Many of you may not be privy to my folly - a dirty secret about me. I have been inspired by English and Irish writers of the 1700's. This is genetic in its genesis. I suppose that I cannot resist thinkers from any age of optimism, who fight on against social and political and economic drudgery, with wit and satire and intelligence and verve. That's why I have also been inspired by the American Transcendentalists in the early-middle 1800's, most importantly, Thoreau.
I would like to here acclaim my great hero, Daniel Defoe. Look at this lucky bastard. He wrote on and on in an era - an error - of squalor and upheaval, with possibly 200 different pseudonyms. He was in and out of favour with the powers that be, and was landed in prison as well. He wrote a tonne of different little treaties on politics and society and economics. He wrote novels that are still printed today. Do you know, Moll Flanders? Do you know, A Journal of the Plague Year?
Defoe was the initiator of the modern novel. The first novel I mentioned, to me, is venerable because it walks with the poor and the slovenly, and adventures about in unknown climes. The second novel I mentioned is commendable because it is a stark, awesome existential account of reality. This horrific journal came well before Gothic fantasies such as Frankenstein, and all that, or existential novels from Camus or Sartre. Defoe deserves so much more credit for being the solitary trail-blazer that he was! He was a modern journalist, with an expansive repertoire! He was also a rascal, seldom not in debt, just like Thomas Jefferson.
Speaking of being a trail-blazer... I don't believe anyone else has ever made this connection...
Defoe was rather popular. And he travelled to Glasgow, Scotland, of which he has written. He also wrote laudingly of the value of TRADE, such:
Published in 1726, The Complete English Tradesman is an example of Defoe's political works. He discusses the role of the tradesman in England in comparison to tradesmen internationally, arguing that the British system of trade is far superior. He also implies that trade is the backbone of the British economy: "estate's a pond, but trade's a spring."  He praises the practicality of trade not only within the economy but the social stratification as well. Most of the British gentry, he argues is at one time or another inextricably linked with the institution of trade, either through personal experience, marriage, or genealogy. Oftentimes younger members of noble families entered into trade. Marriage to a tradesmen's daughter by a nobleman was also common. Overall Defoe demonstrated a high respect for tradesmen, being one himself.
Not only does Defoe elevate individual British tradesmen to the level of gentleman, but he praises the entirety of British trade as a superior system. Trade, Defoe argues is a much better catalyst for social and economic change than war. He states that through imperialism and trade expansion the British empire is able to "increase commerce at home" through job creation and increased consumption. He states that increased consumption, by laws of supply and demand, increases production and in turn raises wages for the poor therefore lifting part of British society further out of poverty.
Well, what is this - madman supporting free trade? Well, I have to tell you - it was another time. England was trying to negotiate its way out from between Amsterdam and Spain, which was the secret of its geopolitical success. As capitalism will do, England sought ways of reducing costs, and it eventually did so through Imperialism, (and slavery). But the main cost-saver was industry - and trade. At that time, it was better than war. And slavery was a common thing before other cost-savers came along. Listen. All humans are opportunists. That's the way it is. The inevitable outcome of Defoe's optimism - as with anyone's optimism - was a kind of imperialism. Note that England abolished slavery in 1799, well before the USA did.
Today, free trade has gone global - and, as such, it defies natural law, to be abstract and succinct about it, ha. You want all the countries in the world vying for imperial advantage through free trade? I don't think so. So, now, free trade, like supply-side, is not faring so well. However, there is value in free trade ON A SMALL SCALE, say in a democratic community of 200 people or less, wherein the plight of the poor can be lessened. And, we cannot fault Defoe for his lack of knowledge that Imperialism could harm the world - what he was more interested in was correcting the plight of the poor. And he was right in this. (We have to find a way of equalising wealth, and correcting the plight of the poor, without this wrenching, irksome juggernaut of rapacious capitalism!!!!)
So, what I am setting you up for is this... Danial Defoe, pamphleteer upon Glasgow, surely influenced the most revered father of modern capitalism, Adam Smith, from Glasgow.
Most modern trickle-downers like to refer to Adam Smith in their implicit advocacy of American economic imperialism, which damages the welfare of the poor, worldwide. FREE TRADE, (right?) - ugh!!!!!!! But, Adam Smith was trying to be as genuine as he could be, in an age of naivety, in an age of opening doors. His theories have been misinterpreted, and his theories were more applicable to small-scale economies - such as 200 people or less. But, I can say, he could not fully discern these things at the time.
However, he did write a popular essey, which put forth that morality was more important than free-wheeling trade, which throws all assunder, if it can. Such:
Smith published The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, embodying some of his Glasgow lectures. This work was concerned with how human morality depends on sympathy between agent and spectator, or the individual and other members of society. Smith defined "mutual sympathy" as the basis of moral sentiments. He based his explanation, not on a special "moral sense" as the Third Lord Shaftesbury and Hutcheson had done, nor on utility as Hume did, but on mutual sympathy, a term best captured in modern parlance by the twentieth-century concept of empathy, the capacity to recognise feelings that are being experienced by another being.
