Macdonough’s Song

I have frequently on this blog talked about the value of individual liberty, about the need to limit the power and control of the state over the individual.  As one should know by now I am a very strong endorser of both individual and economic freedom not just for practical reasons but for “spiritual.” And by spiritual I do not mean religious (although religious freedom is something I also endorse), but, as was described in Goldwater’s Conscience of the Conservative, rather the intangible aspects that affect the psyche of mankind.

But we are beset, as always, by those who want to deprive us of those liberties, who want to put the state over all.  They do it in the name of “the people”, the large masses who as a mass are, yes, like I’d put in a previous blog post “dumb, panicky animals”. (“A person is smart.”)

That tendency is not new.  Kipling wrote about it, and it’s consequences, many years ago (1917 to be precise):

Macdonough’s Song
“As easy as A B C”–A Diversity of Creatures”

Whether the State can loose and bind
In Heaven as well as on Earth:
If it be wiser to kill mankind
Before or after the birth–
These are matters of high concern
Where State-kept schoolmen are;
But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
Endeth in Holy War.

Whether The People be led by The Lord,
Or lured by the loudest throat:
If it be quicker to die by the sword
Or cheaper to die by vote–
These are things we have dealt with once,
(And they will not rise from their grave)
For Holy People, however it runs,
Endeth in wholly Slave.

Whatsoever, for any cause,
Seeketh to take or give
Power above or beyond the Laws,
Suffer it not to live!
Holy State or Holy King–
Or Holy People’s Will–
Have no truck with the senseless thing.
Order the guns and kill!
Saying –after–me:–

Once there was The People–Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People and it made a Hell of Earth
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, 0 ye slain!
Once there was The People–it shall never be again!

4 thoughts on “Macdonough’s Song”

  1. Power above or beyond the Laws

    Ah, but what Laws?

    The Laws Of Men can be written to give the Men-In-Control unlimited power. 😦


    1. I think more of the pilot’s view on laws…

      “Laws are passed by God, rules are passed by men. Rules may be bent or broken, laws cannot. However, when breaking a rule, perfect execution is required – id est, when flying under a bridge, it is /vitally/ /important/ /that/ /you/ /not/ /strike/ /the/ /bridge/…”

      Same applies in general. The “law” against driving overly fast on freeways is a rule – it can (and has been) change(d) – a few times. We’re none the worse off for the changes. As long as no vehicle strikes another, laws don’t come into play (laws like “two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time,” or the law of inertia, or the laws governing elastic collisions, or …) You get a ticket and a fine for breaking the rule. You’re a lot worse off if you break a law. (Think of what happens to that pilot if he strikes the bridge, and suddenly finds a Rotax opposed-six in his lap…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My question was somewhat rhetorical as from other Kipling works, I think he had a similar view on Laws. 😀


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