THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 546, November 29, 2009
"How times change."
The Mission & Monks & Missionaries
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
This is essay is an exercise in metaphorensics which is the theory that an accumulation of puns, new analogy and imagery which is humorous or ironic is evidence of undiscovered serious implications in the statement much like a Freudian slip This applies whether the original intent is serious or to a muse. The statements here do make sense in itself as well as being ironic. It entertains while helping the mind entertain a new idea. The more and greater the humor the more profound the discovery is among who understand the irony and strike it when its hot.
The analogy of Christianity and especially the Catholic Church is of interest to show how people have historically modeled themselves as activists in social change. This can apply to other ideologies besides libertarians. Since many of us are ex-Catholics, ex-Christians, or atheists, agnostics, Protestants, Pagans and such I ask you not to take offense as there is much to learn from here. After all, this model of the Catholic Church is from the most successful conversion process in history. Bear with me in this cross discussion of habits that are still going on after 2000 years. There may be other successful models that go with what we do and the Church and others incorporate them, sometimes literally. Even if the Roman Catholic Church seems to have peaked and has serious problems that subject is another story for another essay.
Let's say someone adopts our set of ideas to the point that it becomes a more powerful incentive than having a normal career and life. This is also a way of testing those ideas. Their path becomes their highest value or their greatest joy. Some try to make the cause part of everyday life with a lifestyle of liberty and that is interesting and positive and deserves study. Some in their zeal emphasize more on becoming persuaders as well.
So we see at least two possible paths develop. Taking an idea to an extreme could be a phase in their life and also may be a phase in the movement. So in their life some become purist and so for them that means living a life away from evil and its temptations (the state) Even denouncing or demonizing could give it too much power in your life. But avoiding it can take more energy than dealing with it on a closer basis. So avoiding it becomes even more of an obsession than fighting it. Then purism arguments can start. It can become such a strong part that all their friends, who can remain friends, become part of the faith or endure or enjoy their tirades on the evil of the present situation.
This sometimes ends up in withdrawal from many "normal" events of public life as well. Their culture, social life, work, (if they can find it) as well other ideas that make up a life are refined by the fire of this zeal. These anchorites of anarchism may even choose solitude.
When these types move to a retreat intentional communities form where scholasticism, intense discussions, austerity as well as a cultural conformity to the idea becomes the focus as well as a necessity for the community to survive. These ascetic communes of anarchism are small but their dedication makes their contribution greater for their size. Many writers retreat to a simple, monastic place to compose their thoughts into writings. Many of them do play a game of holier than thou of sacrificing their happiness and competing on purity for the good of the idea. Yes, even Objectivists can be this cultish way as Rothbard has described it in his own Murray way. Laugh at them if you wish but they can get a lot done and impress people with their dedication, bravery learning and writings.
Then there are others who are more extroverted or become that way by their dedication to the cause. They go where the sinners are in order to stop them from doing evil as well as to recruit At least they proselytize as much as they can stand the moral degeneration of such assemblies of low-lifes as universities, Republican conventions and even the moral cesspools of being in government work itself. Sometimes this working from the inside is just a first step to moral abasement or selling out as the monks point out. And sometimes it's the only way to support oneself and one's family. It might also be the way to enlighten the masses. The attention of the movement and burden of proof is on them to bring in recruits, make publicity and achieve the good society in some way.
So they go where they find any souls worth saving. And they do succeed in some way because just about all of us came from normal life or politics. There is particular delight in rescuing some former villain who has seen the light and is willing to denounce his past evil and those of the jerks that he knew as cum patriots.
Eventually you could even place someone in power that shares your ideas. These two types are often paraded about to match, combat yet appear like the local demonic oppressors. This is done in a way to deflect or capture their power. These icons then make speeches to lead as well as to instruct the newly anointed aware converts all in a large public way. Some in finding their vision on the road to Damascus end up leading the band of missionaries itself.
Some monks find this road a-Pauling and see Ron Paul as the current example. Even if they like him they see the world as going to hell with no possibility of redemption. They see it as lost and wish to separate themselves from it. They still preach retreatism even in the face of success. They believe their one place could be safe from evil invasion of the world as long as they can exert moral leadership there. In so doing they counsel abbot-solutionism. This is not getting their way but means getting away with their ideas. So they bury their gold, tasteless dried food, their small, old weapons and wrap them and zeal them into a retreat located in obscurity by its nature. By hiding from the state they go into a state of hibernation a way from the public as well. They concentrate their purity as well as their sustenance. They vow to resist until the end meaning that at only the end they could win. This means giving up on any chance of success in any form the world would recognize. They sit gleefully and confidently awaiting the climax of empire, the destruction of the temple that FED them and the end of the Times in New York or LA. When it comes, they are besieged, they disperse and then disappear from that place. Perhaps then someone digs ups their dead sea of scrolls and the process starts up again once more. Are we free to Jews more than that?
So while monasticism survives in many forms it is neither the birth or the growth or even the sustenance of a movement. Think of it as a dried kernel waiting for a time to command. It could be necessary at times when the way seems lost and even attacked by all sides and the idea itself may be in danger of dying. And re-treats are a way of re-warding yourself. Such a hidden investment means taking stock or a form of bond and getting a way from it all for sum.
