Exhortation And Dehortation What

EXHORTATION, and DEHORTATION, is Counsell, accompanied with signes in him that giveth it, of vehement desire to have it followed; or to say it more briefly, Counsell Vehemently Pressed. For he that Exhorteth, doth not deduce the consequences of what he adviseth to be done, and tye himselfe therein to the rigour of true reasoning; but encourages him he Counselleth, to Action: As he that Dehorteth, deterreth him from it. And therefore they have in their speeches, a regard to the common Passions, and opinions of men, in deducing their reasons; and make use of Similitudes, Metaphors, Examples, and other tooles of Oratory, to perswade their Hearers of the Utility, Honour, or Justice of following their advise.

From whence may be inferred, First, that Exhortation and Dehortation, is directed to the Good of him that giveth the Counsell, not of him that asketh it, which is contrary to the duty of a Counsellour; who (by the definition of Counsell) ought to regard, not his own benefits, but his whom he adviseth. And that he directeth his Counsell to his own benefit, is manifest enough, by the long and vehement urging, or by the artificial giving thereof; which being not required of him, and consequently proceeding from his own occasions, is directed principally to his own benefit, and but accidentarily to the good of him that is Counselled, or not at all.

Secondly, that the use of Exhortation and Dehortation lyeth onely, where a man is to speak to a Multitude; because when the Speech is addressed to one, he may interrupt him, and examine his reasons more rigorously, than can be done in a Multitude; which are too many to enter into Dispute, and Dialogue with him that speaketh indifferently to them all at once. Thirdly, that they that Exhort and Dehort, where they are required to give Counsell, are corrupt Counsellours, and as it were bribed by their own interest. For though the Counsell they give be never so good; yet he that gives it, is no more a good Counsellour, than he that giveth a Just Sentence for a reward, is a just Judge. But where a man may lawfully Command, as a Father in his Family, or a Leader in an Army, his Exhortations and Dehortations, are not onely lawfull, but also necessary, and laudable: But then they are no more Counsells, but Commands; which when they are for Execution of soure labour; sometimes necessity, and alwayes humanity requireth to be sweetned in the delivery, by encouragement, and in the tune and phrase of Counsell, rather then in harsher language of Command.

Examples of the difference between Command and Counsell, we may take from the formes of Speech that expresse them in Holy Scripture. “Have no other Gods but me; Make to thy selfe no graven Image; Take not Gods name in vain; Sanctifie the Sabbath; Honour thy Parents; Kill not; Steale not,” &c. are Commands; because the reason for which we are to obey them, is drawn from the will of God our King, whom we are obliged to obey. But these words, “Sell all thou hast; give it to the poore; and follow me,” are Counsell; because the reason for which we are to do so, is drawn from our own benefit; which is this, that we shall have “Treasure in Heaven.” These words, “Go into the village over against you, and you shall find an Asse tyed, and her Colt; loose her, and bring her to me,” are a Command: for the reason of their fact is drawn from the will of their Master: but these words, “Repent, and be Baptized in the Name of Jesus,” are Counsell; because the reason why we should so do, tendeth not to any benefit of God Almighty, who shall still be King in what manner soever we rebell; but of our selves, who have no other means of avoyding the punishment hanging over us for our sins.

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Spies, lies and mince pies

I will not weep for all the junior staffers who this time next week will be serving tables at Spadulike: they are the least casualties of a weird few weeks. Chinese spies subverting the state? Barely a column inch. A mince pie after work? Page upon page.

The public anger at the drinks-after-work is genuine and raging. Logically it makes no sense:  it involved each time people who had been packed together in offices working hard (for the public good, let’s not forget), then being allowed to relax informally. How that constitutes a virus risk when being crushed together in an office was not, defies reason. Using the word ‘party’ too makes it sound like a raucous riot, which is far from what has been described. Public anger is not amenable to logical though, and voting in a few years’ time will not be logical either.

Then we discovered that someone named a few years ago as a Chinese agent of influence had implanted an agent in the office of a senior Shadow Cabinet member. That member had spoken in support of the regime in Peking. That should have been an earth-shattering outrage., but it barely registered. It is just normal business it seems to have a hostile and genocidal foreign power in control of the offices of members of Parliament.

Now, if the spy had stepped into a garden after work, that would have been a major scandal, apparently.

However we got here, we are here. Let us not forget though that the decline in Boris’s fortunes started before someone snitched on sipping a glass after work. The Chesham and Amersham By-Election was in June, and Boris’s magic touch has been teetering every since. We have wearied of endless lockdown, petty restrictions and the way local bullies use them to batter their neighbours, and when the grocery bill comes in, prices have risen when pay has not, and taxes are at Labour levels, which makes us all wonder whom we have elected.

In the voter’s house, there is less on the plate these days. At the same time, the government has allowed left-wing quangocrats to live on the high hog still, pushing us about on our own money. Forget the ‘parties’: Boris has been laughing at us for taking our votes and doing nothing he promised except the one big thing, Brexit.

