Sunday, July 12, 2009

Roger Young's Images and Quotes of the Week

Here are links to the latest editions of Roger Young's Image Review of the Week....

....and Quotes of the Week:

From the Light:
“Historically, collective violence has flowed regularly out of the central political process of Western countries. People seeking to seize, hold, or realign, the levers of power have continually engaged in collective violence as part of their struggles. The oppressed have struck in the name of justice, the privileged in the name of order, those between in the name of fear. Great shifts in the arrangement of power have ordinarily produced- and have often depended on- exceptional moments of collective violence.”
~ Charles Tilly

Read the rest of the Quotes of the Week


JohnJ said...

"Historically, collective violence has flowed regularly out of the central political process of Western countries."

I did not realize that collective violence was a product only of Western countries. I suppose I need to burn all my history books which inform me that all cultures and nearly all countries have poured out collective violence.

(I was also unaware that the United States military was responsible for passing welfare legislation.)

I love that people are passionate about individual freedom, but some of the things that people say when overtaken by this passion are just wild.

JohnJ said...

Howard Zinn is hardly a supporter of individual freedom, though. "Pacifism is inherently pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense." - George Orwell

Minnesota Chris said...

JohnJ, I don't know the context of the Charles Tilly quote, but I don't think he meant that collective violence flows ONLY from Western countries.

As for the quote on the military being most responsible for the welfare state, it can be easily observed that military conflict abroad necessarily results in increased tyranny and redistribution at home. More from Will Grigg's article:

As Bruce D. Porter explains in his valuable book War and the Rise of the State, each American military conflict, beginning with the War for Independence, has expanded the domestic power and redistributive reach of the government through what he calls "Titmussian linkages" between veterans and their dependents on the one hand, and the central government on the other. That somewhat inelegant phrase refers to the work of socialist British academic Richard Morris Titmuss, "A vigorous advocate of social welfare reforms" and, therefore, of the militarization of society in the interest of expanding the welfare state.

In fact, as Timuss noticed and Porter points out, the very "origins" of the welfare state are found in the military. Veterans and their dependents, who are guaranteed pensions and various disability, health, and housing benefits provided the first permanent clients of the redistributionist state. Both world wars abetted the breakdown of conventional family norms, and offered valuable field experience for promoters of sexual emancipation and related social "reforms." And the WWII-era conscription of millions of men, and the recruitment of their wives into war-related industries, led to the enactment of the first federal child care legislation.

Read it all at Grigg's blog.

As for Howard Zinn, I admit to knowing little about him, but I thought his article on war was excellent!

JohnJ said...

Of course, the reason why fascists advocate pacifism is that it makes it easier for them. Being "anti-war" in general merely means refusing to defend your friends from aggression. It's certainly no virtue. I'm always confused by the pride people take in proclaiming that they would never defend anyone from aggression.

My point is that being anti-war is not the same as being pro-freedom or anti-state. But I certainly agree that war is a great excuse for state expansion. But we must be careful to acknowledge that the state will portray pretty much any action as "war", such as "war on terror", "war on drugs", "war on poverty", etc. "Crisis" is also another excuse.

The state has one legitimate cause for any action: to stop one person from violating the individuality of another. Pacifism denies the state even that.

(Pro-fascist advocates also try to portray America or The West as being a greater evil than truly fascist regimes such as the Soviet Union or China, but that's starting to get off-topic. I mention it only because of the focus of the sentence to which I first objected. A more rational approach, I think, would compare countries to determine which were the greatest offenders.)

Minnesota Chris said...

JohnJ, I don't understand your comment about fascists advocating pacifism; it would appear to me that fascists more frequently advocate patriotism and love of country, for which of course they mean "the state."

With regards to your comments on pacifism, the foreign policy advocated by the Founders and Ron Paul should rather be known as non-interventionism. That means defend yourself against attack, but leave others alone. If we start defending our "friends" (which change from one year to the next), Jefferson's warning about "entangling alliances" should be well heeded.

I agree with you when you said that the state treat almost anything like a "war" in order to increase its power. There's great power in words, which the state uses to great effect.

As an anarchist, I don't believe the state has any legitimacy whatsoever, but if there is to be a minimal state, its sole function should be, as you said, " stop one person from violating the individuality of another." I think this can be done by the free market, but that is another discussion.

JohnJ said...

If I were a fascist, I would prefer to rule over people who believed it was wrong to defend themselves. It would make things so much easier for me. Fascists prefer to rule over pacifists for that very reason. Likewise, people who support fascism advocate pacifism to make it easier for the fascists. It's much easier to win against an enemy who refuses to defend himself.

Patriotism does not necessarily refer to the state. As you rightly note, there is great power in words. So we should distinguish the love of the state from the love of one's people. America was a great country back when its people believed in the limited state, for example.

Jefferson, who is probably the most non-interventionist of the Founders, found it to be an unworkable ideal when he was President. While it's good to avoid "entangling alliances", we should ally ourselves with people who share the common value of support for individual freedom, just as we as individuals would support our friends against a street thug. If you believe it is right to use force to help your friend defend himself against an aggressor, why wouldn't it be right to use force to help your friends in another country defend themselves against an aggressor?

Minnesota Chris said...

You're right in the patriotism means more than love of the state, but the term has been co-opted by the state to mean exactly that. Ron Paul makes another case of course with his great speech In the Name of Patriotism (Who are the Patriots?).

I take a different lesson from Jefferson's failure to follow his own guidelines: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton famously said.

JohnJ said...

It seems to me that avoiding alliances altogether would be the same thing as avoiding friends because we don't want to deal with their troubles. While some friends are more trouble than they're worth, and it's true that people should avoid getting hopelessly entangled with someone else's issues, I just don't think that avoiding having any friends is the answer.

I agree that blind patriotism is as bad as blind faith.

This is no fun. You're entirely too reasonable.

Minnesota Chris said...

The government should promote friendship with other countries by allowing free trade (in contrast to the bureaucratic managed trade of NAFTA/WTO/GATT). As Bastiat is supposed to have said, "If goods don't cross borders, soldiers will."

With regards to conflicts that inevitably arise, people should be allowed to come to the aid of a country they would like to support, but the government should stay out of conflicts. Do you really want the state to determine who our "friends" are? As an example, keep in mind that the US government befriended the evil Stalin during WW2.

JohnJ said...

Those are excellent points. I was afraid that's what you'd say, because I don't have any real rebuttal. All I can note is that no truly "stateless" society has ever existed and prospered. But we both know that that's not proof either way.

At least anarchists and "limited government" types can agree that statism is a bad idea.

Minnesota Chris said...

You're absolutely right, a truly stateless society hasn't been attempted, and you're also right that anarchists and minarchists are on the same team with regards to our common opposition to statism. If our fight for liberty results in a minimal state, we can hash out our differences then :-)

Good conversation, thank you John!