The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to
establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as
well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Men
who attempt to prosecute crimes, without such rules, are a lynch mob. If a
society left the retaliatory use of force in the hands of individual citizens,
it would degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody
private feuds or vendettas.
If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an
institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an
objective code of rules.
This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its
only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.
A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force
under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.