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American Gulag

I was rather surprised to discover that Oklahoma, of all places, is using State power not to just silence critics, but to send them to prison for up to ten years!

I simply never expected this sort of political repression to take hold in America. The Oklahoma government should simply be ashamed of the way they are sullying the American ideal.

I would suggest to Oklahoman’s that they fight fire with fire. The outside agitators who are being shipped in and paid should be investigated and the leaders named and shamed. A private sting operation should work nicely: place a Ballot initiative canvasser somewhere where it is certain the roving gangs will find them. You should have a few photographers assigned to take photos of the individuals who start causing the trouble; then have a few others ready to slip in with ‘wires’ and pretend to be part of the group

Once you have the evidence, put it all in a blog or a web page… and send us the link!

57 comments to American Gulag

  • What is it with the State guvmint of Oklahoma?

    Wasn’t it that administration whose building got thoroughly blown up by that mad bomber guy a few years ago? The one that got the death penalty? Tim somebody-or-other? Perhaps he was on to something.

    I have often thought that, if cartes and monopolies (that is to say, private ones) are illegal, then “trade” “unions” also ought to be outlawed.

  • Anonymous Coward

    What is it with the State guvmint of Oklahoma? Wasn’t it that administration whose building got thoroughly blown up by that mad bomber guy a few years ago?

    Tim McVeigh blew up the Alfred Murrah Federal Building.

  • But do not condemn people who work for the government. That’s the kind of mentality that produced Oklahoma City.

  • I would like to say something to [those of you] who believe the greatest threat to America comes not from terrorists from … beyond our borders, but from our own government.

    I believe you have every right, indeed you have the responsibility, to question our government when you disagree with its policies. And I will do everything in my power to protect your right to do so.

    But I also know there have been lawbreakers among those who espouse your philosophy….

    …The people who came to the United States to bomb the World Trade Center were wrong….

    …How dare you suggest that we in the freest nation on Earth live in tyranny….

    …[T]here is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.

  • JohnnyL

    In the U.S, local politics versus national, have always been more bare knuckle (literally) than on the national scene. What is being seen in OK, is an overzealous enforcement of a well meaning law and differing interpretation of what it means to be a resident. Granted, this is extreme but fights over what constitutes legal petition signatures and whether a canvasser is qualified to collect signatures can get very heated over controversial state and local ballot initiatives. I suspect this will amount to naught come trial time.

  • We recognized, once again, that we can’t love our country and hate our government.

  • …[T]here is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.

    To which I would reply with an H.L. Mencken quote:

    Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

    And frankly, why is being ‘patriotic’ a good thing in and of itself? I am sure the Waffen SS was overflowing with people fired up with patriotic fervour. Also why should anyone think that a ‘country’ (by which I assume you mean ‘nation’) be something worthy of love? Friends, those are something worthy of love. Cats, an OS than hardly ever crashes, a .45 that never jams, those are things to love. A country? Nah.

  • a.sommer

    Does the government have nothing to do with creating an environment conducive to private individuals creating neat things?

    ps: if you think your cat loves you, let it catch it’s own food for a few days- those critters are furry little socialists, I tell you! ;-)

  • R C Dean

    pretending that you can love your country but despise your government.

    This attitude represents a conflation of State with Society that the Founders would find repugnant.

    I do in fact love my country, and despise much of what its government does. Neither attitude is anything but sincere.

  • R C Dean

    Does the government have nothing to do with creating an environment conducive to private individuals creating neat things?

    That is indeed the function of legitimate and properly limited government. However, much of what governments do is actually hostil to private individuals creating (and doing) neat things.

  • Ian B

    Perry-

    It depends how you define what your country is. If you take a lefty view, it is a thing on its own- the collective noun becomes indepenednt of the things of which it is comprised. The herd is distinct from the cows of which it is comprised. This allows the schizophrenia of simultaneously ignoring the individual cows and subjugating them to the needs of the distinct herd entity, while allowing one to redefine the herd at will and even make it a target of derision or hatred, as needs apply. Only the herd matters; the herd is global; ignore your local herd, which is evil, you are now part of the herd of herds.

    But another view is that when one says one loves one’s herd of cows, one is describing a love for the cows that comprise the herd. The word “herd” is just a useful collective noun. Clearly, in fact, it would be daft and strange to claim a love for the herd, but not the cows. Almost as silly would be to love the cows but hate the herd. How can this be, when the herd is just the cows, standing together?

    I love England. I love bacon sandwiches, warm nutty beer, schoolgirls with prams, punters on the Cam, rainy days in Manchester, football, cricket, the Hangar Lane Gyratory System, fish and chips and bangers and mash and raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens. I feel patriotic towards these things. I wish to preserve them, I’ll fight to preserve them.

    People are patriotic towards their lives, their community, what makes where they are from what it is. A flag can represent that, or a tune, or a collective noun. But patriotism isn’t an allegiance to the lines on a map. It’s an allegiance to the people and culture within those lines. There’s nothing wrong with that. To love the herd is to love the cows.

  • nick g.

    Well, I think it’s about time that the USA caught up with the rest of the world! Australia has been leading the way, with Woomera base as our gulag (and if the rockets were still firing, the prisoners would be spending even less time at Woomera, and more time exploring the wonders of the universe, if you get what I mean!).
    You’ll be adopting metrics next!

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Governments are only mechanisms

    Governments don’t have interests (compelling or otherwise) only people do.

    Governments don’t DO things. People use the mechanisms of governments to do things

    We may most certainly, if we wish, detest the uses made of governments at any level thereof. We may actually “hate” the objectives of those uses; and that has led to useful (as well as many fruitless) “revolutions,” of which history has not seen the last.

    When abuses in the uses of the mechanisms of a government by some become so embedded in it the responses may range from assassination to tearing apart or destroying all of the mechanism.

    No government is sacrosanct no matter how it comes to be established among humankind. Governments cannot stand to become “sanctuaries” for some to excercise power over others, no matter how “noble” the objectives may be; and certainly not when the objectives are base, ignoble and purley self-seeking.

    Yes, we can “hate” a government at any moment for what it contains – people – who would exercise power over others.

  • Andy

    But I also know there have been lawbreakers among those who espouse your philosophy….

    Of course no one who believed in the state would ever break their own laws…

  • Nick M

    Nobody loves the Hangar Lane Gyratory System.

    And I’ve experienced enough “Rainy Days in Manchester” to suggest that they’re not exactly funky either.

  • Otto

    By indicting as a felony three people for trying to running a petition, the folk running Oklahoma are trying to tell us something:- They would rather that Oklahoma was in the EU.

    As far as I’m concerned they can have Britain’s place!

  • Eamon Brennan

    Bill

    pretending that you can love your country but despise your government

    As they are two seperate entities (unless your a Stalinist or some other shade of totalitarian) it’s entirely possible to hold such views.

  • Governments are only mechanisms

    Nope, not even close. They are institutions and institutions institutionalise people. They imbue the people who work for them with institutional interests and that is why a government is never truly ‘off the people, for the people’.

  • Jso

    It seems this kind of thing happens more than I would like to think about. One single person is imprisoned for a decade in a state I don’t live anywhere near, for no good reason, nothing can be done to free him, “gee I sure hope that doesn’t happen to me” and then by tomorrow we will have forgotten all about this. At least this guy does have a grass roots organization for support.

    As for Clinton talking about people who hate the government, if our leaders are supposed to be “of the people” then hating our way of life would be like hating ourselves. I just want the choice to hate some of the people in my government, because they certainly deserve scorn. Yano, if only there weren’t so damn many.

  • ian

    That person up there pretending to be me said;

    “If you take a lefty view, it is a thing on its own- the collective noun becomes indepenednt of the things of which it is comprised.”

