Evil And The State
by Free Radical
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil. – Thomas Paine
If the state is “an evil inflicted on men by men,” yet the preservation of society nonetheless “justifies the action of the organs of the state,” then the inescapable conclusion is that the state is indeed “a necessary evil.”
But how can this be? How can this or any other evil be necessary without rendering evil itself necessary? And if evil itself is necessary, then what of right and wrong, and thus of human morality? For surely the necessity of evil renders human morality null and void, as any action, no matter how heinous, can therefore be justified. Law is then whatever anyone who has the power to back it up says it is; might then makes right; and the state, which is inherently an instrument of might, is then the only legitimate authority, never mind that legitimacy itself is rendered null and void.
To escape this travesty of reason, then, we must show that however inevitable it might be, evil can never be necessary, which we can only do by defining what evil, broadly speaking, is. And we do so by (1) acknowledging the primordial fact that being is, (2) intuiting from this the primordial value that being is good, and (3) acting on the resultant impulse that more being is better. For from these it follows that (1) less being is bad, (2) nonbeing is worst of all,i and (3) evil is therefore that which fosters one of the other.