Monday, January 21, 2013


In understanding those grave powers that are not unique to the State, it may be helpful to examine the earliest forms of government. 

One or a few families formed tribes so that the deadly force of the whole would protect their fellows from one another, and from outside threats. This was the first form of governmentality.

Men came to swear oaths to one another, so boundaries were recognized along with the resources therein.  And the society became bound to defend boundaries from threats as if defending the individual himself, and this became and extension of the first governmentality, though still requiring the consent of the whole, not yet another governmentality itself.

Tribes typically adopted a set of beliefs in order to explain the world around them, and some tribes adopted a hierarchy to serve as intermediary between humans and the subject of their belief.  And some tribes came to assimilate outsiders into the tribe if they accepted these beliefs.  This mechanism, served as an establishment of social norms within the group, and served as another extension of the first governmentality

Though the young of the species were always at the mercy of their mothers until such time as they could fend for themselves, belief established a hierarchy of familial authority, which became an extension of the first governmentality that had consequences for individual autonomy long after the ability to hunt and gather was manifest.

Eventually belief required scribes in order to maintain traditions intact for posterity, and in time we began to have written laws, and then written title and deed, and officers of the written law serving as proxies for the deadly force of the whole. This we call the "civilized" State

The interpretation of law led to yet another hierarchy of judges and advocates.  And this lawcraft dismantled a degree of the original governmentality, for no longer did individuals need to rely so much on the consent of the rest of society for their boundaries to be recognized.  And for better or worse the deed of ownership became a franchise of the deadly power of State; and thus churches and families became governmentalities within a government.

States produced legal tender, so that once labor was extracted, it could be stored up, and this form of  riches allowed enterprising individuals the franchise of governmentality as well.

Monied wealth became both the means and inducement of many technological advances.  And in time the deadly power of many officers of law was available to be wielded even by an individual of modest means, and even by the thief that was able steal it from his home or wrest it from his cold dead fingers.

Some centuries back, it began to be thought necessary to limit the power of government and the power of franchised governmentalities, for all had been shown able to wield tyranny.  This revolution was meant to meld the consent of society with the civil state, so that the individual would not be subject to the whims of either mob or king or any other dangerous corporate body or individual.  Clearly, our American revolution still has a long way to go.

"where there is no law, there is no freedom: for liberty is, to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be, where there is no law: but freedom is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists... for who could be free, when every other man's humour might domineer over him?"
-- John Locke; from Second Treatise of Civil Government, CHAP. VI. Of Paternal Power

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"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." -- Constitution of Massachusettes (1780)