(A new chapter two has been added (interpolated?) to my ‘book in progress,’ The Republic of Books, to be found elsewhere on this site. In ancient mundane, the beer was swell, the work was sweaty, and the women very very pretty. Here be a potable portion of that, you see.)

 

The issue to be taken in our daily lives, as mundane as those might be, is simply whether all is well so long as there is sufficient beer, and work enough to pay the bills, and women to please. (And, I suppose, the women might equally want men to pester, though I am often unsure why.) Does it really come down to that? I don’t believe so.

The dictate of an oligarchy of five Supreme Court justices who think themselves wise enough to overrule the collected wisdom of three hundred million citizens is the sort of hubris common to our age. As is the dictate of a President who can mock the Constitution by executive order, and a Congress that will let him do it repeatedly, in order to gain some special political favor for themselves. The divine right of kings was more benign. It’s just the sort of subjective malice our forefathers attempted to thwart by devising a balance of power between three branches of government. But that device would only work in practice, as they well understood, if there was good will. Being of a Christian frame of mind, they dearly believed in good will. They did not dictate a particular religious viewpoint, but they did assume that it would be drawn from the Western culture they knew. This is obvious by any reading of the words they wrote. And even the atheist Tom Paine saw that!

You often hear, if you are interested in such things, a libertarian of some stripe or another make the assumption that free markets will make free minds. Well enough, they might at times. But often this proposition is described by using the word ‘capitalism,’ as the author Ayn Rand did. (Of course, she abjured the use of the word ‘libertarian,’ even though she appropriated much of that particular faith.) Now, thirty years beyond the assumption of another sort of capitalism by communist China, and sixty years after the Nazis war machine used that scheme of things to obliterate many millions of lives, and one hundred and fifty years after Karl Marx invented the very word ‘capitalism’ to describe the market mechanism (as he unleashed, by mere publication his most horrific nightmare of devastation upon mankind), there are still many who think of using that terminology.

I bring this up not only to touch again on the power of the written word but as a nice example of how words can be used and abused. Yet the accumulation of ‘capital’ is merely a function, as is investment. Banks do it daily, and show little interest in free markets so long as they control their own interest, and ownership itself can be willed by a king, or a city council by eminent domain, and still the exchange of wealth between individuals is conducted within the most primitive tribe. Such activities have nothing to do necessarily with any precept of liberty. Markets are not ‘free,’ by definition, else there is nothing to sell. This is not semantics. This is more a demand that words be used more carefully. Grammar aside.

This matters here and to me because I am thought to be a traitor by my government. To what? And in what way? I parley words. They traffic in lives. Am I the traitor, or are they?