by James Redford
(First appeared at Anti-State.com circa October 2001.)
Viewed from the internal logic which drives the operations of Government,* you are an expendable resource utilized to maintain the continuation of Government as well as its growth--in less grandiose terms, a "slave." The greatest myth surrounding the institution of Government is that it principally exists to "protect" us from criminals who, were it not for the protection that Government provides us against them, would overtake our lives and generally make life intolerable, if not actually impossible. Hence the Government in all of its loving, beneficent glory provides police services to this end. But this rationale for Government's existence is a lie--a lie promulgated so effectively throughout the ages that most people have believed it unquestioningly, including most of the Government's own police. They have generally been happy to believe this grandest of all lies, because the implications for most people in not believing in The Lie are too horrendous for them to contemplate.
First of all, the police do not exist to protect you: the police exist to protect the Government from you. The police don't actually directly protect anybody except politicians and maybe movie stars, as well as themselves. For the rest of us they're just highly paid garbage collectors who show up after the damage is already done to collect evidence. In fact it is simply physically impossible for police to personally protect anyone unless they are there with them. Unless you have a police officer or bodyguard at your side, then only You can protect You. Indeed, the police aren't even legally required to lift a finger to help you if you are being raped to death on the side of a street--even if they are at your side (see Warren v. District of Columbia, D.C. App., 444 A. 2d 1 ).
Further, it is not even in the Government's interest to reduce "crime": its incentive and actual practice is to increase "crime." More "crime" means more demands from the populace for Government to reduce this problem that it is largely responsible for causing (and hence willingness to further empower Government). If "crime" were ever to dramatically drop, this would be catastrophic from the viewpoint of Government, for so also would Government's whole rationale for existing diminish. Government's true incentive is to protect real criminals from you: by disarming you and making it essentially illegal for you to effectively defend your property or yourself--and this includes from the criminals in Government especially. Government is actually responsible for causing far more crime than it "prevents" (assuming it actually prevents any, which it doesn't, it merely gets in the way of those who could have done the job better). Obviously there's a point at which the crime that Government causes reaches such a level that people revolt, but that's magnitudes of orders higher than what the crime level would be if it were not for the Government protecting the criminals from their victims and causing the crime.
Take riots for example. Riots are a complete product of Government. If property owners were allowed to kill rioters there would exist no such thing as a "riot." But as it is, the Government protects the rioters from their victims. And so it is likewise with all real crime (i.e., actions involving aggression against another's person or property). The businesses that were unharmed in the 1992 L.A. riots were the ones defended by the Korean vigilante-anarchists armed with semiautomatic rifles. Ironically, USA Today reported that many of the people rushing to gun stores during the L.A. riots were "lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they'd never need"--and they were outraged to discover they had to wait 15 days to buy a gun for self-defense (Jonathan T. Lovitt, "Survival for the armed," USA Today, 4 May 1992).
If it weren't for the Government's police so-called "protecting" us, we would be able to protect ourselves just fine. What they actually do is protect the real criminals FROM us.
The only reason anyone need fear a rapist, for example, is because those same cops that "protect" us will brutally attack us and likely kill us if we attempt to effectively defend ourselves against such a criminal (see what happens if you start regularly carrying a gun on yourself without their permission). The only reason 99.9% percent of such (non-Governmental) criminals can even exist is because the Government protects them from their potential victims. This is the reason why the real crime and murder rates are the highest in places where the Government completely disarms the victims, like in Washington D.C., New York city, etc., and is virtually nonexistent in American towns that require gun ownership and in Switzerland where gun ownership is also required. As Prof. Lot and others have repeatedly shown, there is a 1:1 correlation between how well armed a population is and the real crime rate (i.e., "real crime" is aggressions made against another's just property, including the property of everyone's own body).
As well, the Government's War on Drugs has turned what once was an individual problem into a social problem by inventing new make-believe "crimes" that aggress against no one, while spawning a whole true crime industry associated with it (just like during Prohibition). The effect of libertarian legalization would be to make drugs an individual problem again instead of the grave social problem that it is today. As they say, we don't have a drug problem, we have a drug-problem problem. Were it not for the Government's War on Drugs, the gang turf-wars, theft, and other various true crimes that are associated with the distribution of drugs and the procurement of money in which to support habituations to drugs of which the price has been artificially inflated would not exist.
