Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Forgotten Purchase

As followers of this trail of chips  might have detected, we chipsters are devotées of the Middle Ages and adamantaly reject the canards of  certain vituperative Frenchmen and  the propagandists of capitalism. 

There is no question that history has witnessed a steady and progressive march of technological progress of which our Age is the latest beneficiary.  However, the chrono-centric notion that we have advanced in our concepts of humanity is so highly dubious as to be considered false.

Equally false, in our view, is the notion indoctrinated into impressionable minds that the Middle Ages were a time of brutish, barbarism.  In our view, a subtler, finer appreciation of the paradoxes of existence permeates medieval consciousness than the matter-bound modern mind set.

We recently came across another Nugget of Interest that corroborates our bias.

Laws of King Canute (995-1035)

“Merciful punishments shall be determined upon for the public good; and the handiwork of God and the purchase which He made at a great price, shall not be destroyed for trivial offences”  (Leges Regis Cnuti, Inst. Leg. Secularium II. De Misericordia in Judicio Habenda, given in Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, (1840) pp. 528-529 [Trans. per. P.H. Sawyer, From Roman Britain to Norman England, (1998, 2d Ed.) ISBN-10: 0415178940, at p. 190.].)

Magna Carta (1215)

“For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. (Id, (1215) Art. 20.)

Laws of Chief Justice Rhenquist (1980)

"The length of the sentence actually imposed is purely a matter of legislative prerogative.  This is not to say that a proportionality principle would not come into play ... if a legislature made overtime parking a felony punishable by life imprisonment."  Rummel v. Estelle (1980) 445 U.S. 263  274 and fn 11.)

But for an unsignaled lane change?  Well, in that  case...

We would not be so foolish as to think that the Middle Ages were an Age of Perfection but they were a time when men had not forgotten perfection.  Today's jurists thrash about in the swamp of expediencies and, like Rhenquist,  consider "the purchase which He made at a great price" to be an arbitrary "subjective value" which cannot be relied upon in the brave new world of realjur.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Begging & Begging the Question

Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth. -- Lucy Parsons

Faced with massive beggary in Europe, the New York Times met the issue head on by begging the question. The Times reported that, despite austerity protests, Greece and Spain were proceeding with further budget cuts. In Greece, the government "agreed on an austerity package that includes some of the most severe cuts in public pensions ever imposed in a developed country." In Spain, the government "introduced one of the most draconian budgets in the country’s history."

"The markets need reassuring," the Times explained and the cuts were "intended to reassure international investors and demonstrate the fiscal discipline that the euro zone was demanding..."

foto per N.Y. Times

Unlike Greece which had slashed pensions 10 percent, Spain took its cuts of flesh from other parts of the body. "Politically, it is understandable that Mr. Rajoy would want to put a protective bubble around the country’s 10 million retirees at a time when people are marching in the streets," the Times sympathetically intoned before going on to warn that "the fact that Spanish public pensions are being enhanced is a reminder of one reason European debt and deficit problems have proved so difficult to resolve."

What deserves note is not that budget cuts are being made but rather that the Times simply assumes that the "deficit problems" can only be "resolved"  by starving pensioners.   Entitlements  (i.e., people entitlements) are the problem and once pensions are cut the difficulty will be solved.  Never once does the Times question whether perhaps people -- and not "markets"-- need reassuring. Never once does the Times question the Moloch that demands the sacrifice of babies.

For the past nine months or so we have been thinking about Marx's Fetish of the Commodity and have been whittling away at a chip on the subject, but the Times report -- which is simply a reflection of what the Establishment thinks -- about sums it up. And what the New World Order demands is a Shylockian "economy" on a ferocious scale. We are in need of a Portia or a Parsons.