Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Injustice Book Review: Cicero's On Duties, as translated by Quintus Curtius

Cower not, fierce reader! Today, we have an important tome. Not an easy, nor a fun leisurely read, but rather, a book that may well help you think and live such that the forces of Social Justice cower in fear. As is appropriate for their triggering, this work is from one of ancient Rome's finest philosophers. 

As to the crimes of this book, we have firstly the idea that moral goodness can be properly ascertained. There are no relativistic morals, for these belong to the intemperates that find pain to be the greatest evil. Moral goodness, it is asserted, can be found by the examination of truth, the protection and development of the society of man, a powerful and invincible spirit, and by modest and temperate order and methodology in debate and events. Clearly, Cicero was a criminal of the highest order in his time: daring to assert that truth can be found and is not relative.

The first book(this is structured in three parts) also brings up one of the most important parts of a high trust society: bargaining and acting in good faith. The world has long admired craftiness and deception, and it does indeed have its place. However, that place should be kept to things such as games, war, and proper espionage.  The elevation of deception has been hurting our ability to bargain and deal with each other fairly. Vox Day, for instance, has come to a point of refusing to do taped interviews unless he knows and trusts the interviewer, as the media has repeatedly altered the appearance of his words via cherry picking phrases out of context.

Toward the end of the first book, Cicero also covers appropriate conversation. Piracy, fraud, and adultery are declared immoral, but not discussion thereof. The application to the creation of progeny, on the other hand is the reverse. Of course, this is beyond the pale for the SocJus crowd: they will crow about the crimes of their opponents, hide their own, and talk about sex and the destruction of children all day.

The second book covers the concept of advantageousness, and what it truly is. The cultivation of a reputation for Justice is discussed, and found that cowardice and corruptibility are the opposites, and one without these is tested by fire.

A quick note: Justice is a separate concept form due process at this time, and the economic system is a patron one that is beyond our experience. Land ownership has vastly different qualities, as does citizenship.

Public spending is addressed, and what is the best way of it. Spending on infrastructure over direct monies to the poor are advocated for, as they will make generations wealthier. Charity is commended for sever calamity, and only for those that wish to improve their condition.

Cicero suggests rapid apologies for those one may have accidentally hurt. In the case of actual damage, I would agree, but in this day of perpetual lies and rage, I would largely advocate for Vox Day's rule of never apologizing. Cicero lived in a time when even deceptive men were more honest, and honesty was both respected and revered. Now, lying is seen as acceptable by large masses.

Cicero dealt with advocates for an agrarian "reform" of confiscation and redistribution of land. Cicero found the talk of equal redistribution of land to be a dangerous curse designed to undermine the foundations of the state. Would that Cicero had been more read during FDR's time.

Book three covers the apparent conflict between the two concepts of the earlier books. I say apparent because Cicero gives a fairly decent argument for them not actually being in conflict. Most of this has to do with a larger perspective, that what gives advantage may not appear so in the short term, and what appears to bring disadvantage may in the long term bring the opposite.

Some things which do create conflicts now did not exist then, and these relate mostly to internal matters, rather than dealing with other states. Employment has changed in it's nature greatly, as has the nature of sales and product information. I  make these observations not to discount Cicero, but to ensure that a different society is taken into account.

I know some are wondering why I chose to read, never mind review this text. It is difficult, make no mistake; and that is with the excellent translating skills of Quintus Curtius. I cannot imagine finding a better translation, though I'm certain there are imprecisions here and there. One reason is it remains an excellent book on public action.  The second is that it may help some to explain the popularity of Donald Trump with the masses. He is not bribable, he rewards good work and is generous to those he feels have done service to society. The safety and continuation of his country are what he is campaigning on, and these themes are all covered within, enough to make me wonder if Mr. Trump has read a translation of Cicero.

As a work that promotes the causes of Injustice, by the advocacy of right actions, this is a masterpiece. 9/10 Fell Deeds

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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