James M. Buchanan & Alberto Di Pierro in 1969

When ventured at all, predictions of permanence and stability in sociopolitical institutions are now made with caution. General malaise seems to characterize modern attitudes about civil order, and revolution is more widely discussed than at any other time in the last half-century. The aging positivist idol, the benevolent nation-state, neither commands obedience nor inspires respect, and men search for a new god. Materialist ideals are challenged by young and old alike, and the cliches of middle-aged and liberal politicians are treated with nearcontempt. The individual suffers alienation, social claustrophobia, and frustration in a congested, collectivized civilization that he feels powerless to control. Democratic process seems out of kilter, and faith in political leaders seems almost wholly extinguished. Fundamental values are being questioned, even by those who do not claim to be philosophers; yet policy making and policy advising move piecemeal along predetermined and predictable patterns.

James M. Buchanan & Alberto Di Pierro (1969) ‘Pragmatic Reform and Constitutional Revolution’, Ethics, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp. 95-104.

Great opener to the paper – and truer now than ever. It’s the beginning of the end for the (hitherto-conceived) nation-state. Well, here’s hoping!

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