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Anarchy, Utopia, and 'Immanentizing the Eschaton'

I remain a realist and a political conservative in the traditional sense. One skeptical of efforts to perfect human society, to falsely define human nature into a mold formed by wishes instead of observation, and to cast a villain as being responsible for the suppression of that true nature.

After about a month of debate with a particular political cadre of enthusiastic folk, I've realized I am dealing with a new iteration of the cult of the perfectibility of man, or of human society. The means is always the same, the destruction of some institution long extant in human history, which is assigned the blame for the nature of Man.

Whether it was the Rationalists' excess of zeal that led to the Reign of Terror following the French toppling of monarchy, and leading first to chaos and anarchy, and then yielding to dictatorship (Bonaparte), or the modern "New Atheist" movement that blames every evil of human nature on "organized religion," or the socialists, who blamed man's lack of perfect happiness, gregarious bliss and material plenty on "private property," or -- the present group, who shift the role of villain and bogeyman to "the State." Not just the modern totalitarian state, but legal coercion as such.

All share the same belief. Man has been chained, his nature muted. The culprit, some nefarious conspiracy of the ages embodied in X institution.

It alone prevents the emergence of the world of love, peace and mutual adulation of all by all, the "sand grain considerateness" and ant-hill virtues of Nietzsche's posited Last Man.

Man has been forced for all of his history to behave otherwise than as he naturally is. Religion, the State, private property - these are not means and makeshifts of dealing with man's inherent imperfections and animal nature - they are it's causes! Man himself is an angel in waiting.

I think it was the philosopher Eric Vogelin who derived this mentality from the secularization of the Christian hope for Paraside, shifted from the realm of the afterlife to the actual Earth. This occurred as belief in God declined, while Christian hopes remained deeply rooted.

The goal of all the great utopian secular creeds, per Vogelin, is to

Immanentize the eschaton

to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism, and transhumanism. - wiki

The Heaven of the dead God of Christianity - transmuted to the still living Earth and its all too unimpressive Lord - Man.

Recommended reading:

The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham
The Fatal Conceit by Friedrich Hayek

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if anyone is inspired by BILL3

this will get you started:


"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Which BILL3 user wrote this post?

I am guessing the fellow that regularly capitalizes.

In any case, whichever one of you it is, I've said this on more than one occasion, but I guess the other users that also use this account - which I've noticed 3 thus far - don't read each others interactions that thoroughly. So, I'll say it again.

The imperfectibility of man lends itself better to a stateless society than it does to one with a state. Why would someone think it a good idea to give a group of corruptible men a monopoly on force to use against an entire population?

You 3 BILL3 users say how people are so violent yet you fail to consider that murder by government was the leading unnatural cause of death in the 20th Century - upwards of 300,000,000 people (ie equal to the entire population of the United States).

Let's do a gedankenexperiment. First of all, it has already been demonstrated above that large governments are very deadly. Suppose the US federal government is abolished. In that case, there is some potential that the States may fight amongst each other. However, rather than millions, probably only a few thousand would die. Now, suppose the State governments are abolished. Then, the counties may fight amongst each other leading to probably a few hundred deaths. Finally, let's abolish the county and city governments. Here only individuals and small groups of individuals will fight amongst each other. People would die, but not on the scale of wars between modern nations. It should be a rather simple concept to understand that if the largest source of murder is done away with that the world will become safer.

The Early American West has been sensationalized by Hollywood to be a very violent place. However, that wasn't the case. Cattle thieves are much less likely to steal when they may get lynched. Truth be told, the only real reason for people to shy away from anarchism is because punishments become more harsh because people take it upon themselves to protect their property. Besides, in modern times, if your ass is on the line, the cops are just five minutes away. The cops provide an illusion of protection that puts people at an unnecessary risk. Very few people these days are equipped to defend themselves because of that illusion.

At one time, people thought kings were absolutely necessary for stability, just as you three do about the state. Up until Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, even many of the "founders" only wanted reconciliation with George III and thought it a silly idea to be without his rule. You three are no different.

The Jewish people requested to be ruled by a king twice. I hope the American people don't do the same with a "limited" government.

Wouldn't you like to be a

Wouldn't you like to be a better person Bill? Wouldn't you like those around you to be better too? Or are you trying to argue that there is no way to determine the difference between what is good and what is bad?

here we go (again)

I don't know any Austrian who has given a speech

on how to get from something like point A (tyranny) to point B (liberty) which begins any place other than a mirror. The strategy, if we want to call it that, of leading Austrian thinkers has been self improve and in doing so one will inspire others to self improve. Such a strategy has absolutely nothing to do with assigning blame to anyone other than oneself or anything else mentioned in the OP.

The Ron Paul revolution on the other hand would like to take that message and turn it into a political one where the strategy ought to be elect the right people. Ron Paul clearly endorses political office but he has also repeatedly stated the politicians represent the prevailing attitudes of the people and the political implication of that is there will never be a libertarian leaning majority in Congress unless the majority of Americans are libertarian leaning which can only come about by improving oneself and inspiring others to do the same.

It is not that the state as an abstract concept is a villain in and of itself. The villain, if that is the preferred term, is a belief violence ought to be redistributed to an individual without their consent when there is no injury, harm, or property damage. The enemy, being an idea, can only be conquered by ideas people deem to be more preferable. In order for an idea to take hold as a belief people must perceive it will lead to more happiness for them.

Fortunately for liberty lovers the so called state is doing a great job of aiding the spread of these ideas as it compels or coerces more people for more reasons than ever. For the first time in a long time people have seriously started to ponder and discuss the question when is it morally right to use force against an individual?

While the state is not the villain,

the state is the great enabler of villains. A state provides a convenient power structure which someone can seize for great evil. Without the power structure of German government, Hitler would have been just some local town hall asshole. The state is like the One Ring. It can only be used for evil.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Yawn. BILL3 builds himself

Yawn. BILL3 builds himself another straw man to knock down to impress himself.

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

Don't aepalizage me, bro

Now that's true conservatism. To hell with trying to improve the world, change is evil. Tradition.....tradition!

You should read some Mervyn Peake. No matter how hard you fight it, all institutions eventually crumble under the force of some indominable human spirit.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu