RE: [lpsf-activists] Re: Constitution Worship Undermines the Cause for Freedom

Well, like you, I’m interesting in continuing to push toward agreement,
but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. We know very well from
historical experience the problems created by having other people sign
binding agreements for us like that, and it’s not obvious that we all
need to sign one big contract, any more than that we all need to use the
same insurance company. And those agreements, contracts, or laws seldom
constitute more than a minor nuisance for anyone who wants to ignore
them. There are laws against assault, but they haven’t kept me from
getting mugged twice, and I don’t expect that they will ever be
effective. What counts is action, rather than documents. We could
organize to protect ourselves, if that weren’t prohibited by law. The
latter kind of law works just because most people are inclined to
support it.

I used the “versus” in my title, of course, to be provocative, and I do
mean to suggest that rule-based systems (if ethics is conceived as one),
in pushing toward depersonalization, work against civil society. Rules
are like other technologies of scale. We become captivated by the
possibilities of large numbers of transactions, especially at a
distance, and lose sight of what we have given up. Money is enormously
liberating in comparison to barter, but it also commonly leads us to
value things, even ourselves and each other, just in relation to their
market worth. (The businessman in “The Little Prince” is hardly an
exaggeration.) Language is enormously liberating in terms of
communication, but tends to lead us to overlook all the things that
can’t very well be put into words. In general, technologies of scale,
for interaction at a distance, or with large numbers of people, tend to
pull for the surface aspects of things; then, over time, we come to take
the shell for the reality.

[mailto:lpsf-activists@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Amarcy D. Berry