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THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist" 
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
georule wrote:
An RA is trying to create/maintain the conditions where he and his fellow citizens can fulfill their responsibilities.

I don’t see where there is any indication that an RA, (according to Prof), considers it “necessary to fulfill their responsibilities”, or for that fact, that they necessarily recognize that they even have ‘responsibilities’[1]. The following quote seems to me to be the only nod given to recognizing a ‘responsibility’ in that Prof admits that he will accept whatever rules Wyoh feels necessary for her freedom.
MIAHM p. 86 wrote:
I don't insist that you call it 'government'--I just want you to state what rules you think are necessary to insure equal freedom for all."
"Dear lady, I'll happily accept your rules."
"But you don't seem to want any rules!"
"True. But I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
"You would not abide by a law that the majority felt was necessary?"
"Tell me what law, dear lady, and I will tell you whether I will obey it."
"You wiggled out. Every time I state a general principle, you wiggle out."

After this quote, he did admit that he was willing to join with those who wished to overthrow the hold of the Lunar Authority, but in my opinion, this was due to the recognition that life in Luna depended on it.
MIAHM p. 86 wrote:
Twenty-eighty-two is the year I expect food riots. Cannibalism should not occur for at least two years thereafter."
"'Cannibalism'!" She turned and buried head against Prof's chest.
He patted her, said gently, "I'm sorry, Wyoh. People do not realize how precarious our ecology is.
Even so, it shocks me. I know water runs down hill. . . but didn't dream how terribly soon it will reach bottom."

[1] Other than the responsibility to pay the cost of whatever consequences might occur as a result of their 'anarchy'. In the article, I preferred the use of the term 'answerability' over the term 'responsibility' as it, IMO, gives a clearer idea of what it entails.


Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:20 pm
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
How does one get "morals" to be "morally responsible" for, David? Btw, changing the tense from responsibilities to responsible doesn't really change anything, does it?

Isn't the "man on the button" example phrased as "responsible" of that particular individual?

If it isn't thru the free flow of information/education that one gets useable morals, then you must be born with an innate sense of right and wrong that can be applied reliably to any situation even in the absence any other enabling factor (like, y'know, comprehensive knowledge of the situation). I can't see a third way. Which answer would Prof give?

Burke, patron saint of the CLs, would answer "God" is a pretty big part of that, meaning the Christian God. Jefferson's answer would have been a lot more squishy.

"Answerability" is a more external metric. I'm not saying RAs aren't willing to be held answerable by that observation, but it is. "Morally respsonsible", the phrase Prof uses in the quote you just quoted, is something else, a much more internal metric. In fact, in general useage you usually see accusations of someone being "morally responsible" when an effort to hold them actually answerable has failed or is likely to fail.


Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:46 pm
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
georule wrote:
How does one get "morals" to be "morally responsible" for, David? Btw, changing the tense from responsibilities to responsible doesn't really change anything, does it?

Isn't the "man on the button" example phrased as "responsible" of that particular individual?

If it isn't thru the free flow of information/education that one gets useable morals, then you must be born with an innate sense of right and wrong that can be applied reliably to any situation even in the absence any other enabling factor (like, y'know, comprehensive knowledge of the situation). I can't see a third way. Which answer would Prof give?

Burke, patron saint of the CLs, would answer "God" is a pretty big part of that, meaning the Christian God. Jefferson's answer would have been a lot more squishy.

"Answerability" is a more external metric. I'm not saying RAs aren't willing to be held answerable by that observation, but it is. "Morally respsonsible", the phrase Prof uses in the quote you just quoted, is something else, a much more internal metric. In fact, in general useage you usually see accusations of someone being "morally responsible" when an effort to hold them actually answerable has failed or is likely to fail.

At various places Heinlein asserts that morality is to a large part just custom -- which is part of a larger philosophical tendez that starts (as so much of early 20th century advanced philosophy starts) with Nietzsche -- though I tend to agree with the late Dr. Owenby that Heinein gets it out of the early 20th century pragmatists, who were cutting-edge current when he was growing up.

I think Heinein might have gone along with the formulation that "moral responsibility" is ultimately a personal responsibility (for which one can read "Duty") to oneself, to support the values one adopts. And you can also see a certain amount of Nietzsche's all-embracing amor fati in Prof's "gaily" accepting the consequences of his own values. Aside from personal attractions, that amor fati helps to give a certain logical rigor (for some values of "logical" and some values of "rigor") to Nietzsche's deriving morality from esthetics -- which Heinlein echoes very clearly in the World as Myth books.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:35 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
Haven't gotten around to re-reading David's piece yet, then I probably ought to re-read the book again too (oh, cruel fate! ;) ).

