


All that to say I am sad that natural right, whatever it is, isn't natural law. That would have been easier for MY puddinhead.

Pinky said...

.
I ordered Leo Strauss and the American Right by Prof. Shadia B. Drury today.
.
Looks interesting to me.
.

eli said...

Pinky - that's the polemical book that no one likes. You could call it the academic version of an Ann Coulter or Michael Moore offering. Her other book, "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss", is MUCH better, I guarantee it, and if nothing else is fascinating and thought provoking. If Shadia Drury is wrong, then damn. But who knows? I'm open minded.

Pinky said...

Someone must like it.

After a while you get tired of reading what everyone likes.
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I try a lot of different things.
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Tom Van Dyke said...



1. Strauss rejects "natural law" because he [wrongly, in my and other views] sees it as too rigid, too formal to allow for genuine wisdom...

and

2. Feser argues that philosophically speaking, natural law can hold up without the God of the Bible [contra Strauss' contention in Natural Right and History, p. 164]

These seem contradictory to me. Strauss rejects natural law. Is it because of his atheism, or his view of natural law's inflexibility? It can't be both. Natural law might be flexible, or inflexible but adequate, with or without God.


Strauss ties natural law to revelation, i.e., the Bible. Therefore, it's inflexible law and doesn't allow for wisdom.

That's my best understanding, based on NRH and speaking with folks who are deeper into Strauss than I am.

"The philosopher" is more wise than any Bible or inflexible code. Indeed, if he were not, there would be no need for philosophy, just the Bible!

As for what Strauss is "up to," first and foremost he was a teacher. Whatever conclusions he might have held are secondary to the questions he poses.

Pinky said...

.
Anyone remember this?
http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/ManOut.shtml

And, how it applies to the "Pursuit of Happiness"?

Pinky said...

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Have I missed something?
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Why are we not reading anything about Richard Bland regarding Natural Rights?
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Reprinted in the Virginia Gazette on May 30, 1766, and then in London in 1769, Bland’s essay seems to have generated surprisingly little interest elsewhere in the colonies, at least it was never reprinted again.

http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2066&chapter=188564&layout=html&Itemid=27

Shadia Drury is of little interest either, since the neocons are out of power and we have have a new ideology fucking up the country instead.

Pinky said...

Here's a clip from Natural Rights Part II of a Howard I. Schwartz essay:

"But Bland goes further, turning to a second ingenious use of natural rights, again derived from the right to quit society. This time he reinterprets the meaning of the emigration to America and the colonial charters and founds it on natural rights. Recall that some earlier American had argued that the early immigrants to the colonies had brought British rights with them and that the colonial charters had granted or reinforced those rights. Other writers, like Samuel Adams, had argued that Massachusetts was founded as an independent entity and voluntarily concluded an agreement to join Great Britain. Bland now grounds this theory explicitly in natural rights."

I have observed before that when Subjects are deprived of their civil Rights, or are dissatisfied with the Place they hold in the Community, they have a natural Right to quit the Society of which they are Members, and to retire into another Country. Now when Men exercise this Right, and withdraw themselves from their Country, they recover their natural Freedom and Independence: the Jurisdiction and Sovereignty of the State they have quitted ceases; and if they unite, and by common Consent take Possession of a new Country, and form themselves into a political Society, they become a sovereign State, independent of the State from which they separated. If then the Subjects of England have a natural Right to relinquish their country, and by retiring from it, and associating together, to form a new political Society and independent State, they must have a Right, by Compact with the Sovereign of the Nation, to remove into a new Country, and to form a civil Establishment upon the Terms of the Compact. In such a Case, the Terms of the Compact must be obligatory and binding upon the Parties; they must be the Magna Charta, the fundamental Principles of Government, to this new Society; and every Infringement of them must be wrong, and may be opposed. It will be necessary then to examine whether any such Compact was entered into between the Sovereign and those English Subjects who established themselves in America.[52]

"Instead of interpreting the migration to America as bringing British rights to the colonies, and making the colonies subjects of Great Britain, Bland flips the story on its head. The immigration to America now involves instances where emigrants exercised their natural right to leave their mother country (England), to come together, and form a new sovereign state (the new colonies). The colonial charters, instead of granting British rights to the colonies, represent completely new social compacts, a kind of new Magna Charta, of new sovereign states. The compacts are between the King, the head of the empire, and each individual state. And these colonial compacts represent constitutions independent of the British one."

(Schwarts is in quotes. Bland is in italics.}

Pinky said...

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I won't be intimidated regarding what is and is not acceptable reading.
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Check this Schwartz essay out:
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http://www.freedomandcapitalism.com/Natural_Rights_II.html
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Schwartz agrees with me on natural law. He just doesn't know what to call it. But thx for the link, Pinky. I'll use his research.

This thread was about Leo Strauss. I reckon we've successfully driven it into the ditch, like most of the threads you comment on, Phil.

Keep on keepin' on, brother. You are the internet definition of "hijack."

How do you like Domino's new cheese, sauce and crust? I've been tempted to get one. I'd like to hear your opinion.

Pinky said...

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This thread is about Natural Rights.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

I'll have to read the "natural rights" arguments more thoroughly at a latter date, but thanks, Pinky.

How does one support an egalitarian view of mankind, with an evolutionary understanding of man? "natural right" would affirm a "survival of the fittest".

Angie Van De Merwe said...

And survival of the fittest would be a tribalistic mentality towards government...that is why our "rule of law"...

Pinky said...

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There were, at least, four separate views of rights during that era.
.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Natural right levels the playing field as to the law. There is no longer any appeal to an authority that can arbitrarily determine 'outcome".
Rulers are not "above the law", therefore, there is no divine right of Kings. Authority is viewed as self-government. Resistance and dissent is encouraged in such environments. And free thought is not forbidden.