From Albert Jay Nock's "Our Enemy - The State":
"There is also an impression that if actual recessions [Nock here is using "recession" to describe State power reverting to its former role as Societal power] do not come about by themselves, they may be brought about by the expedient of voting one party out and another one in. This idea rests upon certain assumptions that experience has shown to be unsound; the first one being that the power of the ballot is what republican political theory makes it out to be, and that therefore the electorate has an effective choice in the matter. It is a matter of open and notorious fact that nothing like this is true. Our nominally republican system is actually built on an imperial model, with our professional politicians standing in the place of the praetorian guards; they meet from time to time, decide what can be “got away with,” and how, and who is to do it; and the electorate votes according to their prescriptions. Under these conditions it is easy to provide the appearance of any desired concession of State power, without the reality; our history shows innumerable instances of very easy dealing with problems in practical politics much more difficult than that. One may remark that in this connexion also the notoriously baseless assumption that party-designations connote
principles, and that party-pledges imply performance. Moreover, underlying these assumptions and all others that faith in “political action” contemplates, is the assumption that the interests of the State and the interests of society are, at least theoretically, identical; whereas in theory they are directly opposed, and this opposition invariably declares itself in practice to the precise extent that circumstances permit. However, without pursuing these matters further at the moment, it is probably enough to observe here that in the nature of things the exercise of personal government, the control of a huge and growing bureaucracy, and the management of an enormous mass of subsidized voting-power, are as agreeable to one stripe of politician as they are to another. Presumably they interest a Republican or a Progressive as much as they do a Democrat, Communist, Farmer- Labourite, Socialist, or whatever a politician may, for electioneering purposes, see fit to call himself. This was demonstrated in the local campaigns of 1934 by the practical attitude of politicians who represented nominal opposition parties. It is now being further demonstrated by the derisible haste that the leaders of the official opposition are making towards what they call reorganization” of their party. One may well be inattentive to their words; their actions, however, mean simply that the recent accretions of State power are here to stay, and that they are aware of it; and that, such being the case, they are preparing to dispose themselves most advantageously in a contest for their control and management. This is all that “reorganization” of the Republican party means, and all it is meant to mean; and this is in itself quite enough to show that any expectation of an essential change of regime through a change of party-administration is illusory. On the contrary, it is clear that whatever party-competition we shall see hereafter will be on the same terms as heretofore. It will be a competition for control and management, and it would naturally issue in still closer centralization, still further extension of the bureaucratic principle, and still larger concessions to subsidized voting-power. This course would be strictly historical, and is furthermore to be expected as lying in the nature of things, as it so obviously does."
A good read.Comment Posted By Jon Dough On 22.12.2009 @ 14:13
I would ask that all respondents to Rick's thoughtful excursions into the issues that divide us take the opportunity to read this book:
After absorbing its content, we can return with a more enlightened approach to commenting on said issues.
We, as individuals, owe no allegiance to one another other than our choice to do so for the betterment of all.
The sooner we define who our common enemy is, the sooner we will drop the trivial differences with one another that we all display at every convenience and decide to work for a better tomorrow.
Rick is right: we are out of time. If we cling to our blindness as a shield from the true nature of our common reality, we will surely fall.
Lastly, I would ask that any animosity engendered by the source of the book (mises.org) be put aside for the duration. I am not of any particular stripe and I find that which I believe to be truth isn’t, either.Comment Posted By jon dough On 10.11.2009 @ 20:06
Leaving Reynolds' and Gayle's fisticuffs aside, this site:
has been posting on H1N1 since January of this year and I believe, though the page of links ends with January, was posting on it earlier than that.Comment Posted By jon dough On 26.10.2009 @ 17:05
Was Edgar Cayce a medium?
I believe he was an extra large, actually...
I love this site.
Thanks, Rick, keep up the great posts...Comment Posted By jon dough On 19.10.2009 @ 22:30
As usual, you give me much to think about.
I honestly believe that some of the "Whose Side Are You On, Anyways?" confusion amongst We The People arises from our not understanding, or perhaps not even caring, just exactly what it is we want from our political parties and leaders.
Your writing is very consistent and your logic is sound. You correctly point out your facts first and then build your arguments.
An example I have seen here numerous times revolves around the fact that we are a nation of 300+ million people -- your first comment is to ask what do we mean when we demand "smaller government"?
