I laugh, because in Russia they are labeled as extremists and practically (if not almost completely) banned. It's ironic how over here in the States we often think of Russians being extremists, but they're one of the only countries taking action against Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't care about Russia's reasons for doing it, just as long as cultish JW influence is stifled. Right on, Russia!
Here's to hoping one day there won't be governments! I hope one day there won't be coercive mafia organizations (governments) that are expected to keep us safe. Replacing the God with Government isn't the answer. Governments commit more violence than the religious and those who trust in governments are just as wrong as those who believe in a magical God.
You absolutely need governments in order to have liberty. Humans need efficient/effective governments, better than the ones we have today. If we ever see a government that bans all religions we will be witnessing the advent of true progress. I don't believe anyone who hopes there will never be governments knows what they are really implying. It's a romantic idea - but foolhardy. Governments don't have to be a force for evil and injustice, we're just conditioned to think that way. If no government ever existed, the world would be a worse place with less advancement than today. Steven, I doubt you know what you're talking about. Those who trust in ineffective/bad governments are the ones that are wrong. Those who set out to change, advance and improve governments are right.
By definition a government is force. As a matter of fact, the only difference between the government and any other organization that you or I could start is that a government has a legal monopoly of force. Using force against me to do things I don't want to do, like taking a percentage of the money I make each month is evil. The only reason I comply with this rule is because of the threat of force. I'd like to spend my money as I please.
To me an organization using the threat of force against people who've done nothing harmful to that organization is evil.
Perhaps you could tell me a situation where a government wouldn't use force...To me, liberty is impossible under a government.
This is a nicely off the atheist topic -- nice to have conversations with logical thinkers.
I'm going to have to disagree with you and say that governments are necessary. However, it's important to remember the difference between being "governed" and being "ruled". I think a representative government is the best for most of the people. I also think a smaller government is better than a bigger one.
I think you're also confusing liberty with absolute freedom. There might be situations where the absolute freedom to live how you wish and keep all your money might be a bad thing. Taxes are necessary for infrastructure. Without infrastructure, we have no civilization. But there needs to be a balance.
I actually don't know of too many atheists who use the word "evil" unless it's blatantly obvious. Most atheists, including me, realize that labels and words are ultimately meaningless and that morality is often subjective.
You have stated "There might be situations where the absolute freedom to live how you wish and keep all your money might be a bad thing."
If you believe this then you and I have philosophical differences that go much deeper than political differences. I believe the moral purpose of my life is for my own personal happiness. I can achieve this goal by using reason and by acting in my rational self interest. It is in my self interest to use my money as I please, not to have it taken with threat of jail time as punishment for not complying.
You've also not disputed my definition of government, "a monopoly of the right to use force." Therefore your next statement " Taxes are necessary for infrastructure." Infrastructure is things like roads, sewers, etc. So you mean to tell me that a road cannot be built without violence? Follow your statements to their logical ends and you get to a very scary place.
I feel that people can build things, create things, and make their quality of life swell with the motivating factor of profit, rather than the threat of force.
I suppose I should have defined "evil". No discussion can ever make sense if we don't define our terms first. Certainly, unprovoked violence, would fall under my definition of evil. Labels and words are meaningless unless we define them first. You can see my definition of morality a few paragraphs above.
Where are you getting this "violence" thing? Look at what's going on in Greece. Tax evasion is actually encourage among the general populace and now they're suffering the consequences. Governments can't create their own money without borrowing from somebody else. I'm proud to pay my taxes, unlike those who would rather milk the welfare system or come into this country illegally. However I also think raising taxes against the population should be done under much caution. Nobody was ever taxed into prosperity.
Go talk to the atheists here who left Islam and are in fear for their lives because they live in Middle East countries and come back to me about what REAL violence is.
"We need government if for no other reason than that human nature is greed and power." Don't you think that those who are the most power hungry would be happy to wake up in our world where we actually elevate them to power? At least in anarchy there would be no position for them to apply for.
I would also remind you that those laws and rules that they make are enforced with violence against many of us who didn't agree to them -- not ethical or moral to me. I don't think lumping laws, rules, ethics, and morals together makes much sense.
I believe the "greed" nature of humanity is in fact very moral! Greed makes us want more. In that process of gaining those things we can use our creativity, intelligence, and drive to gain those things - either by inventing them or by trading with others to get them. Along the way we may cure a disease, or invent an extremely useful product. Some people, instead, may try to use violence to gain the things they want but it is the violence that is wrong, not the greed.