We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Like Noamchoamski, I too am worried about the settled science of warmal colding and await the twin disasters of the Coming Ice Age and the disappearance of the Arctic ice caps. And I say this as one of the concerned 200 million people who did not march in Manhattan on September 21 to warn of the dire threat of the etc whatever.
Moreover, CHOAM has erected a strawman version of the Magna Carta in order to take swipes at American law. Its a true fact that the MC did exactly the opposite of what Noam needs to believe: it is an example of the status quo preserving itself. The barons allowed the king to retain his kingship because he was severely disrupting (expensive unsuccessful foreign wars) the profitability of being a medieval baron. Overall, this meant nothing to the average Englishman.
Whatever the Constitution owed to the MC, it was also a deeply flawed document that preserved the status quo but also deferred significant issues that would not be resolved until after the Civil War and another hundred years of institutional racism.
The Poetry of Violence
There are always checks on royal prerogative. John lost his overseas possessions (and revenue sources) to the French; he faced an armed rebellion by his barons, obligations in a medieval society run up and down. He had the trappings of absolute power only. The MC was the status quo -- here, a medieval economy and social structure -- preserving itself. It was a power shift between elite institutions that allowed John to remain as king but did not affect the average peasant-in-the-forest.
NB: the MC was reissued several times for the same reasons, so we're not looking at a permanent shift of power. Imagine the Bill of Rights having to be reissued by the President. Again, from the perspective of everyone who is not a baron or king, so what?
NB: separating the MC from 2015 are (1) the English Civil War, (2) the interregnum, (3) the Restoration, (4) the American Civil War, (4) Jim Crow, etc. If there's a causal thread between the MC and my right to vote, its pretty much invisible.
If you want a simplified and fictional version of these dynamics, revisit Frank Herbert's Dune. The emperor appears to be an absolute despot, but he's allowed to retain the throne by the other major political players only if he preserves the economic structure of the empire. In the novel this is represented by the spice trade.
The Poetry of Violence
I am wondering what other culture over the last 8 centuries Chomsky is comparing the Anglosphere to, that he thinks is so obviously superior.
It is a very Chomsky failing. The question "compared to what?" is always answered "Compared to the Society of Magic Unicorns I have in my head."
We aren't as good as that. Granted.
Assistant Village Idiot
I've kept an eye peeled for him out here on the lone prairie most of my life. He's bad mojo so we sing about him all the time..."Noam, Noam on the range. He is old and incurably strange. Where there are no pines he just sits here and whines about us and exhorts us to change"
Europe’s first true “wood crisis” occurred in the late 12th century as a bit of collateral damage from a Christian crusade to destroy the continent’s tree-rich sanctuaries of pagan worship and open up enough farmland to make possible the European population explosion of the following centuries. A lot more Europeans meant a lot more wooden carts, wooden houses, and wooden ships. It also meant a lot more wood for the charcoal to fuel iron smelters, since smelting one pound of iron required the charcoal produced by burning nearly eight cubic feet of wood. By 1230, England had cut down so many trees for construction and for fuel that it was importing most of its timber from Scandinavia, and turned to what would then have been called an alternative energy source: Coal.
That doesn't sound like :
In thirteenth-century England, the forest was no primitive wilderness. It had been carefully nurtured by its users over generations, its riches available to all. The great British social historian R. H. Tawney wrote that the commons were used by country people who lacked arable land.
So I looked up this that the British Library had on the Magna Carta in context:
The royal forest
During the 12th century, King John’s predecessors, and especially his father, Henry II, had declared vast and ever increasing areas of the country to be royal forest, set aside for the king’s hunt. Prior to 1215 the extent of the forest was controlled by the king, and John increased its limits even further.
The royal forest was governed by a separate set of especially severe laws, enforced by special justices, sheriffs and wardens. All hunting was prohibited, as were bows and arrows, greyhounds, hawks and falcons, the cultivation of land and the felling of trees. Those living in the forest were unable to exploit the land’s resources and were subject to fines for any breach of forest law.
The barons used Magna Carta to regulate the boundaries of the forest, investigate its officials and reform forest law. These clauses subsequently formed the basis of the separate Charter of the Forest in 1217.
- See more at: http://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-in-context#sthash.KPgjPTsy.dpuf
I'm not seeing the riches available to all Chomsky cites.
Noam Chomsky is like a backwards weather vane; always pointing in the wrong direction. He is a national treasure. One doesn't need to understand and issue or take the time to learn the intricacies simply take a position opposite of Mr Chomsky and you are assured of being right. Mr Chomsky is quite old and won't be with us forever so just in time Mr. Obama has stepped up to take his place. Unfortunately we made a terrible mistake and put Mr. Obama in a position of power and we will all pay for that error.