Wronger Than Wrong

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Lost in all of the squid ink Michael Anton has been emitting over this post, is the fact that his argument in favor of natural rights contains logical flaws and irreconcilable contradictions that he does not understand. That last part is not obvious, as he surrounds his argument with so much extraneous text that the reader is naturally distracted from the defects. Maybe the wordiness is deliberate or maybe he simply does not understand his own argument very well.

His argument in the original exchange with Paul Gottfried is that natural rights are a timeless universal concept rooted in nature. Because they are rooted in nature, they are the best basis for the politics of the New Right and society. My post pointing out the obvious flaws with this argument elicited a long ad hominin attack, pock marked with nonsense clams about human nature. His original argument did not get any better, it simply got longer and more vituperative.

The place to start in order to see the problems with Anton’s argument is something called non-contextual reality. This is the claim that objects exist in space-time regardless of whether we observe them. You walk into a field and see a giant boulder. You accept that even though you just saw the boulder for the first time, it existed as an object in space-time before you happened upon it. When you turn your back and no longer see the boulder, the boulder is still there in the field.

In fact, the existence of space-time is assumed to be non-contextual. At least that is what much of our science claims to be true. The starting assumption of the human sciences, and all science for that matter, is that human senses evolved to gain a more accurate perception of reality over time. The reason humans sit atop the food chain is we have superior perception of non-contextual reality. Reality exists and we humans get better at understanding it over time.

This may come up a bit later, but the case for non-contextual reality is coming under increasing pressure within theoretical physics. Quantum mechanics seems to contradict local realism, which is shorthand for two principles. The principle of locality says the cause of a physical change must be local. The principle of realism states that objects exist independent of our minds. Experimental results indicate we do not live in a universe controlled by local realism.

For the purpose of this topic, we will assume non-contextual reality. Now, going back to that boulder in a field, you come upon it and you see it, but you also have the ability to remember it. That is because your senses process the inputs from the physical world to create the image of the boulder. Your eyes process light waves. Your ears process the movement of the air as sound. Your sense of smell may process the chemicals in the air to add more context to the image.

This is how your brain perceives reality. Your sense organs process inputs to create the image of the boulder, the sound of the birds, maybe the smell of the grass and other things that help your brain complete the picture. It is also possible that your brain will make a mistake and imagine you see birds, because you hear birds chirping and your brain takes a shortcut and places a bird in the picture. It is why two people can see slightly different things. No two brains are the same.

These small differences in perception are the basis for optical illusions. Two people are shown the same image, but they see different things. Maybe one person sees vertical stripes while the other person sees horizontal stripes. There used to be a form of dormitory art that played this sort of trick. You looked at the poster and it was one image, but if you kept staring at it you saw a different image. Some people would not see the second image at all, even with help.

It is also why one man can create an image of Middle Earth while another man cannot conceive of such a thing. The former read the books or saw the movies, so his brain has the material to create the imaginary land. That last bit is the important bit. The world Tolkien created does not and cannot exist. The latter person did not read the books or see the movies, so this concept does not exist in his brain. This figment of Tolkien’s imagination was not transmitted to him.

The same tools the human brain uses to perceive objects in space-time are used to conceive of things that do not and cannot exist as objects in space-time. Our brains can create contextual reality because we can perceive non-contextual reality. In fact, damaged brains can create things that will appear to be more real to the user than the things that actually exist as objects in space-time. Our lunatic asylums and grievance studies programs are full of such people.

The reason you will not bump into an elf with an armful of natural rights on your walk to see the giant boulder is the elf and natural rights are not objects in space-time, so they do not exist in non-contextual reality. They exist in contextual reality, which means they are figments of our imagination. From the perspective of the universe, the elf and natural right are equally fictional. If humanity is wiped out, the concept of the elf and his natural rights are wiped out too.

This is Anton’s first error. He seems to think natural rights are objects in space-time, when they exist only in the imagination of man. He confuses what we observe about human behavior, what we often call human nature, with the concept of natural rights and then claims natural rights are as real as a rose bush. This is false. What we observe about living creatures, including man, exists in non-contextual reality while the opinions we draw from those observations do not.

This brings us to the second fatal error in Anton’s world view. He assumes subjective observations about nature can be an objective moral authority. In his initial response, he takes issue with my statement that natural rights are no more real than lust. He writes, “Does Z-Man think the sex drive itself is a ‘figment of the imagination’? Or is he rather saying that there is no difference between lust and the sex drive, that the sex drive is lust and vice versa?”

Most people would have read that part of his post as a deliberate lie in service to a straw man argument. The word “lust” has two meanings. One is the intense desire for something. A lust for life, for example. In normal usage, and clearly the way I used it in my post, lust is an inappropriate desire, usually for sex. The former is descriptive, while the latter is prescriptive. If someone respected Anton’s intellect more than most, he would assume this error was deliberate.

This confusion is not deliberate. Anton writes, “These questions go directly to the heart of the issue under consideration. The denial of lust and of human rights stems from a denial of human nature, the ground of justice and of all human good.” Right there we see that Anton thinks that what he imagines to be human nature, can be the foundation for normative claims about “justice” and ‘human good”. He thinks what we observe in nature can be a moral authority.

In order to fully grasp the staggering ignorance of this assertion, we have to first clarify our terms. Moral philosophy has imbued the word “right” with magical properties, but a right is simply an entitlement. If your health club says that gold members have a right to park near the building, you know they are entitled to park near the building. If they say that gold members are entitled to park near the building, you know they have a right to park near the building.

Who decided this? What is the authority for this claim? The answer is the people who run the health club. No sane person would argue that nature entitles you to park next to the building of your health club. Even if you are the sort who argues that all societies are hierarchical, you are not going to claim that nature or nature’s god dictates that gold level members get to park next to the building. That entitlement is man made, a creation of the people who run the health club.

This is true of all entitlements. They are decided upon by an appropriate authority, which is always the creation of man. Your right to park near the building is the creation of your health club owner. Your right to a jury of your peers is created by society. Nature is descriptive, moral claims are prescriptive. This is why Locke had to rely upon God as the authority for his natural rights argument. Nature alone was not enough, he needed nature’s God to be the ultimate authority.

Now, Anton tries to cross the tines of Hume’s fork by arguing that natural rights are inspired by observations about human nature. This is logically invalid, because nature does not come with entitlements. Just because you, as a living thing, seek to preserve your life, the universe is not obligated to respect the moral right of self-defense. All that matters to the universe is if you pass copies of your genes to the next generation. The universe cares about one thing and that is fitness.

This explains why this concept of natural rights does not appear in other cultures around the world. They exist in contextual reality, which means they only exist when we observe them. There is no oral tradition of natural rights among the Bantu, because this concept does not exist in their brains. China lacks the language for natural rights, because in the reality of the Han, this concept does not exist. Natural rights are culture specific, because culture is people specific.

Interestingly, Anton tries to explain the localism of the natural rights concept with the claim that not all people have discovered them. You see, the Bantu would pile into the Straus buggy if someone explained natural rights to them. No doubt the ancient culture of the Chinese would be overturned in a minute if someone just translated Locke into Mandarin for them. Once that elf and his arm load of natural rights makes his way to Bangalore, India will be the new Athens.

Even though natural rights theory is invalid as a matter of logic and science, this is not the biggest problem with Anton’s argument. Let us pretend that natural rights are a naturally occurring phenomenon as Anton insists. That means they are subject to the laws of nature, like everything else. That would also mean that nature can tell us something about his claim that natural rights theory is the best foundation for right-wing politics and the politics of a human society.

Consider this statement. “Natural rights are the best foundation for society.” Now consider this statement. “Invisible leprechauns farting pixie dust are the best foundation for society.” Without addressing the issue of whether natural rights or invisible leprechauns exist in non-contextual reality, there is only one thing we can say about these two statements. Both cannot be true. If natural rights are best, then leprechauns cannot be best and vice-versa.

Now, it is tempting to start by asking which one is more likely to be true? Surely nature will be more friendly to the more accurate statement. Most people would be tempted to pick the first statement, solely on the grounds that they think natural rights are more likely to exist than leprechauns. Most people would be wrong. It turns out that nature, in fact the universe, is not concerned with accuracy. What drives the whole of the universe is fitness and fitness beats truth.

For those who enjoy a technical explanation, here is the paper using evolutionary game theory to support the claim that fitness beats truth. Just as important, fitness is the universal principle of the universe. It applies not just to living creatures, but to the things we conjure with our minds. It applies to language, culture, religion, medicine, politics and the sciences. A solution to a problem, for example, evolves over time as new variants come along to compete with the current solutions

The reason that we no longer see human societies ruled by men who claim to be gods is that form of government died out. It died out for the same reason that the saber-toothed tiger died out. It failed the fitness test. Better ideas came along and out-competed the god-king concept. The reason doctors no longer follow Aristotle’s advice on medicine is those ideas failed the fitness test. Current medicine has passed the fitness test but in time will be replaced as well.

If you are going to make appeals to nature, as Michael Anton does in defense of natural rights, you better be prepared to address the fitness question. So what does the fitness test tell us about those two statements? Unless someone can find a society that based its moral code on invisible leprechauns farting pixie dust, the only thing we can say is nature has not rendered a conclusion. To paraphrase the libertarians, real invisible leprechauns have never been tried.

That is not true for basing a society on natural rights. Athens had a short run of success, but was eventually conquered. Their love of debate also brought them to the brink of extermination in the Peloponnesian wars. Comparatively speaking, the first example of a society based on something close to natural rights did not make it long. The concept did not make a return for over a thousand of years when it suddenly popped up again among the English speaking people of the West.

