Tue, 10 May 2005

Political vs. Economic power, part 2

I fear that I may have misled some people in my earlier posting on Political vs. Economic power. I got a response from someone suggesting that political power derives from the use of physical force. Not true! What about, say, the Knights of Columbus, or the Rotary, or the Shriners, or any other voluntary organization? They change the world by cooperating with each other towards a goal. This is political power.

Governments use political power, but they do not create it.

A government is unique among organizations because it has, or at least tries to have, a monopoly on force in a certain physical area. The United States Government is different than most governments because its citizens reserve the right to keep and bear arms, and because it is comprised of states, each of which maintains its own National Guard troops. The U.S. Government is a well regulated monopoly, controlled by a well regulated militia. Or, at least, it was designed to be a well regulated monopoly. Lately, the regulators have been falling down on the job.

A lot of people don't appreciate this. I suspect that you, gentle reader do.

My correspondent further deponeth that consumers don't regulate, because that would require the use of political power, or the legal right to use force. That's also not true. A voltage regulator controls the level of voltage in your computer. No law gives it the power to regulate, and yet regulate it does.

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