Comment: Political means vs. economic means

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Political means vs. economic means

You aren't looking closely enough at that definition. Government is political control over the people of a region. It is the division of the community into rulers and the ruled. "Control" is not about voluntary, mutual agreement; "control" means you do as you're told, or men with guns put you in a cage or kill you.

Political means of dealing with other people should, as the Austrian economists teach, be contrasted with economic means. People deal with one another economically by voluntary trade -- two parties dealing together by mutual agreement and to mutual advantage. People deal with one another "politically" by employing coercion -- usually in the form of commands called "laws," which are issued by a ruling class, backed up by heavily armed thugs called "police."

The essentially coercive nature of "government" doesn't make good public relations, which goes a long way to explaining why bland definitions like the one you quote are -- politically correct, shall we say? But think about the bland words "political" and "control," and what they really imply. Not so soft and fuzzy.

Your example of 5 men in the woods does not begin to form "government." A group of guys unanimously agreeing to abide by an ethical principle is a far, far cry from granting one of those guys the moral right to tell the others what they can or cannot do with their own property, and demand that they pay him for the privilege of being bossed around by him. What you have described is 5 guys agreeing to the non-aggression principle. You don't need 5 guys for that -- just two. In fact, you only need one: YOU can choose to live by that principle, whether anyone else does, or not. Other people face the same choice, and may choose to do so -- or not. You suggest that four people will gang up to stop the fifth from violating their property rights. Well, maybe. Or maybe the four will gang up in order to violate the property rights of the fifth! There is no magic in numbers of people. Virtue is an individual quality, not a social one. "Groups" do not agree to be bound by rules or moral principles -- that is something only individuals can do. What would become of your 5-man "government" if three of the five did not agree with your non-aggression principle?

Case in point: You seem to think that most people would favor a system that forbids stealing from others. On the contrary, most people nowadays are all in favor of stealing from others. Is there another explanation for the election of Barack Obama? And reflect on the reason why even Ron Paul won't call for the outright abolition of the "Social Security" Ponzi scheme of institutionalized theft?

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition,