Anarchy Plus a Constable
“It is amazing how otherwise intelligent people still imagine that, in our complex modern society, public order can be maintained by having certain elementary rules of conduct appropriate to simple rural communities followed by millions of individuals.
These latter are in fact grossly unequal in economic power, and each individual, or legal person, including the billion-dollar corporation, is left free to interpret the Constitution for himself, and to hire as many lawyers as his means will allow to champion through endless litigation his particular interpretations.
Only the lush opportunities of the opening of the earth’s largest and richest area for appropriation and settlement could furnish enough to be grabbed off by almost everyone to make it possible to maintain public order under such a regime, which Thomas Carlyle once characterized as anarchy plus a constable.
I find the ideal of a classless, stateless, government-less society of workers enjoying social order and material abundance fantastic and unattainable. It appears unattainable for the reason that social order requires government and administration by a ruling class or power-exercising class which must always be an aristocracy of management, however selected, operating through some set of mechanisms of social control, economic as well as political.
There is something vicious in the wish to impose on future generations our scheme of values. The egotistical wish to define the values of future generations is common both to liberal constitutionalists and the communist believers in the classless society of the future. What right or logical reason can we possibly have to take it for granted that our values or ideals will be acceptable to future generations or appropriate to their material situation?
Only the belief that we have received a revelation of eternal truth can rationalize such a pretentious assumption.”
(The Coming American Fascism: The Crisis of Capitalism, Lawrence Dennis, Harper & Brothers, 1936, excerpts pp. 4; 7-8)