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The State

  • The State by Randolph Bourne
June 15, 1998Randolph Bourne

Tags World HistoryPolitical Theory

If somehow, suddenly, Randolph Bourne were alive again in today's world , he would not be as bewildered or as bewildering as some of those who did not die. Though it is perilous to draw parallels between historical periods, it is safe to say that he would find the world in a similar, if more desperate plight. Then in 1918, the year of his death, as now, a world war had left in its wake a shattered Europe of starving, despairing people and, in the words of one of Bourne's contemporaries, "an America harried by frights and intolerances and mob fanaticisms." In our time, though it had been discernible" in the past decade, the liberals—as exemplified by The New Republic and The Nation—have come out of the war, for which they gave full support to the ruling class, with an addiction for some servile State, a faith in direct contrast with the liberal heritage of self-reliance fostered by Emerson and Thoreau. They were the same liberals who, in Bourne's time too, had accepted the ballyhoo of a·war fought for high sounding purposes, a war to end war—a cataclysm which they hoped would be sterilized of its more frightful aspects, only to be left, without moorings, with the dust of the dead.

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References

See Sharp Press, Tucson, Arizona, 1998