Voluntary Society Quotes

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Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success.
Mark Skousen
It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now--independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one's own conviction against a majority, and the willingness to voluntary cooperation with one's neighbors--are essentially those on which an individualist society rests. Collectivism has nothing to put in their place, and in so far as it already has destroyed then it has left a void filled by nothing but the demand for obedience and the compulsion of the individual to what is collectively decided to be good.
Friedrich A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)
I'd been at the mercy of a prick on a power trip, the kind of buttoned-up bantam rooster who gets off on control and then, when you resist him, tells you that you've got issues with control.
Norah Vincent (Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin)
Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard
It must be something voluntary, something self induced - like getting drunk, or talking yourself into believing some piece of foolishness because it happens to be in the Scriptures. And then look at their idea of what's normal. Believe it or not, a normal human being is one who can have an orgasm and is adjusted to society. It's unimaginable! No question about what you do with your orgasms. No question about the quality of your feelings and thoughts and perceptions. And then what about the society you're supposed to be adjusted to? Is it a mad society or a sane one? And even if it's pretty sane, is it right that anybody should be completely adjusted to it?
Aldous Huxley (Island)
The State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard (Anatomy of the State)
The point at which things happen is a decision. In stead of focusing on yourself, focus on how you can help someone else.
Germany Kent
For the civil government can give no new right to the church, nor the church to the civil government. So that, whether the magistrate join himself to any church, or separate from it, the church remains always as it was before — a free and voluntary society. It neither requires the power of the sword by the magistrate’s coming to it, nor does it lose the right of instruction and excommunication by his going from it. This is the fundamental and immutable right of a spontaneous society — that it has power to remove any of its members who transgress the rules of its institution; but it cannot, by the accession of any new members, acquire any right of jurisdiction over those that are not joined with it.
John Locke (A Letter Concerning Toleration)
Unlike classical liberalism, which saw the government as a necessary evil, or simply a benign but voluntary social contract for free men to enter into willingly, the belief that the entire society was one organic whole left no room for those who didn’t want to behave, let alone “evolve.
Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning)
This means that, in some sense, free will is a fake. Decisions are made ahead of time by the brain, without the input of consciousness, and then later the brain tries to cover this up (as it’s wont to do) by claiming that the decision was conscious. Dr. Michael Sweeney concludes, “Libet’s findings suggested that the brain knows what a person will decide before the person does. … The world must reassess not only the idea of movements divided between voluntary and involuntary, but also the very idea of free will.” All this seems to indicate that free will, the cornerstone of society, is a fiction, an illusion created by our left brain. So are we masters of our fate, or just pawns in a swindle perpetuated by the brain?
Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest To Understand, Enhance and Empower the Mind)
the ideal of a self-organizing society based on voluntary cooperation rather than upon coercion is irrepressible.
Colin Ward (Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction)
Human nature is full of riddles and contradictions; its very complexity engenders art—and by art I mean the search for something more than simple linear formulations, flat solutions, oversimplified explanations. One of these riddles is: how is it that people who have been crushed by the sheer weight of slavery and cast to the bottom of the pit can nevertheless find strength to rise up and free themselves, first in spirit and then in body; while those who soar unhampered over the peaks of freedom suddenly appear to lose the taste for freedom, lose the will to defend it, and, hopelessly confused and lost, almost begin to crave slavery. Or again: why is it that societies which have been benumbed for half a century by lies they have been forced to swallow find within themselves a certain lucidity of heart and soul which enables them to see things in their true perspective and to perceive the real meaning of events; whereas societies with access to every kind of information suddenly plunge into lethargy, into a kind of mass blindness, a kind of voluntary self deception.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Warning to the West)
In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom. Our latent psychopathy is the last nature reserve, a place of refuge for the endangered mind. ...microdoses of madness, like the minute traces of strychnine in a nerve tonic..a voluntary and elective psychopathy...the drill sergeant's boot and punishment run give back to young men a taste for pain that generations of socialized behavior have bred out of them.
J.G. Ballard
Now, I’m not saying that we don’t need rules in society. But the question of who makes the rules and on what basis becomes supremely important. Will the rule-making flow from the matrix of voluntary exchange based on the ethic of serving others through private enterprise? Or will the rules be made and enforced by people wearing guns and bulletproof vests with a license to shock or kill based on minor annoyances?
Jeffrey Tucker (Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo)
The state is a voluntary association of individuals designed to serve their individual interests. The state is not a faceless villain. The state is all of us. But freedom does not mean the freedom to commit violence. Violence includes direct and indirect action; i.e., it is just as violent to cause someone to starve to death by withholding aid as it is to shoot him, only sneakier.
Robert Peate
I believe it was Napoleon who first sensed the ease with which, in modern society, the illusion of freedom can be created by strategic relaxation of regulations and law on individual thought, provided it is only individual, while all the time fundamental economic and political liberties are being circumscribed. The barriers to the kind of power Napoleon wielded as emperor are not individual rights so much as the kinds of rights associated with autonomy of local community, voluntary association, political party. These are the real measure of the degree to which central political power is limited in a society. Neither centralization nor bureaucratized collectivism can thrive as long as there is a substantial body of local authorities to check them
Robert A. Nisbet
It's interesting that when these individuals choose-and it is their choice always-to endure voluntary amputations for their own personal benefit, society professes itself shocked and disapproving. Yet this same society respects the concept that any individual should risk total annihilation in war, subject to the judgement of any superior officer at all and for purposes ranging from a promotion for the lieutenant to higher profits for the bullet company. Hell, they don't just respect that idea, they flat out expect it. And they'll shoot your ass if you don't go along with it. -Arturo in response to critics
Katherine Dunn (Geek Love)
Society is a voluntary scheme of mutual benefit. The state is a compulsory scheme of mutual exploitation.
Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski (The Pith of Life: Aphorisms in Honor of Liberty)
If I could earn the voluntary allegiance of the slaves, the army created would look nothing like the Society. It would be better.
Pierce Brown (Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1))
His hatred of society, his profound melancholy, his rigid observation of the duties of his order, and his voluntary seclusion from the world at his age so unusual, attracted the notice of the whole fraternity. He
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
Many feel that the church (if it’s necessary at all) is primarily intended to serve our individual spiritual needs or to group us together with like-minded people—a kind of holy fraternity. If we believe that church is merely a voluntary society of people with shared values, then it is entirely optional. If the church helps you with your personal relationship with God, great; if not, I know a great brunch place that’s open on Sunday.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
A predominantly voluntary exchange economy, on the other hand, has within it the potential to promote both prosperity and human freedom. It may not achieve its potential in either respect, but we know of no society that has ever achieved prosperity and freedom unless voluntary exchange has been it's dominate principle of organization.
Milton Freidman
These two visions—Darwinian organicism and Christian messianism—seem contradictory today because they reside on different sides of the culture war. But in the Progressive Era, these visions complemented each other perfectly. And Wilson embodied this synthesis. The totalitarian flavor of such a worldview should be obvious. Unlike classical liberalism, which saw the government as a necessary evil, or simply a benign but voluntary social contract for free men to enter into willingly, the belief that the entire society was one organic whole left no room for those who didn’t want to behave, let alone “evolve.” Your home, your private thoughts, everything was part of the organic body politic, which the state was charged with redeeming.
Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning)
Constitutionalists believe taxpayers are better stewards of their money than government. Since people, even very wise people, are limited in what they can know about complex societies, voluntary giving is the proper way for an individual to become an “ally of the poor.
Burton W. Folsom Jr. (New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America)
Through their donations and work for voluntary organizations, the charitable rich exert enormous influence in society. As philanthropists, they acquire status within and outside of their class. Although private wealth is the basis of the hegemony of this group, philanthropy is essential to the maintenance and perpetuation of the upper class in the United States. In this sense, nonprofit activities are the nexus of a modern power elite.
Teresa Odendahl (Charity Begins At Home: Generosity And Self-interest Among The Philanthropic Elite)
Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable [...]. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on a such footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open?
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
Given that it is our destiny to achieve a voluntary society, there are only two ways statism can end: a violent collapse or a peaceful transition. Current government systems are clearly unsustainable. If we do not start paying attention and facing up to our problems, we are headed for sudden failures of the very systems that many of us depend on.
Adam Kokesh (FREEDOM!)
The Louis XIII style in perfumery, composed of the elements dear to that period - orris-powder, musk, civet and myrtle-water, already known by the name of angel-water - was scarcely adequate to express the cavalierish graces, the rather crude colours of the time which certain sonnets by Saint-Amand have preserved for us. Later on, with the aid of myrrh and frankincense, the potent and austere scents of religion, it became almost possible to render the stately pomp of the age of Louis XIV, the pleonastic artifices of classical oratory, the ample, sustained, wordy style of Bossuet and the other masters of the pulpit. Later still, the blase, sophisticated graces of French society under Louis XV found their interpreters more easily in frangipane and marechale, which offered in a way the very synthesis of the period. And then, after the indifference and incuriosity of the First Empire, which used eau-de-Cologne and rosemary to excess, perfumery followed Victor Hugo and Gautier and went for inspiration to the lands of the sun; it composed its own Oriental verses, its own highly spiced salaams, discovered intonations and audacious antitheses, sorted out and revived forgotten nuances which it complicated, subtilized and paired off, and in short resolutely repudiated the voluntary decrepitude to which it had been reduced by its Malesherbes, its Boileaus, its Andrieux, its Baour-Lormians, the vulgar distillers of its poems.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (Against Nature)
Being human in our world is synonymous with being included into the framework of society. Humanity entitles one to certain rights and privileges, but also implies voluntary acceptance of laws and rules of conduct. It transcends mere biology. It's a choice and therefore belongs solely to the individual. In essence, if a person feels they are human, then they are.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4))
The idea that there is are all these people who are going to make all these great and wise decisions with guns. Because you know all the people who can make the best decisions in the world always want to be armed; because they are really smart, really wise, know exactly what should be done in society so naturally they want lots of guns. You get how insane that is right? The only people who want to force you to do stuff are people who know their ideas are shit to begin with. "It's a basic fact of life that anyone who wants to force you to do something means their ideas are shit to begin with. Not a lot of rapists are very good lovers because they don't have to sell quality; they got violence. Everyone is mad at Barack Obama's website from hell but they [the government] don't care because if you don't pay them they will throw you in jail. "The people with the best ideas are the most voluntary. The best parents don't beat their children. In fact if you beat your children you are saying 'I'm a shitty parent; I don't know what I'm doing and I'm pretty sadistic.' A rapist is saying I'm not a good boyfriend. Why do we even need to say this? People with guns are saying to your face, 'My ideas suck, I'm a bully, I get a thrill out of power so fucking do what I say or I'll shoot you in the ass.