But you need to get away from monasticism as well into the public, the ex-changes of ideas. Some noteworthy libertarians have secluded themselves to an inner circle of disciples to maintain an identity even after achieving some fame. They prefer being a big fish in a small pond where they swim in a fish's circle. Some people are by nature introverted and get more thinking and writing done that way. And markets do believe in specialization.
But being in the marketplace gives a hire power, with a wave of overwhelming info and experience that is tide to it. It is our sanctuary, our sustenance and place for preaching and entertainment. It brings in so much strange new information that it becomes a bazaar experience. It is an estuary of such life and sustenance that you don't mind that it's also a beach. Here at least you can get away from preaching to the choir and have people in choir a bout your ideas in arguments. And here you also stay practical as you advocate change as well as count your change while you watch your change count.
When arguments happen among learned purist monks among themselves it can degenerate to ridiculous notpicking as "How many angels could trade on the head of a pin and can you use a public road to go to discuss it?" Monasteries could become monsteraries as "The Name of the Rose" implied. Monasteries and convent-shun-all thinking are in decline and have been for a while.
In order to train zeal one needs more than a zoo. To instruct missionaries so as to plant the seeds of ideas some monasteries became semen-aeries. Monasteries were like foundations today as helping scholars, publishing and holding retreats. They became teachers of practice and learning for those on the pilgrimage of life. They even became in(n)s for the laymen for socializing. Seminaries became schools and colleges to expand their knowledge and reach. You could then learn preaching; all types of knowledge and how to take care of a community. Doing this helped establish a moral claim on a community for support. The studies such as languages, history, philosophy and arts developed at the seminaries and turned them into universities. This helped instruct the missionaries to handle questions and conduct the appropriate rituals (conducting classes, mass rallies, counseling and such). These places also developed accreditation procedures to stop heresies from advancing.
As these places became centers of power these institutions could also dilute or distort their message as well as behavior and forget their original mission. They also could become the breeding ground of heresies as well. Luther was a former monk and you can look at universities as breeding grounds of radicalism and heresy in many ways.
Many of the missionaries end up as priests. I define these types as those who have taken root in a community and have adjusted to the powers that be as a compromise in order to establish their sense of what a mission is. They ad and add to their flock as they ad-minister them. They institutionalize the idea as well bring the corruption of the world into the Church. They grow it and sustain the institution so it becomes more powerful and rigid. Some priests in fighting the enemy make their idea like the opposition to copy its strength. In conquering an idea this way you can be conquered by it. Since they have been accredited by the monastery and have friended worldly power as well they become powers in their own rite. They have acquired the powers of the name and the fame of all those well-intentioned monks and the missionaries of the past and present. Therefore they end up planning and running all the institutions they can in order to control the future. The monasteries become monad-stories in their single-minded and single-funded mission and plan. Those who become the higher priests become the cardinal power of the time as in mid-evil days. These lords then could become the empire to control kings at their pleasure and the pope-u-elation.
Communism followed the same model as the Church. Communes were long before Marx and were peaceful visions of a Pagan past and of a dream like future though few know about this. Marx was the Old Testosterone-amen, Lenin was the New Testosterone-amen. Trotsky was the Apocrypha. These disputed books of the cannons of the canon include the Maccabees, which is the militarization of the idea and conquest of its enemies. The Chinese are the Protest-ant Reformation. In their masses they engineer the peasantry and allow the technology of the day to train them for the train of events. So in the end it ends up dropping the silly strictures the monks and missionaries worked and died for. Don't forget that the American Revolution was an outgrowth of the Protestant Reformation.
Note too, that these ideas that started in an ancient land found their greatest fruition in a land far away from its birth. Christianity was born of Christ in Israel and came to power elsewhere. Communism was born of Marx who was born in Germany and spent time in Britain as well. Marx never expected Russia to be the first place that would adopt socialism. Classical liberalism was born largely in England and came to its greatest fruition in America. Libertarianism because of its emphasis on decentralization and limited government was born in America will see its greatest success in another country. A profit is without honor in its home country.
All of these ideas also had strong Jewish forebears and counseled the ancient Jewish doctrine of forbearance. The libertarian Jewish four bears that counseled forbearance of the state were Rothbard, Mises, Friedman and Rand. While forbearance means forgiveness it could also mean to withhold cover-ups which means for bare-ness and for em-bare-ass-ing of evil. Whether these Jewish roots had something to with being circumspect, circumscribed and circumcision depends on circumstances. For baring a foreskin can lead to foreboding to the foregoing. I hope that my Jewish friends reading this pardon my wordplay for I do not wish to seem anti-semantic.
These ideologies and theologies for good or bad actually grafted on to native pagan traditions and had to in order to survive and grow. There is nothing in Judaism, Christianity, Communalism or Libertarianism that is not found in more ancient traditions of paganism. There were and still are utopian socialist non-marxian experiments to this day and many of them participate in markets. These communes hearken back to an ancient pagan non-hierarchical utopian society. So are democratic elections of leaders, parliaments, trial by juries, and theater all of which have pagan roots. All this was adopted in more complex and institutionalized versions by Christianity.
Besides Christianity and Communism it might be interesting to see what other ideas have had such patterns and whether other puns and other analogies are possible in this metaphorensic exercise. Readers both female and male are should email to communicate or to ex-communicate with me.