Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Illegitimacy Of The "God/State" Analogy

One of the dumbest things to come out of the Anarchist camp is the term Statheism. I guess yours truly qualifies as a prime example of a Statheist so I might as well take the time to explain why this derogatory term is attributed to a position which is neither derogatory, nor the least bit irrational.

Statheism can be summed up as nothing more than a bland attempt at juvenile mockery, thought up by what I can only conclude to be desperate Anarchists who seem to think they're far wittier than they really are. Aimed to target the more gullible and uneducated Atheists who approve of the existence of the State to some degree (any degree), the goal is to contrive parallels to God approval in hopes of shaming intellectually insecure non-believers into converting to Anarchism/Anti-Statism. It has actually worked quite well in the few examples I've observed. If I may, here's an overview of the connotation's mind-inflating profoundness, in action, off the top of my head:

While you've succeeded in rejecting religions/deism/supernatural phenomena as irrational and non-existent, you've remained "just as dogmatic" as your religious counterparts because you still advocate the existence of the State, which is as intellectually and ethically bankrupt as any religious text. You succumb to this clearly as emotional compensation to fill the comfort-hole your newely formed irreligious world view has sparked within you.

And so on. I'm uncertain as to whether the Anarchists capable of uttering this tripe are at all aware of just how loudly this line of thought screams lack of nuance, or if it genuinely escapes them. I lean towards them not being oblivious to the simple-mindedness at play and knowing full well that the analogy is void of both cleverness and, more importantly, of substance. Still, they seem to just not give a hoot since their potential converts (fresh-off-the boat Atheists) often come off as the type of prey easily susceptible to the most transparent of tactics. I'm referring to people who comment on their videos and say stupid shit like "I like the idea of Anarchism, I just don't think it can work now, the culture has to change" and all that fluff. Any brain capable of being swayed by an analogy this bogus is probably plagued by the type of piss-poor programming where it will also find the broad "faith" comparisons to be very persuasive and intriguing. I'm referring to the all too common equating of religious faith to cost/benefit analyses applied to everyday trivial matters where hope wins out. We've all heard these before, where it's overcast with 70% precipitation and the Atheist heading outside is perfectly aware of the prognosis, but still chooses to leave the umbrella home due to having faith that it will remain dry, and is therefore "just as vulnerable to faith's charming ways" as your average theist. From where I'm sitting, the Statheist contrivance entailing Theist/Statist similarity is just as superficial as the "We all operate on faith" contrivance of similarity. Both remorselessly rape nuance. The only difference is that hardly anyone ever bothers dismantling the Statheist crud, but that's why I'm here.

For years now we've seen debates amongst atheists on non-religious issues incorporate the insufferable "You're just as bad as the fundies" talking point. It's my biggest pet peeve when it comes to online arguments, and while I disagree with most of what Anarchists say, I still expected them to be the last group capable of pulling this type of lazy stunt in order to gain new recruits. But pulled it they have. And those who haven't pulled it, have approved of it through passiveness.

And why not? They're an opportunistic bunch. Like any dedicated outsider group (Remember: Outsider groups = Instant underdog charm) striving to expand by making the most out of the latest fad, Anarchists and Anti-Statists have milked the current influx of Atheist gatherings on YouTube for all they're worth. To this day they keep parroting the claim that Atheism goes hand in hand with Anarchism, while Religion/God belief goes hand in hand with Statism. They’re hell bent on trying to inculcate the God/State comparison in the minds of impressionable online youth, and it stops here.

