"[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force."
Edward H. Crane
(1944-) American libertarian, co-founder of the Cato Institute
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Reader comments about this quote:
Our military draft or selective service was an example of this.
 -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    There are so many examples of coercive, manipulative Government in the Land of the Free....it's impossible to list them all. But it would include the tax code and almost the entire Law (not Justice) System we suffer. The quote is a good explanation of what most fail to see.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Excellent analogy. I would have used different terms. By way of example, instead of civil society, I would have used free or natural society. Civil has become to closely associated with civil rights and authority (an anathema illustrated by a master's power and administered privileges), antithetically opposing inalienable rights. The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land, enforcing its dogmas with the soul and arm of a police state proves this quote absolute.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Shucks guys, the IRS says that paying income taxes is voluntary. Of course if you don't volunteer you could be in a lot of trouble. This does not fit the definition of the word " volunteer" that I found in my dictionary. Perhaps the good folk in the treasury department have a different dictionary.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    jim they have the same definition of "volunteering" as Stalin did...at the point of a gun. ;-)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
     -- Mary - MI      
    Our government is supposed to protect us from those who wish to rule us, not empower them.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    From a good Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, "Government, in it's last analysis, is organized force".
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
     -- Elizabeth, Astoria, NY      
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