Some formatting didn't translate from MS Word exactly as I would have liked, but there you are.
Hayek’s Road to Serfdom postulates that when government gets too much power (regardless of intention for good or ill), it is eventually taken over by the most ruthless.
I'll stand behind you on those words. An exceptional essay in both principle and execution.
Outstanding writing and content, Noumenon. Thanks for posting it.
"The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position."
George Washington - Farewell Address, September 17, 1796, Ref: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (521)
"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
George Washington - : in a speech of January 7, 1790
This is a truly brilliant essay. Thank you for the effort to clarify so much, so well. I encourage you to try to get it published more widely.
bump for later read
as one reviewer of the book states: "Hans Askenasy reveals the extraordinary conditions under which any of us could become an inhuman murderer. Or so it seems. But the conditions are ordinary, not extraordinary, and the inhuman behavior is all-too-human."
The chill of watching those TSA people molest people because they "have the power!" is a very frightening glimpse of how easily people in ANY society would turn on their fellow citizens if given the chance to do so with impunity.
you did yourself proud. A great undertaking that is quite succinct.
One big bump.
Thanks Noumenon I have been trying to put this into words myself, this is powerful.
Wouldn’t you also say that on a smaller scale Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist recently arrested in Philadelphia was a by product of these toxic philosophies?
“As Professor Rummel has shown in Death by Government, democide has been committed in the name of many causes, beliefs and ideologies. Historically, the slaughter of entire populations has been a matter of national, racial, cultural, religious and political policy. But democide is seldom aimed at an individual. It is always the group that is the target. Democide is possible only where individuals have been defined in terms of a group identity. Where this is not the case, mass violence is virtually unknown.
No one wages war on humanity in the name of individualism - R. J. Rummel”
Truth! Good rant!
The Goal of Socialism
Difficulties in understanding socialist ideology arise when we try to correlate its doctrinal prescriptions for the organization of society with the actual forms of these principles as they are realized in history. For example, the picture of a society "in which the free development of each will be the precondition of the free development of all" contains no contradiction. But when the "leading theoretician" asserts that the creation of this harmonious man is achieved by shooting, we are face to face with a paradox. The view of socialism to which we have come encounters the same kind of difficulties and must be tested by this means for inconsistency. It is not enough to say that all the basic principles of socialist ideology derive from the urge to suppress individuality. It is necessary also to understand what this tendency portends for mankind and how it arises. We shall begin with the former question.
At the end of the preceding chapter we sketched the "ideal" socialist society as it appears in the classical writings of socialism. Of the features enumerated, we shall consider only one: state upbringing of children from infancy so that they do not know their parents. It is natural to begin with this aspect of the socialist ideal, if only because it would be the first thing that an individual born into this society would face. This measure is suggested with striking consistency from Plato to Liadov, a leading Soviet theoretician of the 1920s. In the 1970s, the Japanese police arrested members of the "Red Army," a Trotskyite organization, which was responsible for a number of murders. Although this group numbered only a few dozen people, it had all the attributes of a real socialist party--theoreticians, a split on the question of whether revolution should occur in one country or in the entire world at once, terror against dissidents. The group established itself in a lonely mountain region. And the same trait surfaced here: they took newborn children away from their mothers, entrusted them to other women for upbringing and fed them on powdered milk, despite difficulties in obtaining it. Let us quote from a book by the modern ethologist Eibl-Eibesfeldt, which will help us evaluate the biological significance of this measure:
