I’ve never really understood the appeal of Franz Oppenheimer’s The State, yet it is the seminal work of the political worldview I adhere to: the State constitutes a class within society.
From this, a person logically concludes that, if you’re within the class, you want more State. If you’re not in that class, you don’t (or shouldn’t, unless you’re too ignorant to see the us-versus-them problem, which is growing so huge in America that anyone with a modicum of eyesight can see it).
So The State is an important work, I gather, since it was one of the first books (1908) to gather together “newly formulated sociological and economic data” (Robert Crunden, The Mind & Art of Albert Jay Nock) to point this out. Still, the work itself is opaque, at least as far as I’m concerned. I read it, and I hope to re-read it, but it’s not a proselytizing tract, as much as what appears to be a scholar’s attempt to make sense of the data. And it reads as such.
Still, a person can find great nuggets in it, like this one that I ran across last week online:
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According to Hume, some people will always resist a new government, and these people must be forcibly suppressed. Over time, however, the government will assume an aura of legitimacy, and most people will obey as a matter of habit. It is therefore correct to say that people acquiesce to a government, but this should not be confused with consent. Consent is possible only where there is choice, and no government can permit obedience to become a matter of choice.