Response to Conservative Anarchists: Yes the State Contributes to My Happiness

I have been increasingly concerned that conservative reaction to recent years of electoral defeats has not just been to question specific political policies but to turn to some sort of unthinking anti-state anarchism, denouncing the very idea of the state. In response to one especially annoying anti-state set of comments on the topic of whether the government can make you happy, I replied as follows:

If you think government doesn’t contribute to your happiness, go to Somalia, the areas where lawlessness is rampant. Or the Congo where 3 million have been killed in anarchy without anyone in the West even noticing. Darfur perhaps or the Southern Sudan?

I am all for a debate and action on government waste, and debate on what it should do or not do, but as Thomas Hobbes the conservative 17th century British conservative philosopher said: without the rule of law “life of man is nasty, brutish and short.”

If you think government doesn’t contribute to your happiness, that you don’t need “we the people”, I think personally, though I may be mistaken, that you simply don’t understand reality. It was a sad day when conservatives became anti-state anarchists; though it seemed to coincide somewhat with the state beginning to be even handed to women and minorities and the poor….Yes our rule of law and government, my local police force, those who just cleared my road of snow, the water supply, the US military and the whole shebang, do make me happy, despite their failings. I don’t think government is some slappy happy womb of perfection…And I thank those who serve our country. They contribute to my happiness.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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