The framers tried to found their political order on natural rights and the mostly did it after some trial and error. In less than a single generation the northern states wanted out of the scheme. The Hartford Conventions would most likely led to secession if not for the War of 1812. Then we get the Civil War and the end of the Republic as conceived by the framers. Anton would no doubt claim this was not the end of the natural rights experiment, but the completion of it.

Even if one accept the claims of the Straus cult on this point, no one can deny that the whole natural right regime melted away in the 20th century. Exactly no one in the ruling class respects the rights of the citizens. In fact, it is integral to their identity now to oppose the very idea of rights in any form. This is true across the West. This very Western concept of natural rights, which was the basis for our moral order, has lost the fitness test and is now extinct.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but nature has not been kind to natural rights. Like the giant panda, natural rights exist now only as an exhibit. Michael Anton is the zoo keeper tending to this concept that has failed the fitness test. Like the panda, natural rights should have died out a long time ago, but people are sentimental, so keeping the idea alive has become a profession. It turns out that the invisible leprechauns farting pixie dust are the better choice, as they have yet to fail the fitness test.

When you put it all together, Anton’s natural rights argument is illogical and in direct contradiction with its claimed authority. He keeps insisting nature is the authority for his moral claims, but nature can never be the authority for moral claims. What nature tells us is that this bit of contextual reality has failed the fitness test. If you want some inspiration from nature, that is the place to start. Avoid embracing contextual reality that has failed the fitness test.

In the end, Michael Anton’s antiquarianism is just escapism. He loves to rant against tradition and historicism, but he and the other natural rights proponents are the ones trapped in the past. He thinks we can pull long dead ideas out of the museum storage closet and apply them to a people who find these ideas as alien as the leprechauns farting pixie dust. Like everyone in that scene, he simply cannot accept that the solutions of tomorrow are not in the past.


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166 thoughts on “Wronger Than Wrong

  1. Pingback: Goodbye To All That | The Z Blog

  2. Most people do not care and less would even recognize if they lived in a good society. They’re out for themselves.

    “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”

    “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.'”

  3. Very good article. Obviously, so-called natural rights are nothing like the laws of physics. The law of gravity doesn’t require that we believe in it.

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  4. I think natural rights are a human construct — but a noble construct. Something to aspire to.

    I think they are the right thing for us to posit and hold to — in a society of virtuous men that is — what Hamilton termed “fit men”.

    Even as an early teen, reading old Boy Scout manuals, I dreamed of and built in my mind societies of virtuous and strong men, capable of and actually running a just society.

    I think we were reaching toward that, for a brief time. Then the modernists and post-modernists took the stage, and dragged with them their vile, destructive henchmen — all who worshipped chaos, madness, and dissent. Those who hated this special project that emanated from one small area of the globe. They fanned to full flame the baser drives of the human animal, and here we are now ….. irreparable.

    • Ah, but are natural rights a noble construct for every population? For example, despite propaganda, colonialism was awfully good for a lot of the colonies. Filipinos will tell you things were better when Americans ran things. And Central and South America really were dramatically improved by being ruled over by Europeans.

      I’m assuming natural rights include things like self-determination. But I can think of a lot of populations that are better being benevolently ruled over by others.

      • I agree entirely. That’s what I meant in specifying “… one small area of the globe.”

        A certain people, with a certain history, and certain characteristics.

        I do not think it was meant to apply to all, nor do I think it should or could.

  5. “The universe cares about one thing and that is fitness”—this reminded of something I read recently (David Cole) drawing a line from the 1864 Final Report of the American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission to the present-day/Ghost Dance phase of racial reconciliation.

    The Civil War-era Repubs apparently believed (I’m no expert; relying heavily on the columnist’s interpretation here) that blacks would be assimilated by a combination of their (the blacks’) genetic challenges and the civilizational superiority of Yankee carpetbaggers, and that they wouldn’t stray far from the South. So, by this thinking, it’d follow the same plan that was already working with feather Indians. Since Brazil, France, and even Iceland have local BLM scenes, I think that 19th century Lathrop Stoddard-esque fitness calculation has now been disproved.

  6. Know ur rights! U have the right to food money,provided of course you don’t mind a little investigation, humiliation and rehabilitation

  7. I never understood why anyone believed in rights in the first place. Power and force made all the rules throughout most of history and in every culture. The idea of rights came out of European Christendom and now it’s become some kind of special interest group religion

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    • Yea….we don’t have natural rights…we only have unnatural privileges (as long as we’re strong enough to defend them)……

  8. Middle Earth can and will exist, we just need to take short people and glue their pubic hair to the tops of their feet.

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  9. I think that the best way of thinking about Anton and “natural rights” is the classic putdown of Southern women: Bless his heart.

    And our lefty friends don’t care a fig about natural rights. They worship “human rights” which is whatever they want it to be.

    Keep it up Zman. And keep fit.

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    • Athens believed in natural rights only for citizens, mainly male citizens…Those “natural” rights did not exist for slaves or serfs, who were the vast majority of the population…

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  10. Now that was a substantial essay in more ways that one! In the main, I take Z’s side over Anton’s, and the principle reason is that, as Z says, so-called “human rights” are culture specific. Without knowing what Anton would enumerate under human rights, I think it’s safe to say that your typical Muslim would slice your head off with a scimitar if you told him homosexuals had a right to adopt children, and it’s not because they’re unfamiliar with such “rights.” The Muhammadans became acquainted with these quintessentially Western abominations decades ago and their response was to fly airliners into skyscrapers.

    A couple of other points. First, as regards human nature, I believe it exists, but I also believe it is far more exiguous that the Straussians contend. In fact, outside of musicality and thymotic pride, I see very little that can be said to unite the human beings of Mongolia, Paraguay, Iceland and Mozambique. What I believe to be human nature can hardly serve as the catapult from which to launch human rights regimes from Washington, DC to the farflung corners of the globe.

    Second, I do take issue with Z’s Darwinian positivism. He seems to believe in progress. Bad ideas, for instance, are replaced by better ideas, and those, in turn, are supplanted by even better ones. But, by way of example, given democracy’s checkered and decidedly unprepossessing past, can we honestly say it is a step forward from various forms of autocracy or even feudalism? I’m sure we could make arguments either way. Nevertheless, the matter is hardly so pellucid that it stands as evidence in favor of Darwinian positivism. This worldview, at least in the social, cultural and political contexts, is no less contextual than the notion of human rights.

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    • I think Zman’s argument is that democracy survived, and Game of Thrones did not, so it was better because it survived…When Western democracy collapses, which it will, the replacement will be better in the same sense…

      • The term “better” is also highly dependent on the environment..Dinosaurs were better on a much hotter and wetter Earth, not the colder, dryer one we have now….

      • But that’s just it. I’m not sure what survives–culturally, socially, politically–is axiomatically better than what it supplanted. Rap is thriving and classical music is dying. Now that may mean that rap is “fitter” for the present environment, but it also strongly suggests that the current environment is inferior to what existed, let’s say, 80 years ago. What we’re experiencing is hardly progress, it’s deterioration.

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        • An entire environment can certainly evolve in what we would subjectively consider a “negative” direction. Imagine slamming a really big asteroid into the earth. I mean something maybe 100 miles across, not the puny 6 of the one that killed the dinosaurs. Simulation results suggest that due to the huge amount of kinetic energy involved, a substantial part of the crust would liquefy, all the oceans would vaporize, and the atmosphere would consist of steam and rock vapor for a time until the temperature dropped enough for the oceans to rain back out and refill. There’s evidence that even this might not end life on the planet though since it appears that microbes exist very deep in the crust and the heat from the impact might not reach the deepest ones. So in time life would return to the surface. All complex life would be gone though. This is not an improvement.

          Is rap that musical asteroid? Yes, yes it is. Therefore fuck rap music. QED.

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          • About ten days ago, here chez Z, the commentariat briefly spoke about abiotic petroleum:

            “A Ukraine Primer”
            https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=29085

            I was trying to make the point that we know next to nothing whatsoever about the inner workings of whatever it is that lies beneath the Earth’s crust.

            Now today, we’ve been handed a new theory which posits that within the crust, there’s a sphere of something or other [perhaps molten iron?] which spins in apposition or even opposition to the spin of the crust, and which appears to be capable of REVERSING its spin maybe “once every few decades”:

            https://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/4125542/posts

            Sheesh.

            I wonder how long that theory will survive?

            It kinda makes me sea-sick, just thinking about it.

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          • “within the crust, there’s a sphere of something or other”

            probably ought to read more like

            “BENEATH the crust, there’s a sphere of something or other”

            Sorry about that.

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    • Fitness isn’t progress. Jungle bunnies are more fit in our society because the environment of our society has free food dispensers, diabeetus medicine, and worships them as gods.

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  11. Thank you TomA. While Z and Anton go back and forth, Biden’s HUD Commissar Marcia L. Fudge decreed, “We are done with communities that do not serve people.” This as here proclamation that suburbs will be forced to have POCs move into their neighborhoods as they are forced to subsidize their housing.

    That statement is so honest and profound. Fudge, like all Black Supremacists, wants to subjugate whites or any power structure and force whites to server blacks. She said it almost as plainly as you can.

    We are arguing about natural rights while a tribe with a blood libel is saying almost explicitly that through government force, We are going to serve Them. The subtext is that we are going to at once be their servants and pay for their palaces. It is absurd that this is tolerated, but here we are.

    Anton, if you are reading, this continues because you enable it. You sit around a scribble and bibble about rights. You aren’t defending our rights. You are enabling them to be systematically obliterated, our nation dismantled and our people’s very existence to be openly threatened and imperiled. Answer us this Anton. Do you think people like this care about our natural rights or are going to be reasoned with and convinced to forego profiting from our expropriation and dispossession in exchange for said rights?

    “We are talking about the minority, (white people), and strategies against the minority. So I have the solution, (to vaccine “refusers”). We’ll get rid of all the whites in the United States.” – Dr. Carol Baker MD Baylor College of Medicine

    “White people’s birth rates are going down … because they literally cannot afford to put their children, newer generations, into the middle class … It’s super perverse, and also they kind of deserve it.” … “I think that white people are committed to being villains in the aggregate.” … “We gotta take these motherfuckers out.” – Britney Cooper (Professor at Rutgers University)

    Cooper’s black Dean of Faculty and black University President did not reprimand her, fire her, or revoke her tenure.

    “Yes, Diversity is about getting rid of white people, (and that’s a good thing)” – Emily Goldstein who goes on to call for the genocide of our race.

    There is an endless list of people at the heights of seats of power saying these things and enacting policies that are aligned with the statements. How are essays on Natural Rights going to save us from this?

    That brings to mind a few more boulders: 19th century Haiti; Zimbabwe; South Africa.

    Perhaps it is time for scholars to stop overlooking all of those writings about how certain people are too incompatible to live together, take a look at reality and ask, could it be that they were right?

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    • All true, but always remember that blacks couldn’t run a lemonade stand. They are simply tools used against whites by the group with real power.

      And that group doesn’t care a whit about the “rights” of any other group.

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    • They are a drain in society economically, culturally, and literally. Now we have to not only pay for their expenses but also have our faces rubbed in this shit?

    • ” Biden’s HUD Commissar Marcia L. Fudge decreed, “We are done with communities that do not serve people.”

      Reminds me of “Twilight Zone” story titled HOW TO SERVE MAN about Aliens arriving offering humans a Sacred Book ( in alien language and providing free trips to their planet…..it ended up being a cook book!!

  12. The only source of “natural” rights is God. We still use the lingo today even when many don’t believe anymore. We just put The People or The Law in His place. These can change arbitrarily, & frequently do. The closest thing otherwise is the Roman “mos est” (it is the custom), which had the force of law & changed very little over time, at least in the early days.
    Scientific historians have said that the idea of the laws of science required a worldview where the Cosmos was ruled by the Lawgiver. Natural law & inalienable rights required the same thing. If the later seem to be dissolving these days, there’s a reason for that.

  13. “Most people would be wrong. It turns out that nature, in fact the universe, is not concerned with accuracy. What drives the whole of the universe is fitness and fitness beats truth… Just as important, fitness is the universal principle of the universe. It applies not just to living creatures, but to the things we conjure with our minds.”

    So “fitness beats truth” destroys our ability to know anything about natural rights, but it does not destroy our ability to know exactly what the universe is concerned with (fitness rather than accuracy). And although the universe is concerned with fitness and not accuracy, we seem to have very accurate knowledge concerning the universal principle of the universe and its implications, including that it applies to the creations of our minds. Which includes theories about “fitness” just as much as theories about “natural rights”, but fortunately only undermines the latter and not the former.

    I suppose that while the universe doesn’t care about our theories of natural rights, it does care about our theories of fitness?

    • Perhaps fitness is just a relatively benign euphemism for force, which is the one thing the universe always respects

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    • Nobody even knows what “fitness” means other than “survives.”

      “Survival of the fittest!”
      “Define ‘fittest.'”
      “That which survives.”
      “Survival of that which survives!”
      Um … tautologies by definition have zero information content.

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        • They are in evolutionary terms. Survival is both a necessary and sufficient condition for fitness. You can wrap all the other fancy terms around it you like, but if the species doesn’t survive, all other characteristics of “fitness” mean nothing.

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      • Biologically speaking, “fitness” is the measure of a species’ or individual’s suitability for their environment.
        Low fitness indicates an unsuitability which will result in low genotype transfer to subsequent generations.
        High fitness shows a high degree of adaptation to the current environment and high likelihood of genotype transfer.
        Fitness doesn’t refer to strength or sexuality or any other measure.

          • I’m sensing the stench of a creationist in your objections, and that you are refusing to understand because it upsets your religious beliefs.

            Unfortunately, the entirety of Z-mans post is lost on most of the right for this reason. The denial of evolution is one of the main reasons men like Anton believe in the silly things they do

          • Get back to me when you can stop projecting your imaginings onto me and add something to the conversation that refutes the fundamental truth that the only necessary and sufficient condition for “fitness” is survival of the species.

    • The funny thing about the “fitness” argument is that Z’s fitness theory hasn’t survived any better than the natural rights arguments (how many people today could provide even an elementary understanding of evolutionary theory?), so by its own lights we should dump it and move on.

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      • I’m trying to puzzle you out and coming up with two theories.

        1) You enjoy the mental masturbation of erudite -sounding- arguments but with little useable content. Endless debate and, like, deep thinking maaaaaan. (Pass the bong to the freshman Philosophy 101 major to your right please). I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that this is your modus operandi.

        2) Purposeful obfuscation by subtle diversion and twisting of words. This is the realm of (((lawyers))) and a far more insidious thing. I’ll presume you are not malicious in your intent.

        At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter too much though, does it?

        “(how many people today could provide even an elementary understanding of evolutionary theory?)”

        This is the ultimate Nero Fiddling while the barbarians are setting the entire city alight, isn’t it?

        I don’t need to have a whit of understanding about evolutionary theory to operate in n-gger mode. Kick in your door, bash in your brains, rape your wife and daughter and fill them with my seed. Take all your sh-t, move on to the next house for more fun and excitement. I am Fitness Incarnate™ at that point, am I not? Because your entire block will carry forth my genetic code while your brains are leaking out.

        I did not need to debate you, understand evolution, or even be able to read. Said another way you are bringing a quill & ink to a gunfight, more clear now egghead?

        The people in control operate in the same crude manner as I described above. You will be endlessly debating while they assume even more raw and brutal control then they already have. You are a genetic dead end if you cannot comprehend this simple fact:

        ‘Nature’ is not about ‘rights’. ‘Nature, is red in tooth & claw.’ Period. Full stop. You need only have a semi-functional front lobe & observe the natural world for a few minutes to understand its brutality.

        Pontification, debate, thoughtful discussion cannot occur when aggressive men with guns are rapidly seizing every lever of power. This is the situation we find ourselves in. Law of the Jungle is necessary right now, your polite thoughtful considerations will be met with a blow to the head.

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        • Careful where you walk hombre (Alex)
          You guys are nasty in the best sense of the word.
          And I’m way outa my league here..

      • Most people don’t understand natural selection therefore natural selection doesn’t exist? That’s quite the logical fallacy you’ve got going there.

        • That’s not my logic it’s Z’s. His argument is that natural rights theory has failed the fitness test because most people don’t believe it anymore. I am merely pointing out that most people don’t believe the fitness theory anymore either, so it also fails by its own standard.

          Natural selection is a valid empirical principle of biology. What Z has done is expand that principle from where it has limited applicability (in biology), to an all-embracing philosophical principle that explains all of reality. This is one of many variations of Big Idea philosophy. Someone takes a principle that has real but limited application and expands it into the key to understanding everything. Marxists took the limited but real phenomenon of class conflict and turned it into the Big Idea of “class struggle” that explains all of history and human relations. Blacks took the real but limited phenomenon of racial discrimination and turned it into the Big Idea of “racism” that explains anything and everything about our country.

          Z has done the same thing with natural selection, turning it into the Big Idea of “fitness” that is the philosophical principle that explains everything. With blacks, if you push back against “racism” as a Big Idea that explains everything, they will accuse you of being a racist who denies that discrimination ever happened anywhere. With “fitness”, if I push back against it as a Big Idea that explains everything, I’m accused of denying the reality of natural selection anywhere. All that shows is that we are dealing with one of the variations of Big Idea philosophy. Z’s Big Idea, like Big Ideas in philosophy generally, fails by its own standards.

          It’s understandable why Z hates Aristotle. Aristotle had one of the most balanced philosophical minds in history and may be the premier historical opponent of Big Idea philosophy. He wasn’t right about everything, but he refused to allow his mind to be captured by a single Big Idea That Explains Everything.

          • That’s not my logic it’s Z’s. His argument is that natural rights theory has failed the fitness test because most people don’t believe it anymore. I am merely pointing out that most people don’t believe the fitness theory anymore either, so it also fails by its own standard.

            Your problem is you do not understand the material. Fitness exists in non-contextual reality. Natural rights theory exists in contextual reality. If you wish to claim nature as the moral authority for it, then you have to accept the conclusion of nature, which is that natural rights failed the fitness test.

          • The best take I ever read about Aristotle, how his ideas that the material world and the spiritual world were eternally separate ruined western civilization, was in a book by a grad student who went nuts during his PhD dissertation on ‘A’. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig- who wrote it after he recovered from his journey into philosophical madness.

          • The Earth, animals and plants live in non-contextual reality. They exist in space-time. “Fitness” doesn’t. “Fitness” is a theoretical concept just as much as “natural rights” is; that’s why Darwinism was a conceptual revolution.

            If you ask a Bantu about “fitness”, he’ll know no more about it than he does “natural rights.” You’ll likely be no more successful explaining it to him than you do natural rights. Because they are both concepts and Bantus struggle with concepts. And when mankind dies out, the concept of “fitness” dies with him.

            I’m not defending natural rights theory. I just don’t think your Big Idea argument with respect to “fitness” is a good argument against it, because it’s just as conceptual as natural rights is.

          • As I keep saying, you do not understand the material. Fitness exists whether humans are around to notice it. You seem to be struggling with this and my recommendation is you move onto another topic.

          • I should say that I ultimately agree that modern natural rights theory, as derived from Enlightenment philosophers like Hobbes and Locke, is philosophically bankrupt. Those rights were never “discovered” but justified after the fact by philosophers when they had already decided where they wanted to go. But I don’t think Z has any more standing to talk about “fitness” as a cosmic philosophical principle with which to sustain or condemn philosophies like natural rights than do modern natural rights theorists themselves have standing to talk about “natural rights”

    • You raise a subtle point. I guess that you’re saying that “fitness beats truth” is like “there is no truth,” which is an obviously self-negating statement.

      So if fitness beats truth then how can we observe this truth? Here’s an idea: fitness is not opposed to truth in all cases. In fact, truth and fitness almost always coincide, but when they conflict then fitness wins. So observing that fitness beats truth is one the cases where fitness does not conflict with truth. That we can make this true observation is a contingent, not necessary truth and could change if our environment changes.

      Does that surmount your objection? I’m just having fun although your question is very serious.

      • It is not that there is no truth. It is that fitness does not require an accurate perception of reality. Think of the PC wars back in the 1990’s. There were technically superior product to the Win-Tel machines. Apple was way ahead of Microsoft on the graphical user interface. Unix variants were better than DOS. Microsoft and Intel won the war becasue they were good enough and cheap enough. Not the best and not the cheapest, just the right combination of good enough and cheap enough.

        That is fitness. Good enough and cheap enough to get the job done, with the job being surviving to the next round of the game of life.

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        • Well, not a 100% accurate perception of reality. To use your example, enough of reality to get the job done.

      • I am having trouble wrapping my head around fitness and truth being opposed at all. I suppose, for a period, fitness can overcome truth (fooling some of the people), but the observation that what used to “fit” seems to change indicates that at some point truth wins out. Or maybe it wasn’t really fit to begin with (for the long haul).

        • Truth is probably the wrong word, but it is pithy. Accuracy is a better word. The example Donald Hoffman uses in his presentation is the desktop of your computer. It is a highly simplified interface for you to use without knowing how the internals of a computer work. What we think of as reality is just an interface that works for us. I did a post related to this here: https://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=9070

        • Let’s do a thought experiment.

          Let’s assume that there was no God. (I’m not saying that there’s no God, I’m just doing a thought experiment.) Now, you have Group A that believes in God and Group B that are atheists. Group B is factually correct and Group A is factually incorrect.

          However, Group A’s belief in God gives them a sense of community, a willingness to persevere when times are tough, the toughness to defend their lands against non-believers and, most importantly, pushes them to have lots of kids.

          Group B lacks in all of these respects because they are atheists.

          Group A will be far more successful than Group B. Indeed, Group B likely will disappear as a people, even though Group B is factually correct about God and Group A is factually incorrect. (Again, not saying that there’s no God, just doing a thought experiment.)

          Being right or knowing the truth doesn’t always help in being the most fit.

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          • Quite so…as long as its not somebody else’s God.

            That’s the problem in a nutshell: we’re told we can only choose Afro-Arabian God who is not the Maker, and not our own either.

          • Sorry. I need to revisit that:

            Well, you might as well just go Islam, then. They breed a lot.
            Blind Nature’s “success” metric, a scattershot approach.

            You see? Such a path drags one back into the animal world.

            This is the function of the “Lord of Hell.” Its function is to drag every scrap of memory back into the greenhouse.

      • Zman wants his fitness theory to undermine the knowledge claims of his opponents. He doesn’t seem to notice that those same skeptical arguments apply to his own position.

        When Zman proclaims things like “What we think of as reality is just an interface that works for us” or “fitness does not require an accurate perception of reality”, he’s making truth claims -statements about how the world really is. But If Z is stuck behind the interface like the rest of us, how does he know that the interface is merely what “works for us?” And if our thoughts are conditioned by fitness rather than truth, why should we give any credence to Z’s statements about fitness any more than Anton’s statements about natural rights? These arguments have force only if they exempt themselves form their own skeptical implications.

      • “So observing that fitness beats truth is one the cases where fitness does not conflict with truth.”

        Well, yeah. The idea is that truth wins out just enough to support the truth of Z’s ideas about fitness and reality, but not enough for us to reach the truth of other people’s ideas, especially Anton’s. Just dumb luck it worked out that way.

  14. Z, you were soliciting ideas for merchandise. I would be interested in an invisible elf farting pixie dust T-shirt or coffee mug. Maybe someone in you audience has the artist talent to sketch one up?

    I remember a scene in the last (good) Star Trek movie where, during a dinner with the Klingons, Chekiv blurts outs something about “inalienable human rights”, much to the chagrin of the Klingons.,…….

  15. Well, I don’t know if I am the guy to play philosophical traffic cop and impose some order on this discussion, but I will try.

    It seems to me that there has always been a tension between two themes in Western philosophy for the past 2500 years, and this discussion is merely a continuation of it. Let us call them the Thucydides-Hobbes-Nietzsche theme, in which power is all that matters, things like “rights” as mere affectations and ephemera. Power is the only thing that is real, full stop.

    In contrast we have the Platonist theme, which emphasizes abstract ideals — “forms” — and treats those abstract ideals (“freedom, rights, etc.”) as if they were real. The guardian class in the Republic is supposed to be dedicated to the understanding of the “forms.”

    I would say that Anton subscribes to the Platonic view, while Z is taking the Hobbesian-Thucydides view. (This is hardly a new dispute; Thrasymachus is Socrates’ interlocutor and serves as the stand-in for the “power politics” approach in The Republic.)

    In reality, neither argument is fully true. Human nature consists of a unique duality that contains both an animalistic, power-is-everything aspect, while simultaneously containing the ability to reason abstractly and aspirationally (i.e., “Man is created in the image of God.”)

    Politics is the art of continually balancing this dual nature. Human progress and understanding cannot occur without aspirational-abstract-Platonic thinking. Yet humans can never fully achieve the Platonic ideals, either.

    For instance, the definition of a perfect circle is purely abstract, and Man can never create a perfect circle. But manufacturing things like turbines for jet engines can only happen if we aspire to get as close to that ideal as we can.

    “Natural rights” exist in the same fashion. They constitute an ideal to which we aspire, but they will never fully be realized. Yet there is a tangible difference between living in, say, Jacksonian democracy in 1838 where the government at least imperfectly aspired to respect natural rights (certainly not for negroes, of course) as opposed to living under the rule of the Mongol Hordes.

    Aristotle understood this. His goal was “practical politics” and “the good life.” He criticized Plato for being too abstract and too aspirational, and not paying sufficient attention to the baser realities of human nature. Aristotle’s politics are a “golden mean” between a Mongol-style barbarism that pays too little attention to the the abstract and the aspirational, and a tyranny of the intellectuals (like Plato’s guardians, Bolsheviks, Jacobins, etc.) that pays too little attention to the practical needs of the common man.

    Aristotle further understood human nature itself was not monolithic, and that women, children and slaves were not able to partake fully in the art of politics by their very nature. Even among those who were capable of entering this discussion needed to be trained to be habitually virtuous, it did not happen automatically. He also understood that there were many types of regimes that approached this question differently. Consequently, he advocated for a “mixed regime” in which the goal of politics was the constant adjustment of interests between the abstract, the aspirational, and the mundane.

    What we are suffering from under our present rulers is an over-emphasis on Platonic idealism and the implementation of unnatural ideals that can never be fully realized — equality of the sexes, equality of the races, transgenderism, one-world government, and so forth.

    We on the dissident right are trying to achieve a balance based on a more practical understanding of the plebeian and mundane aspects of governing — secure borders, keeping out foreign wars for idealistic purposes, stable money, stable employment.

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    • Perhaps I should append my post with the following analogy: natural rights are like money.

      Money is an abstract concept. The paper and ink of the dollar bill mean nothing in and of themselves. Yet life is sure better when you have money than when you don’t.

      Natural rights may be equally ephemeral but like is sure better in a polity that claims to have them than in one that doesn’t.

        • Through rational deliberation of the question “what is the best life?” Just because five joggers are participating in the discussion doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. It just means you’re asking the wrong people.

          If there isn’t an answer to this — even one explored zetetically over the course of a lifetime without arriving at a definitive answer — then why are you even writing on this topic, Z Man? Why seek the truth about this particular question? It’s just “fitness” all the way down, in that event.

    • Xman,

      If a polity did not live by the Platonic forms, either out of ignorance or out of explicit rejection of them, would any harm or misfortune befall them?

      To illustrate my question, I guess that if a society did not live by Aristotelian ethics then Aristotle would predict that the people of the polity would experience less fulfillment or “eudaimonia.” Presumably, this deficiency would be noticeable, maybe even measurable against a society that followed Aristotelian ethics.

      Can we way a similar thing about societies that do not live in accordance with Plato’s forms or Locke’s Nature’s God?

      • -“If a polity did not live by the Platonic forms, either out of ignorance or out of explicit rejection of them, would any harm or misfortune befall them?”

        Socrates explicitly makes this claim in his Apology; it is not he who will suffer most by being put to death, the people of Athens will suffer more for rejecting philosophy.

        -“if a society did not live by Aristotelian ethics then Aristotle would predict that the people of the polity would experience less fulfillment or ‘eudaimonia.'”

        Aristotle explicitly argues that this is why Greeks are superior to barbarians.

        This argument was prevalent in the 19th century, British colonial administrators took it for granted as an obvious fact that British science, law, organization, and technology provided a far superior life than the natives of India, Sudan, Arabia, Burma, Uganda, etc. in terms of security, prosperity, leisure, and so on. Americans took it for granted that their way of life was superior to that of the primitive, Stone-Age Indian. Due process, law, medicine, science — these are all applied Platonic abstractions.

