One of the dumbest things to come out of the Anarchist camp is the term Statheism. I guess yours truly qualifies as a prime example of a Statheist so I might as well take the time to explain why this derogatory term is attributed to a position which is neither derogatory, nor the least bit irrational.
Statheism can be summed up as nothing more than a bland attempt at juvenile mockery, thought up by what I can only conclude to be desperate Anarchists who seem to think they're far wittier than they really are. Aimed to target the more gullible and uneducated Atheists who approve of the existence of the State to some degree (any degree), the goal is to contrive parallels to God approval in hopes of shaming intellectually insecure non-believers into converting to Anarchism/Anti-Statism. It has actually worked quite well in the few examples I've observed. If I may, here's an overview of the connotation's mind-inflating profoundness, in action, off the top of my head:
While you've succeeded in rejecting religions/deism/supernatural phenomena as irrational and non-existent, you've remained "just as dogmatic" as your religious counterparts because you still advocate the existence of the State, which is as intellectually and ethically bankrupt as any religious text. You succumb to this clearly as emotional compensation to fill the comfort-hole your newely formed irreligious world view has sparked within you.
And so on. I'm uncertain as to whether the Anarchists capable of uttering this tripe are at all aware of just how loudly this line of thought screams lack of nuance, or if it genuinely escapes them. I lean towards them not being oblivious to the simple-mindedness at play and knowing full well that the analogy is void of both cleverness and, more importantly, of substance. Still, they seem to just not give a hoot since their potential converts (fresh-off-the boat Atheists) often come off as the type of prey easily susceptible to the most transparent of tactics. I'm referring to people who comment on their videos and say stupid shit like "I like the idea of Anarchism, I just don't think it can work now, the culture has to change" and all that fluff. Any brain capable of being swayed by an analogy this bogus is probably plagued by the type of piss-poor programming where it will also find the broad "faith" comparisons to be very persuasive and intriguing. I'm referring to the all too common equating of religious faith to cost/benefit analyses applied to everyday trivial matters where hope wins out. We've all heard these before, where it's overcast with 70% precipitation and the Atheist heading outside is perfectly aware of the prognosis, but still chooses to leave the umbrella home due to having faith that it will remain dry, and is therefore "just as vulnerable to faith's charming ways" as your average theist. From where I'm sitting, the Statheist contrivance entailing Theist/Statist similarity is just as superficial as the "We all operate on faith" contrivance of similarity. Both remorselessly rape nuance. The only difference is that hardly anyone ever bothers dismantling the Statheist crud, but that's why I'm here.
For years now we've seen debates amongst atheists on non-religious issues incorporate the insufferable "You're just as bad as the fundies" talking point. It's my biggest pet peeve when it comes to online arguments, and while I disagree with most of what Anarchists say, I still expected them to be the last group capable of pulling this type of lazy stunt in order to gain new recruits. But pulled it they have. And those who haven't pulled it, have approved of it through passiveness.
And why not? They're an opportunistic bunch. Like any dedicated outsider group (Remember: Outsider groups = Instant underdog charm) striving to expand by making the most out of the latest fad, Anarchists and Anti-Statists have milked the current influx of Atheist gatherings on YouTube for all they're worth. To this day they keep parroting the claim that Atheism goes hand in hand with Anarchism, while Religion/God belief goes hand in hand with Statism. They’re hell bent on trying to inculcate the God/State comparison in the minds of impressionable online youth, and it stops here.
The first analogy flaw is the assumption that proponents of the State possess a reverence for being controlled by the State, just like religious folk do with their Gods. The idea being that, just like Theists, these emotions enable us to turn a blind eye to our own brand of God in hopes of seeing all those lovely political promises come to fruition one day. This is rubbish. I am yet to meet a single advocate of the State who views the State as being infallible while feeling all warm and gooey about the special bond he or she shares with it. Simply put, no Statheist contemplates governments as entities entitled to blind trust. The necessity of monopolistic law-enforcement over highly complex infrastructural territories is a conclusion arrived at through clinical analyses of examples involving human progress, not the kind of subjective emotional baggage spiritual people drench themselves with, and certainly not the kind of ideologically influenced premises Anarchists erroneously launch their analyses with, rather than ultimately arriving at. I am also willing to bet good money against any Anarchist willing, that if we asked the average voter about the likelihood of any politician's lofty promises actually coming to fruition, that the overwhelming majority of voters will reply pessimistically and display knowledge of the fact that these promises are mostly political tactics not to be taken at face value. If any Anarchist/Anti-Statist is convinced of the contrary and is willing to put their money where their shit-talking mouth is, I am dead serious about going through with this and you know where to contact me. Now, suppose if we were to poll a bunch of Theists about all the promises made to them in their arbitrary scripture of choice? Would the average true believer (not a lip-service "believer" who converts to different religions in order to marry a Jew or something, but an actual believer) display the least bit of doubt regarding any such promises? The answer is no. So to compare voters and Theists in this regard, is just sloppy thinking.