Stefan Molyneux
Anomalies manifest themselves on the border between chaos and order, so to speak, and have a threatening and promising aspect. The promising aspect dominates, when the contact is voluntary, when the exploring agent is up-to-date – when the individual has explored all previous anomalies, released the “information” they contained, and built a strong personality and steady “world” from that information. The threatening aspect dominates, when the contact is involuntary, when the exploring agent is not up-to-date – when the individual has run away from evidence of his previous errors, failed to extract the information “lurking behind” his mistakes, weakened his personality, and destabilised his “world.” The phenomenon of interest – that precursor to exploratory behaviour – signals the presence of a potentially “beneficial” anomaly. Interest manifests itself where an assimilable but novel phenomenon exists: where something new “hides,” in a partially comprehensible form. Devout adherence to the dictates of interest – assuming a suitably disciplined character – therefore insures stabilisation and renewal of personality and world. Interest is a spirit beckoning from the unknown – a spirit calling from outside the “walls” of society. Pursuit of individual interest means hearkening to this spirit’s call – means journeying outside the protective walls of childhood dependence and adolescent group identification; means also return to and rejuvenation of society. This means that pursuit of individual interest – development of true individuality – is equivalent to identification with the hero. Such identification renders the world bearable, despite its tragedies – and reduces unnecessary suffering, which most effectively destroys, to an absolute minimum. This is the message that everyone wants to hear. Risk your security. Face the unknown. Quit lying to yourself, and do what your heart truly tells you to do. You will be better for it, and so will the world.
Jordan B. Peterson (Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief)
In fact, I should say to begin with that the term anarchism is quite a range of political ideas, but I would prefer to think of it as the libertarian left, and from that point of view anarchism can be conceived as a kind of voluntary socialism, that is, as libertarian socialist or anarcho-syndicalist or communist anarchist, in the tradition of say Bakunin and Kropotkin and others. They had in mind a highly organized form of society, but a society that was organized on the basis of organic units, organic communities. And generally they meant by that the workplace and the neighborhood, and from those two basic units there could derive through federal arrangements a highly integrated kind of social organization, which might be national or even international in scope. And the decisions could be made over a substantial range, but by delegates who are always part of the organic community from which they come, to which they return and in which, in fact, they live.
Noam Chomsky (Chomsky On Anarchism)
Such refinements, under the odious name of luxury, have been severely arraigned by the moralists of every age; and it might perhaps be more conducive to the virtue, as well as happiness, of mankind, if all possessed the necessaries, and none the superfluities, of life. But in the present imperfect condition of society, luxury, though it may proceed from vice or folly, seems to be the only means that can correct the unequal distribution of property. The diligent mechanic, and the skilful artist, who have obtained no share in the division of the earth, receive a voluntary tax from the possessors of land; and the latter are prompted, by a sense of interest, to improve those estates, with whose produce they may purchase additional pleasures.
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
Communism made through the will of a government instead of through the direct and voluntary work of groups of workers does not really appeal to me. If it was possible, it would be the most suffocating tyranny to which human society has ever been subjected.
Errico Malatesta (At the Cafe: Conversations on Anarchism)
On another level compulsion would change matters drastically: the kind of society that would emerge if such acts of redistribution were voluntary is altogether different—and, by our standards, infinitely preferable—to the kind that would emerge if redistribution were compulsory.
Milton Friedman (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement)
To say that all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and the source of its energy and freedom.
Charles Krauthammer (Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics)
A society without a government, which would act by free, voluntary co-operation, trusting entirely to the spontaneous action of those interested, and founded altogether on solidarity and sympathy, is certainly, they say, a very beautiful ideal, but, like all ideals, it is a castle in the air.
Errico Malatesta (Anarchy)
Acknowledging, as a fact, the equal rights of all its members to the treasures accumulated in the past, it no longer recognizes a division between exploited and exploiters, governed and governors, dominated and dominators, and it seeks to establish a certain harmonious compatibility in its midst-not by subjecting all its members to an -authority that is fictitiously supposed to represent society, not by trying to establish uniformity, but by urging all men to develop free initiative, free action, free association.   It seeks the most complete development of individuality combined with the highest development of voluntary association in all its aspects, in all possible degrees, for all imaginable aims; ever changing, ever modified associations which carry in themselves the elements of their durability and constantly assume new forms, which answer best to the multiple aspirations of all.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal)
The radical economist J K Gibson-Graham (two women writing under one name) portray our society as an iceberg, with competitive capitalist practices visible above the waterline and below all kinds of aid and cooperation by families, friends, neighbors, churches, cooperatives, volunteers, and voluntary organizations from softball leagues, to labor unions, along with activities outside the market, under the table, bartered labor and goods, ad more, a bustling network of uncommercial enterprise. Kropotkin's mutual-aid tribes, clans, and villages never went away entirely, even among us, here and now.
Rebecca Solnit (A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster)
Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
Murray N. Rothbard (The Anatomy of the State (LvMI))
Without voluntary adherence to a set of common notions about right and wrong, daily life would be insufferable. We would be living in a jungle where only the strongest, cleverest, and most wary could hope to survive. This would not be a society. It wouldn’t even be a civilization, because there would be no civility at its core.
Robert B. Reich (The Common Good)
We are dealing with a genuine Stockholm syndrome on a mass scale - when the hostage becomes the accomplice of the hostage taker - as well as a revolution of the concept of voluntary servitude and master-slave relations. When the entire society becomes an accomplice to those who took it hostage, but just as much when individuals split into, for themselves, hostage and hostage taker.
Jean Baudrillard (Telemorphosis)
As far as socialism, I used to think I was fundamentally opposed to it, but eventually came to realize that wasn't really true, and that what I actually oppose is aggression. Voluntary socialism can be a wonderful way of living for small groups, and most people practice some form of it in their families. Only when imposed on people by force does socialism become evil. One of the beautiful things about a libertarian society is that people could still create socialist communes and be left alone to redistribute resources within them to their hearts' content, so long as no one is forced to join or prevented from leaving. This stands in stark contrast to a state-socialist society, which cannot similarly tolerate peaceful acts of capitalism among consenting participants.
Starchild
Every time you interact with somebody in your family, on the street, or in your workplace, make it your goal to improve the situation or the relationship. If you try to control people, you’ll be breathing down their necks. You can’t force people to do what you want in today’s society. You have to use your words strategically. Generate voluntary compliance and cooperation by directing rather than controlling.
George J. Thompson (Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion)
Our society imposes on us a moral duty to live and, hence, to condemn suicide. However, with her apparent admiration for antiquity, Anna may have found her prop in the Greek philosophers, who thought every person should choose for themselves when they die. Nietzsche also considered that the individual had a full moral right to take his own life. He used the word freitod or voluntary death.’ Aune raised a pointed index finger. ‘But she had to confront another moral dilemma. Revenge. Insofar as she professed to be a Christian, Christian ethics demand that you should not take revenge. The paradox is, naturally, that Christians worship a God who is the greatest avenger of them all. Defy him and you burn in eternal hell, an act of revenge which is completely out of proportion to the crime, almost a case for Amnesty International, if you ask me.
Jo Nesbø (Nemesis (Harry Hole, #4))
They argue that the modern world was created by private capital. The subcontinent of India, for instance, was owned by the British East India Company, Indonesia by the Dutch East India Company, our neighbors by the British East Africa Company, and the Congo Free State by a one man corporation. Corporate capital was aided by missionary societies. What private capital did then it can do again; own and reshape the Third World in the image of the West without the slightest blot, blemish, or blotch. NGOs will do what the missionary charities did in the past. The world will no longer be composed of the outmoded twentieth-century divisions of East, West, and a directionless Third. The world will become one corporate globe divided into the incorporating and incorporated...to become the first voluntary corporate colony, the first in a new global order..with NGOs relieving us of social services, the country becomes your real estate.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (Wizard of the Crow)
Rand, Nozick, and their more modern incarnations are dangerously wrong. Not only does the common good exist, but it is essential for a society to function. Without voluntary adherence to a set of common notions about right and wrong, daily life would be insufferable. We would be living in a jungle where only the strongest, cleverest, and most wary could hope to survive. This would not be a society. It wouldn’t even be a civilization, because there would be no civility at its core.
Robert B. Reich (The Common Good)
The worst part of this obscenity, this shameless visibility, is the forced participation, this automatic complicity of the spectator who has been blackmailed into participating. And it is this which is the clearest objective of the operation: the servitude of the victims, but a voluntary servitude, one in which the victims rejoice from the pain and shame which they are made to suffer. The complete participation of a society in its fundamental mechanism: interactive exclusion - it doesn’t get better than that! Decided all together and consumed with enthusiasm.
Jean Baudrillard (Telemorphosis)
Even the head of the military power of a civilized State must envy the head of the clan whom patriarchal society surrounded with voluntary respect, not with respect imposed by the club." Moreover, Engels has firmly established that the concept of the State and the concept of a free society are irreconcilable. "Classes will disappear as ineluctably as they appeared. With the disappearance of classes, the State will inevitably disappear. The society that reorganizes production on the basis of the free and equal association of the producers will relegate the machine of State to the place it deserves: to the museum of antiquities, side by side with the spinningwheel and the bronze ax.
