Our modern world, beset by troubling views seeking power amongst men, is not something new that walks the Earth. Indeed, the quest for power is one that is ages old going as far back as Gilgamesh and Enkidu, where men taking the spark of the Gods seek to wrest eternal victory against darkness and all foes. The story of the Titan tasked with handing out skills and powers to each of the animals is especially telling, as it was a wise Titan with a fatal flaw. To the Tiger he gave stealth, fierceness and sharp claws, and to the gazelle he gave alertness, swiftness and grace of motion. Each bird got its call and calling, every animal created had the breath of singular senses, skills and presence endowed to them. From the great storehouse of such skills each and every animal got its specialty and capability. Until the last one, that is, for the storehouse and great pot of powers had run dry, and this barely formed and living clay had nothing to be given because of that Titan's name that told of how his wisdom worked.
He was named Epimetheus: the God of After-Thought.
The story of his brother, Prometheus, the God of Fore-Thought, is well known and when his brother asked for help he could but give it to remedy the plight of the poor clay without anything for it. Thus he went so that the Fire of the Gods could be stolen and given as a singular item to man. That fire of knowledge, wisdom and building to compensate for the poor senses of the clay brought to life, meant that man would live and die by his ability to reason. It is that spark of the Divine that is spoken of in the Declaration of Independence: the equality comes from being and coming into being, and while each is given endowment, the ability to use that gift is up to each of us. That we have this Divine gift is without doubt, without denunciation as it is self-evident. Be it the God of Forethought delivering fire or the God of the Word in the speaking to create everything, that spark exists within each of us to use as best we are able to do so.
The spark given is equal to each of us.
The clay it resides in has defects, as we are mere mortal compared to the Divine.
As a People we grapple with this across cultures and across this globe. That we are given such gifts and that some prosper by it and others fail is a constant source of misery for all of mankind as many prove not to be up to the gift of the Divine they have within them. With that gift comes the knowledge that we are, each of us, alone in our minds, our bodies and our selves. To soothe that loneliness we seek to use the Divine spark within us to create, and of the highest of our creations the one of friendship makes the first bond of trying to bring Divine thoughts together to form a larger contact with that perfect spirit within us that remains ever so elusive. It is possible to have a mate without friendship, and while that can be fruitful in bringing new life, it is desert and wasteland if there is no communion of thought and spirit. Together those things create a deeper sense of meaning in Union and Communion together, and it is that which we seek out with further friendship and understanding throughout our lives. But even this need is transmitted through our mortal selves and it, too, responds differently in each of us, so that some need many friends and others need only few, yet the richness for each is the same, for all the differences in numbers, time and quality of such friendships.
With our time limited grant of life comes liberty with it, and these two things together, when people seek each other out for commonality, forms a third thing we call society. The creation of society is a willful act: it sets limits on those involved in it by mutual and common acceptance of their shared ideas and ideals. The actual society may not be designed from the outset, indeed they are not only not pre-designed, they are a haphazard assortment of views, beliefs, opinions and outlooks that coalesce to a commonly agreed-upon standard. Agree with that standard and hold to it and you are becoming a member of that society.
Still, that original gift from the Gods, be it Prometheus, the God of the Word or even just the simple effect of multiple smaller systems creating an unexpected effect by acting together, that spark which we identify as consciousness and will to use it by looking ahead is not an unalloyed gift. Consider the novel that contains this passage in it:
`Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. `Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.'
Mary Shelley wrote that about Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and it is the creation speaking. What Victor Frankenstein set out to do was a deific act, but what, exactly, was the deity that he was associated with? Was this the God of Forethought, bringing life and not thinking ahead to its consequences? That is not Prometheus, because he had forethought, that his act would be found out by its nature and bring retribution upon him: in aiding Zeus against his fellow Titans Prometheus would be rewarded, for thwarting Zeus against the destruction of man would come punishment. Victor Frankenstein was not taking on the role of just giving divine spark he was doing so to the dead flesh of the criminal form.
His act was not one of giving life, but giving resurrection to the dead. No, that is not Prometheus at all, and follows far closer on the lines of Christ the Redeemer, save that Victor, in his quest for returning life, had not the means to give such life meaning. His creation saw this and recognized that it was not the physical form that was awful, but the lack of that internally divine spark... yet in understanding and writing as he had, that being who came back by this act actually had those qualities. Thus neither man nor resurrected man would understand what, exactly, had been done until it was examined in retrospect, and wish that a different course had been taken.
That is Epimetheus, the God of After-Thought who has, apparently, bestowed *that* gift upon humanity, perhaps unwittingly. And we recognize this in many ways throughout life, via the views we take of regret for not acting better or differently in our lives. 'If only I had done that in this way....' is how it goes and it is the nagging after-thought of action not planned beyond the immediate step. We also know this by another phrase that crops up quite frequently to explain why an individual or set of individuals did something that was demonstrated not to be all that well thought out:
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."
