On having a constitution, and a contrast between that and a Progressive (Liberal-Fascist) society

According to Bagehot, it is through its dignified parts that a government gains authority and through the efficient parts that a government’s power is employed; i.e. authority and legitimacy from the people is gleaned through the monarch as it elicits support and feelings of attachment through its grandeur and its majesty. The executive and legislature spend the power granted to it on that authority. The voting that we somehow over the years have decided is the “be all and end all” is meant to be just one cog in a machine of checks and balances that is weighted towards conservatism. After all, when a country has a constitution, there isn’t much that a government can do that is new and radical. I believe that our troubles truly are rooted in the erosion of our constitution, and a revival is required.

Freedom means having a constitution. Freedom doesn’t rely on the existence of democracy to define it. Democracy is like dictatorship if there isn’t a constitution; the two wolves voting to eat the lamb for dinner combine to represent the single will of a dictator. On the other hand, a constitution can guarantee that there will never be a vote on lamb-eating, and thus it protects the rights of the minority; they are free.

A constitution, then, means restricting the full expression of the democratic will of the people for everyone’s own good. If this sounds objectionable for seemingly treating people like fools, then let it be more evidence that man is demonstrably and perpetually at risk from his own folly. Besides which, remember what else Franklin said: “Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants”; meaning that there is a necessary requirement for a restriction of man’s aspirations for power. The question is, do we prefer a little limitation to stave off the unscrupulous would-be tyrant, or would we rather have a lot when the tyrant has been crowned Emperor?

A constitution is a stipulation of what is permissible in the transactions between the State and an individual. It would not be an instrument of freedom if it were contaminated with too many regulations, and so it is based on a small set of laws (because a free society does not too readily criminalise its people) regarding what transactions are not possible between individuals; fundamentally, ones which protect private property (including the property of one’s own person). To have a constitution, then, a society must have a moral code by which it adheres to in an ardent way. Because there are only a few things that are prohibited, and everything else is theoretically permissible, then individuals must rely on their moral judgement system to guide them in their social transactions so as not to cause harm to the property of others (again, including aspects of bodily and spiritual function of the person). With the onus on the execution of personal responsibility, theoretically there is less of a need for legislation and governmental interference.

We should recognise such a constitution-bearing society because up until very recently ours had evolved into one. We had the Judeo-Christian moral code as our judgment system; the 10 Commandments were the basic laws prescribing the protection of property; it instructed us in the raising of the next generation to adhere to the law and therefore maintain the integrity of society, and the honourable behaviour in the individual to ensure that the law is executed justly.

At that point in our history, if a tyrant wanted to rule Britain, he would have had to do away with our constitution, with our notion of the right to hold property and wealth exclusively of the State, with our notion of what social integrity and justice entails; he would first have to do away with Judeo-Christianity. This is exactly what has been achieved by the Progressives; all in a deliberate act of vandalism in order to dictate as the collective Emperor.

The Progressives have replaced Judeo-Christianity with the moral code of Equality. Instead of one absolute judgement system, people are encouraged to create their own subjective morality; do whatever makes them feel good. This system is still underpinned by a kind of notion that all is well as long as others are not being harmed, but in this case it is a fallacy. Whatever anti-social and personally destructive thing that one can think of to do essentially becomes a right. The responsibility not to do it becomes redundant. The Progressive solution always involves more legislation – see ASBOs. The bottom line is one of a generation of individuals convinced of their own personal righteousness, and it is inevitable that somewhere along the way these are going to clash and cause damage, one to the other. Where there is not a shared notion of the common good, there is no social integrity, and in these circumstances, it is easier for a dictator to rule – divide and conquer is the principle at work in Equality; (as always seems to be the case with strands of Marxism, word-meanings are deliberately mangled).