Albert Camus
It is often maintained that while a let-alone, limited government policy was feasible in sparsely settled nineteenth-century America, government must play a far larger, indeed dominant, role in a modern urbanized and industrial society. One hour in Hong Kong will dispose of that view. Our society is what we make it. We can shape our institutions. Physical and human characteristics limit the alternatives available to us. But none prevents us, if we will, from building a society that relies primarily on voluntary cooperation to organize both economic and other activity, a society that preserves and expands human freedom, that keeps government in its place, keeping it our servant and not letting it become our master
Milton Friedman (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement)
Finally, Europe’s post-war history is a story shadowed by silences; by absence. The continent of Europe was once an intricate, interwoven tapestry of overlapping languages, religions, communities and nations. Many of its cities—particularly the smaller ones at the intersection of old and new imperial boundaries, such as Trieste, Sarajevo, Salonika, Cernovitz, Odessa or Vilna—were truly multicultural societies avant le mot, where Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims, Jews and others lived in familiar juxtaposition. We should not idealise this old Europe. What the Polish writer Tadeusz Borowski called ‘the incredible, almost comical melting-pot of peoples and nationalities sizzling dangerously in the very heart of Europe’ was periodically rent with riots, massacres and pogroms—but it was real, and it survived into living memory. Between 1914 and 1945, however, that Europe was smashed into the dust. The tidier Europe that emerged, blinking, into the second half of the twentieth century had fewer loose ends. Thanks to war, occupation, boundary adjustments, expulsions and genocide, almost everybody now lived in their own country, among their own people. For forty years after World War Two Europeans in both halves of Europe lived in hermetic national enclaves where surviving religious or ethnic minorities the Jews in France, for example—represented a tiny percentage of the population at large and were thoroughly integrated into its cultural and political mainstream. Only Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union—an empire, not a country and anyway only part-European, as already noted—stood aside from this new, serially homogenous Europe. But since the 1980s, and above all since the fall of the Soviet Union and the enlargement of the EU, Europe is facing a multicultural future. Between them refugees; guest-workers; the denizens of Europe’s former colonies drawn back to the imperial metropole by the prospect of jobs and freedom; and the voluntary and involuntary migrants from failed or repressive states at Europe’s expanded margins have turned London, Paris, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan and a dozen other places into cosmopolitan world cities whether they like it or not.
Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945)
You’ve all read Animal Farm in school, I’m sure. But it’s pretty unlikely that you’ve read Orwell’s preface to Animal Farm, which was not published. It was discovered many years later in his collected papers. It sometimes appears in contemporary editions, but was probably missing from the book you read. You’ll recall that Animal Farm is a satirical critique of Bolshevik Russia, the totalitarian enemy. But the preface, directed to the people of free England, says that they shouldn’t feel too self-righteous about it. England too has literary censorship, of a kind appropriate to free societies in thrall to hegemonic common sense. “The sinister fact about literary censorship in England,” Orwell wrote, “is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for any official ban.
Noam Chomsky (Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance)
Social groups are also a big part of Danish life. Called foreningsliv (or “association life”), these groups are based on a shared hobby or interest. The objective can be economic, political, academic, or cultural. Their function can be to change something in society, such as in a political association, or to express themselves in a way that meets the members’ social needs, such as in a choral society or a bridge club. Statistics show that 79 percent of Denmark’s business leaders have been active in associations before the age of thirty. Respectively, 94 percent, 92 percent, and 88 percent of managers with experience in associations believe that these years of involvement benefited their social skills and interpersonal skills and gave them a strong network. Ninety-nine percent of Denmark’s governors believe that participation in these voluntary associations promotes young people’s professional skills.
Jessica Joelle Alexander (The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids)
In cultures where asceticism developed and was practiced, people knew that one can suffocate when every option is a readily available one. Without self-limitation, without fixed boundaries - like those given in creation between day and night, summer and winter, being young and growing old-life loses its humanness. Asceticism means to renounce at least for periods of time the options that present themselves . . . In rich societies, the fundamental idea of sacrifice is highly suspect; it contradicts the basic constitution of the world of affluence. Sacrifice, as well as those who are to do the sacrificing have indeed been much abused. Even so, voluntary sacrifice, freely renouncing status, and limiting career or other options available to oneself can consolidate one's capacity for happiness. This seems very apparent to me in ecological resistance movements. No one can feel at home in a world that has to be bought and used up. We ourselves as well as the environment are damaged by consumerism; it dulls the senses so that people no longer know how to smell, taste, feel, and see.
Dorothee Sölle (The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance)
(4) The racial issue. Voucher plans were adopted for a time in a number of southern states to avoid integration. They were ruled unconstitutional. Discrimination under a voucher plan can be prevented at least as easily as in public schools by redeeming vouchers only from schools that do not discriminate. A more difficult problem has troubled some students of vouchers. That is the possibility that voluntary choice with vouchers might increase racial and class separation in schools and thus exacerbate racial conflict and foster an increasingly segregated and hierarchical society. We believe that the voucher plan would have precisely the opposite effect; it would moderate racial conflict and promote a society in which blacks and whites cooperate in joint objectives, while respecting each other's separate rights and interests. Much objection to forced integration reflects not racism but more or less well-founded fears about the physical safety of children and the quality of their schooling. Integration has been most successful when it has resulted from choice, not coercion. Nonpublic schools, parochial and other, have often been in the forefront of the move toward integration.
Milton Friedman (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement)
The central values of civilization are in danger. Over large stretches of the earth’s surface the essential conditions of human dignity and freedom have already disappeared. In others they are under constant menace from the development of current tendencies of policy. The position of the individual and the voluntary group are progressively undermined by extensions of arbitrary power. Even that most precious possession of Western Man, freedom of thought and expression, is threatened by the spread of creeds which, claiming the privilege of tolerance when in the position of a minority, seek only to establish a position of power in which they can suppress and obliterate all views but their own. The group holds that these developments have been fostered by the growth of a view of history which denies all absolute moral standards and by the growth of theories which question the desirability of the rule of law. It holds further that they have been fostered by a decline of belief in private property and the competitive market; for without the diffused power and initiative associated with these institutions it is difficult to imagine a society in which freedom may be effectively preserved.
David Harvey (A Brief History of Neoliberalism)
The charge of heartlessness, epitomized in the remark that William H. Vanderbilt, a railroad tycoon, is said to have made to an inquiring reporter, "The public be damned," is belied by the flowering of charitable activity in the United States in the nineteenth century. Privately financed schools and colleges multiplied; foreign missionary activity exploded; nonprofit private hospitals, orphanages, and numerous other institutions sprang up like weeds. Almost every charitable or public service organization, from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to the YMCA and YWCA, from the Indian Rights Association to the Salvation Army, dates from that period. Voluntary cooperation is no less effective in organizing charitable activity than in organizing production for profit. The charitable activity was matched by a burst of cultural activity—art museums, opera houses, symphonies, museums, public libraries arose in big cities and frontier towns alike. The size of government spending is one measure of government's role. Major wars aside, government spending from 1800 to 1929 did not exceed about 12 percent of the national income. Two-thirds of that was spent by state and local governments, mostly for schools and roads. As late as 1928, federal government spending amounted to about 3 percent of the national income.
Milton Friedman (Free to Choose: A Personal Statement)
Trout's favorite formula was to describe a perfectly hideous society, not unlike his own, and then, toward the end, to suggest ways in which it could be improved. In 2BRO2B he hypothecated an America in which almost all of the work was done by machines, and the only people who could get work had three or more Ph.D's. There was a serious overpopulation problem, too. All serious diseases had been conquered. So death was voluntary, and the government, to encourage volunteers for death, set up a purple-roofed Ethical Suicide Parlor at every major intersection, right next door to an orange-roofed Howard Johnson's. There were pretty hostesses in the parlor, and Barca-Loungers, and Muzak, and a choice of fourteen painless ways to die. The suicide parlors were busy places, because so many people felt silly and pointless, and because it was supposed to be an unselfish, patriotic thing to do, to die. The suicides also got free last meals next door. And so on. Trout had a wonderful imagination. One of the characters asked a death stewardess if he would go to Heaven, and she told him that of course he would. He asked if he would see God, and she said, "Certainly, honey." And he said, "I sure hope so. I want to ask Him something I never was able to find out down here." "What's that?" she said, strapping him in. "What in hell are people for?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)
The impossible class. — Poor, happy and independent! — these things can go together; poor, happy and a slave! — these things can also go together — and I can think of no better news I could give to our factory slaves: provided, that is, they do not feel it to be in general a disgrace to be thus used, and used up, as a part of a machine and as it were a stopgap to fill a hole in human inventiveness! To the devil with the belief that higher payment could lift from them the essence of their miserable condition I mean their impersonal enslavement! To the devil with the idea of being persuaded that an enhancement of this impersonality within the mechanical operation of a new society could transform the disgrace of slavery into a virtue! To the devil with setting a price on oneself in exchange for which one ceases to be a person and becomes a part of a machine! Are you accomplices in the current folly of the nations the folly of wanting above all to produce as much as possible and to become as rich as possible? What you ought to do, rather, is to hold up to them the counter-reckoning: how great a sum of inner value is thrown away in pursuit of this external goal! But where is your inner value if you no longer know what it is to breathe freely? if you no longer possess the slightest power over yourselves? if you all too often grow weary of yourselves like a drink that has been left too long standing? if you pay heed to the newspapers and look askance at your wealthy neighbour, made covetous by the rapid rise and fall of power, money and opinions? if you no longer believe in philosophy that wears rags, in the free-heartedness of him without needs? if voluntary poverty and freedom from profession and marriage, such as would very well suit the more spiritual among you, have become to you things to laugh at? If, on the other hand, you have always in your ears the flutings of the Socialist pied-pipers whose design is to enflame you with wild hopes? which bid you to be prepared and nothing further, prepared day upon day, so that you wait and wait for something to happen from outside and in all other respects go on living as you have always lived until this waiting turns to hunger and thirst and fever and madness, and at last the day of the bestia triumphans dawns in all its glory? In contrast to all this, everyone ought to say to himself: ‘better to go abroad, to seek to become master in new and savage regions of the world and above all master over myself; to keep moving from place to place for just as long as any sign of slavery seems to threaten me; to shun neither adventure nor war and, if the worst should come to the worst, to be prepared for death: all this rather than further to endure this indecent servitude, rather than to go on becoming soured and malicious and conspiratorial!
