A journal of political, social, and other important, possibly even somewhat related affairs, including but not limited to: Central European Society, The European Union, HC Kometa Brno, American Politics, Film, and Beer.

18 July 2010

The best thing you'll read today....

...comes from Kevin Williamson over on National Review's homepage. Williamson compellingly links homeschooling ("one of the few truly radical movements in America") with gun rights as examples of the ways free citizens defend themselves from the state as an undesirable Hobbesian Leviathan, and he then goes on to attack Leviathan on both ethical and instrumental grounds -- not only is Leviathan wrong, it is also impractical. Williamson points out that for many on the Left, there seems to be nothing between anarchy and Leviathan, and gives two excellent examples of people throwing their lot in with the awesome power of the state, in a sort of Hobbes-cum-Hegel perspective.

Long ago, I had a teacher here who made the provocative assertion that for a brief moment, anarchism (as an -ism) was ascendant in the hot debate over "correct" radical course to take (vis-a-vis socialism), particularly in Spain and France. His argument was that these anarchists were in favor of building "autonomous spaces" within the state, I suppose something akin to the Kibbutz movement in Israel. They rejected the concept of free individuals in a context of limited government, to be sure, precisely because they doubted the ability of individuals to stand against Leviathan. In other words, they felt the commune was the best method of blunting state power. But they did acknowledge that socialism paves the way to Leviathan, and sought to cut off these paths.

Of course, nowadays it is clear that the Hegelians and the socialists have dominated this internal debate of the Left for many years, but as Williamson notes, it is a false dilemma to choose between the Leviathan (even a semi-democratic one) and anarchy (in its more traditional sense). The concept of a free, independent citizen has been radical for 250 years, and will continue to be so.


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