"The more corrupt the state, the more laws."
"The state is but a myth which perpetuates itself daily."
-Ernest Renan (19th Century Philosopher)
"A state comes into existence because no individual is self-sufficing, we all have many needs."
-Plato (428-347 B.C.)
"Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The state calls its own violence law, and that of the individual crime."
The Ego and His own
"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."
"The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody."
"If we are to recover social harmony and virtue, if we are to build back into society the virtues that made it work for us, it is vital that we reduce the power and scope of the state."
The Origins of Virtue
" In fact, the whole business of the state is conducted on the supposition that no man either knows his own interest, or is fit to take care of himself."
History of Civilization in England (1857)
"This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention: the absorption of all spontaneous historical effort by the State, that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long run sustains, nourishes, and impels human destinies. When the mass suffers any ill-fortune or simply feels some strong appetite, its great temptation is that permanent, sure possibility of obtaining everything-without effort, struggle, doubt, or risk-merely by touching a button and setting the mighty machine in motion….But the mass man does in fact believe that he is the State, and he will tend more and more to set its machinery working on whatsoever pretext, to crush beneath it any minority which disturbs it-disturbs it in any order of things; in politics, in ideas, in industry.
The result of this tendency will be fatal. Spontaneous social action will be broken up over and over again by State intervention; no new seed will be able to fructify. Society will have to live for the State, man for the government machine. And as, after all, it is only a machine whose existence and maintenance depend on the vital supports around it, the State, after sucking out the very marrow of society, will be left bloodless, a skeleton, dead with that rusty death of machinery, more gruesome than the death of a living organism."
Ortega Y Gasset
The Revolt of the masses (1931)
"The oppressor no longer acts directly by his own force on the oppressed. No, our conscience has become too fastidious for that. There are still, to be sure, the oppressor and his victim, but between them is placed an intermediary, the state, that is, the law itself. What is better fitted to silence our scruples and-what is perhaps considered even more important-to overcome all resistance? Hence, all of us, with whatever claim, under one pretext or another, address the state. We say to it: "I do not find that there is a satisfactory proportion between my enjoyments and my labor. I should like very much to take a little from the property of others.....But that is dangerous. Could you not make it a little easier? Could you not find me a good job in the civil service or hinder the industry of my competitors or, still better, give me an interest-free loan of the capital you have taken from its rightful owners or educate my children at the public expense or grant me incentive subsidies to assure my well-being when I shall be fifty years old? By this means I shall reach my goal in all good conscience, for the law itself will have acted for me, and I shall have all the advantages of plunder without enduring either the risks or the odium."
See Albert Knock OUR Enemy: The State
"We common people of the old time based our conception of our statesmen almost entirely on the caricatures that formed the most powerful weapon in political controversy. Like almost every main feature of the old conditions of things these caricatures were an unanticipated development, they were a sort of parasitic outgrowth from, which had finally altogether replaced, the thin and vague aspirations of the original democratic ideals. They presented not only the personalities who led our public life, but the most sacred structural conceptions of that are, in ludicrous, vulgar, and dishonorable aspects that in the end came near to destroying entirely all grave and honorable emotion or motive toward the State. The state of Britain was represented nearly always by a red-faced, purse-proud farmer with an enormous belly; that fine dream of freedom, the United States, by a cunning, lean-faced rascal in striped trousers and a blue coat. The chief ministers of state were pick pockets, washerwomen, clowns, whales, asses, elephants, and what not; and issues that affected the welfare of millions of men were dressed and judged like a rally in some idiotic pantomime.."
In the Days of the Comet
"Throughout these years, the power of the State to do evil expanded with awesome speed. Its power to do good grew slowly and ambiguously."
"Let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples of the earth-they are the focus of evil in the modern world."
Book: "Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen: by James Bovard
Book: "The Myth of the State" by Ernest Cassier
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page