It is especially in the second half of the first year of life that a child establishes personal ties with its mother or a person substituting for her (a nurse, a matron). This contact is the precondition for the development of "primary trust" (E. H. Erikson), the basis for the attitude toward oneself and the world. The child learns to trust his partner, and this positive basic orientation is the foundation of a healthy personality. If these contacts are broken, "primary distrust" develops. A prolonged stay in the hospital during the child's second year may, for example, lead to such results. Though the child will try even there to establish close contact with a mother substitute, no nurse will be able to devote herself intensively enough to an infant for a close personal tie to be established. Nurses constantly change, and so the contacts that arise are constantly broken. The child, deceived in his expectations of contact, falls into a state of apathy after a brief outburst of protest. During the first month of his stay in the hospital he whines and clings to anyone available. During the second month he usually cries and loses weight. During the third month such children only weep quietly and finally become thoroughly apathetic. If after three to four months' separation they are taken home, they return to normal. But if they stay in the hospital longer, the trauma becomes irreversible.. ..In one orphanage where R. Spitz studied ninety-one children who had been separated from their mothers in the third month of their lives, thirty-four died before they reached the age of two. The level of development of the survivors was only 45 percent of normal and the children were almost like idiots. Many of them could neither walk nor stand nor speak at age four. (148: p.234)
This may be applied to the whole of a society built on the consistent implementation of socialist ideals. Not only people but even animals cannot exist if reduced to the level of the cogs of a mechanism. Even such a seemingly elementary act as eating is not reducible to the mere satiation of the organism. For an animal to eat, it is not enough that it be hungry and that food be available; the food must be enticing, "appetizing," as well. And in more complex actions involving several ,individuals, such as raising of young, the common defense of territory or hunting, animals establish relations that usually are ritualistic in nature and that elicit great excitement and undoubtedly provide deep satisfaction. For animals, these ties constitute "the meaning of life"; if they are broken, the animal becomes apathetic, does not take food, and becomes an easy victim for a predator. To a far greater extent, this applies to man. But for him, all the aspects of life that make it attractive and give it meaning are connected with manifestations of individuality. Therefore, a consistent implementation of the principles of socialism deprives human life of individuality and simultaneously deprives life of its meaning and attraction. As suggested by the example of the orphaned children, it would lead to the physical extinction of the group in which these principles are in force, and if they should triumph through the world--to the extinction of mankind. But the conclusion that we have reached has yet to be tested by history because the socialist ideals have nowhere achieved complete implementation. The primitive states of the ancient Orient and pre-Columbian America had a very weakly developed socialist ideology. In keeping with Shang Yang's principle ("When the people are weak the state is strong; when the state is weak the people are strong"), particularly strong, conservative and long-lived state structures were created. In these states, however, the principle of the "weak people" was understood only in the sense of external, physical limitations--choice of work, place of residence, severe limitations on private property, the large number of official duties. These duties did not touch the life within the family or cut deeply into man's soul. They were not ideologically inspired, and it was apparently the same patriarchal quality that preserved these states from dying out but, on the other hand, left them defenseless in the face of new spiritual forces called forth by the abrupt shifts of the first millennium B.C.
The socialist states of the twentieth century are also far from being a model of the complete realization of socialist ideals. But one must note that when survival is at stake, it was achieved in these states precisely by giving up some fundamental socialist principle. This occurred with the introduction of the New Economic Policy in Soviet Russia and with the halt ordered by Stalin in the persecution of religion during World War II.
However, it is possible to point out a number of similar situations which may serve, though indirectly, to support our point of view.
It happens not infrequently that a nation or a social group dies out not because of economic reasons or due to destruction by enemies but because the spiritual conditions of its existence are destroyed.
the dying and, ultimately, the complete extinction of mankind is not a chance external consequence of the embodiment of the socialist ideal but that this impulse is a fundamental and organic part of socialist ideology. To a greater or lesser degree it is consciously perceived as such by its partisans and even serves them as inspiration.
This paradoxical phenomenon may be understood only if we allow that the idea of the death of humanity can be attractive to man and that the impulse to self-destruction (even if it is only one of many tendencies) plays a role in human history. And there is in fact much evidence to support this hypothesis, particularly among phenomena that play an essential role in the spiritual life of mankind. Quite independently of socialism, each of these leads to the same conclusion.