The first analogy flaw is the assumption that proponents of the State possess a reverence for being controlled by the State, just like religious folk do with their Gods. The idea being that, just like Theists, these emotions enable us to turn a blind eye to our own brand of God in hopes of seeing all those lovely political promises come to fruition one day. This is rubbish. I am yet to meet a single advocate of the State who views the State as being infallible while feeling all warm and gooey about the special bond he or she shares with it. Simply put, no Statheist contemplates governments as entities entitled to blind trust. The necessity of monopolistic law-enforcement over highly complex infrastructural territories is a conclusion arrived at through clinical analyses of examples involving human progress, not the kind of subjective emotional baggage spiritual people drench themselves with, and certainly not the kind of ideologically influenced premises Anarchists erroneously launch their analyses with, rather than ultimately arriving at. I am also willing to bet good money against any Anarchist willing, that if we asked the average voter about the likelihood of any politician's lofty promises actually coming to fruition, that the overwhelming majority of voters will reply pessimistically and display knowledge of the fact that these promises are mostly political tactics not to be taken at face value. If any Anarchist/Anti-Statist is convinced of the contrary and is willing to put their money where their shit-talking mouth is, I am dead serious about going through with this and you know where to contact me. Now, suppose if we were to poll a bunch of Theists about all the promises made to them in their arbitrary scripture of choice? Would the average true believer (not a lip-service "believer" who converts to different religions in order to marry a Jew or something, but an actual believer) display the least bit of doubt regarding any such promises? The answer is no. So to compare voters and Theists in this regard, is just sloppy thinking.

I'm just getting warmed up though. Here's the fundamental flaw with the comparison:

God is imaginary. The State demonstrably exists, functioning in reality on a daily basis all over the world. Some of this may come down to confusion over the definitions, as most kids being preached to on YT by Anarchists/Anti-Statists aren't even aware of the exact definition of the State. The State is defined as a politically organized body of people under a single Government and Nation. Note that the definition incorporates involvement of actual people. Commonly uttered sentences like "they used the apparatus of the State" are thrown together with the notion that His Holiness The Pope uses "the apparatus of God" in the same vain in order to justify and meet his own Authoritative ends. The analogy falls flat on its face straight from the get go, as it proposes that we not rely on the very definitions of the terms at hand. God is not defined as a religiously organized body of people under a single Church/Mosque etc, but instead as an entity entirely separate from the requisite of human involvement. God, as described in scripture, created humans, and thus precedes them. The definition and origin of the State, on the other hand, is absolutely contingent on the participation of people (subjects known to actually exist in reality). Now obviously, without people to invent them, notions of Deities would also not exist and resuscitate, but this is a non-sequitur since I'm showcasing how one of the two defined entities (that being the State) has demonstrably been proven to exist within defined reality. The analogies downplay the bizarreness of the metaphysical, but it is precisely the metaphysical that makes notions of Deities so easy to dismiss in the first place.

In order to back up the assertion that religious fairytales are analogous to the demonstrated reality of the functioning State, the Anarchist will often proclaim that punitive entities such as Rulers and Deities are equally unnecessary for the end-goal of civility to be achieved. Another paper thin connection. Just as their critiques of democracy presuppose that their political opponents should be morally obligated to agree with their arbitrary picking and choosing of what "rights" are, this "Deities/Authoritarians vs. Atheists/Anti-Authoritarians" linkage presupposes that Atheists are naturally inclined to find the mere idea of omnipotence and Authority (and therefore God's very existence) to be unappealing. Why? Well, because Atheists disbelieve in God, so they must also reject God. Non-belief ought to amount to rejection, right? Wrong. The hypothetical existence of a well intentioned Deistic God, would be a good thing. Such a God, unbound by irrational and hateful dogmatic scripture, could have easily imposed different rules onto Evolution/Natural Selection by scrapping the dog eat dog component of it, or by simply removing the need for Evolution as a survival mechanism in the first place. This would have produced results superior to the 500+ million years of sentient creatures eating each other in order to survive; Sentient organisms who, throughout most of that ugly history, and who to this very day (sans humans) are still incapable of comprehending the sheer uselessness of the game imposed on them. They were built by crude, non-authoritative forces, for the purposes of survival and reproduction, but simultaneously blinded to the dead-end writing on the wall. An absence of such sum zero cannibalism cannot possibly be seen as problematic, unless one happens to be a sadist. The fact that a Deity capable of achieving the proposed solution cannot exist, as such an entity would contradict the laws of physics, in no ways implies that its hypothetical existence should be viewed as unfavorable to sentient beings, even from an Atheistic point of view. There is nothing irrational about Atheists preferring the aforementioned Deistic/Authoritative brand of Creator, to blind, non-authoritative forces which are indifferent to suffering. An entity whose underlying goal is reduction of suffering has nothing to do with what genuine believers look for in a God. They seek a God whose feet they'll kiss regardless of what deplorable circumstance he plagues them with. They will accept any cards they're dealt, no matter how deplorable and unjust, and will always end up singing their God's praises. No such mental gymnastics occur with any of advocates for the existence of the State I have ever conversed with. Plenipotentiaries will be ruthlessly scrutinized unless concrete actions are taken and positive results emerge. We are not asked or expected to faithfully hope for these positive results to take effect in a non-existent afterlife, but in the here and now. This has nothing to do with anything even slightly resembling what the faithful expect and rationalize. What Anarchists often forget however, is that there are also people who are wholly apathetic concerning all-things-politics, who don't refer to themselves as Anarchists or Anti-Statists. I suppose this still makes them Statists by default in the eyes of most proponents of Statelessness. I, of course, view this as a false dichotomy, given that I'd simply classify the third branch as "Political Apathiests" and/or "Political Nihilists". So even though they're not technically Anarchists, they have consciously denounced neither Statism nor Anarchism, hence attributing to the "Statist Side" their lack of rigorous upkeep of how badly they're getting screwed over by the political process they "still foolishly believe in" boarders on the idiocy of discussing whether or not babies and inanimate objects are Atheists. They're neither, so next time you refer to the "unwashed masses" and their Statism, realize that they're mostly oblivious to both your position and to mine.

