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A Classic Book on the Totalitarian State

Written by Gary North on May 3, 2013

Is civil government the only true government? Does it alone possess legitimate sovereignty? Defenders of the modern state insist that this is the case, and that it should be the case.

Robert Nisbet, as a sociologist, looked to social organizations as the source of political tradition. He explained the rise of the modern state in terms of series of conflicts between the national civil government and other institutions inside its geographical territory. He saw the rise of the modern state in terms of the state’s claims of sovereignty, a sovereignty which is it refused to share with other institutions. These other institutions had possessed limited sovereignty. He also explained the rise of classical Athens in terms of this insistence on state sovereignty. He explained the Roman Empire, under Augustus and later emperors, in terms of this quest for unitary state sovereignty: a war-state.

The state claims to be absolute. In The Quest for Community (1953), he wrote:

Like the family, or like capitalism, the State is a complex of ideas, symbols, and relationships. Unlike either kinship or capitalism, the State has become, in the contemporary world, the supreme allegiance of man and, in most recent times, the greatest refuge from the insecurities and frustrations of other spheres of life. Where capitalism has become enveloped throughout the Western world, and the East as well, in a thickening cloud of distrust and renunciation, and where kinship, like religion, has become increasingly devoid of institutional significance and symbolic appeal, the state has risen as the dominant institutional force in our society and the most evocative symbol of cultural unity and purpose (p. 92, ISI edition, 2010).

In this, war is central. “If there is any single origin of the institutional State, it is in the circumstances and relationships of war. The connection between kinship and family, between religion and the Church, is no closer than that between war and the state in history” (p. 93).

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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6 thoughts on “A Classic Book on the Totalitarian State

  1. Rabelrouser says:

    War, sold to create patriotism is followed by that government dictating its authority as being the only true "right"." The authority is allowed to grow from that point, untill its true ideals are realized by its blatant rule of conscience and overbearing regulation of daily life.
    War, in defense is a nesacarry evil, but involvement in war, through alliance only creates the ideal of" my friends enemy is my enemy; and my enemy's enemy is my friend". after that war in enevitable. Its excuse is always a matter of money and politics.
    However the "war" for freedom is continuious in mens hearts and will remain so as long as wars remain the plaything of the state. Thus the coming war for independence that will again befall this nation, as the governments use of war to dictate its moral authority over the people becomes a greater burden upon their lives, Liberties, Rights and Freedoms.
    Be ready, be prepared, and pray.

  2. Seymour Kleerly says:

    It was Bush/Cheney's WAR OF CHOICE that doomed America.

  3. Bob Marshall says:

    Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 11490 July 20, 1979 All of the following executive orders were placed under 11490(11051-10995-10997-10988-10999-11000-11001-11002-11003-11004-11005- All of these executive orders were combined into one huge executive order under Nixon which allows all of this to take place if the president declares a national emergency and it can be implemented by the head of FEMA, NOT BY THE PRESIDENT, The president gave him that power. All of these were combined into Executive Order 11490. I wonder how many citizens have even ever hear of Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center? Bluemont, Va. You might want to look it up.

  4. Rabelrouser says:

    Hey Seymour, you might want to examine history a little deeper than the ten years you know about. Even this nations "civil war" was more economical in basis and sold to the public on an emotional issue to invoke their acceptance of it.
    Try the site: nebraskarepublic.org for a fairly open explaination.
    But then again, recent history has no basis in past history does it? because if it does, then there might be something bigger to admit to.

  5. Seymour Kleerly says:

    The Iraq blunder also led to the elongation of the Afgan debacle. We deserve it!

  6. The totalitarian state is an enslavement state , The founders wanted us to avoid foreign entanglements , but our government MUST keep us at a state of war to keep from eliminating our standing army , that is why the military budget is for only two years at a time , the founders feared a standing national force that can be turned against the citizenry , that is why the military was left to each states voluntary militia instead of a national military force . THINK ABOUT IT !