The fact that people are not perfect does not make us BAD, and therefore, in need of a ruling class. The acceptance of humanity’s “badness” – NOT in the Michael Jackson sense – is deep rooted, and may be the single philosophical cause for the justification of the State. At least that’s how Thomas Hobbes saw it. Sure, “I’m not bad, but they MIGHT be,” is a valid concern, but does the concern justify the necessity of a ruling class and the creation of Leviathan?
Oddly enough, an individual human being almost never sees themselves as being bad, or having ill intentions. I don’t see myself as a bad actor, and I doubt you do either. Neither does your neighbor, or the person from the next town, state, region, or country see themselves as wanting to cause harm to others. Nevertheless, despite our inability to locate a self-admittedly evil person, we erect elaborate State apparatuses to protect us against these ever-evasive boogeymen.
Granted, how people see themselves, and what their actual actions tell us, can sometimes be two different things. For example, Charles Manson IS a bad actor. However, I doubt anyone would conclude that in order to stop an individual like Manson, we must spend trillions on a robust State to safeguard us against such anomalies. That mentality would be like dropping a hydrogen bomb on a housefly. Of course Manson is “bad,” but do we really want to judge humanity against that standard? And in judging, what are we comparing Manson to? As diabolical as Manson is, compared to Hitler, Mao, Lennon, Stalin, and Pol Pot, Manson might be considered quite insignificant. What’s the difference? The latter group controlled and used the very State apparatus that was “supposed” to protect people, to instead, murder innocent people on a massive scale! Manson was directly involved in the killing of seven people; hundreds of millions of people have been killed at the hands of the State in the twentieth century alone!
Ironically, creating a State apparatus to protect us only adds integers to the prospect of harm coming against us. Like making mountains out of molehills, the State makes Maos out of Mansons.
Individuals, overall, are not fully “bad,” nor fully “good.” We are imperfect people just doing the best we can. We want what’s best for ourselves and our neighbor, to live peaceably, and to leave a better world for our posterity; all good things. I can think of no greater way to magnify our “badness” and imperfections, than to give absolute control and power to a few people who think they are capable of such demagoguery.
If you think “people are bad,” it solves nothing to select, out of the same group of “people,” rulers whose superficial charge is to keep “bad people” at bay. For are they not people, imperfect people, themselves?
This article “Do Humans Need Government Because We’re ‘Bad’?”” is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Matthew Cornforth and emancipatedhuman.com.