re: Kirk Sale’s new book
Having communitarian predilections, people want to identify with a collective. It’s a sorry aspect of modernity that they can conflate the nation-state with community.
Kirk Sale’s latest book is entitled “Life Without Government,” but I think it’s actually critiquing the nation-state more than government-in-general. If you prefer to call local bodies “administrative” rather than “governmental,” OK. To “govern” is a little imperious, so moving away from the term as we move away from overly-large-scale governmental entities might be a good idea. On the other hand, the message can be: “There’s noting inherently wrong in general with polities, cities, governments, institutions, technologies, etc. The issue is scale.” In our times polities, cities, governments, institutions, and technologies all suffer from hypertrophy.
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No More Mushrooms: Thoughts About Life Without Government
by Kirkpatrick Sale … 2021
There is one overriding fact about government that condemns it to being forever wrong: it is a contrivance abhorrent to nature, including human nature, and cannot be formed in any such way to prevent it being so…. For the longest time that we have been humans, say for about a million-and-a-half years, we have lived without anything that could be remotely considered government…. There is the indictment. Government is a system of human organization that lessens individual liberty, nullifies family, and emaciates community, invariably working to enlarge its power at the expense of other organizations. It does not matter what kinds of people are running it, what various combinations of checks and balances may be tried, whatever benefits it may be attempting to achieve, it cannot escape its inherent nature…. I cannot imagine a world without problems and crises, without social and economic dislocations demanding some public response. I see no difficulty, however, in imagining a world where those are responded to at the immediate human level by those who perceive the immediate human effects and control their own immediate human destinies…. If humans lived for the first two million years without a state, and most of them for the next 8,000 years without one, and the experiments with the nation-state as we know it are only a few hundred years old, there is clearly nothing eternal about it. It may have been a serviceable device for one small period of human history, but as we move out of that period it may begin to lose its value and its meaning in the daily life of the planet.