TheAnarchistAlternative.info | There are some differences, see below, but organized crime is closely similar to government. If it’s dishonest and destructive to work for the Mafia (and it obviously is) then it’s dishonest and destructive to work for government. Consider and compare their key characteristics.
1. Each provides its “services” by force
They are delivered whether wanted or not and whether needed or not. The Mafia furnishes unwanted “protection” in which victims are forced to pay for services they do not want and did not need; enforced by imposing damage and/or injury until compliance is achieved – hence “an offer they can’t refuse.” Similarly every government “service” is provided under compulsion; even if it is not used (a highway, school…) payment compliance is enforced by imposing damage and/or injury or death. Government is the ultimate “protection racket.”
2. Each is financed by raw theft
Except for its optional services (see #6 below) the Mafia is financed by stealing; for example, trucks are hijacked, their contents sold to fences and the proceeds shared by the hierarchy. Government, likewise, obtains all its revenues at every level (local, state and federal) by confiscating money under threat of violence. To call it “tax” and to pretend that is the “price paid for a civilized society” is pure hokum: the enforced removal of property from its owner is theft and nothing else. The fact that government is never financed voluntarily, without threat of violence, is positive proof that nobody wants it; or rather, nobody who doesn’t hope to share in the loot, as part of the “hierarchy.”
3. Each enslaves some of its workers
The Mafia kidnaps and brainwashes some of those in its service – for example, by hooking runaway girls on drugs and forcing them into prostitution. Similarly government routinely fights its wars with conscript labor, and about half of all its prisoners are victimless criminals.
4. The claim to benefit victims
Here’s the first difference between the two: the Mafia never claims that its activities benefit its victims or the community; despise them as we may, we cannot accuse them of hypocrisy. Government, in contrast, does make that claim. Accordingly, it is less honest than the Mafia.
5. Perception by non-participants
Here’s another difference: the Mafia is uniformly despised by onlookers, but in the case of government there are no onlookers. Everyone is a victim.
6. Voluntary options
Some Mafia “services” are optional; they make goods and services available to willing buyers on a voluntary basis. Such have included cigarettes, alcohol, other prohibited drugs, prostitution and gambling. If you don’t want to buy those, you don’t have to. Whatever government prohibits, the Mafia may (for a price, which covers the cost of bribing government officials to look the other way) make available. In the government’s case, however, nothing is optional. One is not forced to accept a service (eg social security benefits can be refused) but one cannot decline to pay for it so the exchange is never voluntary.
7. Each counterfeits money
Government does this all the time, in partnership with its lapdog the Federal Reserve Bank (which is technically private, has few reserves if any, and does not function like a bank.) The Mafia does it sometimes, so spawning the advice on bumper stickers “Don’t Counterfeit: Government Hates Competition.” The action of creating fresh “money” out of bits of paper and ink is carried on by both, and it has awful consequences for everyone else. Also called “fiat money” or “funny money,” as it enters circulation it buys valuable stuff for the counterfeiter who never earned it, then raises the price of everything for everyone, while heavily disguising the source of that inflation; and it destroys the value of savings and hence undermines the process of capital investment for greater future prosperity. The difference between the two counterfeiters is that government does it far, far more than the Mafia.
8. Each perverts justice
One of the Mafia’s main costs of doing business is to bribe police, politicians and judges to ignore their criminal activities. In a manner of speaking, they “own the courts.” Government, however, actually and literally owns and monopolizes the justice system; it makes its own rules for its own conduct and gives itself a free pass to rob, tyrannize and enslave at will and prohibits any competing court system that might call it to account.