How many liquor stores have shoot-outs between each other? Yet when alcohol was illegal the black-market distributors of alcohol found it necessary to have shoot-outs and murders between each other on a regular basis. This was because, being that their business was illegal, they did not have access to the courts in which to settle their disputes; as well, because their business was illegal, this raised the stakes of doing business, for if they got caught then they would go to prison--thus it became profitable to resort to murder in order to solve problems which would otherwise lead to prison. And how many tobacco smokers resort to theft and prostitution in order to support their habit? Yet clinical studies have shown that tobacco is more habit forming than heroin. The reason you don't see tobacco smokers doing such things is because tobacco addicts can afford to support their habit. When Russia experienced an artificial shortage of cigarets over a decade ago do to its socialist economy, tobacco smokers took to the streets en masse rioting--requiring emergency shipments of Marlboros and other cigaret brands from the U.S. in order for it to cease. If heroin or crack were legal it would cost no more (and probably less) than a tobacco habit, and so heroin and crack addicts would be able to support their habit by working at a regular job instead of resorting to theft and prostitution.
It may sometimes seem that Governments are bumbling or don't know what they are doing when they go out of their way to promote such crime, but if that were simply the case then one would expect them to make as many "mistakes" in our favor as against us--but if the history of Governments teaches us one thing it is that they almost always tend towards forever increasing their power at the expense of their subjects, and only ever give up power under unavoidable pressure. To understand why all this should be so, one must realize that Governments were not even originally instituted to protect people's property. Government was invented to be able to more profitably extort wealth from a conquered and enslaved populace. Originally warlords would just kill all the men of a conquered tribe and take the women and other wealth for themselves. Over time it was found that a better state of affairs would result by simply enslaving the conquered tribe so that wealth could be produced for them in perpetuity.
And to better comprehend why the incentive structure of Government is such that it is in its interest to actually promote crime it will very much help to clearly define just what Government is. But first, what is a definition? A definition should identify what is meant (i.e., what is being referred to) when people use a word. And if a definition is to be meaningful and useful it should identify the distinguishing characteristics of the thing (idea, place, object, organization, etc.) that is being referred to that differentiates it from all other things that are not that thing. The reason I bother with any of this is because over the ages Government has found it in its interest to use its court intellectuals to actually obscure the identity of Government--associating it with family, church, and other institutions in society that people identify with in order so that Government, too, would come to be identified with these things that people value in their lives.
When people say such things as "I hate the Government" or "Our Government isn't worth the gunpowder to blow it to Hell" or "The Government says we owe them money," are they referring to a church, or a social club, or the institution of family? No, they are not. Although they do have a very specific idea in their mind as to what they are referring to.
So what is Government in the sense above? What are these people referring to? What is the distinguishing characteristics of Government in this sense which differentiates it from all other things that are not Governments?
(When the word is used in the sense above) Government (i.e., a State) is that organization in society which attempts to maintain, and is generally successful at maintaining, a coercive regional monopoly over control of the law (i.e., on the courts and police, etc.)--this is a feature of all Governments; as well, historically speaking it has always been the case that it is the only organization in society that legally obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.
It is here that we find why Government's incentive structure (i.e., the internal logic of the system) is such that Government will always try to maximize expenditures while minimizing services. This is due to everyone's inherent disutility of labor combined with Government's monopoly tax income which is not connected to services rendered. To assign Government the task of protecting people's just property is to assume a job for Government which it is wholly unfit to do and which it was never intended for in the first place. An expropriating property protector is a contradiction in terms. And having as it does a coercive monopoly on ultimate judicial decision, it will naturally always tend to favor its own interests. If protection services were supplied on the free market then a business that is failing to provide protection services to a customer's satisfaction would lose that customer to another alternative. But since Government enforces a monopoly on control of the law and compels individuals to support it via taxes whether they want to or not, there exists no alternative that people can easily resort to without bloodshed. And since people are mistaught from birth that Government exist to protect them they will naturally look towards Government for protection when danger to their person and property is viewed to increase.
Some have contended that Government is necessary in order for commerce and society to exist, and hence production of wealth on the market. This is not only a-historical, it is also a contradiction. Logically, production must always precede predation (i.e., confiscation of wealth), otherwise there would be nothing to confiscate. This makes the market logically and necessarily prior in time to Government. As well, a truly Utopian notion is the idea of a "limited" Government. No Government remains limited for long. The minarchists simply posit a "limited Government" while totally ignoring the unavoidable incentive structure for it to become unlimited--constitutions after all are interpreted by the very Government which they presume to limit.
Just as Government supposedly exists to protect its subjects from "crime" originating from within its own boarders, another thing Government is said to exist for is to protect its subjects from other Governments, i.e., from invasion--which is really just a crime committed by another Government on a massive scale. The resulting conflict we call war. Yet even here Governments throughout history have made their own citizens much more vulnerable to attacks from other Governments.
