13 thoughts on “Political tags”

  1. The fundamental question of all human societies to date is whether citizens exist to serve the state or the state exists to serve the citizens. (And to what extent.)

    With rare (and short) exceptions, the statists always win. They have the armies and weapons, after all.

  2. That’s one of those sayings that sounds profound until you think about it. It basically says that there are sociopaths and everybody else. (Anybody but a sociopath would want murderers and rapists to be controlled.)

    • The comment isn’t about controlling *some* individuals but about controlling *everybody*. Completely.
      It’s about Salamis, not psychos.

      (Mind you, Heinlein had a prescription for those, too. “Shoot them and bill the family for the bullet.” Yes, he was a 50’s conservative.)

    • @Camille: Agree. Societies are complex and they change. Sometimes quickly. I happened to read Steinbeck’s The Moon Is Down this morning. It is said to have been a favorite of the resistance during WW II. I generally think that Steinbeck, like Heinlein, oversimplifies a complex world, but the Moon Is Down does bring out that a society changes in response to what happens to it. Where I differ with Heinlein is that I believe oppression can suddenly change followers to leaders, and when that happens, all bets are off.

      • That happens over short time scales, early in the regimes rule. While alternatives persist in living memory.

        But if the regime can institutionalize itself over a generation or two it can endure for extended periods. Generations to centuries and even millenia.

        Look to Cuba and Iran as two that are in no real danger from “followers becoming (rebel) leaders”. Ditto China and North Korea.

        Once an entire generation has grown up serving the state that becomes the norm. By the next generation nobody even thinks to question the regime orthodoxy. By now it is common knowledge that clamping down ever tighter (as is happening in Syria, Venezuela, and Hong Kong) doesn’t bring regimes down but rather it is loosening the grip even slightly that triggers the fall.

  3. Great quote. I had a high school history class that was heavy on politics, and the teacher gave us a diagram of the political spectrum shown as a cross on a grid. Left and right are obvious, up was authoritarian (monarchies and dictatorships) down was anarchy. You could fit pretty much any type of government on that chart by placing it up, down, left, or right. Libertarian sits pretty much in the middle of the cross (minimum government, maximum personal freedom).

    Further study (and experience) has led me to believe that the political spectrum is not actually a cross but a globe, and if you go too far in any direction you always end up at fascism (which also happens to be the furthest point from libertarianism). As always, I’m sure opinions will vary.

Comments are closed.