Political power is the privilege of using brute force on persons who have not harmed anyone. This privilege is what sets governments apart from all other institutions.
We all have the right to use force in self-defense, but political power is the use of force against the peaceful. The most common example is taxes. When officials collect taxes from John Q. Citizen they are saying,
Buy everything we are selling, or men with guns will haul you away to prison.
John Q. Citizen is being threatened with force. Government is the only instituton permitted to do this. No church, charity, business or other private organization can force John to purchase its good and services, or force him to obey its commands - he can always walk away.
In one way or another, most government laws are backed by force, by the blackjack. The force is always carefully disguised, but it is in the background waiting to be used if you do not obey - the mailed fist in the velvet glove. Mao Tse-Tung admitted Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
Governments do not collect taxes to provide services. They provide services as an excuse to collect taxes. A tax is a substitute for a raid.
But government is good, isn't it. Bureaucracies exist to solve problems for us, don't they?
High members of the royal court are, first and foremost, defenders of the swamp. The bureaucrat's first objective, of course, is preservation of his job - provided by the big government system at taxpayer's expense. Whether real world problems get solved or not is of secondary importance. It doesn't take much cynicism, in fact, to see that the bureaucrats have a vested interest in not having problems solved. If the problem did not exist (or had not been invented), there would be no reason for the bureaucrat to have a job.
Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
That government is instituted, and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government (violently if necessary), whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.
Historians and anthropologists have now located many examples of peaceful communities that had gangs of barbarians living nearby. Imagine one of our more violent gangs riding into town on horses, instead of motorcycles or cars.
These barbarians were lazy and had little interest in work. Every few weeks they would ride into town, steal food, clothing, and whatever else they could carry, then ride back out. They would live off this stolen loot until it was gone, then ride back in and raid the town again.
This would go on for many years until....
One night as the barbarians were sitting around the campfire planning their next attack, one complained, "You know, all this riding in and out of town fighting with people is beginning to feel like work. It isn't fun anymore. There's got to be a better way."
Another lamented, "You're right, in the last raid I lost an ear and two more fingers. I'm running out of parts".
This sorrowful discussion would continue until someone exclaimed. "I've got it! Let's ride into town and stay! We'll put up a building in the middle of the town and call it City Hall or State Capital or some such thing, and we'll use it as a hangout. We'll take baths and shave and dress up in fine clothes like respectable businessmen. Then, we'll levy something we call a tax".
"We'll tell the people - we'll call them taxpayers - that as long as they pay the tax regularly, exactly as we tell them with the right forms and everything, we won't punish them. We'll start the tax low so they won't feel it's worth fighting over, and each year we'll raise it a bit until we're taking a sizable part of their incomes".
Another barbarian suggested, "Yes, and we can use some of that tax money to provide a few services, maybe streets, schools and courts, so that the people will feel they're getting something for their money".
And another added the final touches. "There are other gangs in the area. When they see how docile our taxpayers have become, they'll try to ride in and takeover. They'll be shearing our sheep. We'll need to provide police and an army to protect what is ours. The taxpayers will love it, they'll think we're doing it for them".
|Send comments to: email@example.com|