Randolph bourne the state essay

So that the State, which had vigorously resisted the idea of a referendum and clung tenaciously and, of course, with entire success to its autocratic and absolute control of foreign policy, had the pleasure of seeing the country, within a few months, given over to the retrospective impression that a genuine referendum had taken place.

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When once a country has lapped up these State attitudes, its memory fades; it conceives itself not as merely accepting, but of having itself willed, the whole policy and technique of war. Be with us, they call, or be negligible, irrrelevant.

War has an immemorial tradition and heredity only because the State has a long tradition and heredity. The man who moves from the direction of a large business in New York to a post in the war management industrial service in Washington does not apparently alter very much his power or his administrative technique.

Simply overthrowing a Government will only spook the herd even worse. On most people the strain of being an independent adult weighs heavily, and upon none more than those members of the significant classes who have had bequeathed to them or have assumed the responsibilities of governing.

From such serfdom, military conscription is not so great a change. The herd-mind followed faithfully the State-mind and, the agitation for a referendum being soon forgotten, the country fell into the universal conclusion that, since its Congress had formally declared the war, the nation itself had in the most solemn and universal way devised and brought on the entire affair.

Neutrality meant suspense, and so it became the object of loathing to frayed nerves.

The War and the Intellectuals

A distinction is made between the Administration and the Government. But during the build-up to war, and especially following its breakout, the foreign enemy looms large in the public imagination. States, with reference to each other, may be said to be in a continual state of latent war. The more terrifying the occasion for defense, the closer will become the organization and the more coercive the influence upon each member of the herd.

The punishment for opinion has been far more ferocious and unintermittent than the punishment of pragmatic crime. The task of making our own country detailedly fit for peace was abandoned in favor of a feverish concern for the management of war, advice to the fighting governments on all matters, military, social and political, and a gradual working up of the conviction that we were ordained as a nation to lead all erring brothers towards the light of liberty and democracy.

There must still be opposition to any contemplated "liberal" world-order founded on military coalitions. We may be intensely proud of and congenial to our particular network of civilization, or we may detest most of its qualities and rage at its defects.

It recalls old martial memories. To oppose the second was to oppose fallible human judgment, and was therefore, though to be depreciated, not to be wholly interpreted as political suicide.

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The Eastern and Northern capitalists soon saw the advantage of supporting Southern country gentleman slave-power as against the free-soil pioneer. War, which should be the health of the State, unifies all the bourgeois elements and the common people, and outlaws the rest.

And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion.

And his mother needed his financial help if she was going to go on living the decent, middle-class lifestyle to which she had become accustomed.

The nation at peace is not a group, it is a network of myriads of groups representing the cooperation and similar feeling of men on all sorts of planes and in all sorts of human interests and enterprises.Only a few months after The Seven Arts ceased publication, Randolph Bourne died, a victim of the flu epidemic that killed more than 25 million people in andnearly a million of them in the United States.

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That was 1 percent of the population 90 years ago. Randolph Bourne famously wrote, “War is the health of the State.” This has long been the byword for anti-war, anti-state libertarians, and rightly so. But Bourne did not mean exactly what most.

The State is the country acting as a political unit, it is the group acting as a repository of force, determiner of law, arbiter of justice. On the other hand, had this collection included "The State", I would have no complaint, for "The State" is the healthiest of Randolph Bourne.

"The State", an unfinished essay written at the time of World War I, had long been out of print.

Randolph Bourne

"War is the health of the State." Randolph Bourne (–) Social critic CCMA The essayist and social critic Randolph Bourne is remembered today as a spokesperson for the generation of young intellectuals who came of age in the s, as a far-sighted commentator on modern American culture and politics, and as a critic of.

In an essay entitled "The State," Bourne observes, "Country [society] is a concept of peace, tolerance, of living and letting live.

But State is essentially a concept of power, of competition; it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects.

Randolph bourne the state essay
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