I won’t argue, that ISIS and the Modern Nation-State are in any way the same, because they are not. But I will argue, that the origins of a state as an idea are much closer to that of ISIS than you might imagine.
You see, the core idea and the core basic principle on which the State stands is not governance per-se, but the exclusive “right” to coerce. In other words, the modern State is founded on the idea, that there exists one group of people who claim to have the valid and legitimate right to use violence, aggression and threats thereof upon the rest on any given territory.
Do you know any other group that asserts that “right”? Mafia did, but the State and peoples eradicated it. And now ISIS also does. I would even believe, that one of the only reasons, why we still call it ISIS and not Islamic State, as they would call themselves and also claim to be a caliphate, which is a state ruled by a caliph, which is Arabic for “successor,” meaning successor to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. The last generally acknowledged Muslim caliphate was the Ottoman Empire, which ended in 1923. Many governments and media refuse to use this name because it gives the group, de facto by recognition, legitimacy as a state and a representative of Islam.
I should note, that most of what we call States today have only become as such as also de jure States, by being recognized as de facto rulers over certain territory. Other entities may have de facto control over a territory but lack international recognition; these may be considered by the international community to be only de facto states. They are considered de jure states only according to their own law and by states that recognise them.
Why is that important, you might ask? This is important because in its own accord ISIS or any kind of tyrannical mob rule in some respect does consider themselves legitimate rulers over certain area and thus their peoples. Bud do you really think that they have that legitimacy? Furthermore, do you really think that those who recognized or didn’t recognize said self-appointed de facto rulers are anything more than them? Do you really think that in the genealogies of the States there is anything virtuous and pro-humanity? Do you really think, that just because people of certain area elected someone, or a group thereof, to rule them, that they are still anything more then serfs? Do you really think, that people have always wanted to pay taxes? Nay! They never did, historically speaking of course.
When you actually go and read about it and study about it, about the State, the ideas thereof were always abstractions of some kind of meta-order defined and constantly redefined or rather re-idealized by Academics (here and thenafter I don’t mean all academics was problematic, but let’s leave this issue till some other time) in favour of the powers that employed them, and furthermore because of their resentment of merchants, whom they despised. Academics and power-mongers share one thing in common, that is that they view them selves as a priori worthy of power, rulership and leadership of the peoples, because of their, in their minds inherent knowledge and supposed wisdom. Furthermore, the fact that their “knowledge” was difficult to sell, as opposed to the works of lowly merchants and creators of physical goods, meant that they couldn’t simply make their lives better off, as was actually often the case for merchant families and sometimes guilds. The only way to do so, was to to lobby the policy makers, rulers and the rest of the ruling class. They appeased them, as they still do to this day, by supplying them with theorems and to their ears plausible truths, which power-hungry ruling class wanted to hear, that therein, whether on the throne or in the parliament lies the power of subjugation that they seek. They, the witty academics, found a way to appeal to the masses with some half-truths masked in lies and deceit, and another way to appeal to the politicians and ruling classes, to produce a sense of truth and legitimacy where there is none. With their witty language and phrases most people don’t know about, albeit sounding educated, they abhorrently “helped” us think that we know what we are talking about, when we talk about the State.
Of course we believed them. Naturally, they are, in truth, more educated than we are, and they do seem to know what they are talking about. So that must be the truth. It must therefore be the truth, that democracy equals freedom, even though from experience we know it doesn’t. It must be truth, therefore, that social programs decreed by the State are good, because they redistribute from one to give unto another, even though from experience we know full well, that if anyone else did that, we would consider it criminal. It must therefore be truth, that everyone, but the State and their police and military powers, must necessarily be disarmed for, supposedly, their own safety and welfare; in spite of the inherent human right of self-defense and thus the rightful legitimate protection of oneself, his kin and those whom one loves and cares for. Actually, when you think about it, you don’t really need government, much less the State.
