Social Order is Prior to Liberty

Liberty is a subsidiary factor of social life; it is a derivative feature of social order, but not its source; for, social order by definition consists in constraints upon individual acts, whether through custom, or taboo, or scapegoating, or law. Social order then is the source and basis of such liberty as may be, and not vice versa.

Where there is no social order, there is no freedom to do anything but fight. This is that hypothetical State of Nature cherished analytically by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, either to disparage or valorize it. But notice that it never really happened, nor could it: man has always been a social animal, and cannot be otherwise. The most basic jot of society – i.e., sex – consists in constraints upon individual liberty; for, sex is either a mutual agreement to accept the constraints of duty to a lover, or else by rape an utter and complete constraint upon some other. Whether these constraints arise from within the social agent as the voice of his conscience, or from without as the voices of others urging him to this or that, is neither here nor there.

The zero of social order then is the zero of sex, ergo of man.

The true state of nature for man is a state of highly evolved and definite social order. His freedom of action, then, has always been constrained by social order; and that social order is in fact the basis of his freedom to opt for anything other than combat.

Under the right conditions of social order – i.e., as properly constrained and limited – liberty feeds back to that order by a broad and rational distribution of intelligent authority across the population. Distributed authority greatly increases the velocity of information processing, of decision, and of adaptation, while facilitating social coordination of acts.

Under defective conditions of social order, liberty feeds back to the destruction of that order.

The Founding Fathers of the United States erred in their emphasis on untrammeled liberty. It is a shibboleth, that cannot ever be really achieved. For, there is ever the threat of crime, or of war; of some breakdown of social order. This is why there is such a thing as Law, and Statecraft.

The Founder’s error of emphasis is historically understandable. They were reacting against a monarchical system that, beginning roughly with Philip the Fair, had run off the rails of feudal monarchy that had formerly checked the royal power (and fisc). The option for government by a standing national bureaucracy of ministers rather than by an occasional council of fell and independent noble men had unmoored the monarchy – had liberated it – from its former ground in a system of distributed power founded upon baronial arms and the estates – i.e., the villages of families all more or less related – that they defended against all comers. Monarchy then began to lose its loyalty to the land and to the people who lived therein; to the familiar relations that form the atomic basis of any nation, properly so called. It became tyrannical. The Rebellion of the Founders was a reaction to the tyrannical depravation of the monarchy. But it threw out the baby with the bath water, as revolutions are wont to do.

Because the liberty formally established by the Constitution is a shibboleth, that cannot ever be maintained in practice, it began to break down almost the instant it was formally instituted. Franklin told his interlocutor in Philadelphia that the Congress had given the United States a republic, “if we can keep it.” We did not keep it.

We have social order. We don’t have the liberty sought by the Sons of Liberty. Nor even do we have still the liberty we enjoyed as freemen under King George. We are now almost all reduced to conditions of servitude far more onerous and base than any that so irked the American Revolutionaries. But nor for that matter do we have the social order the Sons of Liberty enjoyed when they were still subjects of the King. We have something less than both, as improperly constrained liberty has fed back to social disorder.

Because we have strayed from proper constraints on liberty, Western culture is stuck in a vicious cycle, a positive feedback circuit. We are more and more free to behave in ways that are uncongenial to good social order – that are objectively improper to reality – and we are less and less free to behave in ways that are in fact congenial to good social order, and proper to reality. Such is anarcho-tyranny. The more that things go crazy, the more do we grasp at rules by which to order life; but if the rules we then deploy are crazed by our craziness, their operations cannot but madden us the more.

Things that can’t go on forever, don’t. Positive feedback circuits always somehow crash – or else, just slowly wear out due to the friction and heat of overload.

That may have begun to happen. We seem of a sudden to have entered a period of social liquescence, in which everything is up for grabs, and for reinvention. The Overton Window has been dismantled across more and more of the West. It is a bit more smashed with every passing day. The taboos and scapegoating of political correctness deployed by social justice warriors seem to be losing their sting.  The traditional culture of the West, that formed the basis in customs and taboos of its formal, legal and bureaucratic evolutions, has forcefully reasserted itself, and is repudiating the last fifty years of progressive innovations.

