Randolph bourne the state essay

In civilized man, the gregarious impulse acts not only to produce concerted action for defense, but also to produce identity of opinion.

randolph bourne war is the health of the state

But in general, the nation in wartime attains a uniformity of feeling, a hierarchy of values culminating at the undisputed apex of the State ideal, which could not possibly be produced through any other agency than war. The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle.

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This little sparrowlike mantiny twisted bit of flesh in black cape, always in pain and ailing, put a pebble in his sling and hit Goliath square in the forehead with it. Every individual citizen who in peace times had no function to perform by which he could imagine himself an expression or living fragment of the State becomes an active amateur agent … in reporting spies and disloyalists, in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom.

Randolph bourne biography

But he was broke. We are Americans because we live in a certain bounded territory, because our ancestors have carried on a great enterprise of pioneering and colonization, because we live in certain kinds of communities which have a certain look and express their aspirations in certain ways. He wrote about many subjects over the next four years; he wrote enough about education, for example, that he was able to fill two books — The Gary Schools and Education and Living — from his magazine pieces on that subject. So enemy music is suppressed, and energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice. Oppression of minorities became justified on the plea that the latter were perversely resisting the rationally constructed and solemnly declared will of a majority of the nation. This is religion as opium of the people, tranquilizing the victims of industrial society against alienation and servitude. By the time he graduated from high school at the age of 17, in , he had attained his full adult height of five feet. The State is not the nation, and the State can be modified and even abolished in its present form, without harming the nation. It cannot be too firmly realized that war…is the chief function of States. Governments come and go but the State remains essentially the same. The Impact of War Bourne defined war as the ultimate act of statehood, as the utmost act of "a group in its aggressive aspects. Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war.

If you are a good old-fashioned democrat, you rejoice at this fact, you glory in the plainness of a system where every citizen has become a king.

Bourne argues that war so blurs the lines separate the State from Government and from society that the lines virtually disappear in the minds of most people.

Wartime brings the ideal of the State out into very clear relief, and reveals attitudes and tendencies that were hidden. The State attempts to draw upon the powerful force of individual choice by appealing to the patriotism of people and asking them to make the "choice" to enlist and otherwise support the war effort. A modern country represents a long historical and social process of disaggregation of the herd. Now this feeling for country is essentially noncompetitive; we think of our own people merely as living on the earth's surface along with other groups, pleasant or objectionable as they may be, but fundamentally as sharing the earth with them. It unwittingly brought out into the strongest relief the true characteristics of the State and its intimate alliance with war. Can we even envision a Beloved Community where nothing is lovable, let alone sacred? But the State stands as an idea behind them all, eternal, sanctified, and from it Government and Administration conceive themselves to have the breath of life. Joining as it does to these very vigorous tendencies of the individual - the pleasure in power and the pleasure in obedience - this gregarious impulse becomes irresistible in society. From such serfdom, military conscription is not so great a change. Resek writes, "In its proper place it [the saying] meant that mindless power thrived on war because war corrupted a nation's moral fabric and especially corrupted its intellectuals. We will be listened to as responsible thinkers. He was accepted as part of the Princeton class of and was expected to commence his freshman year at that institution in the fall of 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. They are what Bourne describes as "common and unsanctified men. World War I divided American progressives and pitted an anti-war faction—including Bourne and Jane Addams —against a pro-war faction led by pragmatist philosopher and educational theorist John Dewey.

He begins with vigour and brilliance: "Government is synonymous with neither State nor Nation. It has shown those who are really determined to end war that the problem is not the mere simple one of finishing a war that will end war.

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For example, although criticizing the President is a right regularly exercised by almost every American, such criticism becomes an act of treason when that President has just declared war.

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