Armoured Libraries and survival of culture and law


David Davis

Various prominent British libertarians seem now agreed that The Endarkenment approaches. The signs have been increasingly clear for some time. The fact that liberty is the mother of order and not its daughter is inconvenient for those that mean to boot the vast majority of Mankind – except themselves – backwards, cruelly, painfully and hard into pre-enlightenment misery, starvation, disease and servitude.

Being a scientist myself by training and thought-modes, and therefore by definition not an intellectual -  I have never figured out why humans get to want to bring about – and worse, specifically for others than themselves – what I described above.

It always seems after careful analysis of their plans, that they would like to visit upon the whole of humanity what Churchill described as “the torments that Dante reserved for the damned”.

[Incidentally, I think that "intellectual" (the noun) is is a mere imaginary literary concept, applied by primitive pre-scientific mystics to themselves and their friends who still work according to neolithic non-tribe-male-skull-crashing theories of how to behave towards others, and are driven by emotion and wishful thinking. This may become the subject of another discussion, but perhaps I may accidentally have defined "conservatives" as definitely not these people. We shall have to see, when I have time to try to write something again.]

Various commenters on recent postings here have said things like this, and this, and this. In the darkness however, someone said this, and we may try to persuade him to enlarge on it.

But the problem of what to do about the vast corpus of useful knowledge, thought and culture that’s accumulated, mostly by accident, remains. It would be tragic if all or even some of it was lost. And, its existence kind of came about while the statist-warlords’ backs were turned because they’d been temporarily held up (here) in 1100, 1215, 1265, 1641, 1688 and at certain other times in certain other nations.

It’s no use now, even if we piled all the residual knowledge not already there, of all things useful into things called “libraries” – be they physical stacks of books and papers hundreds of miles long such as the Bodleian or the British Library or whatever. The Dark-NewAgers that form the “action cadres” of the British PoliticalEnemyClass, directed by GramscoFabiaNazis at the pinnacles of power in politics, the media and elsewhere, can go in with dump-bins, flamethrowers, shredders and whatnot, at any time they like, for actually they “own” the infrastructure where the stuff is being kept. Nobody has said that bookburning is over yet, and I’m sure that the buggers will be highly selective.

I’m beginning to think that what serious thoughtful libertarians need to do is start accumulating copies of whatever material they have ever thought was useful, instructive, skills-based or made any positive contribution to human advancement. This ought to be done soon while pretty-much everything is still legally available. Format doesn’t matter so long as readability is ensured. And then, the stuff ought to be put away in multiple and secure locations. Wikipedia is not enough, and Jimmy Wales is now “big” enough to be leaned on by governments, leftist university faculties and even presidents.

I believe that some attempts were made to do something like this historically, in the era when the Western Roman Empire was in a state of decay, and that some material did find its way in copy form, to monasteries and other places on the fringes of the Known World. It would please me if I thought people other than me were starting to try to do something about this problem.

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10 responses to “Armoured Libraries and survival of culture and law

  1. Yes David things are going to fall apart – and it is unfortunate.

    As for the longer term – I am actually fairly optimistic.

    Not for myself (I am a dead duck and I know it), but for civilisation

    I do not believe that technology will be forgotten.

    So after the double bankruptcy (on the fiscal side of the Welfare States and on the monetary side of the financial system) things (I believe) will still develop – it is just that I (and a lot of other people) will not be around to see it.

    So it will not be a question of a few Irish monasteries saving fragments of the old learning – for the reason that they were outside the Empire and thus were not burned when the Empire collapsed (even in the Eastern Empire the late 7th century and 8th century, the late 600s and the 700s, does not even see much coinage – let alone literature).

    So need to send missionaries from Ireland to St Gallen and even (although it is does not make one popular to point it out) to Rome itself – where the spelling (and so on) of Dark Age Popes was about at my level.

    Where will the new main areas of civilisation be?

    A lot of people say China.

    I simply do not know.

    It is a pity I will not be around to find out.

