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  • William H. Douglas

Dissolve The State

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

The State perseveres because it has convinced people that it is needed, that without someone to beat, cage, rob, and murder everyone then people would just go insane. But American history alone proves this isn’t true. The fact that massive riots reacting against unjust and oppressive government laws take place in cycles every five to ten years have revealed the exact opposite of what statists claim is true- the product of the State is violence and insanity. All of its outcomes are twisted, mediocre, and ultimately only about extending or protecting its power. But most people do not know this because they have been mentally conditioned since childhood to think of the State as the Secular Messiah who can deliver them from all their woes and to think of any other possibilities as absurd.

Getting around this mental conditioning - perhaps brainwashing considering the idolatrous effusions of love and subjection we are taught to pledge to the State and its glories from our youngest years - can be the most difficult task of all, but it is the most necessary. Everything else we do will only be half-measures if we do not wean people off their illusions of safety and reliance upon the State because, as the history of the United States demonstrates, the bend of Statism is always towards greater and greater totalitarianism. Minarchy is merely the ante-chamber of the total state. If we do not pull people away from their faith in the State altogether then the result, at best, will only be a momentary pull back of the policing powers of the State; momentary because they will increase again and again, sometimes slow and sometimes quickly but always inevitably, until they arrive at where they are now once more, and, perhaps, go beyond. If we hope to make things truly better, to cripple racism, nationalism, sexism, Socialism, Fascism, and all other forms of hatred and oppression, if we truly want to take from them their soul-crushing power, we must get rid of the State itself.

So, how do we do that? Said simply, you replace it.

There are many terms for this, the main two being Constructive Programs and Parallel Institutions. Without going in depth into these concepts, something that could be its own long article, the brief explanation of this idea is that in order to replace the system of oppression you have to construct a system that offers the people what they believe the oppressive system does, minus the oppression. So, if people believe that the government feeds the hungry then we must build systems of charity that feed the hungry. If people believe the oppressive system grants them protection, then we must build systems that help them feel safe and which can use the power of peace to counteract violence. If people believe the oppressive system creates community, unity, and friendship then we must build systems that create real community, real unity, and real friendship, even amongst nominal enemies. If people believe the oppressive system offers education, then we have to build a system that puts education within the possibility of the poor. If people believe the State should manage justice, then we must build parallel institutions that help people achieve justice. And so on, ad infinitum.

One of the great things about these institutions is that they’re multitudinous. Instead of one top-down model being forced onto hundreds of millions of people that is insanely expensive and fails to accomplish almost all of its most foundational goals, by building constructive programs and parallel institutions we generate a plethora of systems that can be adapted to the wants and needs of the parent and student. Even more importantly, we create the setting where new systems and new technologies unthought of before, but which serve the needs of people better than anything ever before, can be freely developed, voluntarily tested, and ably enacted.

This diversity is one of the greatest strengths of these constructive programs. They allow people to find or develop systems that serve not just their needs, it allows people to build systems which can be adopted and adapted by others to meet their needs and improve their lives. Secular or religious, Black or White, native born or immigrant, men or women, queer or straight, there are many needs we all have that overlap with others and needs which are also totally unique to us. Parallel Institutions allows us to develop the methods that best meet our needs and create ways that we can help each other in a large variety of ways whereas the State forces one rigid method on everyone because it serves the needs, ways, and forms of those in power.

It is essential that we help people see that not only do they not need the State but that its existence actively hinders and works against the needs of the public. We can achieve victories, even great victories using the power of nonviolence, noncompliance, exposing the State for what it is, and overwhelming its systems, but we will never triumph over the State until we can show that it is never needed. If we don’t triumph over it then it will lay like Nidhogg gnawing at the roots of Yggsdrasil, eating away at every advance made, increasing its power at every opportunity, inciting hatred and divisions along whatever fault lines it can, seeking to destroy anything that gets in its way, and ravaging the world in the process. Our work will only ever be half finished and always in peril.

So, we must have constructive programs that build parallel institutions which replace the functions of the state and meet the needs of the public in order to ensure people never revert back to the State out of desperation once it is gone. As we build them, we will draw people to them while exposing the State for what it is and its lies for what they are. As we build our institutions people will see how successful they are, voluntarily adopt them and turn away from the State. They will be converted away from the Cult of the State by degrees as they find our institutions meet their wants and needs in ways that the State never has and never will. They won’t need a massive ideological conversion. Reason and logic alone will convert them. After all, why would you allow yourself to be robbed, beaten, caged, and killed by this malformed thing that neither you nor anyone else needs, when everything you need can and is being provided privately and peacefully? There will not need to be a war or bloodshed on our part, no need to rule by blood and horror, in order to “win” our freedom. We will simply be free and the State, deprived of its extorted wealth and having no power over a fearless people, will dissolve like so much sea foam in the ocean breeze.

And when it does, these institutions that we have built will continue on serving the needs of the people who will neither want nor need to return to the old ways of oppressive violence and robbery in order to get even the semblance of justice. After all, why would you settle for a shadow of the thing when you have the thing itself, why settle for a picture of bread when you have a fresh loaf in your hands? This is one of the great blessings of nonviolence. Understanding the poison of the State, we can take the power of the nonviolence farther than merely trying to reform some aspect of it. We can move beyond the State altogether.

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