Following the publication of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith became so popular that many wealthy students left their schools in other countries to enroll at Glasgow to learn under Smith. After the publication of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith began to give more attention to jurisprudence and economics in his lectures and less to his theories of morals. For example, Smith lectured that the cause of increase in national wealth is labour, rather than the nation's quantity of gold or silver, which is the basis for mercantilism, the economic theory that dominated Western European economic policies at the time.
(Note - Liberal, Thom Hartman often cites or recommends, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, as a correction of modern misinterpretations of Adam Smith).
Whether he was politically or morally correct or not, Defoe was ACTUALLY correct in history, as trade did in fact amass wealth for the English, improving the plight of the poor. That counts for something. Naive in some ways, he knew what he was talking about, long before anyone else had a clue.
It is hard for me to accept that the indefatigable Daniel Defoe was not Celtic in some way. Because. In my estimation, there has been a simmering Celtic revolt against the London powers-that-be, ever since the Roman and Norman invasions. And - that has been a healthy and a wealthy thing! It has continued on to today's Morrissey! It is hard for me to believe that Defoe's energy was not largely rebellion. And - you know what. So much of such rebellion has been incorporated into the English imperial culture as normative, that methinks without it, there would never have been any English Empire, y'alls.
And, so I now refer you to another predecessor of Daniel Defoe, another one of my heroes, the satirical, Jonathan Swift, from Dublin. The way this guy badgered the English government, could not have been possible, were it not for the precedents of Daniel Defoe. Oh! Did you know? Jonathan Swift wrote, Gulliver's Travels? Yes. That was satire. I once told a gf how much I adored these satirists, and she thought me too negative. I am sorry. The negativity is coming from above, in case you have not noticed.
Oh - wait! Did I even mention that Daniel Defoe wrote the now classic, "Robinson Crusoe"?! Yes, he did. And this is what seals Defoe's heroicism with me - because he crossed over into popular fame! And historical popular fame! Well - that is what being a real writer - a conveyor of meaning - is all about !!!! Although he wrote earlier novels, this novel is officially recognized to be the very first novel in world history.
OK - now we are going to read the first bits from Wiki -
Daniel Defoe (/ /; c. 1660 – 24 April 1731), born Daniel Foe, was an English trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and spy, most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is noted for being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, as he helped to popularise the form in Britain with others such as Samuel Richardson, and is among the founders of the English novel. He was a prolific and versatile writer, producing more than five hundred books, pamphlets, and journals on various topics, including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology, and the supernatural. He was also a pioneer of economic journalism....Daniel Foe (his original name) was probably born in Fore Street in the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate, London. Defoe later added the aristocratic-sounding "De" to his name, and on occasion claimed descent from the family of De Beau Faux. His birthdate and birthplace are uncertain, and sources offer dates from 1659–1662, with 1660 considered the most likely. His father James Foe was a prosperous tallow chandler and a member of the Worshipful Company of Butchers. In Defoe's early life, he experienced some of the most unusual occurrences in English history: in 1665, 70,000 were killed by the Great Plague of London, and next year, the Great Fire of London left standing only Defoe's and two other houses in his neighbourhood. In 1667, when he was probably about seven, a Dutch fleet sailed up the Medway via the River Thames and attacked the town of Chatham in the raid on the Medway. His mother Annie had died by the time that he was about ten.
And now, check out a few of these awesome titles, so crazy-NOWish - so madman, ha ha - that they almost force you to read them!...
The Consolidator or, Memoirs of Sundry Transactions from the World in the Moon
A Narrative Of All The Robberies, Escapes, &c. of John Sheppard
The Political History of the Devil
Every-body's Business, Is No-body's Business
The True-Born Englishman: A Satyr
OK - well - I got to go to the local bookstore sale - and bought all of these for $10 American moneys:
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Narcissus and Goldmund - Hermann Hesse
Magister Ludi, (Glass bead Game) - Hermann Hesse
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Democracy in America - Alexis deTocqueville
Relativity - Albert Einstein
What We Say Goes - Noam Chomsky DVD or CD
Edgar Cayce - DVD
The 40-Year-Old Virgin - DVD
Eternal Sunsine of the Spotless Mind - DVD
Hitsville USA - (Motown) - CD
I will give some of these to the library after I watch them. I probably have some of the same books, in storage, but whatever.
I am looking into a local house, as much as I want to NOT BE IN THIS STUPID TOWN. However, if I can get into a house, be free from psycho idiots, then it would be easy enough for me to sleep, and so to write some damn things to make money and get the hell out of this godforsaken country, to a place freer from impending nuclear radiations, yars.