  2. But for those who take a really gloomy view………

    The LDS Church in Utah (which basically runs the State – a place much larger the United Kingdom and in the middle of nowhere) does seem to have obsession with collecting (and filing away in deep vaults) vast amounts of stuff – everything from works of secular philosophy to comic books.

    The problem may be that due to their rather sheltered lives (these people do not even drunk coffee) their understanding of a lot of the cultural stuff they file away may be imperfect. They may, in future (and without any dishonest intent) start to misinterpret (or just not understand) a lot of the stuff they have.

    Perhaps (if things get much worse than I think they will) they will start misunderstand old photographs of pop concerts as pagan religious rituals.

  3. I’m not so sure that things will fall apart, or collapse into a dark age. I think we are going to have a period of awful totalitarianism, and indeed that we are already in one. There is just going to be a gradual falling away of the pretence of decency and restraint by the authorities, into overt brutality. That would be my guess.

    In the long run, tyrrany can often be a good thing. Europe adopted religious freedom because it had suffered under religious tyrrany, for instance. That is, misery can create a positive reaction. I think in the even longer run, some form of liberal individualism is inevitable, and the basic reason for the tyranny is the ruling class failing to accept that inevitability and thus finding themselves forced to attempt to maintain outdated centralist political-social systems by increasing force. The internet for instance is libertarianism in action, and hugely successful as a consequence. Which is why they are trying to destroy it.

    But I fear like Paul that, short of wonderful life-extension technologies, I will not live to see the next liberal reaction against tyranny. In that sense, we are a bit like those who lived through the Russian Revolution and died under Stalin, who never saw the Wall come down.

    But who knows? History moves fast these days, and tends to go through periods of sudden reversal. Nobody in 1985 expected the USSR to collapse. Chin up! :)

  4. Quite so Ian.

    And one nice thing is that the international elites seem NOT to be cooperating to anything like the degree I thought they would.

    With (for example) the rising hatred between Russia and America and China and America the chances for true “world governance” (“international cooperation”) are in decline.

    “World Governance” would be the ultimate nightmare.

    All these regimes (yes including the American regime) are vile – but if they worked together then all hope would indeed die.

    But, it appears, they are not going to fully cooperate.

    They remain rivals.

  5. Liam Pickering

    Library Wars – a Japanese comic and now a movie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshokan_Sens%C5%8D

  6. Liam – given Japanese demographic collapse and their hopeless conflict with China (a power with vastly greater resources than Japan), I would not advice basing Doomsday Library there.

    Pity really – as the Japanese are an ancient and interesting culture.

    • Doomsday Library (a good name, by the way) should be atomised, and ought to be in thousands of places at once. Southern Rhodesia would be good for large departments, since nobody these days who was in a “let’s go and destroy” mode, would begin to think of looking there.

  7. The Japanese appear to be basing their hopes for the future on artificial intelligence and robots. However, should the Japanese ever seem to be about to succeed in their quest to “upload” themselves (or whatever), I suspect the Chinese government would saturate the Japanese islands with thermonuclear explosions (the Israelis may use atomic weapons against Iran quite soon, in an attempt to forestall the Iranian government doing this to Israel, – but the Chinese regime thinks in terms of “H” bombs not puny “A” bombs, fusion not just fission).

    The bankrupt Western nations would send Letters of Protest in response to the destruction of Japan.

    The recent sending of two American B52 bombers to fly over Japanese islands claimed by China (China now claims vast areas of the Pacific – at the expense of various other nations) has actually led to amusement in China.

    The reason being that the time when China could not have shot B52 from the sky is long over.

    • The Chinese of course have a rather long and detailed recent history of “not being able to view the Japanese Empire in quite as positive a light as might in theory be expected by an uninformed observer”.

      WW2 actually began in the late 1930s in East Asia, as I recall, over the coal and iron resources of Manchuria.

      As little boys in 50s school geography, we learned, among other things about China… that “Coal and Iron have been found in vast quantities in the North”…

  8. Quite so David.