5.3, Heritage and Identity

The Puritanical Libertarian is a human animal. For this reason he relies on body and image through which to extract knowledge and ultimately wisdom (if he so climbs). Being a human animal, in addition, means he has strong desire for identity in group, to be a part of the club, membership. The history that he was taught under the coercive, thuggish and self-promoting institution called government was cheap and superficial, meant more to affirm the goodness of this thug than to instruct and call to independence. The coercive thug cannot tolerate independence. Independence makes him unnecessary. Such is the birth of welfare (internal) and international aid (external). They are extensions of the same relation of dependency. Woe to he who voluntarily accepts. The Puritanical Libertarian seeks identity in something better, a heritage of independence and freedom.

Those of us who seek independence and self-government would be encouraged to know that the dimension of time and space have manifested approximations already. We would not be the first. Were we to approximate voluntary relations and liberty we would not generate that community ex nihilo. I say approximations because the manifestations are never perfect. But, to censor the imperfect is to presume speakability which presumes a kind of perfection in the one who has the gall to censor. So cancel culture. So the loss of William Gilmore Simms, Dr. Seuss, Shakespeare, Homer. Looking back through history the Puritanical Libertarian identifies his heritage with the second birth of liberty and independence, not with the first birth blood and water (the distinction is found in the teaching of the sage Jesus).

At two notable points in Western history (the only history that the Puritanical Libertarian has had time to explore) voluntary contract held sway over peoples and transactions. Coercion and force were subdued even if not eliminated. The human spirit basked in its own unleashing in such a way that it hardly noticed its own unrecorded activity for the fullness of its attention to the meeting of supply and demand, the meeting of need with surplus, the energy unleashed through mutually beneficial movement. The Puritanical Libertarian holds for view the Phoenicians and the Hanseatic League. Both are curiously chaotic moments of networked voluntary trade.

Today, the Phoenicians. Remember the Phoenicians. They do not demand to be remembered. They were too busy producing and trading. But for this, they are worth remembering.

The Phoenicians emerge into prominence from the Eastern Mediterranean possibly linked to the ancient Canaanites of Biblical lore, geographically modern Lebanon. The Phoenicians are renowned for the lack of written records (much of which is assumed to have preceded and rivaled the famous Hellenistic libraries of Alexandria, though Tyre was later sacked by Alexander and Carthage by Scipio), for the reputation of expansive commerce and trade, and for the decentralized network of city-states that were linked for history by voluntary contract but never by government rule. The most famous were Tyre, Sidon, Byblos and Carthage.

The Phoenicians: pioneering seafarers, skilled engineers, gifted artisans, master entrepreneurs. Profit (voluntary trade) rather than plunder (conquest) was their policy. The Phoenician way constituted a vast mercantile network that provided the means for the transmission of technique and craft and product linking three massive spheres: North Africa, Asia, Europe (even the Atlantic coast up to Britain).

Weren’t both King David and Solomon fortunate to have good relations with a people so notable and renowned for the two most important resources in production: material and skill. When both father and son wanted to spend extravagantly on that most important Hebrew property, the temple that housed their god, how they relied on Hiram, King of Tyre FOR PRODUCTION. Said Solomon:

Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided. Send me also cedar, juniper and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber there. My servants will work with yours to provide me with plenty of lumber, because the temple I build must be large and magnificent.” (2 Chronicles 2)

Hiram sends a man who he describes this way: “He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him.” (2 Chronicles 2)

The man who can execute any design given to him!

Is the later flower of Christianity thankful for its Tertullian and Augustine, both a product of the North African trading post of the earlier Phoenicians that grew into the civilization that was Carthage.

It is interesting to note that the West is often thought of as formed by the combination of Greek intellectualism and Judeo-Christian religiosity. Isabel Paterson, in her masterful The God of the Machine adds Roman law. But all of this comes later. And Paterson herself introduces her work with an initial chapter on the Phoenicians.

The energy of the human spirit is ONLY unleashed in free and voluntary movement and contract (promise-keeping). As early as 1150 BC there was a people, though unidentifiable by a single coercive banner. They are a people known only for the energy of their commerce, the accumulation of both skill and resource, and the decentralized network of city-states that united them. And they weren’t perfect. And eventually, Carthage, the most significant production of this energy, fell in its effort to maintain monopoly of trade in the Mediterranean. The bottled up energy eventually unleashed in Roman expansion and conquest. But for centuries the best of far flung regions were collected, transported, traded by these ancient middle-men, the pioneer commodity trader, the birth of the merchant class.

But, if we, Puritanical Libertarians, seek a lineage, we find a beginning in the Phoenicians. Almost lost to history but for the memory of the energy of their movement, trade and production. They made contact, contract, mutual benefit. That was their game.

That which satisfies human need (demand) CANNOT be forced. Force diminishes it, ultimately kills it. The pathways for production and prosperity are indefatigably through freedom. The Phoenician alphabet was a gift for recording, for memory. Phoenician ship-building and the masterful harnessing of wind energy unlocked the potential for more efficient movement of goods to connect supply and demand. Phoenician purple dye long the color of royalty.

The Phoenician spirit, were there one, could not be passed along genetically. It is something that is a second birth. It must be birthed anew by each generation.

Next, we fast-forward two thousand years, or so, to the Hanseatic League, where what happened on the Mediterranean happened again on the northern-Baltic Sea in the 15th century CE.

Published by Purilib

Anonymously interested in grasping the good life.

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