Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 781, July 27, 2014

Defending American Civilization since 1995

Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Much has been written about civilization (actually, Civilization, all good Catholics genuflect and make the sign of the Cross) lately in TLE. Who am I to resist getting my two cents in?

First of, I must point out that civilization is not the same as advanced technology. Iron working was discovered/invented by Indo-European semi-nomadic tribes, the stirrup by steppes horse raiders, and the use of light polarizing crystals for navigation by the Vikings, all of whom are considered pretty much barbarians. For what it's worth civilization may fall, but we will keep our technotoys and even invent better ones.

Opinion here, but I think describing fact: Strong central government is not necessarily a sign of civilization. Indeed, at best the leaders of strong central governments see "civilization" as a goose that lays golden eggs and have enough sense to resist the urge for pate de foie gras. H. Beam Piper makes this point in Space Vikings, but let us remember Temujin, who realized he and his Mongol Hordes could profit more by ruling China and taxing it forever than by wrecking and looting the place once. Thomas Paine suggests that barbarians conquered civilizations and imposed themselves as a ruling class, which inspired the article "Res Nostra" some years back. In fact, the only great ruler who seemed interested in creating, or at least spreading, civilization (the Helllenistic) was Iskandar Dhul-Qarnayn.

The term civilization seems to refer to an organized stable society marked by people being able to go about their honest business and able to pursue their self interests in such a manner that not only causes no harm but is actually of benefit to their fellows, both acting cooperatively for mutual profit or individually for private gain.

It must be noted that Tom Kratman and others have spoken of harsh measures needed to protect civilization. I submit that when a civilization is falling people will engage in such harsh measures to protect the benefits of civilization for their society. I can not deny that in many places our (mis) ruling elites have so thoroughly failed to do their duty that they have created a real need, or at least the appearance of a need, for such measures. Some may have even done so planning to create a crisis they could use to arrogate power greater than their proper need.

Finally it should be pointed out that civilization requires a certain amount of effort to keep alive, and that certain values and virtues must be shared by the members of a civilized society, among these being a value on civilization, personal excellence, physical and moral courage, intellectual independence, zeal for protecting one's liberties, and a decent regard for the freedoms of others, including a willingness to help others in the defense of their rights.

Anybody know a publication promoting these things?

[ We here at LNSTLE try with our limited resources; there is a online 'zine called The New Atlantis which seems to have promoting Civilization as its goal, there is also a The World and I which also seems pro-Civilization—Editor ]

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