Tag Archives: Ronald Reagan

NL XXI: Society as Joint Will

Index to this series

Executive summary (added September 10, 2018):

I cannot say “I will” without recognizing the possibility of joining with others to say “we will.”
A social consciousness consists of (1) a precise idea of one’s place in a society and (2) a vague sense of the society as a whole. The latter sense may be incorrect, having been foolishly accepted on the word of an authority.
Properly understood, ruling, of itself and perhaps of a non-social community, may be all that a society does. It is the responsibility of the members alone.
To form a society means (1) to form social relations and (2) to do this for some purpose. To focus on (1) yields the idea of a universal society—which cannot actually exist, despite foolish hopes for the League of Nations.
The universal society cannot exist, because we produce a society by transforming an earlier community, and some trace of this must remain.
Members of a society are equal, (1) in having the freedom to join and (2) in just being members. A society may create an inequality, as by delegating authority. There may be natural inequalities, not produced by the society itself; society may compensate for them, turn them into assets, or even depend on them, as in the case of initiative.
Rule by force (in a non-social community) may be by rewards and punishments, that is, objects of desire and fear. These may be promised or threatened fraudulently. One who grows too accustomed to exerting force may lose freedom of will.
Societies institute criminal law to mitigate members’ losses of freedom of will.
Societies can be temporary or permanent.

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