Government, we are told, exists to protect us against anarchic violence that threatens life, liberty and property.

As Papa Hemingway might reply: Isn't it pretty to think so?

In practice the government ruling us is always and everywhere the single largest source of lethal violence and most acute threat of the same.

Any of us can experience state-inflicted violence at any time as a punishment for doing literally nothing, or by refusing to be bound by "contracts" arranged by other people in transactions to which we are not a party.

A perfectly infuriating illustration of the former an innocent person being assaulted by state-employed agents of violence as punishment for doing nothing took place at the Jets-Chargers game on January 17.

Many who have seen this clip pointed out that the partisan Chargers fans defended the admittedly obnoxious Jets fan after he was seized by a squad of tax-feeders.

What is most noteworthy about this brief clip was the harassment, intimidation and apparent arrest of the most outspoken critic of the police assault. This was done because the individual in question had the presence of mind and apparent strength of character to object when an annoying but harmless man needlessly became the victim of officially sanctioned violence.

When an armed police officer says "Let's go outside" while placing hands on someone and shoving him in the direction of the exit, this constitutes what people in official costumes call an "arrest," and refusing to cooperate constitutes what such people call the supposed crime of "resisting arrest."

No, the specific phrase "you're under arrest" wasn't spoken, but it doesn't have to be: Any time someone wearing the habiliments of the coercive caste detains, restrains, or redirects the progress of a member of the productive class, an "arrest" has taken place. Police were given permission to do this to you at their own discretion whether or not you've actually inflicted an injury upon anyone else by people whom you've most likely never met and wouldn't care to know.

What if the gentleman in San Diego who was escorted from his seat to "talk" with a police officer had offered the following reply to the officer's invitation: "No, thanks if you want to `talk' we can do it right here, in the seat I've paid for, on my terms rather than yours"?

What if he had reacted to the officer's presumptuous (and illegal) gesture of placing hands on him to escort him from the area by knocking the hands away and saying, "You don't have permission to touch me keep your hands off!"

There's little reason to doubt that either of those reactions would have resulted in an immediate escalation of aggressive violence by the police officer and his comrades, who would then file a "cover charge" against the victim (most likely "resisting arrest" or "disorderly conduct").

Amid the ugliness of that incident could be seen evidence of a small but welcome change in public attitudes toward state "authority": The Chargers fans, doubtless aggravated by the taunting they endured by a Jets fan as their home team went down to defeat, criticized the police for their needless display of authoritarian violence.

Granted, their reaction (with the exception of the insistent protests of the fan who was "invited" outside) was far too subdued. But even this somewhat timid and torpid resistance is a miraculous improvement over the bovine docility most Americans have displayed as the garrison state has taken shape around us.

Were it not for my principled opposition to mob violence, I'd be tempted to think it would be a healthy development if American sports fans get in touch with their inner Soccer Hooligans next time police needlessly rough up a spectator at a sporting event.

The case of New Hampshire resident Ed and Elaine Brown illustrates the second way innocent people regularly find themselves on the receiving end of the state's criminal violence that is, refusing to be bound by "contracts" made by other people.

Federal Judge Gorge Z. Singal recently decreed that the 67-year-old Ed Brown will spend the rest of his life in prison. This isn't a punishment for anything Brown did to anybody, but rather for "tax evasion" that is, refusing to surrender his honestly earned money to a criminal government and "stockpiling weapons and explosives" that is, taking reasonable precautions to defend himself and his wife when heavily armed stormtroopers in the employ of the Regime surrounded their "compound" that is, what honest and rational people call their "home."

"I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Brown would have killed multiple marshals if they hadn't dealt with him so quickly," insisted Singal as he imposed a 37-year prison sentence.

In fact, neither Ed nor his wife whatever one thinks of their beliefs and the wisdom of the actions they undertook threatened aggressive violence of any kind. Reasonable people have ample cause to suspect that if the couple hadn't acquired the means to defend themselves by force, they may well have been slaughtered by the heroic paladins of public order.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas referred to Brown as "a dangerously defiant individual ... whose conduct posed a clear and imminent threat to the public and to law enforcement officers." While it's true that residents of Plainfield, New Hampshire grew weary of playing host to a horde of disreputable federal trigger-pullers, there's no evidence to support the characterization of Brown as opposed to his armed pursuers as a "threat to the public."

The real "poker tell" in Kacavas's soundbite is the use of the expression "dangerously defiant."

Ed Brown stole nothing, defrauded nobody, and posed no threat of aggressive violence. His "crime" the act that made him "dangerous" was his defiance.

Once again, it's useful to compare Brown's supposed crimes to the behavior of another "tax evader," Timothy Geithner. Like Brown, Geithner refused to pay certain taxes. Like Brown, Geithner is now living at public expense, albeit in a well-compensated job as Treasury Secretary, rather than a federal prison.

Unlike Brown, Geithner has actually committed criminal offenses at the expense of innocent people. As an employee of the criminal syndicate called the Federal Reserve System, Geithner conspired to cover up evidence of a massive "backdoor bailout" using funds extorted from the taxpayers to compensate Goldman Sachs and foreign "counter-party" banks who had invested in fraudulent securities issued by AIG.

Here's the system we're sentenced to live under, concisely described:

Steal hundreds of billions from taxpayers, and you're a public servant; refuse to permit your legitimately earned wealth to be stolen from you, and you're a felon.

Geithner has been given a congressional subpoena to explain himself. Something tells me that he's not exactly palsied with terror over the thought that Congress would actually do something to hold him accountable.