From the Samuel Johnson dictionary of 1785:
1. Form of a community with respect to the disposition of the supreme authority.
2. An established state of legal authority.
1. Legal power.
2. Influence ; credit.
3. Power; rule.
1. Highest in dignity ; highest in authority
1. Highest in dignity ; highest in authority
2, Highest ; most excellent.
Notice that nowhere is there any reference to any material reality. It does not describe buildings, people in uniforms, weapons, prisons, tax collectors or anything whatsoever upon which men may barely lay so much as their thoughts, much less their eyes, and farther less still their hands.
The first entry refers to nothing more than an arrangement of elements by convention, which by its very nature refers to a strictly conceptual construction. In other words, there is no tangible object to which one may point and say, "that is government". This being the case, one must upon reflection ask why it is then that so many people regard and refer to this vaporous notion of "government" as if it were an object per se? We constantly hear people referring to government as having "rights" and "interests", but how can this be so if government does not in fact exist as a stand alone entity? And even were it so existing, is "government" a living and sentient being? If not, how can it be said to hold claims of right and to have interests? Is this not disturbingly similar to asserting that a stone has rights or that one's toilet bowl holds interests? Assert those latter claims and those around you will be reaching for their phones to call the nice men in which jackets for to pay you a visit. Consider also that convention implies voluntary agreement of the parties, further implying no authority exists to force the compliance of those not signatory to the agreement.
It is therefore clear that in order to regard and refer to government in a conceptually sensible way, we are behooved to disabuse ourselves of these highly tacit, latent, yet powerfully effective false notions about it. When stripped of all the semantically bankrupt connotations people drag along with their conception of "government" a new and radically altered truth emerges. Government is actually nothing more than an arbitrarily constituted subset of the population who act in manifold accord with a set of conceptual conventions, some of which are commonly called "law", some "policy", and some whatever the hell their moods may dictate at any given moment.
Large and imposing edifices are not government. Words on paper are not government. Men with guns are not government, nor those in costly suits or impressive looking black robes. None of this is "government", but rather only the agents and incidental artifacts of the various functions of governance. Government does not in and of itself exist. To my way of thinking, the term itself should be stricken from use because it represents a very dangerous fairy tale; one which has been the root source of endless misery, suffering, disease, and death.
At this point of the reading some will be scratching their heads, wondering whether I am gone mad or, if not, what then are all these people who claim to be "the government"? That, my friends, is a question easily answered. Such people are nothing more than agents and instruments of governance. What, you ask, is the difference? The difference may seem subtle to some, but it is also fundamental. "Government" refers to nothing that exists such that a man may lay his hands upon it and declare, "this is the government!" The term "governance", however, refers to a set of functions, the nature of which may be readily identified, qualified, and even quantified in many cases. Its definitions:
1. Government, rule ; management.
2. Control, as that of a guardian.
Ignoring the somewhat circular references to "government", we are left with the notions of management in pursuit of the goal of control. The functions or governance are those of control and nothing more. In many internal combustion engines there may be found a device called the "governor". Such devices mostly serve to control the engine by limiting its operating speed to some predetermined upper limit. The purposes of such devices are several, including limiting the power and speed of the engine in question to a specific usable range, to minimize the rate of wear, and to prevent mechanical failure. Without such a device, many engines would fly apart or become otherwise unsuitable to their intended tasks. But in order for such engines to be useful, their governors must be properly designed, built, installed, and adjusted, lest the engine run too slow or too fast.
In a similar way human beings are governed, mostly by themselves. The process of properly controlling oneself may be called, "autodiathesis". Those who so govern are "autodiathists", and that speaks for the vast and overwhelming proportion of the world's human population. There are, however, external mechanisms of governance - that which we erroneously refer to as "government". Those mechanisms are made real and tangible in but one form: other human beings. Such governing function is established because human beings are well known for their occasional failures to govern themselves, some of them qualifying as "catastrophic". Therefore, assuming that there is in place a morally correct standard of human behavior, such functions of governance become practically justifiable in their application to those cases where people have failed to self-govern in accord with that standard. The salient question that naturally arises is that of what constitutes the proper standard and how do we know it is proper? That question is answered at least in part in "What Is Freedom?", and "The Canon Of Individual Sovereignty".
The great problem that arises is one of conceptualization gone wrong and the places to which such errant cognition inevitably leads us as individuals and as groups acting in some concert. When the concept of governance, a readily identifiable function that operates in accord with a presumably reasonable framework of application, is supplanted by the concept of government, things begin going awry such that subsets of a population inevitably end up running amok in all manner of very bad ways. The twentieth century along was rife with such examples of men getting together as a "government" and in the name of ostensibly good intentions proceeded to plunge vast swaths of humanity into endless horrors of seemingly endless barbarity and butchery. That century alone may lay claim to the destruction of up to 220 million souls in the wakes of mechanized warfare and technologically leveraged political purges.
