Government is force. The only difference between government and any other agency or organization in existence is that government claims monopoly on the use of force. Unlike actions taken by private agencies or individuals, every government action has force behind it, and without force, there is no need for government to be involved in the things it does.
Are government actions desirable or not? Can government activities be done by other agencies? Are most people better off or worse off with government actions? These questions have little to do with the issue in front of us, which is the definition of government.
Government is force, and when I say force, I mean physical force, carried out by men in uniforms with guns.
What is the public image of those people? We hear them in lectures, we read their books and we see them on TV. They are caring people, who put their narrow interests in second place so all of us could live in a better world. In their personal life they are peaceful and tolerant, they don't fight with their neighbors, they don't break into stores and they are not the people who fill prisons.
We rarely think of them as violent people who want to use force - yet they are:
Every time they turn to the government for a solution to our problems, they want the government to pass a new law or regulation which will:
Every time they turn to the government for a solution to their problems, they want the government to use force or the threat of force, and when I say force, I mean physical force, carried out by men in uniforms with guns.
We should always remember that behind every call for government
action there is a hidden call for the use of force. And just in
case I did not make it clear, when I say force, I mean physical
force, carried out by men in uniforms with guns.
"Stating the obvious if no-one else has, or if the obvious is not getting enough attention."
Indeed, very few are aware of the obvious (to me :) definition of government.
"Examining what commonly used words and phrases really mean, as contrasted to what they appear to mean."
I could not have said it better myself.
"Promoting freedom of speech, compassion, fairness and humility as the fundamental building blocks of private and public life."
Although Jonathan Wallace did not state it specifically, I believe that he does not intend to use force to promote freedom of speech, compassion, fairness and humility. I hope that I contributed something to promote these goals, at least by making it clear what avenue should not be taken.
"Never forgetting that law is no substitute for morality, that a major part of moral standards cannot be enforced by laws..."
Of course morality can not be enforced by law - a choice made under duress is no choice, therefore it can not be a moral choice. No moral values can be instilled by force, and when I say force, I mean, of course, men in uniforms with guns.