    The (socialist) left claims to be internationalist, it is the fascists and rightists who talk of fatherland, motherland – and god help us – homeland. In practice of course patriotism and love of ones country is as much subject to the problem of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ as any real bit of grassland.

    As for what is going on in OK – what is next I wonder – internal travel documents? Well you are already well on the way with the ‘No-Fly’ list.

  • In the UK, the term `government’ technically refers to the people currently occupying ministerial positions. This is completely separate from the mechanisms of government. One can most certainly hate one’s government (I do) whilst loving one’s country (I may, on even numbered days).
    Given Bill Clinton’s nom de plume, one would guess he’s merely a troll (there ought to be a name for a more subtle version. Pixie, perhaps?), but the sort of terminological confusion exhibited by Richard Schweizer reflects a wider philosophical one that is classically leftist, as Ian B implied.

  • Sunfish

    The (socialist) left claims to be internationalist, it is the fascists and rightists who talk of fatherland, motherland – and god help us – homeland.

    I guess there had to be a distinction between socialists and fascists somewhere. And so we flash back to 2002 when George W. Dumbass sprung the Department of Homeland Security on us. It’s not a bad concept, in some ways[1] but the name (rightly, IMHO) evokes images of a certain European country in the 1930′s wanting to protect its fatherland.

    In practice of course patriotism and love of ones country is as much subject to the problem of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ as any real bit of grassland.

    It gets ugly when being patriotic means bagging on other countries. “I love American because I’m, well, American” isn’t so bad. “I love America and therefore hate Canada/England/France/Belgium/Surinam” is obviously different.

    As for what is going on in OK – what is next I wonder – internal travel documents? Well you are already well on the way with the ‘No-Fly’ list.

    Thieves Standing Around can’t get their stories straight as to whether the No-Fly List and the secondary harassment is their idea or that of the airlines. A pox on both houses, if you ask me. Worse, there’s been talk of extending screening, or at least ID checks,[2] to trains and OTR motor coaches. TSA did a pilot program at a train station in Indianapolis a few years ago, and hilarity ensued.

    I wouldn’t have expected this sort of elitist corrupt nonsense from Oklahoma. OK always struck me as being cleaner than average for the midwest. Certainly better than Ohio or Illinois or the foul pit of public corruption that I escaped at 18.

    [1] I could rant and rave on about that, but it would be a thread all its own and I don’t want to hijack this one. Summary: Federals are utterly-incompetent morons and putting them in the same place might help them focus on their jobs and should make it easier to keep an eye on them.

    [2] This is why I haven’t joined the chorus of illegal immigrant hysteria. Yeah, I think there’s a problem but I don’t care for mandatory ID or the database behind it, with the attendant threats to privacy, as a solution.

  • Ian B

    The (socialist) left claims to be internationalist, it is the fascists and rightists who talk of fatherland, motherland – and god help us – homeland

    It’s a matter of scale. The point I was making was that collectivists or statists or whatever one wishes to call them see the collective as a distinct entity- the State or the nation or society, which is independent of and more important than the people or things of which it is comprised. The difference between the groups we term “left” and “right” in this context is that one group are nationalist socialists- Hitler or Mussolini whereas the “left” are internationalist socialists. Their state, society, nation is global. National socialists have their fatherland, internationalists have Mother Earth. Same thing. Same rhetoric on different scales. Save the nation, save the planet, your life is less important than the nation, less important than the planet.

    In practice of course patriotism and love of ones country is as much subject to the problem of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ as any real bit of grassland.

    Not sure what you mean by this. The TotC is a destruction of a resource due to plunder by individuals ignoring the group welfare, broadly speaking. A nationalist or patriot would presumably be seeking to preserve the Commons (the nation, the people), not destroy it. It would also depend what type of “patriot” one is discussing. An English patriot might fight to preserve England, its culture, his way of life. Or he might be the kind of patriot who blindly does whatever the leaders tell him to do, but that’s more sheeplism than patriotism. The former type would fight his government if he felt they were destroying his nation, the latter would aid them in doing so. So one needs to be careful about what one means when discussing patriotism.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Governments are constructs.