Even the innovations of the last 300 years are now under intense scrutiny.

The rage, depression, and fear now exploding on the Left are the psychological manifestations of their gut realization that the sacred authority of their cult has vanished along with its credibility, and that their social power therefore dwindles. They understand that they are losing the Mandate of Heaven, and see that they are in danger of becoming the out castes, the scapegoats.

My personal hunch is that the positive feedback loop of anarcho-tyrannical progressivism passed the threshold of insustainability with the Federal injunction that men should be allowed to use women’s restrooms, in which toleration of pedophilia is implicit. At least in America, that seems to have been the practical reductio ad absurdum of the progressive ideology. In Europe, the Muslim invasion exemplified in the Rape of Cologne seems to have been the occasion that triggered the preference cascade.

44 thoughts on “Social Order is Prior to Liberty

  1. Pingback: Social Order is Prior to Liberty | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. “Social order then is the source and basis of such liberty as may be, and not vice versa.”

    So you’re saying liberals have it completely backward. 🙂

    • Exactly. Once a proper social order is established, it will generally engender such liberties as are rightly fitted to the historical circumstances (along with prosperity, morality, etc.); and then, that liberty (like morality, prosperity, etc.) can in turn support and reinforce social order, so that it is robust under stress. A virtuous cycle can ensue, of ever greater order, liberty, power, prosperity, and so forth.

      But if your social order is anywise insane, so will your liberty be mad. Then liberty will devour social order.

      The bottom line is that social order doesn’t percolate up organically from a Lockean State of Nature, in which liberty is completely untrammeled, because there just isn’t any such thing as untrammeled liberty. It’s an oxymoron. Liberty presupposes order; there is no power to do *anything at all* in a state of mere chaos. So there is never any such thing as mere chaos; for, the zero of order is the zero of being.

      From nonbeing, nothing can percolate up.

      First, and always, there is social order. To be human is to be social. To be asocial is to be bewildered and alone, and so to die leaving no offspring.

      From a proper social order, liberty precipitates like dew.

      • “But if your social order is anywise insane, so will your liberty be mad. Then liberty will devour social order.”

        Yes, we see that happen at the micro level of society (by which I mean the family) very often these days. I’m not at leisure to speak to the problem in more detail at the moment (maybe later), but it’s definitely a huge problem, and of course extends into the broader society.

        Thordaddy, miscegenation is overall an effect of social dysfunction, rather than a cause. Of course every effect becomes its own cause of some futher effect, but I mean in its inception.

    • Aye. Any contravention of heterosexuality is contrary to human survival. Ditto for porn, abortion, murder, thievery, adultery, divorce, indeed anything that vitiates reproductive success. Any such vitiation deletes men, and in the limit man as such.

      • And yet heterosexuality is not entirely synonymous with racial incarnation… So the gray area that is miscegenation diddles with self-annihilation in those without imperial desire.

      • No. It is common for the population of a species to grow to the point where it exceeds the carrying capacity of its resource base, and then die off in response to the resultant poverty until it reaches equilibrium.

      • Yes. The risk in such management is that it will undershoot the target, reducing total fertility rate below replacement threshold and provoking a demographic collapse, as has already happened to the Europeans. Better to err on the side of too much life than too little.

      • Moral problems *just are* problems of proper execution. They are defective acts.

        Still, I see the question you are getting at: is birth control wrong categorically, or only when there’s too much of it? The former. Birth control is wrong because it frustrates the natural end of sex. It is an execution of a sexual act that is improper to the nature of that act.

        Birth control is like eating comestibles from which all trace of nutrition has been deleted. The deletion of that nutrition, and the eating of what is left, are unnatural acts; they are improper to the usages of food.

        Birth control also carries the risk of extinction for a given species. But that is a secondary, knock-on effect of its intrinsic immorality.

      • “Birth control” is another real unreality as such there is no real control of birth… Anywhere… Ever. There is spilling seed… There is abortion… And before conception contraception… There is miscarriage… There is mother/child murder… And mother/child suicide.

        There is no control of birth. Period.

        “Birth control” is the language of “radical autonomy.”

