domingo, março 17, 2013

The Rise & Fall of the State

In Istanbul: The Rise & Fall of Society:
One of the books I had tucked in my bag that I read while in Turkey was Frank Chodorov’s The Rise & Fall of Society. This is a slender 168-page book by a great, if somewhat forgotten, essayist and editor. It gives a tightly reasoned answer to the question “Why do societies rise and fall?”

Chodorov’s thesis is that “every collapse of which we have sufficient evidence was preceded by the same course of events.”

The course of events goes like this: “The State, in its insatiable lust for power, increasingly intensified its encroachments on the economy of the nation…” and finally gets to the point where the economy can no longer support the state at the level it is accustomed to. Society can’t meet the strain, so “society collapsed and drew the State down with it.”

The pattern is always the same, regardless of size or ideology. The state can grow only by taking. “Since the State thrives on what it expropriates,” Chodorov writes, “the general decline in production which it induces by its avarice foretells its own doom.”

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