    “Institutions” or “establishments” (per Adam Ferguson) arise naturally through human interactions, the commonalities of experience, reinforced by utility, but not derived from utility.

    The operations of governments do become “institutionalized” by the objectives of those conducting the operations (right down to the person at the “service” counter). See, The Theory of Public Choice.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    As a Sponsor (small size) of The Cato Institute for many years, for many years, it is odd to read that this “philosophy” is “leftist;” somewhat anarchistic perhaps, but not “leftist” as that term is generally used in political economy discussions currently.

    S. E. Finer takes care to note the functions of administration within the operations of governments, throughout know history. It is usually administration that raises immediate despite, whereas, it is the resolution of the functions of governments that are most crucial in any social order. The constructs are made (in theory or hope, at least) to enable the functions.

    People involved in administration seek their own self-interests, which is not derived from the presumed functions, but is exhibited by how they turn (however minutely) those functions to their own needs or purposes.

    Governments are NOT institutions.

  • Governments are constructs.

    Meaning what? Every institution is a ‘construct’, they don’t grow in pots. They are ‘contructed’ at some point and evolve to accumulate power. Just like every institution.

    Of course they are ‘institutions’ and not some disinterested ‘process’.

    Politics is a process, but the prime movers of that process are a bunch of interrelated institutions with the institution of ‘government’ sitting the centre. That is why governments of nominally different ideological make up come and go and yet things strangely remain the same. Why? Because it is the nature of institutions to create logical imperatives that protect and advance the interests of the people who see themselves as embodying that institution (that is more or less what an institution is). That is why institutions so often outlive the thing they were created to ‘deal’.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    We obviously would disagree on the concept of “Spontaneous Order”
    (per Hayek).

    And I do consider this more than a matter of semantics.

    If all you say were to be granted true, what would be the role or function of the individual in “politics” and within any specified element which you designate as an “institution?”

  • ian

    To be honest, I’m not entirely clear myself now about the point I was trying to make re Tragedy of the Commons! I think it was to do with the way in which things like ‘Homeland Security’ end up damaging the homeland more than they protect it.

  • ‘Politics’ is inherently collective and there really is no role for an ‘individual’ in politics (you have to be part of a political machine), which is why I regard politics as intrinsically corrupting by its very nature.

    Politics is just what we call the process by which it is decided who the collective means of coercion are directed at and the acceptable scope of that coercion. The ‘institutional’ nature of politics is locked in once you a have professional political class with large bureaucratic backup.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    ‘Politics’ is inherently collective and there really is no role for an “individual’ in politics . . . .”

    Any collective is inherently composed of individuals (family, clan. tribe, nation and the groupings within each). Thus there must be a role for the individuals in any collective.

    Perhaps there is distaste for what that role may be and how it is accepted or performed by individuals which is the basic issue.

  • Midwesterner

    R.R.S.

    An ‘Individual’ and a ‘Person’ are not synonyms. I think perhaps you do not understand the nature of collectivism. Collectivists give away (or fail to recognize) substantial portions of what we consider ‘self’. History (and the present) is full of people who do things for the good of the collective but at great personal loss, even death.

    Government is an institution who’s structure evolves to self perpetuate. The selection process either evolves to place institutional defenders in the leadership roles, of the institution itself ends. We live in a world of the institutional survivors. These are the governments and government institutions that defend themselves, not their personnel.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Midwesterner

    S. E. Finer’s work The History of Governments from the Earliest Times (3 Vol. Oxford 1997)
    seems to offer evidence that refutes that stated perception of governments.