And there are many more similar thoughts and questions you often pose that are of the same simple yet probing content. Not simplistic, just simple, as in easy to grasp and talk about.
If these cannot be answered or discussed or admitted of, we are all in big trouble.
From F.A. Hayek's "Why I Am Not A Conservative"
"Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments. But, though there is a need for a "brake on the vehicle of progress," I personally cannot be content with simply helping to apply the brake. What the liberal must ask, first of all, is not how fast or how far we should move, but where we should move."
When Hayek uses the word "Liberal", he means the classical liberal, the meat and mettle of our nations founders, not the co-opted form taken by the leftist radicals.
So, what can we learn from Mr. Hayek and Mr. Moran?
For me, the learning is that Mr. Moran's current use of the word conservative is not the same as Hayek's. To me, Rick's arguments and positions reverberate with a tone and clarity more akin to the definition of the classical Liberal.
More Hayek, ibid:
"But the main point about liberalism is that it wants to go elsewhere, not to stand still. Though today the contrary impression may sometimes be caused by the fact that there was a time when liberalism was more widely accepted and some of its objectives closer to being achieved, it has never been a backward-looking doctrine. There has never been a time when liberal ideals were fully realized and when liberalism did not look forward to further improvement of institutions. Liberalism is not averse to evolution and change; and where spontaneous change has been smothered by government control, it wants a great deal of change of policy. So far as much of current governmental action is concerned, there is in the present world very little reason for the liberal to wish to preserve things as they are. It would seem to the liberal, indeed, that what is most urgently needed in most parts of the world is a thorough sweeping away of the obstacles to free growth."
(Again, for those who speed read and misconstrue, Liberal here is meant as CLASSICAL Liberal, like our nation's founders.)
And, therein lies the rub. We want more but we want less. We want change but we want to hold to our memories of the past. We know what is right and what is wrong because we were brought up to believe in natural reason, in first principles that supersede our own lives and the lives of those that came before as well as those to come and we cherish these principles as part of our heritage: but we also want to accept the challenge to move beyond those same boundaries.
Sorry to ramble. I think Conservatives -- scratch that, most anyone -- would be better served to maintain at the front of their thought processes that not everyone on the other side of your fence is an enemy or a heretic. Hell, if your arguments are well constructed you might win a convert. Be careful though: you may change your mind later and have to confront them all over again.
I do not mean to speak for you Rick, you do that very well all on your own. That's why I come here every day.
I will say that the more I read of what you have to say, the more I am reminded of men like Hayek. I, for one, think that puts you in exceptional company.
Thanks for a great series.
I just recently reread The Road to Serfdom. It was the third time I've read it and each time, I have come away with a fresh perspective on what it means to be "free." Hayeks arguments for economic freedom are so simple, yet profound. But more than his thesis, it is the structure and logic of his arguments that capture me. I don't consciously emulate Hayek in making my arguments, but I certainly try to have structure and logic when advancing them.
As I've said many times, I am not an intellectual. But I believe what is lacking in our politics is something as simple as common sense. I despise what passes for political discourse today because it is so shallow and substanceless. People think if they scream "small government" at the top of their voices often enough that it passes for profundity and people will take them seriously. But trying to pin anyone down on what they actually mean when they say that is a different story. Then you realize that they are not conservatives but reactionaries who seek to re-establish not constitutional principles but rather a government more in line with what we had with the Articles of Confederation.
Thanks for your generous comment, although I certainly don't deserve the comparison to Hayek.
ed.Comment Posted By jon dough On 12.10.2009 @ 14:37
Of late, when the conversation has turned to debating values and moral equivalence, I have run a little dry on repulsive examples of those who think people are means and not ends.
Thank you, Rick.Comment Posted By Jon Dough On 28.08.2009 @ 15:24
Nice choices - that's why I come here.
Although I REALLY like it when you take a poster to task...like you might for my choice.
The big final fight scene in "Big Trouble In Little China".
LMAO, it poked fun at so many fight scenes, but still came off pretty well.
Hadn't thought of it in years until I read this. Going to rent it and laugh all over again.
Thanks, RickComment Posted By jon dough On 15.06.2009 @ 20:07
Heh, I love coming to this place.
Keep it up, Rick.
Love your work at AT, too.
JDComment Posted By Jon Dough On 1.06.2009 @ 16:56
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