“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
― Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn
Obey or else.
That may not be the meaning of life but it is the simplest explanation of all government.
Note that the only objective is abject surrender or whatever pain can be inflicted on the resister after the notions of non-compliance are made clear by the victim.
We have all heard the bromides and axioms about government being like fire, a dangerous servant and the usual platitudes about limiting the beast. Library shelves groan under the weight of hundreds of thousands of scribes, pundits and authors opining on how to temper the monster, how to steer the brute force in positive directions, how to control the perverse incentives that lead to the oceans of blood that seem to be both the birthing and death experiences of nations and states.
Over thousands of years, humans have wrestled with the problem of politically organizing society along peaceful and violent means and discover that the latter is a default of behavior. Ignore all the library definitions; politics is a death cult. Ironically, the populations cry to have a defense against the predators among them and end up with the most empathetically crippled human beings in charge whose power at the larger level dwarfs the petty criminal excesses that drove the people to urge bondage upon themselves in the first place.
We keep the bad people at bay by putting the worst people in charge. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over.
Whether the hijacking of the uneasy canton peace of pre-1791 North America by the Founding Lawyers shackling the country with the Constitution, the aggressive Westward absorption through aboriginal holocaust, the defeat of the Second American revolution in 1865 or the inauguration of the US predatory state abroad in 1893 and the continual war on the world that followed, you have been lied to.
Civics class is government obedience training and the metastasizing police state that emerged from the end of WWI has not stopped for a moment. Once the government got a taste of the national security state after 1916, there was no stopping it. Every war strengthened the state as it perversely screamed for domestic shackles and increasing surveillance and terror to fight…terror.
War is the health of the state as Bourne said and the mandarins in DC decided to take the war footing to the domestic front and the Volstead Amendment was born right on the heels of the income tax gestated in 1913. A powerful hybrid brew was concocted: the power to tax not only individuals over the borders of states, in essence, nationalizing the tax cattle but using the era of Prohibition to weaponize the war on tax evasion and create a national policing organization in the Treasury Department which would expand enormously over time and have a corrosive effect on the relationship between the flock and its masters. The Treasury Department inspired the creation of legions of alphabet agencies to lord over the subjects captured in the tax jurisdiction known as the USA.