We have arrived at this view of socialism in attempting to account for the contradictions evident in the phenomenon at first glance. And now, looking back, we feel confident that our approach indeed accounts for many of socialism's peculiarities. Understanding socialism as one of the manifestations of the allure of death explains its hostility toward individuality, its desire to destroy those forces which support and strengthen human personality: religion, culture, family, individual property. It is consistent with the tendency to reduce man to the level of a cog in the state mechanism, as well as with the attempt to prove that man exists only as a manifestation of nonindividual features, such as production or class interest. The view of man as an instrument of other forces, in turn, makes it possible to understand the astonishing psychology of the leaders of the socialist movements: on the one hand, the readiness and even the striving to erase one's own personality, to submit it completely to the aims of the movement (so obvious in the statements of Piatakov and Trotsky cited earlier) and, on the other hand, the complete collapse of will, the renunciation of one's convictions in case of defeat (Müntzer and Johann of Leyden, Bakunin in his "Confession," the behavior of Zinoviev, Bukharin and others at the trials, etc.). In fact, if the instrument is no longer needed, all meaning for its existence is lost, and in man's soul the source of courage and spiritual strength runs dry. (Bakunin, for example, both before and after his imprisonment is quite a different person from the utterly broken and self-abasing author of the "Confession." And Bukharin, in his emotional "Testament," says that he has no differences with Stalin and that he has had none for a long time. He thereby dismisses his entire activity and even deprives himself of the right to protest against his own execution, since that would involve a disagreement.) This point of view is consistent with the calls to universal destruction, with the attractiveness of destructive forces like wars and crises, with the allure of death and the idea of Nothingness.
Returning to our specific theme, we see that the striving for self-destruction expressed in socialism not only is not analogous or "equivalent" to other forces acting in history, but is fundamentally distinct from them in character. For example, in contrast to a religious or a national ideology, which openly proclaims its goals, the "death instinct" that is embodied in socialism appears in the guise of religion, reason, social justice, national endeavors or science, and never shows its true face. Apparently its action is the stronger the more directly it is perceived by the subconscious part of the psyche, but only on condition that consciousness remains unaware.
...if we suppose that the significance of socialism for mankind consists in the acquisition of specific experience, then much has been acquired on this path in the last hundred years. There is, first of all, the profound experience of Russia, the significance of which we are only now beginning to understand. The question therefore arises: will this experience be sufficient? Is it sufficient for the entire world and especially for the West? Indeed, is it sufficient for Russia? Shall we be able to comprehend its meaning? Or is mankind destined to pass through this experience on an immeasurably larger scale? There is no doubt that if the ideals of Utopia are realized universally, mankind, even in the barracks of the universal City of the Sun, shall find the strength to regain its freedom and to preserve God's image and likeness--human individuality--once it has glanced into the yawning abyss. But will even that experience be sufficient? For it seems just as certain that the freedom of will granted to man and to mankind is absolute, that it includes the freedom to make the ultimate choice--between life and death.
Sorry for the long quote. The book itself is much longer though and the bulk of it is an encyclopaedic research into protosocialist societies of the past. And that feature makes it so chilling for us in America, where we naively think that by rearranging the slogans we can avoid the fate, and in fact, the goal, of every other socialist society.
"We are witnessing the return of the Gestapo - because that madman Weather Underground sympathizer Eric Holder hates white people. While the FBI is under control of Holder, its sister agency the DHS is under control of a lesbian that hates America as much as Eric Holder and Hussein Obama. We are in for some very nasty sh!t if this halfrican is reelected. "
Sort of makes 1998 (or so) look like a "golden era" for freedom & liberty...
Of course, at that time many here thought it couldn't get much worse than klintoon, hitlary, alnotbright, Janet, and albore.
Unfortunately that was the last period of time in which heroic action might have saved the few existing remnants of the former Republic and one-or-two of the freedoms that we still had.
I would strongly recommend reading (or re-reading) this excellent post by Noumenon as he continued to build on central premises that he has posted since those early FR years: "Killers Without Conscience"
Needless to say...."Something wicked" no longer "comes"..It has arrived to stay!
Posted on 10/15/2011 10:11:52 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)