Externally, the state engages in brutal and barbaric wars, causes mass death and destruction, and encourages war technology. He asserts that "all Empires have been cemented in Blood." Burke calculates that States through history have slaughtered roughly seventy times the number of people living in the world. Thus, the violence of states, with war, occupation, slavery, and genocide, dwarfs the sporadic violence of natural society. Burke even attempts an institutional analysis of the state, as later anarchists would do.
These Evils are not accidental. Whoever will take the pains to consider the Nature of Society, will find they result directly from its Constitution. For as Subordination, or in other Words, the Reciprocation of Tyranny, and Slavery, is requisite to support these Societies, the Interest, the Ambition, the Malice, or the Revenge, nay even the Whim and Caprice of one ruling Man among them, is enough to arm all the rest, without any private Views of their own, to the worst and blackest Purposes; and what is at once lamentable and ridiculous, these Wretches engage under those Banners with a Fury greater than if they were animated by Revenge for their own proper Wrongs. - Edmund Burke, A Vindication of Natural SocietyHe also writes of the "us versus them" mentality which contributes to the violence. Then he moves to the internal problems of statism. He points out, as Lord Acton did so famously later, that power corrupts: "The very Name of a Politician, a Statesman, is sure to cause Terror and Hatred; it has always connected with it the Ideas of Treachery, Cruelty, Fraud and Tyranny," and "this unnatural Power corrupts both the Heart, and the Understanding." He writes that states "frequently infringe the Rules of Justice to support themselves," and lie to support "the reigning Interest," citing "the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored." Burke, like la Boetie, notes the role of "flatterers" and "favorites." After examining various forms of government, he deduces that they are all worse than anarchy, what he calls natural society.
Anticipating later anarchist economists like Molinari, Burke observes that state court systems, being monopolies, are not very efficient at what they do, and that decreed or legislated law is more capricious than common law or traditional law.
All in all, Burke's essay brings up virtually all the major themes in the case against the state. Later theorists would make a positive case for anarchism - ideas about how a free society could be organized - but as for negative anarchism, the points made in Vindication of Natural Society stand solid to this day.
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