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by Justin Jefferson, senior columnist

In all of human history, the State has been a God-State for much longer than it has ever been conceived of as a human institution manned by ordinary human beings like you and me. God gave the State a licence to treat everyone else as property.

It is pretty impressive to look at all the great edifices of religion — its grand temples, cathedrals, and mosques — and all its institutions: augurs, priesthoods, caliphate — and all its arts and humanity.

But it is pretty sobering when we realize that there is not the slightest skerrick of evidence for the existence of God or gods, any more than there is for fairies, goblins and leprechauns. There seems to be something about human beings, perhaps in the hard-wiring, that enables belief in just about anything, no matter how unevidenced or improbable, as the surest truth.

It is easy to laugh at Marxist socialism, with its belief that socialism would arrive with the inexorable certainty of historical law, without anyone having to consciously do anything to make it happen, and that it would usher in a society in which man would lose the distinction between work and leisure.

It is a great tragedy that 100,000,000 people were killed in trying to make it happen. It is an even greater tragedy that the Marxist socialists still don’t get it. They still think it failed because of historical contingencies rather than any defect in the theory itself. They still think socialism is possible, and that if we just keep trying, it will eventually provide a better path to sustainability, justice and prosperity for all.

But this is a throwback to the God-State all over again. There is no economic difference between the concept of Paradise and that of “sustainability”. The problem of natural scarcity will be banished, so that goods and services will be available to meet human needs in order of urgency and importance.

But the method is always only ever by giving more power to the State: in ethics preferring violence to consent, and in economics preferring parasitism to property.