This plays a profound role in our understanding of ourselves, our bestowed gifts, and how we fail them for ourselves and society. Victor Frankenstein's quest was not only to bring life but, then, to deal with that life he brought about as his creation had not proven to be to his expectations. Neither was it one that could easily be dealt with since both the man and his imperfect creation, had drive in their lives: each to understand who he was and what he had to do with being alive. By not using reason to try and foresee consequences, Victor had to deal on a 'catch-up' basis with this thing he had brought about. The creation, living with that lack of insight and coming to grips with intelligence that did not seem moored to that of humanity around him, sought society of some sort, although every avenue appeared barred to him. In unthinking questing for a future and to deal with his past, his past did catch up with him, and thus the two would need to come to some terms of what it meant to be imperfect as creator and creation.
Together, in our communities we create a set of standards between us by common agreement, and then put in place a creation to safeguard those standards and ourselves, so that we may join together with this created thing and defend our common heritage and wisdom. That creation, unlike Victor Frankenstein's, is truly unliving, although it has, at times, a life of its own and a methodology towards coming to conclusions that is wholly unhuman. That thing is what we call government, be it at the lowest and most tribal of levels, or that of Nation, we create something with limited forethought and then deal with the aftermath of it time and time again. When this creation functions in ways unexpected and inimical to our way of life and sets of standards and, indeed, in opposition to it, we, as society, are then forced to bring it to heel and change understanding between us and our creation, or to destroy that creation and start over.
Creating government with limited forethought and objectives, and not looking to ensure that it can then meet and not exceed those objectives leaves us in the place of Victor Frankenstein: we have created without more than conscious thought so as to get immediate satisfaction and glory, without seeing beyond that time to one where we would have to deal with our creation. When our government changes via the individuals in it to change the outlook of government or move it beyond its original goals, then such government is taking wider purview of itself in relation to society and not acting with guidance from it. Unlike that creation of Frankenstein, ours may not go out of control immediately but simply test the barriers that keep it in check, straining against weakness in our outlook and that of our society. When such weakness is found and utilized to change the view of what government is to do, then that creation, acting without a soul but with a will of its own, starts to view a future and, also, forget its past.
That leads to the conflict whereby we do not, as a society, necessarily want such expanded governance, but it can be achieved by promises, goods taken from the whole for the few, and, finally, the coercive part of government which is the punisher and taskmaster. The slide from made promises that are unfulfilled may let society abide by it to see if it can achieve being 'good'. When it cannot do that, then comes the goods to shift unlimited promises to limited results, so that a few may benefit and 'good' claims to be done. As has been said in the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by Benjamin Franklin:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Thus the object of government needs to be addressed and, I have tangentially touched upon it, I will give another writer voice on this:
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows, that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
That is Tom Paine's Common Sense (Source: Project Gutenberg), written in the days just before the Declaration of Independence. Paine is giving the reasoned justification for government and that it should be always limited and held to give security first and foremost above all other things. Government is created to do that, and when it steps beyond simple security, it must needs be watched and kept on a short leash unless those under it suffer from the means given to government turned against those who support it.
We must remember this is an author cited as a 'classical liberal' author, as is Thomas Jefferson, and it is highly instructive to read their views to understand just how society comes together, creates commonality in support of rights and then utilizes government to secure those rights against infringement so the individual can have liberty and freedom. Today we hear 'classical liberal' thrown about to support many causes, and yet those that put it forward to remove the differences between peoples and Nations forget the point that Jefferson, Paine and others are pointing out: that societies are different, as are governments, and from their origin within their peoples they often will come in conflict with each other. The concept of the Nation State and the regularity of intercourse between Nations via regularized means is seen, by this period, as a bedrock of understanding that underpins what Nations are for and how they operate.
To create government these writers, philosophers and revolutionaries, from Adam Smith to Ben Franklin, depended upon those concepts that had brought regularity between Nations and some modicum of peace. Although Britain was not a direct signatory to Treaty of Westphalia of 1648(although the royal line had some claims under Charles I, the Cromwell Republic and Restoration kept England from taking part in those things), those who had come to the New World in America had seen the benefits of it, and the lacks of the enforcement of it also. To uphold the rights of individuals to worship as they chose, it was included as part of the thinking that created the new Nation, so that the most common of governments, the National, had no religious outlook but allowed the States and the People to set their own courses.
