Originally Posted by jazzguru
Originally Posted by muppetry
That's why I wrote "by and large".
I think it matters from the perspective of how to address it. If a government is intentionally harming its citizens through tyranny, or other forms of oppression, then it clearly does not represent them and needs to be replaced. If, on the other hand, it is just a matter of inefficiency, poor judgement or any of the other undesirable symptoms that often arise in managed organizations, then continual striving for improvement may be a better solution.
But the money used to fund government's wasteful and harmful actions - whether intentional or not - is collected under threat of violence. If the people don't like what the government is doing with their money, they cannot stop it from taking their money.
Whereas, with a private business, if the people don't like what it is doing with the money they give to it in exchange for its products or services, they can simply stop purchasing its products or services and it will fail (unless bailed out with money the government has collected from those people under threat of violence).
"Striving for improvement" is all well and good, but why should any individual or group of individuals strive for improvement if there is no risk of failure no matter what they do?
So here we kind of run out of room for argument because we are back to the fundamental philosophical disagreement over whether taxation is legitimate. My view, as you probably know, is that there is no alternative to some level of non-optional taxation to pay for infrastructure (which includes security etc.), and I have pointed out that taxation, per se, is not even consistently rejected under all libertarian interpretations. But, inevitably, there will never be unanimous agreement in the populace over any tax-funded program or service, so if the metric for acceptability is that one only pays for those things one agrees with then taxation becomes impossible.
That, in my view, then rules out any possibility of functional government, because given the enthusiasm for tax avoidance, and even evasion, optional taxation will collapse the revenue stream. Sure, you can supply some infrastructure via the free market, providing that you don't mind permitting the choice to decline it which may lead, just as an example, to families with no healthcare, no access to road transport, no utilities etc. - i.e. the potential for widespread poverty and squalor with no means to combat it.
That's not a society that I wish to live in, so I accept the need to pay taxes, including taxes to fund things that I do not use or even necessarily agree with. The freedoms we enjoy that derive from living in a somewhat mutually caring society do not come without some commitment and cost. But we've argued this one ad nauseam and I don't think we are going to resolve it this time either.