Bits and Pieces

Frank Chodorov

[Originally published in analysis. Reprinted from Fragments, April-June 1965]

This, then, is a call to counsel. Shall we go again to war? Rather shall we permit our thinking to be so channeled that resistance to war becomes impossible?

Even the pacific speeches of our great and near-great hint at an undercurrent of war thought. News despatches are laden with it, while the redundant cackle of radio commentators is suggestive of a drum-up.

Pounding on our nerves is palaver all too reminiscent of that which led up to the recent slaughter of 300,000 Americans alone. Have we forgotten so soon?

Decidedly, we do not want more war But the time to prevent it is now -- not after another Pearl Harbor leaves us without the faculty of reason. While there is a bit of sanity in our midst, let us counsel with one another on what war is all about. Perhaps reason can so steel our will that we can resist the madness with an unmistakable: NO.


Aristotle said that man is a "political" animal. His definition of "political" does not fit modern usage, but if it did, he would have been more to the point if he had described man as a blundering idiot.


Three men are importuning me to hire them. I'm only one of about two million who are in on the hiring, but the way they implore me over the radio and through the newspapers, you would think I cast the deciding vote.

The job they are after pays handsomely, not only in cash but also in ostentation. One cannot blame the applicants for their lack of reserve. How they embellish their qualifications! I too have put in applications for jobs in my time, and can make allowances for overstatement.

Not only does each applicant puff up his own capabilities and intentions, but each pays his respects to the other two. If what they say of each other is not true, then they are all base liars and hardly to be trusted at any job. On the other hand, if there is any truth in the references each gives his opponents, it is a certainty that not one of them is fit to be mayor of any city; or even fit to live with.

Reflecting on their self-praise and mutual disparagement, I come to the history of the mayoralty. I have lived under a number of administrations, and cannot recall one that came through scot-free of corruption and mismanagement; if memory serves me right, every mayor who finished his term of office was finally dismissed because of unsatisfactory or unsavory performance; at least two had to resign under fire.

Also regarding past administrations, every one of them has found it necessary to impose on me heavier taxes than its predecessor. I can reasonably assume, therefore, that whichever of these three applicants gets the job, he will use it to make further inroads on my earnings.

Under the circumstances, I am certain that whatever my decision in the coming election, I shall regret it. I will be hiring, or will contribute to the hiring, of an incompetent, or worse. There is no way out of it. Perhaps incompetence and corruption are inherent in the job.

Some of my co-hirers agree with me, but insist that the "least of three evils" is better than none. Is it? Why must I choose an "evil"?


The American under forty is well inured to these facts of existence: that one-third of all he produces belongs to the State; that the State owes him an education, and that the education should prepare him to produce in order that he may pay taxes; that his body belongs to the State, whenever wanted; that his aspirations and dreams are delimited by his army career; that "social security" makes thrift and accumulations unnecessary; that venture is futile and adventure is a mirage. That is, faith in the omnipotence and omniscience of the State takes precedence over faith in oneself. Patriotism to the mind so inured is another word for obedience.


The essential characteristic of the State is force; it originates in force and exists by it. The rationale of the State is that conflict is inherent in the nature of man, and he must be coerced into behaving, for his own good. This is a debatable doctrine, but even if we accept it, the fact remains that the coercion must be exercised by men who are, by definition, as "bad" as those upon whom the coercion is exercised. The State is men. To cover up that disturbing fact, the doctrine of the super-personal State is invented; it is more than human; it exists distinct from the people who staff it. That fiction is given plausibility by clothing it with constitutions, laws and litanies, like "my country right or wrong." A religion of authoritarianism is built up around an idol.