I'm just getting warmed up though. Here's the fundamental flaw with the comparison:
God is imaginary. The State demonstrably exists, functioning in reality on a daily basis all over the world. Some of this may come down to confusion over the definitions, as most kids being preached to on YT by Anarchists/Anti-Statists aren't even aware of the exact definition of the State. The State is defined as a politically organized body of people under a single Government and Nation. Note that the definition incorporates involvement of actual people. Commonly uttered sentences like "they used the apparatus of the State" are thrown together with the notion that His Holiness The Pope uses "the apparatus of God" in the same vain in order to justify and meet his own Authoritative ends. The analogy falls flat on its face straight from the get go, as it proposes that we not rely on the very definitions of the terms at hand. God is not defined as a religiously organized body of people under a single Church/Mosque etc, but instead as an entity entirely separate from the requisite of human involvement. God, as described in scripture, created humans, and thus precedes them. The definition and origin of the State, on the other hand, is absolutely contingent on the participation of people (subjects known to actually exist in reality). Now obviously, without people to invent them, notions of Deities would also not exist and resuscitate, but this is a non-sequitur since I'm showcasing how one of the two defined entities (that being the State) has demonstrably been proven to exist within defined reality. The analogies downplay the bizarreness of the metaphysical, but it is precisely the metaphysical that makes notions of Deities so easy to dismiss in the first place.
In order to back up the assertion that religious fairytales are analogous to the demonstrated reality of the functioning State, the Anarchist will often proclaim that punitive entities such as Rulers and Deities are equally unnecessary for the end-goal of civility to be achieved. Another paper thin connection. Just as their critiques of democracy presuppose that their political opponents should be morally obligated to agree with their arbitrary picking and choosing of what "rights" are, this "Deities/Authoritarians vs. Atheists/Anti-Authoritarians" linkage presupposes that Atheists are naturally inclined to find the mere idea of omnipotence and Authority (and therefore God's very existence) to be unappealing. Why? Well, because Atheists disbelieve in God, so they must also reject God. Non-belief ought to amount to rejection, right? Wrong. The hypothetical existence of a well intentioned Deistic God, would be a good thing. Such a God, unbound by irrational and hateful dogmatic scripture, could have easily imposed different rules onto Evolution/Natural Selection by scrapping the dog eat dog component of it, or by simply removing the need for Evolution as a survival mechanism in the first place. This would have produced results superior to the 500+ million years of sentient creatures eating each other in order to survive; Sentient organisms who, throughout most of that ugly history, and who to this very day (sans humans) are still incapable of comprehending the sheer uselessness of the game imposed on them. They were built by crude, non-authoritative forces, for the purposes of survival and reproduction, but simultaneously blinded to the dead-end writing on the wall. An absence of such sum zero cannibalism cannot possibly be seen as problematic, unless one happens to be a sadist. The fact that a Deity capable of achieving the proposed solution cannot exist, as such an entity would contradict the laws of physics, in no ways implies that its hypothetical existence should be viewed as unfavorable to sentient beings, even from an Atheistic point of view. There is nothing irrational about Atheists preferring the aforementioned Deistic/Authoritative brand of Creator, to blind, non-authoritative forces which are indifferent to suffering. An entity whose underlying goal is reduction of suffering has nothing to do with what genuine believers look for in a God. They seek a God whose feet they'll kiss regardless of what deplorable circumstance he plagues them with. They will accept any cards they're dealt, no matter how deplorable and unjust, and will always end up singing their God's praises. No such mental gymnastics occur with any of advocates for the existence of the State I have ever conversed with. Plenipotentiaries will be ruthlessly scrutinized unless concrete actions are taken and positive results emerge. We are not asked or expected to faithfully hope for these positive results to take effect in a non-existent afterlife, but in the here and now. This has nothing to do with anything even slightly resembling what the faithful expect and rationalize. What Anarchists often forget however, is that there are also people who are wholly apathetic concerning all-things-politics, who don't refer to themselves as Anarchists or Anti-Statists. I suppose this still makes them Statists by default in the eyes of most proponents of Statelessness. I, of course, view this as a false dichotomy, given that I'd simply classify the third branch as "Political Apathiests" and/or "Political Nihilists". So even though they're not technically Anarchists, they have consciously denounced neither Statism nor Anarchism, hence attributing to the "Statist Side" their lack of rigorous upkeep of how badly they're getting screwed over by the political process they "still foolishly believe in" boarders on the idiocy of discussing whether or not babies and inanimate objects are Atheists. They're neither, so next time you refer to the "unwashed masses" and their Statism, realize that they're mostly oblivious to both your position and to mine.
