necessity of the state

Logically, there are four possibilities as to the mixture of good and evil people in the world:

1. All men are moral.
2. All men are immoral.
3. The majority of men are immoral, and a minority moral.
4. The majority of men are moral, and a minority immoral.

(A perfect balance of good and evil is practically impossible.)

In the first case (all men are moral), the government is obviously not needed, since evil cannot exist.

In the second case (all men are immoral), the government cannot be permitted to exist for one simple reason. The government, it is generally argued, must exist because there are evil people in the world who desire to inflict harm, and who can only be restrained through fear of government retribution (police, prisons et al). A corollary of this argument is that the less retribution these people fear, the more evil they will do. However, the government itself is not subject to any force or retribution, but is a law unto itself. Even in Western democracies, how many policemen and politicians go to jail? Thus if evil people wish to do harm, but are only restrained by force, then society can never permit a government to exist, because evil people will work feverishly to grab control of that government, in order to do evil and avoid retribution. In a society of pure evil, then, the only hope for stability would be a state of nature, where a general arming and fear of retribution would blunt the evil intents of disparate groups. As is the case between nuclear-armed nations, a “balance of power” breeds peace.

The third possibility is that most people are evil, and only a few are good. If that is the case, then the government also cannot be permitted to exist, since the majority of those in control of the government will be evil, and will rule despotically over the good minority. Democracy in particular cannot be permitted, since the minority of good people would be subjugated to the democratic control of the evil majority. Evil people, who wish to do harm without fear of retribution, would inevitably control the government, and use its power to do evil free of the fear of consequences. Good people do not act morally because they fear retribution, but because they love virtue and peace of mind – and thus, unlike evil people, they have little to gain by controlling the government. In this scenario, then, the government will inevitably be controlled by a majority of evil people who will rule over all, to the detriment of all moral people.

The fourth option is that most people are good, and only a few are evil. This possibility is subject to the same problems outlined above, notably that evil people will always want to gain control over the government, in order to shield themselves from just retaliation for their crimes. This option only changes the appearance of democracy: because the majority of people are good, evil power-seekers must lie to them in order to gain power, and then, after achieving public office, will immediately break faith and pursue their own corrupt agendas, enforcing their wills through the police and the military. (This is the current situation in democracies, of course.) Thus the government remains the greatest prize to the most evil men, who will quickly gain control over its awesome power – to the detriment of all good souls – and so the government cannot be permitted to exist in this scenario either.

It is clear, then, that there is no situation under which a government can logically or morally be allowed to exist. The only possible justification for the existence of a government would be if the majority of men are evil, but all the power of the government is always controlled by a minority of good men (see Plato’s Republic). This situation, while interesting theoretically, breaks down logically because:

1.The evil majority would quickly outvote the minority or overpower them through a coup;
2.There is no way to ensure that only good people would always run the government; and,
3.There is absolutely no example of this having ever occurred in any of the brutal annals of state history.

The logical error always made in the defense of the government is to imagine that any collective moral judgments being applied to any group of people is not also being applied to the group which rules over them. If 50% of people are evil, then at least 50% of people ruling over them are also evil (and probably more, since evil people are always drawn to power). Thus the existence of evil can never justify the existence of a government.

If there is no evil, governments are unnecessary. If evil exists, the governments are far too dangerous to be allowed to exist.

Why is this error so prevalent?

There are a number of reasons, which can only be touched on here. The first is that the government introduces itself to children in the form of public school teachers who are considered moral authorities. Thus are morality and authority first associated with the government – an association that is then reinforced through years of grinding repetition.

The second is that the government never teaches children about the root of its power – violence – but instead pretends that it is just another social institution, like a business or a church or a charity, but more moral.

The third is that the prevalence of religion and propaganda has always blinded men to the evils of the government – which is why rulers have always been so interested in furthering the interests of churches and state “education.” In the religious world-view, absolute power is synonymous with perfect virtue, in the form of a deity. In the real political world of men, however, increasing power always means increasing evil. With religion, also, all that happens must be for the good – thus, fighting encroaching political power is fighting the will of the deity.

[...]people generally make two errors when confronted with the idea of dissolving the government. The first is the belief that governments are necessary because evil people exist. The second is the belief that, in the absence of governments, any social institutions that arise will inevitably take the place of governments. Thus, Dispute Resolution Organizations (DROs), insurance companies and private security forces are all considered potential cancers that will swell and overwhelm the body politic.

This view arises from the same error outlined above. If all social institutions are constantly trying to grow in power and enforce their wills on others, then by that very argument a centralized government cannot be allowed to exist. If it is an iron law that groups always try to gain power over other groups and individuals, then that power-lust will not end if one of them wins, but will continue to spread across society virtually unopposed until slavery is the norm.

The only way that social institutions can grow into violent monopolies is to offload the costs of enforcement onto their victims. Governments grow endlessly because they can pay tax collectors with a portion of the taxes they collect. The slaves are thus forced to pay for the costs of their enslavement.

[...]It is very hard to understand the logic and intelligence of the argument that, in order to protect us from a group that might overpower us, we should support a group that already has overpowered us. It is similar to the statist argument about private monopolies – that citizens should create a governmental monopoly because they are afraid of private monopolies. It does not take keen vision to see through such nonsense.