Re: kinder, gentler, self-congratulatorier, same old force
Thu, 8 Jan 1998 10:09:56 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 7 Jan 1998, Anton Sherwood wrote:

> What is government, if not the threat of force?

Well, it is a bit trickier than that. True, government compels assent by
means of a monopoly on the "legitimate" use of force, *however* it is far
better pleased to cultivate assent through the proper working of
institutions that cacoon the coercive state -- schools, churches, unions,
media, professional organizations, etc. It's not always the easiest thing
in the world to determine where the coercion ends and the cultivation

> Why pour good wine into a sewer? (You don't get a better grade of sewage.)
> Where coercion is legitimized, there is and will always be
> a magnet for corruption.
> Apply your ingenuity instead to build a new kind of institution.

I agree with these sentiments, but think this is a helluva complicated
matter. If you break the State monopoly through Friedmanesque competition
among services you retain a governmental archipelago of institutions that
will still either be in the business of compelling and cultivating assent
or they won't be in business for long. A better sewer, but a sewer still.
It might not get much better than this. Best, Dale