Loyola Faculty Group Condemns the State — Well, Almost

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At Loyola, some faculty have written a letter of outrage against Walter Block’s remarks quoted in the NY Times.

One paragraph that characterizes slavery just about fits perfectly in characterizing the State:

“While the lack of free association did indeed characterize antebellum slavery in the U.S., the ownership of humans as property is merely one of the incontrovertibly unacceptable aspects of slavery. The violation of human dignity, the radical exploitation of people’s labor, the brutal violence that slaveholders utilized to maintain power, the disenfranchisement of American citizens, the destruction of familial bonds, the pervasive sexual assault and the systematic attempts to dehumanize an entire race all mark slavery as an intellectually, economically, politically and socially condemnable institution no matter how, where, or when it is practiced.”

It is not easy to secede personally or groupwise from being associated with the State. Most people regard it as practically impossible. The State owns a large fraction of a person’s income and regulates many of his activities. It can and has sent people to war to be killed and maimed. The State violates human dignity in many ways and radically exploits people’s labor. Behind its every act is the threat of brutal violence to maintain its power. The State has disenfranchised a great many citizens outright, but even those with the franchise find that their choices are extremely limited. Social programs have wrecked neighborhoods, whole communities and familial bonds. Lately there is pervasive sexual assault at airports. The State can be said systematically to dehumanize the citizens under its control. Lately, the State’s policing agencies have sharply increased their brutality. The State discriminates against all sorts of groups, like drug users, employers, and people who want to buy food direct from farmers. All of this marks the State as an “intellectually, economically, politically and socially condemnable institution no matter how, where, or when it is practiced.”

The people who wrote this paragraph think that Walter should be censured. They do not realize that he is taking their side against violence being visited on innocent people and that he has extended the critique of slavery to the State.

1:27 pm on February 12, 2014