In contemporary society, laws are generally obeyed without violent dissent. This allows politicians and state apologists to claim that the people consent to be governed, and it obfuscates the coercive nature of the state. It means that people make political calculations assuming that people will comply with legislative changes without violent resistance, creating a veneer of peaceful cooperation overseen by beneficial political management.  Those who would advocate “peaceful” adjustments to legislation to “better manage” society, who do so without understanding their actions as violent in any way, actually rely on massive amounts of violence in the past to have established a system where people comply without resistance. Therefore, any political system that relies on widespread compliance (like taxation) necessarily endorses the kind of violence that would be required to establish such a system.

The idea that government is consensual is a fantasy. The only reason that people obey laws peacefully today is because the state violently suppressed resistance to it’s edicts in the past. The logic of this is very similar to Mises’ regressive theory of money. Mises posited that people desire a “unit of exchange” today because they can trade it for other goods – ie, because others value it. Those who valued it in the past must have either valued it for an intrinsic property or because others further in the past already valued it- there must have been a point, in the past, where the object was desired for it’s intrinsic properties:


In the same way, the main reason we follow the (arbitrary) orders of a “political authority” is because that political authority is widely obeyed by others (whether because they have taught us to, or because widespread compliance increases the costs of resistance). It has acquired that obedience either through violence or the use of funds to purchase loyalty through services, “education”, propaganda, subsidies etc. The funds were acquired because earlier people obeyed by paying taxes. Those who obeyed must have either been compelled through violence or the use of funds, etc. etc.  Our current day compliance is always traced backwards to an original act of violence.

Every modern state has made an example of those who wouldn’t comply in order to establish itself as the taxation authority. For some states, this process was so far in the past, we don’t immediately associate the violence from that period with the compliance we see around us today. However, it is an inescapable fact, that, during the establishment period, the state engages in widespread violence (usually in the form of suppressing rebellion and liquidating rival power structures) in order to generate compliance with it’s edicts. Once the bloodletting has finished and people are sufficiently terrorised that they go along with whatever arbitrary orders emanate from the sovereign’s palace, then the political class can muse about “peaceful government” and “just rule”.

Most modern nation states are descended from feudal kingdoms that were utterly brutal in setting up the state institutions that were later “democratised”. Most colonies were setup by agents of one of these states, and the exception that proves the rule, the USA, which famously broke from its’ feudal past and abrogated the authority of the king, almost immediately had to suppress an anti-tax rebellion, and later on fought a bloody civil war to establish the supremacy of the central government’s edicts.

This foundation of violence is far from an academic matter today: when a sufficiently divisive political issue arises, which calls into question the power and legitimacy of the state, the worship of political authority leads people to violently re-establish the supremacy of this or that political organisation (civil war). There is no good reason to believe that this process is impossible in modern democratic states.

Today, every state stands ready to kidnap (arrest) those who oppose it’s open theft (taxation). However, for every instance where the state has to use a small measure of violence to enforce it’s authority, there are a thousand transgressions where the state is allowed to trade on the violence it has borrowed from the past.

Every exercise of political authority borrows violence from the past and manufactures a dominance mindset that will inevitably lead to occasional bouts of mass-killings.