Returning to the initial premise: If an entirely natural albeit non-omnipotent rule imposing entity can exist through the construction and ongoing election of human beings, the question is not whether such an entity should exist. The question is, and always has been how do we construct its existence responsibly and efficiently. This is what we’re struggling with. We’re not struggling with it because the concept of Authority is analogous to the supernatural, or inherently vulnerable to unaccountability. We struggle with it because our core values are constantly in direct opposition, and it shows when one looks at all the policy proposals resulting in heated debate amongst the populace. Not heated debate between State officials and the populace, but amongst the populace itself. If something even remotely close one billion of us managed to get on the same page on a good 90% of core issues, all the while maintaining enough enthusiasm to put in the time and effort towards ensuring that we obtain representative supply at the hands of our overwhelmingly agreed upon demand, imposing polygraph driven accountability along the way, then we would see significantly less inefficiency in all matters of governance. But as long as we continue to accept the charming but naive lessons teaching us that prevailing ideological diversity is, by its very nature a virtue rather than a setback, all in the name of relativism and open mindedness, the human race will remain incapable of electing an honest body of representatives whose job performance evaluation would be measured by how fervently they spit in the face of lobbied interests. Currently, we as voters cannot even agree on what the common, non-special interests ought to be, much less how to implement them as policy. How can we expect our current or future representatives to figure it out for us? It starts with us.

Going back to the initial analogy, Statheists have accepted the non-existence of Deities. An assertion that by the same token no State can possibly contribute positively to humanity, is not enough to signal a failure to go the whole way logically. The superglue holding this trainwreck of an argument together is bound by a lone commonality; that being Authority. Even so, while most mainstream Gods are by definition Authoritarians, plenty of other specifically defined Gods are entirely passive. So even the Authority connection falls flat on its face when you look at the characteristics some non-Abrahamic religions have attributed to their God(s).

Another linkage to Atheism is brought to us by the rugged old-school of thought espoused mostly by Libertarians of The Tea Party breed, suggesting that any system other than pure Laissez Faire Capitalism goes against everything ingrained in us due to the fact that we evolved through brutal competition led by Darwinian principles. They’ll point out how it’s in our nature to compete until we drop. The Atheist Libertarians will then add how we never had any benevolent omnipotent entity guiding us along the way in the past, imposing justice where none could be found in the natural selection order. They seem proud and almost orgasmic to proclaim how, despite this lack of overlooking force, we still survived in the face of insurmountable odds. The argument basically proposes that we bow down to that natural order, as it has already proven itself to be the arbiter of survival. Interestingly enough, the back-to-naturists also use this rationale in order to make excuses for their own DNA obedience, which is well below their intelligence level. And perhaps even more interestingly, lots of Tea Party Libertarians are Theistic Evolutionists, meaning they do believe in an overlooking force in respects to Natural Selection. Others are flat out Creationists, which makes one ponder as to why they sit idly by whenever the Darwinist this is how it has to be sentiment is espoused around them. And on top of all this, using surivialism by Natural Selection to argue for a system which caters to the individual at the expense of the collective under the "greed is good" baseline, is absurd. Termites, for instance, have attained their successful survival rate precisely because they work as collectives. Had they been left to fend for themselves individually, they'd be extinct. The same thing can be said about humans. So from all possible angles, the State/Deity overlaps fail.

