Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rothbard: "We" are not the government

"We must, therefore, emphasize that 'we' are not the government; the government is not 'us'.  The government does not in any accurate sense 'represent' the majority of the people.  But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority.  No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that 'we are all part of one another,' must be permitted to obscure the basic fact."

"If, then, the State is not 'us,' if it is not 'the human family' getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it?  Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment of services rendered buy by coercion.  While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to other, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.  Having used forces and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other action of its individual subjects.  One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activities that elaboration is necessary."

~Murrary Rothbard

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