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Some attention is paid to class in the modern-right libertarian tradition that claimed Bourne, but usually in the form of a critique of how state communism generates a ruling elite. For Bourne, it is the governing classes in industry and elected office that enjoy the benefits of rule via the State without “the psychic burden of adulthood.” The state machinery helps recast their “predatory ways” so the actions appear to be in the service of society.Drawing on Nietzsche once more, while also sort of turning him on his head—using Nietzsche as methodological inspiration, maybe not unlike Marx is said to have done with Hegel—Bourne provided a critical-historical analysis of inbuilt class structure and property relations.
Vincent Millay its lyric poet, Eugene O’Neill its dramatist, Sinclair Lewis its satirist, Van Wyck Brooks its critic.” With the remainder of this essay, I hope to give Bourne’s ideas a new lease on life by stressing some of his (partially) neglected philosophical underpinnings.
By focusing on his criticism of war in relation to the State, his expansive idea of democracy, and his personal experience of love discussed vis-à-vis his notion of a Beloved Community, I aim to outline the bedrock of his philosophy while challenging some of the assumptions about and popular interpretations of his work.
To the point, Bourne’s philosophy as such deserves far more attention.
From what I can gather, plenty of philosophy majors never read him as part of their undergraduate education. As Carl Van Doren, commenting on the younger generation of influential early twentieth-century Americans, notably claimed, “Bourne was its philosopher, John Reed was its hero, Edna St.
Immortalized as the apotheosis of a principled anti-war critic from the 1960s onward, many have since tried to resurrect his reputation, but not always in ways truest to the spirit of his philosophy.
Perhaps owing to Bourne’s appreciation of Nietzsche, writers in the 1990s interested in a postmodern, genealogical approach to scholarship who, according to Christopher Phelps, displayed disconcertingly little concern for historical context and meaning, turned to Bourne for inspiration. Phelps criticized the tendency in their postmodern readings to downplay Bourne’s political and intellectual engagement. Additionally, those who self-identify with the “libertarian” tradition have claimed Bourne as their own, but their conceptions of liberty and freedom seem to differ in several important respects from the prophetic philosophy and related values Bourne affirmed.
For it to fulfill its primary function in the modern interstate system, that “organization of the herd,” in Bourne’s formulation, thus requires and begets conflict (especially of the armed, militarist kind) between other states.
As the author explained, “The State is intimately connected with war, for it is the organization of the collective community when it acts in a political manner, and to act in a political manner toward a rival group has meant, throughout all history—war.” Bourne emphasized the herd-like nature of the State and the related consequences stemming from that organizational .
Excerpt from: The Handicapped The deformed man is always conscious that the world does not expect very much from him.
And it takes him a long time to see in this a challenge instead of a firm pressing down to a low level of accomplishment....