Western Civilization & The Power Pendulum
Posted by Orrin Woodward on August 30, 2013
Here are the questions to be studied and answered in my study of Western Civilizations greatest societies. This is really fun to ask and answer these question and see how the history of ideas affected how societies attempted to answer them. LIFE Leadership applies the same ask and answer concept to one’s life. What does a person desire to do? What does he need to do in order to move in that direction? When is he going to get started? In sum, the quality of one’s questions determines the quality of one’s results.
The Power Pendulum
Western Civilization has, for the past 2500 years, been on a quest for concord (peace and harmony) within society. However, this quest remains unconsummated. For concord is achieved when the proper balance of force and freedom is maintained in a society and, although concord has been achieved for brief periods of time, it has never endured. Societal concord lies between the two extremes of chaos on one side and coercion on the other. In essence, the freedom and force movements within society behave similar to a pendulum’s trajectory – moving back and forth through various phases of chaos, concord, and coercion. Unfortunately, Western Society’s have been unable to rest the pendulum in the coveted concord region, thus the purpose of this book.
The author created the Power Pendulum (a visual indicator of the force/freedom ratio within any society) to track how various government policies affect the society’s level of force and freedom. A society is a community of individuals who choose to work together for personal, professional and societal gain. People in society, naturally work together to accomplish objectives without coercion. However, because of man’s willingness to exploit others, as society’s wealth increases, it must develop methods to check internal and external aggressors from plundering the production of others. In consequence, society forms a government and provides it with a “monopoly of force” to protect its members from acts of injustice, both internal and external. Where the rest of society secures cooperation through persuasion, the government, in contrast, is the watchman that secures justice by applying force to those who attempt to plunder others production. In other words, the government is the one segment in political society that is delegated a “monopoly of force” to restrain disobedient members from breaking the law and punishment to those who do.
The underlying questions that must be answered in order to produce concord within society is:
1. What areas of society prosper under freedom?
2. What areas of society need force to ensure justice?
3. How much force is needed in the proper areas to ensure justice reigns?
4. How does society check the delegated “monopoly of force” from flowing into areas of society better served by freedom than force?
Unfortunately, Western Civilization has never answered all four questions within one society. Nonetheless, the author still believes it is possible to do so. For history has recorded periods of concord within Western society and now must learn how to rest the pendulum in concord. However, in order to still the pendulum in concord, one must solved the paradox inherent within “monopoly of force” and limited-power. How, in other words, can an entity that is delegated a “monopoly of force” in specific spheres not use that monopoly to expand its power past the prescribed limits? Historically, when society delegates a “monopoly of force” to government, the initial limited government transforms itself, over time, into an all-powerful state. These are the underlying challenges that have hindered Western Civilization’s quest for concord.