Pray for the welfare of the government, for without the government, people would eat each other alive.— Pirkei Avos
My rabbi once told me that the worst thing is false analogies.
In the comment thread on the post on Liberia, one of the comments says:
Over Shabbos I was contemplating the two countries, and I came to the following conclusion: when Pirkei Avos said what it did about Government, it was talking about this situation. North Korea, for all its many evils, is at least a (semi) functioning country. It may be starving its citizens, but at least people there live slightly normal lives. Contrast this to Liberia, where without a government, people literally eat each other. It's crazy. They may be much more western in their outlook, but without government? It's horrific.Well, admitedly, I don’t know what’s worse: to live in North Korea or in Liberia. I would say — North Korea, because in Liberia, you still have a chance to get out of poverty, even though it’s very difficult. And even though there was a good chance you could be killed and eaten during the civil war, if North Korea starts a war, there is a good chance one can get vaporized by a nuclear attack.
Also, as I said to someone else, however many people General Butt Naked killed and ate, Hitler, Stalin or Mao each killed many more.
But even if what the comment says is true, therefore what? It seems that the thesis is: without the government, in Liberia people literally eat each other; therefore, we need the government to provide law and order. (Again, in Liberia there is government, but never mind that.)
Well, if you watch the third video (graphic alert) in the post, you will see right at the beginning that Liberians living in Westpoint, the largest slum of their capital Monrovia, go to bathroom right on the beach in front of their houses since the sanitation system is broken. Actually, one of the Liberian journalists blames the government. In fact, the video begins with the journalists going to see “what the government and UN are doing to rebuild Liberia”. And “the government does nothing about the lack of sanitation. In fact, the Commissioner himself sometimes goes on the beach, squats and [...] together with the people.”
Now, following the logic of the comment, living in North Korea is better than in Liberia — at least you have toilets there (actually, I am not completely sure what they have in Korean villages). Yes, the government may be a necessary evil, but at least it’s necessary to provide us with the toilets. I mean, no way would the market be able to provide us with the sanitation system if not for the government.
Also, for instance, when the people of medieval Iceland decided to be independent from Norwegian king and formed a nearly-anarchic society (mind you, not completely anarchic), everybody just spontaneously started going to the bathroom to Greenland Sea or Atlantic Ocean, since the king wasn’t there to provide them with chamberpots (or law and order), right? (That is, when they weren’t busy eating each other.)
As I said, in my opinion, it has nothing to do with either anarchy or government. It has to do with the culture. For instance, when the hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, a lot of local residents were sitting on the roofs screaming, while one Russian journalist living in the area somehow managed to blog about what was going on around him, and when the water hit the attic of his house, he built a boat and just left (literally).
(There was another story of a couple with kids running out of gas in some forest in Oregon after taking a wrong turn. After about a week of waiting for the help to come, the father decided to go look for it by himself. He got lost and froze to death. All the time being a few miles away from civilization. The family was rescued. When my mother heard the story, she didn’t believe it. She couldn’t believe people could have so few survival skills. I mean, everybody knows, in such a situation, you just go up the hill to see better what’s around you.)