terça-feira, 28 de setembro de 2004

Onde se fala de Hobbes e o Estado moderno

"Belgian jurist Frank van Dun writes:

The idea that the state is a form of organized lawlessness is a recurrent theme in liberal thought. It underlies the many attempts to civilise or tame what Hobbes aptly called the ‘Leviathan.’ The aim is to institutionalise constitutional checks and balances…. In other words, the liberal idea implies that, at least in times of peace, the state should be controlled according to law. In many ways, this constitutional approach was very successful…. Nevertheless, constitutionalism was more effective as a source of legitimacy than as a check on the powers of the state. Liberals all too easily acquiesced in the state’s claim to represent or embody the law…. The state, the institutionalised form of (preparedness for) lawless war, came to be regarded as a necessary institution of lawful peace.

Van Dun adds: “To the extent that liberals subscribed to this view – and they did so en masse – they conceded the main point of political ontology to the apologists of statism: that war, not peace, is the normal or natural condition of human life. This is perhaps the most basic axiom of statism. It implies that there is no natural society, no ‘spontaneous order’ (as Hayek would say). Man plus man equals war. The whole of the statist philosophy is contained in that simple statement.” [14]

To say that security must precede law, is to say that law (or justice) is the will of the stronger. On this point, I think we can present Hobbes and Barnett with a Scottish verdict of “not proven.”

The political scientist Anthony de Jasay writes of such Hobbesian models:

The statist solution to satisfying the enabling conditions of an economic order that is both beneficent and spontaneous, is visibly defective. A weak state, especially one with no stored-up reserves of legitimacy, lacks the wherewithal; it has little taxing power to extort it; there can be no efficient economy to extort it from, because the state has lacked the wherewithal to provide the enforcing order that could make it efficient. A strong state, supposing it is logically possible prior to an efficient economy, could find the wherewithal; but no reason is furnished why it would choose to refrain from using its strength in ways that would probably be more harmful to an efficient market than the much-dreaded mafia. For cogent reasons, it is almost bound to invade and override property rights instead of protecting them, to impose the terms of contracts rather than to enforce those the parties choose, to engage in ever more substantial redistribution of wealth and income, for this is the logic of the incentives under which states operate.” [15]

It begins to seem that Hobbesian states are as much impediments to, and destroyers of, economic life as they are “preconditions” of it – if indeed they are that at all. From around 1500 A.D., modern, abstract bureaucratic states have treated pre-existing social bodies and institutions as rivals to be forcibly overcome. Social bodies outside the state have increasingly existed on sufferance, their existence a concession of the state.

Political theorist David Gross summarizes the process: In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the state went on the offensive against virtually every kind of intervening body existing between the individual and the state itself…. Only the public and private corporations, the communal guilds, the local social groupings, and the numerous customary institutions compatible with what the state saw as its higher raison d’état were sanctioned. Even though many of the intermediate bodies were historically antecedent to the state, they had to be legitimized by various governmental agencies in order to have the right to continue operating.” [16]

A certain kind of “individualism” grew up alongside the all-embracing state. Gross writes: “One of the principle assumptions of the period around 1800 was that of the state as a liberator of the individual. It was the state, after all, that was given credit for freeing the individual from the dead-weight of tradition, the individualist’s chief bête noire.” [17]

It is not clear that the bargain was a very good one. Gross notes some possible drawbacks, including a kind of “individualism based on a convergence of the private ego and the will of the state, an individualism that expressed itself in terms of nationalistic or patriotic sentiments. The type of individualism that took this route lost its merely personal character and found in the nation the most solid foundation for a stable identity. Paradoxically, this form of individualism fulfilled its original, particularistic goals only by transcending and, in a sense, universalizing them: the nation-state simply became the self writ large.” [18]

As states colonized time via mass public education, they spread their new gospel of freedom within – and only within – the state. In their telling, Gross observes, “progress became virtually synonymous with the growth of the centralized state,” and the state became the demiurge of history, which “drives and pushes the world forward to actualize its potential; if it were not for the state as a catalyzing agent, history would remain static, tradition-bound, and incomplete.” [19] "

Retirado de A Post-Modern Nimrod by Joseph R. Stromberg

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