I’ve always said that if you scratch a Christian long enough, you’ll uncover a moral nihilist. The same is true with statism: if you scratch a statist long enough, you’ll uncover a moral nihilist. Statists are necessarily moral nihilists because, like the Christians, they believe in a religion based on a morality of blind authority, with the State as god (whose members are without fault even if they are the worst, most corrupt individuals), the law as its doctrine, television as its daily mass, and voting as its ritual. Both worldviews are founded on a number of moral a prioris, the most fundamental of which being the belief that morality can only be enforced by a supreme, central, transcendental, collectivist authority.
What happens when you ask them to justify this implicit but fundamental premise? it is impossible to justify it rationally, since no truth can be enforced by authority: truth simply exists whether we care about it or not, and it does not bend to human will. What everyone can easily see is that the human will easily bends to force, and that threats and fear have been the main tool of religion and statism since they began to exist as forms of oppression, and so the justification that will always eventually come to the mind of the believer is: our moral structure is right because we will reward any disagreement with force, in this life or in the next.
In short, what I say is right because we have the might. Might is right. Well, this is moral nihilism right there. No better example!
Why can the State steal our money, steal our land, kidnap people on the basis of its arbitrary rules, and take over a whole territory on the basis of arbitrary borders? Because it can, because we’ll shut you up or kill you if you disagree and rebel. Because our State can beat up other States. Because the State is strong, and maybe, if we pray hard enough to it, it’ll deign to protect us a little bit. If we sing to it long enough, it might give us a little bit of freedom back.
If you do manage to get a believer to this point, congratulate yourself on having finally stripped him of his rationalizations and forcing him to acknowledge the root of his belief system.
Once you understand that statism is, at its roots, a “might makes right” ideology, you can understand what its creative act is. The creative act of the State is not producing anything (since States, being parasites, do not produce anything of their own), the creative act of the State is not in writing law or regulation, the creative act of the State is not in drawing borders: it lies the shooting of a gun. For the gun is the source of not only authority, as Mao said, but also of the authoritarian morality. There is no point in having a coercive monopoloid system of law (such as all democratic States have) without the might to enforce it. This is why statists support gun control: the power to create morality must belong only to God, the State, otherwise we would have chaos. Do you see?
What are the corollaries to the now-explicit premise that “might makes right”? One of them is that Anarchy is a violent, threatening ideology. If we start from the premise that “might makes right,” how else could Anarchists become as legitimate as the State? Obviously they must want to use force in order to establish themselves as the new authorities. From that mindset, principled resistance (which is to say, non-violent resistance) is a concept that can’t even be considered, unless of course one knows about the history of State resistance.
If “might makes right,” then obviously any crime committed by a State agent is irrelevant or justifiable, as we observe statists do with alarming regularity. If there is no moral standard but that which the State establishes itself, then any crime committed by State agents in the name of the State is ipso facto not a crime but rather necessary. So we should see the warmongers or the police-supporters pretty much as being in the same category as the Christian whackjobs who defend genocide in the Bible by saying that God is necessarily good regardless of what he does because God sets the moral standard. It is pure insanity, of course: but once you accept the internal logic, it probably seems perfectly natural. This is why, once again, it is so important to destroy false moral premises instead of trying to argue from effect…