Statism is a disease very similar to paranoid schizophrenia. Like the schizophrenic, the statist suffers from both delusions of grandeur and paranoia. He believes that it is right for him to issue orders to others, and to use any means to get obedience. Statists routinely resort to lying, kidnapping, torture, and mass murder. Statists are paranoid. They believe that there are people out to get them.
The fantasies of the statist are somewhat more grounded in reality than the pure paranoid schizophrenic. Because the delusions of statists are shared by so many, these delusions can often seem to be born out in reality. One statist will often obey the commands of another, though this obedient behavior has nothing like the sincerity and energy of a person who is pursuing his own interests according to his own reckoning of the correct course of his life. Statists often kill each other. Heads of state are often assassinated. Three of the 43 American presidents have been shot and killed, and there have been many more attempts on presidential lives. For the most part, statists are somewhat justified in believing that others have negative intentions toward them. Those infected with the statist disease often believe that the only way to solve conflict is to disable the opponent using whatever means necessary. Statist seem to have difficulty realizing that if you think it is reasonable to attack others, others are likely to think it is reasonable to attack you. On the other hand, if you seek equity in your transactions with others they prefer to protect you from harm, because doing so protects their own lifestyle.
Statism is difficult to treat. Statists seldom realize that they are in need of treatment. They don't realize that their lives could be much improved if they would give up their delusions, so they seldom seek treatment, and often resist it when it is offered.
But the non-statist has advantages in the contest with the statist delusion. Since Statism divides people into various classes who should be treated in various ways, the statist has to constantly be attempting to classify the people he is dealing with in order to ascertain his proper attitude toward them. After he has made a decision as to the proper classification for an individual, he must constantly reassess that decision to make sure it remains correct. The non-statist also has to continually evaluate his reactions to the people with whom he interacts, but the process is much simpler when one can assume that all people are equal and should be treated the same. The statist worldview is largely based on oxymorons such as “free and compulsory education” and “benevolent dictatorship”.
To minimize the statist disease, it is important to treat those on the front lines of the statist power struggle with the masses—the cops. Such lower level statists are easier to access and easier to cure, since their material comfort is less invested in the statist game. If the cops fail to follow the orders of the state, the state will collapse. They can be replaced, but it is difficult as the USA is currently finding out in Iraq. If the head of state refuses to follow the statist agenda, he will be quickly replaced at little cost to the state.
Cops deal with people who mostly hate or fear them, so they are quite vulnerable to manipulation by indications of affection, and may be easier to treat than higher-level statists. Libertarians should view interactions with police as a chance to provide therapy to a troubled patient, but also use caution. Statists are dangerous. This was amply demonstrated during the 20th century when hundreds of millions of people were killed and injured by states.
To treat those infected with pathological Statism, it is important to avoid hating the patient. Statism can't be defeated by either violence or violent emotions. It must be treated with logic and patience. Treatment must encourage the logical, reasonable, and responsible components of the patient's personality and discourage authoritarian, violent, and paranoid Statism. Making the patient feel threatened will only bring out his violent tendencies and enhance the dysfunctional statist pathology.
There is often risk to the therapist when attempting to treat Statism. Those heavily infected may view the treatment as a personal threat and resort to violence. But the risk of not treating the statist disease would seem to be far greater when one considers the harm that Statism has done in the past centuries.