The system that has proven to be the most destructive in pursuing this organizational premise has been the state. The disastrous, anti-life consequences of political behavior arise from the underlying definition of the state: an agency that enjoys a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. Because it enjoys a monopoly on the use of force, those who believe that their interests can be better pursued through coercion rather than consent, find themselves attracted to the use of the state’s violent machinery. As more and more people find themselves seduced by the trappings of violence, society becomes increasingly politicized.
The exercise of coercive power has always been the essence of political behavior. In a free market system, the interests of different parties are subject to contractual negotiation, never to the use of violence. If a buyer thinks that a retailer’s asking price for a widget is too high, he will make a counter-offer which the retailer is free to accept or reject. The two parties either arrive at a mutually agreeable price, or the buyer takes his business elsewhere. The idea that the retailer could pull out a gun and threaten the would-be buyer with death if he did not agree to the seller’s demand, would be so unthinkable as to make the evening news programs. For the state, however, the gun is always behind the demands of government officials, and negotiation or withdrawal are rarely an option available to the individual.