Also recognized were the works of Hugo Grotius, particularly On the Law of War and Peace and The Freedom of the Seas, the latter of which is drawn from The Black Book of the Admiralty, nearly 200 years in existence by then. The Black Book is cited as a necessary understanding for martial laws by Matthew Hale in a review of the The History of the Common Law in 1713, and William Blackstone on his Commentaries on the Laws of England in 1765-69 would cite Grotius and de Vattel's Law of Nations from 1758. These texts would not only give the basis for the English Common Law understanding, but the wider understanding of government as it relates to international law. These are things that are now papered over in the strange belief that offering surcease, respect and even praise to those that break these foundations of civilization and our understanding of man, espouse 'classical liberal' values.
Each of these have spoken about the need for society to form Nation and be separate from others. This is not done out of vile hatred, disgust or in an effort to step away from the universal understanding of our rights. This is done for the simple fact that society is allowed to do so and discriminate against those that would alter, change or abolish that society by attacking it or by eroding it. These ideas spoken by Adam Smith, John Locke, Emmerich de Vattel, Hugo Grotius, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine give a reasoned understanding that while religion causes us to aspire to universality of understanding and amity, our societies are often not universal but harbor legions of those seeking distrust, derision or outright dismissal of our views. It is this appeal to reason *beyond* such basic outlooks that requires us, as individuals, to understand that our feeling of universal comradeship should be, and indeed must be, tempered by reason.
And even during that founding era of the United States, such patriotic individuals as Sam Adams, adhering to the universal belief felt that not *all* religious views were equal nor should they be given equal weight in society. How does one accord knowledge of the basics of life, liberty, property and the defense of same, and then, within a short space, talk about how religious toleration has its limitation towards some sects of Christianity as they were subversive of civil government? If a man,who so closely espouses human rights that are nearly equal of the Declaration of Independence a few years later, and passages read almost the same between the two, how does one, then, come to understand that the freedom of religion was *still* not understood by all of those in this period?
Today we have many embracing the openness of religious practice but then, turn around and purport that not upholding the basic reasoning behind he Law of Nations, Law of War and Peace, Freedom of the Seas, Commerce Laws, and even the old Common Law... how can these individuals claim to any part of 'classical liberal' when they are going against ALL of what makes 'classical liberalism' so important? They then point to the first line of second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and claim that over-rules everything:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It is one of the most powerful sentences in the English language and in the tradition of classical liberalism. Here is the passage from Sam Adams' Rights of the Colonists (1769 and 1772):
Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can-Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature
What those espousing line one forget that it is not the be-all, end-all of what makes nor sustains those rights, as Sam Adams points out, adding the additional right to be able to defend the first three. Notice that the first three rights then derive a fourth from the Law of Nature by the view of Sam Adams?
That is a principle called 'reason' at work: your life, liberty and property are branches from the Law of Nature on survival. Jefferson via Franklin's editing calls them self-evident rights and they are understood to be endowed in each of us. Both of these views are the same as the Law of Nature applies to all of those in it, thus the rights held via that law is self-evident. Those quoting the over-arching rights of all mankind forget that they are to be *protected*. Now lets expand beyond the most beloved line of the Declaration of Independence to take a look at a fuller view of it:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--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.
How are these rights secured by the Declaration? By Governments that are the creation of Men.
In that line we see that government is a creation, a thing made to secure basic rights, and that it is a security basis beyond the individual as it must gain just powers from those it governs. This is not a strange idea as Law of Nations opens with the following in Book I, Chapter I:
§ 1. Of the state, and of sovereignty
A NATION or a state is, as has been said at the beginning of this work, a body politic, or a society of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by their combined strength.
From the very design that induces a number of men to form a society which has its common interests, and which is to act in concert, it is necessary that there should be established a Public Authority, to order and direct what is to be done by each in relation to the end of the association. This political authority is the Sovereignty; and he or they who are invested with it are the Sovereign. (10)
§ 2. Authority of the body politic over the members.
It is evident, that, by the very act of the civil or political association, each citizen subjects himself to the authority of the entire body, in every thing that relates to the common welfare. The authority of all over each member, therefore, essentially belongs to the body politic, or state; but the exercise of that authority may be placed in different hands, according as the society may have ordained.
This concept of forming a society for mutual benefit, protection and strength is not only one that comes about when society forms, but the views of how governments are created within that body of individuals is a result. It does not depend upon time, as governments formed before the earliest written records clearly organized agrarian societies and the first written records speak of long lasting governments, often going back generations. When individuals band together to form society and then seek mutual help and protection, the need to organize, no matter what the form, creates government. To understand what Thomas Jefferson is talking about, one needs to realize that he had more than a flailing notion of what government is, how it was formed and why it comes about.
Thus to understand the Declaration of Independence one must understand Law of Nations and what these derived views of individual, society, self-defense and government *are*. They all derive views from the Natural state of man from the creation, and the self-evident rights we gain, but then when we start to interact we create something *else* beyond those natural rights and those things *also* have form, limits, strengths and weaknesses. How could they not, as they are a reflection of our imperfect lives.
