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  •  As a philosophical anarchist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gizmo59, lotlizard, Dragon5616

    my basic view is this:  government per se is not the problem.  It is, however, the tool that is universally used by the powerful (the existence of which is the actual problem) to ensure the subjugation of the rest.  Certainly the state has powers, which if deployed in the interests of the disempowered, the disdained and dismissed can serve to make life more tolerable.  The history of government is unfortunately otherwise.  Those brief periods when the state could be seen casting a positive light are infinitesimal in comparison with the permanent persistence of the original founding reason of every form of state power everywhere:  to protect the persons, the property and the privileges of the rich and powerful.  Government gives to the ruling class the monopoly on the social use of force.    No ruling class from the most humble beginnings of government has shown any hesitation to make maximum use of its monopoly on violence.

    Now, being (horrors!) "pragmatic", I accommodate myself to the fact that the state does and also will exist.  Given that reality, it is my responsibility as a "citizen" to reserve the maximum amount of autonomy, authority and sovereignty outside the reach of the powerful, to make the positive potentials of the state most accessible, and to create the maximum hindrance to its utility as  an instrument of repression.  Unfortunately, while the authoritarian agenda for the state can often be successfully implemented by the tiniest of minorities, gaining anything remotely resembling democratic control of the state requires the active, ongoing and unremunerative participation of at least significant pluralities that act in solidarity and are capable of understanding and expressing their self-interests in class-conscious terms.  Only these elements can lead to the building of an enduring community capable of resisting and overcoming the repressive ruling-class power embodied in the state, and not even the tiniest minority of Americans at present share the necessary value structure.  Thus the contemporary reality and utility of the state in the US as a bulldozer to simply plow over any social expression contrary to the immediate interests of the ruling class.  The longer one allows hegemony to remain entrenched, the more difficult it becomes to extract oneself from it, and any rupture with that ruling system requires more social violence and disruption with each passing year.  

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:28:31 PM PDT

    •  I agree that (0+ / 0-)

      it is very difficult to get the people to act in their own behalf. As you say,

      gaining anything remotely resembling democratic control of the state requires the active, ongoing and unremunerative participation of at least significant pluralities that act in solidarity and are capable of understanding and expressing their self-interests in class-conscious terms.
      However, Western Democracies have something people historically have not had--a large middle class and a mechanism (elections) that can be used to control the oligarchs. For many centuries, the mechanics were simply not in place for people to control their own destiny. Now they are.

      I do not believe we will reach Utopia anytime soon, but I think we can retake some of the ground we lost during the last 30 years. It is a long struggle. The Great Owners aren't going away anytime soon.

      It takes a lot for people to be willing to make radical change. Usually, they have to be suffering greatly to make dramatic changes in the status quo. Currently, not enough people are suffering sufficiently enough for revolutionary change, so change must be incremental.

      But, like Steinbeck, I believe humans have a "stumbling-forward ache" to be free to create. I am optimistic in the long term that we will advance as a species. It will be slow, painful, and dangerous. There will be setbacks, but I believe that, ultimately, humans will get to a better place.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the very thoughtful comment, ActivistGuy.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." --Groucho Marx

      by Dragon5616 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:34:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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