“Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.”—Richard Feynman, “The Value of Science”.
“... highly unequal societies are often marked by fear, high levels of crime and violence, and intensifying militarization. The dominance of neoliberal models of governance over the past three decades, combined with the spread of punitive and authoritarian models of policing and social control, has exacerbated urban inequalities. As a result, the urban poor are often confronted with reductions in public services on the one hand, and a palpable demonization and criminalization on the other.”—Stephen Graham - Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism
“It is very easy to sit down and think that mobile phones or Twitter have empowered political opposition movements and disempowered authoritarian governments. That is complete bullshit. But why do we believe it? Because we are fascinated by technology; it captures our imagination. Well, we have to be a bit more critical than that. It does not mean that we should become Luddites, but it does give us a responsibility to mix some skepticism in with our determination and hopefulness in our engagement with the world.”—Joshua Cohen
“There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old. Government by clubs and firing squads, by artificial famine, mass imprisonment and mass deportation, is not merely inhumane, it is demonstrably inefficient and in a age of advanced technology, inefficiency is the sin of against the Holy Ghost. A really efficient tolalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda. news-paper editors and schoolteachers.”—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
In his 1973 book For Reasons of State, Chomsky argues that instead of a capitalist system in which people are “wage slaves” or an authoritarian system in which decisions are made by a centralized committee, a society could function with no paid labor. He argues that a nation’s populace should be free to pursue jobs of their choosing. People will be free to do as they like, and the work they voluntarily choose will be both “rewarding in itself” and “socially useful.” Society would be run under a system of peaceful anarchism, with no state or other authoritarian institutions. Work that was fundamentally distasteful to all, if any existed, would be distributed equally among everyone.
“If the authoritarian state benefits from championing women’s causes, why do women ally themselves with authoritarian patriarchal structures to achieve more rights and visibility while others invite the state to maintain the status quo? Saudi women have not been able to gain the consensus of their society behind their emancipation. In fact, some women resist the idea, and seek greater restrictions on what they consider to be threatening their own interest as women. Given such a lack of unity, weak groups such as liberal women seek state intervention and protection to avoid reprisals from society. This is compounded by the fact that women are denied the right to organize themselves into an autonomous pressure group. In fact, Saudi Arabia remains one of the countries where civil society is curtailed by a legal system that does not leave great space for non-governmental organizations to operate outside state control. Even women’s charities are heavily controlled by the state through extensive princely patronage networks. Saudi women of all persuasions look for the state to increase its policing of men, restrain their excesses, and force them to fulfill their obligations and responsibilities towards women. In such a political context, Saudi women are left with limited choices. An authoritarian state proved to be willing to endorse some of their demands, increase their visibility, and free them from the many restrictions that they are subjected to. The power of the state and its wealth have proved too good to resist. ”—
An excerpt from Madawi Al-Rasheed’s new book, A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
For a longer excerpt of the book, as well as an interview with Al-Rasheed: New Texts Out Now: Madawi Al-Rasheed, A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia