The Sovereign Individual and the State – a Mortal Enmity

By Azazel

M E T A N A R R A T I V E

Since the beginning of civilization an incorporeal entity has dominated the landscape of human politics, whether in the form of a walled city ruled by an elite council or a large-scale empire encompassing numerous peoples and cultures within it has come to define how concepts such as authority, “justice,” “law” or fidelity have been interpreted by those that live beneath its shadow – the entity called state.  It’s only a concept, but those who promote the idea of state are those with enough wealth and weaponry to strike down those who would challenge the rule of society’s elite: according those in power, one must either accept that all people are united in a single body (whether it’s called the city, the nation, the empire or something else makes no difference) under the leadership of said elite group and swear obedience to it or else face the consequences (confiscation of property, imprisonment, torture, death and even the death of one’s own in extreme cases).

Also from the dawn of human history are those who find the very existence of such entities ridiculous – individual persons who see no need for a central authority to dictate how one must think or act.  Such individuals are their own sovereigns: they value themselves and their own first and foremost, live by their own codes of ethics and tend to eschew the dictates of the powers that be when they contradict their own interests.  Through the ages the entity called state has ridiculed such persons with a variety of titles such as barbarians, “criminals” or anarchists due to these tendencies (even when such labels don’t necessarily fit the individual’s characteristics).

Thus a struggle was born between those who would be rulers and those who simply refuse to be ruled by powers outside themselves – the state and the sovereign individual have been at war with each other as long as they have existed because they cannot coexist with one another as one entity seeks ever increasing dominion and resources whilst the other cares primarily for what is in its own interests as defined solely by itself.  With each entity being at cross-purposes with the other, the only resolution possible is that one or the other should perish.

Throughout most of human history the state has held almost total sway in this war – as it controlled nearly all wealth, information (as until fairly recently education was only affordable to the elite) and weaponry available, the state’s only real concerns were rival state entities and running out of wealth.  Every now and then a few sovereign individuals would rise up and make waves (which often lead to rebellions of various forms), but the state was strong enough to either crush them in their infancy through force of arms or else find a means to co-opt them for their own purposes through its control of information.  However, now that the information age has come the tide is starting to turn: while wealth is still largely controlled by the state, information once locked away in the vaults are now posted on sites like Wikileaks for all to see and weaponry has become more available to the common man than at any previous time in history – giving the sovereign individual venues to strike back at the power that attempts to repress him than he could have even imagined in previous times.

But for now the state still holds a powerful tool that helps ensure its grasp on power – the power of cultural mythology.  The state convinces the common person that its existence is a “good” thing for him (or at least necessary for civil society): this is a mentality that needs to be dispelled for the sovereign individual to triumph…

Common myths of power

Myth: Centralized power structures enable a “greater good” to be done throughout society.

Reality: Power only concerns itself with power – anything that it does to serve any kind of “greater good” is peripheral to its true intent and is only done when power benefits from such things.  A good example would be national infrastructure programs: while such things do benefit the common person to an extent, the *real* purposes of projects such as new roads and bridges are (1.) to benefit wealthy contracting firms and facilitate the movement of capital from region to region (which are *very* profitable affairs for those who buy influence from the political class) and (2.) to create new tasks for common people to occupy themselves with (which temporarily alleviate persisting social problems like rampant unemployment and building social unrest – sort of like putting a bandage on cancer).

Rather than address the real concerns that effect the general population (like overpopulation and an economy that promotes unhealthy attitudes towards wealth, for example), most projects the powerful launch treat the symptoms of the actual problems we all face (through promoting the outward expansion of populations or simply keeping them distracted with menial tasks, as mentioned in the example above).  Now I’m not saying “death to infrastructure” or anything like that: what I *am* saying is that centralized power structures cannot be trusted to manage such things – anything centralized power touches will serve its own ends first and foremost, not yours.

Myth: The excesses of state power can be tempered through the participation of its citizens – the common man can be given a say over how he is governed.

Reality: The entity called state cares very little for the opinions of the common person – it only pretends to care for the sake of preserving social order.  One doesn’t have to look far beyond the bogus “democracy” that the Western world favors: whilst the parties of the political class claim to be different in their platforms that they tout during the elections, the policies they make differ very little in practice.  One need only look at the results of the “hope” and “change” campaign launched by the presiding head of Executive branch of the U.S. government for a painful reminder of this fact.