But let’s assume that tunnel vision survivalist outlooks aren't infantile and placate the theory anyway. Yes, we have survived, however the overwhelming majority of species throughout our planet's history have not survived. Natural selection has a horrendous track record when countering in all the species which have failed to avoid extinction under the rule of its thumb. So if long term survival is the game, Natural Selection ought not to be the civilized game plan. And it isn’t. The problem with (American) Libertarians who claim that we must continue obeying Darwinian Principles because “that's just who we are” is that they forget about a most pesky fact: The Natural Selection game, for most civilized human beings, has been out of commission ever since the invention of the condom; an item of preventative measure, mostly purchased and applied by the best and the brightest. You know, nature's hand picked winners (under a civilized playing field). If not the condom, then there's body enhancing surgeries and a myriad of other synthetic short cuts circumventing the laws of Natural Selection in the 21st Century through ever evolving technology. But perhaps most importantly, when left to the whims of an evolved society, my opponents' convictions falsely conflate might makes right with fair makes right or just makes right. It's the very antithesis of a civilly broadened perspective.

I could go on deconstructing all the ways in which these State/Religion comparisons are fallacious tripe, but I've already made it obvious enough. It just pains me to see such a bogus comparison work on rebellious, impressionable Atheists. Some of these guys have only come out as non-believers over the last 5 years, so naturally they still have bones to pick with Religion on an emotional level. Linking the State to Religion as a means to lure them in, is a shoe in. No wonder the Anarchist movement is most pervasive amongst YouTube Atheists. Anarchists and Anti-Statists prey on these lightweights using half-baked analogies intended to lump "the enemy" into a neat little package labelled Authority and it's working like a fucking charm.



  1. Azov here - I know this is an old blog entry, but it's 7 AM and I've got nothing better to do now (:D) so here goes:
    The analogy of state w/ religion stems from their bureaucracies. The state "apparatus" is an objectification of "the nation," while the church hierarchy is the same for "God." And about "the nation" people do become as irrational and "gooey" as they do with their religion. Often among believers you'll hear "I still believe in God ('n' Jesus 'n' the Pope) but I don't trust those old farts running the church." just as the same people will still "believe in America" but not trust the government - except, strangely, when it comes to the military, the biggest and most abusive of any state authority.

  2. (Still Azov) But as you well stated, the state does have a practical side that the church bureaucracy does not, namely administering the funding, infrastructure, and services which keep a human society functioning. A church apparatus manages its believers, and its property, but ultimately places its authority beyond human accountability. Strange, then, that anarchists would be so down on religion. :)

  3. I don't support calling each other derogatory names. But I don't see how your response actually addresses the argument. Rather, it seems that you misunderstand what the argument is and then attack that misunderstanding. The argument is not that a statist believes in the physical material buildings and people that make up the government. It is that they believe in the legitimacy of the government itself. THAT is what is comparable to religious belief.
    You cannot hide the fact that government and religion have a very linked history. After all, states started from religion itself. States started with men claiming divine authority to rule over others. Without this common belief that the king had divine authority, no one would have accepted his legitimacy. Now, instead of the belief being in the legitimacy of kings, it is belief in the legitimacy of majority rule.
    How do atheists defend against the claim that the Atheist Communist Soviets killed millions of people? By taking the blame off of atheism (rightfully so) and blaming it on the fact that Stalin created a religious belief in himself (rightfully so).
    The argument in the necessity for the state is comparable to the argument for the necessity of God to have created the universe or the necessity of God for morality.
    The free market is a perfect comparison to evolution and the belief in central planning is a perfect comparison to intelligent design.
    Nonviolence, hopefully it can be agreed, is the default position. And statists rely on a few flawed logical arguments and a bunch of flawed statistical models to make their case for why initiating violence will make us better off. This is exactly what happens between atheists and theists.
    Theists will point to atrocities committed by atheists and falsely assert that that's what happens without religion while statists will point to the effects of corporatism and government-created distorted incentives and falsely assert that that's what happens in free markets.
    I can go on and on. It's comical how similar the arguments are.

