According to a story on NPR, this year eleven mayors of towns in Mexico have been murdered by drug gangs. The gangs seem to have felt, and probably with some justification, that the municipal governments were interfering, or likely to interfere, with their personal freedom — in this case, the freedom to earn large amounts of money transporting and selling drugs.
The drug gangs took direct, effective measures to protect their individual liberty from the burden of intrusive government regulation.
I trust my conservative friends will applaud them.
I myself take a slightly different view. In my view, one of the main reasons why we need a strong government is to protect us from the barbarians. When the government is unable to do this, the quality of our lives deteriorates.
Barbarians are far more varied in their pillaging now than in former days, but their activities have the same motivation (rampant greed) and the same result (widespread suffering). By any reasonable definition, BP looted and pillaged the entire Gulf of Mexico this summer. Granted, fewer people died in the Gulf oil spill than in the Viking assault on the British Isles a thousand years ago — but the damage to wildlife was more severe, and the economic damage was far-reaching. BP are barbarians. The movers and shakers on Wall Street are barbarians. The health insurance industry are barbarians. Monsanto are barbarians. And our government is powerless to protect us against them — as powerless as the Mexican government is to protect their citizens from the drug gangs.