Boycotts

"The modern deformers of humanity, when they have gained power in the form of a totalitarian government, use the same threat [of murder] as their ultima ratio, while in the so-called free societies they use milder forms of violence, such as social boycott. What happened to Camus after the publication of his L'homme révolté and the break with Sartre is a representative example of the treatment meted out in a Western society to a man who dares to think." "The Eclipse of Reality," Collected Works of Eric Voegelin, Vol. 28, p. 135

5 comments:

  1. Collected works of whom?

    Do you you agree with whoever said that quote that boycotts are by their very nature deformation? Are there no circumstances in which you think they can be a force for good?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for catching the lack of name.

      But Voegelin certainly does not say boycotts are by their nature deformations!

      The point is they are an *attack* on the person boycotted. Some people ought to be attacked! (For instance, criminals.)

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    2. If that's all he was saying, it's a fairly anodyne statement. It sounded to me like he was saying that boycotts are what characterize the "modern deformers of humanity" in a free society. Doesn't that mean that he sees the act of boycott as a deformation of humanity itself?

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    3. I don't think this is that hard. Look at the other part: killing dissenters is a tool used by totalitarian regimes. But that doesn't mean killing is automatically a totalitarian tactic! If someone is bludgeoning my child to death, and I shoot him, that does not mean I am a totalitarian!

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  2. I think MathMan you are missing that he is talking about reactions to dissent. In Stalinist Russia they shhot or jail you; lacking the power the would be totalitarians boycott and quarantine you. It is a manifestation of the same impulse, of the same reaction to dissent.

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