"I am further of opinion that it would be better for us to have [no laws] at all than to have them in so prodigious numbers as we have." ~ Michel de Montaigne
Five Reasons Government Is an Unnecessary Evil
'The fact is that government, like a highwayman, says to a man: 'Your money or your life.'' ~ Lysander Spooner
As thinking people, let us gaze upon this curious phenomenon called 'government' and consider the benefits supposedly endowed upon the common folk. I regret to say that our schooling imbued within us a primal loyalty to this institution ' a bit of mass programming that is in no way a coincidence.
Government does not create social order.
We generally harbor the assumption that society would descend into chaos had we no centralized means of authority. This idea is bunk. Social order stems spontaneously from the voluntary behavior of individuals. We discovered early on as a species that we can cooperate. We need no third party to tell us that a person stands to benefit by trading with others. By freely trading what excess I may have of goods, labor, or services that I produce well, I can obtain those things I desire but cannot produce well on my own. I have an incentive to produce more than I can consume myself. Self-interest in the absence of coercion provides the means for win-win social relationships. This activity, barter, leads logically to indirect trade. If I need something from you, but you do not want what I have, I go to Rufus over here who has what you want, but wants what I've got (still a pretty inefficient way to go, though). Thankfully, over time, this process bubbles to the surface one or two commodities that most people realize just about everyone wants to some degree or another (usually a luxury item). This good becomes the trading standard, i.e., money. With money, we gain the ability to calculate profit and loss, and shift our activities so that they match the desires of other actors in the market. This mechanism of self-interest gives us a way to determine if we use our resources in a way that satisfies others.
Many well-meaning leftists believe government provides the means for humans to cooperate on a large scale. This idea is not true. Boiled down to its core, the institution designed to pool resources and activities towards a common goal is the corporation. But aren't corporations breeding houses of greed? Aren't corporations able to get away with things regular people can't? The answer to both questions is an undeniable 'yes.' But the reason many corporations have become those things stems directly from government involvement. Laws came about that treated a corporation as a virtual separate person that can be treated as such under law, giving the opportunity for those within the corporation to essentially act in nefarious ways and 'blame it on the corporation,' if you will. The people doing the harm have 'cover.' Understand that this concept is not inherent to the idea of the corporation. Like Tolkien's orcs, created by torturing and mutilating elves of old, corporations have become twisted and distorted from the original free market concept. Separate the wheat from the chaff.
Government attracts the corrupt.
All other things being equal, humans prefer leisure to work. It becomes logically conclusive that some humans will be willing to live at the expense of others if the opportunity arose. Government provides these types of people just such an opportunity. It is a magnet for those who wish to live at the expense of others.
Government does not and can not create wealth.
Wealth is created by producers producing more than they need to immediately consume. The manifestation of this activity in a complex economy with a high division of labor is saving. In short, human prosperity is due at its root to one and only one behavior: the act of saving some of what you gain through labor or trade for a later date. Prosperity is impossible without this activity. Do I need to repeat that? Government obtains its funds through coercive means. Would you produce extra so that it can be taken from you by force? Trade does not occur unless both parties benefit from the trade. Government substitutes mutual benefit with threats of violence. All other things being equal, humans will attempt to minimize the loss of wealth through theft. They will produce less. Less production means less saving. Less saving means less prosperity. Read it and weep.
Government is Force.
The threat of force exists behind every government rule, regulation, and mandate. If you deny it, then I ask you what risk you take should you decide to violate one. Force will be levied against you to comply. Realizing from the discussion above that social order is spontaneous (and that includes the potential to create activities like security and jurisprudence), I ask you: Is it necessary to institutionalize force for a peaceful, prosperous society to exist? Government, far from ensuring this society exists, does more to prevent it from happening than any other single human failing. Government is an engine of disorder.
Imagine if you can what would drive hundreds of thousands of people to slaughter each other. Now imagine that occurring without government. Only through mass, centralized government do the social conditions exist for genocidal slaughter. It is true that religion provided the incentive for many wars of the past, but these wars could not have taken place anywhere near to the extent that they did had there been no coercive institution driving the populace either through threat or propaganda.
Every -- EVERY-- government 'service' can be provided by an unfettered free market more fairly, more efficiently, and more humanely, including fire, garbage collection, protection and security, and road transportation. Let the Twentieth Century with its propaganda-driven wars of genocide be testament to the failing of government to protect human society.