  4. @Jacob

    "I don't support calling each other derogatory names"

    Neither do I, theoretically. Unfortunately the constant snark and offhand insults I encounter from the majority of Ancaps has resulted in the occasional counterstrike. I never see Statists insulting Anarchists, unless provoked. (Vogter being the exception)

    "The argument is not that a statist believes in the physical material buildings and people that make up the government"

    Definitions are vital. If the comparison is to be made to something as silly as theism, then the physical component does become a main priority. We don't just dogmatically dismiss theism because it's theism and carries with it authoritative overtones. The bankruptcy of theism stems from, first and foremost, the total lack of physical evidence of its claims in a materialistic universe. That's what makes it a joke. As mentioned in the blog, the very definition of the State discredits what ought to be the most essential aspect of the analogy.

    You can't just compare Statists with people who deny hard science and who think they know more than 99% of the scientific community. Even if there was such a thing as denying "hard economic science", as things stand currently, Statists wouldn't be on the outside looking in when it comes to that, because most economists are Statists. Funny how it's the anti-statists on YT consisting mostly of laymen, who constantly go around accusing others of being economic creationists, when the overwhelming majority of actual economists do advocate varying degrees of State interventionism. It shows how truly silly the comparisons to religion are.

  5. @Jacob

    "It is that they believe in the legitimacy of the government itself. THAT is what is comparable to religious belief."

    Breaking this statement down, I assume that you're talking about Statists acknowledging that politicians are capable of doing their jobs properly. What's dogmatic, is to assert that they simply cannot. It's just a profession, like any other profession. When a guy has to go under the knife, he does place a degree of faith in the individual performing the operation. Does this make the guy a theist? Trusting a professional to slice and dice him like that, while he's unconscious? Of course not, as with any other profession. Yes politicians lie more often, but just like lawyers, they also deliver. Have you ever experienced a well functioning system outside the US? The issue isn't the Politicians' lack of ability to deliver on policies which reduce suffering. There's already a world of evidence proving that this can be done. The reason it doesn't get done more often (especially in the US) is because the electorate disagree with each other on so many core issues, that politicians have to play in middle (or in the US, to the right of the middle). Take you for instance. As far as you're concerned, the trespass arises out of the fact in order for anything to be done, a principle you hold dear will get violated (voluntarism / no taxation). That's your dealbreaker, but the show hasn't even started.

    "and falsely assert that that's what happens in free markets"

    I don't see statists making overly-confident assertions about what may or may not happen in a total market (Vogter once again being the exception). I mostly see this type of bold prediction making coming from Ancaps. Many Statists (myself included) would like to see the experiment conducted before campaigning to drastically change the way the entire world functions. There's nothing unreasonable about wanting to see evidence of it work in the modern era. Yes, it's unethical for States to claim a bunch of land in the middle of nowhere, preventing the experiments from taking place. Anyway, it's a matter of cautiousness and skepticism over ideology. Theists on the other hand, spit in the face of evidence with their ongoing assertions about what atheism leads to. Nations with largely atheistic populations are *already* here for us to analyze, and the cold hard data has long demonstrated that theists' fear-mongering is not grounded in reality. Statistics largely point to highly religious nations trailing behind on just about everything. You can't analogize Statists to theists when it comes to this. One experiment has been done, the other hasn't. If the free-market experiment repeatedly delivers on the standard-of-living front, I'll be the first to militate for it. Currently, I have no faith in it due to the VERY SOLID statistics generally pointing to a higher standard of living for people residing in Nations with well-regulated systems. I predict that private charity and the whims of philanthropy will prove to be an inefficient replacement for the current safety net. I cannot justify to myself the riskiness of advocating for a system under which the poor/disabled are left with no guarantees of a bare minimum. Having only private charity to reply on is always going to be risky business. The virtue of voluntarism is just not enough of a compensation should a bunch of people die horribly the way they did back before the safety net was in place.

    "You cannot hide the fact that government and religion have a very linked history"

    I wouldn't bother trying to hide it because that's not the type of gov't I'm arguing for. Origin is a complete irrelevancy. Our origin is slug life. Should we keep that in mind while discussing relevant policy?

