To Oppose War we Must Oppose the State
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has, once more, brought war and international relations to the forefront of the political agenda. Given that Ukraine’s support from Western countries, both spiritually and financially, seems aimed at exacerbating this conflict rather than abating it, it is critical for those committed to peace and prosperity to grasp a key fact if their stance is to be successful: that one cannot be truly anti-war without also being anti-state.
If one is to be anti-state (or, at least, in favour of a smaller state), then it is quite obvious that one must be anti-war. The warmongering right, forever whining about state overreach in the domestic sphere, has no problem with siphoning billions of taxpayers’ money in order to support a huge military while furnishing corporate welfare to arms manufacturers. Forgotten by these chicken-hawks is the fact that “war is the health of the state”. During wartime – or even in the milieu of a merely purported threat – a government can enact heinous levels of oppression and control that would be unthinkable in a time of peace. Curiously enough, such measures have a habit of sticking around as soon as the alleged enemy is vanquished. Thus, to support war and foreign interventionism is to ultimately destroy freedom at home.
However, to be truly anti-war requires one to be also thoroughly and uncompromisingly anti-state. If war feeds the state then so too does the state feed war. Indeed, the very desire to create a bigger state makes war more likely. War is always propagated by states, between states and for the benefit of states – the bigger and more powerful they are, the more catastrophic and destructive their wars are likely to be. The ideological left, with its anti-imperialist and anti-war profiteering motive, has often been a louder voice than the right in castigating the warmongers and interventionists in conflicts past and present – at least, that is, when the “wrong” president happens to be in the Oval Office. But many of these anti-war activists of the left have no problem with state largesse when it comes to economic and social matters, spreading alleged “fairness”, “equality” or whichever other emotive but elusive goal happens to be the cause du jour. It is ridiculous to think that such interventionism will be restricted to the domestic sphere, let alone to believe that a large state can be the promoter and preserver of peace. Let’s look at this in some more detail.