Comment: Wrong answer.

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Wrong answer.

There is one important difference: what Ayn Rand would have called "the sanction of the victim." Most people accept the notion that "government" has the moral right to rule its citizens, and that the citizens therefore have a moral duty to obey the commands ("laws") issued by the rulers. Common thugs do not receive the same respect or cooperation from their victims.

This is not a trivial distinction. Few people are naturally inclined to run around murdering random strangers. But people who accept "government's" right to command obedience -- from soldiers and "law enforcers" are the ones who commit the murders that politicians and banksters are too cowardly to carry out themselves. Few people are naturally inclined to steal from poor, honest working families. But "government employees" at the IRS think it's a job that needs to be done -- because "government" told them to. When people regard obedience to government as superior to the dictates of their individual consciences -- THAT is what creates most of the evil in the world.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...