The advantage of Judeo-Christianity is the built-in spiritual ramifications that negate the need for legislation. The transgressor can live unhindered all his life; the punishment is to be dealt out by the Final Arbiter. On the other hand, a transgressor of the moral code of Equality – i.e. one who voices disagreement or stands up to another’s “right” to do as he pleases – more often than not finds that he has become a criminal. With Judeo-Christianity the essence of existence is free will – you have a choice not to subscribe in your private life to the social conformity, and indeed, you are protected by the law. With the code of Progressivism, there is no choice; you face a sanction if you don’t promote and engage in Equality in all your dealings (as seen in the recent case of the couple not permitted to foster because of their personal anti-Equality beliefs). This is why Progressivism is Liberal-Fascism – it’s Liberal in the sense that it is defined in terms of a rejection of Judeo-Christianity constructs and imperatives. It is Fascism because you are made to conform through the law and therefore by force of the State.

Of course, that the Judeo-Christian moral code can bring about non-intrusive social cohesion seems to rely on the belief that there is a higher entity that will mete out ultimate punishment. However, theoretically no one needs to believe in God, they just need to believe in the rules derived from Judeo-Christianity as an absolute set of principles. This lesser act of faith is also enough to cause the enshrinement of a derived constitution given authority by the act of collective yielding to the parent principles. However, it is yet more powerful and helpful to the cause of Liberty to believe that a constitution is beyond the likes of mere man to meddle with (and enables us to identify our enemy). When God gives an Englishman his rights, then who but the Devil is going to try and take them away?

23 comments for “On having a constitution, and a contrast between that and a Progressive (Liberal-Fascist) society

  1. Paul
    June 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I’m sorry, but “liberal fascism” is a contradiction in terms.

    Progressives aren’t liberals, or progressives. They’re just authoritarian bigots in new clothing.

    • June 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm

      Perhaps it’s the modern US meaning of ‘liberal’… the one with a silent ‘il’ on the front.

      • June 13, 2011 at 5:46 am

        /applause

  2. Stravagantisimo
    June 12, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Having a written consititution has not stopped the US “progressives” from expanding the state and eroding civil liberties. People without virtue cannot long be free, and our relatively brief experience of liberty is coming to an end amid our people’s indifference to anything other than what they will drink, smoke, eat or f*** next.

  3. June 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Good post. Not sure I buy into the idea of needing to believe in the moral code of Judeo-Christianity. I’d have thought that an intellectually honest atheist would reach a moral code by themselves which shares many of those values without any reference to them, e.g. murder is wrong because this is the only life any of us will ever have and there can be no greater crime than to rob someone of theirs, and from that principle of assuming a finite time with a permanent end the atheist might then conclude that it must also be wrong to steal since you’d be taking the product of someone else’s irreplaceable time and effort, etc etc. From there it’s not hard to see how you could finally end up saying that you hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are born free and equal, and are in possession of certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – all independently arrived at without a single reference to Judeo-Christian thought. I don’t think it makes a lot of difference if the phrase “endowed by their Creator” has not been used, and since religion has often been a source of vicious authoritarianism in the name of various gods or, and only marginally better, suffocating paternalism in the belief that the same god would rather people didn’t do something that other people happen to disapprove of, on the whole I’d rather get to a moral code that owed absolutely nothing at all to religion. Still, any port in a storm, and a constitution based on the belief that there’s a god that wants us all to be free to seek happiness for ourselves would be just as good in practice as the atheist version.

    • June 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

      “Not sure I buy into the idea of needing to believe in the moral code of Judeo-Christianity. I’d have thought that an intellectually honest atheist would reach a moral code by themselves which shares many of those values without any reference to them, e.g. murder is wrong because this is the only life any of us will ever have and there can be no greater crime than to rob someone of theirs..”

      AE, it’s a hell of a lot easier to decide to kill a randomly evolved animal whose feelings and beliefs about his right to life are merely social constructs unscientifically brought about by millennia of ignorance and myth-making on behalf of a ruling class…than to kill a valued child of a beneficent god.

      Not impossible, of course: it’s been done many times, you name it.

      But apart from Islam’s [possible] 200,000,000 dead, [note that Allah is called “benevolent” and “merciful” but does not exactly prescribe universal benevolence in any ideological detail], the big killers are atheists to a man; Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot (murdered 30% of his countrymen).

