Arnold Kling  

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From Ross Douthat, writing an introduction to a new edition of Robert Nisbet's The Quest for Community.


Man is a social being, and his desire for community will not be denied. ... And if he can't find that community on a human scale, then he'll look for it on an inhuman scale--in the total community of the totalizing state.

Read the whole thing. It made me want to read the book.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)

That last sentence was the best one in that introduction.

HeironymousAnonymous writes:

It is an exceptional book. You would enjoy it.

Mark V Anderson writes:

Even more than the need to belong, I found the essay important in its advocacy of pluralism. The implication of the article is that free states cannot exist without several bases of power emanating from voluntary associations.

I think that is true, and the reason that the USA has been the freest state in the World, if measured over the last 250 years. The US Constitution, democracy, and free enterprise, perhaps all necessary for the free state that arose after the Revolution, would not have been sufficient if not for the widely varying power bases that have existed since the country was founded. This is important for states trying to become free, and for older free states that are in danger of losing their liberty.

david writes:

Reminded of the individual-family-state axes noted by this paper (PDF):

[...] when considering the triangle formed by reverence for the Family, the State and the Individual. Americans favour a Family-Individual axis, this suggests, suspecting the state as a threat to liberty. Germans revere an axis connecting the family and the state, with a smaller role for individual autonomy. In the Nordic countries, they argue, the state and the individual form the dominant alliance.
Nordic voters like the state but are also exceptionally individualistic, the paper asserts. The circle is squared because Nordic voters believe that the state (which usually works pretty well in countries like Sweden) is the best referee and guarantor of their individual freedoms.
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