"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." ~ Frederic Bastiat
Ten Differences Between the State and the Mafia
Column by Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski.
Exclusive to STR
1. The state is the largest apparatus of violence, aggression, and coercion within a given territory. The mafia is composed of all the smaller ones.
2. The state is the most well-organized apparatus of violence, aggression, and coercion within a given territory. The mafia's inferior organization makes them less influential and their reach more restricted.
3. The state is a monopolistic apparatus of violence, aggression, and coercion, that is, the culmination of the process of eliminative competition between groups of stationary bandits that run protection racket schemes. Mafias are the losers in this competition, formally outlawed by the winner and relegated to the black market.
4. The state possesses a powerful apparatus of self-aggrandizing propaganda. The mafia does not, hence its bad reputation.
5. The state is the apparatus of violence, aggression, and coercion that possesses the largest clientele within a given territory. The clientele of the mafia is quite small in comparison.
6. The state is usually an open-access apparatus of violence, aggression, and coercion. The mafia typically has a much more closed and rigid structure.
7. Mafias, due to their limited influence and reach, do not actively seek to turn all the inhabitants of a given territory into their clients. States do.
8. Mafias, due to their limited influence and reach, do not actively seek to control and regularly expropriate all the inhabitants of a given territory. States do.
9. Mafias are usually pragmatic in their orientation--they employ violence, aggression, and coercion to obtain tangible goods and services. States, on the other hand, are more often than not motivated by ideology--they employ violence, aggression, and coercion out of pure lust for power.
10. The mafia uses physical intimidation. The state uses physical, intellectual, and moral intimidation. The mafia injures its victims. The state injures and insults its victims. Paraphrasing Lysander Spooner, the mafia, unlike the state, does not, in addition to robbing its victims, attempt to make them either its dupes or its slaves.