Friedrich Nietzsche
I think that in general, apart from expert opinion, there is too much respect paid to the opinions of others, both in great matters and in small ones. One should respect public opinion in so far as necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. Take, for example, the matter of expenditure. Very many people spend money in ways quite different from those that their natural tastes would enjoin, merely because they feel that the respect of their neighbours depends upon their possession of a good car and their ability to give good dinners. As a matter of fact, any man who can obviously afford a car but genuinely prefers travel or a good library will in the end be much more respected than if he behaved exactly like every one else. There is of course no point in deliberately flouting public opinion; this is still to be under its domination, though in a topsy-turvy way. But to be genuinely indifferent to it is both a strength and a source of happiness. And a society composed of men and women who do not bow too much to the conventions is a far more interesting society than one in which all behave alike. Where each person’s character is developed individually, differences in type are preserved, and it is worth while to meet new people, because they are not mere replicas of those whom one has met already.
Bertrand Russell (The Conquest of Happiness)
Photography is our exorcism. Primitive society had its masks, bourgeois society its mirrors, and we have our images. We believe that we bend the world to our will by means of technology. In fact it is the world that imposes its will upon us with the aid of technology, and the surprise occasioned by this turning of the tables is considerable. You think you are photographing a scene for the pleasure of it, but in fact it is the scene that demands to be photographed, and you are merely part of the decor in the pictorial order it dictates. The subject is no more than the funnel through which things in their irony make their appearance. The image is the ideal medium for the vast self-promotion campaign undertaken by the world and by objects - forcing our imagination into self-effacement, our passions into extraversion, and shattering the mirror which we hold out (hypocritically, moreover) in order to capture them. The miraculous thing about the present period is that appearances, so long reduced to a voluntary servitude, have now become sovereign, and turned back towards (and against) us by means of the very technology from which we had earlier evicted them. Today they come from elsewhere, from their own place, from the heart of their banality, of their objectality: they surge forth on all sides, multiplying of their own accord, and joyfully. (The joy of taking photographs is an objective joy, and anyone who has never felt the objective transports of the image, some morning, in some town or desert, will never understand the pataphysical delicacy of the world.)
Jean Baudrillard (The Transparency of Evil: Essays in Extreme Phenomena)
The genius of the current caste system, and what most distinguishes it from its predecessors, is that it appears voluntary. People choose to commit crimes, and that’s why they are locked up or locked out, we are told. This feature makes the politics of responsibility particularly tempting, as it appears the system can be avoided with good behavior. But herein lies the trap. All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world. The notion that a vast gulf exists between “criminals” and those of us who have never served time in prison is a fiction created by the racial ideology that birthed mass incarceration, namely that there is something fundamentally wrong and morally inferior about “them.” The reality, though, is that all of us have done wrong. As noted earlier, studies suggest that most Americans violate drug laws in their lifetime. Indeed, most of us break the law not once but repeatedly throughout our lives. Yet only some of us will be arrested, charged, convicted of a crime, branded a criminal or felon, and ushered into a permanent undercaste. Who becomes a social pariah and excommunicated from civil society and who trots off to college bears scant relationship to the morality of crimes committed. Who is more blameworthy: the young black kid who hustles on the street corner, selling weed to help his momma pay the rent? Or the college kid who deals drugs out of his dorm room so that he’ll have cash to finance his spring break? Who should we fear? The kid in the ’hood who joined a gang and now carries a gun for security, because his neighborhood is frightening and unsafe? Or the suburban high school student who has a drinking problem but keeps getting behind the wheel? Our racially biased system of mass incarceration exploits the fact that all people break the law and make mistakes at various points in their lives and with varying degrees of justification. Screwing up—failing to live by one’s highest ideals and values—is part of what makes us human.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
This entails certain corollaries on which true individualism once more stands in sharp opposition to the false individualism of the rationalistic type. The first is that the deliberately organized state on the one side, and the individual on the other, far from being regarded as the only realities, which all the intermediate formations and associations are to be deliberately suppressed, as was the aim of the French Revolution, the noncompulsory conventions of social intercourse are considered as essential factors in preserving the orderly working in human society. The second is that the individual, in participating in the social processes, must be ready and willing to adjust himself to changes and to submit to conventions which are not the result of intelligent design, whose justification in the particular instance may be recognizable, and which to him will often appear unintelligible and irrational. I need not say much on the first point. That true individualism affirms the value of the family and all the common efforts of the small community and group, that it believes in local autonomy and voluntary associations, and that indeed its case rests largely on the contention that much for which the coercive action of the state is usually invoked can be done better by voluntary collaboration need not be stressed further. There can be no greater contrast to this than the false individualism which wants to dissolve all these smaller groups into atoms which have no cohesion other than the coercive rules imposed by the state, and which tries to make all social ties prescriptive, instead of using the state mainly as a protection of the individual against the arrogation of coercive powers by the small groups. Quite as important for the functioning of an individualist society as these smaller groupings of men are the traditions and conventions which evolve in a free society and which, without being enforceable, establish flexible but normally observed rules that make the behavior of other people predictable in a high degree. The willingness to submit to such rules, not merely so long as one understands the reason for them but so long as one has no definite reasons to the contrary, is an essential condition for the gradual evolution and improvement of the rules of social intercourse; and the readiness ordinarily to submit to the products of a social process which nobody may understand is also an indispensible condition if it is to be possible to dispense with compulsion. That the existence of common conventions and traditions among a group of people will enable them to work together smoothly and efficiently with much less formal organization and compulsion than a group without such common background, is of course, a commonplace. But the reverse of this, while less familiar, is probably not less true: that coercion can probably only be kept to a minimum in a society where conventions and traditions have made the behavior of man to a large extent predictable.
Friedrich A. Hayek (Individualism and Economic Order)
The other strikingly modern feature of the type of poet which Euripides now introduced into the history of literature is his apparently voluntary refusal to take any part whatever in public life. Euripides was not a soldier as Aeschylus was, nor a priestly dignitary as Sophocles was, but, on the other hand, he is the very first poet who is reported to have possessed a library, and he appears to be also the first poet to lead the life of a scholar in complete retirement from the world. If the bust of him, with its tousled hair, its tired eyes and the embittered lines round the mouth, is a true portrait, and if we are right in seeing in it a discrepancy between body and spirit, and the expression of a restless and dissatisfied life, then we may say that Euripides was the first unhappy poet, the first whose poetry brought him suffering. The notion of genius in the modern sense is not merely completely strange to the ancient world; its poets and artists have nothing of the genius about them. The rational and craftsmanlike elements in art are far more important for them than the irrational and intuitive. Plato’s doctrine of enthusiasm emphasized, indeed, that poets owed their work to divine inspiration and not to mere technical ability, but this idea by no means leads to the exaltation of the poet; it only increases the gulf between him and his work, and makes of him a mere instrument of the divine purpose. It is, however, of the essence of the modern notion of genius that there is no gulf between the artist and his work, or, if such a gulf is admitted, that the genius is far greater than any of his works and can never be adequately expressed in them. So genius connotes for us a tragic loneliness and inability to make itself fully understood. But the ancient world knows nothing of this or of the other tragic feature of the modern artist—his lack of recognition by his own contemporaries and his despairing appeals to a remote posterity. There is not a trace of all this—at least before Euripides. Euripides’ lack of success was mainly due to the fact that there was nothing in classical times that could be called an educated middle class. The old aristocracy took no pleasure in his plays, owing to their different outlook on life, and the new bourgeois public could not enjoy them either, owing to its lack of education. With his philosophical radicalism, Euripides is a unique pheno menon, even among the poets of his age, for these are in general as conservative in their outlook as were those of the classical age —in spite of a naturalism of style which was derived from the urban and commercial society they lived in, and which had reached a point at which it was really incompatible with political conservatism. As politicians and partisans these poets hold to their conservative doctrines, but as artists they are swept along in the progressive stream of their times. This inner contradiction in their work is a completely new phenomenon in the social history of art.
Arnold Hauser (The Social History of Art, Volume 1: From Prehistoric Times to the Middle Ages)
You have unfairly tasked me with three very difficult questions. I was very interested in your comments about Christ’s atheism on the cross. That final moment of atheism, that’s something I have never thought about in that way. It’s a very interesting thought because what it really ….it’s an unbelievably merciful idea in some sense. That the burden of life is so unbearable and you see in the Christian passion, of course, torture, unfair judgement by society, betrayal by friends and then a low death. That’s about …as bad as it gets. Right? Which is why it is an archetypal story. It’s about as bad as it gets. And the story that you describe points out that it’s so bad that even God himself might despair about the essential quality of being. Right? Right. So that is merciful in some sense because it does say that there is something that’s built into the fabric of existence, that tests us so severely in our faith about being itself that even God himself falls prey to the temptation to doubt. So that’s…ok now… There is a very large critical literature that suggests that if you want to develop optimal resilience, what you do is lay out a pathway towards somewhere better, someone comes in, they have a problem, you try to figure out what the problem is and then you try to figure out what might constitute a solution. So you have a map. And it’s a tentative map of how you get from where things aren’t so good to where they are better. And then you have the person go out in the world and confront those things that they are avoiding, that are stopping them from moving to that higher place. And there’s an archetypal reality to that, you’re in a fallen state, you are attempting to redeem yourself and there is a process by which that has to occur. And that process involves voluntary confrontation with what you’re afraid of, disgusted by and inclined to avoid. And that’s works. Every psychological school agrees upon that exposure therapy, psychoanalysts expose you to the tragedies of your past, and redeem you in that manner, the behaviourists expose you to the terrors of the present and redeem you in that manner, but there is a broad agreement between psychological schools that that works. My sense is that we are called upon as individuals precisely to do that in our life. We are faced by this unbearable reality, that you made reference to when you talked about the situation on the cross, life itself is fundamentally - and this is a pessimism that we might share - it’s fundamentally suffering and malevolence. But this is I think where we differ, I believe that the evidence suggests that the light that you discover in your life is proportionate to the amount of darkness that you are willing to forthrightly confront and that there is no necessarily upper limit to that. So I think that the good that people are capable of it’s a higher good than the evil that people are capable of. And believe me that I do not say that lightly, given that I know about the evil that people are capable of. And I believe that the central psychological message of the biblical corpus fundamentally it’s that. That’s why it culminates in some sense with the idea that it is necessary to confront the devil and to accept the unjustness of your tortured mortality. If you can do that, and that’s a challenge sufficient to challenge even God himself, you have the best chance of transcending it, and living the kind of life that would set your house in order and everyone’s house in order at the same time. And I think that’s true even in states like North Korea...
