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Waxing or Waning???



“About six years ago, I wrote:

For decades now I’ve flitted between minarchism and outright anarchism. If you’ve read my Spooner Federation books, you’re familiar with the process I consider inevitable:

The disorder of the “state of nature” – read Thomas Hobbes – gradually gives way via natural processes to order, albeit without a recognized – i.e., a pre-indemnified – government.

A well-ordered yet ungoverned society – i.e., the anarchist ideal – will slowly evolve into an (at first) well-ordered governed society with strong popular consensus.

This gradually becomes an unjustly governed society owing to the dynamic of power-seeking: i.e., the men most likely to gain power are those who want it for its own sake and the benefits it can bring them personally.

The unjustly governed society will steadily lose its order, and therefore its popular consensus: the consent of the governed. This will precipitate collapse.

Collapse means a return to anarchy, which by dint of natural processes will slowly regain order, restarting the cycle.

This cycle has overwhelming historical support. It suggests that there’s no way out of the cycle, which implies that for best results, one simply has to trust to luck – i.e., to be born in the right time and place – and mobility – the readiness, willingness, and ability to move from an undesirable society to a more desirable one. But where does that leave us of Twenty-First Century America?

Why, right where we are today, of course: enmeshed in a steadily deteriorating, ever more anarcho-tyrannical context. At the moment, the only escape is to even less desirable places. That might change; developments in space flight and workable space habitats are ongoing, and it’s impossible to say if or when they’ll mature. But the cycle itself appears to be embedded in human nature. If that’s the case, then no matter where men go, the cycle will go with them.

The United States is in the fourth of the five stages enumerated above. There’s no way to foresee how long it will last. History strongly indicates that a collapse is ahead of us, but no one alive today can be certain he’ll live to see it, or what follows it.

My great fear is that the developments of the century behind us have equipped the State with tools it can use to prolong the fourth stage indefinitely. The power of the “public health” rationale – not merely at empowering the State but more importantly at shaping public attitudes and inducing compliance — coupled with the steady concentration of Americans’ incomes in an ever smaller group of companies and a general disinclination among private persons to court conflict or otherwise “rock the boat” might raise the threshold for entering the fifth stage to an unattainable level.

Would anyone care to present a rosier picture of the American future?”


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