What Is the State? Reply

The first objective of any kind of anarchism worthy of the name has to be the dispersal of power. Too many anarchists put the cart before the horse and become theoretical anarchists but functional social democrats or Marxists in practice (or functional Republicans in the case of ancaps and some other “right-wing” anarchists). Of course, the counterargument to my position is that dispersal of power merely creates an agglomeration of micro-authoritarianisms rather than a singular macro-authoritarianism. In some cases, yes, probably. But that’s the point. Micro-authoritarianisms are much more easily resisted because they have a shorter reach.

Many anarchists will argue that local governments, businesses, communities, neighborhoods, schools, religious institutions, families, non-state organizations, etc. can also be authoritarian, abusive, retrograde, etc. Yes, at times, but none of these are comparable to modern totalitarian regimes, traditional imperialist empires, or the rising techno-oligarchies of the present era. Homeowners’ associations, local housing authorities, run of the mill employers, Westboro Baptist Church, deadbeat dads, or even companies as awful as McDonald’s do not amass nuclear weapons, invade other nations, maintain a prison-industrial complex, operate concentration camps, carry out genocides, or maintain drone wars. States do all of these things and the largest and most powerful states are the primary offenders.

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