FYI There’s No Government

Samantha Standish
Jan 4 · 5 min read

“Government isn’t a condition of reality.”

Photo by Jomar on Unsplash

There’s no government. This is important to remember because a thing that doesn’t exist can’t control you. It’s good to take structures down to the studs from time to time to study them because you see that there’s greater flexibility in the world than you might assume, and this can be of great benefit when things are chaotic.

The reason there’s no government is because government isn’t a condition of reality. It doesn’t exist without humans. The government’s not like a tree. If you’re the only person on the face of the Earth, a tree exists because trees are a condition of the reality. If you’re the only person on the face of the Earth, government doesn’t exist because the government is human action.

Government is human activity and it’s voluntary. It can’t do anything because it doesn’t have a life of its own. If I ask you to show me the government, for example, you can’t do it because the government’s not an entity unto itself.

You blink a couple of times and say, “Excuse me, but the government does exist. I’ll show you.” You lead me to the White House. “There’s the government.”

“That’s a building,” I reply.

“That’s where the government lives.”

I perk up. “Oh, the government lives in the White House?”

You hem and haw. “Well, not exactly. The government isn’t just the White House.” You take me to the National Archives and point to the Consitution. “That’s the real government.”

“That’s a piece of paper,” I reply. “You were going to show me the government.

“Fine,” you sigh. You take me to the House of Representatives. “There’s your government.”

“Where?” I ask.

“Right there.”

“Those are people,” I say. “Where’s the government?”

“The government is all of it.”

“You’ve shown me a building, paper, and some people. I have yet to see the government. Where’s the government?”

“Government’s not like a thing,” you reply. “It’s more like an idea.”

“I have ideas. So, my ideas are the government?”

“No, no, no. Only certain ideas are the government.”

“Which ideas?” I ask eagerly.

“Ideas that are voted on.”

“What’s a vote?”

“It’s when those people that we were watching say aye or no to an idea.”

“They make a noise? So, if I have an idea and I make a noise, then it’s a vote?”

“No. You have to be elected.”

“What’s elected?”

“It’s when people make marks on a piece of paper in front of the name of the person they want to make that aye or no noise to ideas that people present here in this room here.”

“So, if I make a mark in front of my name and make a noise for an idea that I want in this room here, then it’s a vote and then it’s the government?”

“No. A bunch of other people have to agree that they want you to make that aye or no noise for them.”

“But what does it have to do with them?”

“It’s how we govern.”

“So, there’s no government. There are just people presenting ideas and other people making marks on paper and making noises.”

“You’re not listening. If those people down there say aye and there’s more ayes than nos, then it’s a law.”

“What’s a law?

“It’s an action that people have to do.”

“Why do they have to do it?”

“Because our elected officials voted for the law.”

“But actions are voluntary. You can’t make a decision for another person’s action.”

“Yes, you can. You have to do what the law says.”

“The law doesn’t say anything,” I reply, confused. “It can’t talk.”

“It’s a rule. You have to do it because it’s a rule.”

“I don’t have to do it. Making noises in a room in support of an idea doesn’t eliminate the scope of ideas that exist. I can do anything I want no matter how many people make marks on paper or make noises in rooms because those other actions exist. I can choose them.”

“If you don’t follow the law,” you warn, “a police officer will put you in jail.”

“What’s a police officer?”

“A police officer is a person that wears a special outfit and carries a gun and tools to enforce the law.”

“So, if I wear a special outfit and carry a gun and tools, then I’m a police officer and then I’m the government?”

“No, police officers have special training.”

“So, if I have the same training then I’m a police officer?”

“If it’s done through the right institution.”

“So, if I copy that institution then I’m a police officer?”

“No, the institution has to accept you first.”

“An institution can’t accept anything. Institutions aren’t people.”

“The people that run the institution have to accept you.”

“But they don’t decide my actions. I decide those things. They can’t think my thoughts or move my body. I think my thoughts and move my body.”

“If you take any of the actions that make you look like a police officer without their permission, you could be arrested.”

“That’s illogical. My decisions don’t require their permission.”

“Yes, they do.”

“Literally, they can’t make my decisions.”

“Your decisions require their permission.”

“They don’t.”

“Requiring permission is how we keep order.”

“Order already exists. One person telling another person what to do isn’t order.”

“It’s how we keep public order.”

“What’s public order?”

“It’s rules so that things are safe.”

“But trying to block what makes me a person is unsafe. I’m a person because I can make decisions.”

“You can still be a person. You just have to follow the rules.”

“But there are no rules.”

“We just went through this.”

“No, you said that you have to take actions that you don’t decide yourself because someone will hurt you if you don’t. That’s terrorism. Terrorism is the opposite of public order. Terrorism is unsafe.”

“Rules aren’t terrorism.”

“Telling a person what to do and then threatening a person with harm for not doing it is terrorism.”

“You’re confusing me. What were we talking about?”

“Government. I wanted you to show me government. You showed me a building, paper, people, and terrorism. I want you to show me the government.”

You throw up your hands. “I can’t.”


“Because there’s no government. There are just people doing things.”

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