  6. @Jacob

    "it is belief in the legitimacy of majority rule"

    It's either that or be ruled by the landlords. You honestly think that in stateless societies, people won't bitch about laws they deem oppressive to their individual freedom? If you keep abortion legal, you'll still have the same assholes calling it murder and oppression of individual rights of the clunk of cells they deem a human being. If you make it illegal, you'll have the pro-choice crowd on your ass. One side is going to end up pissed the fuck off, regardless of the existence of the State. Say a cowboy buys a bunch of land next to your building and decides to use it as a pig farm, effectively stinking up your entire neighborhood. Technically, he's not initiating force against anyone and is keeping to himself on his own property. Who decides as to whether he should be allowed to get away with the stench? HOAs? Because they planted a flag there?Statism-lite! That's what the cowboy will scream should their decision displease him and result in him having to learn to either love it or leave it. There are many more examples of how Statelessness isn't going to fix the fact that people have fundamental disagreements regarding where the individual rights line ought to be drawn in regards to many complicated circumstances. I'm just saying that I'd rather see these conflicts get settled democratically, than by a handful of landlords.

    "free market is a perfect comparison to evolution"

    Evolution brought us 2+ billion years of sentient animals eating each other. Because evolution = dumb forces, with reproduction as the dead end goal. Chemistry gone wild. Also, as mentioned in the blog, eversince the invention of condoms etc, the evolution game has been over for us. But even if it wasn't, Social-Darwinism is not a game plan for civilized human beings.

    "Nonviolence, hopefully it can be agreed, is the default position"

    And people who have no issues with the current system shouldn't be forced into a different system. Segregation seems to be the only viable option if we're going to go down the non-violence principle route. Maybe anti-statists would get more support from statists regarding the issue with States claiming land in the middle of nowhere, if they showed a bit of humility every now and then.

    "government-created distorted incentives"

    Again with the incentive stuff. Ever heard of the single villain fallacy?

    "It's comical how similar the arguments are"

    Comical, for all the wrong reasons.

  7. Believing in the existence of one or the other is quite different. Worshiping or otherwise uncritically thinking/having faith in either is very similar.

    There are at least three kinds of statists.

    1. Those who accept that the state exists.

    2. Those who don't believe that life without a state would be better (by a given metric) than life with a state... at least for now. They hold no love or hate of the state as an end per se, they're just realists.

    3. Those who worship the state, its institutions, or its agents. These are the people who believe implictly or explictly and reveal such a belief through their actions or words that

    a. Police and soldiers are more trustworthy than the average person, that they should be armed while the average person should not, etc.

    b. Police and soldiers deserve our respect

    c. Questioning the government is bad

    d. There exists some metaphysical obligation or duty to obey the dictates of the government

    e. Voting "works" for much else than simply buying into the system when done at a national level.

    f. Love it or leave it is a good idea

    g. Taxes aren't technically theft (whether you consider them necessary or not)

    h. Constitutions sufficiently constrain government

    i. The constitution is a living document

    j. The greatest president was one of: Lincoln, FDR, or Woodrow Wilson. Second place for: Bush, Obama, or Teddy Roosevelt.

    k. Corporations are not trustworthy, and private bureaucracies devolve into a works program/CYA situation, but the public corporations of the government are immune.

    l. A law against lobbying will work while power is still centralized.

    m. Most people are too stupid to know what's good for them, but filtering out the stupids' votes is a bad idea.

    n. Most people would simply kill, rape, and steal if there wasn't a law against those things.

  8. 15 months later, and I spot the above comment.

    A. This isn't rooted in any "worship of the state" nor a worship of any other faux monolith and is simply based on the (dimwitted) assumption that the troop or cop has a spotless record & couldn't have gained entry into either occupation had it not been for said record, whereas the same cannot be said for joe public prima facie. Gun abolitionists (distinct from gun regulationists) are generally concerned with consequences of gun violence far more than with rights-theories. It's an apples/oranges comparison for those fretting over the consequences due the lopsidedness of the numbers in the two camps (cops/troops vs. ordinary citizens). If the number of cops/troops skyrocketed to the number of ordinary citizens, while the number of ordinary citizens plummeted to the number of cops/troops in the here & now, controlling for a spotless record would prove to be impossible & the priorities of gun abolitionists would undergo an about face, because it's never been about blind respect at the core. Being hoodwinked into gun-abolitionism doesn't entail worship, it's just a natural outgrowth of a forward-looking bias in place of a deontic "rights" theory bias.