      “…from that principle of assuming a finite time with a permanent end the atheist might then conclude that it must also be wrong to steal since you’d be taking the product of someone else’s irreplaceable time and effort, etc etc…”

      Such a thing is visibly true, it does occur and I’m sure many atheists in the Judeo-Christina West do so – but who consults THEM when the drums begin to roll?

      “Let’s fight and die to protect other randomly evolved protoplasm because that’s what randomly evolved protoplasm does because, ah, our randomly evolved instincts tell us to.“

      Erm.

      This doesn’t blow your argument out of the water, but compared to divine instruction backing up Man’s natural sociability, it’s psychologically weak. You need more up your ideological sleeve over prolonged period of stress to fight in any way against determined tyranny.

      • June 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm

        “AE, it’s a hell of a lot easier to decide to kill a randomly evolved animal whose feelings and beliefs about his right to life are merely social constructs unscientifically brought about by millennia of ignorance and myth-making on behalf of a ruling class…than to kill a valued child of a beneficent god.”

        A randomly evolved animal with an ethical code that says you shouldn’t interfere in the life or property of others is not merely a social construct.
        It is a true understanding of your own life and how precious it is to you that makes you value the lives of others in the same way.

        Can you show me one beneficent god in any religion?

        • Jeremy Poynton
          June 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

          Atheists, and perhaps more to the point (tho’ one could argue the toss re Hitler – some of his policies were clearly Socialist (all encompassing Welfare State, for example) – all were Socialists

          • June 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

            What, and religions haven’t been just as authoritarian, just as keen on wealth redistribution for their chosen recipients, and just as bloodthirsty toward people who didn’t play ball? Come on, even today there are Christian Socialist Parties all over the place. Matthew Ch7:v3, mate 😉 Being an atheist doesn’t make one a socialist or an authoritarian, nor does being a theist mean that one isn’t. And vice versa.

          • Voice of Reason
            June 15, 2011 at 4:48 am

            Funny that Hitler’s only comments on the subject were that he was a Catholic, and that attacking the Jews was ‘doing the work of God’.

            The Nazis put all power in the hands of the big industrialists – Krupp comes to mind. Not exactly Socialist.

        • June 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm

          Well, you could read the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount – much of what is there is utterly familiar and is the source of much of Western morality – including that of individualist libertarians.

          I can’t show you any god – that’s his job in my experience, but valuing another person’s life per:

          “It is a true understanding of your own life and how precious it is to you that makes you value the lives of others in the same way ” is a tough one and if you can do that when under pressure of national poverty, tyranny, economic collapse and consequent fear for your family and being squashed under the huge stresses that will surely fall upon us all when the Dollar goes south and the Chinese and the gas station states decide to bring the West down a notch or two and let the Jihadist have a bit more fun… then you will be exceptional. I don’t thionk that abstract individualism can hack it in the numbers required to keep teh good life alive.. and there just aren’t that many of you around, alas.

          I prefer something ordinary, commonplace (in this country at least), old and of proven worth under condtitions like that.

          Not that we Chritians can’t be bastards, you understand, but the big hitters were, and remain (apart from all Islamic governments), atheists.

      • June 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

        Not that this has any bearing on the pros and cons of a Constitution or a Bill of Rights being part of it, and with apologies for length:

        [It’s] easier to decide to kill a randomly evolved animal…than to kill a valued child of a beneficent god.

        Quite the opposite, I’d say. The evolution vs creation bit is misleading and suggests, incorrectly, that a typical atheist values another human being no more highly than the cow that became the steak on his plate. Once it’s accepted that you have no life but the one you have right now the only logical conclusion is that murder (as distinct from killing) is wrong, as is causing loss of the most precious commodity any person will ever have: time. Theists of all kinds believe that they will have an eternity in one form of paradise or another after they die, so apart from when they think their chosen god forbids it, someone’s death, well, sad but no biggie, and in the end all life belongs to [insert deity here]. Since atheists don’t believe this the inescapable conclusion is that one’s life is one’s own, and likewise for everyone else.

