As an anarchist, I all too often notice my peers of similar political stance toss out insults toward those of a more statist persuasion. Simply put, they call them “sheep.” The idea behind this jab isn’t too difficult to discern. Sheep, as a species, are followers. Around the world they are herded, sheered, and even slaughtered. Yet they are hardly even aware of their predicament, and follow their leaders cluelessly. It is because of this particular slur’s prevalence then, that I find interesting one of the foremost qualities I frequently observe among those of the anti-state persuasion is sheepishness. I don’t mean it, of course, in the sense that they are followers. They are not. The problem is their hesitancy and inability to communicate. Just as statist “sheeple” cluelessly follow, anti-statists wander about in their own world with no clue of how to get their ideas across. They are unable to commit to the level of ardor necessary to propel such radically different ideas in today’s society. They are afraid to upset.
Most people are probably familiar with the tired analogy tossed around in anti-state circles which states that “government is theft.” The idea is fairly simple: Government is illegitimate. It creates nothing. It neither has nor generates any value of its own. What it has, it has stolen from others. However this phrase and the ideas behind it are entirely lost on pro-government political types. What is a little bit of theft when it is going toward such a worthy cause? Besides, it takes from all of us. What anarchists need to realise is that not only is theft the inappropriate crime to embody the nature of the state, it is a crime far beneath the disturbing reality that government creates. It hardly begins to do justice to the injustice of government. The adage speaks only to the emptiness and lack of worth inherent in the organism that is the state. It does nothing to address the myriad and blatant evils of our government, and it also fails to highlight the nature of the interaction between the state and those it must prey upon to succeed in its aims. A more appropriate analogy which is able to do so features an even more egregious offence. To consider, in the correct light, the most evil of entities in our society we must look to the most evil of crimes. An honest look at the nature of the state triggers the chilling realisation that the government is nothing if not rape.
This is not hyperbole. This is clear, objective analogy. I understand that this is quite the accusation, so allow me to go on to explain.
An analogy is only a simple comparison. So let us compare government and rape. Rape is usually considered more heinous an offence than murder. A murder is certainly a horrible thing, but it does not possess the intimate violation of a person that rape does. Murder is simply the extinguishing of another human life. The murderer of course is violating the natural or human rights of another individual by depriving them of their life. They are applying violence to forcibly end the existence of another person. Rape, on the other hand — though often coupled with murder — goes beyond this. It is not only the simple destruction of another person; it is the act of denying another human being the right to self-determination in the most intimate sense. Rape is the application of force or threat of force in order to coerce another human being into cooperation with an act of the most personal sort.
While not all ends of government are evil — in fact many, if they were not perpetrated by government would be supremely good aims — the fact of the matter rests on the principle of the arrangement. It is simply because the government forces others to cooperate in these acts that they lose all virtue and merit. It is the same case in the matter of rape. While sexual relations can be a beautiful, pleasurable, and incredibly amazing experience, it is the very fact that this is being forced upon someone against their will — whatever their will would or could have been in other circumstances — that undeniably revokes any and all virtue from the act. In other words, regardless of whether someone would normally engage in or enjoy such an activity — an activity which under normal circumstances is definitely a good — because the act is now engaged in by threat of force it loses all positive attributes. By the same token, the aggressor in this case —though engaging in an action which would normally be considered good — is now not achieving any good through these actions. Even if the result of this aggression, and this normally beneficial act — would under any other conditions be a miraculous happening, such as the creation and birth of a new life, this good is at extremely great expense to all other parties involved and has been achieved at undeniably immoral means. Some might even argue that the good that has resulted is inherently tainted by the evil which occurred to bring it about.
Further still, there are those who cannot help but behave as apologists for government. They would say that government is somehow necessary. They would claim that it is because humanity is evil and immoral and stupidly unaware of its own faults that it must be controlled by those wiser and more morally sound than any given individual. Effectually, they feel it is our fault that we are repressed by the state. We deserve the treatment we receive. We bring it upon ourselves. Had we not government to check us we would not know any better, lest we be allowed to continue behaving as we see fit. These apologists would have that government be exempt from any acceptable or logical standard of morality, and thus exempt from any and all repercussions of its actions. These same apologists are those who find little issue with rape. They claim that women who are the victims of rape were “asking for it” with provocative clothing. These apologists feel that because sex is a good and considered good by women who enjoy engaging in it, the rape of them is simply forcing upon them what they would or should be doing anyway. How can it be a bad thing if it is something they should enjoy doing? They claim that rape victims bring upon themselves this horrible act by somehow acting irresponsibly. It could not be more obvious that the apologists in both these cases are advancing equally ridiculous arguments.
In the same way that our society, in general, has come to accept rape as an absolutely unacceptable human behaviour, we must do the same for the very existence of government. Most people today refuse to tolerate rapists and look down upon them as the lowest of the low within our society. Therefore it is the immediate task, and utmost responsibility, of free individuals everywhere to educate and raise awareness regarding the nature of the state. It remains every bit as important in our society — a society where both rape and government are an unfortunate reality and danger to every person — to ensure they are empowered to avoid and resist government wherever possible. While rape and government must be resisted and combatted in very different ways, it is simply reckless to pretend they do not exist or are any less evil than they truly are. Through changing the paradigm of our society to acknowledge the inherent evil present in the existence of government and the act of rape, and empowering ourselves to refuse the likes of them, we can move our world toward a place of true peace and justice. To strive to change the regressive mindset so pervasive in our society — that the state serves any other purpose than to indemnify itself of all wrong doing in order to take what it needs to survive, and does so at the expense of the humanity of our society — should be the goal of every individual concerned about the wellbeing of that society.
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