In his first Inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln explained his moral justification for invading the Southern States. Plainly, he said, “the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.” He reasoned that if a State can lawfully secede from the Union, so can a part of that part and a part of that part, on down to one individual and the dissolution of all political authority. This was a stock argument deduced from what philosopher Michael Oakeshott called the idea of a modern European state. In this kind of state political order requires a central authority conceived of as an artificial corporation vested with plenary power over individuals in a territory. Thomas Hobbes (1651) was the first to describe the modern state as an artificial man.
What is peculiar about this sort of state, whether liberal, socialist, communist, or fascist, is that it frowns on independent social authorities within its borders such as an independent church, an order of nobility, tribes, free cities, provinces, independent educational institutions, independent banking, an independent currency, and the like. As a practical matter, the modern state must tolerate some of these, but its disposition is to eliminate them if possible, or more likely to draw their teeth by incorporating (and co-opting) them as agencies of central power.
This disposition to total control by hollowing out independent social authorities is a feature of all modern states whether liberal, socialist, communist, or fascist.
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