Lew Rockwell on the (il)legitimacy of the state

Questioning the Legitimacy of the State

Posted by Lew Rockwell on January 11, 2011 12:34 PM

Jacob Weisberg of Slate knows who’s really to blame for the attempted murder of a congresswoman:

At the core of the far right’s culpability is its ongoing attack on the legitimacy of U.S. government—a venomous campaign not so different from the backdrop to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Then it was focused on “government bureaucrats” and the ATF. This time it has been more about Obama’s birth certificate and health care reform. In either case, it expresses the dangerous idea that the federal government lacks valid authority. It is this, rather than violent rhetoric per se, that is the most dangerous aspect of right-wing extremism.

So, if you do not accept the asserted right of a socially parastic group of officials, tax collectors, money-printers, redistributors, spies, regulators, planners, soldiers, jailers, capital punishers, and police–the US government–to rule and spy on every aspect of your life, to seize whatever amount of your property it deems proper, to send you and your children to kill in foreign lands, to read your emails and listen to your phone calls, to run your family, your business, your community: you foment murder. Does this mean, by the way, that those who promoted the recent aggressive wars of the US government, which have built a mountain of Muslim skulls under the Bushes, Clinton, and Obama, are accessories to murder? Of course not. Anyone killed by the US government deserves it. Anyone seized in secret, renditioned to a federal torture facility, abused and and held in secret or even killed in secret, deserves it. To doubt the validity of such actions by the US government makes you no better than a government-trained bomber who bombed a government building.

In other words, we are to believe that what Murray Rothbard correctly called “a gang of thieves writ large,” the State, owns us. We refuse to be owned. And all over America and the world, more and more people, young people, especially, are coming to understand the anatomy of the State, and its filthiest activity, mass murder. It is the job of anarcho-capitalists and our allies precisely to delegitmatize that locus of aggressive violence, the State. Even our Austrian economics seeks peace and social cooperation above all else. We understand that government harms both, and prosperity, too.

Everyone knows that private criminality is wrong. The far-vaster public criminality, which gave the world more than 100 million murders in just the last century, remains enshrined in too many minds.  Of course, the delegitmization process is, of necessity, non-violent, and not only for religious and other ethical reasons. It is the US government that has the atom bombs, the chemical and biological weapons, the armies, the spies, the secret police, the black ops, the CIA assassins, the mercenaries–a million and one instruments of horror. Even if we wanted to, and we do not, we could not possibly compete on those grounds. However, we have the truth, and when that truth is known and understood, the edifice of aggression can topple over, without violence. Freedom and peace: that is our hope, that is our prayer, that is our goal.


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