[ExI] Italy's Social Capital

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 3 16:21:47 UTC 2007

Giulio writes

> wow, a libertarian who supports universal military service and social
> planning with "re-population" a la Ceausescu! Political categories are
> really changing aren't they;.)?

Oh, no!  Not at all.  Sorry that the two of my paragraphs critical of the
goals of the Fascists failed to mention that the 1920s is close enough
to the far future, i.e., the singularity, that it's moot to discuss what
Mussolini and his friends should or should not have done to begin
truly unifying Italy.  At that time, Italy's survival (i.e. free from foreign
domination) was not really in question;  there existed no powers
threatening to take over Italy.

But it still is a moot (i.e. theoretical, academic) question parallel
to questions at other times in history when the literal survival of
a people or a culture or a nation *was* at risk!  Now, yes, had
I known at the time (the 1920s and 1930s) only what the people
then living knew, and I had been Italian, I *would* have been
concerned about the long term survival of my people, and I
*would* have wanted something done.   I would have wanted
some truly homogenizing activity that would have made Italy
strong enough to survive indefinitely, (though again, I would
not have known that I need not have worried).

> When studying things that happened before we were born, we should bear
> in mind that history is always written by the winners. Southern Italy
> could be seen as an example of spontaneous order that worked fine,
> more or less, until it was broken by outside intervention.

Exactly.  Thanks for confirming my hunch. From the point of view of
southern Italians, it has been domination from one country or another
ever since they lost their asabiya around the start of the first millenium.
Surely many of them hated an resented that succession of to-them
foreign conquistadors, right?

> At school, we had to study the "heroic liberation" of Italy. Actually
> it was just another successful military campaign that resulted in the
> conquest of a region by a foreign occupation army and the
> imposition of foreign values and way of life upon the population.

I understand. But surely it was inevitable?  Unless Italians were
going to be ruled from Paris or Berlin, Italy *had* to be unified,
isn't that true?

> Fascism was certainly more bad than good overall, but if we try to
> read beyond the black and white of history books, not all they did or
> wanted to do was bad. As most strong regimes do, they invented foreign
> enemies to build internal unity around their own values (sounds
> familiar again doesn't it).

There I need to understand more.  I don't know what it is that they
did that was good from an extropican or libertarian perspective. 
Maybe I'll find out in this thick book I've started, but what, in your
opinion is the good they did?

> And they certainly wanted to build "a much stronger sense of "being
> Italian" as opposed to being Calabrian" in the population.
> But what is wrong with being Calabrian? Calabrians (or Napolitans, or
> Sicilians...) had a common language, culture and sense of identity.

I would say that what was wrong with it is exactly what was wrong
with American Indian's complete tribal loyalty to *their* own tiny
tribe.  Without unification, they were easy pickings for the European
colonists---at least in the long run.  It was necessary for them to 
unite if they wanted to survive culturally (and, it so happens, if they
wanted to survive individually too).  Calabria has had for over
two thousand years a complete inability to defend their way of
life:  any Alexander or Napoleon or Garibaldi (?) would sooner or
later conquer them yet again.

> That was broken by outside intervention, without replacing it with an
> alternative framework. Hence many of the problems of current Italy.

And, without postulating imaginary changes in human nature, how
could it have been any different?


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