Jordan Peterson
How did general prosperity encompass the entire world? Here the answer is that prosperity rises, first slowly and then increasinly fast, in all places where people can engage in peaceful and voluntary exchanges. Trade and the innovations that it makes possible provide the only known escape route from poverty.
Pascal Boyer (Minds Make Societies: How Cognition Explains the World Humans Create)
When civil society languishes, when the life of organizations and voluntary associations is curtailed, then sooner or later political parties will begin to languish as well, until, ultimately, they become degenerate ghettos whose only purpose is to elevate their members into positions of power.
Václav Havel (To the Castle and Back: Reflections on My Strange Life as a Fairy-Tale Hero)
In reality, the various movements and removals of Indigenous peoples from the Southeast due to white invasion meant that the first western settlers were often Native Americans who migrated to spaces other than their homelands, where they encountered other tribes—longtime enemies, other displaced peoples, and groups who had long called this land home. Native peoples adjusted their oral histories and survivance strategies to incorporate their new surroundings as they had done for millennia, crafting stories that told of successful migrations and learning about the food and herbs of their new homes. As they were forced westward, the Five Tribes’ experience in Indian Territory was different from the other Indigenous migrations occurring around them. The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Nations sought to use the settler colonial process to cast themselves as civilizers of their new home: they used the labor system that Euro-Americans insisted represented sophistication—chattel slavery—to build homes, commercial enterprises, and wealth, and they portrayed themselves as settlers in need of protection from the federal government against the depredations of western Indians, which, the Five Tribes claimed, hindered their own civilizing progress. Moreover, they followed their physical appropriation of Plains Indians’ land with an erasure of their predecessor’s history. They perpetuated the idea that they had found an undeveloped ‘wilderness” when they arrived in Indian Territory and that they had proceeded to tame it. They claimed that they had built institutions and culture in a space where previously neither existed. The Five Tribes’ involvement in the settler colonial process was self-serving: they had already been forced to move once by white Americans, and appealing to their values could only help them—at least, at first. Involvement in the system of Black enslavement was a key component of displaying adherence to Americans’ ideas of social, political, and economic advancement—indeed, owning enslaved people was the primary path to wealth in the nineteenth century. The laws policing Black people’s behavior that appeared in all of the tribes’ legislative codes showed that they were willing to make this system a part of their societies. But with the end of the Civil War, the political party in power—the Republicans—changed the rules: slavery was no longer deemed civilized and must be eliminated by force. For the Five Tribes, the rise and fall of their involvement in the settler colonial process is inextricably connected to the enslavement of people of African descent: it helped to prove their supposed civilization and it helped them construct their new home, but it would eventually be the downfall of their Indian Territory land claims. Recognizing the Five Tribes’ coerced migration to Indian Territory as the first wave among many allows us to see how settler colonialism shaped the culture of Indian Territory even before settlers from the United States arrived. Though the Cherokee ‘Trail of Tears’ has come to symbolize Indian Removal, the Five Tribes were just a handful of dozens of Indigenous tribes who had been forced to move from their eastern homelands due to white displacement. This displacement did not begin or end in the 1830s Since the 1700s, Indian nations such as the Wyandot, Kickapoo, and Shawnee began migrating to other regions to escape white settlement and the violence and resource scarcity that often followed. Though brought on by conditions outside of their control, these migrations were ‘voluntary’ in that they were most often an attempt to flee other Native groups moving into their territory as a result of white invasion or to preempt white coercion, rather than a response to direct Euro-American political or legal pressure to give up their homelands….
Alaina E. Roberts (I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land)
Jennifer Wolch developed the term “shadow state” to describe the contemporary rise of the voluntary sector that is involved in direct social services previously provided by wholly public New Deal/Great Society agencies.
Incite! Women of Color Against Violence (The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex)
Voluntary association is the tool society uses when its members are free to behave as they will. Government is the tool society uses to force its members to behave in certain ways. Cloaking the tool in the civility of democracy does not change its essence, as a democratically elected government only appears non-threatening to the majority. This is not to say that government is not a necessary and useful tool. It is to say that it is an extremely dangerous one.
Antony Davies (Cooperation and Coercion: How Busybodies Became Busybullies and What that Means for Economics and Politics)
Well-being - that is to say, the satisfaction of physical, artistic, and moral needs, has always been the most powerful stimulant to work. And where a hireling hardly succeeds to produce the bare necessities with difficulty, a free worker, who sees ease and luxury increasing for him and for others in proportion to his efforts, spends infinitely far more energy and intelligences and obtains first-class products in a far greater abundance. The one feels riveted to misery, the other hopes for ease and luxury in the future. In this lies the whole secret. Therefore a society aiming at the well-being of all, and at the possibility of all enjoying life in all its manifestations, will give voluntary work, which will be infinitely superior and yield far more than work had produced up till now under the goad of slavery, serfdom, or wagedom.
Pyotr Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread and Other Writings)
All anarchists reject the legitimacy of external government and of the State, and condemn imposed political authority, hierarchy and domination. They seek to establish the condition of anarchy, that is to say, a decentralized and self-regulating society consisting of a federation of voluntary associations of free and equal individuals. The ultimate goal of anarchism is to create a free society which allows all human beings to realize their full potential.
Peter H. Marshall (Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism)
In some ways Duane Elgin’s Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich, published in 1981, was the first of these.
John Lane (Timeless Simplicity: Creating Living in a Consumer Society)
they never quoted the rest. I went on to say: There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then to look after our neighbour. My meaning, clear at the time but subsequently distorted beyond recognition, was that society was not an abstraction, separate from the men and women who composed it, but a living structure of individuals, families, neighbours and voluntary associations.
Margaret Thatcher (The Downing Street Years)
The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy. All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family and serve the common good. A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring. All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security.) All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions as well as to organize and join unions or other associations. All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide the needs of their families and an obligation to contribute to the broader society. In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits; government has essential responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and the just policies of the state. Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life. Workers, owners, managers, stockholders and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life and social justice. The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need wherever they might live on this globe.33
Erick Schenkel (The Joys and the Hopes: An American Evangelical Discovers Catholic Social Teaching)
Voluntary service to God means also, again on the model of Jesus, voluntary service to others, Instead of replacing a model of society in which there are masters and slaves with a model in which everyone is his or her own master, Jesus and the early church replaced it with a model in which everoyone is the slave of the others - with, of course, the understanding that this "slavery" is entirely willing (Luke 22:26-27; John 13:14; Gal. 5:13). In other words, freedom is the freedom to love: "you were called to freedom ... only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love becomes slaves to one another" (Gal. 5:13). If the Old Testament emphasis is on God's people as FREED slaves, the New Testament emphasis is on God's people as free SLAVES.
Richard Bauckham
Between economic growth and social development, or the development of civil society A lot of classic social theory links the emergence of modern civil society to economic development.28 Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations noted that the growth of markets was related to the division of labor in society: as markets expand and firms take advantage of economies of scale, social specialization increases and new social groups (for example, the industrial working class) emerge. The fluidity and open access demanded by modern market economies undermine many traditional forms of social authority and force their replacement with more flexible, voluntary forms of association. The theme of the transformative effects of the expanding division of labor was central to the writings of nineteenth-century thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim.
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Between social mobilization and liberal democracy From Alexis de Tocqueville onward there has been a large body of democratic theory arguing that modern liberal democracy cannot exist without a vigorous civil society.29 The mobilization of social groups allows weak individuals to pool their interests and enter the political system; even when social groups do not seek political objectives, voluntary associations have spillover effects in fostering the ability of individuals to work with one another in novel situations—what is termed social capital. The correlation noted above linking economic growth to stable liberal democracy presumably comes about via the channel of social mobilization: growth entails the emergence of new social actors who then demand representation in a more open political system and press for a democratic transition. When the political system is well institutionalized and can accommodate these new actors, then there is a successful transition to full democracy. This is what happened with the rise of farmers’ movements and socialist parties in Britain and Sweden in the early decades of the twentieth century, and in South Korea after the fall of the military dictatorship in 1987. A highly developed civil society can also pose dangers for democracy and can even lead to political decay. Groups based on ethnic or racial chauvinism spread intolerance; interest groups can invest effort in zero-sum rent seeking; excessive politicization of economic and social conflicts can paralyze societies and undermine the legitimacy of democratic institutions. 30 Social mobilization can lead to political decay. The Huntingtonian process whereby political institutions failed to accommodate demands of new social actors for participation arguably happened in Bolivia and Ecuador in the 1990s and 2000s with the repeated unseating of elected presidents by highly mobilized social groups.31
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
we have forgotten the other dimension of who we are. We are both individuals and members of society, and this complex relationship comes together in civil society, that network of rich voluntary relationships. Civil society cannot be understood only in terms of individuals; it also requires considering our relationships with one another and our individual capacity to enter into them due to supportive institutions, which includes government.
Georgia Kelly (Uncivil Liberties: Deconstructing Libertarianism)
Localization is dismantling governments from the top down, first restoring power to local communities with the end goal of eliminating all organized coercion, and establishing a voluntary society based on self-ownership and universal nonviolence.
Adam Kokesh (FREEDOM!)
