One may or may not be shocked to learn that I still have friends who call themselves anarchists. Not of the Molotov cocktail variety, but rather of the Murray Rothbard sort. Libertarians who take their love of liberty to the ultimate extreme and say the State ought not exist and should instead be replaced by a system of private law governed by property and contracts. I once counted myself among these types, hence the prior existing friendships, but I was forced to reconsider my ideas, largely as a consequence of immigration.
Say what you will about the merit of the ideas these folks hold, one thing I have typically found is that most are anxious for the opportunity to discuss them, and they have, for the most part, been well trained on how to do this. They have a tendency to see themselves as the most rational of creatures, and to prove this to themselves and others, their style of discussing politics tends to abide by predictable rules which are if nothing else civil.
I enjoy these conversations, in part because they force their interlocutor to articulate points not often questioned. Perhaps most notably, the existence of the State itself.
And, though their self perception is of the eminently rational, they also tend to be preoccupied with the concept of morality. They are typically driven by a desire to be good and decent people, and to operate in a fashion typically not unbecoming a religious person, whether they happen toe believe in God or not.
Some of the features here described are more universal than others. The sexual proclivities of some, of course, would be quite unbecoming to any recognizable religion, but that is a different topic than I aim to address today, and by no means universal.
Probe them long enough, and you will occasionally get them to admit this property based order looks a lot more like monarchy than anarchism. Essentially, one concludes this amounts to government by landlord. The property owner is king, and those who reside on his property are his subjects. Without the restraint of constitutions and little concern for democratic consequences, the range of potential outcomes borders on limitless, depending almost entirely upon the character of the property owner.
But even if they come to agree with this, they still tend to say it is anarchism because there is “no State”.
This gives way to conversations about what “the State” is and to what extent other forms of control may exist without deriving the title. If a person owns a great deal of land and has absolute dominion over those who live there, is that a State? The answer may very well depend on whom you are speaking to.
And this conflict is by no means limited to your friendly neighborhood libertarian.
Among conservatives it is a common feature to assert as fact what the “role of government” is. It is the “night watchman State” in the common parlance. A lean institution, minimally invasive, which springs into action only when what is seen as the natural order is disrupted by evildoers.
Among Leftists, the idea that some things fall outside the “role of government” is preposterous, conceptually. Though the phrasing may occasionally be invoked in argument to advance a point, such is often the case when having the misfortune of speaking with Leftists. They do not use words to convey sincere meaning, so much as to manipulate circumstances toward their preferred outcomes. If you believe the government has a specific role to play, then they will assert that the role is to redistribute wealth but not to regulate sex, unless of course they want the government to impose sex, in which case the government most certainly should, all according to their perceived capacity to impose their will.
In more tedious discussions, one may end up drawing what are at base arbitrary distinctions between “the State” and the “the government”, or “State Government” vs. “Federal Government”.
While these are worthy of contemplation when fine tuning the system, they are of limited utility in defining “the State” as such.
So, before we go much further, let me clarify a point in my use of terms here. I will try to avoid terms like “Nation” which in my conception of things, refers to a people, usually categorized ethnically, and fraught with peril to discuss in the fog of today’s race hysteria in politics. I will also try to avoid the term “country” which is too vague and in my mind tends to blur the lines between the people and the land mass.
“The Government” might refer to the particular people running the State at a given moment, and so we will make a modest effort to avoid this term as well, but should we fail, just assume I mean the State, because that is my common use of the term.
But we must go deeper than this even to begin. We must begin with a more foundational term, and conceptualize what it means for a thing to be “natural”.
With notable exceptions, “natural” and “good” are largely interchangeable. If one believes that inequality is inherent to man, that is to say, part of man’s nature, then he sees no particular reason for the State to go about leveling people. If, on the other hand, one believes, or purports deceptively to believe, that all inequality of outcome is born of a capitalist conspiracy by White Supremacist heteropartriarchal oppressors to keep trans women of color from ruling the Earth as they ought, then inequality is artificial and thus wicked and thus subject to State force. If one believes the State itself to be unnatural, you are almost certainly speaking to an anarchist.
