Our Deity, the State

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It’s not enough that the State considers itself God: it’s also supremely intolerant, as jealous as Jehovah ever was for our complete devotion.

Or, as Skyler Collins puts it in his new book, Everything Voluntary: From Politics to Parenting, “While official religion has been mostly removed from the ‘public sphere,’ another more insidious institution has taken its place as the object of zealous devotion. With temples, oaths, hymns, covenants, banners, and liturgical practices, the State has made for itself a religion all its own. Society now tolerates different views on God, but question one’s Nation, and you’ll invite for yourself some serious trouble. If you want to see how bitter people can become, refuse to salute the national banner, recite the national covenant of allegiance, or sing the national hymns, and you shortly will. Their cult-like commitment to the State becomes painfully obvious. Secular theocracy now rules the world over.”

Mr. Collins has collected a series of essays on the operations of the voluntary society that should replace this petty, vindictive, and envious idol. Authors include such luminaries as Murray Rothbard, Leonard Read, and Carl Watner. None of the pieces are new, and some are beloved classics, but Mr. Collins has done us the favor of gathering them in one volume, with a few of his own trenchant comments like that above.

12:58 pm on June 7, 2012