Maybe the Downing Street culture has gone rotten.  It looks like it from outside  SpAds are still a novel thing: there were none until Tony Blair invented them: it was considered outrageous at the time, but in retrospect a sensible innovation if done properly. Even so, teams of loud youth pumped with hormones thinking themselves omnipotent and harassing elder civil servants is asking for disaster. In this, Boris has not commanded but appeared as just their benevolent uncle; a figurehead.

If there is a strong Number 10 machine, the PM needs to command it. If there is collegiate government devolved to ministries, which is more Boris’s style, then the Number 10 machine must shrink.

What can he do?  Firstly, throw out the spads who keep getting him into trouble. Hire better ones maybe, but they whisper memento mori in their ears. Then get back on course, convincingly this time. We are promised some meat there, but until that meat is on the table, filling up the depleted plates of the voters, the voters may remain cynical.

Also, deal with Chinese Government agents of influence; neutralise their spending power and expose their networks.  That is the real scandal, even if the press choose the salacious gossip about office arrangements instead of exposing a threat at the nation’s heart.

Then Boris has either of two roads to take. He might sit at the top of the table and work hard doing the job he is paid for, to implement the manifesto and get taxes down, giving his personal authority to ministers to defeat the inertia in their departments. Alternatively, he could step aside from the Cabinet Table, leave his day-to-day duties and salary behind him, and walk abroad in the land, reconnecting with it and with the ordinary people who once adored and trusted him, finding out what their doorstep concerns are, their worries, their aspirations, their petty jealousies, finding out what it was that once made him an icon of hope.

We all lost connections over the lockdown. We need to rebuild them.

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By Boris Johnson:

Wolven hearts

Much quoted recently is Desmond Tutu’s exhortation that ‘love is stronger than hate’ – but it is not. Hatred is far stronger than love. The world would be happier if it were not so, but hatred is the strongest motivator of mankind.

I wonder that our demagogic politicians see no irony in examining and condemning the sewer of social media for spreading hatred when their own trade depends on it. Perhaps it is only unapproved hatred which is to be condemned, and indeed hated. Even in the Church of England, the one established body which is meant to be lapped in love, the faction making the most progress in its agenda is that of the ‘progressives’, succeeding by spitting untamed hatred at all opposition.

The wolf seeks meat; it is relentless and merciless; while single wolf may be cautious or even playful, a pack of wolves is unbridled, bloodthirsty, exulting in the kill and the tearing apart of the victim. It is raw nature. Likewise is mankind, and perhaps our concept of ‘hate’ is no more nor less than the wolf’s instinct.

Democratic politics necessarily involves the stirring up of hatred. An absolutist system may avoid it, but only if long established and unchallenged:  the tyrannies of the Twentieth Century are a lesson in the extremes of murderous hatred as a political method, both as to the way they took power and how they held it. Even in our more sophisticated climate the most effective political campaigns involve fomenting hatred by class, status, political tribe, race or other irrelevancies. Read any political headline for your evidence.

Hobbes observed in De Cive a speech in Rome’s troubles ages:

Pontius Telesinus; who flying about with open mouth through all the Companies of his Army, (in that famous encounter which he had with Sylla) cryed out, That Rome her selfe, as well as Sylla, was to be raz’d; for that there would alwayes be Wolves and Depraedatours of their Liberty, unlesse the Forrest that lodg’d them were grubb’d up by the roots. To speak impartially, both sayings are very true; That Man to Man is a kind of God; and that Man to Man is an arrant Wolfe.

In this Telesinus, interpreted by Hobbes, puts his finger on it: overthrowing a tyrant is moment’s victory, but the place from which they arose will breed ever more wolves, for the real enemy to liberty and love is mankind.

What to do then, if this is the case?  Start by recognising it, accept that we are not perfectible and every one of us contains the same flaws, and mankind will be the same until the very end of the age. Then we will have an understanding of the clay from which society and the demos and built, and build our commonwealth accordingly. Perhaps also those of goodwill and good sense should be in a better position to check our own wolfish instincts.

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Renewal to destruction

Renewal and reform, in the promise of a new year when all things seem possible. If they were, then wonders could be performed, but the Conservative knows that some things are impossible, most things maybe, and whatever  revolutionary change may be achieved to the good, it is achieved by private entrepreneurs serving their customers’ needs, not by lumpen-footed government.

Enthusiasm for overturning the whole structure of the state has always had keen hearers, and when achieved, it has led to a trail of widows and orphans and starving families. The overthrow of tyrannical governments East of Suez was met with hope, and found the same reality, as destruction did not automatically mean the acceptance by all of a new ruler and a new social contract.

Thomas Hobbes wrote of what the ruler of any Commonwealth should teach his subjects to ensure stability, and the first was against revolutionary change.