When the concept of 'rights' is brought up, we think of them as something that the law makes or protects, but that is a gross and blunt view that does not confer the distinctiveness of rights and how they are brought about. From Hugo Grotius' On the Laws of War and Peace: Book I, Chapter I, speaking just after the Rights of War and more upon them, but the concept is also more generalized:
IV. There is another signification of the word RIGHT, different from this, but yet arising from it, which relates directly to the person. In which sense, RIGHT is a moral quality annexed to the person, justly entitling him to possess some particular privilege, or to perform some particular act. This right is annexed to the person, although it sometimes follows the things, as the services of lands, which are called REAL RIGHTS, in opposition to those merely PERSONAL. Not because these rights are not annexed to persons, but the distinction is made, because they belong to the persons only who possess some particular things. This moral quality, when perfect is called a FACULTY; when imperfect, an APTITUDE. The former answers to the ACT, and the latter to the POWER, when we speak of natural things.
V. Civilians call a faculty that Right, which every man has to his own; but we shall hereafter, taking it in its strict and proper sense, call it a right. This right comprehends the power, that we have over ourselves, which is called liberty, and the power, that we have over others, as that of a father over his children, and of a master over his slaves. It likewise comprehends property, which is either complete or imperfect; of the latter kind is the use or possession of any thing without the property, or power of alienating it, or pledges detained by the creditors till payment be made. There is a third signification which implies the power of demanding what is due, to which the obligation upon the party indebted, to discharge what is owing, corresponds.
VI. Right, strictly taken, is again twofold, the one PRIVATE, established for the advantage of each individual, the other, SUPERIOR, as involving the claims, which the state has upon individuals, and their property, for the public good. Thus the Regal authority is above that of a father and a master, and the Sovereign has a greater right over the property of his subjects, where the public good is concerned, than the owners themselves have. And when the exigencies of the state require a supply, every man is more obliged to contribute towards it, than to satisfy his creditors.
Rights are not singular things, then, but composed a faculty to act upon and an aptitude in the power exercising a right. Thus the faculty to self-guidance is called: liberty. And all men have it as a part of being. The power of acting on liberty is the use of things and their obligations, which includes such things as guidance to children and ownership of property. Ownership requires that one has actually done those things and offered those payments as are necessary to have that property. The State has claims upon individuals and their property when needed for the common good and that obligation, within society, to the State is above all others, including the debts one owes. Those things that are needed for the common good have a superior claim by just authority than mere private needs.
These concepts were regularized by reason, so as to say that if these things exist and are as they are, then these other things happen due to the existence of the former. If you love and adore the rights you have, you also acknowledge their debt and obligation to being protected. Would that mankind could do without protection, but the presence of an agency to bring that about has not happened nor, as is the course of mankind and human society, ever likely to, save as the vast majority of humanity being repressed by a very few in an Empire. And that cost that can be incurred by the very fact we have society and government, is supreme above all things. To take part in and be a member of society protected by government, one has obligation that is also known as 'duty' to that State and society. That is not *just* duty when told to do it: it exists because one is a member of that society and State.
This concept of duty to Nation and upholding it so that Natural rights can be protected, and that those rights had obligation upon being protected, moved forward from that era. Andrew Jackson's Farewell Address of 04 MAR 1837 (Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs) would address some of what is necessary to have a State and Nation to uphold commonality of society:
But the Constitution can not be maintained nor the Union preserved, in opposition to public feeling, by the mere exertion of the coercive powers confided to the General Government. The foundations must be laid in the affections of the people, in the security it gives to life, liberty, character, and property in every quarter of the country, and in the fraternal attachment which the citizens of the several States bear to one another as members of one political family, mutually contributing to promote the happiness of each other. Hence the citizens of every State should studiously avoid everything calculated to wound the sensibility or offend the just pride of the people of other States, and they should frown upon any proceedings within their own borders likely to disturb the tranquillity of their political brethren in other portions of the Union. In a country so extensive as the United States, and with pursuits so varied, the internal regulations of the several States must frequently differ from one another in important particulars, and this difference is unavoidably increased by the varying principles upon which the American colonies were originally planted--principles which had taken deep root in their social relations before the Revolution, and therefore of necessity influencing their policy since they became free and independent States. But each State has the unquestionable right to regulate its own internal concerns according to its own pleasure, and while it does not interfere with the rights of the people of other States or the rights of the Union, every State must be the sole judge of the measures proper to secure the safety of its citizens and promote their happiness; and all efforts on the part of people of other States to cast odium upon their institutions, and all measures calculated to disturb their rights of property or to put in jeopardy their peace and internal tranquillity, are in direct opposition to the spirit in which the Union was formed, and must endanger its safety. Motives of philanthropy may be assigned for this unwarrantable interference, and weak men may persuade themselves for a moment that they are laboring in the cause of humanity and asserting the rights of the human race; but everyone, upon sober reflection, will see that nothing but mischief can come from these improper assaults upon the feelings and rights of others. Rest assured that the men found busy in this work of discord are not worthy of your confidence, and deserve your strongest reprobation.
