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“The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors.”
— Franz Oppenheimer, The State, 1908 (emphasis mine)
“The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner. On the negative side, it has been proved beyond peradventure that no primitive State could possibly have had any other origins. Moreover, the sole invariable characteristic of the State is the economic exploitation of one class by another. In this sense, every State known to history is a class State.”
— Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, the State, 1935 (emphasis mine)
“In Western Europe, as in many other civilizations, the typical model of the origin of the State was not via a voluntary “social contract” but by the conquest of one tribe by another. The original liberty of the tribe or the peasantry thus falls victim to the conquerors. At first, the conquering tribe killed and looted the victims and rode on. But at some time the conquerors decided that it would be more profitable to settle down among the conquered peasantry and rule and loot them on a permanent and systematic basis. The periodic tribute exacted from the conquered subjects eventually came to be called “taxation.””
— Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 1973
If we accept the thesis that the states arise and have arisen, not through the hocus-pocus of “social” “contracts”, but through conquest, and are perpetuated as systems of exploitation — especially, to use Nock’s terminology, “of one class by another” — does it not follow that we are at war?
Does it not follow that all people living under state domination and exploitation ought to rebel, right now?
Does it not follow that all of the state’s edicts, decrees, laws, proclamations and regulations which affront the sensibility of the individual, the tribe, the family, the neighborhood, ought rightly be ignored, denounced, ridiculed and overthrown?
Does it not follow that state agents are the enemy and deserving, perhaps qualifiedly in some cases, of the same response given to those who violate a peaceful person, a peaceful tribe, a peaceful family, a peaceful neighborhood?
And yet this does not happen. It does not happen despite the noble efforts of generations of philosophers, revolutionaries, scholars, activists and teachers.
The whole planet has been conquered. The whole planet has been being conquered, and held under conquest and exploitation for the benefit of the smallest, most despicable number, for a great many centuries.
They live. We sleep. And it is we who live the nightmares.