        And I think they were right. Savagery and barbarism is a real thing. It’s such a joke to see academics and intellectuals (females in particular) fawning over Indians and jungle negroes, while sitting in air-conditioned university offices and working on laptops under electric lights, all created by white men applying Platonic abstractions. The negroes and Indians would have gang-raped your average women’s studies professor in a heartbeat.

        The example I used to employ to demonstrate this is the idea of professionalism. Suppose you send your wife and daughter to the gynecologist. He is a professional man of science, he is dedicated to applying the Platonic abstraction we call “health.” He sets aside his impulses and passions when he administers a pap smear and performs an exam. Cancerous cells on her cervix are not visible to the naked eye; he has to form an abstract concept of them, then use the Scientific Method to confirm the absence or presence of such cells and treat her accordingly to the idea of “health.”

        We expect him to not give in to his natural sexual desires and rape your wife and daughter in the exam room. if he does (it happens, but is extremely rare) he is cast out of the profession.

        Now, imagine Genghis Khan and his court doing an in-depth, close examination of your wife’s labia. What do you thing is going to happen then? What do you thing would have happened to her in the jungles of Uganda in 1870? (Or at 3 a.m. in a crackhouse in Detroit today?)

        Modern society — civilized society — cannot exist without the Platonic ideal. But it is also possible for this to get out of hand, where the intellectuals get so obsessed and enamored with the abstract ideal that they refuse to accept the reality of Nature itself. The problem is that today we live in a society where the physicians are likely to look at you’re wife’s labia and not rape her, but say “Oh, we can perform surgery on that to turn it into a penis, because gender is a social construct that doesn’t exist. Hand me the knife.”

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        • I dare say multicultural equality is another abstraction. There are positive forms, but also negative ones.

    • That’s a good post, and I think it is largely correct. However, the real issue here is not so much whether westerners can succeed in a regime in which the largely fictive concept of “rights” has some purchase, but whether such a regime is truly “human,” i.e. whether it applies to all cultural groups both within and without the West’s borders. You yourself draw a distinction between America in the 1830s and the Mongols. It is quite clear to me that, for various reasons, these Platonic rights are very much parochial rather than ecumenical, and that is the gist of Z-man’s piece. Rights may be a useful bogosity when applied by westerners to westerners, but they’re a farcical killshot when non-westerners are included into the bargain.

      • Correct. The idea of natural rights develops exclusively in the West. This lack of universality would seem to indicate that these rights are not then “natural” at all but a cultural construct.

        On the other hand man is the only animal capable of thinking in terms of abstractions like rights, morality, ethics and justice. Aristotle argued that man is the only political animal because only he who is capable of using speech and reason to determine what justice is. No wolf pack debates the justice of killing a calf.

        So in this sense it is appropriate to say that thinking in terms of abstract rights IS (potentially) part of Man’s nature, even though all men and all cultures do not necessarily do it.

        The way this has typically been addressed throughout the history of philosophy is to argue that Man is born into a state of ignorance, and it requires conscious effort to acquire knowledge and elevate himself out of it.

        i.e., the savages in the jungles of Africa may be ignorant of the fact that the three angles of an isosceles triangle add up to 180 degrees, but their ignorance does not make this fact any less true. The result of this ignorance can plainly be apprehended when comparing an African grass hut with the Notre Dame.

        An African who applies himself to the study of the abstract, Platonic concepts in architecture and geometry may have something in common with Europeans, then, just as an African lawyer educated in law and in philosophy may discuss rights even though most people in his culture do not regard this as natural.

        Perhaps a better example is that of Asian manufacturing. Prior to Commodore Perry sailing into Tokyo Bay, the Japanese were quite ignorant of Western technology and lived in a premodern, feudal society. They subsequently embarked upon a cultural shift of learning everything they could about Western science and technology, and they have gotten to the point where most would agree that a Toyota beats a Chevy six ways to Sunday — even though it was white men at GM who understood the principles of manufacturing first.

        • Right. And this gets us to the point that not all minority groups or foreign peoples are equally compatible with western civilization. Hence, it is quite silly to point to the success of East Asians in the West and conclude therefrom that we should import the whole of Angola. Yet this is what Leftists do, and most on the right dumbly nod along.

  16. If you want to explore the concepts outlined by Z, dive into Donald Hoffman. He works very closely with the game theory author. He has tons of videos on YouTube. Nicely done column Z

    • Our personalities and our instincts seem to exist at a very strange nexus between the physical world and the world of abstractions.

      My best guess is that the Amygdala is likely the organ which provides the interface between the conscious mind of the frontal lobe and the genetic memory [somewhere in the hindbrain] of the billion years’ of our ancestors sacrifices which went into the making of us [going back all the way to when our ancestors were mere hydrocarbon molecules struggling to become amino acids struggling to become pond scum].

      Why do we instinctually jump back when noticing a snake on the ground in front of us?

      Because somewhere in our hindbrains is stored a very strong genetic memory of

      “!!! SNAKE == DANGER !!!”

      And upon seeing the snake, that genetic memory fires a signal to our Amygdalae, which, in turn, causes our entire physical corpus [heart rate, sweat glands, palms of the hands, arches of the feet, calf muscles, thigh muscles, buttocks muscles] to respond accordingly.

      Or at least the signal works in such a fashion for folks who are NOT on Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors.

      [My best guess is that the globalist depopulationists’ army of neuro-pharmacologists knows damned well that SSRIs castrate/neuter the Amygdala, which is precisely why all the NPCs are routinely placed on SSRIs.]

      At this point in time, my thinking is that our innate instinctual responses to e.g. sophistry or charlatanry or miscellaneous forms of intellectual snake oil are a very strange mix of a billion years of empirically-acquired genetic memories [stored physically in the hindbrain] working in tandem with a few decades of learned practice in [pseudo-] deductive [or even abductive] analysis during our lived lives.

      Point being that I feel like there is a very strange nexus between the abstract world [of ideas] and the physical world [of the Amygdala and the genetic memories of the hindbrain], plus plain old-fashioned learned experience [acquired in our own lives as we are living them], which goes into our ability to notice & remember & qualify & analyze.

      Certainly our personalities [Cluster A, Cluster B, Cluster C, etc] are burned into us at conception, and there is very little which can be done to alter our innate personalities.

      There are even personality types which are distinguished by their complete absence of personality, such as, for instance, the middle- to far-northern German personality, from roughly Frankfurt through Scandinavia all the way to the Arctic Circle [it might even be safe to consider that particular northern German personality to be a literal blank slate].

      Whereas southern Germans, from Bavaria through Austria & the Czech Republic and & down into Northern Italy, seem to have much more strongly defined innate and identifiable personalities all their own.

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  17. Good post by Z-man, but I think that the Hartford Convention was in response to the War of 1812, which went mostly badly for the American side. The Hartford Convention met in December 1814 and the Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812 was signed that same month. Had the war continued (especially after the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in June, 1815), things would probably gone even worse for the United States and a second convention might have led to outright secession.

    It’s really too bad that New England didn’t choose to end the experiment in 1814 and spare the nation the disastrous Civil War of 1861-1865.

    • It was Jackson’s victory at New Orleans that took the steam out of the secessionist. That is what I had in mind.

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      • Reading the Wikipedia article on the Hartford Convention of 1814 is a real blow to the gut.

        [It would be fascinating to know the parochial breakdown of Unitardian versus Congregationalist at the Hartford Convention, and how the two factions might have argued with one another, but Wikipedia says there are no extant notes of the arguments presented at the proceedings.]

        Hartford also provides further evidence [as if we needed any further evidence] that everything in Amurrikkkun history [prior to the arrival of the Mind Virus in the latter part of the 19th Century] was simply one form or another of a re-enactment of Culloden.

  18. In our society the “natural rights” crowd has has mostly come from the modern-rebooting of Christianity. Imagine an anti-slavery book also having a chapter on “the proper care and feeding of slaves.” Some Christians even go further and claim that “women’s rights” are biblically based. Yet no one can point to more than three female occupations in the bible; mother, concubine and prostitute. Would an ancient Mediterranean people of any kind have been any different than the Taliban? One could argue that if the Taliban was compared to ancient people at that time, they would be considered…libertarian.

    This is why the left, even under the cloak of Christianity, wants to obliterate (and has mostly achieved) tradition in all forms. Their concept of “rights” can only start at year zero of their own, wholly manufactured, rainbow religion. This is why the French Revolution is always so instructive and predictive of how things go, like a 12 year human experiment over 120 years of human existence, similar to how auto companies test the paint jobs on their cars. It’s mostly erased from history books that the French started with “year one” of their great experiment. In our country, year one was about 1964, with the FDR era (Moses), and Lincoln (Abraham) and everything before the 1960’s being sort of the “old testament.”

    Even ardent “right wingers” in 2023, would be considered leftists even a hundred years ago. Such is the totality of the obliteration of “the old religion.” We, as dissidents, may as well be walking around as Epicureans in 400AD. All religions have their sell-by date however. And there’s a good bet, if history is a guide, that when they let loose the trannies to roam the countryside, a new religion will soon be born. As that happens, people like Anton, in his modern day vestal virgin cult, will search for their Nero to set alight the whole place as they become “the old religion.”

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  19. I generally agree with your position Z. Most of these rights are man made, like a trial by a jury of your peers. However, the issue of self defense seems to be the one (that I can think of) exception. The Bantus you speak of will still practice self defense. If a thief breaks into Mdamaku’s hut, he will defend the tent. If the offender is killed, his chieftain will try and and determine what happened and make sure Mdamaku was acting on defense. Take away modern society and this will happen with cavemen or animals as well. Like the boulder in the field, regardless of whether the Bantus can describe it, it still happens and still exists. A government that takes away its peoples right to defend itself from predators is unnatural and therefore immoral. This is increasingly happening in the West. The most stark example is the Parisian man that defended his home from two robbers with a kitchen knife and then was sentenced to a year in jail and successfully sued by the robbers for compensation. He then recently killed some migrants in a revenge rampage.

