Typically, a government reserves the right to use force against individual people
, and such use of force is deemed illegal in the hands of anyone not acting as an agent
of the government. To motivate agents of the government to use such force as necessary to enforce laws, the government must pay
resources to them. Agents acting to enforce laws without getting paid by the government are called vigilante
s and they are considered criminal
s. The resources
a government pays to its agents are collected from those the government serves, the citizens. In the case of almost every government, some of the laws it enforces
take away from its citizens a little of what they earn to cover the cost of enforcing the laws.
There exists a belief in the necessity of taking a little of what you produce away from you for the benefits provided by enforcing the laws. This belief appears to grow out of the idea that people agree that it is morally correct to take a little of what you produce in order to benefit the public
. When broken down to a personal level, the question becomes very interesting:
Would you honor a demand from your neighbor
to give him a little bit of each paycheck you earn? How many people
must make the demand in order for you to accept it as legitimate
? There may be a number
of people that causes you to feel that the demand has legitimacy. It is an excellent question to ponder in your free time.
An alternative view
to the belief that it is necessary to take a little away from each citizen to pay for the enforcement
of laws is this: Each citizen that believes a set of laws as described by an enforcement agency should be enforced, whether or not it is considered or accepted as the government, will choose
to pay to have those laws enforced. This produces the effect that the most valuable laws will be backed by the strongest enforcement efforts, and those laws that are generally useless will no longer be enforced.
The essential difference between the two kinds of government to which these two opposing views lead is this: The first is a government whose power comes from coercion
, and the second is a government whose power comes from choice
The first requires that citizens vote in order to legitimize laws (and/or their law makers) by reaching some as yet unexplained threshold of consensus
. The second uses citizens' ability to choose how to spend their money to determine the value of their laws (and/or their law makers). The first provides an opportunity for unscrupulous political agents
to profit from the use of coercion
while operating above the law
. The second requires that such criminals resort to deceit
, since no coercion is sanctioned, and makes them susceptible to the natural consequences of immoral behavior.