The problem that arises in such cases is that of the usually slow (at first) march away from readily identifiable, if not always completely agreeable principles of governance toward the often opaquely constructed dictates that issue from the black-hole of that conceptual monobloc we know as "government". Functions are not unassailable. If a function makes sense to people, they will accept it. But when a function makes no sense, people will reject it and raise their objections. For example, the function of the murder laws is fairly clear in the minds of most people. Because they make sense, most people abide by them and agree with their application to those who commit acts of murder.
But what about a law prohibiting the opening of one's doors for business on Sunday? There was a time when these so-called "blue" laws were widely accepted and whereby shop proprietors were forced to keep their doors closed on the "Lord's day". No doubt the Jewish people during those times may have taken some exception to this and in time ever growing proportions of the population followed suit. Why? Because of the ever more obvious arbitrariness of such laws that called for acts of governance against those in violation but where no crime is evident. Such law represents the arbitrary and capricious will of those who assume the authority of kings over the rest.
So, why are the two examples so different? Because on the one hand we are governing against a crime, whereas in the other we are not. People know the difference, even if only tacitly so, and if called to task even those in agreement with such blue laws will, if they are reasonable and honest, admit that such laws are arbitrary and therefore unjust in the sense that they are enforced ultimately at the end of the sword against those who have committed no crime.
So why, then, do people tolerate the existence and enforcement of such arbitrary law that calls for what is always unjust and draconian acts of governance? Mainly because government has issued its fiat that it be so. Those in positions of power have been very clever to persuade the rest that there exists an actual and objectively extant entity called "government" and that this so-called government possesses this authority or that, and that by such virtue all are required to comply with the mandates that issue therefrom regardless of how ridiculous and unjust they may be. In the minds of a great many, "government" cannot be questioned, either in principle because people have no right, or at the very least practically speaking because it will avail them no good and may in fact bring even worse circumstances upon them by men with guns.
"Government" is the cognitive monobloc edifice behind which those in power hide and by which they justify their power, the exercise thereof such as it may be made manifest, and arrogate ever more to themselves at the expense of the rest. This has got to be perhaps the oldest political trick on the books, going back heaven knows how many millennia when the first man figured out that people can be made to believe that he is somehow superior to the rest and therefore holds higher claims to life than to the others and that they need him. That, my friends, was the beginning of the end for humanity. That moment marked the birth of empire. From that moment on the cat was out of the bag for those whose personalities were such that they would rather live off the toil of others than the fruits of their own labors. This is one of the most crucial, most centrally salient points with which any human being can ever come to grips.
Government is the greatest, oldest, most widespread, most profoundly rotten, yet most wildly successful scam ever foisted upon the race of men and it is in a greater state of good health today than at any time in known human history. The vast and overwhelming majority of the human population of this planet are staggeringly drunk on the Koo-Aid. These Red-pillers are so utterly lost in the illusion of government that I fear nothing short of a truly monumental global catastrophe will shake them out of their deluded states. Some will certainly remain as they are even unto their own destruction. That is how powerful these lies are and how utterly cowed some people have been by them.
I enjoin one and all with even the least curiosity for truth to give what I have written some honest consideration. For some it will be all too easy to harden up their thoughts and dismiss what I assert as wrong. To those very people I ask but one thing: soften your minds in the sense of opening them up and for argument's sake assume that what I say is in fact true. Then attempt a proof by contradiction. If you are correct in believing that my thoughts and assertions are false, then you should have no problem contradicting them with valid force. But if you cannot produce such an ironclad contradiction, then at least be honest enough to hold that what has been written here may actually hold some truth.
My suggestion to the righteous skeptics among us is to begin by refuting the claim that government, per se, does not in fact exist anywhere on the planet. A good device I have recommended to folks is the thought experiment where one sweeps every human from the earth. With all persons now gone from the planet, point to "government". Where is it? How is it embodied such that it remains after all humanity is swept away?
Please do not fall for the lie that is "government". It is naught but a conceptual manacle by which those in power cause the rest are diminished by their own hands in favor of those who can lay no superior claims to life. Holding no such claims, they hold no authority over their fellows. Having no authority, it becomes clear that the only thing that they do hold is the threat of material force and the means to make those threats physically real. They are barbarians and tyrants and nothing better. They act simply because they have the guns and the ready will to use them.
Bear ye all this in mind and think on it for all the best that you are and be not afraid of where such thoughts may lead for truth should never be feared even if it is otherwise fearsome.
Until next time, please accept my best wishes.