Monday, January 31, 2005

The consent of the governed . . .

I've been thinking about the Iraqi elections. I'm happy for them and hooray for our side.

But it occurs to me that all government is people with guns who are trained and willing to pull triggers. The only distinctions between government and an armed thug on the street who claims your cash on threat, is that (a) government has way more firepower, and (b) government claims a moral and ethical right to use compulsion and deadly force. Okay, so in a democratically run government, those who are governed kind of cede the right to use compulsion and deadly force. But it's still force and the government still assumes its use of force is legitimate. Government is force, with or without the presumed consent of the governed.

So, to the degree one thinks government should work harder to fix problems of society and "make a difference," that's how much force you are calling down on the heads of your neighbors. Thanks guys. And if the gummint should come knockin' at your door, bet you'll be saying, "But this isn't what I had in mind at all." 'Cause you forgot that when you concede the right to use force, you don't retain control of targeting.

We all mostly know this, but sometimes we forget, particularly when our elections come around.

Think the Iraqis can figure this out? After Saddam? And with the foreign fighters running loose?

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