Thus we might begin here: Short of resorting to religious doctrine, all things are natural within the boundaries of our observation. The alternative would be that they were supernatural, and whatever your views on the supernatural, it is not typically within the boundaries of sense evidence. Sense evidence can only perceive natural phenomena, and thus it stands to reason that by this standard, all that we observe, including the State is, of the natural world.
Even accepting this, such a discussion would then seek out terms to define other deviations from perceived norms, sometimes described as “the natural order”. Many would reasonably say that homosexuality is unnatural, and still more would say that transgenderism is unnatural. If one endeavored to give some credit to Leftists, though not usually our specialty, we might say that man’s impact on the environment is unnatural beyond a certain animalistic level, and while most reasonable people would not from this stance conclude that man’s existence must be deprived of electricity to be considered at one with the Earth, many reasonable folks would say that, beyond a certain level, man’s impact on the environment has the capacity to reach a level fairly described as destructive, and may consider this unnatural.
Beyond the pristine “untouched by man” concept, we might say there is a concept of the natural order which could be described as “untouched by modernity”. This conception would necessarily differ from age to age, as technologies are absorbed into our collective consciousness, and each generation, one after the other, shocked by the new and frightening developments, remarks at how things used to be so much simpler, while the generation coming into these technologies marvels at how anybody ever got along without them.
For me, the Commodore 128 made perfect sense. The NVidia GPU, has taken some adjustment.
One way to analyze the situation might be to see if the State, or some behavior resembling it, emerges in creatures other than man. To observe that it did not, would not necessarily be to say that it was not natural to man, but it may aid our conception to explore things in this way. Though there may be a few, it would be few indeed who said that man’s control over fire is an abomination, and yet man is the only creature we observe to perform this behavior, so again, the fact that man alone does a thing, does not make it wicked, in any case. Similarly, if we determine that some animals eat dung, or their own offspring, we need not conclude from this that it is man’s nature to do so. All we are doing is seeking to know whether or not man is unique in a behavior, and we must make further analysis and judgements about values from there.
But as it turns out, behaviors closely approximating those of the State do emerge in non-humans. We will not have the opportunity today to thoroughly explore all of the examples, but within all social creatures there emerges a what is sometimes known as a dominance hierarchy.
Ants, and bees, have what is known as a queen, and the entire hive or colony works to her benefit, going so far as to die for her protection. Nearly all do so with no potential prospects of reproducing as individuals. Notably, they need be issued no instructions to perform this function, at least, not in any way recognizable to us. There are scents and signals of varying sorts, but none are ever observed to debate the subject. Their hierarchy is completely natural to them, and goes, literally, without saying.
Not entirely dissimilar, but still closer to man than the ant, is the meerkat. If you have never had the joy of wasting a day binge watching episodes of meerkat manor, I am not saying you should forfeit other opportunities for this, but you might consider tuning in if you happen to be flipping through the channels some day.
Should you do this, you will discover a surprisingly complex hierarchy, known as a gang, and governed by a dominant female and whichever male she chooses to be the dominant male. She claims the exclusive right to reproduce, and picks from among the males whom she will honor with the prize of her reproductive powers. Should the dominant female discover that one of the other females is pregnant, there will be a fight, and in all likelihood, this female will be seeking a new home. This may or may not involve taking her mate with her, in which case they may start a gang of their own, but the male is not going to be made to pay child support, much less alimony, in this society. If the pregnancy is not discovered, she may give birth to her pups, and she may even try to sneak them into with the pups of the dominant female, but should they be discovered, the dominant female will kill the pups.
Within the meerkat gang, all act in service to the breeding of the dominant couple. They help to raise the pups. They take turns babysitting. They stand guard, and alert when there are threats. If the threat comes from the sky, they run and hide. If the threat comes from the ground, it is assessed, and if they collectively deem it appropriate, they “mob” the threat and chase it away, or at least, they attempt this. Sometimes, it may be another meerkat gang, and if the rival gang is disinclined to run, then somebody is about to get hurt. Possibly killed.
Collectively, they teach the young to hunt for food. Until the young are adept at this, the babysitters share food with them.
For the meerkat, this order is enforced by violence. We do not typically judge the meerkat to be an abomination, and so we might say this. To observe in man a hierarchy enforced by violence, is not a behavior unique to man, and whatever the nature of man, we observe this in a creature by no definition deemed unnatural. We may also say that violent intraspecies group conflicts are not unique to man, and that group responsibility in the care of children is neither unique.
It might almost seem like cheating at this point to talk about chimps, who travel in what are known as troops. They, contra the meerkat, are governed by a dominant male. Like the meerkat female, he typically claims exclusive right to mate, but takes as he will from the females, save for those to whom he is directly related. Like the meerkat, if two from the troop wish to mate in violation of the dominant male’s will, then they typically will have to leave the troop and go about by themselves in what is known as a consort.
That is, of course, unless the male in question wishes to challenge the dominant male. Heavy is the crown, as they say, and the alpha male of a troop has no constitution behind which to hide. He does not stand for election or claim to be appointed by God. He can be overthrown by force, and should this happen, that is all the evidence the other chimps of the troop require to see legitimacy in their new master.
And, notably, it need not always be one chimp to challenge the alpha male. A dominant male who abuses his position may well incur the wrath of his subjects, and they may gather together to depose or to kill him, and once this is accomplished they will, in all likelihood, turn to battle one another for the ultimate prize.
Chimps, too, fight other groups of chimps. Often to the death. Chimps establish and patrol a perimeter. They claim territory and defend it with force as a group. Other chimps, test the perimeter, and if they are caught, they will likely be beaten to death by the patrolling troop.
And so we may from this observe another feature of the State in creatures other than man. Not only do we observe in other creatures a dominance hierarchy, and not only do we observe it enforced by violence, but we observe it changing hands from time to time, and we observe this occurring through organized violence.
When they are not overthrowing one another, they are on guard for outsiders. They claim a defined geographical area as their own, and they kill invaders. They do this, through organized violence.
These hierarchies, wherever they emerge, and they emerge in plenty more tribes, flocks, schools, groups, and other animal social units than these, are, by any meaningful definition of the word, natural to the creatures who exhibit these behaviors.
Based on this information alone, we can at least say that man is not alone in the world as he organizes to claim, and defend territory. He is not alone in establishing a hierarchy within his own group. He is not alone in using violence to enforce the terms of this hierarchy. He is not alone in altering that hierarchy by force when it suits his will. He is not alone in the masculine features of this organized violence. He is not alone in sexual motivations behind his territorial aims. He is not alone in expecting others in the group to share for the good of the group. He is not alone in killing members of his group when they fail to live up to the standards of the group.
As we mentioned earlier, it may well be said that man ought not behave like an animal. To this we would raise no dispute. We do not posit that man ought prevent his neighbor from raising a family, notably. We do not assert that violence need be the most prominent feature in organizing. All we have here accomplished is to demonstrate the outlines of a primal order common among many creatures, which approximates elements of the State.
And while man is, strictly speaking, an animal, in that he is neither mineral, nor vegetable, we do tend to consider ourselves, with some merit, a higher form of life.
Depending on where you sit, this may amount to mere arrogance, or self interest. Perhaps you, like Larry Page, think it a form of racism to prefer your species over other forms of life, and perhaps you are still yet more foolish, to think racism is a synonym for evil. These, of course, are questions of value, which the Austrian economist would insist with some merit are inherently subjective, and thus not prone to an analysis which might assign them the status of right or wrong.
Be that as it may, we can say with as much certitude as our perceptions permit, that what has made mankind the undisputed ruling species of this planet, is his intellect. Though not evenly distributed, man’s intellectual power, sets him quite apart from all God’s other creations. It has permitted him to believe, rightly or wrongly, that he is made in the image of God. It has allowed him to write this thought down. To pass this thought to others. To organize around this thought. To build boats with those so organized. To travel overseas in those boats. To conquer those who disbelieve this idea. To impose this idea, by force, on an entire continent of other human beings, and once this mission is accomplished to move on to the next continent.
