Henry David Aiken Quote

“From a “pragmatic” point of view, political philosophy is a monster, and whenever it has been taken seriously, the consequence, almost invariably, has been revolution, war, and eventually, the police state.”

~ Henry David Aiken

Commentary, April 1964

Ratings and Comments

Joe, Rochester, MI

"The Patriot Act" exposes the U.S. to be a police state.

Mike, Norwalk

From a 'pragmatic' point of view, the current levels of compelled compliance, license, theft of the noble labor's fruit, the inability to express certain religious perspectives in public arenas, even arbitrary speed limits which are good for nothing more than raising revenue, etc. are all part of the monster's political philosophy that is our police state. (the glass is half empty and the tap at the bottom is wide open - that only means that those of us that love liberty must become more peacefully effective against the monster's serious patrons)

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

While I agree with Joe & Mike (for once ;-), their comments seem to have little to do with the quote which seems to be little more than negitive babble. However, I wonder if Mike's comments on "inability to express certain religious perspectives" is really the right way to put it... I suspect he is exhibiting a Judeo-Christian leaning and doesn't really support "the ability to express any and all religious perspectives", which is a truer path. Remember, to question IS the answer...

E Archer, NYC

Anything but the defense of individual liberty is merely a power play to bring more power and money to the ruling class.

  • Reply
EGL, LA    1/11/07

Perhaps the truth in this comes from the inherent stagnation of instituionalizing any dogmatic theories, and then the need to perpetuate them in order to sustain their justification. Religions and political systems are certainly lacking in the organic transformative nature of intellectual inquiry that requires constant reevaluation and change.

Elce, Chicago

Our liberty is being taken away under the guise of security. Let's not go quietly in the night.

warren, olathe

If you are looking for evidence of a police state you have to be looking for things that are not designed to protect our freedoms. The first that they will do is taking your right to speak as in the "fairness doctrine" or "campaign finance reform" do. Then look to see if they try to take away guns from the individual. No serious tyrant worth his salt will try to run a country and allow free speech and personal ownership of guns. If you want to imply that some are taking away our rights look for those doing those things. These other things that so many get riled up about will not stay in place if they are truly bad ideas as long as we do not loose the two rights that I have mentioned. If we spend all our efforts on squabbling over temporary inconveniences we will soon not have the right to dissent at all. Win a little battle while loosing the war. I have no doubt in my mind that some in congress want us enraged by perceived wrongs in order to slide by what they do not want us to notice. By the way if you believe the quote to be true you also are saying that your political philosophy will lead to a police state. The quote is gibberish.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Malevolent human beings like Stalin, Hitler, or Mao can turn almost any thought into a "monster", but taking political philosophy seriously does not necessarily end in a police state. I am sure that the serious political philosophy of Thomas Paine or Samuel Adams was considered a monster by the British. I don't consider it so even though it led to revolution and war. Revolution and war are sometimes required, not for a police state, but for liberty.

warren, olathe

Right on Ken. I get tired of the hate America crowd.


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