    B. This is just cloaked nationalism stemming from tribalistic notions of identity and egoism, just as feasible under balkanized stateless communities as in regions with centralized gov'ts. Ever wonder why Americans don't respect the "brave men & women in uniforms who are just following orders" when those orders emanate from foreigners whose armies are at war with America? Suddenly, the uniform is not worthy of respect *in and of itself*. It's about the particular flag on the uniform.

    C. Citation needed. I'm yet to encounter anyone who believes this. Ancaps have a tendency to conflate "don't be paranoid to the point where you question every last thing every gov't official does for no reason other than because they're a gov't official" with "don't question gov't" point blank. More faux monolith boogey-words in place of specificity.

    D. i.e. We have practical reasons to abide by a given set of rules in a modern civilization, irrespective of the specific entitlement theory behind said civilization (ranging anywhere from strict deontological propertarianism all the way to strict outcome-egalitarianism). Again, where's the worship? It boils down to different entitlement theories, ideologies, values...

    If the egalitarian "worships" equality, the propertarian "worships" property. Where does that get us? It's just mindless mud-slinging. I suppose that I "worship" equity above both. Off I go to my daily equity sermon...

  9. E. The issues with voting in America stem mostly from the Electoral College and the spoiler effect (absence of IRV). Voters in nations with IRV + The Popular Vote have generally reported higher levels of approval as it pertains to their respective parliament/congress compared to American voters. But you probably don't care about any of that because your ideology trumps other standards of measurement.

    Of course, in # 2 you said "they're just realists" when referring to statists, so that's somewhat indicative of an understanding of and appreciation for different standards of measurement (assuming you were being candid when you wrote that).

    F. Love it or leave it is not an argument when we're discussing pure theory, and no one ever pretends otherwise. When a system is already in effect however, those who choose to continue living under that system give implicit consent, much in the way a disgruntled worker who chooses to continue working a job he loathes gives implicit consent to be bossed around. This should never be mistaken for enthusiastic consent, and it doesn't have to be. One of the reasons Ancaps keep getting "love it or leave it" line is because they endorse it in so many other contexts (labor, rental, familial) while pretending it's categorically different when federalists do it in the context of a social contract. "Love it or leave it" isn't meant to persuade Ancaps of anything. It's a noteworthy reminder (designated for anyone who is swayable towards pluralism) of the practical fact that not everyone can always get what they want while preserving civilization. When I say "everyone" this includes every political zealot with their own idiosyncratic "just entitlement" theory. Hence political pluralism.

    G. So according to you, this post and others like it are all just an exercise in state-worship: http://www.philosophyetc.net/2005/06/why-taxation-is-not-theft.html

    I wonder if you can say that with a straight face?

    H. Sufficiently constrain, yes. That's precisely where the trend points. Again, how is acknowledging this worship? If someone were to guarantee with absolute certainty that constitutions prevent all gov't abuse, you'd have half-a-point, because there is ample evidence showing that nothing will eliminate gov't abuse. Unfortunately for Ancaps, the balkanized stateless alternative stands to only amplify abuse, as seen with The Republic of Minerva.

    Gotta head out now. I'll be sure to wrap up the rest later today.

  10. 1. The state is a word with lots of possible meanings. "State" can be used to refer to a geographic area, it can be used to refer to a concept of a "political community", it can be used as a euphemism for "government", or lots of other things.
    2. Because it is open to equivocation and confusion, I believe it is maybe a good idea to call for a "rationalist taboo" on "state" without some sort of qualifier. So if you mean "political community" by "state" then say "political community". If you mean "government" then say "government".