    A ‘person’ is an individual, though not always free to, or choosing not to, act individually, as myself did when seeing action in WWII. As a volunteer (however young) it was not a giving away to some abstract, but rather a conjoining of intents. Individuals acting collectively do not “lose” their individual natures, but remain persons. Lynch Mobs take on their characteristics from the nature (strengths and weaknesses) of the comprising individuals.

    Being “individual” does not mean that one does not share commonalities with others.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Here is the quotation from Adam Ferguson’s History of Civil Society as cited by Hayek concerning the distinction between a construct and an institution (establishment):

    Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.

  • Paul Marks

    Ferguson and Hayek exaggerated their case Mr Schwitzer.

    The Englishmen (not 18th century Scotsmen perphaps) who worked for limits on government power sometimes did so as a matter of deliberate policy – not as an accident.

    Hayek was right to stress social evolution – but he over stressed it (perhaps because he did not think that human beings had agency at all – i.e. he did not think that humans were “beings”).

    Still the difference between a patriot and a government lover.

    It would take to long to convince you that (for example) some of the men who worked for Magna Carta in 1215 (or the men who demanded the Charta from Henry I in 1100) knew something of what they were doing – and were not just being bold, bad barons working for their own interests, so I will take a more recent example.

    In 1933 President Roosevelt used the threat of armed violence to steal privately owned gold and to void the gold clauses in private contracts.

    The people who supported such actions (for which, contrary to the Supreme Court, there is no authority for in the Consitution of the United States) were government lovers.

    And the people who opposed these actions and HATED the criminal regime that did them – were patriots.

    By the way many of these patriots owned no gold – and never thought they would do so.

  • Paul Marks

    Oklahoma:

    I wonder if these “residents only” rules concerning politics have ever been used against out-of-State people who have come in as “Civil Rights” activists or as people campaigning for more taxpayer’s money for education?

    No?

    I thought not.

    It is only if someone campaigns for such things a term limits or Constitutional limitations on the power to tax and spend that the regulations are going to get used.

    Still it is not a high tax State.

    The sad thing is that there are many worse States.

  • Any collective is inherently composed of individuals (family, clan. tribe, nation and the groupings within each). Thus there must be a role for the individuals in any collective.

    The semantic you use make it meaningless then as ‘individual’ is just a synonym for ‘human’.

    As a volunteer (however young) it was not a giving away to some abstract, but rather a conjoining of intents. Individuals acting collectively do not “lose” their individual natures, but remain persons.

    And if you agree to it, you may indeed be conjoining your interests with others rather than purely serving the interests of others.

    However the larger and more remote (such as a government or army) or pervasive in intent (some families) the institution, the less you can act as an individual within that institution (and a military is perhaps the best example of that). To work within the framework of a military is perhaps the prime example of how you do indeed lose a great deal of your individual nature. Even the clothes you wear are called “uniform”. The reasons for that are perfectly rational but powerful institutions frame the meta-context of those people working within it and pretty much by design that means you operate within frames of reference that are not a product of your own critical preferences.

    It does not make you an un-person but it does indeed strip you of much of your ability to act (and often even think) as an individual as opposed to a part of an institutional machine driven by institutional imperatives. It may not always be a bad thing but it is indeed the way it is.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Indeed many factors in life and living “strip you of much of your ability to act,” as an individual . . .quite apart from those factors occurring in a collective setting.

    In the sense of these discussions, of course, the individuals we are referencing are “humans,” but separate and distinct “humans.” How is that semantics, especially if semantics concern meaning? Must one say “individual humans” to be clear.

    Thus, to restate: Any collective of humans is inherently composed of individual humans. Thus there must be a role for individual humans in any (repeat any) such collective.

    Our whole social order can be viewed as one vast “collective,” can it not? Within it there are limits on acts by all individual humans (who wish to retain the status of “human”)

    Is it not fairly well established that individual humans both shape and are shaped by the various forms of collectives which comprise our social order?

    Individual humans are not amorphous; nor are the social orders they generate in their interactions.