To be sure, some groups of human beings have done a better job of this than others, and without dispute, those who have, are known to have had higher intellects than those who lost such conflicts.
And this being the case, what hope could man have not to observe in his kind the capacity to accomplish more through organizing, than he could as a lone scavenger in the wilderness? How could he help but notice, even if not by instinct, then merely by his observation of other creatures, that life is governed, in all cases, by force? We have spoken at some length about what may be called natural, and how unnatural would man need be, to rid himself of this universal feature of all animated life?
How man could help but observe, that when he is not at war, when there is peace, life is preferable?
Given his reasoning powers, combined with these observations, what cause would he have to determine that he was somehow uniquely depraved among all God’s creatures, for applying the force observed in all life, according to his reason?
If a chimp can figure out, that guarding territory with violence, is preferable to being murdered by other chimps, who rape his mate and his sister, then how could man possibly hope to avoid making the same observation? By what failure of his faculties would he conclude that the complete destruction of his lineage was the moral choice?
Perhaps such men have lived in this world, but they do not live today, and one need not the Bible, nor any moral philosopher, only Darwin, to say why.
The larger and more organized and more cohesive the group, the greater its power. Should a man fail to notice that, he may be considered fortunate to survive the lesson on the day it arrives.
Should man impose upon his neighbor, his cousin, his brother, even his wife, through some measure of coercion, the organization, the cohesiveness, the unity of purpose, that is required to repel a threat from a group that does not ponder such acts as a moral question? Only if he means to survive.
And there are of course, those who say, that he ought not. Survive, that is. And to tell us this, they insist that we have committed some moral wrong. They tell us that our reproduction is causing the planet to heat, and that we should cease this practice for the benefit of the chimps, who murder one another over sex and dirt more readily than you or I would dare consider.
Which leads us in a rather circular pattern about the source of this moral judgement.
But today we are not moral philosophers so much as observers of ourselves.
Why do we call it a State? Seems an odd term, sometimes. We use this word, pronounced and spelled the same in other contexts of course. We might refer to a particular “state of affairs” we might say that water below a certain temperature is observed to be in a “frozen state”.
In this context, the State refers to “what is”. Whatever something is, that is the state, of that thing.
I was not in a position to study the linguistics of this before airtime, but I will posit a theory as an English speaker. The State in our political discourse is often considered the ultimate given. Its existence is not questioned outside of extremist fringe groups. It is no less in politic,s than it is in describing the state of the air, or the the state of the weather, the description of what is. The State is our existence, and without it we do not exist. We cannot be “stateless”. We can only, cease to be.
The proliferation of such extremist groups, and their habit of deconstructing everything, it extends well beyond the halls of government. They have conjured in their minds a bifurcation between the concepts of sex and gender, they have called for this too, to be abolished, along with the State. Indeed, they themselves, refer to gender and the State as part of the same structure of oppression.
Mark Bray, in his book, Antifa: The Anti Fascist Handbook, says;
Though intended as a pejorative characterization, “the ‘shut it down!’ left” is an apt term for a direct-action tendency in the radical Left that developed through Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and is increasingly capable of pushing back against the advances of white supremacy, homophobia, patriarchy, and domination in all its forms.
He notes that the dominant groups perpetrating this violence, are anarchists;
Some antifa groups are more Marxist while others are more anarchist or antiauthoritarian. In the United States, most have been anarchist or antiauthoritarian since the emergence of modern antifa under the name Anti-Racist Action (ARA) in the late eighties.
To them, the State, and our sex characteristics, the differences between human groups known as races, our very capacity to sexually reproduce, are all part of the same oppressive system which they violently resist with riots and arson.
And while I think it quite within the realm of possibility that a man who says such things is a liar, I would go so far as to say that in this instance, perhaps we ought to take his word for it.
The people who want to abolish your State, are the same people who want to abolish your sex, and your race, and your economy and your culture and you