Coachteet said this and it was too good to let it sit in the comment section of a post awhile back.
Your assertions are sophomoric (at best). Let me take you back to government 101. There has never existed, nor shall there ever exist, a "free society" as defined by you. You are defining freedom as living without restriction. That would be a truly horrible and shortlived social experiment. Ask the folks in Darfur. Somalia. Ask yourself how wonderful freedom would be when there is no consequence to someone punching a hole through your head, taking your land, enslaving your family, etc. Government can be defined as "those who control the monopoly of violence in a given territory". Even in a society so free as the United States.
The difference in our country is that it is ruled by a government of the people, for the people and by the people. This doesn't equate to living in a utopia as defined by Brass. The laws are, generally, the laws because it is the consensus of the people. The current government serves at the pleasure of the people (whether the congressperson you voted for is the one who one). The popular vote decides who shape our laws. Popular sentiment gets the laws changed, or made to remain the same. Is it perfectly so? Hardly.
You refer to rights and morality as if they were synonymous. They are not. That is because "morality" in practice is mutable and cannot really be defined by a collective. Morality is different for every individual. Rights and laws are determined, in theory, by the majority opinion of what is "right" or "moral". Even if those laws conflict with your personal opinion on what is "moral".
Thus, for example, some drunken asshole shouting obscenities at 2a.m. CAN be arrested, because most people long ago decided this was the right response to dealing with this type of behavior. And most people still agree.
You see, you have rights in our free society. But the right to swing your fist ends where the next man's nose begins (to paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes).
The premise from which you base your entire argument is fundamentally flawed.
Once again, you use a poor example to try and prove a point. The local gen-du-roi do not have the authority nor license to commit rape (however, they would in your "free society"). But, let's move forward with your example, but clean up the ambiguity so I can point out the fundamental flaws in your argument.
Let us assume that by "island" you mean a new land, completely isolated and outside the authority of any existing government. Total power vaccuum. 10 people are dropped onto this island, Eden II. No escape or rescue. 9 of the 10 collectively agree that raping the 10th person is fine. Guess what? That's the law, and it is "right". Why? Because the minority does not have the power or support to make it otherwise. You and I might not agree with this decision, but we are not on the island.
Now, let's assume Coachteet is on the island. Coach is a conscientious objector. He feels that by divine decree, rape is not OK. Vote is 8-2. Guess what? Rape is still "right". The 2 dissenters argue, and attempt to defend themselves. Coach gets overwhelmed and has his head smashed in by a rock. You really should not have broken the law, Coach.
OK, same scenario, except Coach has an AK-47 with a 100 rd drum mag. Guess what? Rape is wrong. All hail, Coach. However, this is a dictatorship, and technically a less free society than the previously existing democracy. Regardless of your personal opinion on what is right or moral, Brass.
Regardless of how sophisticated or technologically advanced we become, he who has the biggest rock has the power. How you personally feel about this, Brass, makes absolutely no difference. It is the immutable truth throughout human history.
The beauty of the US is that we the people have the rock. Not so in North Korea. Nor medieval Europe. Nor ancient Egypt. Be thankful. And be respectful to the police.
TOR says: Well said. I was actually going to write about the topic of government today but what Coachteet said sort of beat me to it and since it covered most if not all of my ideas I just put his comment up into to main page.
Now for my thoughts. I have been having a fairly ongoing conversation with Brass and a couple other folks about this issue. No ding on them and my tone might have been a bit different than Coachteets but in any case what he said was so darn close to what I was going to say that it made more sense to post his comment instead of writing the same.
In terms of political identity here are my thoughts.
If I had to answer what my political orrientation is in one word I would say "liberterian".
If I had to answer it in a single sentence it would be "something between a 'small l' liberterian and a republitarian.
If I had a paragraph I would say that I cannot identify as a republican because I think they mettle too much in the personal affairs of people and that I lean towards the small government side of the liberterian party. I am for a balanced budget and low taxces. I am for some reasonable laws to protect workers and various at risk groups such as children. The militarizatiion of our law enforcement at all levels concerns me greatly. I think something of a minimal safety net is a good thing but a welfare state is evil. I lean against abortion but am probably not for banning it outright. I don't care what sort of guns are in your safe, what substances you enjoy or who shares your bed. I am for securing our borders and getting illegal immigrants out of our country. I am for a strong military to protect our nation but think our international military footprint could shrink significantly. I am conservative on some topics and liberal on others. I do not neatly and completely fit into the beliefs of any political party and find people who truly 100% toe any party line scary.
I do not believe any rational person can truly say we would be better off without any form of government. Also I think lots of fancy liberterian/ anarchist ideals about how things could work do not measure up to the tests of history or reality. The amount of government we should have can certainly be debated but I do not think its presence or worth can be argued.
With everything in life there is the theoretical/ philosophical answer and what actually works in real life, often the two are not the same. Look at it like this. It is the way to build a house that an engineer or a construction management major knows and the way that my uncle who has built houses for 20 years knows. It is how a sociology or criminal justice professor views crime and criminals vs the observations of a beat cop who has 20 years on patrol. It is the difference between the views on fighting of some tacticool instructor who wears nice crisp 5.11 clothes and gets his credibility from winning a bunch of competitions vs a Delta Guy who has spent the last decade shooting people in the face. Lots of fancy liberterian/ anarchist ideals about how things would work do not measure up to the tests of reality or historic examples.
We need government to protect us from each other by punishing those who abuse or violate others and by keeping property rights relatively secure (fucking eminent domain) among other things. If someone steals my stuff, assaults my wife or whatever government will probably not be able to stop them but there is a reasonable chance it will seek out and punish them. That certain acts are censured means that most people will not do these acts. Because of logistical issues government can not often protect people but it can and does punish those who break the law after the fact. This punishment goes a long way toward keepiung most people from violating the rights of others. I like being able to leave my residence with the knowledge that my property will almost surely be secure. I like knowing that contracts will generally be followed and if nothing else there is a reasonable way to pursue grevances in a legal manner instead of with a rifle.
We can certainly have an interesting debate about how far government should go into fiddling with our lives to protect or help people but I don't think the essential nature of some amount of government can seriously be questioned.