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Chapter11: Obedience and the State


We begin by confronting the issue of the "Detective Snodgrass Cartoon" (page 212). Are we not in this book both proposing public policy and setting up sanctions against those who oppose our policies, all the while demanding more liberty and personal participation generally? The answer is, of course, yes. "Kalotic democracy,"however, gives much more liberty than it takes; and it reconciles its means with its ends as it goes along (it is pragmatic), and therefore is humane and humanitarian. If anyone cannot comprehend the great difference between, on the one hand, the typical socio-political order of today and the typical historical revolutions, and, on the other hand, the kalotic revolution here being proposed, then he or she has failed me, or I have failed them.


In Principle XI, I reserve to the person the right to judge the benevolence and beneficence of authorities and to obey them accordingly. Elsewhere in Politics for Better or Worse (pages 163-64), I have laid out some corollary principles of obedience. Authoritarian regimes, whether traditional, fascist, or communist, could not possibly subscribe to these.

On this page we begin the stress: Obedience to government is no crime, since crime is defined by government; therefore, to government all "crimes" are possible. And kalotic philosophy, as well as some others, cannot live with this principle.


When we arrive at the conclusion of the Milgram experiment on obedience, we should perhaps ask our students (a) Whether they would have stopped short of heavily electrifying the victims, (b) whether they can recall incidents of a similar nature, (c) and in how many ways the experiment bears out the various attitudes toward "The Elephant of Authority" portrayed earlier (page 76).


Policy XI stops short of saying that authorities should never take life. My reasoning is not conveyed, thought it may be surmised. I recognize the right of self -- defense of a collectivity as well as of a person, but seek to confine it to "effectiveness at the least deadly level." Moreover, I accord to a person the right to give his life to achieve (or avoid sacrificing) his principles, as well the right to try to persuade or coerce others to risk lives for his (and, no doubt, allegedly their) principles. When he has arrived at a position of authority through the procedures and institutional arrangements that are defined in this book, I would accord him the authority to make such demands upon himself and others.


Regarding the poetic style of our analysis of Der Staat,* whose assertions are summarized immediately afterwards, I may claim exalted forebears, like Hesiod on the origins of the gods, Virgil on how to grow food, Lucretius on the origins of the universe, Ovid on the art of love, and even Ho Chi Minh. When Ho was a student at Lenin Institute in Moscow in 1935, he also taught courses in the history of Vietnam to students in the Asiatic Department. He wrote the lectures in verse, students in the Asiatic Department. He wrote the lectures in verse, as means, he said , he said, of making study easier.' Perhaps students might be invited to submit "patriotic Odes to America," written according to Kalotic principles.

To confirm their understanding and heighten their self -- awareness, students might be invited to discover all possible traits of nationalism in any country which they may select. They could conclude their study by determining whether some one or more of these nationalistic behaviors is not found in the U. S. A.


Though we have since 1945 been faced by an unimaginably worse threat than was faced by the pre -- World II disarmament strategists, we have not yet significantly reduced the danger. On the contrary, the U. S. A. and U. S. S. R. have agreed only to stop exploding nuclear bombs in the air for practice. In 1972 they did take steps to freeze the number of their offensive weapons in a certain balance, but the deceptiveness of that treaty was apparent to many observers. Herbert Scoville, Jr., wrote in the New York Times (June 17, 1972, p. 29): "we see our arms control policies glaringly exposed to the public view. Arms limitations are not pursued to reduce weapons but to permit new deployments which would otherwise be in trouble in the present climate of tight funds."

Overkill is still at least 1000 percent.

Nuclear Limits Agreed to in 1972

U. S. A.U. S. S. R.
Warheads5700 (MIRV)5700 (MRV)
Nuclear Subs4142

One trouble is that generals listen to generals. Ambassadors talk to ambassadors. Spies watch spies. Propagandists agree with their counterparts. To break these imbecilic manacled couplings requires genius and courage of a high order. The greatest strategist in history -- or perhaps the greatest people in history -- may be the one that discovers the principle of "enough" and lets an opposing country build more "kill" and waste its ideals substance in the process. Unilateral disarmament is urged, with only restrained concern for Soviet behavior. We know full well what that behavior could be, or would be, but with its newly gained peaceful resources, America launch its own peaceful revolution.

*Send $3. 00 to the author if you wish a copy of his book of poems, entitled passage of a Year: it was remaindered and he stashed away a lot of copies.

Chapter12: History of the Future


Examples of history beginning to be rewritten before a revolution are common in postmortems, as witness the numerous works showing how the U. S. Civil War developed in ideas, incident, voting patterns, etc. (If only the writers and statesmen before the war had been as clever as the author afterwards!) One of the best postmortems I ever read was Daniel Mornet's Les Origines intellectuelles de la revolution francaise (Paris: Librairie Armand Colin, 1933). Forerunner, conscious rewriting is not so easy.

The argument over this chapter's 3-p's may become heated. No one likes to have somebody else's history shoved down his throat. He likes to eat it the way I liked eating cat during the war. Under the Impression that I was being fed lievre civet, I loved it.

There is history for every occasion, and no reason why we cannot find good history. (As the spoilsmen used to say to the civil service reformers,"no reason why we can't find good Democrats for the job.") Except to scientists and historians, "history" is a lot of scratches on innocent minds, and "we prefer the taboos of our own taboos." Just as a political order should match the social order, so the history should match both--a Platonic outlook, but milquetoast, when you think of what he asked for.


My brief history of America will probably be regarded by some as outrageous and by others as "I knew it all the time." So be it. To see whether there is more to the task than meets the eye, we might ask student volunteers--solo, duet, or trio--to write a fifteen-hundred-word history of the U.S.A. from earliest times before they read my attempt, or to rewrite my attempt, or to compare it with the article on American history in an encyclopedia. A reader, Old Government, New People, by this author, R. Eric Weise, and John Appel (Glenview, I11.: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1971), contains a part of the article from the Soviet Encyclopedia on American history, you might look at Burnette and Haygood's A Soviet View of the American Past (Glenview, I11.: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1964). Then set up a panel of judges from the class to evaluate the comparative efforts.

It would also be revealing to have the students list the six sentences of this little history to which they object most strenuously; a "most objectionable" list could be rank-ordered on the basis of the whole class. Then what? Well, who is correct and who is not? If they stop fighting amongst themselves long enough to interrupt, you might repeat the process, this time asking them to list "the five most important points that were left out of account," upon which they may then proceed to seek a consensus. When all's done, I hope that they emerge, as the final poem says, "Well-formed, full-blooded. Smiling. Telling of a clear course ahead." Maybe even waving the flag of Kalos!

Apropos the Flag of Kalos and to arm you against slurs, let me say that I asked the publisher to lay an American flag alongside the kalotic flag, just as my Boy Scout Manual taught me to do. They demurred. Oh, well, the last time I draped a book in the Red, White, and Blue (Republic in Crisis: Congress against the Executive Force; New York: Federal Legal Publications, 1965), nobody bought it.


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