Ascending The Tower – Episode IV, Part 2: “Nobody Intrinsically Trusts Economists”

This week, we’re joined by Hurlock for part 2 of a discussion on bureaucracy.

Brought to you by Surviving Babel and Nick B. Steves, Ascending the Tower is a podcast distributed by Social Matter and represents the latest project of the Hestia Society. Please leave feedback in the comments, and if you’d like to get in touch with Surviving Babel, you can find him at:

Related Show Links:

Opening –

Closing –

Whig Theory of Checks and Balances –

Andrew Jackson v. Supreme Court –

Birth of judicial review –

Efforts to repeal 17th Amendment –

Hurlock’s comment at Nick Land’s –

Great Chain of Being –

Nudge in politics –


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  1. A very interesting discussion. I have a few disconnected points:

    Nudge was written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

    Tacitus (Annals III.27): “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.”

    The notion of checks and balances goes back even to Polybius’ discussion of the Roman constitution. He emphasized how the magistracy (monarchical power), the Senate (oligarchical power), and the assembly/tribunes (democratic power) all had limitations to keep any one kind of power from dominating the others. At the same time, Polybius made it clear that it was the ability of each of these three agencies to act in concert and to not put the system of checks and balances to the test that made Rome so powerful.

  2. Nice discussion. The three of you had a good chemistry. I hope you have Hurlock on again.

  3. I’m not all the way through the podcast, but I wanted to get this thought down before I forget. You spoke of competition during the Medieval ages between the three Estates, but my understanding from your conversation is that, as we NRx’ers like to say, mysteries abound if we only account for “things written on paper” and “The People as a source of power in Whig checks and balances.”

    Isn’t it the case that the traditional conception of the relationship between the classes is mediated by God? Isn’t the understanding of that social organism missing something if it doesn’t account for their conception of God, and God’s nature? My understanding was that betraying the King was taught to be a sin by the Church, which saw itself, in many respects, with supplying (reinforcing? gussying up?) authority to the King. Wouldn’t the Latin Church’s inclination to scolasticism and rational evolution of the Faith explain the whole drive TO write things down, eventually (Popes and Emperors were especially FDRish in their interpretation of who was on top); rationalism is rejected in the Orthodox tradition, did that make a difference?

  4. ~29 minutes, a word for preferring your own kind:

    /thumos/ — Greg Johnson recently discovered it in I forget which book, but it’s Greek, it means to prefer things that are your own, ‘homey’ things maybe.

    Looking it up on wikipedia now:

    doesn’t give the sense that Greg Johnson gives it as, but, here’s a podcast with him mentioning it. It might say which book he found it in.

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