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    • Probably the shortest distance between ought and is lies with the right to self-defense. Just becasue is small, it does not mean it can be ignored.

    • I suppose you could call it a right, but what it appears to be is a somewhat universal pragmatism. If Mdamaku is not allowed self defense, it becomes difficult for the ruler to rule as his kingdom soon becomes all against all, which then leads to a rival to throne to offer a self-defense alternative, and, before you know it, the old king is decorating a spike.

      The French are going to find out the hard way.

  20. Strauss notably castigated Heidegger (not by name) in On Tyranny, writing to Kojeve that Heidegger and others in the early 30s missed the tyranny train by choosing to do “nothing but talk of Being.” Yet Straussians drink from the same empty well, by their very own measure.

    • “One or more warlords might be able to maintain a position of superiority by force for some time after the initial calamity justifies it, but then we are talking about tyranny, not just or legitimate political rule. I suppose the Z-Man wouldn’t care about that because, after all, natural rights are a ‘figment of the imagination.’ That means, though, to be consistent, he could have no coherent objection to be ruled against his will, without his consent. But whatever. This new LARPy ‘aristocracy’ would work out about as well, and last about as long, as CHOP, aka CHAZ, Seattle’s 2020 utopian experiment.”

      Wow. You got under his skin, ZMan. In my experience — lengthy now — when Straussians pull out the “you’re no different from the relativist left” card, they’re out of ammo.

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  21. I’m with Zed on this, though I would put it in fewer words:

    Rights are assigned within each society according to its customs. Presumably Anton’s claim is to rights that pre-exist social organisation in the fabled state of nature. Indeed, in a state of nature, where no social control is exerted at all, all manner of thing may be interpreted as a ‘human right’—including the right to murder. The appeal to inalienable ‘human rights’ is chimerical and goes nowhere.

  22. I love the idea of Natural Rights. It is a sublime idea, and a seemingly ideal way to organize society. Even better is the ideal that society is made of perfect noblemen who are self organizing and self correcting through the gentleman’s high functioning legal system?

    I am being honest about that – no sarcasm. Does that sound like America? Does that sound like an America we can get back to?

    The boulder I see is that the gangsters have gone into the club and taken the owners by gunpoint. Gold members still have the right to park up front, but every day they arrive and their spots are taken and some days they are scenes of low-rider hydraulic contests and 40 pouring spinner riding. The Gold member meekly parks on the periphery and prays he doesn’t get carjacked. He sees the manager, who assures him his Gold membership assures him of his parking spot rights. The member asks the manager how come his rights don’t keep his spot open. The manager assures him God assures his rights. The member gets upset and tells the manager that either he or God needs to clear his parking spot for him. The gangster comes out from the managers safe room with a gun and shouts, That’s racist!!

    The manager and the member become deathly afraid of this new God and his magical powers- shame and social ostracization backed by the threat of violence.

    The Gold member leaves the club after his workout. He makes it to his car, grateful he made it without being mugged or shot. He begins to wonder if he needs a new God – a God who tells him that if he wants to ever park up front he’ll need to either take his money and find a new club, or find other pissed off Gold through Bronze club members, do the needful to clean house of the parking lot and defend it for good, and then install themselves as manager of the club.

    It is all in the Founding debates. This gentleman’s club of individual liberty and a self organizing society only works with the right people who uniformly agree upon and maintain its fundamental principles and functioning order. That agreement must be underpinned by gentlemen who become ungentlemanly to whomever or whatever poses a legitimately existential threat to the club. I could walk alone in the woods on my estate dreaming of my Natural Right to life and my property when a gang of marauders from Frankfurtia, Blacksupremakanda, Progressiville, and ForeignFuedalovia who bought off or killed the sheriff, offend my God and take my life – vanquishing me, my God and my rights.

    It is time for a new arrangement. Anton isn’t a bad guy. We’ll first save ourselves. Then, we’ll keep him safe and give him a wig, powder, quill and parchment and brandy to write his fanciful treatises with. We’ll pay him a visit from time to time and enjoy a lively debate. Then we’ll get called by our duty to vigilance and man the wall. We’ll leave and smile as his cries of, “but my Natural Rights”, echo down the corridor over the banging of asylum issued pots and pans.

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    • Great literary sarcasm!

      And it indirectly gets to the root issue. Internet mavens love to “debate” esoteric issues for sport and good fun; thinking it may actually make a difference (supreme ego boost). But the reality is that hard men doing hard things is all that matters when the rubber meets the road. And if you’re not prepared to get real, then you’re just in the way.

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    • Unfortunately, there are several million heavily armed and financed White men in the western world whose sole purpose is to make sure that the gold, silver, and bronze members of the club never lay a finger on the privileged POC. We are nearing the end of an interracial civil war among White people and most people on the losing side have no idea what is going on.

      • Hey NMM –

        You form a more complete picture to be sure. The intraracial war is a class war where race is being used as the upper class’ mask of virtue to cover their sinister aims. At the same time, they enable an interracial war where a tribe with a blood libel against both classes is taking advantage and doing quite well. In the meantime other tribes with a blood libel are happy to take advantage.

        The white upper class is perhaps the most unfit in all of human history. We have to survive them. We may even have to rescue them if it even possible. Their war is already targeting themselves, so maybe they will wake up. I doubt it. They are making such an egregious mess that we may have our hands so full saving ourselves that they will be on their own.

        When the North American Oranias are formed we must make heavy use of the Internet time machine to idenitfy them, and bar them and their posterity from entry.

  23. Wow, longest post ever! But a great one. Allow me to simplify.

    Anton is simply pitching an idea (natural rights as foundation and justification for a political philosophy) in order to persuade others and hopefully build a bandwagon that can acquire dominance over everyone else. It really is as simple as that. He wants his tribe to be at the top of the societal pyramid and he prioritizes the use of his brain power in order to achieve this end result. As proof of this, I submit that Anton will never directly debate the salient points in today’s post. He will not do so, because he knows he will lose, which is counterproductive to his goal of eventual dominance.

    Now some clarity. Evolutionary fitness applies to all living things, and as far as we know at present, only exists on Earth, and has only been around for about a billion years. Base physics governs the vast expanse of the Universe. Our little splotch of life is but a grain of sand on an infinitesimal beach. That said, fitness selection is the dominant driver for all life forms and cannot be ignored. “What works, persists” in the realm of living things.

    And what “works” is variable depending on the environment. What works in sub Saharan Africa is not the same as what works in Scandinavia. Which is why you cannot have a “one size fits all” basis for any political philosophy. That is, unless you manage to turn all of mankind into an insect colony living entirely within a man-made artificial environment.

    Now the hard part. What is the best use of one’s brain power? Is it endless erudite analyses? Is it documenting our decline? Or is it to innovate a solution to what ails us (at the root)? Fitness selection in the wild is quite brutal.

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    • Because “fitness” has come to signify only what used to be called “physical fitness” and because in the contemporary mind the myth of “social Darwinism” has displaced everything Darwin (and Spencer) actually said, it causes reader confusion. Even in those who know better, it puts a moral taint—the 20th Century as described in myth—on whatever it’s near. I expect any reply to Z’s post today to rely entirely on that confusion/taint. If he hasn’t been called a Nazi (deniably) yet, that’s next.

      Darwinian fitness is *accuracy*, concordance with material reality, which as you note varies by region, time, vestigial fitnesses, etc. “Right” is not in any time or place a correct description of, let alone a plausible plan to inhabit, the world. It’s a meme unfit to spread. That’s why it doesn’t.

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      • Yes, most common folk conflate evolutionary fitness with the everyday connotation of physical fitness because the latter is familiar, whereas the former requires a modicum of education. And I agree that evolutionary fitness is “accurate” in the sense that it arrives at reality, simply because what persists is what works.

        However, sensory organs do not necessarily evolve to ever higher perception capability (think higher resolution for eyesight) simply because there is a tradeoff between allocating more resources toward improving eyesight versus using those resources in other biological organs where greater overall advantage might be obtained. For example, two eyes are better than one (affords depth perception), but evolution did not reward three eyes nor produce ever larger eyeballs. We are evolved to maximize overall fitness, not selectively maximize any particular trait.

  24. If one believes that the Bible gives us knowledge about human nature, we can pattern our own society around those general principles, do not murder, do not lust, do not envy, honor father and mother, the role of the female as wife and mother, the role of the male as father…..

    But there is NO natural right or entitlement that we have as humans to have any form of human organization.
    I have no natural right to free speech or the right to self government or to vote or anything else.
    Those things are tied to my specific human organization.

    There are only guides to the best way to organize a society.
    The Bible providing one of those outlines.
    A good one in my view.
    But that is just me.
    The Bible, specifically the New Testament, , is a cookbook sort of to a decent dish because it shows how to do it, and how not to do it.
    But it’s not set in stone that the cookbook must be followed exactly by man or followed at all.

    Natural rights have no meaning without something real behind them.
    Thus we get back to the argument is the God of the New Testament real?
    Did Jesus Christ exist?
    Did he rise from the dead?
    Or not?
    Or is it all just a wild exaggerated story of the crazy Jews?

    I will just leave it right there.

  25. At least in the English-speaking world, natural rights seem to be a thing when people can win them. When people become docile, or a faction becomes hegemonic, or both, they wither.

