The wisdom of David Hume

by on December 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm in Books, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science | Permalink

“The convulsions of a civilized state usually compose the most instructive and most interesting part of its history”

That is from Hume’s History of England, via Dan Klein and also Andrew Sabl.

1 prior_test2 December 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Sadly, the convulsions of nuclear armed states are unlikely to be either instructive or interesting.

Till now, we have managed to avoid that, mainly due to the luck of the Soviet empire really just being another iteration of the Russian empire. An empire which continues to follow its imperial ambitions while incorporating pieces of the past – an ex-KGB tsar in all but name, or the Red Army.

2 Thiago Ribeiro December 26, 2016 at 2:41 pm

In fact, I think it will be interesting times, but you know what thwy say about interesting times.

3 msgkings December 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm

When have times not been interesting?

4 Post-Truth Politics December 26, 2016 at 3:09 pm

“The convulsions of a civilized state usually compose the most instructive and most interesting part of its history”

Hmm. Are some people assuming that the U.S. is still civilized? Is there evidence to support that conclusion?

5 derek December 26, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Considering that the electorate voted against someone who was under investigation for crimes, maybe. But she won the popular vote, so maybe not.

6 Post-Truth Politics December 26, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Being under investigation for crimes does not mean one committed them. But uncivilized societies do not understand such distinctions. There is no proof that HRC did anything illegal– only a bunch of accusations, mostly from fake news.

7 derek December 26, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Civilized societies don’t have two sets of rules either. Anyone else would have been charged and prosecuted.

As I said, it could go either way.

8 Reduction December 26, 2016 at 8:25 pm

Three sets! HRC who we forgive nothing, Trump who we forgive everything, and then normal people with more correlated crimes and reputations.

9 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

One mark of a civilized society is a peaceful transition of power. It involves the losers letting go and regrouping for the next go-round.

10 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 2:53 am

Given that both candidates had legal and/or investigative actions pending at the time of the election, I don’t think it’s very relevant to say that the electorate voted against a person of such characteristics.

Either way (no matter who had won), they voted both for and against candidates with such characteristics.

11 Asshat Professor December 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm

“The white genocide in Haiti was certainly a good thing” – most SJWs like PTP above.

12 Post-Truth Politics December 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

“I love to tell lies about the views of other commenters here.”

Asshat Professor

13 Asshat Professor December 26, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Do you condemn him, or do you defend his white genocide advocacy, like most of the leftists here?

14 Thor December 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm

“Are some people assuming that the U.S. is still civilized?”

Yes, you daft, snide pillock! Because those of us that travel, realize that the US of A isn’t massively different than Norway, Germany, France, Scotland, Japan, etc etc, to pick just a couple of stable, civilized countries. (Though we have had fewer terrorist attacks lately than say Germany. That is obviously because Germany has invited in some uncivilized guests, though of course every polity already possesses a few uncivilized citizens already.)

Maybe you meant to say we are uncivil? Possibly… but that’s not a distinction you drew.

15 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 2:58 am

Which cases are you referring to for Germany? Are the refugees on average any more violent than the Germans?

For example, say … 1 of that million people kills one person. That’s a lot lower than the German average, right?

So, I think most people understand that when you accept request of refuge from war, that sometimes there can be some violence habits that may be somewhat higher than the rest of the population, for some time after arrival.

However, I’m not aware of this specifically being the case for Germany, at least not to any surprising sort of extent. (The most recent event, btw, cannot be pinned on refugees, at least not yet. Possibly, the fact of several ongoing wars on some other countries is more related to what acts of violence have occurred than the fact of accepting whatever number of refugees).

16 Horhe January 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm

There are indications that the refugees have a higher propensity for crime, in general, than the host population. There is no proof to suggest that this is just in the beginning, until things settle down. I might accept that the difference may be due to the presence of so many young men skewing the results when compared to a more elderly and sex-normal society like Germany, but I fear that normalizing the refugee population with women and children will only hasten the destruction of Germany, regardless of its effects on the refugee crime rate.

17 Thor December 26, 2016 at 6:44 pm

I’m not sure, but I think that under the superficial veneer of civilization, Syria has been pretty roiling.

18 chuck martel December 26, 2016 at 6:45 pm

The mundane, day-to-day attempt to earn one’s bread in a civilized state isn’t the most instructive and most interesting part of its history, unless you’re the one making the attempt.

19 Jan December 26, 2016 at 8:12 pm

OK, fine. So is there any way that Netanyahu can use a nuke on Obama but not the rest of the US? Because the US is just itching to rekindle its subservience to the ~5 million (or is it closer to 6?) Israelis that want to usher in a new era of Middle Eastern stability led by The Donald?

20 derek December 26, 2016 at 9:16 pm

Another alt-right aficionado!

21 Asshat Professor December 26, 2016 at 11:36 pm

“Israel should disarm. The Palestinians will welcome them with open arms.”

22 Charles Krauthammer December 27, 2016 at 12:23 am

“The Palestinians should stop throwing rocks and offer doves. The Israelis will withdraw their illegal settlements immediately.”

