Monday, June 22, 2009

Can Politics Be The Answer?

My latest column at C4SS:

Among "minarchists" (those who desire a much smaller, less powerful role for government), participation in electoral politics is usually regarded as a morally acceptable activity. Libertarian political parties, or libertarian caucuses within existing parties, constitute a visible and powerful part of their activities. Some minarchists do, however, raise the question of whether this approach is effective, and may opt instead to pursue education or propaganda efforts without themselves putting up or endorsing candidates for public office.

Anarchists, of course, want to do away with political government entirely: To smash the state and create a society in which there are no "public offices" to support the election of candidates to. Surprisingly, however, some anarchists do support "political activity" in pursuit of a stateless society.

Friday's piece was on Iran:

Incipient revolution, regardless of its ideological content or where it takes place, gives politicians the willies. It keeps them up nights, or else causes them to bolt awake with the irresistible urge to make sure the world outside their windows still believes it needs them.

Thus, even in a situation seemingly tailor-made to address the alleged complaints of the US government against the government of Iran, President Barack Obama finds himself unwilling to do much more than damn the people of Iran with faint praise.

From the perspective of a man in Obama's line of work, the worst of all possible outcomes is the "failed state" -- a state where the political class experiences "loss of physical control of its territory or a monopoly on the legitimate [sic] use of force." Such a situation is always pregnant with possibility: The possibility that the dying state will be replaced, even temporarily and provisionally, by something other than a new state.

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