    Not an expert, so I hope I’m not too imprecise or get too much wrong. The impression I get is that there’s a cultural element that goes back to the tribal Celtic and Germanic past. Greek, Roman, and Christian ideas imposed or adopted, but they’re not a perfect fit, maybe even too civilized. So there’s chafing against them, adaptation or de-naturing, fraying when the church or state goes through a period of decline or corruption, and the old heathen gets cranky.

    We’re in one such period of corruption and decline. Just throwing it out there.

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  26. Practically speaking, might makes right. Anton doesn’t dispute that. He derives the concept of natural right (singular) from Aristotle, mediated by Strauss, and he notes that the Founders deemed the concept persuasive as a principle for organizing their government.

    Pertaining to Z, Anton writes, “I don’t want to be ruled without my consent and I don’t want to submit to a fake aristocracy… I still think whatever you’re planning won’t work; or, to be more precise, I don’t think you’ve done much planning at all. I don’t think you’ve even begun to think through how you’ll organize your new post-natural-rights society, which is why I expect it either to be a mess or else to revert to natural rights without admitting it.

    “But I still won’t come. I know you don’t want me there. I know you hate me and my kind and our ideas a thousand times more than you hate the globalist Left. And that’s fine. Natural right not merely allows but blesses incompatible peoples with incompatible visions to separate. I hope we can have cordial, mutually beneficial cross-border relations and trade. That is, if you can stomach the idea of trading with a society that believes in natural right. If you can’t, so be it. We won’t try to force it. Part of natural right is recognizing the sovereignty of borders and the obligation of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states. We will expect you to respect the same and act accordingly.”

    I may be mistaken but I imagine Z would say, much as we New Leftists said back in the day, that we don’t need an a priori theory of government or natural right. Whatever emerges will emerge organically perhaps from the “volksgeist” or some such spiritual force. We don’t know and don’t need to know.

    I don’t think Anton is ignorant. I think he’s appropriately fearful that power unchecked will revert to “nature raw in tooth and claw.” I expect he may be right.

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    • Could be. It reminds of White people when they pitch something and I ask “but is it good for my people?” Their brain gets vapor-locked and stuff like Anton writes is the cope.

      • Deep inside, most whites are indoctrinated to think that acting on terms of what’s good for one’s own people is one step away from the Holocaust, largely because of relentless media and educational saturation since they were born.

        The only way to work around the conditioning is to put it in religious terms “War on Terror”, or safety “Good Schools”.

        I get Anton’s concern, that we have a nation that is multiethnic and only held together by whites and and some minorities who agree to play fair. The break from natural rights will be painful, but it’s already happened, and nothing can turn back the clock.

        We’re getting raw “tooth and claw” whether we like it or not.

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    • Pertaining to Z, Anton writes, “I don’t want to be ruled without my consent and I don’t want to submit to a fake aristocracy… I still think whatever you’re planning won’t work; or, to be more precise, I don’t think you’ve done much planning at all. I don’t think you’ve even begun to think through how you’ll organize your new post-natural-rights society, which is why I expect it either to be a mess or else to revert to natural rights without admitting it.

      This is why I do not think much of Anton as a thinker. He thinks what I am planning will not work, without having the foggiest idea what I am planning, or if I am planning anything at all. Then he say I have not thought it through and when I do I will agree with him.

      What he really said is he does not understand the material, but he hopes his escapist fantasy turns out to be reality.

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      • The things we consider natural rights sound good, but from what I have seen they aren’t entitlements. If they were entitlements from nature why does it seem like people always have to fight for them? The magna Carta was a result of some English nobiles threatening the King if he didn’t comply. The constitution and bill of rights only came after a bloody war of independence. We lost most of our freedoms not because we lost a war, we lost them because we became apathetic and harmless to the elites. Which is probably why the Jan 6 incident scared them so much.

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    • Practically speaking, might makes right.

      That is itself rather nonsensical. Might can make no value judgments. Might just makes.

  27. The classical liberal regime which Anton defends is failing because it could never figure out how to defend itself against the non-liberals. The regime’s charter means it can’t exile or assassinate bolsheviks, and so it ends up with its own tenets weaponized against it. “All men are created equal” becomes “straight white people must be replaced,” and “children’s gender choices must be enforced,” as sure as night follows day.

    This only ends when one side puts the other side in camps. Hopefully we can arrange peaceful secession before the two sides start using biological weapons against each other.

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    • You highlight a significant problem: the inability of purportedly freedom-based regimes to defend themselves against the forces of anti-freedom. For instance, free speech theoretically permits everyone a voice, including those who oppose free speech. Should opponents of free speech gain sufficient momentum — as they obviously have in today’s West — you can kiss free speech goodbye. Those who favor liberty are severely handicapped by their reluctance or unwillingness to resort to coercion to fend off internal sabotage. We witness a similar phenomenon in the way that laissez faire/”just want to be left alone” types are often at the mercy of those who refuse to leave others alone. It’s why normies, despite their tremendous numerical advantage, are generally no match for activists. Activists continuously play offense. Meanwhile, normies tend not to even realize they’re in a contest (for civilization, no less) until it’s far too late.

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    • Word. This has become part of my standard dialogue with normies. In the context of US politics, modern Democrats are no longer of the liberal tradition. They are Marxists, whether Bolsheviks or Trotskyites is immaterial.

      In the foggy war of politics, mere Republicans stand no chance against committed Marxists; they are destined to lose every battle. This has been observably true in America for the past century. Witness the absurd enthusiasm in Republican circles for gay marriage.

      Modern history demonstrates clearly that Marxists cannot be negotiated with or otherwise accommodated. They must be eliminated. Only after their elimination can a liberal tradition be restored.

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  28. I’m afraid you might have been wasting good ink on squid ink… but that metaphor alone made it worth the trip.
    😂👍

    I dunno who Anton is, or Gottfreid, or what the argument is or the ins and outs of it are. But I knew in the first few sentences that this Anton character was, in all likelihood…full a beans. And no amount of clarification or debate will change that either. I bet most of the guys here knew that faster than I did.

    There are all kinds of semantic traps in the world and if you get caught in them. Only Darwin, Murphy and blood and steel can sort them out. Sometimes not even then.

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    • If Anton is a jerk, sophist or a 7th Day Adventist, he wrote “The Flight 93 Election” and should be remembered for making the best argument for Trump’s election.

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    • Anton is like the vast number of conservatives. Trying very hard, desperately, to not give in to tribalism, to not be racist. (gasp!)

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  29. The “rights of Englishmen” didn’t prevent Englishmen from being replaced in their own country, and here.

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    • Here’s the sad part: they never will. The only way to do it is to say to hell with principle and keep out the non-English, with barbed wire and machine guns.

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  30. Though I’m not too familiar with Michael Anton’s work, I’ll make this comment anyway: Anton sounds like yet another conservative who does not want to face certain biological realities. Such folks appear to sincerely believe that abstract “principles” can save the day. They refuse to understand that those principles arose out of the particular genetic trends of particular peoples. They just can’t bear to surrender the notion that Whitey’s modern individualistic preferences can apply universally. This is why all such conservatives are irrelevant.

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    • The absolute hatred of ethnic loyalty among the past few generations of white elite is most definitely a sign that we as a people are unfit for nature.

      Either this changes or we disappear as a people. People like Anton truly are the panda bears of the human race.

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  31. The natural rights belief system crumbles for anyone who has traveled the world and observed first-hand how other cultures interpret this concept. India for example, has caste system that is natural to them. Dalits, or the unclean, are at the lowest level of this natural right process. This determines where they live, work, marry, and how high (or low, really) their social status can be.

    Or how about Japan? One of my favorite countries and culture, Nippon has a distinct approach to how its society gets ranked and filed according to their views on socioeconomic hierarchy.

    Examples abound, but the fact that Michael Anton thinks that all of humanity bends towards the Western concept of natural rights is at once laughable, and intellectually lazy.

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  32. If natural rights were, in fact, natural, we’d have seen systems of government similar to Athens or the early United States popping up throughout time and geography. Sure, some dastardly group could thwart natural rights for a short time, but like holding a chair over one’s head, they could only fight nature for so long.

    Instead, we see the opposite. Societies based on Anton’s natural rights are rare and short-lived. How is that possible? Democracy and open debate should sprout up like weeds, not a hot-house flower that needs constant tending and perfect conditions.

    It’s clear that Anton’s natural rights are natural only to small slice of humanity and only become the basis for a society during those rare times when those men are fit and numerous enough to gain control. Why Anton believes otherwise is baffling.

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    • I like to point out that it’s not as if Robert Mugabe got out a copy of Human Action and Locke’s Treatises, read through them, shook his head and said, “I reject classical liberalism thusly!” Of course he didn’t; the very idea is ludicrous. He did what is genetically wired into his gut: you reward your friends, you punish your enemies, you spread the green around. Only high IQ hothouse flowers (i.e., white people) wring their hands and weep and ponder over principles.

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    • Yes, this reminds me of the amusing passage in one of the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books wherein some Royal Navy captain asks Stephen his opinion of the Droits des Hommes.

      Stephen starts giving a philosophical answer and the Captain quickly recognizes the problem: Stephen is talking about the Jacobin declaration and the Captain is asking about the French warship of the same name.

      Like O’Brian, I find the two go hand in hand: you can declare whatever you please, then you get to back it up with lead and steel, as has been done throughout human history.

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  33. Moral philosophy has imbued the word “right” with magical properties, but a right is simply an entitlement.

    This is not correct when speaking about natural rights. Natural rights are not goods that you are entitled to. Natural rights are the functions of a particular nature which cannot be removed without doing violence to that nature. Thus, there is a natural right to life, because man’s nature is that of an animal and he is therefore a living being and must live. A right to self-defense is a derivative of the right to life (because man must care for himself) as is a right to property (because man must exist in a place and carry on his living activities there).

