William Grigg on the gang of criminals commonly known as "government":
"Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a vast scale? What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms?
A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of `kingdom,' which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.
For it was a witty and a truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great. The king asked the fellow, `What is your idea, in infesting the sea?' And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, `The same is yours, in infesting the earth! But because I do it with a tiny craft, I'm called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you're called an emperor."
St. Augustine, The City of God, book IV, chapter 4.
One obvious difference between a common criminal gang, and the specialized version of a criminal gang called a "government," is this: Common gangs don't expect their victims to be abjectly grateful to be on the receiving end of criminal violence, and even to pay for the privilege of being plundered.
The more vicious variety of gangs called "government" not only expect such gratitude and tribute, they demand it. Indeed, they will literally kill to have it, sacrificing not only the lives of its victims, but of as many of its enforcers as may be necessary.
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