A Terrible Blogger is Born!

November 25, 2007

The Bourne Prophecy

"Ancestral voices prophecying war!"

"Ancestral voices prophecying war!"

Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone?

The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world. The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle. Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war. But, put to the stern pragmatic test, the difference is not striking. In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.

That’s American writer Randolph Bourne, writing in 1918 about World War One. His analysis of how the ideal of the State caused supposedly freedom-loving America to be plunged into Europe’s senseless bloodbath, and how it destroyed any vestige of civil liberty at home, is uncannily resonant with George the Second’s crusade in the Middle East and the parallel “War on Terror” which is largely being conducted within our own borders and upon our own citizens. Read the classic essay, War is the Health of the State.

john_bull_-_world_war_i_recruiting_poster5

And if you dig that, check out Murray Rothbard on who got us into World War I, how and why they did it.

November 17, 2007

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Filed under: State — rmangum @ 6:13 pm
"theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i don't care down with big brother"- Winston Smith

"theyll shoot me in the back of the neck i don't care down with big brother"- Winston Smith

Who knew Kurt Loder was a Libertarian? I found this video with Reason Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Nick Gillespie, wherein Loder ruminates on new technology and its implications for freedom. He praises user-generated media, and decries the growth of the surveillance state. It’s the old problem of quis custodiet ipsos custodes, or “Who will watch the watchers themselves?” When everyone has access to technology, Big Brother may be watching, but his subjects gaze also.

November 11, 2007

absit iniuria verbis; absit invidia

Filed under: Uncategorized — rmangum @ 6:51 pm

ebbogospelsstmark“Let injury by words be absent; let ill will be absent.” In other words, dear friends, I mean no offense. I welcome all intelligent and civil comments.

Much of this blog will be devoted to exploring philosophical anarchism. There are two basic schools of anarchism: left anarchism (called “communist”, “socialist”, or just “social” anarchism) and right anarchism (“individualist” anarchism or “anarcho-capitalism”), which are something of a mirror image of left and right statism. The current center is a statist center. I am interested in ideas which find an enlightened center between left and right, but moving the center away from the State to a point I like to call “Mere Anarchy”. The phrase is derived from Yeats, (but with a positive connotation rather than his negative one) and is used as he did in his poem “The Second Coming” to connote the older meaning of the word mere, meaning “pure”. Libertarian economist Murray Rothbard once called himself a “right-wing liberal”, while novelist Norman Mailer professed to be a “left-conservative”. I am interested in such hybrids, while refraining to identify with any particular one.

Secondly, I am interested, not in shifting, but rather expanding the focus into the cultural realm. There is a wealth of resources on libertarianism and anarchy on the web, (indeed, the internet may be the only place where anarchy may have not only a strong but even dominant voice) most of it dealing in terms of political economy. I learn more about politics and economics every day, but my first love is the humanities. My overarching concern is the question: “What is the culture of mere anarchy?”

Is this a bit much for a simple little blog? No doubt, but what the hell, it should be fun anyway.

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