(urth) Gene Wolfe's Politics

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Mar 31 16:14:06 PDT 2009

>>>> What do you think the main purpose of government is, David, if not
>>>> to maintain the military?

>>> To protect the weak from the strong.

>> But the government is normally the strongest entity around. How does
>> that work?

> There's a continuum here.  It is the government's job to make sure
> that something unpleasant happens to Bob if he kills me simply because
> he has the ability to (being stronger) and without otherwise-just
> cause.  This functions as a deterrent, which therefore enables the
> mostly-functioning of a mostly-civil society.

> See Mogadishu for a counterexample.

If you will recall, we began this discussion by asking what the government
was authorized to spend money upon. My answer to this was threefold: the
military, infrastructure and big research. David Stockhoff (I believe)
scoffed at this. I asked him what he thought the government was authorized
to spend money upon. He has not answered me: you stepped in and said that
government's main purpose was to protect the weak from the strong.

Practically speaking, what does this mean? What is government authorized
to spend money on, in your view?

I don't think that I would deny that police services are a proper function
of government: sometimes when people talk about protecting the weak from
the strong, they are really talking about taking money away from people
who have it and spending it on people who do not have it: I will come flat
out and ask you if that is what you mean, or part of it.


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