Step Two: Why the Myth Is Tempting


Before demonstrating that “authority” cannot exist, brief mention should be made of why anyone would want such a thing to exist. It is obvious why those who seek dominion over others want “government” to exist: it gives them an easy, allegedly legitimate mechanism through which they can forcibly control others. But why would anyone else – why would those being controlled – want it to exist?

The mindset of statists usually starts with a reasonable concern, but ends with an insane “solution.” The average person who looks out at the world, knowing there are billions of human beings out there, many of whom are stupid or hostile, naturally wants some sort of assurance that he will be protected from all the negligent and malicious things others may do. Most believers in “government” openly describe that as the reason “government” is needed: because people cannot be trusted, because it is in man’s nature to steal, fight, etc. Statists often assert that without a controlling authority, without “government” making and enforcing the rules of society on everyone, every dispute would end in bloodshed, there would be little or no cooperation, trade would all but cease, it would be “every man for himself,” and humanity would degrade into a caveman or “Mad Max” type of existence.

As a result, the debate between statism and anarchism is often incorrectly assumed to be a question of whether people are inherently good and trustworthy, and therefore need no controllers, or are inherently bad and untrustworthy, and therefore need “government” to control them. In truth, whether human beings are all good, all bad, or something in between, the belief in “authority” is still an irrational superstition, But the most popular excuse for “government”– that people are bad and need to be controlled – inadvertently exposes the lunacy inherent in all statism.

To wit, if human beings are so careless, stupid and malicious that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing on their own, how would the situation be improved by taking a subset of those very same careless, stupid and malicious human beings and giving them societal permission to forcibly control all the others? Why would anyone think that rearranging and reorganizing a group of dangerous beasts would make them civilized? The answer hints at the mythological nature of the belief in “authority.” It is not merely a different arrangement of human beings that authoritarians seek, but the involvement of some superhuman entity, with rights that human beings do not have, and with virtues that human beings do not have, which can be used to keep all the untrustworthy humans in line. To say that human beings are so flawed that they need to be controlled – a common refrain among statists – implies that something other than human beings needs to do the controlling. But no matter how hard you study “government,” you will find that it is always run entirely by people. Saying that “government” is necessary because people are untrustworthy is as irrational as saying that if someone is being attacked by a swarm of bees, the solution is to create an authoritarian hierarchy among the bees, assigning some of the bees the duty of preventing the other bees from doing harm, However dangerous the bees may be, such a “solution” is ridiculous.

What the believers really want out of “government” is a huge, unstoppable power that will be used for good. But there is no magic trick, political or otherwise, capable of guaranteeing that justice will occur, that the “good guys” will win or that the innocent will be protected and cared for. The giant, superhuman, magical savior that statists insist is needed to save humanity from itself does not exist. On this planet, at least, human beings are the top – there is nothing above them to control them and make them behave properly, and hallucinating such a superhuman entity does not make it real, nor does it help the situation.

This is an excerpt from the book “The Most Dangerous Superstition” by Larken Rose


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