Statheism is a portmanteau of statism and atheism.
Statism: The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good. A statist system—whether of a communist, fascist, Nazi, socialist or “welfare” type—is based on the government’s unlimited power, which means: on the rule of brute force. The differences among statist systems are only a matter of time and degree; the principle is the same. Under statism, the government is not only a policeman, but also a legalized criminal that holds the power to use physical force in any manner and for any purpose it pleases against legally disarmed, defenseless victims. Even “limited” power of statism beget corporatism.
Atheism: Atheism is usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as “a belief that there is no God.” Some dictionaries even go so far as to define Atheism as “wickedness,” “sinfulness,” and other derogatory adjectives. Clearly, theistic influence taints dictionaries. People cannot trust these dictionaries to define atheism. The fact that dictionaries define Atheism as “there is no God” betrays the (mono)theistic influence. Without the (mono)theistic influence, the definition would at least read “there are no gods.”
Statheism: One who rejects religion as irrational but who advocates the existence of the state, usually as a desperate compensation for the comfort that religion brings. The term is most often used by anarchist-atheists to demonstrate to the statheist that the logic they use to justify the state is faulty even though they had sufficient logic to reject religion, implying that they are reproducing the same errors in thinking that they profess to despise in religious people. My previous article: Government is MY religion elaborated the distinction succinctly.
“Both creationists and socialists distrust invisible-hand processes and cannot conceive of order emerging except through some sort of centralised top-down control.” — Roderick Long
Statheists reject supernatural explanations of the world but believe that the state is necessary for creating social order and managing society. Now, anti-statism (aka market anarchism or libertarianism) is relatively obscure compared to atheism—and much less obvious—so statheism is nowhere near as egregious an error as creationism. Yet it’s very important to point out the statist error to atheists, who claim to be proponents of reason, since it’s in many ways similar to the errors of creationists. There’s a certain incongruity of being an atheist and a statist, namely that many atheist arguments are closely related to anti-statist arguments. As atheists, they have no trouble rejecting top-down creationist explanations of the universe. They laugh at the idea that the universe was centrally planned by a supernatural being (“Cosmic Socialism”). They see clearly that the order and complexity of the universe and of life has emerged through bottom-up natural processes.
But when it comes to the order and complexity of large-scale society, statheists balk at the idea of emergent order. They are “Political Creationists”, holding that social order can only come down from a powerful state. They employ faulty “state of the gaps” logic in their feeble attempts to rule out the possibility of a stateless society (e.g., “Only a state could provide roads/education/laws/courts/etc”). As usual, the problem boils down to a lack of understanding of economics. Economics explains how social order emerges through the decentralized market price system, a “crane” theory. Statists keep their heads in the sand, content with a top-down “skyhook” theory of social order. They cling to an almost supernatural conception of the state: all-powerful, wise, and benevolent. In reality, the state is none of these: its power is derived from the support of its subjects, who could easily overpower the state if they revolted; its wisdom in managing society is extremely primitive compared to the information aggregation of markets, as seen by the utter and universal failure of central planning (and the spectacular success of free markets); its benevolence is largely a myth, as policy makers usually have more incentive to favor special interests at the expense of the general public.
Conclusion: So, statheists, don’t tell me to “go to somalia” because it is indeed doing better than your North Korea. If trusting few people with power is better than trusting many people with freedom, then you should go back to the “holy” places and resuscitate “reasoning” skills.
Ayn Rand Lexicon