In one of the most seething criticisms of government, “Anatomy of the State” exposes government for what it is: a mafia shakedown racket with a virtual monopoly on institutionalized violence.
In its natural, parasitic form, the State seeks only to leech more and more resources from productive members of society using what esteemed German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer called: the political means of acquiring wealth. That is, coercion through asset seizure and taxation, or legalized theft.
In order to see these concepts illustrated, one need only look to the realm of video games.
I have been a long-time fan of the “Total War” series published by SEGA and The Creative Assembly. Inherent in these games (as their title would suggest) is the idea that war is the modus operandi of the State. For anyone who has played “Total War,” or games like them, it is clear that war is the only path to accumulate real wealth–that is, the enslavement of new tax livestock.
These concepts may also be seen in games such as Cities: Skylines, in which a player may create, control, and manage an entire city with godlike dominion over zoning, private property, and taxes. Once you think about the implications of the game, the overall concept is quite alarming, because it is a simplified version of the truth.
Sure, in real life, city planners have political processes and various other hoops to jump through before violating property rights, but in the end, the process gets done and “the will of the people” is carried out. In the game, the process can be as simple as clicking the bulldozer icon and deleting someone’s home or business.
Once the veil is lifted and government’s true purpose is exposed, it is very easy to see through the illusion of government. While it is true that a video game cannot entirely capture its real-life intricacies, Rothbard’s concept of what the State inherently is, is conceptually communicated even at these very basic levels.
That being said, the popularity of these games may partially be derived from the fact that, for once, one of us little guys can get in the control seat and orchestrate some of humanity’s longest running criminal syndicates.
Once again, thanks for reading, and try not to knock yourself out cold from all the facepalms associated with social media and the 4th of July today!