There is, again, duty to self-control and respect to others in society and to not causing discord amongst the States within the Union. Government, too, must be kept in check unless it seeks means of discord amongst the People so as to exploit those to the gains of the few. What that broader issue is, however, is one that remains a constant: that of protecting society against those that profess to hold the rights of humanity supreme while acting so as to cause discord. Not only inside the Union but to those seeking to utilize such lofty goals of universality and demean the Union entire that we are to be warned about. As individuals we recognize the restrictions we place upon ourselves by having government.
Looking at Law of Nations, again in Book I, the following can be seen:
§ 117. The state, or the public person, ought to perfect its understanding and will.
If governors endeavoured to fulfil the obligations which the law of nature lays upon them with respect to themselves, and in their character of conductors of the state, they would be incapable of ever giving into the odious abuse just mentioned. Hitherto we have considered the obligation a nation is under to acquire knowledge and virtue, or to perfect its understanding and will; — that obligation, I say, we have considered in relation to the individuals that compose a nation; it also belongs in a proper and singular manner to the conductors of the state. A nation, while she acts in common, or in a body, is a moral person (Prelim. § 2) that has an understanding and will of her own, and is not less obliged than any individual to obey the laws of nature (Book I. § 5), and to improve her faculties (Book I. § 21). That moral person resides in those who are invested with the public authority, and represent the entire nation. Whether this be the common council of the nation, an aristocratic body, or a monarch, this conductor and representative of the nation, this sovereign of whatever kind, is therefore indispensably obliged to procure all the knowledge and information necessary to govern well, and to acquire the practice and habit of all the virtues suitable to a sovereign.
And as this obligation is imposed with a view to the public welfare, he ought to direct all his knowledge, and all his virtues, to the safety of the state, the end of civil society.
§ 118. And to direct the knowledge and virtues of the citizens to the welfare of the society.
He ought even to direct, as much as possible, all the abilities, the knowledge, and the virtues of the citizens to this great end; so that they may not only be useful to the individuals who possess them, but also to the state. This is one of the great secrets in the art of reigning. The state will be powerful and happy, if the good qualities of the subject, passing beyond the narrow sphere of private virtues, become civic virtues. This happy disposition raised the Roman republic to the highest pitch of power and glory.
§ 119. Love for their country. (53)
The grand secret of giving to the virtues of individuals a turn so advantageous to the state, is to inspire the citizens with an ardent love for their country. It will then naturally follow, that each will endeavour to serve the state, and to apply all his powers and abilities to the advantage and glory of the nation. This love of their country is natural to all men. The good and wise Author of nature has taken care to bind them, by a kind of instinct, to the places where they received their first breath, and they love their own nation, as a thing with which they are intimately connected. But it often happens that some causes unhappily weaken or destroy this natural impression. The injustice or the severity of the government loo easily effaces it from the hearts of the subjects; can self-love attach an individual to the affairs of a country where every thing is done with a view to a single person? — far from it: — we see, on the contrary, that free nations are passionately interested in the glory and the happiness of their country. Let us call to mind the citizens of Rome in the happy days of the republic, and consider, in modern times, the English and the Swiss.
§ 120. In individuals.
The love and affection a man feels for the state of which he is a member, is a necessary consequence of the wise and rational love he owes to himself, since his own happiness is connected with that of his country. This sensation ought also to flow from the engagements he has entered into with society. He has promised to procure its safety and advantage as far as in his power: and how can he serve it with zeal, fidelity, or courage, if he has not a real love for it?
§ 121. In the nation or state itself, and in the sovereign.
The nation in a body ought doubtless to love itself, and desire its own happiness as a nation. The sensation is too natural to admit of any failure in this obligation: but this duty relates more particularly to the conductor, the sovereign, who represents the nation, and acts in its name. He ought to love it as what is most dear to him, to prefer it to every thing, for it is the only lawful object of his care, and of his actions, in every thing he does by virtue of the public authority. The monster who does not love his people is no better than an odious usurper, and deserves, no doubt, to be hurled from the throne. There is no kingdom where the statue of Codrus ought not to be placed before the palace of the sovereign. That magnanimous king of Athens sacrificed his life for his people.4 That great prince and Louis XII, are illustrious models of the tender love a sovereign owes to his subjects.
§ 122. Definition of the term country.
The term, country, seems to be pretty generally known: but as it is taken in different senses, it may not be unuseful to give it here an exact definition. It commonly signifies the State of which one is a member: in this sense we have used it in the preceding sections; and it is to be thus understood in the law of nations.
