Do We Agree on the Meaning of Government?

A discussion of whether or not government is necessary to organize society is essentially pointless if people do not agree on the definition of government.

When I say government shouldn’t exist, I mean there should be no monopolizing entity which uses force and violence against peaceful people whose actions have not hurt anyone else. I mean we should not be forced to fund and use products and services that we do not wish to use.

I think what a lot of people hear is that I don’t want anything resembling a government. I want chaos, I want the wild west, I want dog eat dog, tribal warfare, and only the strong will survive!

But that is not true. Most anarchists do not at all mind institutions resembling current government, as long as there is one key difference: the institution must be a voluntary association. It should not be funded by theft, extortion, nor threats of violence, and it should not be a mandatory service or product to use or buy.

So if your definition of government is, anything that keeps society orderly, then we may not disagree on anything.

Confusion might come as well when people think that we would be unable to punish criminals in such a system without mandatory governance. This is not the case however. The criminal is the one who forces an interaction with his victim, and as such has agreed to the consequences of that forced association. If a security company that resembles current law enforcement, but is funded by voluntary customers, arrests someone who has victimized another, it does not need his permission to do so, because he forced an unwanted interaction with his victim.

Clearly it gets more complicated as we talk about how to make sure these security institutions remain honest and do not simply arrest whoever they want on the pretense that a crime has been committed, but that is also a problem in current society–a big problem among government policing agencies. In fact it would be less of a problem if many different security companies were each beholden to their customers, consumers in general, stockholders, other security companies, and arbiters who mediate between security companies.

Law would still be decided by the societies in which we live, but we would have a real voice in crafting that law, by patronizing or boycotting particular agencies and the laws they offer as a product to their customers.

In addition this type of decentralized power structure would alleviate problems that stem from a mandatory centralized currency. Dollars today are easily manipulated, and concentrated, with the help of the government who empowers the federal reserve. When many different currencies are available, if one force dominates a particular type of “coin”, it could easily lose value if people stop using or accepting it.

This means less hoarding, and more working together to keep society functioning. Already projects to help the homeless are being crowdfunded through bitcoin, giving people who are down on their luck options they never used to have.

And let me add that the answer to achieving this wonderful society is not violent overthrow of government, nor even opposition to most of their rules, which would just lead to trouble for the individual. We must work around what we can, and slowly make government become obsolete by replacing their institutions with better ones.

Yes, it gets a little tricky since it does not appear we can affect much change from inside government, though they will continue taking our money to fund it. But over time, shielded by safety in numbers, we can overcome the absurdity of coercive government, and replace it without a great upset in society. We simply need to play the long term strategy and not enter into a figurative fight we cannot win. But in the end, it might happen quicker than you think. Society is poised to rapidly outgrow government.

Whose face is on the dollar bill? Give to Washington what is Washington’s. Use bitcoin.

5 thoughts on “Do We Agree on the Meaning of Government?

  1. The power of the purse is the biggest problem we have with the group of people that are presumed to have the right to lord over the rest of us. Bitcoin is a great start. Getting rid of the federal income tax would be my ultimate goal though…

  2. Pingback: Society Has Outgrown Government | Joe Jarvis

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