Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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17 Responses

  1. Avatar Will says:

    Felonious sense of fashion? Nicely put.Report

  2. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    thanks. what’s he going for a pompadour?Report

  3. Avatar Bob says:

    Yes, but what about the rest of it?

    As Pup said to Chris, “this one did’t work for me.”Report

  4. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    you (actually in this case I) can’t win ’em all. You can’t please everyone all the time to be sure.Report

  5. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:


    This is excellent stuff. I’m too tired now to comment, suffice it to say I remember Plato-I believe-thought that the maximum number of humans for a ‘city’ was 5,000. Perhaps he was right. Decentralization, the occasional Jeffersonian uprising to cleanse the political stables and hang a few, and finally, a re-ordering of order predicated on virtue. Secession anyone?Report

  6. Avatar willybobo says:

    I wish you took the time to write this more clearly, because it’s an important question that you’re asking. But it’s hard not to get lost in your overly passive, triple negative sentences.

    “Classical liberalism had no apparatus to protect working classes because of its focus on contractual contexts (e.g. private property) and lack of focus on industrial-working contexts and the potential loss of real freedom that would accrue from the later contexts”.

    Really, you couldn’t just say “Classical liberalism ignores the rights of workers and fails to provide protection for their freedoms against more powerful corporate interests”?

    I don’t mean to snark. I know it’s hard to find the time to be as clear as you’d like to be while posting frequently on a blog. I just mean that your POV is important, and thoughtful, and that I’m sad it gets somewhat obscured in dense prose that needn’t be so.Report

  7. Avatar greginak says:

    Good stuff, you explain the positions of different sides fairly and well. It is to often true that political debates are usually about underlying philosophies that aren’t discussed openly as the true issue.

    I did ponder, or maybe i was musing, that so much of the discussion of coercion, which you are correct is a central topic is such a western and American discussion. Not that only Americans think about this topic or that there aren’t philosophical roots from Europe, but just comparing to native American or eastern or even more communitarian western cultures. It is takes highly western/American notion of hyper-individualism to even start the discussion. For many peoples in the world it would be assumed that society has considerable “coercive” rights and people should subsume themselves into the culture to a degree.

    Bob- I can’t remember, what was Plato’s thoughts on the internet, the space program and stem cell research?Report

  8. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    I really liked this piece, Chris. As others have mentioned it does raise some very important questions – and I think questions I have been dealing with to some degree in my own writing though certainly I have not framed nor thought of them in this way….Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    My worry is that the appeal to pragmatism and practical reality will turn into “therefore we should make sure that *OUR* pragmatism and practical reality wins”.

    And the problem of Geert becomes not that he’s doing what he’s doing, but that he’s doing it to the wrong folks/for the benefit of the wrong folks.Report

  10. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    Bob C.,

    I wouldn’t drop the ‘s’ word, but I do like the idea of de-centralization. The notion of the spheres of sovereignty is deep in my thinking. If you are interested he is one way of thinking/practicing all this that would require deep de-centralization: called sociocracy.Report

  11. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    willy b,

    i’m not a natural-born writer. it’s a problem I’m aware of, sorry it gets in the way of your reading. i’ll keep working on it.Report

  12. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    your point about coercion being a Western notion is a very astute. i wonder to if globalization is spreading that value to other places? and if so, to what degree?Report

  13. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:


    I’m not quite sure I follow. This may be attributed to my lack of sleep and currently low brain functioning.

    I tried to make as clear as I could that Wilders is in every single way the wrong answer to (potentially) a right question. But even there, the question is one I’ve in a sense re-interpreted for him. It’s not self-consciousness with him. His version of what the question is (How do we stop Islam?) is obviously already framed by his pre-decided answer.

    now the pragmatism part of your comment I think is more interesting. could you elaborate a bit on what exactly you see is the potential problem? [again chalk this up to my dense-ness this morning].

    My talk about a kind of space under the space of the conversation is meant to deal precisely with the difficulty you describe…that our version becomes the final right answer. It’s aiming for a kind of deep awareness of the limitation of any and all beliefs (humility I suppose).

    But since it’s a tendency that runs so deep, it’s easy to imagine (maybe now I’m getting it) it being returned to basically normal discourse: our way is the final right way. I’m not sure that’s a bug in the view I outlined so much as one of political discourse/reality and possibly human nature.Report

  14. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:



  15. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Should I refer to you as brother or father Chris?

    The ‘s’ word really is a problem. I think, until that word and its history have been fully differentiated for this generation, by this generation, it is not possible to engage in intelligent political conversation.
    Thanks for the “sociocracy’ site. My concern here, and I haven’t had a chance to study it, is that it appears predicated on Comte’s positivism where in 1854 brother Auguste seeks to implement the concept or category of ‘representative humanity’ -that always existed within the philosophical conversation- where that gifted and special intellectual becomes the ‘representative man’ and thereby ends the era of Christ and institutes the era of, in this instance, Comte(you may substitute Hegel, Marx, Obama); did this category usher in the ideological age? Yes, at least the modern version.Report

  16. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    well i’m not ordained as of yet. And we Anglicans tend to the Rev./Pastor thing more than Father. (Although some Anglo-Catholics do use Father).

    Yeah Comte did have some initial thoughts along this line back when, but the guy who is more the real founder was a Quaker and needless to say did not share Comte’s vision of the scientific managers controlling the masses. Its practice of circles owes a good deal to Quaker meeting styles.Report

  17. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Yeah, it looks like you got it.

    “could you elaborate a bit on what exactly you see is the potential problem? ”

    The potential problem is one that, through benevolent paternalism, we become colonialists (which, in itself, is very bad… but on top of that, even if you disagree and think that colonialism isn’t that bad in and of itself, when done the right way by the right people, and, hey, maybe those cultures do need a little husbandry before they can be brought into the enlightenment age (surely they’ll thank us when we are done), we will be inept at it due to the nature of the benevolence and will result in, say, Rhodesia rather than, say, India).

    By efforts to nudge and/or otherwise ensure that our right way of doing things ends up on top, we abandon our way of doing things… with the best of intentions. And we become that which we hate in the name of virtues we no longer remember.

    “I’m not sure that’s a bug in the view I outlined so much as one of political discourse/reality and possibly human nature.”

    When we cease to attempt to overcome it (I see this danger in “well, it’s a universal trait, right?”) the *ESSENTIAL* difference between tribalistic views and our own disappears.

    If you get what I’m saying.Report