23 Asshat Professor December 27, 2016 at 1:19 am

“Sure, most Palestinians support Jewish genocide, but the Palestinians give a lot of money to leftish college organizations to have a voice in the Democrat party and they have co-opted black victimhood as their own, so… sorry Jews.”

24 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 3:03 am

Changing lines on a map does not mean killing everyone.

I think someone got a translation or two wrong and the rumours kind of never went away. (Also, probably a few people have that sentiment – nothing against Jews, but had I had the same experience, hard to say … maybe have the same opinion. Thankfully, I’m not in that position. I think the folks would be quite fine with a move-to-Manitoba solution, although I’m not sure what Manitoba thinks about that … )

25 Tj Jones December 27, 2016 at 5:21 am

great SJW stuff from Troll Me. Would love to get this empathetic thoughts on, I don’t know, the Jewish people in Europe? The experience of Israelis since 1948? But he can’t go there, better to contemplate further Genocide of the Jews.

26 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

It is not 1942 (when Jews were very highly over-represented in the non-military deaths in the war), it is not 1948 (when the survivors of those events were busy pushing Palestinians out of their homes), and we are not at Auschwitz (we all know what happened there despite the destruction of evidence). The events of WWII are not an eternal get out of jail free card.

What they are doing is wrong, and no evils of the past can undo that.

Anyways, my main observation is that you had precisely nothing of fact or argumentative value with respect to the specific statement made regarding translation questions. Just some mud to throw. Which inclines me to think that I’m right and you’re wrong.

But I’m quite open to being persuaded to think otherwise, if you are open to engaging in rational discussion.

Question: How would you define an “SJW” in a context where the topic is translation issues and whether one statement made a decade ago by an Iranian president in fact was intended to carry the meaning of “we will go kill all the Jews there”? Where is the “SJW” in suggesting that maaaybe he didn’t mean to literally kill all the Jews when he made a statement that clearly implied the non-existence of the state? (Second reminder – that was one statement, over a decade ago.)

27 Michael December 28, 2016 at 3:53 am

actually, in 1948 (1947, rather) the pushing was initiated by the arabs who, relying on their superiority in numbers (100:1 anyone?) widely proclaimed they would “push the jews into the sea”. The “naqba” is the shock that they failed in this.

Btw, at least officially, the whole rest of the world supported the division of palestine into a jewish and an arab state

Btw, the word Palestinian wasn’t invented yet

28 Michael December 28, 2016 at 4:05 am

in any case, if you want to talk about the present, not the past:

It’s one thing to discuss each side’s contribution to the mess they’re in now. I’m open to the argument that Israel is not coming out all squeaky clean in this (neither do the arabs)

It’s quite another thing to deny there would be genocide if Israel lost a war, and that’s not based on one statement of a crazy president. Are you seriously going to burden yourself with arguing that case?

29 Brett Dunbar December 31, 2016 at 9:48 am

It isn’t really possible to say either side started the fighting in 1947 as extremists on both sides took the expiration of the Mandate as a start signal to begin ethnic cleansing. That is fanatics on both sides attacked and murdered innocent people simultaneously.

30 B.T. December 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Libertarian genes of the Appalachia folk is ushering through this brief time of instability (ie reform) before it’s too late to salvage America.

31 A Very God Sentence (Viking) December 26, 2016 at 8:37 pm

“But Hengist and Horsa, perceiving, from their easy victory over the Scots and Picts, with what facility they might subdue the Britons themselves, who had not been able to resist those feeble invaders, were determined to conquer and fight for their own grandeur, not for the defence of their degenerate allies. “, from

chapter named “THE SAXONS”

In other words, the civilized latin spiking brittons were degenerate, and the scotts and the picts were feeble.

David Hume was a breadth of fresh air, if you wrote something like this today, you might be accused of being alt-right!

32 A Very God Sentence (Viking) December 26, 2016 at 8:45 pm

I guess the Britons were latin speaking, not latin spiking, but later they would spike cannons on occasion.

33 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 3:06 am

I think he was not talking about genetics or inferior stock or anything.

I mean, it wasn’t quite rocks versus tanks like you might find in some conflicts in the Middle East today, but there was a definite technological difference that would have made one side more “feeble”.

Aside from a little “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” kind of thinking, I don’t recall seeing much indication of such thinking in his more considered works.

34 Brian Donohue December 27, 2016 at 9:35 am
35 Troll me December 27, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Hmmm. I guess there was more overall ignorance 300 years ago than today. Other aspects of colonial, slave and trade relations also make it easy to understand.

It doesn’t seem to have otherwise clouded his thinking.

Did you know that when the Portuguese visited the Gold Coast in the 1500s, they treated with “kings”, but by the time the rest of Europe was making their first major forays into the region, they were dealing with “tribal chiefs”, etc., many of whom had become addicted to income from the slave trade?

Hume would not have been in a good position to evaluate this in an unbiased manner.

36 Brian Donohue December 28, 2016 at 9:56 am

Perhaps there was more ignorance on such issues 300 years ago. Or 250 years ago (deplorable Founding Fathers). Or 150 years ago (deplorable Lincoln). Or 100 years ago (deplorable Wilson.)


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: