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Ch. 10 - The Origin of the Enemy 
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Post Ch. 10 - The Origin of the Enemy
This thread is for discussing Chapter 10 -The Origin of the Enemy. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris O'Connor

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:39 am
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Post Re: Ch. 10 - The Origin of the Enemy
Actually found this to be a somewhat interesting chapter, in which Harris goes back to our primitive beginnings to attempt to determine some truth's about ourselves. He makes a couple of interesting points. The main one concerns persons willing to die for their ideals vs. persons willing to bluff about it. His bully analogy is very good.

He's got an interesting answer to the question
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How is it that we became organized into societies and states? Rousseau offers his explanation with this oft-quoted passage:
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The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying "this is mine," and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how may crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to no

I find this analysis humorous. I think today we would call this person an 'innovator' And we have to ask why others did not pull up the stakes. I think the reason would be that the others saw this innovation as better than what had previously existed and copied it themselves.




Sun Aug 29, 2004 8:53 pm
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Post Chapter 10
Harris gives a long example of Org the Ruthless who is willing to kill, or at least claim to kill anyone who has what Org wants. The example that Harris gives here is good for what it is. In an environment where there are only individuals, Org will be successful. But what Harris discounts (perhaps ignores is a better term) is the effect of society on Org. Org will be successful, up until the time that Org meets the police, or a vigilante posse. Then Org's game is exposed, and the principals of society are reintroduced into the norm.




I do agree with Harris's terms for the justification of force. Specifically,
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Violence or force is both legitimate and justifiable but if and only if it is used to establish a civilized order




Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:05 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 10
I also found his critique of how Liberalism (in the classical sense) fails to be most interesting and incisive.

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Here we see exposed the Achilles' heel of all forms of liberalism, from Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls: the tenet that all men have the exact same proportionate fear of violent death, and that because such a fear is equally distributed, men all have the exact same motive to renounce violence, namely their equal fear of violent death at the hands of their neighbors. But the point of the master/slave dialectic is that all men do not have an equal fear of violent death, and that those who have less will rule those who have more. This means, when translated into social and cultural terms, that the social order that instills in its young an ethos of ruthlessness will eventually dominate those social orders that fail to do so.


IOW, the social contract only works where the gains and losses are symmetrical on all sides. Between the Orgs of the world, and the rest it is a decidedly asymmetrical relationship.

*******************

And thanks to this chapter, I now understand better why the Founding Fathers were originally going to write it "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property."

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(pg171)This is why it is essential to stress the connection between property and the struggle over recognition: for Hegel, they are merely the two sides of the (pg172) dialectical coin.


That reminded me of Oh Brother, where Art Thou? where the hopelessly charming Delmar says wistfully, "You ain't no kind of man if you ain't got land."

********************

Harris gave very short shrift to the idea of natural law in this chapter. I wonder if that's because he thinks that there is no such thing (his own words don't really suggest that, I think), or that the case is hopelessly unprovable, or that, as a tactical concern, it doesn't matter against Org -certainly the latter is true. That is something I'd like him to clarify at the Chat.


Edited by: Brother William of Baskerville 02 at: 9/3/04 6:18 am



Fri Sep 03, 2004 5:03 am
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