Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Spencer: The Weariness of Freedom and Comfort

 

“[E]veryone has found how even the best easy chair, at first rejoiced in, becomes after many hours intolerable; and change to a hard seat, previously occupied and rejected, seems for a time to be a great relief. It is the same with incorporated humanity. Having by long struggles emancipated itself from the hard discipline of the ancient régime, and having discovered that the new régime into which it has grown, though relatively easy, is not without stresses and pains, its impatience with these prompts the wish to try another system: which other system is, in principle if not in appearance, the same as that which during past generations was escaped from with much rejoicing.” — Herbert Spencer, “The Man versus the State.” Apple Books.

Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

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  1. Lilly B Coolidge

    We shall see. Some people, I think, just say they support socialism because they think it makes them look generous. They are in fact quite competitive and successful themselves and would never be satisfied with handouts. And maybe they just think the system just continues on in much the same way no matter what, so it will all be fine. 

    • #1
    • December 2, 2019, at 6:34 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    We shall see. Some people, I think, just say they support socialism because they think it makes them look generous. They are in fact quite competitive and successful themselves and would never be satisfied with handouts. And maybe they just think the system just continues on in much the same way no matter what, so it will all be fine.

    Spencer talks about them too, in that book. They aren’t slaves, but vassals.

    • #2
    • December 2, 2019, at 6:37 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. Lilly B Coolidge

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    We shall see. Some people, I think, just say they support socialism because they think it makes them look generous. They are in fact quite competitive and successful themselves and would never be satisfied with handouts. And maybe they just think the system just continues on in much the same way no matter what, so it will all be fine.

    Spencer talks about them too, in that book. They aren’t slaves, but vassals.

    Interesting. I’ll check it out. I’m still hopeful that Americans wouldn’t elect a President that says (believes?) the kind of things that Bernie, Mayor Pete or Elizabeth Warren say. And Biden – I just don’t know what he’s selling. 

    • #3
    • December 3, 2019, at 6:25 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  4. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    That is a wise quote. I think it applies to other areas besides political systems. For example, friends on Facebook sigh after a lifestyle where everyone had to rely on food they themselves grew, raised, harvested, and butchered. 

    • #4
    • December 3, 2019, at 12:17 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor

    It’s just like a post I just put up. No matter how well-off we are, how blessed we are, there must be something else that is better–or that will rescue us from a life that demands a lot for us to earn success.

    • #5
    • December 3, 2019, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Henry Castaigne Member

    The complaint in song form is quite funny.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVe8bPQX4Z0

    • #6
    • December 3, 2019, at 3:47 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    It’s just like a post I just put up. No matter how well-off we are, how blessed we are, there must be something else that is better–or that will rescue us from a life that demands a lot for us to earn success.

    Yes. No matter how much our lives improve by our replacing the ancient regime–injustice and violence–with our creator’s divine regime of righteousness and peace, we think that reversing the cause will somehow not reverse the effect. We think that the world will somehow obey a new law of creation, one of our own invention. We will create heaven without God.

    • #7
    • December 3, 2019, at 4:04 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Boss Mongo Member

    Mark Camp: “[E]veryone has found how even the best easy chair, at first rejoiced in, becomes after many hours intolerable; and change to a hard seat, previously occupied and rejected, seems for a time to be a great relief.

    I dunno, Mark. While I agree with the point, the metaphor falls short. I have never planted my patootie in a wonderful easy chair, and after many hours thought, “Y’know, I really need hickory straight back with no cushions. Hasn’t happened.

    Now, maybe I undermine my own point as I type this from the pub table I use as a desk, with it’s hard, no cushion pub chair. The only useful function it has (other than the obvious) is that I can tell I’m losing too much weight when it hurts my butt bones.

    • #8
    • December 4, 2019, at 4:05 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Yup. Recreational socialism, here we come!

    • #9
    • December 4, 2019, at 5:09 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s a tale as old as time.

    • #10
    • December 4, 2019, at 6:50 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. The Reticulator Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s a tale as old as time.

    Well, of course it is, after we’ve trampled down all the grass on our own side that we haven’t covered up with junk. Time to move on to the other side of the fence.

    • #11
    • December 4, 2019, at 7:00 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  12. OldDanRhody's speakeasy Member

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):
    friends on Facebook sigh after a lifestyle where everyone had to rely on food they themselves grew, raised, harvested, and butchered. 

    Hahahahaha! I’d like to see them try it for a year, see if they still feel that way. They wouldn’t be posting on facebook during daylight hours, that’s for certain.

    • #12
    • December 5, 2019, at 5:46 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mark Camp: Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

    Mark,

    You’ve picked out something very interesting. As the 19th century comes to a close America and England start to intellectually drift. Marxism and Darwinism have been around for 50 years so that isn’t anything new. What is new is a sophisticated agnostic-nihilism that infects society from the head down. Spenser himself is a contributor to this new trend early on. The problem is that Spenser is too honest to be a good polemicist. As things get more radical Spenser becomes more and more conservative. He wasn’t read much in the early 20th century because of this.

    Thanks for the post.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • December 5, 2019, at 7:44 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. The Reticulator Member

    OldDanRhody, 7152 Maple Dr. (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):
    friends on Facebook sigh after a lifestyle where everyone had to rely on food they themselves grew, raised, harvested, and butchered.

    Hahahahaha! I’d like to see them try it for a year, see if they still feel that way. They wouldn’t be posting on facebook during daylight hours, that’s for certain.

    Everybody should try it and learn how hard it is. Well, maybe not everybody, but those of us who are slow learners should try it.

    • #14
    • December 5, 2019, at 8:46 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s a tale as old as time.

    Well, of course it is, after we’ve trampled down all the grass on our own side that we haven’t covered up with junk. Time to move on to the other side of the fence.

    True, we have screwed up our system in many ways. But the particular circumstances really don’t matter in the end. Human nature is never satisfied with poverty, sickness, injustice, and life’s other ailments We endlessly hope for better and believe we can do better. 

    No matter how good a life people enjoy, many will focus on the failures and be led into fads of destructive revolution.

    • #15
    • December 5, 2019, at 12:41 PM PST
    • Like
  16. The Reticulator Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The grass is always greener on the other side. It’s a tale as old as time.

    Well, of course it is, after we’ve trampled down all the grass on our own side that we haven’t covered up with junk. Time to move on to the other side of the fence.

    True, we have screwed up our system in many ways. But the particular circumstances really don’t matter in the end. Human nature is never satisfied with poverty, sickness, injustice, and life’s other ailments We endlessly hope for better and believe we can do better.

    No matter how good a life people enjoy, many will focus on the failures and be led into fads of destructive revolution.

    Also, my Samsung smartphone sucks. It’s slower than it used to be. I want a newer and better one.

    • #16
    • December 5, 2019, at 1:03 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Mark Camp: Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

    Mark,

    You’ve picked out something very interesting. As the 19th century comes to a close America and England start to intellectually drift. Marxism and Darwinism have been around for 50 years so that isn’t anything new. What is new is a sophisticated agnostic-nihilism that infects society from the head down. Spenser himself is a contributor to this new trend early on. The problem is that Spenser is too honest to be a good polemicist. As things get more radical Spenser becomes more and more conservative. He wasn’t read much in the early 20th century because of this.

    Thanks for the post.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    I’ve not studied him and I’d like to learn more about this agnostic-nihilist side of him. Can you recommend a book or paper from this period?

    M.

    • #17
    • December 5, 2019, at 1:07 PM PST
    • Like

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