        That’s assuming they stop to think about it, of course. Very important. Many who do not will not value someone else’s life, but then nor will any theist who believes his god wants him to harm others.

        … compared to divine instruction backing up Man’s natural sociability, it’s psychologically weak.

        Divine instruction has often reverted to a default setting of ‘kill everyone who does not believe as we believe’, or even kill absolutely everyone regardless of what they believe since [insert deity here] will know who’s which and give the right ones a jolly good afterlife. The very concept is treated by some as practically a free pass to wish death on people with paradise for the deserving and torment for the rest – just look at the Rapture crowd last month actively looking forward to the end of the whole world and being disappointed when it failed to happen on cue. I won’t even go into a discussion of the centuries of violent proselytisation practised by almost every religion you can think of.

        That’s not to tar all theists with the same brush – I’ve got on with most Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists that I’ve met, and where I didn’t it wasn’t because of their religions. But it’s fact that a lot (not a majority) of their co-believers are as mad as cut snakes, and if all that’s keeping them from killing is their belief that their god has told them not to I don’t think that’s that great. Despite the strength of their beliefs such people are liable to change their minds if convinced that their god has changed his, whereas someone who has independently reached the conclusion that murder is wrong is very likely to stick to it. Which of those positions is psychologically stronger and which weaker is subjective and we’ll probably disagree.

        You need more up your ideological sleeve over prolonged period of stress to fight in any way against determined tyranny.

        I don’t think religion necessarily provides it. Oh, it may for some but for many others tyranny is easily be shrugged off as God’s will, karma, whatever. Judeo-Christianity in particular has oversold having the patience of Job as a virtue and glossed over it being a story of a poor, helpless bastard who was mercilessly and needlessly abused as a points scoring exercise between two much more powerful beings.

        But as I said, this doesn’t have much to do with having a Constitution. My point was not that atheism is better than theism but just that you do not necessarily need to be theist to arrive at Luikkerland’s conclusions or to stand up for them, and nor does being a theist (or an atheist for that matter) guarantee that you will. How you get there is less important than that you get there.

  4. June 12, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    A very good article, though what you call Liberal-Fascists we call Corporate-Marxists. At the end of the day it all amounts to the formation of a slave driven totalitarian system.

  5. June 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    At the risk of repeating Angry Exile, I don’t think that religious beleifs and freedom walk hand in hand, and while I agree with the meat of your post, I don’t think that basic liberty comes from on high, but rather within.
    There is no God in any religion that’s wants it’s people to be free to live their lives by their own design.
    I think our problem is our perception of law. If we strongly disagree with something then it is within our power to outlaw it, rather than just not be a party to it.
    Law should, as I think you said, should be set in stone. Don’t interfere in the lives of other people. That’s all we need. There is no need to keep making more laws.

  6. David
    June 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Blimey. I’m doing a huge amount of reading at the moment, about just this topic. Of course we already have a constitution, although it is contained in various documents such as the 1689 Bill of Rights.

    The desire for the Lib/Lab/Cons, to give us a ‘written constitution’ is surely down to this scenario (quoted from a law book):

    “In today’s world the making of a constitution normally follows a fundamental political event such as the creation of a new state by the uniting of states which were formally separate. A documentary constitution usually reflects the beliefs and political aspirations of those who have framed it.”

    Now what fundamental political event has occurred recently? Oh yes – the signing of the Lisbon Treaty! No wonder TPTB are so keen to give us a ‘new’ Bill of Rights!

  7. Voice of Reason
    June 13, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I always thought that most of Common Law was derived from the Germanic, pre-Christian law system – juries and so forth. If you want to see what effect the Ten Commandments really have, watch the great George Carlin whittle them down to one.

    • June 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      Much of our law was indeed derived that way – but the judges and kings and juries who shaped it over centuries learned their ideas of right and wrong on Sundays.
      The forms and origins of our laws are often of Heathen origin, I have no doubt, but making someone love his neighbour when he’s a pain in the arse all the livelong day, for years, and nobody’d miss him if he had an accident? Putting that kind of plan out of folks’ miinds has taken millennia, and it’s a class act and little to do with abstract liberty… unless you want to bring Willliam of Ockham to the party?
      And just look how long and how much blood it took to spread the idea of political pluralism amongs us little Huns here in the bag of peninsulas called Europe.

