It is the purpose of all governments to murder that they might get gain. This plain and simple truth is so harsh upon the human mind, that few are willing to accept it. The rulers in government exploit every opportunity to proclaim their altruism, their service, their benevolence, their necessity, and their right to rule. The fabrications that they return in exchange for obedience are nothing more than worthless paper promises.
Purveyors of Violence
What goods or services can a government provide? What promises can it keep? Without exception, every nation and empire in history has promised that it will provide for the defense and welfare of its citizens.
Whatever means a government may have at its disposal, be they gold, armies, organization, or even factories and farms; they are all provided through violence. This is the fundamental separation between free enterprise and government. You can choose your enterprises, but you cannot choose your empire.
All means of government are acquired through force. By whatever name, all possessions of governments are attained through violent means. From national lands, to national treasuries, to indentured servants, every possession of every nation is acquired through the means of taxes or war. When tribute is demanded and paid, it is a tax. When tribute is refused and taken by force, it is war. The scale of these tactics does not diminish this truth. If they are used against a lone rogue in the wilderness, or against a mighty people overseas, the results and purposes are the same.
Gain for governments may come in the form of recognized money, or of conquered lands, or by the ability to command the arbitrary obedience of peoples. All governments use both the threat and the actual use of violence in order to get gain.
One of the biggest questions left to thinking people is: What if the government does not live up to its promise? If the police fail to defend your family from invasion, or your home from robbery, will they step aside so that you can choose a capable candidate to secure you? There is a word for attempting to select a better protector for yourself; it is treason.
Promises governments make in exchange for obedience cannot be kept. This may seem to be an overzealous statement, but it is not. It is a simple truth that you cannot create by destroying. Life is the stuff of choices, the stuff of searching and learning. You cannot gain happiness or prosperity when the essence of life — free will — is destroyed. It is simply not possible.
A government may promise wealth or security, but after its machinations are put in place, it will destroy instead of create. A tax collector may believe he is advancing the greater good. A solider may believe that he is securing liberty. A bureaucrat may believe that he is organizing others' lives more efficiently. No exceptions, if an action of law removes choice from human life, it can only destroy. Muggers, rapists and mafias destroy free will in various ways. Few would make the claim that they add benefit to society, despite any other actions they may take outside their criminal occupations.
While nothing is added to humanity by stealing from one man and giving to another, much is destroyed. The first loses the fruits of his labor, and his trust for his fellow man. The second loses the ambition to create in favor of making slaves of his neighbor. You cannot create anything good by destroying free will. The facts are plain. That which destroys, destroys.
One of modern history's most audacious promises issued by governments is the idea of social insurance, either in the form of medical or retirement benefits, stored with the government, in the promise of future security.
The essence of such promises is that if you yield money and control to the rulers of law today, they will make sure that you are provided for in the future. The most obvious and immediate effect of such systems is the transfer of wealth (by force, since such things are never voluntary) from the citizenry to the government. The more sinister and latent effect is that it urges people into a complete dependence upon law.
Social insurance schemes create volumes of paper promises (or just mysterious "trust us" notions) that are issued to people in exchange for obedience today. Hard assets (labor and obedience) are transferred to the rulers now, in exchange for unaccountable promises tomorrow.
Fiat Currencies, Bonds
The paper promises most frequently seen in normal life, of course, are the currencies issued as money by governments. Whether they be total fiat currencies, asset-backed currencies, or bonds, governments issue paper promises redeemable tomorrow, in exchange for hard assets (your labor) today.
As with all laws, such promises are not purchased voluntarily. In order to buy and sell, without risking chains, one must use the law's paper. As with all paper promises, hard assets are yielded today, in exchange for an unaccountable promise tomorrow — the ability to redeem the paper for something of value.
Such paper promises can be inflated, defaulted, reneged, or subjected to involuntary terms at any time.
Real Estate, Deeds
People who purchase real property perceive that they are trading money for a hard asset. This should be true, but it is not.
Under governments, people do not actually purchase real property; they purchase deeds, a paper permission from government to possess property. The deed requires annual maintenance fees called property taxes. Purchasing real estate under governments is actually a transfer of hard assets (the tax) in exchange for the paper promise that government will enforce your ability to possess that property.
As with all government paper, the terms can change at any time. They can raise the extraction cost, or they can arbitrarily determine rules upon which you use your property. Hard assets go to the rulers of law, and phantom paper promises go to you.
There is no negotiation; if you want property, you must accept the arbitrary rule of law.
Law, Treaties, Constitutions
Without a doubt, the most sinister, cunning, and all-sweeping paper promises ever issued by the rulers of law, are laws themselves. The formula is the same. You have no choice in accepting the transaction; where you are born determines the rulers you will obey. The gain yielded to governments is nothing short of your entire life — your complete and total obedience to any future demand they create. The paper promises they return in exchange are written laws guaranteeing your security and prosperity. Hard assets are yielded involuntarily, and paper promises are given in return.
The supreme proof that such promises were never meant to be kept is the massive destruction of both wealth and security created by law. The most sweeping name for that destruction is war. Governments are very, very good at it.
It is a simple truth that there is no reason to use force against people unless you are trying to steal something from them. All of the paper promises of law are worthless, because there is no intention of them being kept. If law was willing to live up to its promises, it wouldn't need to force people to accept them. The reason it must force people is because it has no intention of returning equal value for that which it takes. It issues phantom promises to quiet the minds of its victims, lest they rebel.
February 6, 2007