Again, the reason is because almost all Governments throughout history have disarmed their own populace to one extent or another. The reason all Governments like to do this is obvious, as the more helpless the populace is against its own Government's forces the less able it will be to resist the Government mulcting wealth from them, and the more disarmed and helpless people are against non-Governmental criminals the more willing they will be to empower Government to "protect" them from these same criminals which could not have existed in the first place were it not for the Government training their citizens to be helpless. Now this is great for these Governments in relation to their own citizens, but it causes problems if another Government, X, chooses to invade Government Z's territory. Since Government Z has already disarmed its citizens so that it may better mulct them, it must rely on its own forces against Government X's forces. Had the forces within Government Z's territory constituted almost the entire populace of that country, then Government X would never have bothered in the first place. The reason for this is, whereas it is not impossible for virtually the entire populace of a country to help defend their country (because they are already near their work and homes), it is quite impossible to mobilize an invading force which constitutes virtually the entire populace of a country (unless it happens to be a nomadic tribe), as in order to support that invading force many people will have to stay behind in order to do productive work--not to mention that it would leave nobody to protect their own home country if everyone left to invade another country. Thus, unless a much, much larger country (population-wise) is invading a much, much smaller country, an invading force will always be at a disadvantage against a defensive force in a truly free country.
Another important related issue which is ever so relevant today is the issue of Governments so-called "protecting" their subjects from "terrorism"--which is just another form of real crime, i.e., aggression against people's just property or their person (i.e., the property of everyone's own body), only its intent is to cause fear in the targeted populace in order to achieve a certain goal. But here again, Government doesn't actually protect their subjects from terrorists, indeed it is responsible for causing the terrorists in the first place.
Take the September 11th terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and Pentagon. It appears that these were the actions of Islamic immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. We are told by many of the TV talking heads that the reason these terrorists did this is because they resent and hate the freedom allowed to citizens of the United States and because of the pop-culture of America that other countries import. Now this is obviously an idiotic explanation offered to divert attention for the real reason why Islamic foreigners might dislike the U.S. establishment enough to kill themselves lashing out at it. The citizens in the U.S. were far more freer during the 1950s, but Islamicists didn't seem too concerned about attacking the U.S. then--from the way the TV "analysts" tell it, you'd think that Islam is a new religion. As far as U.S. pop-culture, that's been massively imported by other countries since at least the 1960s, yet Islamic terrorists only became a major threat in the U.S. since the '90s. But beyond that, this ignores the fact that according to the Islamic religion, anyone who would make such a suicide attack on others for the above listed reasons would certainly be condemned to Hell by God. Thus, according to the Qur'an:
Sura 2:190 You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
Sura 2:193 You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
Sura 2:194 During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
Sura 2:256 There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.
Sura 5:2 O you who believe, do not violate the rites instituted by GOD, nor the Sacred Months, nor the animals to be offered, nor the garlands marking them, nor the people who head for the Sacred Shrine (Ka'bah) seeking blessings from their Lord and approval. Once you complete the pilgrimage, you may hunt. Do not be provoked into aggression by your hatred of people who once prevented you from going to the Sacred Masjid. You shall cooperate in matters of righteousness and piety; do not cooperate in matters that are sinful and evil. You shall observe GOD. GOD is strict in enforcing retribution.
Sura 5:44 We have sent down the Torah, containing guidance and light. Ruling in accordance with it were the Jewish prophets, as well as the rabbis and the priests, as dictated to them in GOD's scripture, and as witnessed by them. Therefore, do not reverence human beings; you shall reverence Me instead. And do not trade away My revelations for a cheap price. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are the disbelievers. 5:45 And we decreed for them in it that: the life for the life, the eye for the eye, the nose for the nose, the ear for the ear, the tooth for the tooth, and an equivalent injury for any injury. If one forfeits what is due to him as a charity, it will atone for his sins. Those who do not rule in accordance with GOD's revelations are the unjust.
Sura 5:87 O you who believe, do not prohibit good things that are made lawful by GOD, and do not aggress; GOD dislikes the aggressors.
Sura 8:39 You shall fight them to ward off oppression, and to practice your religion devoted to GOD alone. If they refrain from aggression, then GOD is fully Seer of everything they do.
Sura 17:33 You shall not kill any person--for GOD has made life sacred--except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice. Thus, he shall not exceed the limits in avenging the murder; he will be helped.
Sura 31:15 If they try to force you to set up any idols beside Me, do not obey them. But continue to treat them amicably in this world. You shall follow only the path of those who have submitted to Me. Ultimately, you all return to Me, then I will inform you of everything you have done.
Sura 42:42 The wrong ones are those who treat the people unjustly, and resort to aggression without provocation. These have incurred a painful retribution.
Sura 49:9 If two groups of believers fought with each other, you shall reconcile them. If one group aggresses against the other, you shall fight the aggressing group until they submit to GOD's command. Once they submit, you shall reconcile the two groups equitably. You shall maintain justice; GOD loves those who are just.
So what really has happened during the 1990s which would incite Islamic foreigners to lash out against the U.S. establishment? In a phrase: the Gulf War. Since the 1991 war and the United Nations economic sanctions and intermittent bombing by the U.S. and Britain that followed, as many as two million Iraqis--about half of them young children--have died from starvation and easily preventable disease. When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked in 1996 whether the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children was an acceptable price for maintaining sanctions on Iraq, Albright's response was "we think the price is worth it." To Arab Islamicists, this is their equivalent to the Holocaust--and from their viewpoint they would certainly be remiss not to take action against the country largely responsible for it. As well, it was during this war that the U.S. Government placed its military forces into many Islamic countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and continues to maintain them there--this can only be considered for most Arabic Islamicists as a continuing aggression by U.S. foreigners upon their holy lands. This combined with the U.S. Government's continuing support of the Israeli Government in light of that Government's ethnic cleansing and racist policies against, and brutal treatment of, the Palestinians, is bound to pique more than a few Islamic Arabs. Indeed, the above three items are what Osama bin Laden apparently cited as his main reasons for his jihad against the U.S. establishment (although it should be noted that he also denied involvement in the September 11th terrorist attacks, for whatever that might be worth).
So here we have the U.S. Government going out of its way to endanger U.S. citizens by stirring up hornet nests all over the world, when absolutely no interest of any common U.S. citizen is served by these military escapades that the U.S. Government is so fond of. Why should any average American care if one dictatorial Arab country takes over some other dictatorial Arab country wherein the penalty for being a Jew is death (i.e., Kuwait)? Our oil prices wouldn't have gone up for long, as I'm sure Saddam would have been more than happy to sell us all the oil we wanted. Once again, this is just another case of Government increasing its power over the world at the expense of the safety of its own citizens.
But moreover, Government doesn't even have an incentive to stop such terrorists from attacking its subjects. The incentive for Government is to let the terrorists attack its subjects and to disarms its subjects so that such terrorists can be successful in their attacks. That way the citizens who have been trained from birth to feel helpless will clamor for Government to "do something" to "protect" them and will be much more willing to empower Government to that end.
If you should happen to have the least bit of doubt about the truth of this then just consider that since the September 11th attacks on America, the U.S. Government has managed to create from it a new national police force (the Germanic sounding Office of Homeland Security) and increase its budget to 1.5 trillion for every five years, which is a tenfold (!) increase in the total budget for the domestic "security" services of the U.S. Government and one-fith of the U.S. GDP (and folks, that's Gross Domestic Product, before taxes and other deductions)! Where in the world is there any incentive for Government to actually protect the commoners from terrorists? All the a priori and empirical evidence clearly shows that Government's incentive is to protect the terrorists FROM their potential victims!
All of the four airline hijackings could have been easily prevented if just one passenger (or pilot, or flight attendant) on each plane had been armed with a gun. About 19 bullets divided among four guns is all it would have taken to prevent the deaths of some 3,000 people and billions of dollars in property damage. Yet since the early 1950s the U.S. Government has seen to it that all of the commercial airline pilots are disarmed--I assume this is because they're too clumsy, stupid and unstable to be able to safely operate something as complex as a handgun, even though most of the airline pilots are militarily trained.
But besides that, let's say Government does find out about some terrorist plot and is in a position to prevent it: why in the world should it?, what's the incentive for it in doing that? As we've just seen, terrorism is the health of the State. Government qua Government would be terribly remiss not to let such an attack go forward, considering how much growth it undergoes due to it and how much more power it obtians. If it be replied that our Government rulers are not that evil as to allow such a thing it is here answered that of course they are: they consider the starving and easily preventable disease deaths of some one-million Iraqi children to be "worth it" in order to increase their power--surely some 3,000 adults can't compare.
So far in our discussion we have only covered the crime that Government is said to exist for in order to "protect" us from but in which it actually promotes and causes: i.e., all crimes by persons not of one's own Government. But this form of crime is actually quite minor and fleetingly insignificant in comparison to the real crime that all Governments perpetrate against their own subjects--i.e., "real," or "actual," or "true" crime being trespasses against one's just property (including the property of each person's own body), as opposed to the make-believe "crimes" that Governments are constantly inventing in order to ever increase their power over their subjects.
To start with, all modern Governments steal huge amounts of money directly from their subjects which Governments call "taxation," but is called "extortion" and "theft" when anybody else does it. Even in a "free" country like the United Stated, all totaled close to 50% of an average person's income is consumed by the taxes the Government takes. As well, Governments such as the U.S. Government like to impose brutally Draconian mandatory-minimum prison sentences against people who have never aggressed against another so that they can be anally raped for 20 years for violating the Government's make-believe "crimes" against using or selling certain pharmaceuticals that it has deemed verboten. Thus Governments dictate to their subjects what they may and may not put into their bodies--of which is a direct claim of ownership to those bodies, otherwise known as "slavery." The list of such consensual make-believe "crimes" that Governments continually come up with is virtually limitless, and constitutes a large percentage of the aggression made against people's just property in a typical modern society.
But by far worst of all is the amount of people murdered by their own Governments. More than four times the amount of non-combatants have been condemned to death for purely political reasons by their own Governments within the past century than were killed in that same time-span from wars. From 1900 to 1923, various Turkish regimes killed from 3,500,000 to over 4,300,000 of its own Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians. Communist Governments have murdered over 110 million of their own subjects since 1917. And Germany committed genocide against some 16 million people--6 million of them Jews. (The preceding figures are from Prof. R.J. Rummel's website: http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills.) Some 800,000 Christian Tutsis in Rwanda were hacked to death with machetes between April and July of 1994 by the Hutu-led military force after the Tutsis had been disarmed by Governmental decree in the early 1990s, of which disarmament decree the United Nations helped to enforce. On several occasions, United Nations soldiers stationed in Rwanda actually handed over helpless Tutsi Christians under their protection to members of the Hutu military. They then stood by as their screaming charges were unceremoniously hacked to pieces. This massacre happened one year after the United Nations helped to put in a national ID card in Rwanda. Needless to say, all of the subject populations of the above mass murders had been disarmed beforehand.
All totaled, neither the private-sector crime which Government is largely responsible for promoting and causing or even the wars committed by Governments upon the subjects of other Governments come anywhere close to the crimes Government is directly responsible for committing against its own citizens--certainly not in amount of numbers. Without a doubt, the most dangerous presence to ever exist throughout history has always been the people's very own Government.
Government is by far the most evil force on the face of the Earth throughout the history of mankind, by many great orders of magnitude. Nothing good can come of it simply because its incentive structure, i.e., the internal logic of the system. Again, even when Government does arrest and imprison real criminals all it is doing is getting in the way of those who could have done the job better--i.e., private, voluntarily organized individuals. Government is not your friend. In the eyes of Government, you are a herd animal to be mulcted by Government so that Government can continue to live and grow.
*To the observant libertarians in the audience, I realize that saying "Government" does this, or "Government" does that, etc., is a reification, in that strictly speaking there exists no such thing as "Government," i.e., "Government" doesn't think, feel or act--there only exist people engaged in certain activities and modes of behavior that can be described as "Governmental" using resources (land, buildings, automobiles, etc.) that are put to that end. So simply substitute, if you prefer, "the ruling elite who control the Government."
As a side note, I thought the American readers of this article would be interested to know that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially abolished on the 26th of October, the day that H.R. 3162, i.e., the "USA Patriot Act" (hey, you're not for bin Laden are you?) was passed into law. The police can now secretly search your house and take whatever they want from it without having to tell you about it until they issue you a warrant up to six months later (see SEC. 213). Also, the legal definition of "domestic terrorism" was changed to include any "acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State" (see SEC. 802). So smoking a joint could be domestic terrorism, since the U.S. Government considers such drug use to be dangerous to human life, and since it is illegal after all. But you will be happy to know that such an act would only qualify if it "appear[s] to be intended to influence the policy of a Government by intimidation or coercion." So you need not worry, smoking a joint would only be an act of domestic terrorism if the U.S. Government thinks you're doing it as a protest against their drug laws--the clause for "intimidation" already applies, otherwise the U.S. Government would have no law against it. The above are just a few examples of all the Police State goodies contained in H.R. 3162. And oh yeah, none of these particular Police State measures are "sunsetted" either (see SEC. 224), so when you hear someone say that H.R. 3162 sunsets in four years you'll know to tell them that the most loving provisions will remain. Don't you feel safer already?
James Redford is a young born again Christian who was converted from atheism by a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. He is a scientific rationalist who considers that the Omega Point (i.e., the physicists' technical term for God) is an unavoidable result of the known laws of physics. His personal website can be found here: http://reocities.com/vonchloride