And (to descend to particulars) the People are to be taught, First, that they ought not to be in love with any forme of Government they see in their neighbour Nations, more than with their own, nor (whatsoever present prosperity they behold in Nations that are otherwise governed than they,) to desire change. For the prosperity of a People ruled by an Aristocraticall, or Democraticall assembly, commeth not from Aristocracy, nor from Democracy, but from the Obedience, and Concord of the Subjects; nor do the people flourish in a Monarchy, because one man has the right to rule them, but because they obey him. Take away in any kind of State, the Obedience, (and consequently the Concord of the People,) and they shall not onely not flourish, but in short time be dissolved.

And they that go about by disobedience, to doe no more than reforme the Common-wealth, shall find they do thereby destroy it; like the foolish daughters of Peleus (in the fable;) which desiring to renew the youth of their decrepit Father, did by the Counsell of Medea, cut him in pieces, and boyle him, together with strange herbs, but made not of him a new man. This desire of change, is like the breach of the first of Gods Commandements: For there God says, Non Habebis Deos Alienos; Thou shalt not have the Gods of other Nations; and in another place concerning Kings, that they are Gods.

This is not to say that all change is shunned:  the state repeatedly becomes corrupted and needs to be cleaned out. It was needed in Hobbes’s day, it was needed in ancien régime France  and it is needed in Whitehall now.

In the days of King Charles I, tax money was paying endless retainers, favourites receiving unearned pensions, monopolies were granted for favours and bribes, officials were shunning their duties by farming their work out underlings as deputies, who in turn appointed their own deputies; lavish gifts were made to individuals, and government contracts too; power and position were openly bought and sold. Taxes were too high to be borne and the state sunk in impossible debt, just to pay for this corruption. All this needed to be swept away, and perhaps if the King had read the Grand Remonstrance in humility and accepted its judgments then much blood would have been saved.

Westminster today looks prim and proper and rule-bound, but all of the corruptions of King Charles’s day are there; heavier now than then and all the worse for being approved by self-serving laws.

Reform is necessary. The danger comes with assuming things are so bad that the whole system needs overturning.  That just invites to the throne a chancer, one who can flatter the vanities of the rebel long enough to gather all power into his hands. That sounds like the normal operation of democracy, which is why it can never be taken for granted.

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Whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow

Toby Belch and Andrew Aguecheek are social media trolls. Packed into the scenes are follies, misunderstandings, fake identities, error, jealousies and malice which are the weave and weft of all human society, and this is what is displayed in its rawest form for us on social media, which makes it so compelling and repelling. That modern medium revolts us, but it is only a reflection of humanity.

The Bard understood, long before Zuckerberg or Dorsey or any of the others. Antonio, ashore in Illyria, declares Sebastian to be ‘unfriended’. Nothing is new.

Being skilless in these parts; which to a stranger,
Unguided and unfriended, often prove
Rough and unhospitable

I know how he feels. I do not follow social media and its memes and challenges and pranks, reading about them afterwards. It would be not beyond the usual bizarreness to find pranksters persuading their victims to “come smiling and cross-garter’d to you, to put on yellow stockings”. Then there is “and to frown Upon Sir Toby and the lighter people”; which shows that the ‘cancel culture’ is a social activity; a meme.

The play even has a Metaverse moment:

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.

A less regarded scene in Twelfth Night is actually very germane to its theme. In this, Sir Toby goads his easily led friend, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, to write a letter effectively challenging the young man Cesario (Viola) to a duel. Sir Toby is too much the coward to do it himself, but goads a patsy to do the dirty work. The excuse is that he believes ‘Cesario’ is making a play for Olivia’s hand, which Sir Toby hopes will go to Andrew Aguecheek (a hopeless vanity). It shows a lot about the characters of the men involved, and holds up a mirror to ourselves, and our online selves.

Therefore they set about a letter, a ‘malicious communication’ we might say, which makes sense only in the raucous, self-indulgence of drinking men’s society, and which could be deadly.

These are educated men though, not illiterate Tweeters, and some sense of caution is there to temper the words; a game which must have been familiar among disputing Jacobean swells in Shakespeare’s day who knew that the Assizes measured disputes which ended at the point of a sword:

Still you keep o’ the windy side of the law

The letter itself (excising the boisterous interruptions) runs like many an ill-thought accusation of our own day:

‘Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow. Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind, why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for’t. Thou comest to the lady Olivia, and in my sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat; that is not the matter I challenge thee for. I will waylay thee going home; where if it be thy chance to kill me, thou killest me like a rogue and a villain. Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine; but my hope is better, and so look to thyself. Thy friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy, ANDREW AGUECHEEK.

The misunderstood positions are in the comedy:  Cesario / Viola is not after Olivia though Olivia has fallen in love with ‘Cesario’, or rather with the shadow of Viola’s brother whom she imitates; Andrew Aguecheek has only his own self-delusion as to his suit or his abilities with a sword; and of course Cesario is not even Cesario.

If all this clash of misunderstood ideas, accusation, worked-up fury and half-thought posting sounds too familiar and personal, then log out from InstaTwitFace and whatever: while I will not say ‘be more of a human being’, because that is the problem, do try to think outside yourself.

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