Why Governments Aren’t All That Different from Street Gangs

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gang members

At some point, you may have heard someone call the government a “gang of thieves writ large,” which is a generalization of a quote attributed to libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard. However, if you’re not familiar with the philosophy behind that quote, you might mistakenly believe that it is nothing more than a clever observation on the wasteful and corrupt nature of government. That’s because you may not be aware of the meaning of “writ large.” It’s synonymous with “clearly” or “obviously.” In reality, Rothbard wasn’t trying to make a clever statement. He was quite literally calling the government a gang.

Most people would have trouble wrapping their minds around that notion. Clearly there are differences between governments and gangs right? Agents of the state don’t lie, extort money, murder rivals, train and initiate uniformed enforcers, go to war with their neighbors, protect the integrity of their borders, enforce protection rackets, or conduct any other activities that aren’t permitted in their legal codes.

In case you didn’t detect my sarcasm, governments and gangs routinely engage in all of the activities I listed above. That’s because they are one in the same. The only significant differences between the two, is that gangs are usually smaller than governments, and their borders are a little more fluid.

If you still don’t believe me, you might have one last counter to my argument: Criminal gangs don’t protect people, or at least, not the average person that happens to reside in their territory. They’re only interested in their own profitable endeavors, and staying alive. By contrast, protecting the people is the cornerstone of every effective government.

Instead of responding to that with another snide comparison between gangs and governments, I will say this. Gangs really do protect the people who live on their turf. Sometimes it’s the kind of compulsory protection that governments provide, sometimes they wait for someone to ask them for help in exchange for money, and other times it’s a completely incidental result of their business practices. But make no mistake, they do protect people, and they do maintain law and order (or at least, their quick and vicious version of it).

If you want proof, take a look at what happened in this Chicago neighborhood after the police busted a local drug operation.

“When the drug dealers had left, that’s when everything started getting worse on this block,” said Mariah Monae, 16, who didn’t want to give her last name. “But when they was here, they was protecting us. They ain’t let none of that shooting stuff happen.”

About half an hour earlier at 9:55 p.m. Friday, a 19-year-old man had been shot while riding a bike in the 1100 block of South Central Park Avenue in the Homan Square neighborhood. He was hit in the back and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, leaving Mariah Monae and her 15-year-old cousin, who live nearby, to check things out.

“This block is just ridiculous,” she said. “That’s why I stay in the house.”

A $3 million-a-year drug operation used to be centered nearby, according to authorities. In June, more than 40 people were charged in connection with the alleged heroin ring.

“They used to be right here, taking up the whole block,” said Mariah Monae, spinning around to point at the intersections of Grenshaw Street and Central Park. “Ain’t nothing happen over here, everything was cool.”

Violence was bad for the dealers’ business, they said. Mariah Monae had even seen the sellers break up big groups of people fighting.

“When they left, that’s when everything started acting up,” she said. “People come up here shooting for no apparent reason. … People probably scared to walk through here now. I am.”

This case isn’t a rare outlier either. In fact, crime rates routinely skyrocket in areas where organized crime has been removed. Some studies have shown that gangs actually reduce the violent crime rate in their neighborhoods. Although they do commit plenty of violent acts, the net result is a lower violent crime rate in the neighborhoods where they reside.

If you’re wondering how this could be possible, it’s because gangs enforce rules in areas that previously had no rules. In other words, they don’t exist for the reasons most people think they do.

Gangs don’t show up in nice neighborhoods with responsive and respectful police departments, and proceed to turn them into hell holes. It’s the other way around. They usually show up in places that are already awful. Places that are rife with violent crime because the police, and by extension the government, have completely failed to protect the population. Gangs are initially created by people who are trying to band together to protect themselves in a dangerous world. It’s only later that they start turning to illegal rackets, at first to support their protection needs, and later for profit.

Essentially they are just like the government. Their main job is protection, but they do plenty of other ugly things on the side to make money. They exist because they are filling a void that was left by the state, when the state couldn’t protect them. They are in fact, little governments.

