social cooperation. Wills ignores these arguments, argument which were in the writingsof the very people his book discusses. It could perhaps be argued that these argumentsweren’t clearly stated enough for Wills to notice them, and they are much more clearlystated in similar arguments by English and other European Classical Liberals, Radicals,and Liberal Anarchists, but Wills is completely unfamiliar with them so he didn’tunderstand the implications of the Americans’ writings. The strong arguments against TheState point out that The State basically by definition is not society and violates anycomprehensible definition of law and justice. It must commit evil which is why it isconsidered a necessary evil. As George Washington said, “Government is not reason; it isnot eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” WhileWills is familiar with the results of these arguments, seen in the writings he discusses inhis book, I believe he ignores the underlying arguments about principles and the nature of the state.
What is the State?
Before continuing it is probably best to examine what The State is. In the popular mindand in rhetoric, speeches, etc. it is often conflated with society and the nation. Aseffective as this is for legitimizing the state, it doesn’t make it true. As any PoliticalScience class will tell you the state is as Max Weber said – an organization that has amonopoly over the legitimization of the use of force in a given territory. There are severalkey points about what the state is.1.It is a corporation. That is to say that it is an abstract body or legal entity whosemembers derive their power from their position but do not possess it. (With theking and feudalism powers are inherited and inherent in the person, a property if not property.)2.As a corporation it is separate from society. It is also separate from the military.(In feudalism everyone in power is basically society and the military. Similarlythe Greek Polis and the Roman Republic may look like states, but are effectivelythe assembled people, i.e. society, the free adult males who fight.)3.It often ostensibly serves and is subordinate to the king, feudal ruler, owners,nation, people, public, party, or other rulers.4.It claims it is Sovereign, answering to no higher authority, e.g. Emperor, God, TheChurch, Natural Law or other Law, international opinion, more powerful states, or common decency.5.Being Sovereign, it claims to decide what use of force is legitimate. This includesdeciding the legitimacy of the actions of state officials, the military, and membersof society.6.It claims it alone has the right to tax.7.It claims it alone can make war.8.It is a relatively recent and Western concept and not one found in practically allsocieties at all times.9.There being other forms of Government in other times, The State is clearly notnecessary for government or law.