The term agorism comes from the ancient Greek word for an open marketplace, “agora.” Governments try to demonize agorist activity as the “black market,” but that is only because they want our trade to occur where they can control and tax it, in their coercion-dominated “white market.” Agorism comes naturally to anyone who can see its tangible benefits. To achieve a voluntary society, agorism will be essential to building the economic structures that will help us wean ourselves from governments.
Adam Kokesh (FREEDOM!)
Government has important work to do, but in the task of helping society remain intact, much work takes place in the families, neighborhoods, churches, temples, schools, and voluntary groups that make communities good, healthy places to live.
William J. Bennett (America the Strong: Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation)
Social capital is a capability that arises from the prevalence of trust in a society or in certain parts of it. It can be embodied in the smallest and most basic social group, the family, as well as the largest of all groups, the nation, and in all the other groups in between. Social capital differs from other forms of human capital insofar as it is usually created and transmitted through cultural mechanisms like religion, tradition, or historical habit. Economists typically argue that the formation of social groups can be explained as the result of voluntary contract between individuals who have made the rational calculation that cooperation is in their long-term self-interest. By this account, trust is not necessary for cooperation: enlightened self-interest, together with legal mechanisms like contracts, can compensate for an absence of trust and allow strangers jointly to create an organization that will work for a common purpose. Groups can be formed at any time based on self-interest, and group formation is not culture-dependent. But while contract and self-interest are important sources of association, the most effective organizations are based on communities of shared ethical values. These communities do not require extensive contract and legal regulation of their relations because prior moral consensus gives members of the group a basis for mutual trust. The social capital needed to create this kind of moral community cannot be acquired, as in the case of other forms of human capital, through a rational investment decision. That is, an individual can decide to “invest” in conventional human capital like a college education, or training to become a machinist or computer programmer, simply by going to the appropriate school. Acquisition of social capital, by contrast, requires habituation to the moral norms of a community and, in its context, the acquisition of virtues like loyalty, honesty, and dependability. The group, moreover, has to adopt common norms as a whole before trust can become generalized among its members. In other words, social capital cannot be acquired simply by individuals acting on their own. It is based on the prevalence of social, rather than individual virtues. The proclivity for sociability is much harder to acquire than other forms of human capital, but because it is based on ethical habit, it is also harder to modify or destroy. Another term that I will use widely throughout this book is spontaneous sociability, which constitutes a subset of social capital. In any modern society, organizations are being constantly created, destroyed, and modified. The most useful kind of social capital is often not the ability to work under the authority of a traditional community or group, but the capacity to form new associations and to cooperate within the terms of reference they establish. This type of group, spawned by industrial society’s complex division of labor and yet based on shared values rather than contract, falls under the general rubric of what Durkheim labeled “organic solidarity.”7 Spontaneous sociability, moreover, refers to that wide range of intermediate communities distinct from the family or those deliberately established by governments. Governments often have to step in to promote community when there is a deficit of spontaneous sociability. But state intervention poses distinct risks, since it can all too easily undermine the spontaneous communities established in civil society.
Francis Fukuyama (Trust: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order)
The main problem facing immigrant communities was to change the sort of sociability they practiced from an ascriptive to a voluntary form. That is, the traditional social structures they brought with them were based on family, ethnicity, geographic origin, or some other characteristic with which they were born. For the first generation that landed in the United States, they created the trust necessary for revolving credit associations, family restaurants, laundries, and grocery stores. But in subsequent generations they could become a constraint, narrowing the range of business opportunities and keeping descendants in ethnic ghettoes. For the most successful ethnic groups, the sons and daughters of first-generation immigrants had to learn a broader kind of sociability that would get them jobs in the mainstream business world or in the professions. The speed with which immigrants could make the transition from a member of an ethnic enclave to assimilated mainstream American explains how the United States could be both ethnically diverse and strongly disposed to community at the same time. In many other societies, the descendants of immigrants were never permitted to leave their ethnic ghetto. Although solidarity within the ethnic enclave remained high, the society as a whole was balkanized and conflicted. Diversity can have clear benefits for a society, but is better taken in small sips than in large gulps. It is easily possible to have too diverse a society, in which people not only fail to share higher values and aspirations but even fail to speak the same language. The possibilities for spontaneous sociability then begin to flow only within the cleavage lines established by race, ethnicity, language, and the like. Assimilation through language policy and education must balance ethnicity if broader community is to be possible. The United States presents a mixed and changing picture. If we take into account factors like America’s religious culture and ethnicity, there are ample grounds for categorizing it simultaneously as both an individualistic and a group-oriented society. Those who see only the individualism are ignoring a critical part of American social history. “Yet the balance has been shifting toward individualism rapidly in the last couple of decades, so it is perhaps no accident that Asians and others see it as the epitome of an individualistic society. This shift has created numerous problems for the United States, many of which will play themselves out in the economic sphere.
Francis Fukuyama (Trust: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order)
This highly negative narrative about interest groups stands in sharp contrast, however, to a much more positive one about the benefits of civil society, or voluntary associations, to the health of democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America noted that Americans had a strong propensity for organizing private associations, which he argued were “schools for democracy” because they taught private individuals the skills of coming together for public purposes.
Francis Fukuyama (Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy)
As one of the leading French anarchist thinkers and friend of Bakunin, Élisée Reclus, put it: “The external form of society must alter in correspondence with the impelling force within; there is no better established historical fact. The sap makes the tree and gives it leaves and flowers, the blood makes the man, the ideas make the society” (8). That is but one formulation of the anarchist notion of deterministic idealism, a belief that slavery and oppression must be overcome by first changing fundamental habits of the mind, which goes, of course, directly against Marxist materialism. Anarchists argue that the slave mentality can be exchanged for the revolutionary mentality if one is sufficiently exposed to the ideas of liberation and social change. (p. 49) ,... crucial to conveying the anarchist doctrine that the struggle for liberation begins in the mind and that the true subversion of authority consists in the recognition that we as individuals create the mental preconditions for the existence of bondage or freedom. (p. 50-51) But arguably, anarchism is the most misunderstood of all political theories. Although it is sometimes aligned with concepts of nihilism and terrorism, the philosophical anarchism of Proudhon, Kropotkin, Bakunin, and the Reclus brothers is essentially a pacifist, utopian, and liberal theory of voluntary association and mutual aid. The “propaganda by the deed” is not at all a recipe for terror, although some isolated anarchists have invoked this principle to justify their resort to violence, especially in Russia in the later part of the nineteenth century and in the Spanish Civil War. In general, however, anarchism’s rejection of centralized state power and institutionalized authority has ironically limited the political effectiveness of this philosophy, which stands in direct contrast to communism and socialism, both of which have traditionally embraced hierarchical structures of power. (p. 79)
Bernard Schweizer (Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism)
You are only able really to refuse and flee, though, when you recognize your power. Those living under the weight of a security regime tend to think of themselves as powerless, dwarfed by against its overarching might. Those in a prison society think of themselves as living in the belly of a Leviathan, consumed by its power. How can we possibly match its firepower, how can we escape its all-seeing eyes and its all-knowing information systems? To find a way out all you have to do is remember the basic recognition of the nature of power explained by Foucault and, before him, Niccolò Machiavelli: power is not a thing but a relation. No matter how mighty and arrogant seems that power standing above you, know that it depends on you, feeds on your fear, and survives only because of your willingness to participate in the relationship. Look for an escape door. One is always there. Desertion and disobedience are reliable weapons against voluntary servitude.
Michael Hardt (Declaration)
In the fine print on a food stamp application, it is made clear that selling SNAP can result in a felony charge. And the penalty can be stiff. The SNAP application in Illinois (and other states) says that you can “be fined up to $250,000 and put in prison up to 20 years or both” for the offense. One signal of how strongly a society feels about a particular violation of the law is the maximum sentence that can be imposed on offenders. Possession of small amounts of marijuana carries little legal penalty in most jurisdictions for a first-time offense. Under the U.S. federal sentencing guidelines, a person with a “minimal criminal history” would have to commit an offense at base level 37 to earn up to twenty years in prison. By comparison, voluntary manslaughter earns a base level 29, which could result in nine years in prison. Aggravated assault with a firearm that causes bodily injury to the victim merits only a base level 24, which could yield a five-year sentence. Abusive sexual contact with a child under age twelve also merits a base level 24. Astonishingly, at least in terms of the letter of the law, when Jennifer sells her SNAP, she risks a far longer prison term than the one José was subject to for molesting Kaitlin. As
Kathryn J. Edin ($2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America)
The conscious utterance of thought, by speech or action, to any end, is Art. From the first imitative babble of a child to the despotism of eloquence; from his first pile of toys or chip bridge to the masonry of Minor Rock Lighthouse or the Pacific Railroad; from the tattooing of the Owhyhees to the Vatican Gallery; from the simplest expedient of private prudence to the American Constitution; from its first to its last works, Art is the spirit's voluntary use and combination of things to serve its end.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Society and Solitude)
Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another. When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact. Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains. All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity.
Charles River Editors (The Sons of Liberty: The Lives and Legacies of John Adams, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock)
Government has important work to do, but in the task of helping society remain intact, much work takes place in the families, neighborhoods, churches, temples, schools, and voluntary groups that make communities good, healthy places to live. Individual
William J. Bennett (America the Strong: Conservative Ideas to Spark the Next Generation)
Elsewhere I have proposed the dimension of exceptionalism-universalism as the ideological underpinning for these two contrasting approaches to the analysis and solution of social problems. The exceptionalist viewpoint is reflected in arrangements that are private, voluntary, remedial, special, local, and exclusive. Such arrangements imply that problems occur to specially-defined categories of persons in an unpredictable manner. The problems are unusual, even unique, they are exceptions to the rule, they occur as a result of individual defect, accident, or unfortunate circumstance and must be remedied by means that are particular and, as it were, tailored to the individual case. The universalistic viewpoint, on the other hand, is reflected in arrangements that are public, legislated, promotive or preventive, general, national, and inclusive. Inherent in such a viewpoint is the idea that social problems are a function of the social arrangements of the community or the society and that, since these social arrangements are quite imperfect and inequitable, such problems are both predictable and, more important, preventable through public action. They are not unique to the individual, and the fact that they encompass individual persons does not imply that those persons are themselves defective or abnormal.
