Liberty versus Licence

Ezra Pound was correct in his assessment of Milton’s theology as being full of shit, and a look into Milton theology outside of Paradise Lost only confirms this. The man was completely beyond redemption when it comes to political theory. Milton’s concepts regarding the difference between Liberty and Licence have the wonderful effect of being pretty much a complete inversion of that held by Carlyle, and a survey of the smoking ruins left by the success of the Miltonian Calvinism is there for all to see.

Milton quite hilariously declared that:

“”For indeed none can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license; which never hath more scope or more indulgence than under Tyrants.”

Ok Milton, sure thing.Followed by:

bad men” are “all naturally servile,” they desire “to have the public State conformably governed to the inward vicious rule, by which they govern themselves,” and they “color over their base compliances” with “the falsified names of Loyalty, and Obedience.

Got that? This is pure idiocy. Holiest of holiness. If this isn’t pure screaming leftism at it’s most obscene extremity, then I don’t know what is.

The concept that bad  people are naturally servile only makes any sense if you consider that Milton is claiming that the need for any control or external ethical guidance is an unacceptable failure to be angels quite frankly. This is being generous.

In reality, this all stinks of absolute stupidity, but the concept of liberty versus licence is something that is salvageable by the simple expedient of turning it on it’s head from Milton’s usage.

Liberty is only obtainable in political order in which ethics are made meaningful by context, and the behavior of those who are bad are constrained and limited in their bad actions, whilst those who serve the good are given sufficient scope to reach their ability to do so. Or as Carlye puts it in the Latter Day Pamphlets:

“A “universal Sluggard-and-Scoundrel Protection Society” is not the one I mean to institute in these times, where so much wants protection, and is sinking to sad issues for want of it! The scoundrel needs no protection. The scoundrel that will hasten to the gallows, why not rather clear the way for him! Better he reach his goal and outgate by the natural proclivity, than be so expensively dammed up and detained, poisoning everything as he stagnates and meanders along, to arrive at last a hundred times fouler, and swollen a hundred times bigger! Benevolent men should reflect on this.—And you Quashee, my pumpkin,—(not a bad fellow either, this poor Quashee, when tolerably guided!)—idle Quashee, I say you must get the Devil sent away from your elbow, my poor dark friend!”

Licence on the contrary has no concern for the behavior, nor character, of those who are given it, and licence is all the Whig tradition does. This is what Carlyle was railing against with the “dismal science”:

In fact, it will behoove us of this English nation, to overhaul our West Indian procedure from top to bottom; and to ascertain a little better what it is that fact and nature demand of us, and what only Exeter Hall, wedded to the Dismal Science, demands. To the former set of demands we will endeavor, at our peril — and worse peril than our purse’s, at our soul’s peril — to give all obedience. To the latter we will very frequently demur, and try if we cannot stop short where they contradict the former, and, especially, before arriving at the black throat of ruin, whither they appear to be leading us. Alas, in many other provinces, beside the West Indian, that unhappy wedlock of philanthropic liberalism and the Dismal Science, has engendered such all-enveloping delusions, of the moon-calf sort — and wrought huge woe for us, and for the poor, civilized world, in these days! And sore will be the battle with said moon-calves; and terrible the struggle to return out of our delusions, floating rapidly on which, not the West Indies alone, but Europe generally, is nearing the Niagara Falls.”

All modern economics is nothing more than the rationalization and celebration of licence, pure licence. This is why liberalism is far to the left of communism, and why licence producing “capitalism” is really just leftism. It is based on pure destruction of order, order being the successful functioning of a society that requires the application of ethics which order the goods within the society so that effective liberty can be granted, and destructive elements can be constrained, corrected or removed.

This is all nothing new. It is all in Moldbug’s blog. Go and see directly for yourself:

Here is a characteristic passage, often quoted on this blog, from Shooting Niagara – Carlyle’s last great reactionary pamphlet. It cannot be quoted too often:

“All the Millenniums I ever heard of heretofore were to be preceded by a “chaining of the Devil for a thousand years,” — laying him up, tied neck and heels, and put beyond stirring, as the preliminary. You too have been taking preliminary steps, with more and more ardour, for a thirty years back; but they seem to be all in the opposite direction: a cutting asunder of straps and ties, wherever you might find them; pretty indiscriminate of choice in the matter: a general repeal of old regulations, fetters, and restrictions (restrictions on the Devil originally, I believe, for most part, but now fallen slack and ineffectual), which had become unpleasant to many of you, — with loud shouting from the multitude, as strap after strap was cut, “Glory, glory, another strap is gone!”— this, I think, has mainly been the sublime legislative industry of Parliament since it became “Reform Parliament;” victoriously successful, and thought sublime and beneficent by some. So that now hardly any limb of the Devil has a thrum, or tatter of rope or leather left upon it: — there needs almost superhuman heroism in you to “whip” a Garotter; no Fenian taken with the reddest hand is to be meddled with, under penalties; hardly a murderer, never so detestable and hideous, but you find him “insane,” and board him at the public expense, a very peculiar British Prytaneum of these days! And in fact, THE DEVIL (he, verily, if you will consider the sense of words) is likewise become an Emancipated Gentleman; lithe of limb as in Adam and Eve’s time, and scarcely a toe or finger of him tied any more. And you, my astonishing friends, you are certainly getting into a millennium, such as never was before, — hardly even in the dreams of Bedlam.”

We speak of prophecy. Well, what became of Britain, in this century of democracy? This millennium? In which the Devil became an Emancipated Gentleman?

Britain lost her Empire and most of Ireland, and became a political satellite of America. Her industries declined and largely disappeared. Her crime rate rose by afactor of 50 – not 50%. Her aristocracy was decimated by two Continental wars of unparalleled savagery, and permanently destroyed by punitive taxation. Many areas of London and other cities became unsafe by day, and more by night. Her lower classes, generously augmented by the dregs of the late Empire, achieved levels of squalor, ignorance and degradation perhaps unsurpassed in human history. Meanwhile, the Crown and the Lords disappeared as meaningful political entities, the Commons ceased to be a genuine forum for debate and became a parking lot for party hacks, and political power diffused into a vast, shapeless morass of Whitehall bureaucrats,Berlaymont Eurocrats, mendacious talking heads, and professors of incompetence.

And who did all this? Liberals. Free market liberals, purveyors of the dismal science. What hatred of scoundrels does political economy have? none, the question is deemed irrelevant. Besides there is no good or bad just the market remember, the market will solve all… Chaos incarnate. Moldbug demonstrates a keen desire to base this thinking on cold calculations linked to human nature, as his thinking on slavery demonstrates. No one else seems to be following suit, if they did then the ridiculous claims of the need of free markets in everything would not be given the time of day.

Government by steam anything other than pure uncut leftism? I don’t think so.