  • Our whole social order can be viewed as one vast “collective,” can it not?

    No, not at all. A social order or ‘society’, that much misused word, is just what we call the emergent characteristic of lots of several interactions. Society is not an institution, it is a ‘vibe’, a set of mutable cultural short hand.

    Institutions are by design something which seeks to impose a narrower view (be it a world view, a view on how football should be administered or how animals should be treated, how wars should be fought, how people should be forced to behave. Whatever). The role of a person within an institution is that of a cog in a machine, a meat robot carrying out functions. The machine may serve good or evil and the members of that institution may or may not be willing participants, but that is what institutions are for and what they do. The wider their remit, the less room their is for an individual’s moral theories (or theories about anything).

    This is why politicians who start off ‘good’ nearly always ‘go native’ once they start to operate within the designed and/or evolved constraints of the political institution they find themselves in, unless they are revolutionaries essentially trying to destroy the system (and sometimes even then…).

    An institution aimed at promoting the adoption of stray cats will ‘de-individualise’ a person working within it less than one seeking to regulate all aspects of people’s lives (such as a government, for example).

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Perhaps there is a “Palgrave” or something equivalent to the OED that might enable one to understand what a “vibe” is and how it describes or defines a social order.

    In general, the descriptions used for a social order in my generation, a composite of institutions -
    e.g., Burial or disposal of the dead, marriage, nuclear families, worhip of deities, hierarchies, commonalities of individual obligations, etc. must no longer be applicable since the individual humans those orders contain are no longer “individual,” with internal motivations (let alone “free will”) having been “converted” by some undefined process of the constructs made by their predecessors.

    Are we now converted to androids; imitations of what came before? Is this the end of the history of constructs?

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Oh! I forgot to ask; since it is not a “role,” what are the “functions” of a “meat robot” that is the person within an “institution?” And, equally important, how are those functions determined?

  • Midwesterner

    R.R.S.,

    I had to look at some length for useful definitions that were not heavily ‘spun’ with politics. Wikipedia described “forced collectivization” as having “mixed results”. Right. And death is sometimes fatal. Oh well.

    The best I could do was to try and get as close to the roots of the words that are in common usage. Something jumped out at me right away that hopefully will help you to draw a distinction between “collective” and “cooperative”.

    The root of collective is found with the definition of collect. From contemporary all the way back to its Latin roots, it means the act of ‘gathering together’.

    The roots of cooperate are co- and operate. Literally meaning ‘to operate together’.

    Look at the perspective of these two words. Hopefully it was immediately obvious to you that one of them, ‘collect’, is from the perspective of the imposer of the action, but the other, ‘cooperate’, is from the perspective of the performers of the action. Collective and cooperative are entirely different words with only a passing resemblance, and even then, only to an uninvolved observer. To the players in the system, it is crushingly clear whether or not their action was combined with others by choice or by force.

    The reality that many people willingly trade their individuality in exchange for forcibly co-opting other people’s individuality does not make it a cooperative system. It is only cooperative if everybody’s participation is voluntary.

  • The reason a society is a vibe, is that it is by its nature indistinct and shifting, it is just a notion of what people expect from others. Social order is a strange term because when you unpick what most people mean by it, it actually means a political order, which is not ‘social’ at all.

    Free will is not really the issue, nor the fact the realities of life itself impose limitations of our actions (we are finite animals, after all). I think the issue is meta-context (the underpinning axioms people use to communicate and indeed think). States and indeed all institutions attempt to frame the axioms within which issues are framed according to their institutional imperatives. The term ‘thinking outside the box’ refers to thinking outside the meta-context, thinking out things that are beyond the usual axioms framed by the company/state/family/whatever.

