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(2008) The birth of biopolitics, Dordrecht, Springer.

I AM SURE YOU have all heard of the art historian, Berenson.' He was almost one hundred years old, approaching death, when he said something like: "God knows I fear the destruction of the world by the atomic bomb, but there is at least one thing I fear as much, and that is the invasion of humanity by the state." 2 I think this is the purest, clearest expression of a state-phobia one of the most constant features of which is its coupling with fear of the atomic bomb. The state and the atomic bomb, or rather the bomb than the state, or the state is no better than the bomb, or the state entails the bomb, or the bomb entails and necessarily calls for the state: this familiar theme is not that recent since Berenson expressed it around 1950–1952. This state-phobia runs through many contemporary themes and has undoubtedly been sustained by many sources for a long time: the Soviet experience of the 1920s, the German experience of Nazism, English post-war planning, and so on. The phobia has also had many agents and promoters, from economics professors inspired by Austrian neo-marginalism,3 to political exiles who, from 1920, 1925 have certainly played a major role in the formation of contemporary political consciousness, and a role that perhaps has not been studied closely.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230594180_4

Full citation:

Senellart, M. , Ewald, F. , Fontana, A. (2008)., 31 january 1979, in M. Senellart, F. Ewald & A. Fontana (eds.), The birth of biopolitics, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 75-100.

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