In a more confined sense, and more agreeably to its etymology, this term signifies the state, or even more particularly the town or place where our parents had their fixed residence at the moment of our birth. In this sense, it is justly said, that our country cannot be changed, and always remains the same, to whatsoever place we may afterwards remove. A man ought to preserve gratitude and affection for the state to which he is indebted for his education, and of which his parents were members when they gave him birth. But as various lawful reasons may oblige him to choose another country, — that is, to become a member of another society; so. when we speak in general of the duty to our country, the term is to be understood as meaning the state of which a man is an actual member; since it is the latter, in preference to every other state, that he is bound to serve with his utmost efforts.
§ 123. How shameful and criminal to injure our country.
If every man is obliged to entertain a sincere love for his country, and to promote its welfare as far as in his power, it is a shameful and detestable crime to injure that very country. He who becomes guilty of it, violates his most sacred engagements, and sinks into base ingratitude: he dishonours himself by the blackest perfidy, since he abuses the confidence of his fellow-citizens, and treats as enemies those who had a right to expect his assistance and services. We sec traitors to their country only among those men who are solely sensible to base interest, who only seek their own immediate advantage, and whose hearts are incapable of every sentiment of affection for others. They are, therefore, justly detested by mankind in general, as the most infamous of all villains.
While a Nation may uphold views of the universality of human rights, it has limitations upon what it can actually do with other Nations to help foster those beliefs. Further, inside the Nation, those that seek to foster such rights must acknowledge that the very first place they need to be upheld is at home with one's lawful countrymen. In trying to universalize humanity, those seeking to do this are no longer giving first fealty to their friends and neighbors, nor to their Nation, but placing their beliefs ahead of and above those of *both*. These are not some strange set of concepts taken out of the blue, this love of country concept: it comes from classical liberalism.
Those that say they are upholding 'classical liberal' views by opposing their Nation and saying that it 'does not represent me' are not espousing any such views, at all. The social compact of Constitution and society does allow for the civic discussion via reason of activities taken in the name of the People of a Nation, but stepping beyond that is then repudiating one's Nation and one's membership in civil society. When one puts up a sign or verbally indicates that government is not acting in their name, that individual, then, is saying that they are no longer a part of that society, its agreements and will not uphold their duties to it. Once an individual gets to that point, they are not only no longer a part of society, but seeking discord within it by no longer holding their fellow man and society close to themselves.
Beyond that, those who seek to break down the Law of Nations, itself, are seeking an end to Nations by no longer upholding their part of the bargain for self-defense. When laws are set and administered, those seeking to allow them to be broken because of their feelings about 'universal rights' and being 'classical liberals' tend to forget about those laws and duty towards them. Thus when entering a country one tends to only get a few sets of status depending upon the legality of the entry:
§ 214. Naturalization.(58)
A nation, or the sovereign who represents it, may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen, by admitting him into the body of the political society. This is called naturalization. There are some states in which the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, — for example, that of holding public offices — and where, consequently, he has the power of granting only an imperfect naturalization. It is here a regulation of the fundamental law, which limits the power of the prince. In other states, as in England and Poland, the prince cannot naturalize a single person, without the concurrence of the nation, represented by its deputies. Finally, there are states, as, for instance, England, where the single circumstance of being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.
§ 219. Vagrants.
Vagrants are people who have no settlement. Consequently, those born of vagrant parents have no country, since a man's country is the place where, at the time of his birth, his parents had their settlement (§ 122), or it is the state of which his father was then a member, which comes to the same point; for, to settle for ever in a nation, is to become a member of it, at least as a perpetual inhabitant, if not with all the privileges of a citizen. We may, however, consider the country of a vagrant to be that of his child, while that vagrant is considered as not having absolutely renounced his natural or original settlement.
§ 222. Variation of the political laws in this respect, (61) These must be obeyed.
The political laws of nations vary greatly in this respect. In some nations, it is at all times, except in case of actual war, allowed to every citizen to absent himself, and even to quit the country altogether, whenever he thinks proper without alleging any reason for it. This liberty, contrary in its own nature to the welfare and safety of society, can nowhere be tolerated but in a country destitute of resources and incapable of supplying the wants of its inhabitants. In such a country there can only be an imperfect society; for civil society ought to be capable of enabling all its members to procure, by their own labour and industry, all the necessaries of life: unless it effects this, it has no right to require them to devote themselves entirely to it. In some other states, every citizen is left at liberty to travel abroad on business, but not to quit his country altogether, without the express permission of the sovereign. Finally, there are states where the rigour of the government will not permit any one whatsoever to go out of the country without passports in form, which are even not granted without great difficulty. In all these cases, it is necessary to conform to the laws, when they are made by a lawful authority. But, in the last-mentioned case, the sovereign abuses his power, and reduces his subjects to an insupportable slavery, if he refuses them permission to travel for their own advantage, when he might grant it to them without inconvenience, and without danger to the state. Nay, it will presently appear, that, on certain occasions, he cannot, under any pretext, detain persons who wish to quit the country, with the intention of abandoning it for ever.
§ 224. Emigrants.
Those who quit their country for any lawful reason, with a design to settle elsewhere, and take their families and property with them, are called emigrants.
§ 225. Sources of their right
Their right to emigrate may arise from several sources. 1. In the cases we have just mentioned (§ 223), it is a natural right, which is certainly reserved to each individual in the very compact itself by which civil society was formed.
2. The liberty of emigration may, in certain cases, be secured to the citizens by a fundamental law of the state. The citizens of Neufchatel and Valangin in Switzerland may quit the country and carry off their effects at their own pleasure, without even paying any duties.
3. It may be voluntarily granted them by the sovereign.
4. This right may be derived from some treaty made with a foreign power, by which a sovereign has promised to leave full liberty to those of his subjects, who, for a certain reason — on account of religion, for instance — desire to transplant themselves into me territories of that power. There are such treaties between the German princes, particularly for cases in which religion is concerned. In Switzerland likewise, a citizen of Bern who wishes to emigrate to Fribourg, and there profess the religion of the place, and, reciprocally, a citizen of Fribourg who, for a similar reason, is desirous of removing to Bern, has a right to quit his native country, and carry off with him all his property.
It appears from several passages in history, particularly the history of Switzerland and the neighbouring countries, that the law of nations, established there by custom some ages back, did not permit a state to receive the subjects of another state into the number of its citizens. This vicious custom had no other foundation than the slavery to which the people were then reduced. A prince, a lord, ranked his subjects under the head of his private property; he calculated their number as he did that of his flocks; and, to the disgrace of human nature, this strange abuse is not yet everywhere eradicated.
§ 229. The exile and banished man have a right to live somewhere.
A man, by being exiled or banished, does not forfeit the human character, nor consequently his right to dwell somewhere on earth. He derives this right from nature, or rather from its Author, who has destined the earth for the habitation of mankind; and the introduction of property cannot have impaired the right which every man has to the use of such things as are absolutely necessary — a right which he brings with him into the world at the moment of his birth.
§ 230. Nature of this right.
But though this right is necessary and perfect in the general view of it, we must not forget that it is but imperfect with respect to each particular country. For, on the other hand, every nation has a right to refuse admitting a foreigner into her territory, when he cannot enter it without exposing the nation to evident danger, or doing her a manifest injury, what she owes to herself, the care of her own safety, gives her this right; and, in virtue of her natural liberty, it belongs to the nation to judge, whether her circumstances will or will not justify the admission of that foreigner (Prelim. § 16). He cannot, then, settle by a full right, and as he pleases, in the place he has chosen, but must ask permission of the chief of the place; and, if it is refused, it is his duty to submit.
§ 231. Duty of nations towards them.
However, as property could not be introduced to the prejudice of the right acquired by every human creature, of not being absolutely deprived of such things as are necessary — no nation can, without good reasons, refuse even a perpetual residence to a man driven from his country. But, if particular and substantial reasons prevent her from affording him an asylum, this man has no longer any right to demand it — because, in such a case, the country inhabited by the nation cannot, at the same time, serve for her own use, and that of this foreigner. Now, supposing even that things are still in common, nobody can arrogate to himself the use of a thing which actually serves to supply the wants of another. Thus, a nation, whose lands are scarcely sufficient to supply the wants of the citizens, is not obliged to receive into its territories a company of fugitives or exiles. Thus, it ought even absolutely to reject them, if they are infected with a contagious disease. Thus, also, it has a right to send them elsewhere, if it has just cause to fear that they will corrupt the manners of the citizens, that they will create religious disturbances, or occasion any other disorder, contrary to the public safety. In a word, it has a right, and is even obliged to follow, in this respect, the suggestions of prudence. But this prudence should be free from unnecessary suspicion and jealousy; it should not be carried so far as to refuse a retreat to the unfortunate, for slight reasons, and on groundless and frivolous fears. The means of tempering it will be, never to lose sight of that charity and commiseration which are due to the unhappy. We must not suppress these feelings even for those who have fallen into misfortune through their own fault. For, we ought to hate the crime, but love the man, since all mankind ought to love each other.
§ 232. A nation cannot punish them for faults committed out of its territories.
If an exiled or banished man has been driven from his country for any crime, it does not belong to the nation in which he has taken refuge to punish him for that fault committed in a foreign country. For, nature does not give to men or to nations any right to inflict punishment, except for their own defence and safety (§ 169); whence it follows that we cannot punish any but those by whom we have been injured.
