If a society provided no organized protection against force, it would compel
every citizen to go about armed, to turn his home into a fortress, to shoot any
strangers approaching his door—or to join a protective gang of citizens who
would fight other gangs, formed for the same purpose, and thus bring about the
degeneration of that society into the chaos of gang-rule, i.e., rule by brute
force, into perpetual tribal warfare of prehistorical savages.
The use of physical force—even its retaliatory use—cannot be left at the
discretion of individual citizens. Peaceful coexistence is impossible if a man
has to live under the constant threat of force to be unleashed against him by
any of his neighbors at any moment. Whether his neighbors’ intentions are good
or bad, whether their judgment is rational or irrational, whether they are
motivated by a sense of justice or by ignorance or by prejudice or by
malice—the use of force against one man cannot be left to the arbitrary
decision of another.