Sunday, November 23, 2014

Who polluted Robin Hood?

Robin Hood was not a jacobin nor a socialist, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But here, I will highlight where he was transformed into one.

The title of the book is: "Robin Hood: A Collection of All the Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads, Now Extant Relative to that Celebrated English Outlaw ; to which are Prefixed Historical Anecdotes of His Life", authored by Joseph Ritson, who was sympathetic to Jacobinism. This book was first printed in 1795. This book is a collection of his works, which means that he was spreading this filth around in who knows how many publications in how many countries prior to collecting them. Ever wonder why now, that idea of Robin Hood as a communist is so widespread? This is why.

About Ritson's Jacobin viewpoint, see "Joseph Ritson: a critical biography", by Henry Alfred Burd. P. 177 (here)

Previous to this, most old stories of Robin Hood had him stealing from the Sheriff of Nottingham(Child Ballad 122), or, from characters such as The Bishop of Hereford. (Child Ballad 143; alt) There are a few outliers, such as Martin Parker's Ballad(154), which Ritson cites, but it was Ritson who mainstreamed this idea where no longer do the Sheriff or King John get rich via taxes, and instead, it is Robin Hood who does the redistributing.

Now, for a small examination of Ritson's writing, particularly page xlvii:

In a word, every man who has the power has also the authority to pursue the ends of justice, to regulate the gifts of fortune, by transfering the superfluities of the rich to the necessities of the poor; by relieving the oppressed, and even, when necessary, destroying the oppressor. These are the objects of the social union, and every individual may, and to the utmost of his power should, endeavour to promote them.

This kind of language seems very familiar. Who does that sound like to you?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Edward Ross explains his resignation from Stanford University

Following the (at the time) infamous "Ross Affair", Professor Edward Ross had this to say about his resignation:
At the beginning of last May a representative of organized labor asked Dr. Jordan to be one of the speakers at a mass meeting called to protest against coolie immigration, and to present 'the scholar's view.' He was unable to attend, but recommended me as a substitute. Accordingly, I accepted, and on the evening of May 7th read a twenty-five minute paper from the platform of Metropolitan Hall in San Francisco. . . . I tried to show that owing to its high, Malthusian birth rate the Orient is the land of 'cheap men,' and that the coolie, though he can not outdo the American, can underlive him. I took the ground that the high standard of living that restrains multiplication in America will be imperiled if Orientals are allowed to pour into this country in great numbers before they have raised their standard of living and lowered their birth rate. I argued that the Pacific is the natural frontier of East and West, and that California might easily experience the same terrible famines as India and China if it teemed with the same kind of men. In thus scientifically co-ordinating the birth rate with the intensity of the struggle for existence, I struck a new note in the discussion of Oriental immigration which, to quote one of the newspapers, 'made a profound impression.' On May 18th, Dr. Jordan told me that quite unexpectedly to him Mrs. Stanford had shown herself greatly displeased with me, and had refused to re appoint me. He had heard from her just after my address on coolie immigration. He had no criticism for me and was profoundly distressed at the idea of dismissing a scientist for utterances within the scientist's own field. He made earnest representations to Mrs Stanford, and on June 2d I received my belated re-appointment for 1900-1. The outlook was such, however, that on June 5th I offered my resignation.

When I handed it in Dr. Jordan read me a letter which he had just received from Mrs. Stanford and which had, of course, been written without knowledge of my resignation. In this letter she insisted that my connection with the university end, and directed that I be given my time from January 1st to the end of the academic year. My resignation was not acted upon at once, and efforts were made by President Jordan and the president of the board of trustees to induce Mrs. Stanford to alter her decision. These proved unavailing, and on Monday, November 12th, Dr. Jordan accepted my resignation in the following terms:

'I have waited till now in the hope that circumstances might arise which would lead you to a reconsideration. As this has not been the case, I, therefore, with great reluctance, accept your resignation, to take effect at your own convenience. In doing so I wish to express once more the high esteem in which your work, as a student and a teacher, as well as your character as a man, is held by all your colleagues.'

Last year I spoke three times in public - once before a university extension centre on 'The British Empire,' once before a church on 'The Twentieth Century City,' and once before a mass-meeting on coolie immigration. To my utterances on two of these occasions objection has been made. It is plain, therefore, that this is no place for me. I can not with self-respect decline to speak on topics to which I have given years of investigation. It is my duty as an economist to impart, on occasion, to sober people, and in a scientific spirit, my conclusions on subjects with which I am expert, and if I speak I can not but take positions which are justified by statistics and by the experience of the Old World. . . . I am sorry to go, for I have put too much of my life into this university not to love it. My chief regret in leaving is that I must break the ties that bind me to my colleagues of seven years, and must part from my great chief, Dr. Jordan.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Henri de Saint-Simon and Technocracy

In "The Coming Of Post-industrial Society", Daniel Bell writes the following: (Page 76-77)
Industrial Society, as St. Simon insisted, was the application of technical knowledge to social affairs in a methodical, systematic way. With industrial society, thus, has come the technicien - the French usage is more apt than the English "technician," for its sense in French is much wider - the trained expert in the applied sciences. It has implied, too, that those who possessed such knowledge would exercise authority - if not power - in the society.

St. Simon's vision of industrial society, a vision of pure technocracy, was a system of planning and rational order in which society would specify its needs and organize the factors of production to achieve them. Industrial society was characterized by two elements, knowledge and organization. Knowledge, he said, was objective. No one had "opinions" on chemistry or mathematics; one either had knowledge or not. The metaphors St. Simon used for organization were an orchestra, a ship and an army, in which each person fulfils a function in accordance with his competence. Although St. Simon clearly outlined the process wherby a nascent bourgeoisie had superseded the feudal nobility, and though he predicted the rise of a large working class, he did not believe that the working class would succeed the bourgeoisie in power. As he tried to show in his sketch of historical development, classes do not rule, for society is always governed by an educated elite. The natural leaders of the working class would therefore be the industrialists and the scientists. He forsaw the dangers of conflict, but did not regard it as inevitable. If an organic society were created, men would accept their place as a principle of justice. The division of labor meant that some men would guide and others would be guided. In a society organized by function and capacity, doctors and engineers and chemists would employ their skills according to objective needs, not in order to gain personal power. These men would be obeyed not because they are masters but because they have technical competence; to be obedient to one's doctor, after all, is a spontaneous but rational act. For this reason the St. Simonians, in a set of phrases that later were used by Engels, gave their new social hierarchy the slogan, "From each according to his capacity, to each according to his performance," and the industrial society, as they describe it, was no longer the "rule over men, but the administration of things."

The administration of things - the substitution of rational judgement for politics - is the hallmark of technocracy.