Consider the possibility that in the same way that the entire “legal” industry basically rests on the concept/word “law,” the entire coercive political system basically rests on the concept/word “government.”
To begin to see why this might be so, imagine a world in which there are some would-be-terrocrats and a population of enlightened individuals who either don’t understand the word “government” or they think it’s a silly joke. (For the purpose of this thought-experiment, assume that there’s no equivalent word available to would-be-terrocrats.)
So a would-be-terrocrat says, I represent “your government” and I want you to pay me “your taxes” so I can defend your property and safety. I also want you to join “our army,” so we can go and shoot “your enemies” in the “country” next door. What success would the would-be-terrocrat have?
Realize that once the basic concept/word “government” is accepted, a whole constellation of Slavespeak concepts/words soon follow in its trail. If you accept the “government” concept, you also accept that the terrocrats who call themselves “government” have the power to “make laws,” force children into “schools” for political brainwashing, force people to pay “taxes,” force people into “armies” to kill each other, etc., etc. — what Ayn Rand calls a devastating package deal.
By accepting the basic concept/word “government,” you position the terrocrats who call themselves “government” as superior (more powerful) and you position yourself as inferior (less powerful). If you operate from this perspective, the kind of thing you tend to do to promote liberty is to beg the terrocrats to “change the law” so you can enjoy a little more freedom. You position them in power and you position yourself in weakness. You also operate in a way that, in the long run, reinforces and perpetuates the master-slave relationship between terrocrats and heir victims.
(Note: As a stopgap or makeshift measure, situations do occur where it’s not only appropriate but also vital that freedom-activists stop the terrocrats from “passing a new law,” or force them via public opinion or outcry to “amend or repeal a law.” Though such tactics tend to reinforce the underlying “government makes laws” illusion, their short-term benefits may exceed their long-term liabilities.)
Now consider the possibility that George Orwell’s term “Big Brother” is a synonym for “government.” In Nineteen-Eighty-Four Orwell wrote: “What most afflicted him with a sense of nightmare was that he had never clearly understood why the huge imposture was undertaken… he… looked at the portrait of ‘Big Brother’ …the hypnotic eyes gazed into his own. It was as if some huge force were pressing down upon you — something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses… not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense… the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command… the obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended… stones are hard, water is wet…” [emphasis added]
“O’Brien left this unanswered. ‘Next question,’ he said.
‘Does Big Brother exist?’
‘Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment
of the Party.’
‘Does he exist in the same way as I exist?’
‘You do not exist,’ said O’Brien… [emphasis added]
‘Will Big Brother ever die?’
‘Of course not. How could he die? Next question.’”
[“Big Brother” is an Immortal Everything and you’re an Insignificant Nothing!]
In reality there are individual human beings, some with guns, generally considered (by both the brainwashed master-terrocrats and the brainwashed subject-victims?) to constitute “government”/”Big Brother.” In reality there are also buildings, lots of pieces of paper, computers, other equipment, vehicles, etc.
Can you make a distinction between what you can actually see, and what is assumption, addition (as described by William James), projection, or hallucination (“seeing” what isn’t really there)?
In Ayn Rand’s Introduction To Objectivist Epistemology she wrote: “Learning consists of grasping meanings, i.e., of grasping the referents of words, the kinds of existents that words denote in reality.” [emphasis added]