Anarchy: Absence of a State, So What is a State? (Yes, AGAIN)

quote-if-socialists-understood-economics-they-wouldn-t-be-socialist-friedrich-august-von-hayek-93-90-98Yesterday I became aware that “Libertarian Socialists” are a thing, proving that nothing is sacred, and that people will twist and contort any word they want to mean whatever they want it to mean, despite glaring contradictions. I would point out that libertarian ideology is inseparable from Austrian economics, but I don’t think there would be much point discussing it, considering it is almost a tautology.

I recently unfollowed Youtuber Tyler Preseton on Twitter, because he simply wasn’t listening. I’ve written extensively about it, and I’ve got a 4,000 word article dissecting his behavior (complete with tweets from him that demonstrate my exact accusation–he was never interested in learning; he was interested in reinforcing his own positions while calling it “skepticism”).

When it became clear to me what the problem is, I attempted to rectify it. The problem is that Tyler doesn’t know what the state is. He’s still clinging to the idea that the state is a great and marvelous thing that protects us from rape, murder, and theft. What is anarchy? Anarchy is the condition where there is no state. See the problem? If someone believes that the state is the thing that protects us from rape, murder, and theft, then, to them, anarchy is the condition where there is nothing protecting us from rape, murder, and theft. The question we have to ask, then, is (yet a-fucking-gain): What is the state?

Google and Wikipedia give us this definition:

a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.

But it’s not really helpful, is it? It basically defines it as itself; it also misidentifies the “nation” with “the territory” and with “the state,” all of which are clearly not equivalent. “An organized political community under one government” gets a little closer, but it raises its own problems. We know that “organized” isn’t really part of the definition, don’t we? Two people working together are organized (and a political community under one government, it’s worth noting) but are quite obviously not a state.

This is the problem we run into with definitions of the state: they are broken fundamentally. Here the best dictionaries on the planet have essentially defined the state as itself, or as a thing that applies to literally any two people who do anything together. Such a definition is clearly broken and inadequate, so we must go further. “Under one government”? Fine. What is a government?

the governing body of a nation, state, or community.

Oh. Okay. Well. That’s perfectly useless, then.

A state is a government, and a government is a state.

By this point in the journey of trying to define the state, you should be positively alarmed. What is this thing that rules us, if it cannot even define itself?

This is critical. We cannot define “anarchy” until we know what the state is, because “anarchy” is the absence of a state. So let’s look at our definition of government a bit more. “The governing body of a … community”? What? Are you kidding me? So IEEE, which effectively governs the tech communications industry, is a state? MPAA is a state, because it governs the community of cinematography? “Nation” and “state” can both be discarded from the definition for being obviously circular, for saying that a state is a government, and a government is a state, and for misidentifying the nation overseen by the state as the state itself, which is equally inapplicable.

What is a community, then? Perhaps we’re being too liberal in our understanding of community, to include the tech industry, film industries, and the like.

a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.


No, we were exactly right, then.

So by the definitions that we are officially given for the state, government, and community, it is inarguable that IEEE is a state of the tech industry, and the MPAA is a state of the movie industry.

Since we know that IEEE and the MPAA are not states, we also know that we have “some other criteria” that we use to determine what is and isn’t a state. Everyone who reads the statement about these bodies being states will reject it, because we know that they are not states. This indicates that we know what a state is, because otherwise we would have no criteria by which to reject the notion that IEEE and MPAA are states. If I told you that 2 + 2 = 5, then you could only dispute that statement if you had some sort of understanding that 2 + 2 could not equal 5.

These definitions are clearly insufficient, as they leave labeled as states things that are clearly not states.

This is it, by the way. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where decades of brainwash by the state that it is kind, benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent kicks in, wholly resisting and trying to prevent you from looking at what you know you’re looking at. Every fiber of your being is telling you that it cannot be so, that these definitions must be functional and accurate, yet you know that they are not–we have amply demonstrated that.

The reality is that the state has lied to you about what it is. The entire system we have set up has lied to you about what it is. This is not a conspiracy theory; look at the definitions that have been provided to us. They are clearly inapplicable. How can it be that so many great thinkers, intellectuals, politicians, and leaders could give you a definition of “the state” that isn’t applicable? Am I suggesting to you that it’s some great conspiracy, of people sitting in dark rooms smoking cigars and wondering how they’re going to suppress information? No.

They don’t have to do that.

Mutual self-interest propels them, just as it propels us. They do not need to conspire, because none of them are aware of what the state is. The state just kinda happened as we were bamboozled by its promises of solutions and answers, going all the way back to the earliest human tribes and their installation of states, when the need to mislead people was imminent. From then, the lie simply got repeated over and over, relying upon cognitive dissonance and willful ignorance to perpetuate itself. Does this sound like a conspiracy theory? It shouldn’t. Do you honestly believe that Hitler ever told the German people, “Oh, lol, btw, we’re gonna have sum sekret police, and their gonna kill yous. Kthxbai”? Of course not.

Yet look what Hitler accomplished with deceit.

How pervasive is the utter brainwash that is the notion that the state protects us from rape gangs and murders? Why, just go here and read most of the answers. Without a single solitary thought, people parroted the answer that they had been brainwashed to believe, without a single way of substantiating their answers. They simply assert it.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but this guy demonstrated that sufficiently large societies produced the state, not that the state produced large societies.

I shouldn’t have to point this out, but this guy demonstrated that large societies produced the state, not that the state produced large societies.

Between society and the state, people put the cart before the horse regularly, like this guy did. It is obvious and indisputable that society produced the state; the state did not produce society. This is like asking whether a painter produced the painting, or whether the painting produced the painter. It’s stupid in every sense. We know that the painter produced the painting. The painter is society; the painting is the state. This is not a “chicken and the egg” argument; it’s common sense, as Rothbard observed in Anatomy of the State. And now you’re going to just badly assert that the painter cannot exist without the painting? It’s utter nonsense.

Worse, it’s unthinking nonsense. It’s Mr. Widdison parroting back brainwash bullshit that he’s been taught to believe without giving a moment of thought to any of it.

logic-failHere the answer is so ridiculous that it shouldn’t have to be pointed out how absurd it is. In order to protect ourselves from having to protect ourselves from being at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, or better armed than we are, we have to submit ourselves to a group of people who are supremely bigger, stronger, and better armed than we are?

What kind of logic is that called?


But this glaringly obvious point goes unaddressed; it doesn’t even occur to him that his argument, if anything, is an argument against the state. To keep us from being at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, and better armed, we must be at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, and better armed than anyone else could even possibly be? What?!

He has answered the question by asserting that there will always be a state, but has not provided any evidence for believing that. “Anarchy” is the removal of the state; ergo, in an anarchy there would be no state. Why is he answering the question if he doesn’t understand this basic idea?

I want to add that it’s beautiful and encouraging to see so many other anarchists step forward to actually answer the question–you’ll find my answer there as well, of course. But others answered it, too, correctly pointing out that the state is simply a possible solution; it is not the only one. They even used an analogy that I used elsewhere (coincidentally).

Carry this all the way back to the birth of the state, independently throughout the world, as selfish and immoral humans all saw the same opportunity ripe for exploitation. The lie perpetuated through the entire planet, from one generation to the next, with everyone just taking it for granted that the state spoke the truth when it said it protected them. It’s not that there’s a conspiracy trying to keep us from looking. It’s that the lie has been carried for so long that we have forgotten that we aren’t looking. So do one thing to begin your journey in figuring out everything that is wrong.

Define the state.

Take as much time as you need. Do all the research you can. Think as much as you can. And then sit back, because I’ll give you the actual definition.

A state is a type of government that exists as a cabal of rulers who use force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends.

Does that really sound like something we can’t live without?


5 thoughts on “Anarchy: Absence of a State, So What is a State? (Yes, AGAIN)

  1. “I would claim that libertarian ideology is inseparable from Austrian economics, but I don’t think there would be much point in publicly exposing the fact that I am smoking enormous amounts of crack.”

    Fixed, no charge.

    • Well, certainly you and I diverge on a few key places, and I gladly admit that my definition of libertarianism isn’t going to coincide with most people’s, especially since many people find Johnson to be a solid libertarian. I obviously think I’m right to say that the ownership of the fruits of one’s own labor and voluntary interactions between humans constitutes the core of libertarianism, while socialism gives ownership of one’s labor to society, effectively making the person a slave to society, which is anti-liberty as something can get. Austrian economics is the study of voluntary human interactions and, when combined with classical liberal / natural rights ideas produces libertarianism.

      I’m well aware this is not a popular idea.

        • Right, and I don’t dispute that. My point is more analogous to calculus and physics. Certainly physics (the study of the world’s processes) existed before calculus was invented by Newton, but it’s still true that physics as we understand it today is inseparable from calculus and advanced mathematics.

          • Right — except that there are entire giant branches of libertarianism which are not just separable from Austrian economics but that have never had much if anything to do with Austrian economics.

            So the analogy is more like calculus and peanut butter.

            In my opinion, of course. I often forget to mention that, and I should, since there’s always the possibility that I’m wrong. I mean, there’s a first time for everything, right? 😀

Share your thoughts...