Some might argue that the reason we are saddled with government like this is because the system is corrupted by corporate money, which is a valid point, but misses the core issue – concentrated power tends to attract the most corrupt and power-hungry elements of society to it (if it wasn’t multi-national corporations, it would be some other power buying/coaxing influence from the state to serve its cause).  Having so much power concentrated in so few hands (which is an inescapable reality of centralized power structures) is simply too dangerous to keep around: the only thing a sovereign individual may do with such systems is work to destroy them so that more localized power centers may rise up and take their place – after all, it far easier to keep an authority that lives next door in line than one that resides in the halls of power located far beyond your reach…

Myth: Even if the state is malicious, it keeps order – without it society would degenerate into total anarchy.

Reality: Societies existed well before the creation of the state – they might not have been what most people call “civilized” but they did provide a semblance of order without rigidly established power structures of any kind.  I’m pretty confident that it would be a relatively simple matter to form new social structures (like Stirniresque “unions of egoists” or Proudhon’s individualist social contracts) to replace the failed institutions that die along with the state.

But let’s just assume, for argument’s sake, that the collapse of state results in bellum omnium contra omnes – such a state of existence would not significantly threaten sovereign individuals (as we are well-adapted to living outside of conventional bounds of “law” and authority anyway), but rather it would pose a serious challenge for those well-entrenched in the present order: such people tend to be inflexible and don’t handle change very well – creating an environment of a war of all against all would simply allow natural selection to run its course and flush out the parasites (particularly politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists) that contribute nothing to us yet demand *everything* from us.  When the dust finally settles, those who are strong enough to survive the test of chaos will simply build new lives without the social establishment dictating their lives to them.

Should these myths lose their power over the minds of the average persons, the state will find it difficult to maintain its grip on their throats – with the individual having unprecedented access to information and arms in this day and age all that’s needed is for him to lose whatever loyalty he still has to this diseased system for him to launch a successful, open revolt against his those who would be masters over him.

A new vision

Instead of trying to take over the reins of state power and push society in a direction that a handful choose to move it, we envision a world in which each person is capable of determining his own direction – his own personal code of behaviors, his own social environment, his own values and can define himself based on who he is and what he can do rather than arbitrary criteria imposed upon him by the establishment (“race,” religion, class, place of birth or whatever other trivia society considers important).

All social contracts would be made down at the individual level rather than formatted into a “one-size-fits-all” contract that the individual has no say in negotiating terms of acceptance – which means no more standardized employment contracts (you work on what *you* agree are fair terms), no more citizenship (you affiliate with whatever social group *you* deem worthy of affiliation – and your affiliation can be withdrawn whenever *you* deem it harmful to your interests) and no more pyramid-shaped authority structures (no one can dictate your life to you – how appropriate your behaviors are is determined entirely by you and those around you rather than approved/disapproved from on high).  All “law” would be effectively cancelled and centralized powers (governments, churches, corporations, etc…) disbanded and their authority to determine the nature of “right” or “wrong” would be laid at the feet of all people everywhere to use at their own discretion.

Of course, to accomplish this, the means that centralized power uses must be destroyed or else neutralized – to this end, the powers of state and its axillaries (the churches, corporations, NGOs, etc…) would be broken up and distributed for all to use for their own ends or else completely destroyed.   All armies would be disbanded and replaced by local militias that have their own chains of command that the membership involved agrees upon among themselves; all places of worship shall be rendered obsolete as all matters of faith will be handled at the individual level – everyone of a religious persuasion is his own priest and those who are not have no priest at all; all paper and electronic currencies would be cancelled out and all titles of ownership destroyed, granting real wealth value once again and giving property to those who have the strength to say “this is mine” and defend their claims for themselves rather than to bureaucrats and rulers who give away titles at their discretion.

Granted, this is a very rough sketch of what a new society run by sovereign individuals would look like – but the purpose of this section is to instill a new vision of life into your minds.  A is plan not as important as the ideas because the artificial structures around us are a product of the collective vision society espouses: change the vision and the outcome will more or less change itself – once the established powers that would prevent the new vision from becoming a reality are removed from the picture, that is.  Destroy the established powers (both the physical form and the ideals they are based upon) and the details of the new vision of life will take care of themselves.

We, the sovereign individuals of the world, have nothing to gain from the powers of state and everything to lose should its power go unchallenged – I implore you now to rebel against its dictates, deface its revered institutions and prepare for a protracted armed conflict with the infrastructure designed to suppress dissent.  The powers of state are not moved by argument or persuasion but by force: be sure that you have the means to answer the establishment’s threats of violence in kind – for that is the one and only language it understands.  Destroy the state and take back the powers it has stolen from you so that you might all forge a new world in your own image.

Sovereign individuals of the world – unite!