"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
Delusions of Grandeur
Have you ever wondered why it is that the state exists? Some would say that it's just how things have always been done. Others might suggest that the state is needed to provide services for the common good. Many anarchists believe that the state is the result of ignorance and weakness ' with elites enriching themselves off the productivity of their fat and stupid subjects. My belief is that the state is the complex result of a simple fallacy: I'm right and you're wrong!
To believe that you are exclusively right about something is a form of self-delusion. Such a belief naively supposes that only one interpretation of reality is correct. Such believers are incapable of seeing the validity of another's viewpoint. 'Taxes are theft.' 'Cops are necessary.' ' Iraq must be liberated.' 'Love it or leave it!' All these statements are examples of this self-delusion. If, like most people, you have ideas that you are exclusively 'right' about, then you are fooling yourself. Make no mistake about it . . . you are suffering from a delusion of grandeur.
How is it that you are fooling yourself? Firstly, you have closed your mind to new possibilities. A better viewpoint could be right in your face and you'd never even see it there. Secondly, you have reduced the human beings that hold different views to objects of your scorn. You label them stupid, crazy, traitorous or any number of other pejoratives that suit your fancy. This labeling keeps you blind to the true nature of the people who you disagree with. In your mind, you are better than them. If only they would come to your views, then everything would be okay. You may not like to hear this, but other people think they are 'right' and you are wrong. Just like you do them!
The state (coercive government) is the natural outcome of this kind of thinking. Without rigid belief in 'right' and 'wrong,' there would be no coercive state. It would be impossible. War, being the health of the state, is fertile ground for exploring this idea. Take the current Iraq war as an example. The neocons in power have decided that spreading democracy by force is 'right' and that resisting such action is 'wrong.' Have a good look at the 'Project for the New American Century' if you want to understand the administration's motivations on this matter. Let's not forget their delusions of grandeur in the run-up for war. 'We'll be greeted as liberators!' 'It'll be a cakewalk!' They believe that they are exclusively right. If only the Iraqis would come over to their views, then everything would be okay. They are insensitive to the fact that they are murdering innocent people to enforce their will on others. They are also blind to the fact that the resisting Iraqis have a valid viewpoint on the matter. Sure, G.W. Bush has paid lip service to their views, but he continues to pursue his 'right' course of action. He's blinded by his beliefs. They all are suffering from delusions of grandeur.
Whenever you see government in action, you'll see this delusion of grandeur staring back at you: I'm right and you're wrong. Understanding this is vital to understanding how the state will be dissolved. The state will vanish when the majority of people wake up to the fact that they are incapable of being objectively right about anything.
What makes one view better than another? Nothing objective, that much is certain. Rightness and wrongness are subjective labels. We have full choice over what we label as right or wrong. What is needed now is the courage to admit that we aren't objectively right about anything. We have all based our conclusions on incomplete information. This goes for statists and anarchists alike. Realize that we are incapable of being objectively right about anything. Also realize that the allure of exclusive rightness is very strong. It gives us comfort to know that we have something all figured out. Oh, how we fool ourselves with this whopper. Rightness and wrongness are choices, not facts. So stop labeling people that disagree with you as 'wrong.' You end up dehumanizing them and keeping yourself ignorant. Maybe you're the one who's full of malarkey this time. You'll never know unless you approach people with a clear, inquisitive mind and an open heart.