1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9814/the-rise-and-fall-of-society-a-live-blog/

The Rise and Fall of Society: A live blog

April 19, 2009 by

“Is THE STATE ordered in the nature of things?.”

With this question, Chodorov opens his investigation into the founding of the state. And it is in this chapter that I struggle with him the most.

To get to its bitter taproot, Chodorov considers the view that the state is the product of God. He then turns to the question of whether man is good or bad. To this end, he provides brief summaries of the ideas of three great thinkers: Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Neither accepting these views, nor refuting them, Chodorov moves onto a few other views of the state.

This chapter is relatively short, with few conclusions from the writer, yet it is the last few paragraphs that cause my struggle.“But the colonists were themselves the product of an exploitative economy, had become inured to it in their respective homelands, had imported and incorporated it in their new organization. Many of them came to their new land bearing the yoke of bondage. All had come from institutional environments that had emerged from conquest; they knew nothing else, and when they set up institutions of their own they simply transplanted these environments. They brought the predatory State with them.”

I have come to believe that man desires the state. Not all men, of course, but the greater mass desires control, security, and regimentation. Not only do these folks like to lord over their neighbors, they also like to be lorded over by others as well. And, like an animal of the herd, man is fearful of sounds and smells that are not familiar. He would rather turn with the herd and race to the cliff at the rustle of leaves than to be caught alone, even when the he knows that no real threat exists.

You see this in the Bible where the nation of Israel desired a king, even though the king would yolk the nation in servitude. You also see this during the Tea Party events where the sword is worshipped as the ultimate protector. Yes, lower my taxes, but increase the military. The far off noise may be the snap of a twig, but the cause is as likely the wind as it is the boots of my enemy, or so I fear.

Team sports are considered essential childhood experiences. Why? The regimentation — the belief that regimented participation in the collective is the way to maturity. And it is this regimentation that delivers for the masses that which their own will cannot.[1]

Thankfully, there is the remnant — whether you consider the biblical remnant or today’s philosophical remnant.[2] While it is true that the masses — like a stubborn mule — will throw off its yoke every now and again, it will do so only after a great burden has strained its shoulders. And only with the remnant yelling, “Liberty!” in its ears.

[1] Think of the boot camp style fitness classes where folks pay to be harassed and harangued
[2] To learn more about the remnant, read “Isaiah’s Job,” Nock’s powerful essay.


Barry Loberfeld April 20, 2009 at 9:29 am

Society will starve the poor, but the State won’t. How did it come to that? Mostly from the premise If government doesn’t do it, it doesn’t get done. But if we followed that consistently, we’d wind up right back with the “failed model” of socialist state planning of production and everything else, e.g., Stalin and Ceausescu’s prohibition of abortion or the Chinese Communists’ imposition of (even late-term) abortion. It is a premise refuted by an insight from an American Founder. We know Madison and his politics of limited government, we know Jefferson and his morality of individual rights, but we often forget Paine and his philosophy of the primacy of society over the State:

A great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It had its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their laws; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost every thing which is ascribed to government.

We don’t need state charities for the same reason we don’t need state churches, state families, or state anything else, i.e., we don’t need state socialism because we already have civil society. Government, organized armed force, exists only to provide governance — basically, defense against the violent criminal element (domestic and foreign, e.g., bin Laden). Condemning limited government for not performing the functions of the charity, the church, the family, the firm, the school, and the other organs of the body politic is like condemning the skeleton for not performing the functions of the brain, the heart, the stomach, the liver, the lungs, and the other organs of the body proper. Freedom is the framework that secures all other virtues.


newson April 20, 2009 at 10:41 am

with respect, barry, it’s hard to imagine bin laden organizing any terror attacks on a jeffersonian america.

empire is the siamese twin of terrorism.

fundamentalist April 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Barry: “If government doesn’t do it, it doesn’t get done.”

Excellent points, Barry! I think it also stems from the belief that there are more than enough resources for all of us in the world to be rich if all of the resources were evenly distributed. The socialist idea is that the rich hoard resources and therefore cause poverty. They won’t share, so the state must forece them to share. However, before capitalism became wide spread, large numbers of people starved to death on a regular basis and it wasn’t because the rich wouldn’t give them any food. There simply wasn’t enough food to go around even if the poor ate the rich.

2nd Amendment April 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm


The government impoverishes everybody.
Most often than not, the government prevents things from being done with sclerosing legislation and regulations and high taxes.

2nd Amendment April 20, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Individuals armed and protecting their own property is much more effective than the police. Private entities like Blackwater could take down Bin Laden much better than the Marines !

Government is useless, point blank !

“Government, organized armed force, exists only to provide governance — basically, defense against the violent criminal element (domestic and foreign, e.g., bin Laden).”

2nd Amendment April 20, 2009 at 1:51 pm


Riches are creating when ressources are flowing.

If ressources are evenly distributed, they will STOP flowing and this will empoverish society.

Just like heat flows from hot to cold, if an entire area is of the same temperature, no heat flows from one place to the other in the same area and work cannot be accomplished by exploiting the temperature difference.

Economy needs “chaos” and inequalities, opportunities, incentives, freedom, private property and the rule of law !

Fallon April 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm

The existence of a truly free market defense agency would quickly expose Blackwater for what it really is: a product of the corporative warfare state. Blackwater is not setup to perform honorable services.

Bin Laden, too, is a reaction and consequence of the far reaching violence of the US imperial power.

The whole paradigm of asking who/what could be best to destroy Bin Laden is as silly as pondering who should run the drug war or be an education tsar. It is the drug war en toto and the institution of nationalized schooling that should be questioned.

Fallon April 21, 2009 at 10:11 pm


Team sports are not necessarily trainings for collectivism. Are the top sports organizations in the world, like Real Madrid or Manchester United, statist collectives (outside of the usual stadium and other political deals)?

ManU and Real are capitalist entities that would do even better without the state. Sure, internally, there is some regimentation to be found at these teams. What successful organization can do without unifying structures? But notice the fluidity of rosters and loyalties in world club soccer. Notice how fans voluntarily give money and support to their favorite “tribe”.

It is when political entities get involved- states mainly- that you start to see mass collectivization effects. The existence of soccer mobbing, where individuals seek to lose themselves and their sense of responsibility, and then act like primitives or criminals, is exacerbated under statist influence. Granted, mobbing and gang activity exists at the club level but in no way reaches the level of violence and absurdity that nation-state allegiances create.

A parallel would be Hoppe’s differentiation between wars monarchical in nature vs. democratic total war…

Jim Fedako April 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm


I agree that “Team sports are not necessarily trainings for collectivism.” That said, many folks believe that participation in team sports is an essential childhood activity. In this sense, team sports (and Boy Scouts, for that matter) are about participation in the collective (the public school collective for public school athletes).

Talk to coaches and others public school offials and supportes about the benefits of team sports. And then go to a sports assembly at your local high school.

Fallon April 21, 2009 at 10:54 pm


I read you there. I played public school sports. If government influence could be taken out of sports it would eliminate a major portion of the collectivist-statist motive in group activities. That would take a massive change in this society’s mindset though.

Another analogy. A band can serve the state and play the music that marches troops off to war; or, it can make music in effort to climb the billboard charts and/or express an idea…

Unfortunately, today there is a mixture of both- a band will create a chart-climbing song that supports the military….

So it is with team sports.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: