The Curious Species Ordinatio Diutinus


Column by tzo.

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Modern governments are perhaps quite naturally thick-headed and self-destructive, destined to clumsily overreach and greedily overindulge until they inevitably collapse. It’s seemingly encoded into their metaphorical DNA.

But this is just the natural life cycle of any individual government—to be born; to consume, develop, and grow; and to die. And yet the government species lives on. It may seem puzzling that such an unstable entity continues to successfully regenerate itself, but all individual entities are mortal and are outlived by the species to which they belong.

Consider the butterfly species satyrium calanus (a.k.a. the banded hairstreak). Its eggs hatch in spring, and the emerging caterpillars eat ravenously for a couple of months until they transform via chrysalis into butterflies for a couple of months in the summer. When winter arrives, these non-migratory creatures perish in the cold.

It’s perfectly natural that each individual butterfly lives through no more than a single cycle of seasons before perishing, and yet the species endures. Satyrium calanus manages to carry on cycle after cycle because the individual butterflies carefully place eggs on leaves before the arrival of winter, and these eggs "overwinter" in a hibernation state known as diapause, waiting until warmer spring temperatures signal them to hatch. A new generation then emerges and a new cycle begins and the species carries on.

Now let’s examine the life cycle of a typical member of the curious species ordinatio diutinus (a.k.a. perpetual government). From its springtime birth it consumes, grows, and metamorphoses. It reaches the apex of its glorious golden butterfly age in the summer, then overreaches as the autumnal decline sets in, eventually terminating in a winter death.

But before each individual government finishes its natural single-cycle life, it leaves behind eggs that are designed to outlast the revolutionary winter. These eggs are “government-is-necessary” memes that have been carefully placed into the brains of the people over whom the government ruled. When winter comes and the government perishes, the hardy eggs remain. They quickly hatch, signaling a new spring and the beginning of a new life cycle for a new generation of government. And so the species carries on.

So you see, popular revolution and the overthrowing of government is nothing spectacular. It is not a triumph of freedom over tyranny. It is merely business as usual, part and parcel of the reproductive cycle of ordinatio diutinus. Each individual government has a natural strategy to deal with its own demise so as to ensure that another generation will spawn and carry its memes (think DNA) forward. Stomping the life out of a single creature does nothing to sidetrack the ongoing existence of the species.

As satyrium calanus, so ordinatio diutinus. Any plan to terminate species such as these must include an interruption of their reproductive cycles: The eggs must be destroyed.

Thomas Jefferson once said that, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." But this statement was made by an individual with “government-is-necessary” meme eggs infecting his brain. He claimed to be talking about hominis libertas (a.k.a. human freedom), but he was actually describing the natural life cycle of ordinatio diutinus. He was stating that the tree of government must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Some infections can render a person downright delirious.

Until the eggs are destroyed, ordinatio diutinus will continue to live up to its name. The “government-is-necessary” memes that reside in most brains must be removed. This requires delicate verbal surgery that runs a very high risk of the patient feeling attacked and springing from the operating table and fleeing, perhaps cursing at you on the way out the door. The memes you have targeted for removal have replicated and spread and insinuated themselves, virus-like, into most all of the patient’s thought processes and he has come to think of them as parts of his very being, much like the teeth in his own mouth.

In short, it’s really tough to get that little plastic piece out without touching the sides and setting off the red lightbulb nose buzzer.

While the task is daunting, it is not, I believe, impossible. The directions are the same as getting to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice. And as always, make sure you thoroughly check and clean out your own attic first. The little buggers are just everywhere, it seems.

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tzo's picture
Columnist tzo
Columns on STR: 64

tzo now lives in your head.


Suverans2's picture

This comment may be a little on the negative side, tzo, but I fear that those that embody ordinatio diutinus, like their close relatives, Blattella Germanica and Periplaneta Americana, may never be put on the endangered species list.

Jim Davies's picture

Another nice one, Tzo.
No analogy is perfect, but how does anaesthetic feature in this operation?

tzo's picture

Anesthesia makes the patient unaware that an operation is taking place. The communication used in a verbal operation can function as an anesthetic if it can render the patient unaware of what would otherwise be a painful procedure.
If you jump in and argue and attempt to win a debate, you are charging at him with a scalpel. Even if he suspects you may be on to something, you're going to get resistance.
If you can maneuver him into a discussion where he can discover the answers himself through considering ideas that may be new to him, a discussion where two people are connecting in a cooperative manner and are both considering the wants and needs of the other, then they may be unaware that you are really "operating."

Jim Davies's picture

Elegant response!  Thank you.
Meanwhile your article has provoked a separate thought. At its end you recommend the anaesthetist "thoroughly check and clean out [his] own attic first."
Yes, the Theater should be scrubbed; obviously, the message will not get through if the messenger doesn't understand what he's conveying. And yes, he needs to convey it while not scaring off the patient. But did you imply a need for moral rectitude as well? Why, if so?
I'm thinking that while that has some importance, it's not all that great. Ron Paul's high integrity helped
his campaign for sure, but the flaws in Ayn Rand's character didn't damage her influence a whole lot.

tzo's picture

"But did you imply a need for moral rectitude as well?"
Nah, not really. Just pointing out that we all have been immersed in them for so long that we'll probably never get rid of all of them in our own heads and that there's always a new corner to sweep out now and again.
So if you're ever bored and have nothing to do and there's no one else around, you can always perform a little self-surgery.

Jim Davies's picture

Good, that's a relief. We're in sync. You might catch me in a cowboy hat now and again, but haloes really don't suit me.

Persona non grata's picture

I agree the "seeds" are sown through 12 years of compulsory state indoctrination that conditions young people into accepting a life based upon a pliably supine unquestioning dependency to "authority".

Please, don't be too hard on Jefferson, we (humans) are walking talking contradictions.

Suverans2's picture

State indoctrination is evidently not compulsory in all places and/or to all individuals; my children were home taught, with our own curriculum. Oh, and that was before seceding from, (i.e. "withdrawing from membership in"), the governments of men.

Not referring to you, Persona non grata [interesting name], but "the GOVERNMENT* forced me to do it", is the statist religion's members' excuse, equivalent to, "the DEVIL* made me do it".

Note: * All-cap-letter-words are fictions.

Thunderbolt's picture

I loved your article, Tzo. It cuts to the chase, the essential thing. I regret being incarcerated those 12 long years, and I especially regret allowing the monsters to kidnap my children. Even there, the meme is strong. I love Jefferson, but Thoreau was the better man.

Paul's picture

"The “government-is-necessary” memes that reside in most brains must be removed."

Or be replaced by another meme, "government may be necessary for me, but not for everyone". Much like a Common Cuckoo lays its egg in the nest of another bird species. Quite a bit easier I would say.