    3. "The State" can also be used to refer to the supernatural deity of the government religion. When used in this context, I like to call it The Leviathan(to avoid equivocation), because that is what Hobbes called it when he described it in chapter XVII of "Leviathan":
    "The only way to erect such a common power, as may be able to defend them from the invasion of foreigners, and the injuries of one another, and thereby to secure them in such sort as that by their own industry and by the fruits of the earth they may nourish themselves and live contentedly, is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men, that may reduce all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one will: which is as much as to say, to appoint one man, or assembly of men, to bear their person; and every one to own and acknowledge himself to be author of whatsoever he that so beareth their person shall act, or cause to be acted, in those things which concern the common peace and safety; and therein to submit their wills, every one to his will, and their judgements to his judgement. This is more than consent, or concord; it is a real unity of them all in one and the same person, made by covenant of every man with every man, in such manner as if every man should say to every man: I authorise and give up my right of governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition; that thou give up, thy right to him, and authorise all his actions in like manner. This done, the multitude so united in one person is called a COMMONWEALTH; in Latin, CIVITAS. This is the generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather, to speak more reverently, of that mortal god to which we owe, under the immortal God, our peace and defence. For by this authority, given him by every particular man in the Commonwealth, he hath the use of so much power and strength conferred on him that, by terror thereof, he is enabled to form the wills of them all, to peace at home, and mutual aid against their enemies abroad. And in him consisteth the essence of the Commonwealth; which, to define it, is: one person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all as he shall think expedient for their peace and common defence.
    And he that carryeth this person is called sovereign, and said to have sovereign power; and every one besides, his subject."

  11. Notice Hobbes uses "man" to refer to humans while he calls "the Leviathan" a "person" to make it distinct that the Leviathan is an "artificial person" or abstract "entity" rather than an actual physical flesh and blood human. He also calls it "sovereign" which means it is the "authority". Religious scholars traditionally have referred to deities such as a monotheistic God or "Zeus" as "sovereign" and the idea of "sovereignty" comes to us from the divine right to rule, that the King has his "authority" because he is the "chosen one" of God.

    This invisible, abstract "higher power", the Leviathan (the fictitious corporate "person" of the state) is still part of the modern day belief system.

  12. From Arizona v United States(where both the plaintiff and the defendant are Leviathan deity-type "entities":

    "The United States is an indivisible “Union of sovereign States.”"

    "Today’s opinion... ...deprives States of what most would con- sider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there."

    "As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory, subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitutionally imposed by Congress. That power to exclude has long been recognized as inherent in sovereignty."

    "It is fundamental that foreign countries concerned about the status, safety, and security of their nationals in the United States must be able to confer and communicate on this subject with one national sovereign, not the 50 separate States."

  13. The Leviathan deity, the abstract non-corporeal "higher power" or "sovereign" called "The United States of America" is referred to as an "entity" even though it is an abstraction of the mind rather than a physical tangible corporeal "being". It is an imaginary supernatural "entity" like Santa- it only "exists" in the minds of adherents to the government religion - because the scripture (constitution) says so.

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  15. Socratic questions for stathieists:
    1. Is the Leviathan, or "corporate person" of "the state" a "real" entity?
    2. It is called "sovereign" in the legal scriptures - do you believe it is a "higher power"?
    2. Have you ever yourself witnessed this entity?
    3. Do you know anyone who has claimed to have witnessed this "entity"?
    4. Is the entity an actual physical corporeal being, or is it an abstraction of the mind?
    5. Do any controlled science experiments support belief in the "sovereign entity" of "Arizona"? Do any empirical observations prove it exists?
    6. Without seeing it or verifying it through empiric observation, how did you conclude it was "real"? Dogma? Scripture? Indoctrination?
    7. Why do you talk to and pray to these "entities" in the form of an idol with pentagrams on it?

  16. Statists pray to this deity, the "United States of America" when they do their flag worshiping ritual. The Leviathan Entity is based on blind faith and magical thinking - who claims to have actually witnessed the "Sovereign" "entity" of "Arizona" for themselves? The "sovereign" "entity" called "United States" is the thought-product of magical thinking and faith, not a deduction drawn from reasoned evidence and empirical observation.
    We witness the living avatars of the USA - like Obama, but who has actually claimed to witness the "entity" referred to as "USA"? Other than the scripture says so, what actual evidence is there of such an "entity"?

  17. In Arizona v United states:
    You have an invisible non-corporeal abstract "sovereign" higher power, belief in which is based on faith in scriptural dogma being preached from the pulpit by priests in black robes who claim a "personal relationship" with the invisible higher power of "state"( as its representatives) as the source of their unique authority and qualification to interpret scriptures . What exactly is your definition of organized religion?