    None of these things can be removed without doing violence to man’s nature, but that in no way implies that such violence cannot or should not ever be done. Such violence can be done both by accident or by deliberate action with or without good cause.

    When we say that these natural rights are the foundation of morality, what we mean is that just societies are constituted for the preservation of man’s nature. Anyone who would deny this (or pretend not to understand it) should be politely shown the door whenever morality is discussed. There is no point in conversing with him.

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    • I covered all of this and you are trying the same trick as Anton by confusing what you want from nature with what nature is and that is illogical.

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      • I covered all of this…
        I don’t think so. You don’t even seem to know what I’m talking about. Perhaps instead of this handwaving, you might do better to ask yourself the simple question, “Why are societies constituted among men?” What purpose does a society serve? If it is not to preserve human nature, than does it have any meaning at all?

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        • You have thinks backward. You did not understand my post, which your comment makes clear. read it again and then ask me about the parts you do not understand. No shame in getting help.

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    • “ Thus, there is a natural right to life, because man’s nature is that of an animal and he is therefore a living being and must live. A right to self-defense is a derivative of the right to life ”

      Is this true? Does it contradict Z-man’s “fitness” narrative? You say man is an animal and “must live”. Z-man would say man is an animal and must reproduce (fitness). It seems Nature has bestowed no “rights”, only imperatives for survival (as a species).

    • I think, and I could be wrong, but Z-man below explains why God needs to be added – because nature alone doesn’t quite get you there.

      What about the physical nature of the Mona Lisa make’s it “wrong” to use it as a wick for a Molotov Cocktail? It is only because its creator imbued it with the quality of “Art”, and the society/culture around it respects its existence as Art. There is nothing in the Mona’s Lisa’s physical nature that demands it be Art rather than the wick. And for those societies/cultures that do not recognize its nature as Art, they will use it as a wick with no regrets.

      • What about the physical nature of the Mona Lisa make’s it “wrong” to use it as a wick for a Molotov Cocktail?

        Nothing. An artefact, like a painting or a wick, is not a substance. It’s nature is relative, i.e. something embossed upon it by circumstance. A human being is a substance and has an intrinsic nature.

  34. Invisible leprechauns farting pixie dust and an elf with an armful of natural rights for President/VP 2024:

    “More reality based than our current lot of candidates” 👍🏻

  35. Just some pithy quotes today:

    Phillip K. Dick: (approximately) “Reality is whatever remains even after we stop believing in it.”

    Nietzsche: “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” (That’s the more famous, and in my opinion, clearer quotation. My translation is likely more faithful to the German, a tongue not known for clear and simple renderings of thought: “The fact that faith, under certain circumstances, may work for blessedness, but that this blessedness produced by an idée fixe by no means makes the idea itself true, and the fact that faith actually moves no mountains, but instead raises them up where there were none before: all this is made sufficiently clear by a walk through a lunatic asylum.” (The Antichrist, Ch. 51)

    Nietzsche: “…one must insist on the fact that the sense-organs are not phenomena in the sense of the idealistic philosophy; as such they certainly could not be causes! Sensualism, therefore, at least as regulative hypothesis, if not as heuristic principle. What? And others say even that the external world is the work of our organs? But then our body, as a part of this external world, would be the work of our organs! But then our organs themselves would be the work of our organs! It seems to me that this is a complete REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM, if the conception CAUSA SUI is something fundamentally absurd. Consequently, the external world is NOT the work of our organs—?” (Beyond Good and Evil, I, 15)
    Although Nietzsche did not draw the following conclusion, that final quote to me perfectly encapsulates the idea that despite the fact that we cannot impose by sheer will the conceptual realities of the Platonic so-called “real” upon the outside world, so-called “apparent” reality, it hasn’t stopped people from trying, probably since the human mind first existed. The problem our world faces isn’t so much that Plato’s Cave isn’t useful as a philosophical argument. It’s that Progressives are planning a commando rescue operation to liberate the chained captives watching the images on the wall.

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    • As if Christians never suffer similar confusion about the meaning of their texts and tradition. They never disagree about interpretations.

      Once again, you show up and smugly preen about God and fail to engage with any of the issues, probabaly because you are unable.

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      • I dunno, I think God was referenced in the piece, and talk about abstract moral principles seems pretty within God’s wheelhouse. Although your fuming dislike of me is noted.

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      • But he is not wrong. If you believe in God and also believe that God is the source of your rights, then you don’t need anything else. There is no argument that can beat this belief.

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        • This is true. It is why Locke had to bring God into the equation. In my original post I covered this. If God made the world and God is perfect, then God never has reason to alter the laws of nature. Thus we live in a world of fixed rules. Since God made man in his image, man also has maker’s knowledge. We can create things like culture and political structures with clear intent. Since God made us, these institutions should respect the nature of man. Otherwise, we are at odds with God and God’s creation, or nature and nature’s god, if you prefer.

          What should be obvious is relatively few people have this view of God. It is a view peculiar to Western man. This is why Straus tried to locate the authority of natural rights outside of the Enlightenment. Claiming Aristotle as the authority puts the authority of the moral claims far enough outside Western man to pretend it is a universal authority. It is sophism, but not without reason.

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          • Z’s right is that the idea of the rights of man are at root a Christian concept. The reason why we’re in such a mess is that popular Christianity seems to have deviated from its original intentions: Hence the modern idea of Gay rights.

            And Strauss had to place the idea in Aristotle because he hated the Christian God.

        • Almost all of the right wing Christians that I have known believe in a version of Christianity that most of the Christians on the planet would not recognize as their Christianity.

          My observation has no bearing on the existence of a true interpretation of Christianity but it does mean that simply believing in God does not exempt believers from similar kinds of discussions and disagreements that are in Z Man’s post.

          “Just believe in God” solves nothing.

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          • Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

            Note: It is the beginning of wisdom. Still a ways to from there. But it is a start, and at least points in the right direction.

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          • And to prove your point, they fell for it, they drank in every drop, every dram of the poisoned milk they were fed.

            They looked right past the hidden hostility, the mal intent, the outrageous lies; they demanded that we effing worship our tormentors and that which moves them, the very Lord of Hell itself, as if it were the creator.

            I met it, still confused by their concept that what I met must’ve been the One God.

            That cold menace, I thought, thus confounded.
            But no. I understand now.

            Other peoples will have their gods, I recognize that- but never, ever ask me to honor any but our own.

          • Note- I was introduced to the I Am by two Christians, filled with Its presence- thus I must refuse them: they literally do not know what it is that wears the mask.

            The one is not the other; that they hear both, yet know it not, is why they cannot define.

            That both can be observed, possibly even measured, as surely as that boulder is the gamble I’m willing to take.
            We must know what it is we’re dealing with.

          • I’m a little lost here. Philosophy is not my forte. But Z writes that saying our Rights which stem from God is a peculiarly Western line of thinking. Is this “Western” meaning all European, or just Western European? Because I don’t believe Orthodox Christians have a concept of Natural Rights, but they certainly think God is perfect and don’t question His creation.

  36. What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
    Ecclesiastes 1:9

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  37. I believe the Marquis de Sade and Dr. Johnson made similar arguments against the existence of Natural Rights in the 18th century. This fight has been going on for a long time.

  38. Natural rights exist only in a society which believes in God (not ‘gods’).

    If Anton didn’t make that point, he’s to blame for not saying so.

    The Founders wrote of “nature’s God” for a reason.

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    • If a baby freezes to death in the woods, is God denying the baby his natural rights because he could have easily saved him?

      Not even God believes in natural rights, which is why historic Christianity only talked about man’s obligations to God, not God’s obligations to Man.

      Anton’s main issue is he believes denying natural rights means being a moral nihilist, which is why he has put so much ink towards the subject. He needs to reconsider that assumption, as I don’t think it’s valid.

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      • Again, I must thank Jack Dobson that the point of an End Times is the ultimate nihilism.

        They must work to bring it all crashing down. Thereby we are taught that rising suffering is good, is right, we are comforted by the expected.

        Taught to see it as a sign that we should lay down, that someone is coming to save us, the worthy children supine before the priests.

  39. Well reasoned and thought provoking. This one will be reread a couple of times. One question about a phrase tangential to the topic:

    “Even if you are the sort who argues that all societies are hierarchical…”

    I am not sure if you have written about hierarchies specifically before. Hierarchies appear to be as man-made and culture specific as natural rights. Won’t a historical hierarchy be pounded to dust when it is found to be unfit? In a liberal democracy, the hierarchy is based around who makes the most money or gets the most attention. Isn’t this the hierarchy that needs to be replaced with something more fit?

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    • Ignoring the platonic idealism that informs Anton’s argument (after all, that is really what it boils down to), I think most societies naturally organize. The parameters that inform the ranking may change, but the process of arranging into a hierarchy seems pretty universal.

    • I would break the concept of hierarchy into two sides. There is the side that observes natural hierarchy in humans and other species and then there is the side where this has been formalized. The hierarchical structure put into place by the framers eventually gave way to a different hierarchical structure.

      Both sides are subject to the same evolutionary pressures as everything else in the universe.

      • I’ve been deluded my whole life in the belief that truth or those that profess the truth should inform the societal hierarchy, e.g. ZMan should be on the King’s council. However, what we see in life is quite the opposite. I suppose it is wishful thinking that what replaces the current hierarchy is any sort of ideal. More likely, something that fits the times of the next era.

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    • Arguing that hierarchies are man made because each one is different is akin to arguing that trees are man made because there is more than one specie. Variety or a lack thereof has no bearing on whether something is natural or contrived.

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