In an interview with popular libertarian broadcaster Stefan Molyneaux last year, economic historian Tom Woods made an excellent analogy as to how the American public would react to schools run exclusively by Walmart as compared to those under the direction of government.
Let’s suppose most kids were being educated not in government funded schools as most of them are but suppose they were educated in schools that Walmart established. And everyday the kids go to school and in their Walmart classrooms they see up on the wall all the Walmart CEOs paternally looking down upon them and they are taught to sing songs to the greatness of the Walmart CEOs. “Where would we be without them!” “We would all be working in a mine for a dollar a day,” and all these terrible things would be happening to us… and then every year they get one day off from school where they go home and mediate on the greatness of the Walmart CEOS…
If that were going on, I think we would find that kind of creepy…
In short, statism is the prevailing curriculum of public schools in America.
To anyone worth their weight in human decency, forced propaganda like this should turn their stomach. And though public schooling isn’t completely mandated in the U.S. at this point, the war on homeschooling in states such as California is accelerating. It is already illegal in some European countries like Germany. The last thing state officials want is a growing movement outside their jurisdiction of indoctrination. Tax slaves that fully realize their status as captives can’t be fleeced so easily.
To the logical observer, such an analysis makes sense when considering that those employed by and who benefit from the state’s operation are just as self interested as the private individual. But is such a system evil and deserving of hatred? That is, is the state an inherently evil institution that oppresses the greater majority of mankind? And are those who support its iron clench on society actually in favor of evil?
Because the state only forcefully shifts the money around it first confiscates, it doesn’t produce anything. It is a parasite that necessarily lives at the expense of the citizens under its governance. In promising to overturn fundamental laws of economics, the political class creates conditions far worse than those previous and often to the benefit of affluent special interests. As Albert Jay Nock has brilliantly written:
The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical. It originated in conquest and confiscation—that is to say, in crime. It originated for the purpose of maintaining the division of society into an owning-and-exploiting class and a propertyless dependent class — that is, for a criminal purpose. No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity.
…the United States has directly killed more innocents than Assad ever has. In Vietnam, U.S. carpet bombing and other types of attacks killed millions of civilians and rivaled the wanton Nazi destruction in the Balkans during World War II. In the Korean War, the United States targeted dams in North Korea to flood cropland, thus inducing starvation among the people in order to hamper the North Korean war effort.
It’s as if they hold no contempt for the tax collector who happily helps themselves to the hard-earned wealth of others. It’s as if they don’t wince at the merciless beating of someone who finds themselves on the wrong side of a police officer drunk on his own power. It’s as if don’t feel anguish for the innocent bystanders that happen to be in the path of the endless bombings for democracy. It’s as if they could care less that some faceless bureaucrat monitors their private electronic correspondence without their permission. It’s is as if they don’t find it repulsive that their very freedom is being taken away by one decree after another.
These aren’t intellectual mistakes. They are daily occurrences sanctioned by a mass of voters still feverishly dedicated to the idea that government is theirs to control. The average voter is often too preoccupied with his political buy-off to realize it is his neighbor’s money he is now in possession of. Whenever their government is engaged in an imperialistic, corpse-ridden crusade of freedom, voters pay no mind to their dollars directly funding mass murder. To them, the state is a religion and monarch rolled into one. They pay tribute with their wealth, labor, and admiration only to be rewarded with their lives being more and more micromanaged.
This feeling is only mirrored in the writings and studies conducted by organizations that fancy themselves as fighters of big government. These writers fall into the trap that government is an institution to be bettered. That the ruling establishment isn’t a malicious band of crooks and goons whose livelihood is based on how much it tramples the public into subservience. Or that various central planning schemes aren’t rooted in a bureaucrat’s sick desire to tug society around with a coercive leash.
The state is not something to passively accept as the byproduct of mislead souls. It is the act of swindling institutionalized and conducted on a massive scale. To increasingly add to its scope of authority, state officials will not hesitate to murder, steal, lie, and cheat all of life’s basic decencies. In the 20th century alone, it has been estimated that government is responsible for the deaths of some 173 million around the globe.
The lesson is unbelievably simple: unless you are closely connected with the government largesse, you are being ripped off beyond any capacity you can possibly imagine. The money in your wallet is constantly being debased to the benefit of the large, cartelized banking sector. You are forced to fund wars that in no way make you safer but enrich a whole industry dedicated to creating machines of death. You are prevented from putting certain substances in your body and your home is never truly yours with the existence of property taxes or threat of eminent domain. And while private sector innovations have lifted living standards to a level never thought possible just a century ago, there is no telling where the world would be in terms of technological and industrial progress if not for the state feeding off of the capital formation of others. To top it off, from childhood the state and its leaders who have augmented its power are put on a pedestal to be worshipped unquestioningly.
To answer the original inquiry, yes, the state should be hated. It should be laughed at, ridiculed, questioned, protested against, and seen for the criminal syndicate it truly is. But above all, it should inspire the detestation of anyone who tires of being oppressed. American founding father Thomas Paine famously declared “government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” I would hasten to correct him that government, in all shapes in forms, is indeed evil but not at all necessary for a lasting peace.