The state is almost universally defined as a system that enjoys a legal monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory .. the state is capable of doing no more than this: compelling people – through violence and the threat of violence – to do what they do not choose to do, or to refrain from doing what they do choose to do. Like the subjugated and exploited proletariat of Animal Farm, increasing numbers of men and women read those opening words to the preamble of the Constitution – “We the People” – and discover the identity of “the people” who control and benefit from the system that was created.
If the state is defined in terms of its enjoying a monopoly on the use of violence, what is the character of people who would be attracted to the use of its violent tools and practices? What sort of people would be attracted to careers that gave them the arbitrary power to force others to their will; work premised on the imperative of obedience?
There is a continuum running between “sociopathic” and “psychopathic” behavior separating degrees of antisocial conduct. A Post Office mail clerk, or a receptionist at a DMV office, may not exhibit such traits. But what about state officials whose functions are to enforce some governmental edict or program? The man or woman who is prepared to initiate an act of punishment to compel obedience to a governmental mandate easily segues into the SWAT team member or police brute or one who tortures another. It is the appetite for ultimate power over others that drives such people.
No more than we would expect Mother Theresa to operate a brothel can we imagine advocates of peace and liberty to be welcomed into the management of the state. This is why Ron Paul was so persona non grata to members of the political elite. He wanted to reduce – perhaps even eliminate – the violent nature of the American nation-state. He was almost booed off the stage at a Republican gathering for suggesting that this country employ the “Golden Rule” as the basis for a foreign policy! He wanted to minimize that which attracts the sociopaths and psychopaths to the state: the opportunity to use ever-increasing levels of destructive violence against their fellow humans.