William Ryan (Blaming the Victim)
It is not an empire’s job to make anyone rich or happy or relieve their suffering. In fact, these things are usually most successfully achieved outside of, or in spite of, most organized social constructs. Some would argue that the best kinds of happiness happen outside acceptable limits imposed by society, law or religion—all of which are control methods that we, the Divine Few, impose on you, the Nameless Inconsequential, in the hopes that you will censor yourselves into some form of voluntary slavery
Cintra Wilson (Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny)
More relevantly, the revelation that Frank is Frances and that she became he because of a homegrown science experiment connects us to the practice, widespread in the Culture, of voluntary sex change. The difference in circumstances—in the Culture, the change is always completely successful, entirely reversible, and bioengineered inside the individual from birth—lies at the heart of Banks’ conviction that the ability to switch between genders at will is essential to the creation of a more just society—once one has lived as both man and woman, misogyny becomes substantially more difficult to embrace.
Simone Caroti (The Culture Series of Iain M. Banks: A Critical Introduction)
The impossible class. Poor, happy and independent! — these things can go together; poor, happy and a slave! — these things can also go together — and I can think of no better news I could give to our factory slaves: provided, that is, they do not feel it to be in general a disgrace to be thus used, and used up, as a part of a machine and as it were a stopgap to fill a hole in human inventiveness! To the devil with the belief that higher payment could lift from them the essence of their miserable condition I mean their impersonal enslavement! To the devil with the idea of being persuaded that an enhancement of this impersonality within the mechanical operation of a new society could transform the disgrace of slavery into a virtue! To the devil with setting a price on oneself in exchange for which one ceases to be a person and becomes a part of a machine! Are you accomplices in the current folly of the nations the folly of wanting above all to produce as much as possible and to become as rich as possible? What you ought to do, rather, is to hold up to them the counter-reckoning: how great a sum of inner value is thrown away in pursuit of this external goal! But where is your inner value if you no longer know what it is to breathe freely? if you no longer possess the slightest power over yourselves? if you all too often grow weary of yourselves like a drink that has been left too long standing? if you pay heed to the newspapers and look askance at your wealthy neighbour, made covetous by the rapid rise and fall of power, money and opinions? if you no longer believe in philosophy that wears rags, in the free-heartedness of him without needs? if voluntary poverty and freedom from profession and marriage, such as would very well suit the more spiritual among you, have become to you things to laugh at? If, on the other hand, you have always in your ears the flutings of the Socialist pied-pipers whose design is to enflame you with wild hopes? which bid you to be prepared and nothing further, prepared day upon day, so that you wait and wait for something to happen from outside and in all other respects go on living as you have always lived until this waiting turns to hunger and thirst and fever and madness, and at last the day of the bestia triumphans dawns in all its glory? In contrast to all this, everyone ought to say to himself: ‘better to go abroad, to seek to become master in new and savage regions of the world and above all master over myself; to keep moving from place to place for just as long as any sign of slavery seems to threaten me; to shun neither adventure nor war and, if the worst should come to the worst, to be prepared for death: all this rather than further to endure this indecent servitude, rather than to go on becoming soured and malicious and conspiratorial!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality)
The social contract theory embodied in the American Declaration of Independence solved a problem that had plagued Western civilization for more than a millennium and a half. Political authority was to be rooted in each particular political society as the result of the voluntary action of naturally free and equal individuals, whose natural freedom and equality was seen to be as much a dispensation of God as membership in the City of God. These free and equal individuals are enfranchised in the rights that they bring with them into civil society by the fact that they are a priori under the universal "laws of nature and of nature's God." There is then no tension between one's membership in that larger community, which in principle embraces all mankind, and one's particular obligations to one's own community, here and now. The Declaration of Independence recognizes, as did the medieval church, the divine government of the universe. But this government, while providing a pattern for human government, does not cause any divided allegiance in one's political obligation here on earth. The role played by the power of the Church to excommunicate rulers, and to dissolve the allegiance of their subjects, becomes in the Declaration the right of revolution.
Harry V. Jaffa
Society is the total of the forced or voluntary services that men perform for each other; that is to say, of public services and private services.
Frédéric Bastiat (Bastiat Collection)
Even those who know the chronology of missions history still sometimes cite Carey as the "father" because of the length of his ministry in India (forty-one years), because of his commitment to Bible translation, or because he was an English speaker. However, when Carey arrived in India in November 1793, the German Protestant missionary Friedrich Schwartz already was in the forty-third of what would eventually be forty-eight years of ministry in India. Furthermore, the first Protestant missionaries, Ziegenbalg and Plutschau, translated the New Testament into Tamil by 1715, less than a decade after their arrival in India. There were several well-known English-speaking missionaries before Carey, including John Eliot (1604-1690) and David Brainerd (1718-1747). In short, looking at the pure chronology of missions, it is difficult to see why Carey is considered the "first" or the "father" of modern missions. However, this is why missions history must be seen not simply through the lens of chronos but also through the lens of kairos. William Carey can be referred to as the Father of Modern Missions, but not because of any of the reasons that are normally offered. William Carey is the father of modern missions because he stepped into a kairos moment, which stimulated the founding of dozens of new voluntary missionary societies and propelled hundreds of new missionaries out onto the field in what became the largest missions mobilization in history.
Timothy Tennent (Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century (Invitation to Theological Studies Series))
One difference between libertarianism [a personal choice and liberty-based system] and socialism is that a socialist society can't tolerate groups of people practicing freedom, but a libertarian society can comfortably allow people to choose voluntary socialism. If a group of people — even a very large group — wanted to purchase land and own it in common, they would be free to do so. The libertarian legal order would require only that no one be coerced into joining or giving up his property.2
Anonymous
In i86o the income of the nation's churches and religious voluntary societies came quite close to matching the total receipts of the federal government. Today the ratio of annual federal income to annual religion-related giving is about twenty-five to one.
Mark A. Noll (The Civil War as a Theological Crisis)
we live by the ethical force of our mutual covenants, and society itself is made possible by voluntary compliance with the unenforceable.
Robin R. Meyers (Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus)
Hope in the Form of a Creative Minority Rabbi Sacks made that observation in a discussion of the notion of a “creative minority”—a concept that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had popularized before his election as Peter’s successor. The German cardinal had advanced the thesis that the Church is most effective when her people act as a creative minority in society, not achieving authority over society, but acting as a restraint on those who govern and pricking the consciences of those in power. The Church of the early twenty-first century, visibly losing prestige and influence, was probably destined to become a creative minority once again, Cardinal Ratzinger said. In Faith and the Future, he wrote: From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. This smaller Church would no longer feel the siren call of human respect. Indeed, the creative minority would emerge because of a willingness to flout the standards of a secular society. Belonging to this Church would mean forfeiting any hope of social climbing; it would mean a life of skirmishing against convention. “As a small society,” Cardinal Ratzinger said, the Church “will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.” When he described his vision of the Church as a creative minority, Cardinal Ratzinger was not overly sanguine about the practical consequences for the faithful. The Church would be poor, the Faith would be disdained, and the faithful would suffer, he predicted. In this way, however, the Church would be better conformed to Jesus Christ. Thus he concluded, “But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church.
Philip F. Lawler (The Smoke of Satan: How Corrupt and Cowardly Bishops Betrayed Christ, His Church, and the Faithful . . . and What Can Be Done About It)
Socialism' should not be taken to mean merely subordinating the economy to the needs and values of society. It also involves the creation, as an effect of ever shorter and increasingly flexible working hours, of a growing sphere of sharing within the community, of voluntary and self-organized co-operation, of increasingly extensive self-determined activities.
André Gorz (Capitalism, Socialism, Ecology)
If love in society is to represent a better one, it cannot do so as a peaceful enclave, but only by conscious opposition. This, however, demands precisely the element of voluntariness that the bourgeois, for whom love can never be natural enough, forbid it. Loving means not letting immediacy wither under the omnipresent weight of mediation and economics, and in such fidelity it becomes itself mediated, as a stubborn counter-pressure. He alone loves who has the strength to hold fast to love.
Theodor W. Adorno (Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life)
Such proposals may seem impractical and even incredible. But what is truly impractical and incredible is that America, with its enormous wealth, has allowed Watts to become what it is and that a commission empowered to study this explosive situation should come up with answers that boil down to voluntary actions by business and labor, new public relations campaigns for municipal agencies, and information-gathering for housing, fair employment, and welfare departments. The Watts manifesto is a response to realities that the McCone Report is barely beginning to grasp. Like the liberal consensus which it embodies and reflects, the commission's imagination and political intelligence appear paralyzed by the hard facts of Negro deprivation it has unearthed, and it lacks the political will to demand that the vast resources of contemporary America be used to build a genuinely great society that will finally put an end to these deprivations. And what is most impractical and incredible of all is that we may very well continue to teach impoverished, segregated, and ignored Negroes that the only way they can get the ear of America is to rise up in violence.
Bayard Rustin (Down The Line)
[...] 'Bitter and base associations have become the sole food of your memory; you wander here and there, seeking rest in exile; happiness in pleasure - I mean in heartless, sensual pleasure - such as dulls intellect and blights feeling. Heart-weary and soul-withered, you come home after years of voluntary banishment; you make a new acquaintance - how, or where, no matter; you find in this stranger much of the good and bright qualities which you have sought for twenty years, and never before encountered; and they are all fresh, healthy, without soil and without taint. Such society revives, regenerates; you feel better days come back - higher wishes, purer feelings; you desire to recommence your life, and to spend what remains to you of days in a way more worthy of an immortal being. To attain this end, are you justified in over leaping an obstacle of custom - a mere convention impediment, which neither your conscience sanctifies not your judgment approves?
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Rejecting stringency as dangerous, ineffective, and costly, Sandhurst turned in 1898 to voluntary compliance.
Frank M. Snowden III (Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present)
The threat to capitalism is no longer communism or fascism but a steady undermining of the trust modern societies need for growth and stability. When most people stop believing they and their children have a fair chance to make it, the tacit social contract societies rely on for voluntary cooperation begins to unravel. In its place comes subversion, small and large—petty theft, cheating, fraud, kickbacks, corruption. Economic resources gradually shift from production to protection.
Robert B. Reich (Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few)
Many feel that the church (if it’s necessary at all) is primarily intended to serve our individual spiritual needs or to group us together with like-minded people—a kind of holy fraternity. If we believe that church is merely a voluntary society of people with shared values, then it is entirely optional. If the church helps you with your personal relationship with God, great; if not, I know a great brunch place that’s open on Sunday. But while an individual relationship with Jesus is an important part of the Christian life, it is not the sum total of the Christian life.
Tish Harrison Warren (Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life)
From time to time there emerged in the West voluntary communist societies. One of them was the Virginia Company in Jamestown (1607); another, New Harmony of Indiana, founded in 1825 by the British philanthropist Robert Owen. All such attempts broke down sooner or later, largely because of their inability to resolve the problem of “free riders,” members who drew a full share of the community’s harvest while doing little if any work.
Richard Pipes (Communism: A History (Modern Library Chronicles))
He who wishes to attain the profoundly marvelous must free images from their conventional associations, associations always dominated by utilitarian judgement; must learn to see the man behind the social function, break the scale of so-called normal values, replacing it by that of sensitive values, surmount taboos, the weight of ancestral prohibitions, cease to connect the object with profit one can get out of it, with the price it has in society, with the action it commands. This liberation begins when by some means the voluntary censorship of the bad conscience is lifted, when the mechanism of the dream is no longer impeded. Magic ceremonies, psychic exercises leading to concentration and ecstasy, the liberation of mental automatism, are so many means capable of refining vision through the tensions they induce. It is a means to enlarge normal facilities; they are a way of approach to the realm of the marvelous.
Pierre Mabille
The very word denomination points to one of the main characteristics of the Protestant Christianity resulting from the North American experience. The word itself indicates that the various churches are seen as denominations, that is, as different names given to Christians. In a religiously pluralistic society where tolerance was necessary for political survival, and in view of the bloodshed that dogmatism had caused elsewhere, North American Protestants tended to think of the church as an invisible reality 323 consisting of all true believers, and of the visible churches or denominations as voluntary organizations that believers create and join according to their convictions and preferences.
Justo L. González (The Story of Christianity: Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day)
Fundamentally, there are only two ways of co-ordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place. The possibility of co-ordination through voluntary co-operation rests on the elementary—yet frequently denied—proposition that both parties to an economic transaction benefit from it, provided the transaction is bi-laterally voluntary and informed. Exchange can therefore bring about co-ordination without coercion. A working model of a society organized through voluntary exchange is a free private enterprise exchange economy—what we have been calling competitive capitalism. In its simplest form, such a society consists of a number of independent households—a collection of Robinson Crusoes, as it were. Each household uses the resources it controls to produce goods and services that it exchanges for goods and services produced by other households, on terms mutually acceptable to the two parties to the bargain. It is thereby enabled to satisfy its wants indirectly by producing goods and services for others, rather than directly by producing goods for its own immediate use. The incentive for adopting this indirect route is, of course, the increased product made possible by division of labor and specialization of function. Since the household always has the alternative of producing directly for itself, it need not enter into any exchange unless it benefits from it. Hence, no exchange will take place unless both parties do benefit from it. Co-operation is thereby achieved without coercion. Specialization of function and division of labor would not go far if the ultimate productive unit were the household. In a modern society, we have gone much farther. We have introduced enterprises which are intermediaries between individuals in their capacities as suppliers of service and as purchasers of goods. And similarly, specialization of function and division of labor could not go very far if we had to continue to rely on the barter of product for product. In consequence, money has been introduced as a means of facilitating exchange, and
Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom)
But for all we thought we knew about them, there were some things we knew we did not know even after many years of forced and voluntary intimacy, including the art of making cranberry sauce, the proper way of throwing a football, and the secret customs of secret societies, like college fraternities, which seemed to recruit only those who would have been eligible for the Hitler Youth. Not
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
During this time of preparation, I also began to realize on a deeper level just how much the struggle between Communism and the Church was a spiritual one. It was a contest for the hearts - and eternal souls - of the people. Those in religious vocations - and any true followers of Christ - were called to a life of sacrificial obedience and anonymous servanthood. The Communist Party, to its faithful, promised the opposite. Initially it flattered the intellect, appealing to idealists who put their faith in man. They saw man not as a fallen creature, saved by grace, but as inherently good. Man did not need a Saviour, a Redeemer; collectively he had all the necessary skills and mind and abilities to provide for his needs. And given the opportunity, he would care for his neighbor. The Brotherhood of Man did not need the Fatherhood of God. The secular society, through the institutions of the State, would do the work of the Church. At first glance, the Communist system did seem fairer than the old oppressive monarchies with their rigid class structure, or the weak and failed democracies of Christendom. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need - what could be fairer than that? Christianity believed in that, too. The difference was that, where God inspired the Christian to voluntary acts of sefflessness and sacrifice - acts opposite of his nature - Communism dictated them. And who decided which one was needy? And which one should meet his needs? The Communist Party hierarchy. All power gravitated to them, and they were loathe to let any of it go. They used it to reward loyal underlings, and they used fear to control any who were suspected of being less than loyal. Power meant control, and they meant to control every aspect of life, beginning with how and what the children were taught. It might be too late to change the parents, but if they could have the children....
Svetozar Kraljevic (Pilgrimage)
Thus, the true obstacles to wealth generation are the entities which attempt to artificially regulate the use of economic goods for which they themselves have no just claim. The State is a prime example of just that: an institution which asserts control over economic goods that its agents never acquired through original appropriation or voluntary exchange.
Christopher Chase Rachels (A Spontaneous Order: The Capitalist Case For A Stateless Society)
infrastructure" is not a term conventionally used to describe the underpinnings of social life. But this is a consequential oversight, because the built environment -- and not just cultural preferences or the existence of voluntary organizations -- influences the breadth and depth of our associations. If states and societies do not recognize social infrastructure and how it works, they will fail to see a powerful way to promote civic engagement and social interaction, both within communities and across group lines.
Eric Klinenberg (Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life)
Liberal individualism does not preclude or deny human sociability; it simply means that most social engagements in a liberal society will ideally be voluntary. You can join with other people, but what groups you join are, to the maximum extent possible, a matter of personal choice.
Francis Fukuyama (Liberalism and Its Discontents)
Mixing culture war and capitalism is not just a personal quirk shared by these three individuals; it is writ in the very manifesto of the Kansas conservative movement, the platform of the state Republican Party for 1998. Moaning that “the signs of a degenerating society are all around us,” railing against abortion and homosexuality and gun control and evolution (“a theory, not a fact”), the document went on to propound a list of demands as friendly to plutocracy as anything ever dreamed up by Monsanto or Microsoft. The platform called for: • A flat tax or national sales tax to replace the graduated income tax (in which the rich pay more than the poor). • The abolition of taxes on capital gains (that is, on money you make when you sell stock). • The abolition of the estate tax. • No “governmental intervention in health care.” • The eventual privatization of Social Security. • Privatization in general. • Deregulation in general and “the operation of the free market system without government interference.” • The turning over of all federal lands to the states. • A prohibition on “the use of taxpayer dollars to fund any election campaign.” Along the way the document specifically endorsed the disastrous Freedom to Farm Act, condemned agricultural price supports, and came out in favor of making soil conservation programs “voluntary,” perhaps out of nostalgia for the Dust Bowl days, when Kansans learned a healthy fear of the Almighty.17
Thomas Frank (What's the Matter With Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America)
Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge- a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in pros- perity. As the number of her adherents dimin- ishes, so will she lose many of her social privi- leges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, she will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly she will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along- side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize her true center and ex- perience the sacraments again as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholar- ship.
Pope Benedict XVI
Northern evangelical Protestantism provided authoritative justification for social causes. It influenced labor safety, workplace reforms, and the establishment of women’s rights organizations; alleviated suffering through voluntary medical societies; and protected exploited women who worked as prostitutes. However, there was a dark side to parts of evangelicalism in the North and South: its religious justifications for slavery, the Mexican- American War, the wars against America’s First Nations, and the conviction that manifest destiny “meant removing (or eliminating) those who stood in the way.
Steven Dundas
The purpose of government is far more modest: maintaining the modicum of order necessary for citizens to flourish in peace as they pursue their freely chosen destiny, both as individuals and together in the free, voluntary associations that develop organically as part of private civil society. The new radical progressivism
William P. Barr (One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General)
it is not the role of the state to use its coercive power to remake man and society according to some abstract conception of perfection. The purpose of government is far more modest: maintaining the modicum of order necessary for citizens to flourish in peace as they pursue their freely chosen destiny, both as individuals and together in the free, voluntary associations that develop organically as part of private civil society. The
William P. Barr (One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General)
Hi, I’m Vanessa Valbon—you probably know me from daytime TV, but what you might not know is that my brother is serving a life sentence for a violent crime. He has put himself on a list for voluntary cranial shelling, which will happen only if Initiative 11 is passed this November. “There’s been a lot of talk about shelling—what it is and what it isn’t, so I had to educate myself, and this is what I learned. Shelling is painless. Shelling would be a matter of choice for any violent offender. And shelling will compensate the victim’s family, and the offender’s family, by paying them full market value for every single body part not discarded in the shelling process. “I don’t want to lose my brother, but I understand his choice. So the question is, how do we want our violent offenders to pay their debts to society? Wasting into old age on tax payers’ dollars—or allowing them to redeem themselves, by providing much-needed tissues for society and much-needed funds for those impacted by their crimes? “I urge you to vote yes on Initiative 11 and turn a life sentence . . . into a gift of life.” —Sponsored by Victims for the Betterment of Humanity.
Neal Shusterman (UnSouled (Unwind, #3))