Re: kinder, gentler, self-congratulatorier, same old force

James Rogers (
Wed, 07 Jan 1998 21:11:32 -0800

At 11:32 PM 1/7/98 -0500, Robin Helweg-Larsen wrote:
>Anton Sherwood wrote:
>> AMG:
>> > Is it possible that the force that government occasionally uses
>> Occasionally? What is government, if not the threat of force?
>That could be applied to all social interaction. If you attack me, you do so
>under the threat that I may defend myself; even if you only insult me, you
do so
>under the threat that I may react violently. Government is no worse
>than people. I don't disagree with your view of government, but it is a very
>cynical view, and loses validity if you don't apply as rigorous a cynicism to
>your own dealings with others.

This is not valid. You posit that if I attack you, I do so under the
"threat" that you will defend yourself. If I decided that you defending
yourself was a significant threat to my attack, then the proper term would
be "deterrent" (assuming basically rational players). A deterrent is
simply a "defensive threat" that is of significance to the attacker.
Obviously when applied to government, individuals do not possess a
deterrent capability since, at best, they represent a non-significant
defensive threat to the government.

When the government is involved, individuals may represent a "threat", but
never a "deterrent". In a social interaction, there is *always* someone
who can kick the aggressor's ass.

-James Rogers