Notes Book

The Price of Violence

Violence and sex have one thing in common. Our culture encourages us to purchase them in quantity rather than a little at a time.

I am talking about marriage and taxes verses prostitution and hiring a mafia hit.

I am all in favor of marriage, but I am not in favor of needing government permission to form or dissolve a marriage.

But I think a culture that allows any group to have a monopoly on violence is making a big mistake. For evidence of this, we need to look no further than the tens or hundreds of millions killed by governments during the twentieth century.

How much do you pay for violence? It's probably hard to tell, because the government that sells you violence also provides other services. I guess you might say that the price you pay for violence is the difference between the real value of the services you receive from your government and the amount you pay in taxes. For most of us, violence is quite expensive, but for owners of corporations who receive corporate welfare, it might be either cheap or free, or they might even get paid to accept the "protection" of the government.

As a government disintegrates, people begin to turn to alternate providers of violence, usually called "crime bosses", or perhaps "warlords" in the last stages of the process. As governments age, they tend to create large black markets. They outlaw things which provides the cops and lawyers with an excuse it seize property. The outlawed items rise in price. The outlawed item may be Christianity, as in the case of the Roman Empire, or ginseng, as in the case of one Chinese dynasty, or pot, as in the case of our own government.

The bigger the black market, the more capital it accumulates. The more capital it accumulates, the more "soldiers" it needs to protect its capital from the government and rival gangs. Members of government don't want to stop this process because it is very profitable to them. Once the Statist has started to think that it is OK for him to rob and steal, he doesn't know when to stop. If a little robbery is good, then a lot is better. Eventually the empire is gone but the criminal organization and the love of the people for the outlawed items remains.

The remnants of the Roman Empire are the Mafia and the Catholic Church. If you want to buy the best ginseng, you go to China town. The drug prohibition in the USA is welding marijuana to the American psyche like no public relations campaign ever could.