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Men make their own history; but they make it under given conditions, and they become entangled thereby in a fate which is in part the result of other men having made their own history earlier.

REINHARD BENDIX, Force, Fate, and Freedom

Looking backward always presents an overdetermined depiction of fate; by this perspective we leave out of focus the possibilities of action which existed at the time.

REINHARD BENDIX, Force, Fate, and Freedom

In the classical Greek view, human affairs are subject to the will and whim of the gods. Good and ill fortune alternate in quite unpredictable ways. Hence, knowledge has the purpose of fortifying the soul and assuaging the envy of the gods. The wise man always reflects upon the extreme vicissitudes of fate. In times of the greatest triumph he bears in mind the transitoriness of life; in times of the greatest calamity he reflects upon the unpredictability of fortune, perhaps even the possibility of a renewal. Knowledge is virtue where it helps men attain inner peace in the midst of the fate that is their lot.

REINHARD BENDIX, Force, Fate, and Freedom

Reason is a necessary instrument, to be used for good or evil, but it has no moral qualities.

REINHARD BENDIX, Embattled Reason

Power needs ideas and legitimation the way a conventional bank needs investment policies and the confidence of its depositors. Rulers are always few in number and could never obtain compliance if each command were purely random and had to be backed by force sufficient to compel obedience. Likewise, banks rely on the confidence of their depositors, which allows them to retain only a small fraction of their assets in liquid funds in order to meet the expected rate of withdrawal by depositors. All is well as long as depositors believe that the bank will cash their checks on demand, and part of that trust depends on a vague knowledge about the bank's adherence to certain accepted business standards. In the nation-state, all is well as long as citizens believe that the government knows what it is about, has the ability to deliver on some of its promises, and has sufficient force to back up its commands when necessary.... Legitimation achieves what power alone cannot, for it establishes the belief in the rightness of rule which, as long as it endures, precludes massive challenges.

REINHARD BENDIX, Kings or People


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