I would have to concede that generalizing from one example (in this case Prof) is always a dangerous thing to do. An RA with a very different internal moral compass might produce a very different example.

The thing is, I'm bringing a whole lot more "long-term Heinlein context re duty and social good" to what I'm reading in this area, and while I think that's appropriate to do, it does bring its own dangers as well --maybe *this* time he had something else in mind, or at least more of a variation from his usual.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:15 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
georule wrote:
Haven't gotten around to re-reading David's piece yet, then I probably ought to re-read the book again too (oh, cruel fate! ;) ).

I would have to concede that generalizing from one example (in this case Prof) is always a dangerous thing to do. An RA with a very different internal moral compass might produce a very different example.

The thing is, I'm bringing a whole lot more "long-term Heinlein context re duty and social good" to what I'm reading in this area, and while I think that's appropriate to do, it does bring its own dangers as well --maybe *this* time he had something else in mind, or at least more of a variation from his usual.

Understood -- but there's a problem with that approach in this instance: the term Rational Anarchist only occurs in this one book, just a bit more than halfway through Heinlein's writing career (Starship Troopers is pretty much the center). If he had specifically intended this to hook up with longer-term factors -- well, he certainly had the opportunity to bring Prof back in the World as Myth books, as he did with Jubal Harshaw, who becomes a pivotal voice in interpreting what's going on on a macro-scale.

I don't know what in terms of global interpretation this means, but I'm guessing it weighs more toward Prof being a "one-off" fitted quite specifically to this one story, which would tend to make him more or less "unreliable" as a guide or even a look-into longer-term Heinleinian concerns.

Also, it seems to me to indicate that we may be particularly interested in Prof, but Heinlein wasn't, particularly -- which again goes to "unreliability" as a guide to what Heinlein may have thought (in one degree or another).


Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:18 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
Bill--

As is sometimes my wont (which you wouldn't get from the original post on this thread!) I shall fire my artillery oblique rather than trying to "Cross your 'T'" (to mix military metaphors).

In the interstitial matter to EU, which we both admire and find consequential for various reasons, there are a series of quotes that appear throughout. A few are inconsequential bon mots of unnamed provenance shown as Batmobile-like bumper stickers. One is a quote from Horace. One is a quote from "Anon.".

Most of the rest are L. Long quotes. Two are not. One is a quote from Bernardo de la Paz, and one is a quote from the fellow Prof cites as one of his original intellectual forebearers --T. Jefferson.

So score is, of Heinlein-created characters, quotes are provided in EU for only two, L. Long and Prof. With an additional quote from Prof's cite that I started this thread over.

It occurs to me to think, re World as Myth, that perhaps Robert just didn't see artistic room for Jubal and Prof both, and chose Jubal to carry the torch, without meaning any disavowal of Prof as a near Heinlein-doppelganger by the choice. If the author did consider that to be the case, there are several characteristics where Jubal would have the edge in such a competition --particularly to be re-introduced in TNOTB, where in retrospect (all those anagrams) the author is trying to rub our noses in how many of the characters are actually the author. . .

How near a doppelganger is Prof? Ahh, a reasonable question, and why it is nice to have a place like this to cross tips over the matter. There is some fairly simple math here, and being simple does not necessarily make it incorrect --if Prof is a Jeffersonian and Heinlein is a Jeffersonian, then perhaps. . . .

The quote from Prof? Well, I'd say that characteristically it is about both freedom and moral responsibility: "Anything you get for free costs more than worth --but you don't find it out until later".

The quote from Jefferson? "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Yeah, that damn Jefferson, creating ambiguity again (a lot of folks would say the 'altar of God' has created a lot of that tyranny over the mind of man). But still, absent the God bit (a little PR for the masses, or perhaps just a Mighty Oath they would understand as such?), a very RAish internal moral compass kind of thing to say. Surely Robert himself would not have included that quote as a paean to the power of the altar of God in producing victory in such a war.

Oh, and pass me some of that "pink salmon" over there, would you?


Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:13 pm
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
I'm actually having a re-read of EU right now, which is why that was an easy analysis to do. . . but having got back to it after the above, noticed that there are two Harshaw quotes --on facing pages-- I had missed the first time flipping thru. Still, I don't think that hurts the case. Long, Harshaw, de la Paz --looks like the company I'd expect Prof to be keeping.


Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:07 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
georule wrote:
<snip>It occurs to me to think, re World as Myth, that perhaps Robert just didn't see artistic room for Jubal and Prof both, and chose Jubal to carry the torch, without meaning any disavowal of Prof as a near Heinlein-doppelganger by the choice. If the author did consider that to be the case, there are several characteristics where Jubal would have the edge in such a competition --particularly to be re-introduced in TNOTB, where in retrospect (all those anagrams) the author is trying to rub our noses in how many of the characters are actually the author. . .
<snip>

While there is certainly merit in that idea, I think the role Jubal plays in the WAM books -- to be the speaker of truths absolute, to stand outside the immersion in the moral context of the books -- derives directly from his role in Stranger as being the one human who groks in fullness without speaking Martian (except that presumably by this time he does speak Martian, though it's never mentioned).

Prof doesn't have any parallel function in TMIAHM: at at least one point he simply throws out a lot of ideas his legislature might be thinking about instead of simply following the most comfortable rut, and this might be Prof's potential function in a hypothetical progression of the WAM story -- to be the one who applies the crowbar and gets people moving up and out of their comfortable ruts. For that purpose, he lies easily and knowing that he is lying in order to get people moving: the very nature of reality is called into question by Prof's manipulation. Was the prediction of food riots jiggered up between Prof and the underdeveloped Mike? Echo answereth not. The unreliable character has remade reality for Manny, at least.

The very example you have chosen, of calling ham "pink salmon" so he can eat it and still think of himself as a vegetarian, calls up a very different sort of mental process, a very different relationship to the mental conventions he holds, than Jubal's, who we find very nearly paralyzed (at the beginning of the book) by the walls of his comfortable ruts, his wisdom sterile and unable to effect change in the world -- unrecognized, even, as wisdom.

However, returning to our muttons -- or pink salmon if that's the case -- these considerations lead me to think that the selection of Jubal over Prof is artistically driven by the vision of the series, that Jubal perfectly fulfills his novelistic function inWAM in a way that Prof could not. Both certainly are wisdom figures -- but different kinds of wisdom, for different circumstances. So a "Prof-Jubal Exclusion Rule" won't serve.


Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:26 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
Lazarus certainly helps fulfill that role. He cheats. Even after he gets caught. . . the second or third time.

If I line the three of them up, on a linear scale with, "do whatever it takes" on the far left, something like a balance of action/larger (than self) morality in the middle, and intellectual wisdom on the far right. . . .I line them up Lazarus, Prof, and Jubal.

Perhaps that isn't quite the right way to deliniate the scale, but hopefully you get the sense of what I mean there. In my estimation, Prof has a lot more in common with either of them than the other two do with each other. That kind of calculation could have left him odd man out. Prof and Lazarus interacting much, or Prof and Jubal interacting much, might have been a bit blurry.


Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:49 am
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Post Re: THJ 21: Jefferson denied "Rational Anarchist"
My apologies for not getting back to you sooner on this, but I have been wrapped up in a couple of projects which took all my time, (plus a lot of napping which some of old folks are subject to.) :D
georule wrote:
How does one get "morals" to be "morally responsible" for, David? Btw, changing the tense from responsibilities to responsible doesn't really change anything, does it? .

See Below
georule wrote:
Isn't the "man on the button" example phrased as "responsible" of that particular individual? .

See Below
georule wrote:
If it isn't thru the free flow of information/education that one gets useable morals, then you must be born with an innate sense of right and wrong that can be applied reliably to any situation even in the absence any other enabling factor (like, y'know, comprehensive knowledge of the situation). I can't see a third way. Which answer would Prof give? .

I agree partially with you here, but I believe that the environment one grows up in from the earliest years tends to have a much stronger impact on defining one’s ‘moral sense’. That is not to deny that some of the ‘free flow of information/education’ can sometimes have a profound influence on one’s ‘moral sense’, but, sadly, often such information/education is filtered through the person’s earlier ‘moral sense’ and often rejected because of that filter. (I recognize this from my own experience in dealing with the subject of ‘race’. )
Some aspects of one’s ‘moral sense’ carry less weight than others, and accordingly, the actions and decisions of individuals are nearly always made within the framework of either following one’s ‘moral sense’ or violating it when there is some need or desire to do so. Such can, for example, range from driving 75mph in a 65mph zone because you are in a hurry, participating in a sit-in to protest discrimination, or fermenting revolution to overthrow a tyrannical government

(snip)

I have responded to this because I think that it needed clarifying, not because it in any way differentiates a CL from an RA.

That difference I maintain is emphasized from the CL point of view in the Declaration of Independence.

[quote=DOI]--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.[/quote]

This in essence is to me the viewpoint of the CL, whereas an RA is foremost an ‘anarchist’, i.e., he would prefer NO government, does not give his consent to be governed and if there must be a government, he would prefer it to be one that places the minimum of restrictions on the liberty of the individual, not one that is there to protect the so-called ‘rights’ of people.


Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:06 am
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