    In a ‘society’ those axioms, the unspoken assumptions, are general and vague. Within an institution, they are usually hard edged indeed, even when not overt. For example to a modern government, a problem of almost any sort is something that government must be the solution to. That is simply axiomatic. The idea that some problems simply do not have government solutions does not compute because that axiom busting notion suggests that government is not always relevant, let alone helpful. People who profit from their role within government have a vested interest in not even allowing themselves to think in such terms and they sure don’t want anyone else to either. Orwell’s concept of ‘newspeak’ was an extreme example of trying to frame the meta-context by making some notion literally unimaginable.

    You may convince a government that a solution failed, but only if you argue is because it did not try a better solution. Try suggesting the government has no role at all in (whatever) and see how far you get. Institutions which focus on more narrow aspects of life tend to only think that way in their area of interest (that said, there is a depressing leaden commonality of axiomatic underpinning in a lot of very different large businesses I am familiar with).

  • Midwesterner

    Let me try that again.

    ‘collect’, is from the perspective of the imposer of the action, but the other, ‘cooperate’, is from the perspective of the performers of the action.

    one, ‘collect’, is from the perspective of the force that is doing the gathering of things together, but the other, ‘cooperate’, is from the perspective of those joining their operations together.

  • Paul Marks

    R. Richard Schweitzwer.

    Some people believe in God – and some do not.

    And those who are relgious believe in various different relgions.

    Some people bury their dead, and some people cremate them.

    Some people marry and some people do not.

    Some familes are nuclear and some are extented.

    In reality Britain (for example) is a very diverse place.

    Individuals choose to live in very different ways.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Ah! Midwesterner!

    Perhaps I can help you out on the point you seem to want to make:

    I gather that you see a “collective” as a grouping brought together by one or more to pursue an objective selected by those gathering the “collective.”

    You see a cooperative as a coming together of those who have seen that conjoining as a way of pursuing their individual objectives.

    A caution about philology in understanding current views of concepts: “Liberal” as used for Edmund Burke is not the “Liberal” as applied to the cohorts of Edward Kennedy; nor can one extend the roots of words to cover libertarian, libertine, and Liberty itself, without qualifications.

    Perhaps there is not so much a “trading” off of one’s individuality as there is often a subordination of some desire driven aspects to other “greater” or more immediate desire driven objectives whenever one chooses, or is forced, to enter a cooperative or collective activity. E.g., Junior League; one thing for the parent another for the child. Starvation or survival for one’s children in the 1928 Ukraine.

    By the by, my grandfather, a farmer, was a founder of one of the great midwestern co-ops, now co-opted itself into common commerce (to the enrichment of all).

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Mr. Marks:

    Yes. And ….?

    Oh, is that diversity you mention due to individuals, individual humans?

    I did in fact to commute to work in Britain (North and South, not just London) for almost 20 years during periods of extensive changes in its population composition and social structures, which have filtered out through most of the U.K., So I do not cavil with your view.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Mr. de Havilland:

    As a recognized Liberal (Classical sense) [and how I came upon this blog], your observations are intriguing (whereas mine must seem pedantic).

    Understanding problems in using “Social Order,” for these discussions I should have identified it as “per Hayek” or “per Webber.” As you know, even the term “Social” gave Hayek pause.

    Apologies for having to “break” at this point, but I intend to continue to respond further to your last comments.

  • Understanding problems in using “Social Order,” for these discussions I should have identified it as “per Hayek” or “per Webber.” As you know, even the term “Social” gave Hayek pause.

    I actually didn’t really mean that I felt you probably meant political order (I already figured you for a classical (i.e. genuine) liberal), I was just rambling off about how the terms social order is often used rather than what you may have meant (i.e. I was drifting).

    I don’t think your remarks are pedantic, but I do sometimes worry we might end up talking at semantic cross purposes, so sometimes it is worth nailing down those issues in case it turns out we are actually in furious agreement on some points.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Browser ans server test

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Mr. de Havilland: to continue (and perhaps to end)

    I did foolishly give poor old Max an extra “b” when he always earned an “A.”

    Since this is third attempt to post, it will be brief.

