Saturday, August 12, 2017

“It’s Just Tyranny!”

From Jordan Peterson’s Biblical Series VI: The Psychology of the Flood, at about 35 minutes; he is addressing the common complaints aimed at patriarchy (cited as accurately as I could after a few passes):

The patriarchal aspect of existence can become tyrannical, it does that quite regularly.

Every solution carries within it certain problems; no solution is perfect.  ….That’s why I am so irritated with the post-modernists, yammering about the patriarchy, and it’s very, very annoying.  It’s self-evident that social systems are tyrannical; that’s not news, folks!  That’s obvious. 

But that’s not all they are.  It’s the reduction of the entire complex solution to a unidimensional problem.  “It’s just tyranny!”  No, it’s not just tyranny.  If you spent six months someplace that was just tyranny, you’d know the difference very, very rapidly.

And that doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t give up a pound or two or ten or twenty of flesh to participate in a society that’s as free as a western society is.

I have argued here regularly that there will always be governance in any society – governance, not necessarily meaning government as we today use the term.  For the libertarian who recognizes that no solution is perfect (i.e. we are human), this means as decentralized and voluntary as possible.

I have suggested that while I would like to see about 1.5 billion governance units (one per household, aka “patriarchy”), I would settle for a few thousand.

I find the family unit (and, by extension, kin, tribe, nation) to be the most naturally occurring and decentralized governance unit.  Certainly not at birth (for the child), but at some point the family unit becomes rather “voluntary” for each member in it.

Of course, leaving a family unit can be liberating; it also comes with some risks – real costs.

It is easy to point to the “tyranny” of social systems (especially patriarchy), as Peterson suggests.  “But that’s not all they are.”  Such social systems cannot be viewed in this unidimensional manner.

Every solution carries within it certain problems; no solution is perfect.

We live in a world of imperfect humans; there will be no perfect solution.  Our hope for realizing something toward liberty lies in decentralization, choice.  Our hope is to build on social systems that take only a pound of flesh, not the ten or twenty pounds as currently taken in the west.

Our hope lies in taking advantage of social systems that are the most voluntary and least coercive.  History has shown this to be found in patriarchy.

Destroy this, and we will get to spend far more than six months in real tyranny.  This is the path of the left, whether self-described as libertarian or Cultural Marxist.  Their ends might be different; their means are identical.

Yet, in the end, only one of the two ends (liberty or slavery) can win.  Which one of the two this will be, if society continues on this path, is obvious.


  1. 1 Samuel 8
    10 So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. 12 Some will be generals and captains in his army,[a] some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. 16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle[b] and donkeys for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”

    21 So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, 22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

    1. You have reminded me of a very old post:

    2. Good.
      Civil Asset Forfeiture has been around for a while. It is codified tyranny.

    3. Good, as in good piece you linked

  2. Deutoronomy 17
    possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

    1. One might conclude that God was a pretty smart guy!

  3. "But that’s not all they are. It’s the reduction of the entire complex solution to a unidimensional problem. “It’s just tyranny!” No, it’s not just tyranny. If you spent six months someplace that was just tyranny, you’d know the difference very, very rapidly."

    I have a close friend who works as a consultant on oil rigs all over the world. In addition to being a intelligent and funny individual (with an amazing tolerance for alcohol), he also has first hand experience with LOTS of different governments. Whenever our drinking subject turns to the tyranny of governments, he always ends up laughing at my discontent, and tells me I live in a very sheltered world.

    1. Your friend is, no doubt, correct. Yet, we continue to strive for reducing the pounds of flesh taken.

  4. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    -- Iniqo Montoya (William Goldman)

    Define "governance." In almost everything I've read, I've not seen anyone reduce it to its essential characteristics. The older I get, the more amusing I find it to see people arguing so vehemently about a concept whose nature is rooted in the dark unplumbed, unexamined, and unquestioned depths of their subconscious minds.