It is not my interest to defend the state, or civilization, or society, or however you choose to label or reify what is, and what suppresses, rules, or claims authorship. We may describe it, theorize as to the whys behind its whats and hows, and so on, but it needs no defense. After all, what is the State? The word is simple. It is what stands; it is what is.
But let us deconstruct what the State is, because it is also an arrangement, a mass of living beings who, were they to do something else, would form another state of being. The entire world could change in a day were we ourselves to change first. It is a fascinating thing and a source of hope to realize that we are not dealing with History or God or Truth or Destiny but people. Not even The People. We are dealing with people, who are frustrating and difficult and stupid and cruel but also kind and giving and curious and strong.
I do not defend the State by citing what it gives. I know that what it offers it takes away. But how should I consider those who do defend the state? How should I consider those who accept the power around them?
In looking at these people--our impulse may be to say "those people"--how easily we may lapse into bestial imagery. Hogs at the trough. Sucklings at the teat. Cowards. Parasites. Fools! Oh, how fools and dupes and imbeciles dance through anarchist and libertarian literature! People, we lament, are stupid. Too stupid, by far, to liberate themselves as we claim to have done. Or too lazy. Or too fearful. Or too complacent. Or too-- or too-- or not enough-- or not this, or not that...
And yet you need only work or live among people in great number to see what is borne by them, like a gang of mules. They may grumble or they may not, but they pay, as by far the billions pay... And you can tell in their faces that while most people are at least a little lazy, at least a little pathetic, at least a little pitiful, at least a little culpable for what has befallen them, there is something more as well. And sometimes you can screw up really badly by expecting a fool to remain foolish.
I don't defend a system that batters millions, that colludes and interlocks with others to keep billions battered and suppressed. But I do give benefit of doubt to those who hold up its pillars, at least for now. It is of grave importance that I understand why they do what they do.
Because they do not owe me any faith in the liberation I may theorize. They do not owe me even the opportunity to hear from them what better system they might devise on their own. I don't have the right to say they are wrong and I am right. I can say I disagree. I can say I think there's something better, some tactic they haven't yet employed, or haven't employed in a long while, that will better get them where they want to be.
Because I feel the State is a liquor. It is a drug, it is a vice. But the thing about vices is that they do something very powerful for their indulgents. And you can beat up that drunk, you can ridicule her, you can blame him all you want, and you'll be right to. The truth is that there is something very blameworthy in the choices made by people all around us, and by us as well. But until you acknowledge that the solution has failed, that it was an attempt that has failed to provide what it promised and that it must be set aside in favor of something better--
Until you look for and recognize the wisdom of fools and the courage of cowards, you will find no change.