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Public Power and Private Right

There is law and there is justice; the legal minded believe (public) law may work justice more effectively than private actions, whether blood feud, clan war, weregeld or other forms of private vengeance such as the secret Vehm courts. Public law experts argue that monopolizing lawful violence reduces violence and works justice more effectively. Thus acts of private vengeance, viewed in pre-modernity as the essence of retributive justice become, in modernity: crimes!

However, there is of course the opposite view; it is a view held by various mafia, many criminals, but also by clans, tribes, in short proto-states from the pre-scientific era. The idea that public law is better than private vengeance is definitively one aspect of modernity, the industrial era. So are cabinet wars, limited as opposed to total wars, and for similar reasons: the reduction of violence, through the use of violence, by a monopolist of violence – the state. Here the Marxist experiment at attaining the self-destruction of state power is instructive.

As to those who believe that private vengeance is better and more fair than public law, who am I to disagree? I am not the state. I am well aware of the failures of state power to attain justice. Then again, the statists argue in extremis, that the primary goal of state power is to impose the monopolization of violence, not to work substantive justice.

So there are sensible reasons for which one might take the side, e.g. of a given mafia, a group of so-called criminals, for it is only the state’s laws which make them criminals, no?

That is not my own view. I believe the better view is that substantive justice is better attained by public (criminal) law rather than private vengeance. Then again, in the face of the failure of state power, as was the case in Sicily some 200 years ago one can well understand why private persons might make private justice a private affair. The problem is, then they are, knowingly or not, contenders for state power. And like I point out: the state claims the monopoly of lawful violence.

Yet, substantive justice is an ideal; it can never be attained. Life is inherently unfair. Is it fair that people die? No. But we cling to the hope of justice, the promise of fairness in our dealings with other people precisely because sickness and death, natural disasters are so arbitrary and unfair. Yet we believe, perhaps are naive, that by regulating our affairs as to voluntary transactions we can best cope with a bad situation. For there is a fundamental difference between the death at the hands of a robber or rapist as opposed to a natural or even accidental death through the forces of nature, which until recently were ever more powerful even than the state.

 

Capitalism and Patriarchy: Responses?

I Think the best long-term strategy is to ignore capitalist patriarchy and just carve out a personal alternative. If I focus all the time on capitalism and patriarchy I will be angry and sad. If I am angry and sad I cannot live effectively or be an effective activist. I try to take sad and turn it into anger, and take anger and turn it into energy.

I want to write more on the topic because social change does happen. Apartheid ended. Gay everything is becoming normalized. However, patriarchy and capitalism endure. Normalization is partly a process of coopting radical dissent, partly a process of rationalization of capitalist production, of making the system (capitalist patriarchy) more efficient.

Capitalism endures because most people are greedy and selfish and are even willing to kill for money: i speak here of the majority. They may well be stupid, but they are absolutely selfish, greedy, wiling even to kill for money.
Outwit them.

Patriarchy endures because people are lazy and beaten down and coopted into it. They are beaten down because of capitalism, they are lazy because capitalism benefits them, and then even radicals get coopted into a nice car a nice house

Capitalism provides goodies and is better than feudalism or agrarian slavery.

I don’t think Leninism or Maoism are the way to go. Conspiratorial vanguard elites tend to keep power to themselves and install a permanent dictatorship, which inevitably becomes corrupted and collapses. Maoism is a bit better than Leninism but it should not escape you that Mao was as bad at economics as he was good at generalship.

Marx, too, is no angel. His advocacy of “free love” was simply the normalization of early capitalist decadence.

Marx believed that the scientific progress capitalism unleashed would inevitably result in a world awash in so much wealth as to make property and the state irrelevant: that the state would inevitably wither, but that it’s process of withering would be marked out by class conflict.

All that was 175 years ago. In other words Marx is probably not so relevant or accurate as we would like. He writes badly.

Probably Foucault is the best strategist we can look at but even he would admit he is fascist influenced.

I think the best answer is to carve out one’s own alternative, point it out to society, and hope society catches up.

But when it does, it will still be rationalization and cooptation. Ugh.

I don’t mean ignore it and hope it goes away: I mean, ignore it, live a good life, and kick it in the balls whenever possible at no risk to yourself, or at the level of risk you are personally willing to tolerate.

There is btw still beauty in life. That too is a radical alternative strategy, to simply fall in love with beauty, and regard the rest as error and illusion.

You are all beautiful.

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