Returning to the initial premise: If an entirely natural albeit non-omnipotent rule imposing entity can exist through the construction and ongoing election of human beings, the question is not whether such an entity should exist. The question is, and always has been how do we construct its existence responsibly and efficiently. This is what we’re struggling with. We’re not struggling with it because the concept of Authority is analogous to the supernatural, or inherently vulnerable to unaccountability. We struggle with it because our core values are constantly in direct opposition, and it shows when one looks at all the policy proposals resulting in heated debate amongst the populace. Not heated debate between State officials and the populace, but amongst the populace itself. If something even remotely close one billion of us managed to get on the same page on a good 90% of core issues, all the while maintaining enough enthusiasm to put in the time and effort towards ensuring that we obtain representative supply at the hands of our overwhelmingly agreed upon demand, imposing polygraph driven accountability along the way, then we would see significantly less inefficiency in all matters of governance. But as long as we continue to accept the charming but naive lessons teaching us that prevailing ideological diversity is, by its very nature a virtue rather than a setback, all in the name of relativism and open mindedness, the human race will remain incapable of electing an honest body of representatives whose job performance evaluation would be measured by how fervently they spit in the face of lobbied interests. Currently, we as voters cannot even agree on what the common, non-special interests ought to be, much less how to implement them as policy. How can we expect our current or future representatives to figure it out for us? It starts with us.
Going back to the initial analogy, Statheists have accepted the non-existence of Deities. An assertion that by the same token no State can possibly contribute positively to humanity, is not enough to signal a failure to go the whole way logically. The superglue holding this trainwreck of an argument together is bound by a lone commonality; that being Authority. Even so, while most mainstream Gods are by definition Authoritarians, plenty of other specifically defined Gods are entirely passive. So even the Authority connection falls flat on its face when you look at the characteristics some non-Abrahamic religions have attributed to their God(s).
Another linkage to Atheism is brought to us by the rugged old-school of thought espoused mostly by Libertarians of The Tea Party breed, suggesting that any system other than pure Laissez Faire Capitalism goes against everything ingrained in us due to the fact that we evolved through brutal competition led by Darwinian principles. They’ll point out how it’s in our nature to compete until we drop. The Atheist Libertarians will then add how we never had any benevolent omnipotent entity guiding us along the way in the past, imposing justice where none could be found in the natural selection order. They seem proud and almost orgasmic to proclaim how, despite this lack of overlooking force, we still survived in the face of insurmountable odds. The argument basically proposes that we bow down to that natural order, as it has already proven itself to be the arbiter of survival. Interestingly enough, the back-to-naturists also use this rationale in order to make excuses for their own DNA obedience, which is well below their intelligence level. And perhaps even more interestingly, lots of Tea Party Libertarians are Theistic Evolutionists, meaning they do believe in an overlooking force in respects to Natural Selection. Others are flat out Creationists, which makes one ponder as to why they sit idly by whenever the Darwinist this is how it has to be sentiment is espoused around them. And on top of all this, using surivialism by Natural Selection to argue for a system which caters to the individual at the expense of the collective under the "greed is good" baseline, is absurd. Termites, for instance, have attained their successful survival rate precisely because they work as collectives. Had they been left to fend for themselves individually, they'd be extinct. The same thing can be said about humans. So from all possible angles, the State/Deity overlaps fail.
But let’s assume that tunnel vision survivalist outlooks aren't infantile and placate the theory anyway. Yes, we have survived, however the overwhelming majority of species throughout our planet's history have not survived. Natural selection has a horrendous track record when countering in all the species which have failed to avoid extinction under the rule of its thumb. So if long term survival is the game, Natural Selection ought not to be the civilized game plan. And it isn’t. The problem with (American) Libertarians who claim that we must continue obeying Darwinian Principles because “that's just who we are” is that they forget about a most pesky fact: The Natural Selection game, for most civilized human beings, has been out of commission ever since the invention of the condom; an item of preventative measure, mostly purchased and applied by the best and the brightest. You know, nature's hand picked winners (under a civilized playing field). If not the condom, then there's body enhancing surgeries and a myriad of other synthetic short cuts circumventing the laws of Natural Selection in the 21st Century through ever evolving technology. But perhaps most importantly, when left to the whims of an evolved society, my opponents' convictions falsely conflate might makes right with fair makes right or just makes right. It's the very antithesis of a civilly broadened perspective.
I could go on deconstructing all the ways in which these State/Religion comparisons are fallacious tripe, but I've already made it obvious enough. It just pains me to see such a bogus comparison work on rebellious, impressionable Atheists. Some of these guys have only come out as non-believers over the last 5 years, so naturally they still have bones to pick with Religion on an emotional level. Linking the State to Religion as a means to lure them in, is a shoe in. No wonder the Anarchist movement is most pervasive amongst YouTube Atheists. Anarchists and Anti-Statists prey on these lightweights using half-baked analogies intended to lump "the enemy" into a neat little package labelled Authority and it's working like a fucking charm.