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What is a government or state?

by the Centre for a Stateless Society

Governments, also known as states, are coercively-imposed territorial monopolies on the provision of the service of dispute resolution, better known as “law”. More plainly and only slightly less precisely, they are protection rackets with good PR.

The most basic function of any government is ostensibly to protect the lives of their citizens. However, individuals are not given the ability to choose who they will have protect them. They are forced to purchase this protection from their local monopoly who will take their money for the service whether the individual wants it to or not. If they resist, they will be jailed or worse.

One of the ways which market anarchists approach this issue is, “should a service ever be forced upon someone at gunpoint?” We, of course, oppose such acts of brutality on ethical grounds and also assert that such forcible interference with consumer choice creates additional problems. In this context, governance is not based upon consent of the governed, but upon conquest under a false pretense of legitimacy.

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