Extent of Government Force

The problem with Democracy – as with all forms of government – is the extent of power to enforce its edicts on functions where there is large agreement is the same power that is available to government to enforce any edict regardless of the breadth of agreement.

Thus, those that seize government power are fully able to enforce their individual preferences over others – regardless to the wide spread damage such a preference may have to social order.

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9 Responses to “Extent of Government Force”

  1. Mark T Says:

    I think you err in lumping all government in the same qualitative basket. The worst aspects of human nature come out in the group – armed forces do far more mayhem than the individuals involved would do on their own. So you do carry weight in your writings.

    At the same time, our goodness is also expressed through groups, from Salvation Army to the Catholic Church to certain aspects of the United Nations. My parents did not lose power when they accepted Social Security -they were empowered, to stay in their home, to breathe a little easier knowing their money would not run out at month’s end.

    I do not accept that government is in and of itself a bad thing. I suspect that powerful forces that now rule our government would be less powerful had we a stronger government – that is, if government power exceeded private power.

    In short, I think you offer a false choice, all or nothing. Our lives are better for certain aspects of government, worse for others.

  2. Black Flag Says:

    Hi Mark!

    As you pointed out, the concept of ‘groups’ does not in of itself define ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

    Further, I do not equate the definition of a ‘group’ to be the same as the definition of ‘government’. They are two different definitions.

    No one confuses the Salvation Army with the US Marines.

    Government – all government – holds the same basic moral premise: the sole monopoly on the initiation of violence. The Salvation Army does not hold this as its core moral premise – thus it does not act like the US Marines.

    It is that premise (or lack of) on the monopoly of violence that defines the entities. All governmental forms hold that premise.

    The ’empowerment’ of your parents comes at a cost of dis-empowerment of someone else – someone else suffered a loss they did not deserve for your parents to gain something they did not earn.

    Looking at only one side of the equation – that what you ‘see’ – you miss the other side of the equation – what you ‘do not see’.

    The choice is binary; either you agree that an entity has a ‘right’ to use the initiation of violence as a valid tool – or you do not. It is really that simple.

  3. Mark Tokarski Says:

    I see a faulty premise here – whether or not initiation of violence is justified is a matter for jurisdiction of competent authorities who are subject to review by people whose decisions they affect. When we lose control of government, as happens when rogue elements get control, as we have now, then injustice is not redressed, But the idea that government has a monopoly on violence is of less issue to me that redress of grievances. If violence is committed on me, I want that redress, and absent a vigilante force, I look to our government. It is legitimate force if there is oversight by the affected population.

    Social Security, were it an unpopular program, would indeed be as unjust as you say. But it enjoys wide public support, including millions like me who painfuller pay into the program. The problem is that people do not, far various reasons, set aside adequate funds for retirement. Those reasons include high education costs for children, high medical costs, unjust usurpation of the wealthy they react by labor by their principals – all of this in addition to those who are spendthrifts. Social Security simply remedies the problem. Period.

    The fact that it works, that it is popular ought to put you at bay.

    • Black Flag Says:

      If you justify the initiation of violence on non-violent people, you justify slavery.

      Worse, when you agree that others can find a right to attack your non-violent self, you deliver yourself into the hands of others that based on their justification, they can attack you and chain you.

      The right of redress of use of violence against you is your right. Government does not provide you this right – by your own admission, it destroys it. Government monopoly on the initiation of violence is a direct and permanent threat to you.

      If theft has wide support does not change the action to be “not theft”. If murder has wide support does not change the action to be “not murder”.

      Wide support (if it actually exists) does not grant others the right to take what does not belongs to them. Believing that all it takes is “wide support” creates rights or justifies evil contradicts your belief that armed invasion is immoral. Do you believe an invader can claim he has “wide support” of people in his army – and thus is justified in invading another nation?

      Do you believe the Nazi’s – based on wide support – were justified in slaughtering millions? Or Russians under Stalin – based on wide support of the Russians – were justified in slaughtering Ukrainians?

      So, because some people neglected their own financial health does not justify stealing money from those that are not negligent.

      The consequences of such a belief of theft ends up with the destruction of society. And such example of today suffices proof of that. Social Security has bankrupted the USA. $15 trillion in promises to be paid – $0 available for payment. Millions believing they will be paid.

      When such payment does not materialize, these people will not roll over and die in peace. They will revolt.

  4. Mark Tokarski Says:

    At my blog I get to fix my typos retroactively.

  5. Mark Tokarski Says:

    There are problems not of our making and for which we collectivity (not unanimously! choose to address by means of what you call “force”and “violence”. As an industrial society, our capacity for production of material wealth far exceeds our own consumption needs. Ideally, each of us sets aside enough of our surplus in the form of money devices to get us through those years.

    The problems with this system are fantastic – not the least of which is that our government takes so much of this surplus and invests it in physical violence – we agree this is wrong.

    But we’re not equal, some simply cannot produce enough to satisfy life and retirement demands, either through circumstances they cannot control, or those they can. Most of us never reach our productive potential, and instead become labor cogs in a system where the wealth thereby created flows upward and is captured by others. (Is that not a system of violence too?)

    Social Security is a system where we divert 14.2% of the wealth created by labor whose annual accumulation is less than $106,000, and set it aside for those who have not done as well as they could have or should have. The system has been perverted by the politicians into something it is not – it is not a “savings” device whereby funds are set aside – that was a tax gimmick introduced by Reagan to shift the tax burden downward. Social Security is an inter-generational transfer that resembles insurance. There are no money “savings accounts” or any other such fiction.

    Our difference appears in part to be that we do inter-generational transfers to non-relatives via this method. Honestly, I don’t care about that.

    Beyond that, you seem to prefer life as an atom rather than a complex molecule. Do the various parts of a molecule visit violence on one another?

  6. Black Flag Says:

    Your reply deserved a new post.

  7. Me Says:

    Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe! I’ll go and read some more! What do you see the future of this being?

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