Government is the use of force. A government with no way to protect itself from other governments (foreign or domestic) cannot long exist. A government without a military or police force will not last long before being replaced by a government with both. Government may also pick up your trash and supply you with water, but not doing these things makes it no less of a government. Government is not just the collective expression of the people. It can be, and perhaps it should be, but a dictatorship is no less of a government.
Government is violent. This is true even when the proscribed punishments for breaking its laws are non-violent. The authorities may fine you, but refuse to pay the fine and they will order you to court. Refuse to show up, and the sheriff will bring you in. Refuse to cooperate with the sheriff, and then the inherent violence of government will show. This subtle threat exists behind every law. If it did not, there would be no incentive to follow the laws, and the only laws that would be followed would be those the people were going to follow anyways even if there were no law.
This is what most people forget when they call for new legislation: They are endorsing violence against their fellow citizens. They threaten their neighbors in order to get them to obey. Sometimes this is both justified and necessary when our neighbors are destructive, but most people never stop to ask themselves if the tradeoff is worth it. Which is worse? That some people ride without seatbelts or that we make people buckle up at gunpoint? That some people drink too much soda or that officers threaten to shut down businesses that sell it in cups larger than sixteen ounces? That someone might ignite a piece of cloth to make a point or that the state kidnaps and imprisons them for burning the flag? That some people waste time getting high or that we drag stoners into jail so they can waste time there? Does it really cost society so much to allow drug use that we are justified in criminalizing it? There are always tradeoffs. Remember this.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.