While the genesis of the first State can be disputed (Indus Valley Civilization, ancient city-states of Rome/Greece, the same people who wrote the Avesta etc.), what cannot be disputed is that the State is an overgrowth of Human Civilization. Once Man came together, he created the State – in its most rudimentary form – in order to regulate his life.
No matter what theory of State one adopts, it has to be accepted that the foundation of the State paradigm is troika of Liberty, Equality and Justice. These 3 dimensions are self-limiting. Let us compare the theories of State presented by Locke and Hobbes. While both dispute the nature of the “State of Nature” that pre-existed the State, both agree that the State has been created by the social contract.
The social contract – inherently – seeks to limit Liberty at the altar of Justice and Equality. While the arguments that
- Is such a sacrifice fair?
- Is such a sacrifice acceptable?
are entirely justified and legitimate – and present divergent views of the State – the fact that the state is limiting (unlimited) liberty is inevitable (indeed: are not all facts inevitable?). And such a limit is not optional – its violation would be enforced by coercive action.
Conflict of Liberty with Justice and Equality
Liberty is complimentary to equality. Liberty demands equality – its nature can only be understood as equal liberty of all. Thus, imposition of reasonable restraints on freedom is conceded for furthering the cause of Equality. Equality is thus an impediment to Liberty.
Similarly, Liberty will not confirm to Justice until Liberty is spread to all members of society. Absolute liberty is a contradiction in terms – if liberty is defined as the absence of restrain, it cannot be universal until it is qualified by Equality. This is because liberty of an individual is relative to liberty of rest. Hence, liberty has to be regulated. This may not meet demands of Justice. When society is divided into unequal sections, weak sections have to be protected.
Thus, the State is inherently coercive and opposed to human liberty; however, the Marxist solution to this – the overthrow of State – is inappropriate. In the real world, equality and justice are essential prerequisites to human life.
The State, then, is a necessary evil – and the best option we have until we find something better.