Why should one submit to the power of the state?

"To ask why I am to submit to the power of the state, is to ask why I am to allow my life to be regulated by that complex of institutions without which I literally should not have a life to call my own, nor should be able to ask for a justification of what I am called on to do." -- T. H. Green, The Principles of Political Obligation, p. 90

19 comments:

  1. Is "the state" the same thing as "the government" or is it something different? If they are the same, then most people seem to use the word "government" instead of "state", though I don't know why.

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    1. I think that Green would consider the state the entire social reality of which the government is a component.

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  2. You will get in response the usual deliberate confusion between submitting to reasonable restrictions necessary to allow social functioning and abject subjugation to arbitrary rule.
    Unless of course Libertarians have stopped commenting here.

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  3. If one assumes the State is the only source of services to protect life and property, then of course this quote is reasonable. That assumption is the very issue at question for Libertarians, however, as you well know.

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    1. The fact you call the creation and enforcement of rights a "service" as if this could be provided on a market is the source of your confusion here: markets PRESUPPOSE this "service" and thus can't provide it.

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    2. Your statements here make me wish all the more that you would write a response post to Roderick Long's "Ten Objections." It can be found at http://archive.lewrockwell.com/long/long11.html

      The response to objection 6 in particular, seems to speak to your statements. I would love to see a rebuttal from you.

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    3. Couldn't it be achieved if it was transitional from our current State-enforcement system? That way, there *would* be the necessary conditions--though it might rub anarchists the wrong way to hear government is necessary after all, at least at the dawn of their utopia.

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    4. Couldn't it be achieved if it was transitional from our current State-enforcement system?

      No, because you're simply transforming the form of government. Think corporatocracy, corporate republics, or mega corporations. You're going for Shinras instead of anarchy.

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    5. Samson has answered for me.

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    6. Samson has answered for me.

      It's not like this is entirely theoretical either. We have historical examples of just this stuff happening. The East India Trading Company was an empire in its own right, the United Fruit Company conquered Central American countries, the drug cartels have created their own quasi-state in Columbia, the Mexican drug cartels have the power to take on Mexican military forces, ISIS has seized like a third of Iraq, the labor wars in the Gilded Ages had the characteristics of actual. These aren't exactly historical oddities.

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    7. I also should add that states are not "monopolies" on militaries and police forces (it should be pretty obvious why ancaps like to use Weber's definition). Instead, militaries and police forces are the defining characteristics of a state, so the "private defense agencies" would be states themselves and instead of Chairman Mao, you'd have Chairman of the Board Mao. This is also why I find the idea of having a "market" in roads to be rather strange. In short: politics/political philosophy is not economics, law is not a "consumer good", and governments aren't market functions. Two totally different areas of life.

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  4. Gene,

    your quote doesn't explain why people should submit to the power of the state within which they currently live.

    Yes, 'the state' in general may be necessary, but that doesn't mean the state which currently exists is necessary.

    After all, people have revolted against currently-existing states so as to replace them with a better state.

    So why should people submit to the power of the state that currently exists?

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    1. Well, first of all, it isn't my quote.

      Secondly, Green discusses this at some length. I'll put up a quote a little later.

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    2. ok, thanks.

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  5. Gene you wrote above:

    The fact you call the creation and enforcement of rights a "service" as if this could be provided on a market is the source of your confusion here...

    Was that a typo, or do you really believe the State creates rights?

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    1. No, I'd say a misreading, Bob: the sentence you quote doesn't say the state creates rights. It does say they are created, which is clearly true.

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    2. Apparently, if you don't believe in natural rights you don't believe in any government-independent morality at all. This is libertarianism's biggest hurdle.

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  6. Gene, do you have any theories as to why libertarians fail to see that a Shinra Power Electric Company or a British East India Trading Company is basically what libertarianism is in the real world?

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