If good fences make good neighbors, systematically removing all fences makes…?

One might without being too fanciful establish a sort of synchronism between the prevalence of pacifistic schemes and the actual outbreak of war…. The humanitarian movement of the end of the eighteenth century, which found expression in Kant’s treatise on “Perpetual Peace,” was followed and attended by twenty years of the bloodiest fighting the world had ever known. The pacifist agitation of the early twentieth century, that found outer expression in the Peace Palace at The Hague, was succeeded by battle lines hundreds of miles long…. Nothing short of the suicide of the planet would avail to convince certain humanitarians that anything is wrong with their theory….
— Irving Babbitt, Democracy and Leadership (1924), pp. 155-56

[T]he crisis of the euro is killing the European dream. The shared currency, which was supposed to bind nations together, has instead created an atmosphere of bitter acrimony.
— Paul Krugman, “Depression and Democracy,” New York Times, December 11, 2011


Lydia McGrew writes:

I noticed your allusion to Frost’s “Mending Wall” in one of your recent post titles. The most interesting thing about that is that in that poem Frost is making fun of the adage, “Good fences make good neighbors.” He tries to reason his neighbor out of the yearly exercise of mending wall, but his neighbor is a stubborn (and, Frost implies, stupid) traditionalist and insists on doing it every year. In other words, Frost, in this exceedingly well-written poem, was espousing pacifist ideology. His contempt for the wisdom of the adage is typical of the attitude of liberal elites throughout the 20th century, with results that we have all seen.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 12, 2011 07:08 PM | Send

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