It is interesting that the anti-state conservatism that currently distorts much discourse in the USA, seems to ignore completely the work of the interesting 17th century conservative political thinker, and philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes was of the view that the essential thing in life was the right of self-defense. However, Hobbes was pretty smart, and he foresaw that if everyone was left to decide what constituted behavior that warranted violent self defense, then there would be anarchy and the life of man would ‘nasty, brutish and short’. So he invented the concept of the Leviathan or state, which would defend all citizens, via the rule of law, rather than their all going around armed to the teeth, looking for any excuse to be violent, if they felt insulted or under threat. And this state and the rule of law is one of the reasons inter-personal violence and murder has plummeted century by century since Hobbes time.
Meanwhile, US conservatives in the last 20 years or so have gone on some time warp back to pre-Hobbesian times and their approach is well captured in this recent cartoon below, which I think would have made Hobbes first laugh and then weep if he heard what was behind it: