Friday, June 02, 2006

The Torah of Geopolitics

The following is an excerpt from J.R. Nyquist's recent article, "The Torah of Geopolitics":

While on a trip to Israel reporters asked Milton Friedman to explain “the whole Torah” of economics while standing on one foot. Friedman simply said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch, and all the rest is merely an explanation.” Taking this as a point of departure we may speculate as follows: If reporters had asked Niccolo Machiavelli about the “Torah” of politics he might have held up one foot and said, “Politics is about gaining and holding power, and all the rest is merely explanation.” If Robert Michels were asked to comment further, he might have explained that democracy is merely another way of organizing oligarchy. Americans are taught to regard democracy as a good and noble thing, but democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The authors of the U.S. Constitution feared democracy, even as the ancients called it the worst form of government.

I find this interesting due to the persistant myth, widely held among peoples of the North American and European continents, that democracy is so glorious its form must be brought to distant lands as a cure for the ills of savage, backwards societies. This change from above in favor of democracy should even be imposed by force, the thinking holds, if necessary to secure a "better life" for the poor subjects of a nation controlled by despotic rulers.

My personal feeling is that even if we were to stumble on the perfect form of governance, it would be folly for one group to try and force the system on another. If we've truly discovered the touchstone of human/political organization it would be adopted by those who are ready to accept it, demand it, or stand up and fight for it.

What do we in the meantime with our supposed "good intentions?". I am not a political thinker or world traveler. I have no great insight into the workings of the world. All I know is what I can see, hear, and sense. The world seems to direct its energy towards a great homogenization and a creation of some worldwide standard. One common currency, one government, one international "peacekeeping force", one accepted manner of dress. The doctrine of political correctness has been instrumental in laying down one prescribed manner of thought. Religious war also seems to be a long running thread in this overarching theme.

We have taken these "grand ideals" and built up towering infrastructures around them. What would happen if we took a wrecking ball to this tottering mass? Could we learn to live by the principles of free association and the golden rule? Some might claim this is not a reasonable scenario. If this is the case, then do we really think that peace and liberty are sustainable in the world we have today?

I wonder if there is some truth to what Hans-Herman Hoppe said in an Austrian Economics Newsletter interview:


It is a ridiculous idea that we need the state to tell social authorities that they need to adhere to a uniform set of rules and obey a single master. Society does not need uniform modes of association. Market exchange makes social harmony possible even within the framework of radical diversity.

Today's so-called multiculturalists don't see that there is a difference between having a globe with many different cultures and imposing that diversity on each point on the globe. It is a difference between a regime of private property and a statist regime where the rest of us merely obey. Ultimately, those are the only two systems from which we have to choose.