Tuesday, March 03, 2015


In my recent post Which Do You Want? I linked to a Harvard law professor who asked her fellow feminists "Do you want to complain or do you want to govern?"At the time, I thought the question powerful precisely because it is so easy to answer.

Reading some Robert Kaplan today about nonstate militias and revolutionary forces, particularly in the greater Middle east, I was reminded that some groups do not want to govern.  Their best situation is to be in a weak state they can bully, without the burden of providing services or courts or markets. Some groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, have actively rejected becoming the government. This allows them to remain more pure, more radical and extremist. There is also some parallel to my more recent post The Power To Destroy. I wrote it with an idea that any reasonable person would be ashamed to find themselves leaning more toward destruction than creation, and might take some care to avoid any hint of it going forward. 

I forgot that not everyone is reasonable. Having a revolution without wanting to take over the place just doesn't occur to me. Is that peculiarly western, or does it simply seem that way in this era?


Sam L. said...

They like being Warlords/Bandit Chieftans/Mob Bosses.

Texan99 said...

It's particularly adolescent: always someone to push back against, but who always pays the bills.

Grim said...

On the other hand, having been the one who pays the bills and stops the buck, I can see the attraction.

james said...

It is relative. If you and your tribe are nicely situated so you can prey on the others, why go to the extra bother of ruling them too? Unless they get uppity and fight back, of course.

Acton's Law and Pournelle's Law apply to ideologically founded groups too. Jaw jaw about empowerment, but so long as they have their comfy job (and sense of importance), there's no need to get their hands dirty trying to actually reconcile competing interests in governing.