And as for governments? They’re just big ol’ gangs.

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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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  • Mr Reynard

    Pardon me ! but I think that street gangs are gentlemen as compared to the government …………

    • plus no government exists: just corporations

      USA INC and it’s [E]States – which are subsidiaries, as all cities / villages / municipalities – all incorporated.

      you can tell the IMF agent ( Cop) that he has no jurisdiction since you are not in any of those legal fictions created by attorneys. As a man you are on the land nation Ohio / Missouri / etc….

      the saga continues

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  • 326:21 Louisiana trial court properly awarded $90,000 lump amount (to be reduced by 1/3 for plaintiff’s degree of fault) to motorist allegedly injured by “too tight” handcuffing after he attempted to leave the scene while officer was writing traffic tickets; state Supreme Court rules, however, that motorist was not entitled to an additional $89,600 for psychiatric expenses, since therapy concerned many matters, such as his marriage and father’s death. Bryan v. City of New Orleans, No. 98-1263, 737 So. 2d 696 (La. 1999).

    Deputy sheriff liable for $15,000 for using excessive force when he handcuffed persons with little justification for making an arrest Bauer, v. Norris, 713 F.2d 408 (8th Cir. 1983).

    269 grounds to sue:

    http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/civilmenu.html enjoy !

  • Good article. Basic anarchist philosophy.

  • Fred Bastiat

    The argument I here in response to the gangs vs government analogy is that democratic governments allow the vote. Note the word ‘allow’ as it is without doubt at the whim of the rulers and has been known to to be revoked overnight or simply narrowed to such small issues as to be irrelevant. Statists think that the tyranny of the mob structure is replaced by the tyranny of mob rule – as if thats better. But we know the vote is propaganda, its marketing for the rulers over the ruled. Influence over the rulers and bureaucracy is so insignificant and infrequent as to be the equivalent of a fake jewelry store discount. 75% Off! Yeah, sure. And the larger the state the less useful even the insignificant vote becomes. To find the least representative democracy on the planet just look to Kalifornia in the US of A.

    • Democracy is mob rule in every sense of the term. It is rule by organized crime from above, and disorganized rabble from below. https://anenemyofthestate.wordpress.com/quotations-from-chairman-zhu/

    • SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

      Well written. Straight to the point. What is the use of “false hope” or “despair that what I do would change on the consequences of bad action by greedy government and a fragmented opposition” ?

  • Right to the Point

    Been saying it for a year now. Gangs, ISIS, and Governments are born from the same prostitutive mother. They all gain their resources by hook or crook…..

  • mirageseekr

    Government is worse than gangs because gangs usually have a code the expect everyone to abide, government changes the rules all the time to suit their needs.

    • Gangs at least don’t moralize after they’ve ripped you off.
      Governments are worse.

  • SovereignPatriot88

    The gangs have a better grasp of the importance of freedom than the government does. And gangs don’t have oppressive agendas designed to make people believe that it’s for their own good, when it’s really about screwing people over and further controlling them. And I’m pretty sure that the government has a much higher body count than all the gangs put together. And I bet that the government’s body count has a much higher amount of innocent civilians than gangs.
    I’d rather take my chances with the gangs.

  • Gordon Barlow

    I would say that all NATO governments (not just the US government) are pretty much on a par with the most violent of street gangs. Each of them claims the right to kill outsiders. Indeed, our nations’ psychopaths are a whole lot more deadly than the standard Hell’s Angels thugs.
    http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-right-to-kill.html

  • desertspeaks

    you can negotiate with a street gang, you can’t negotiate with the psychopaths that wear badges!

    • Gearmoe

      Their judicial system typically acts more quickly.

  • Gearmoe

    Some analogies are more accurate than others.

  • Someguy

    I don’t get why we can’t round up all these goons under Reco(sp?) Laws. Racketeering of thousands or millions. Too bad we would have to round up most the attorneys, judges, leos who should be good guys.