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Our Enemy, The State

Our enemy, the state

“It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.

– Henry L. Mencken, 1926 

The above is one of the opening quotations in Albert J Nock’s 1935 classic “Our enemy, the state” and to my mind this single phrase along with the above quotation typifies my current view of the increasingly statist world within which we are forced to exist (I will not say “live”).

I am well aware that this viewpoint, while being common among libertarians, is very much at odds with the propagandised masses that surround us, who see the state as a beneficent or at least benign entity which would deliver an earthly utopia if only it weren’t for x, y or z.

I often feel like Neo from “The Matrix“, after his awakening, looking at the world around him with new eyes, not as modern metropolis, but as a computer constructed fantasy of control whose answer to any opposition is annihilation.

The State is your mother, your father, the totality of your interests. No discipline can be too severe for the man that denies that by word or deed.

- H.G. Wells from The Shape of Things to Come

The problem tends to come from the last bit of the reason why “The State” is unable to deliver the earthly utopia, the bit about “if only it weren’t for x, y or z” with previous years hits being “The Jews” (Germany 1933 – 1945), “The Red Menace” (USA 1919-1921, 1947-1954) or other propaganda inspired bogeymen of note. Being a target of the states tender mercies could render you penniless, exiled, imprisoned or dead, so should probably come with some form of health warning.

It is not just the worry of takeover of your home country by totalitarian regime, since even in places such as the UK you can be subject to state sponsored termination through healthcare if you happen to be in their target group for extermination or a state hospital that can’t be bother to keep you alive. The state can kill you through deliberate policy or deliberate neglect, but you can end up dead either way.

However, probably the way that the state is most dangerous is when threatened or in a state of collapse, during this period the state is more likely to kill you than any of your enemies as evidenced by pretty much every state collapse since Adam was a nipper, from the Mayan and Roman empires to the years of stagnation and collapse of the Soviet Union. In their collapse they will expend the life of every citizen / resident, confiscate all property and pay any price to survive. Thus the individual and his family are at the mercy of the state as they are completely expendable, just like the Jews were in Nazi Germany.

A collapsing state is a bit like a collapsing super-massive star, if you don’t get away from it in time you are likely to get sucked down with it into nothingness.

So think of your health and the health of your family and either cut down on the state or give up entirely. You know it makes sense.

The State Seriously Damages Your Health


  1. Lynne says:

    And don’t facilitate the power of the state by voting for it.

  2. One can dispute whether the implied view of the historical origins of the state are as the quotation suggests – without disputing that it has indeed become the terrible thing that the quotation points out it has.

  3. John Galt says:

    “And don’t facilitate the power of the state by voting for it.”

    Very good point Lynne, I have often been chastised for my view that voting has become completely pointless in the UK (and elsewhere) as the so called candidates for the office of our representative democracy only represent themselves or their party, but never their constituency or myself, so all you are doing is voting for someone to be paid £66,396 a year, plus expenses, for at least the next 5-years out of funds stolen from taxpayers.

    The approbation that those who don’t vote can’t complain is grade one bullshit.

    I’m actually glad that as a Malaysian resident I am no longer eligible to vote as I have no desire to remain a part of an electorate of sheep.

    Swiss-style direct representation seems to provide more control by the electorate on those in power, but I suspect this is also the deliberately divided loyalty between state, canton and commune established by their confederal approach to government.

    At the very least it appears to be a lesser evil in comparison to the representative democracy of the UK and the constitutional republic of the USA which are venal, self-serving and corrupt.

  4. longrider says:

    I find myself increasingly referring to the state as my enemy and the parasites that enable it; the politicians and bureaucrats; as the parasite class, feeding off the industrious to keep themselves in the manner to which they have become accustomed. So, yeah, what Lynne says.

  5. Julie near Chicago says:

    I have to point out that unlike the Jews, the “Red Menace” was a real threat, and one of its successes was in selling the idea that “the Red Menace” was a mere “bogeyman” and that anyone who thought otherwise was either a figure of fun, or a villain.

  6. John Galt says:

    That’s actually a matter of interpretation, there were numerous people who provided information to the Soviets during the 1940′s and 1950′s, from the atomic bomb spies through to the Rosenbergs, but there were never the massive numbers attested to by the The House Committee on Un-American Activities and certainly not the wholesale numbers proposed by the junior senator from Wisconsin.

    Thus I think it is reasonable, albeit with hindsight to call “the Red Menace” a bogeyman.

  7. John Galt says:

    “I find myself increasingly referring to the state as my enemy and the parasites that enable it; the politicians and bureaucrats; as the parasite class”

    Being a good little Randian Objectivist, I generally use the terms she sets forth in Atlas Shrugged, specifically “Looter” for the leaching political classes and “Moucher” for their private counterparts.

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