      • Well said, Thordaddy. “Birth control” in common usage is a euphemism for some sort of grave sin. Likewise, “pro-choice” is a euphemism for pro-infanticide. Such euphemisms are a way we can speak of our moral ugliness without reckoning it as such. They are a way to damp the cognitive dissonance that the convicted sinner cannot but suffer: the anxiety, fear, self-loathing.

        Radical autonomy is the sin of Adam. And the wages of sin is death. Thus, the self-annihilation to which you so often refer.

        I would not however have lumped miscarriage in with those other problematic acts.

      • “Moral problems *just are* problems of proper execution. They are defective acts.”

        A necessary consequence of trying to improve on God’s design.

      • Exactly. This was Thordaddy’s point, too. Adam’s sin – and a fortiori the sin of Lucifer – is the sin of radical autonomy from God.

        One thing I should have made more clear is that while moral problems are all problems of proper execution, not all improper execution is immoral. Things can go wrong innocently. Moral problems occur when they go wrong intentionally.

      • Don’t think eternal torment is conducive to hierarchy ;). But I get your comment about the powers in the high places that are yet to be thrown down to this earth.

      • I was actually thinking of Dante’s Inferno when I wrote that. Lots of traditional cosmologies assign circles to Hell the same way they do to the Heavens. They usually furthermore posit a god ruling Hell as his personal dominion. Ranks of demons fall under him in the hierarchy, just as the choirs of angels depend from their King.

        Come to think of it, it isn’t really quite proper to call the demonic hierarchy a hierarchy. The word means literally “sacred rule.” Better to call the ordered (?) ranks of demons a damnarchy. Or no, wait, that’s no good: it combines Greek and Latin roots. Krinarchy, then.

      • When I think of hell I was thinking of the lake of fire. The other realm is sheol which in biblical cosmology the realm of the dead. Although the righteous were taken to paradise soon after our lords resurrection and redemption.

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  4. “No; there’s a hierarchy in Hell. But [Satan] is the first atheist. ” — Kristor

    Kristor, are you saying that Satan does not believe in the existence of God? Have they not interacted on multiple occasions in the Bible?

    • He believes in the existence of YHWH, but errs in thinking YHWH is something less than God. It’s the only way he might have thought his rebellion a worthy project.

      It’s just a thought I had in passing in a post of earlier this year. It provoked howls of outrage from a bunch of atheists, with whom I then had a huge argument.

  5. The left, when out of power, wants liberty, or at least they say they want liberty. When in power the left wants their social order with a vengeance and is willing, indeed, happy to ride roughshod over liberty, right down to every last baker, florist, photographer, pizza shop, school, and church. Especially when the left is in cultural ascendancy, conservatives would be ill-advised to ignore or abandon our hard-won liberties with their deep Christian and historical roots.

    It is not to be thought of that the Flood
    Of British freedom, which, to the open sea
    Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity
    Hath flowed, “with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”
    Roused though it be full often to a mood
    Which spurns the check of salutary bands,
    That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands
    Should perish; and to evil and to good
    Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung
    Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:
    We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
    That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
    Which Milton held.— In every thing we are sprung
    Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold.

    –William Wordsworth

      • This is probably fair as far as it goes,

        “And the right want to label everyone and put them in boxes even when those boxes do no[t] reflect reality.”

        but I wonder whether you might give specific examples of these boxes, and how they reflect unreality?

      • The first two sentences of Leo’s post are typical, “The left, when out of power, wants liberty, or at least they say they want liberty. When in power the left wants their social order with a vengeance and is willing, indeed, happy to ride roughshod over liberty, right down to every last baker [etc.].” I see these overly broad statements about the “left” as if this “left” is a monolithic entity where everyone holds the same beliefs. There are extreme leftists who rabidly support the P.C. ethic just like there are extreme racist rightist.

        Racism is a good example of placing people in boxes and assigning them attributes that they may or may not have. I guess I understand the appeal in that skin color and physical features are an easy way to categorize people.

        Back to the left / right labels, most people fall somewhere in the middle. That is, they hold some right and some left beliefs. This is why it is untrue to pack people into such large boxes.

      • Okay, Winston, I see what you mean. It’s a fair criticism as far as it goes, like I said. But it’s also true that when we speak of ‘the left’, or ‘the right’ for that matter, we have to speak in generalities or in averages as it were.