      • Voice of Reason
        June 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm

        At the very least, that is a sanitized view of history. In Britain alone, we have over 1000 years of persecution and extermination of the Jews, acts against the Protestants by Mary, and against the Catholics by Henry and Elizabeth, witch hunts, etc.

        One of the things which helped give rulers so much power in Europe was Christianization. In the Germanic tribes, leaders were elected by the freemen. Along came the Christian missionaries, who explained ‘the divine right of kings’, which meant that they, like the Pope, were in direct line from God. It also meant that descendants were automatically royal as well, which led to some of the rather convoluted blood lines in our own royals.

      • luikkerland
        June 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

        Thanks to all who took the time to post a comment.

        This debate is interesting. If it’s a question of seperating origins into form and content, then maybe you are right. To be honest, I am not sure how much that is attributed to Germanic folk is contrived by the Victorians who liked to claim kinship. I have also read claims of Common Law being derived from elements of Sharia brought back by crusaders.

        If we most associate Common Law with the courts of Henry II and the begining of precedent, then a link can be found to Exodus that speaks of Moses holding a grand adversarial court (as I understand it, two parties bringing a case to an arbiter). Moses’ father-in-law, tells him he needs to devolve his power to lesser courts. See Exodus 18:13-22

        That dates such a court system to 1400BC or about 900BC according to what you believe.

        Exodus also specifies the morality by which a justice system will thrive; not giving false witness, not following in a mischief, etc. Constitutions fail (in answer to some who have pointed this out) because people (great and small) become corrupt and do not sustain them – i.e. they do not keep the essential underpinning moral code.

  8. June 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

    An interesting posting which contains one huge and fatal flaw.

    The European Charter of Fundamental Rights became constitutional law in Britain following Gordon Brown’s signature of the Lisbon Treaty in Lisbon, and the signature by HM Queen Elizabeth II on the vellum document thereafter lodged in Rome.

    Parliament was not allowed to debate the Treaty merely note its various contents. Only by repudiating all the EU Treaties and repealing the European Communities Act of 1972 can Parliament restore our previous precious and now destroyed rights as discussed above.

    My blog this morning covers how they are being trampled in Greece, making the EU granted fundamental rights as meaningless as that same blog and its predecessor have always explained they would be.

  9. June 13, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Luikkerland, you have had one “good” and one “very good” so far; allow me to award you an “excellent”.

    Your last para is really the brief for a different article and has started the hares above. Whether you can have a moral syatem not based on absolutes is a topic fit for a doctoral thesis; I say such a system is not possible. Only a concept that fuses reality with morality can overcome the objection that you cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”. The Judaeo-Christian God as Creator and Lawgiver is the rock on which all else is built; no God, no law except the law of man, and the latter is then mutable.

    • Voice of Reason
      June 15, 2011 at 5:07 am

      To which I have several answers:

      1. Fusing ‘reality with morality’, and invoking a God for which there is no physical evidence.
      2. The fact that Judeo-Christian law has changed many times in history; on slavery and genocide for starters. In the US Civil War, pastors on both sides wrote much on whether the former was supported by the Bible. This led to the split between the Baptists and Southern Baptists, long before the fighting started.

  10. June 13, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Freedom means having a constitution. Freedom doesn’t rely on the existence of democracy to define it. Democracy is like dictatorship if there isn’t a constitution; the two wolves voting to eat the lamb for dinner combine to represent the single will of a dictator. On the other hand, a constitution can guarantee that there will never be a vote on lamb-eating, and thus it protects the rights of the minority; they are free.

    It’s a very, very fine line between this and socialism, which people should recognize. I agree with the thought but is this not what the socialists claim they are doing with equality and diversity? Except that they , of course, are simply shifting power form one group to another.

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