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Monday, August 20, 2007

Anarchy Versus Religion

Instapundit linked to an article titled Anarchy Unbound, or: Why Self-Governance Works Better than You Think by Peter Leeson. I was starting to write a post about this very interesting article but The Belmont Club beat me to it and took it one step further by intertwining it with The Politics of God, a recent article in the New York Times. It's long, but I found it well worth reading and heartily recommend it. Here's one small excerpt:
What both articles have in common, apart from their startling thesis, is the request that the reader put aside any preconceived notions that European political development in the late 20th century represented anything like the highest development of civilization. Both imply that we are not at the End of History and the sooner we disabuse ourselves of that idea, the greater our chances at survival.

1 comment:

Howard said...


read both Leeson and Lilla columns on Sunday, quite good! Wretchard did a nice job as well:

"Religion is simply too entwined with our moral experience ever to be disentangled from it, and morality is inseparable from politics." But that underrated the ambition of the ideologues. Once God had left the room the stakes went too high: and God's vacant throne glittered irresistibly before them. The natural impulse of demagogues was not, as Rousseau might have thought, to retain God as an absent, but beneficent Constitutional Monarch in whose extended absence Parliament ruled. For ambitious men the goal was to supplant the Creator altogether the better to rule on earth as gods. God's death not only became politically expedient, but necessary for the attainment of unlimited power -- the ground on which the 20th century unfolded as it did.

A Europe shattered and disillusioned by the Great War turned again to religion; but not to the Christianity they had recently rejected; but instead to the new European world-faiths of the 20th century. Nazism and Communism were the proudest creations of post-Christian Europe. They were faiths whose missionaries would proselytize everywhere and make converts as far afield as Vietnam and China. Faiths under whose banners structures greater than cathedrals would be filled with chanting adherents; faiths whose patriarchs greater than Popes would rule; pitiless religions where not thousands, but hundreds of millions would be burned at the proverbial stake.

In the United States progressives/modern liberals cut from a similar cloth and with similar intellectual roots did some good (which might have happened anyway with time) but were mercifully prevented from having free reign by the political opposition and the nature of our culture.

Orrin Judd points to a very good Spengler column dealing with same ...

also, on a tangentially related note - see this podcast with notes which deals not with religion/politics but with politics/peace and economics.