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Barbarian Virtues: is the state evil?

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Don Smith
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James Scott has spent a lifetime documenting the horrors of the modern state. But does he miss the freedoms only it can afford?

James Scott has written a series of books critical of the state and nostalgic for the supposed peaceful and cooperative hunter-gatherer past. Political scientist and legal scholar Samuel Moyn reviews Scott's work and concludes that Scott both ignores the brutality of pre-state humans and understates the benefits of states and civilization. The very qualities of equality and freedom that Scott bestows are a product of states.

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Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, activist, writer, and programmer. My op-ed pieces have appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and elsewhere. See http://WALiberals.org and http://ProgressiveMemes.org for my (more...)
 

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