The literal meaning of the word anarchy is from the Greek and it means “without government,” but the English word is synonymous with chaos, lawlessness and disorder. Historically, some anarchists have advocated and used violence to achieve their goals. During the Enlightenment, Thomas Hobbes argued that the state of nature is a “war of all against all.” According to Hobbes, mankind needed to create a system of law and government to end this struggle with a social contract.
Philosophers long ago settled on the fact that government achieves its ends by means of threats, coercion and aggression. Because the Enlightenment encouraged reason over superstition, the State had to provide an intellectual justification for its means. Guys like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were supposed to have done that. Thus, today we have the nation state proliferated across the globe instead of warring tribes, clans or city-states.
The idea that the natural state of man is one of war and chaos is flatly contradicted by simple logic. The emergence of the market economy in modern times has proven that the natural state of man is obviously voluntary cooperation. Also, if men could not voluntarily cooperate, how could a social contract emerge in the first place? The state of nature is for the many to peacefully, productively cooperate while the depraved few attempt to prey upon them. Creating an artificial construct such as the state does not effect this arrangement at all. The social contract is also a chimera. There is no social contract, it’s a superstition, a metaphor; yet people are supposed to become bound by it? Who ever heard of a legally binding metaphor?
Anyway, I’m going to assume arguendo that Hobbes was right. The state of nature is the war of all against all and the social contract exists. What is the result of all of this?
The National Defense Authorization Act is a purported “law,” that presumes to say that the United States is a battlefield and that US citizens can be indefinitely detained without trial or droned. It also supposedly authorizes the military and military tribunals to be used in law enforcement, as if the government had authority to do so.
The Militarized Police State
Police unions will tell you that the United States is a more dangerous battlefield than Iraq or Afghanistan. They will say they need to get military hardware and perform tens of thousands of SWAT team raids per year. After all, more cops die per year in the United States than soldiers in foreign wars. This is the twisted “logic” they use to try to justify the police state. Does anyone remember the US military fighting a war on a large scale like World War II? Rest assured that more soldiers died in those years than police in middle America.
What It Means
Do police really believe they’re better off in Afghanistan than South Carolina or Arizona? Clearly, they don’t. After all, they’re free to quit their jobs and enlist so they can go be “safer” in a foreign war. No one’s stopping them. Also, I thought we were fighting them “over there,” so we don’t have to fight them “over here.” Whatever happened to that? Does anyone think that in order to stop terrorists, the government needs to be able to drone American citizens? Does anyone think they caught the Boston bomber because they locked down Watertown? Some guy found him a block outside the search zone when he went out to get a smoke. None of these arguments make any sense.
However, again I will assume arguendo that all this nonsense and non-sequitur is correct. What does it mean? It turns out that Harry Reid was right: we’re living in a state of chaos. America is a battlefield and the war of all against all is raging on despite the best efforts of the state. Good try guys, A for effort; but better luck next time.
So much for that intellectual justification stuff.