By slowly giving away our liberties and rights, and not openly opposing them or rebelling, supposedly for our own good, we have became accustomed to it. We don’t know anymore how it is like to take care of each other and ourselves. We don’t know anymore how it’s like living with genuine non-violent humans and how to legitimately and rightfully opposing those, with whom we are in quarrel. We have forgotten how to be civilized.
But you know what? It didn’t used to be like this. State as we know it was once very similar to ISIS. It used to openly acted with violence towards those who did not obey. British soldiers and policemen in colonial India for example were very clear, that they will exercize their power to coerce peoples of india into subjugation. American Police are more and more looking like military and are once again using more coercion than necessary. Or French Revolution for example, people as well as royal military were very openly violent on the streets. People because of their spite towards the King and military because of their protection of the king. There was once a time, when people, with the help of the State openly sentenced their foes with cruelty we now associate with ISIS. Some actually killed and dismembered people. You would think that this was true for middle ages, but you’d be wrong. The last time it happened it was after the Cold War even. Torture is still widely used practice to this day.
It doesn’t really matter why they do it, the fact is that any Modern State not only has their roots in violence and dehumanization, but I would argue, that subjugation and serfdom of their citizens is the State’s only real goal, albeit masking it as serving the public, which is through the State impossible and doing so subvertly. Of course they will never say it. They will hire spokesmen and academics, with whom they collude, and present it in the media as a means to a higher goal. Something for national security, whatever that means. But mind you me, that it is never for the freedom and human flourishing.
As I have written about it before, the State is the cult, as dangerous as the caliph that ISIS says is the basis of their authority. It’s goal is your obedience without ever questioning not only their authority, but even their right to exist.
So here and now I ask you one thing. Please, tell me something. Do you believe that your state, to which you belong, has the right to exist? Do you believe that it has, as an imaginary legal personality, a right to force anyone to do anything? If the answer is even remotely positive, that is that you believe that the State is either necessary or even mandatory, then you must at the same time say, that ISIS’ claim is legitimate and real and that they have the right to do whatever they decree. And I do ask of you to be consistent.
You see, it is very important what you believe and you can not be a relativist here. We’re talking about serious thing here. Id does not matter if you are condemning the actions of individuals of ISIS, if you are at the same time saying, that the State should do something about it. It also does not matter if you as a citizen demand something from the State or if the State decrees through their employees, or as you call them: through your representatives or what-have-you, and then does that. No matter if the action of the State produced cruelty, or apparent welfare. The State is always and always will be inherently violent and coercive, even if you vote against it. And just because you don’t see the violence it commits it doesn’t mean it doesn’t do it.
Think about it. The State which openly does the violence that it does, is at least honest. The ones we are under here and now are much more subtle. Through the State education they teach us incorrect (whilst at the same time politically correct) histories, they indoctrinate us into obedience and never-ending cycles of inabilities to question anything. The information they give, is served to us on the silver plates as if that is the truth and ought never to be anything else, but truth. Through the “welfare” programs it locks endless families and individuals into never-ending state of dependence on government checks. Through regulation of work and jobs, minimum wage is just an example, it makes us a statistic through which it can brag about on the International arena, when at the same time it makes us tools for their wicked purposes. Through control over money it enslaves us into first working, then involuntary payment of taxes for our lifetimes, and then at the end of every day serves us with even more crap we soak in as a sponge, believing it, and obeying it. We know we are not allowed to resist. We don’t even know anymore, what they would do to us. They might steal even more of our monetary property whilst calling it penalty, or they might use us as an example, telling lies on their media channels. They might even imprison us. Who knows. But deep down, no matter how patriotic we are, you and I know that we are not allowed to say NO. You and I know, deep down, that the State is not what it tells it is.
If you couldn’t pinpoint to it up until now, here it is. State is violence. State, whether ISIS or the one to which you were made to swear allegiance to, is violence. It is the monopoly of coercion on any given territory.
And so, the next time they serve you with another set of images of ISIS or whoever, remember who is the real enemy. Remember that the real enemy is much much closer. It is the one on your passport. Who knows, maybe you or I might be aggressed against by the very State, we are forced to be a part of. And remember, obedience is not a virtue!