        If I say a certain group of workers has an average annual income of 50K, I already know that’s an average; that very few if any of said workers actually have an income of 50K – roughly half are higher, and vice versa.

        Speaking in terms of averages isn’t an unjust or unfair way of describing certain members of a particular group. There is a political left and there is a political right. If most people on the left were really centrists as you say, it would be wrong to say of the left that when they’re in power they have no problem trampling on certain kinds of individual liberty. But of course recent history proves otherwise.

      • scrooge…

        The LEFT is defined by the MOST truly LEFT… Everyone else such as yourself is an unprincipled exception on the verge of total expulsion outside their self-made box.

        And your “right” that wants to “box” all of the LEFT in is your very own personal BOX employed for the purpose of preventing the boxing in of the LEFT.

        So now you are rightfully boxed in by Leo’s accusation.

      • Thordaddy – Do you apply the use of “scare quotes” and ALL CAPS according to a system or randomly as it appears to be? If there is a system please define the rules of this system so that I can better understand the point you are attempting to make.

      • I use caps and square quotes for those who reject Perfection, ie., objective Supremacy. It is the only way to bring those who reject All Rule back to the subject of the necessity of some rules.

        What is your first “rule,” scrooge?

        Without reciting the Greatest Commandments.

      • I’ve described Leo’s explanation of the Left as those who want “liberation without separation.” More succinctly, such creature is truly the homo-sexual “nature.” For “it,” separation is death. Yet, so is a coterminous relationship to heterosexuality.. Or so it is relentlessly protested. Which puts us all back as separation. Separation is certain death for the homo-sexual “nature.” Perpetuating self-annihilation is the true aim of Evil. Caps and scare quotes are needed to communicate certainty to the certainly uncertain. Maps and scare crows are needed to teach separation to those who want “liberation without separation.”

      • Your comments create more questions than they answer. For example:
        When you say “separation without liberation” what do you mean?
        Liberation from what? Separation from what? Also, what does your oft repeated accusation of “self-annihilation” mean? How has a person annihilated himself if he still exists? Are you talking about the annihilation of the soul? Are you talking about the future annihilation of the person’s race or lineage?

      • Although I’ve explained this at your blog… A blog you no longer allow me to comment at… I’m relentless.

        “Liberation” from white Supremacy unless you show yourself to be so competely deracinated that you are unaware that it is common race-realist knowledge that the “black collective” DESIRES to “liberate” from “white supremacy” by any means necessary including any memes necessary.

        If you possess no inkling of the above then you cannot possibly understand what I am saying?

        “They” and YOU want separation from “white supremacy.”

        BUT YOU DON’T REALLY WANT SEPARATION from white Supremacy.

        You want “liberation” (read: free dumb) without separation (read: parasitic).

        Essentially, you play stupid parasite.

        In game theory, this leaves the wS the options of eradication or annihilation.

        Yet, you are too dense to even recognize this.

        Ergo, you are a perpetuating self-annihilator (stupid parasite, suboptimal A.I., voluntary cog, etc.) BEGGING for obsoleteness.

        PS. Now pretend that there were no caps or scare quotes in what you’ve just read so that you are unable to create a diversion into a claimed incomprehensibility.

    • Leo: Sure. That liberty is posterior to social order does not mean it is not important. Indeed, it is important because it is a feature of any proper social order. Where there is no freedom, there will not be for very long any society.

    • Winston,

      Yes, I was speaking in generalities. But there are people who would run roughshod over our historic liberties. Some are on the left; some are on the right. The way I read the current state of the culture wars, the left has held the whip hand of late and represents a danger to a properly ordered liberty, particularly religious liberty. The Overton Window has not been dismantled, but there has been a concerted and largely successful attempt to move it left to the point where religious conservatives (e.g. pro-life, pro-traditional marriage) are simply lumped with all sorts of “deplorables.” Talk about putting people in boxes. The Democratic candidate used the term basket instead of box, but that is of little comfort to half the country. The most recent election might change things, for better or for worse as far as liberty is concerned. At least religious conservatives might not feel they are under an existential threat from their own government for the next four years. The center might be nice, if it can hold, which is by no means clear.

  6. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2016/12/11) - Social Matter


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