§ 233. Except such as affect the common safety of mankind.
But this very reason shows, that, although the justice of each nation ought in general to be confined to the punishment of crimes committed in its own territories, we ought to except from this rule those villains, who, by the nature and habitual frequency of their crimes, violate all public security, and declare themselves the enemies of the human race. Poisoners, assassins, and incendiaries by profession, may be exterminated wherever they are seized; for they attack and injure all nations by trampling under foot the foundations of their common safety. Thus, pirates are sent to the gibbet by the first into whose hands they fall. If the sovereign of the country where crimes of that nature have been committed, reclaims the perpetrators of them, in order to bring them to punishment, they ought to be surrendered to him, as being the person who is principally interested in punishing them in an exemplary manner. And as it is proper to have criminals regularly convicted by a trial in due form of law, this is a second reason for delivering up malefactors of that class to the states where their crimes have been committed. (62)
Here we have those trying to push 'illegal immigrants' into the vagrant category, and those terrorists caught during wartime operations as mere 'exiles'. Trying to assert these things is contrary to how 'classical liberals' would view them as they go against reason and justly derived law within Nations. In the former, those coming illegally for labor are no mere vagrants, born of no real land and forever wandering: they come here wilfully with forethought and intention to break sovereign law and treaties between Nations. For terrorists, they are not 'exiles' but those that have breached the common safety of mankind by their actions and intentions, along with denouncing all Nations. Caught during wartime, they are not subject to normal, civil law, but the laws of war, this from Grotius On the Laws of War and Peace: Book I, Chapter 3:
I. THE first and most necessary divisions of war are into one kind called private, another public, and another mixed. Now public war is carried on by the person holding the sovereign power. Private war is that which is carried on by private persons without authority from the state. A mixed war is that which is carried on, on one side by public authority, and on the other by private persons. But private war, from its greater antiquity, is the first subject for inquiry.
The proofs that have been already produced, to shew that to repel violence is not repugnant to natural law, afford a satisfactory reason to justify private war, as far as the law of nature is concerned. But perhaps it may be thought that since public tribunals have been erected, private redress of wrongs is not allowable. An objection which is very just. Yet although public trials and courts of Justice are not institutions of nature, but erected by the invention of men, yet as it is much more conducive to the peace of society for a matter in dispute to be decided by a disinterested person, than by the partiality and prejudice of the party aggrieved, natural justice and reason will dictate the necessity and advantage of every one's submitting to the equitable decisions of public judges. Paulus, the Lawyer, observes that "what can be done by a magistrate with the authority of the state should never be intrusted to individuals; as private redress would give rise to greater disturbance. And "the reason, says King Theodoric, why laws were invented, was to prevent any one from using personal violence, for wherein would peace differ from all the confusion of war, if private disputes were terminated by force?" And the law calls it force for any man to seize what he thinks his due, without seeking a legal remedy.
Those that wage private war are acting under the Law of Nature, not under the Law of Nations nor under civil law made by men. In so doing their jurisdiction is outside the normal recourse of National or civil law, although laws may be made to address them they cannot be seen as covering the Law of Nature. By that action of personal, private war that the means of redress are outside normal, public, venues. By following the dictates of Nature and seeking to impose one's will by war upon others and being under no Nation, one's position falls outside the framework of civilization. While an individual still holds their natural rights, their actions have made them an enemy to all of mankind and their rights are nullified by their actions. Civil and National law may address such individuals when captured in civil or normal circumstances, but in warfare they have regressed beyond all bounds of civilized norms and in times past that has meant a swift death when captured.
Yes that, too, is 'classical liberal' in its viewpoint.
I have problems with those trying to assert 'classical liberal' views that hold no affiliation with classical liberals. It is not to be denied that all humans have their inborn rights, but one cannot deny that the actions taken with respect to those rights and the disrespect or destructions of the lives of others or their Nations also is of high concern. Rights do not trump accountability, and 'classical liberals' were really quite hard on those that wished to substitute emotion for reason instead of letting reason guide their emotional views. If, as a Nation and civilization, we put no bounds at all on the limits of what is and is not allowable by individuals, then we regress to the Law of Nature and not forward to a better understanding and coming to terms with civilization and how to uphold it.
Upholding civilization is quite a difficult thing to do. Not doing so was something 'classical liberals' viewed as 'decadent' or in an advanced state of decay, usually associated with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. When civilized norms have no limits, what is to differentiate between civilization and the Law of Nature? And if we are unwilling to uphold those that break those norms to their fates which they, themselves, have set themselves to willingly and with knowledge aforethought break, then how can we say that we are any better than they are in not upholding our norms?
Patting a hungry wolf and saying 'nice doggie' is only acceptable if you are reaching for a hefty weapon to dispatch it. Otherwise you are dinner.
That is the Law of Nature.