Modern states are fictions of the mind brought to life. They are false gods. False gods are worshipped. They are represented in clay, wood, and stone. We make them seem authentic to us. It will seem insane to deny their credentials, when we have their shapes and images in front of us. When we use them to send us to the deaths that we crave. When we give them credit where none is due. When we fear them and obey their imagined instructions. Yet these false gods are nothing more than projections of our own minds. They are ultimately made up and counterfeit. They are vain imaginings of the mind used to nullify our being. They are used to reduce us from human beings to ciphers. The false priests of the state preach the false god of the state in the temples of Washington, London, Beijing, Moscow, Tokyo, and Caracas.
Smash these idols. Utterly destroy them. Let no remnant of them remain.
States as we know them are a prime evil. They are ridiculous and absurd institutions in which a few men and women, operating with subnormal ethical and supernormal violent capacities, control the lives of millions upon millions of other normal people while demanding submission, obedience, and loyalty to the ultimate authority they proclaim for themselves. They are the sinful and false extensions of our imaginations into bonds of violence that chain us.
The state’s absurd wars serve at least one useful purpose. They make highly visible the complete and total absurdity of governments, states, and empires as we know and experience them. How many such lessons do we need before we understand that the state with its territorial imperatives is a design for human conflict and nullification?
Larger and larger unions and alliances of states such as NATO, the European Union, and the United Nations merely multiply the absurdity. They are only seeking to replace local deities with more universal deities. NATO’s bombs are the bombs of its member states.
In an overall social sense, modern states are the furthest thing from being rational. Their actions always appear absurd. They cannot be rationalized by any theory of social welfare because they always aggrandize some at the expense of others. They can’t be rationalized because their object is always power, and power has no rational reason behind it or rational manifestation of it. Besides being used for its own sake, power gratifies the preferences of its users; and we can find no rational basis for most exercises of preferences.
The modern state always suppresses and oppresses. All the claims that states exist to further the public welfare are false. All the claims that states exist to overcome public goods problems are false. States are born in power and maintained by power. Often they have been painstakingly constructed over long periods of time by a complex mixture of conquests, bribes, payoffs, ruses, threats, propaganda, deceptions, and all manner of wily techniques. The furthest things from the minds of state-builders have been public welfare and public goods. These are the rationales concocted and maintained by power-seekers and intellectuals. And there are many more, such as prosperity, equality, freedom, and security.
Speaking personally, the state has no claim whatsoever on me in the sense that really matters. The material claims it makes on me are ultimately irrelevant. When I die, those material things will make no difference. The God of my fathers has my ultimate loyalty. No man commands that loyalty. Not one. I completely reject the state as we know it. That is all that it takes for me to dissolve the state’s psychological hold over me.
I am no agnostic or atheistic libertarian. I am no legalistic libertarian. I do not need an axiom of non-aggression to know that the state is wrong. I am not restrained by a philosophy of rationalism. I do not need the idea, which cannot be proven anyway, that "Nature" has provided mankind with a law. God suffices. God’s laws suffice. I am perfectly willing to speak from the heart and to the heart.
Friedrich Nietzsche observed that "Gott ist tot":
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"
Nietzsche used poetic license, and why not? Poetry can be as much a way to truth as many another of man’s endeavors. The heart and mind cannot be denied their scope by mathematical, logical, and scientific restrictions. Did Man kill God? Not at all. He attempted to ignore God. He replaced him with the sacred State. He replaced him with Man himself. This was a case of attempted murder, not murder. By his attempted killing of God, man kills only himself. He only incurs God’s wrath and dooms himself. Man cannot kill God. He cannot escape Him no matter how hard he tries.
God is alive. God remains alive. We have not killed him. We have killed ourselves. If we have killed God in our hearts, the penalty for our murder is death. There is no absolution for this, the root sin. No pagan festivals and pseudo-sacred games can be invented to rescind such a murder. There is no greatness whatsoever in such a deed. It will not turn us into gods. We will end in insanity as did Nietzsche.
States are our modern obelisks and statues, our golden calves and idols. They are the self-imposed and earthbound creatures of our heretical minds. We flee the true God. We run into the arms of a painted harlot, an unreal facsimile of love and union.
In a distorted and perverted fashion, states have tried to satisfy the human craving for union with God. Every state provides people with a false unity with other people. There is almost no state on earth that is not a fictional unity of widely disparate groups and sub-societies held together by the state’s force and guile. Every state inculcates its own transcendent unity. It tries hard to maintain this fiction and it often succeeds. But what people feel deep down is hard to alter.
Give people the chance and India, China, the U.S., and a hundred other countries, would break up tomorrow. If secession were a real option, we would see hundreds of secessions; just as without the forced unity of a legal tender money, we would see remarkable innovation in means of exchange. People do not prefer to be held together by force when they have to endure countless impositions and regulations. Seeing no alternative, they often go along. Not always. How many hundreds of civil wars must the world endure before it understands that making everyone worship the one (false) god, the state, of a given territory is both wrong and counterproductive? When will we realize that there is no freedom of religion when everyone in a given territory must worship the state of that territory? Civil wars are in some sense also wars for religious freedom.
Territory is the principle held up by states as the supreme organizing principle for the human race. More and more the term "democracy" is being used as an easier to swallow surrogate. More and more, when the mind fails to come up with a convincing rationale for some value, the argument becomes "that’s not democratic." The state, its territorial basis, and democracy are all being conflated in popular discourse. Democracy is thought good. Ergo the state is thought good. Forget it. Territory is the principle, not voting within that territory, and upholding the principle of territory is raw force. Force is the Satan behind the state’s fictional throne.
The modern state is a fiction and a false god. It mimics God’s commandments. The Flag Desecration Amendment failed in the Senate by a single vote in 2006. This reflects the evenly-divided public opinion on this question. Half the country wishes to make it blasphemy to burn, tear up, distort, or wear the flag.
The media lavish attention on the state. Is it not then worthy of respect and attention? No more than any other fable, misrepresentation, or tall story. Wake up. The state is a phantasm, an error, a fool’s paradise. It is trickery and speciousness and deception. It is a God-substitute. It is an idol. It has made us think its every act is necessary when they are not. It has counted on our thinking that its existence is necessary for our lives, but it is not.
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York.