Flag.Blackened.net | OBJECTION #1: In a state of nature man lived in ruthless and uncontrolled competition with his neighbors. Government was formed to combat this destructive tendency, to bring order out of chaos, to provide the minimum order required for social stability.

ANSWER: Philosophers have long speculated on the origins of human social life and political life. Some have pictured the ancient condition of man as one of total chaos where people went about plundering everything and murdering everyone they could find. Only government, they say, brought order and peace to this world of conflict. Others have argued with some force that people joined together basically for economic reasons – it simply was the only practical way to survive. They have further argued that this need for physical survival ultimately brought government into being since people needed an organization to settle their personal disputes and to protect them from rapacious outsiders. Both theories are based on benevolent views of government and they form the basis for many people’s idea of what government is today, or at least what they think government should be today.

Neither theory, however, offers an historically realistic appraisal of the origin and nature of government. A third and much more promising theory was advanced by Franz Oppenheimer, who argued that the state is formed from conquest.

It is, however, difficult to determine how men actually lived in “a state of nature” because we have few records of how social life was then organized. Since we can know little of the primeval beginnings of the human race, it is best that we look at man as we see him every day around us.

It takes little discernment to realize that all modern governments are the result not of benevolent policemenship, as many political scientists would like us to believe, but of conquest, of intrigue and power struggles, and of a desire to gain advantage over others through the creation of the state.

Modern governments were not formed by a social contract, not even one remotely resembling Rousseau’s ideal. Rather, some of them are the result of revolutions which merely exchanged one set of rulers for another, while others are the children of ancient governments that have passed down the lordship they gained centuries ago through conquest from one generation of political class to another.

Man could not possibly live as a social animal if he lived in a world of universal antagonism. Social life is made possible by our knowledge that most people most of the time are not going to hurt each other or steal from each other. Without that assurance all social life would come to a standstill and there would be no agency or organization of any kind that could bring peace and order out of such a situation.

Man is a social animal and for the most part he will live in cooperative, peaceful relations with his neighbors. It is in this fact of nature, and not some supposed magical power of government, that we discover the essential ingredient for understanding social stability. People by their nature get along with each other. Government doesn’t bring them together or keep them together. People live social lives because it is to their advantage to do so. Government doesn’t create order out of chaos. The order of social life is already here. Read Entire Article

by Michael E. Coughlin

Objections to Anarchism – The Principles of Anarchism are Timeless Truths was originally published in serial form in the dandelion between Summer 1977 and Summer 1979.