The Rise and Fall of Society: A live blog
Chapter 2: From God or the Sword?
"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 the bitter taproot of the state, 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 man 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 -- think of the boot camp style fitness classes where folks pay to be harassed and harangued.
Thankfully, there is the remnant -- whether you consider the biblical remnant or today's philosophical remnant. 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.
Note: To learn more about the remnant, read "Isaiah's Job," Nock's powerful essay.