    The differences in our perceptions do not seem to me to be semantic.

    The reification of entities, whilst a literary convenience, widely employed by the media and in Academe, becomes an obfuscation; or worse, a concept (that they take on “a life of their own”) that we have bred creatures that must be reckoned with, rather than seen for what they are.

    Company/state/ family are such entities. They do not “frame” axioms for human interactions. True, axioms are often (always?) set to conform to the objectives for the functions of, or relationships within, all such entities, but they are not “framed” by the entity.

    A problem with the views of individual human subordination within “social” entities is the support it lends to views that would absolve humans from their obligations in their interactions. This leads (is leading) to advocacy of more constructs (planning) to replace human deficiencies in meeting obligations.

    With that, I should close on this topic, especially after watching 3 prior attempts at what was better articulation go “blip.”

  • Midwesterner

    RRS,

    Perhaps I can help you out on the point you seem to want to make:

    I gather that you see a “collective” as a grouping brought together by one or more to pursue an objective selected by those gathering the “collective.”

    You see a cooperative as a coming together of those who have seen that conjoining as a way of pursuing their individual objectives.

    Actually no. Not even close. You are waaay over complicating things. I don’t care who chooses the goals. Only whether participation is voluntary. I have often, by my own consent, assisted with projects that I didn’t even understand, much less choose. So a bunch of people are standing around. One of them says to me, “We need your help. We’re wodjulating the widjalater and we need two more sets of hands.” But if at some point somebody says, “You are a subject of this community. You MUST help.” That is collectivism.

    That really is all there is to it. Is mine and everybody elses’ participation voluntary or compelled? Voluntary = cooperative, compelled = collective.

    FWIW, I don’t consider your remarks pedantic and hope you don’t think that of mine. When people appear to agree but find differences in fundamentals, it is always worth understanding them. Sometimes what appears to be a small matter of definitions turns out to be a major difference of epistemology. That is what I am trying to understand.

  • Paul Marks

    R.R.S.

    Yes indeed the diversity is due to individuals – although, also yes, these individuals are influenced by various factors (influenced not controlled of course).

    Actually I think there is too much diversity, I like the idea of community. It is just that I always seem to find (in school, college and just about everything else) I end up an outsider or a rebel in spite of my desire to fit in.

    I like things to be worth fitting in to – and so often they have proved to be corrupt and vile.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Midwesterner:

    Your point is clear. You are focusing on “how,” whereas I concerned myself with “why” in the distinctions.

    I guess I fell into the trap that many, if not most, would view even a cooperative grouping as collective in function, and that is what took me to choose “why” as means of distinction.

    My late wife regularly reminded me that with my approach to things, I would never get nicked by Occam’s Razor, let alone learn to use it.

  • R. Richard Schweitzer

    Mr. Marks:

    Not meaning to get too far off topic, but I have found that it is I who am, as much as the community, “diverse” in much the same way when one looks for “fit.” And as there comes to be more “diversity” introduced or fomented in a community, and what homogeneity there was is diluted, the less “fit” is likely to be found.

    We seem to be observing trends to organize new “tribes,” even where none had existed before.

  • Richard Thomas

    I think it might help to reframe things slightly. Whilst clearly individuals can operate as individuals within an institution, their imperatives can be subverted by the conventions of that institution.

    That is to say that an insitution can evolve constraints on its individual actors which result in the emergent property of an institution either continuing to move forward and grow or to disappate and end.

    These constraints can take many forms from limiting the actions of the individual (bureaucracy) to increasing the power withing the institution of those that would forward the interests of the institution to (and I beleive this to be the case with many politicians) retraining the individual, Pavlovian style, to conform to the needs of the institution.

    Yes, I am characterising an institution as an entity in itself. An institution *is* a collection of individuals but it is not *just* a collection of individuals.

    Rich

  • Midwesterner

    I think I agree with that, Richard Thomas. If I understood it completely.