“Human rights do not exist,” claims an anonymous dissident conservative writer, but when he (at least we’re going to identify the author as a “he”—heh) added some animadversions about our pal Michael Anton, the fight was on! Anton has responded at length to this provocation with a true tour de force over at American Greatness, entitled “Natural Right and the Traditional Reproach.” I do encourage interested readers to take in the whole thing, as it a succinct tour through the history and philosophical tradition of natural right, especially as it matches up to our desperate scene today.

Of course, denying natural right is a capital offense for our Lucretia, so she joins us for our spirited discussion of this subject, in which I play devil’s advocate and press some difficulties with Michael’s position and analysis. We also take in Paul Gottfried’s polite response to Michael, which left us more puzzled than anything.

We did have a couple of minor technical problems while we were recording that dropped Michael’s sound for a few seconds, which led to a couple of very abrupt jump cuts, but we smoothed it out as best we could. We suspect there are sequels to this argument ahead.  Stay tuned.

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There are 7 comments.

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  1. Noell Colin Coolidge
    Noell Colin

    If passion and tradition aren’t enough, I think the solution, possibly rightly identified by the bronze agers, has something to do with sacrifice. Modernity has almost entirely removed the necessity of sacrifice for the commoner; resulting in the commoner being able to be corrupted and perverted.

    I see some parallels with our founders’ circumstances and parts of the bronze age mindset (not all of it, just a portion). Signatures on documents were getting themselves killed. There was a real “vigilant and manly spirit” about the whole operation. Fast forward and that spirit that kept us in check, that sacrifice, is now totally lost. Without it, maybe egalitarianism gets to where it is today.

    The new right, bronze age types might rightly identify the small sectarian violence as a device to insure the manly spirit is perpetuated. What I think they don’t get is, what is that perpetual spirit giving energy to? Maybe that’s natural right; and they haven’t figured that out yet.

    I’m a graffiti artist now, plz call me Banksy.

    PS, this type of episode dovetails nicely with the more foundational PLU content.

    • #1
  2. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Good job, all!

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  3. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    I find people often misunderstand the idea of “natural law.”  They assume “nature” must mean something like “the physical world,” or “what happens automatically” or “what happens without human intervention” or something like that.

    My only solution has been to list for my students various definitions of “nature” including just one that actually works for natural law ethics, and tell them clearly and loudly to ignore most of those definitions.

    I’m puzzled at how often they don’t listen.

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  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Anyway, time for some shameless self-promotion. But also–you’re right about the importance of getting Plato’s Republic right. Most people ignore what the book actually says–including the people who insist it means what it says!

    Maybe a little Locke too.  I like Locke.

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  5. Leslie Watkins Member
    Leslie Watkins

    Bogging anonymously yet expecting readers to take seriously every little thought you have is off-putting to the point of disqualifying your voice.

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  6. Noell Colin Coolidge
    Noell Colin

    Leslie Watkins (View Comment):

    Bogging anonymously yet expecting readers to take seriously every little thought you have is off-putting to the point of disqualifying your voice.

    If the potential for a reputational, legal, and or employment hit wasn’t so serious for wrong think, you may have the beginnings of an argument. Though, ultimately, the substance of the matter has little to do with the name, unless you prefer appeals to authority and toxic elitisms. Since potential for a reputation can be equally garnered under anonymity or verified birth names, by transitivity, both are equal; and given merit not by the name (anonymous or verified), but by the content.

    On matters of the political, appeals to authority and elites are particularly dangerous. For the “voices” that are not “disqualified”, one must wonder why they are aloud to still speak, do they have any deals with the devil? Especially in dangerous times. 

    I can only conclude, at a minimum, rhetoric of “disqualification” of anyone’s voice on grounds of their pen name is unproductive. Especially when options like simply choosing not to engage are on the table for free.  


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  7. Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer Member
    Ernst Rabbit von Hasenpfeffer

    Z-man used to hang out on another small forum I frequent.  He would post and comment.  He was a prickly guy who left several years ago because the site moderator included NR in the news feed.  I would describe him as something of a paleocon rather than new right.  He has a podcast.  It’s pretty boring but useful for long drives.  He has good taste in music.

    • #7
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