04 November 2009

The Nature of the State


"The state is a machine for maintaining the rule of one class over another." --Vladimir I. Lenin in a lecture entitled "The State," delivered at Sverdlov University, 11 July 1919.

"It would thus appear that the State, instead of originating according to any of the conjectures made by English and American writers on the subject, originated as a class-weapon of conquest and confiscation, and that its primary function was, and still is, to maintain the stratification of society into the two classes noted [namely, "a relatively small, owning and exploiting class which lives by appropriating without compensation the labour-products of a relatively large, propertyless and dependent class"]." --Albert Jay Nock, "The State," The Freeman, 13 June 1923.


Anonymous said...

They sound a little too similar.

James R. Otteson PhD said...

Yes, especially since one was a classical liberal (perhaps even an anarchist), and the other was, well, Lenin. The fact that, despite their diametrically opposed political positions, they see the state's origins and nature in essentially the same way is what I find so suggestive.