What is government? Government is an association of people over a finite geographical area whose primary function is to take money by force, against the will of the person from whom the money is taken, (that is, steal) under the gun of duress (threat of fines, loss of property or jail) and use those funds for some purpose the original owners would not have voluntarily spent the money on. That is the essence of a tax levy.
Clubs, groups, associations, charities, orders, religions and most other organizations and all trade and commerce are funded by the voluntary contributions of their members and participants. If an individual is unhappy with a group or its use of funds, the individual can withhold funds from the group to effect a change in its behavior or he/she can withdraw from the group. One can only leave a government by removing oneself and property from the geographical area where the government reigns.
In the United States, government exists within four separate but overlapping geographical taxing realms: federal (primarily income and excise taxes), state (income, sales, real and personal property taxes), county (La Plata: sales, real property tax levies) and city (Durango: sales, real estate and regulatory tax levies and fines).
All governments throughout the world use one or more of these levels of taxation, although few use all four simultaneously as does the United States. No matter how worthy (or not) its purpose or how democratic (or not) its installation, the primary purpose of all governments at all levels is the forcible levy of taxes. That is codified armed robbery from their citizens. The secondary purpose of all governments is the forcible modification of their citizens’ and entities’ behavior through the passage of criminal and civil laws and regulations. No matter how noble or justified those laws and regulations may be (or not be), government can only take away its citizens’ freedom of behaviors and activities. This is not an indictment of all government, but a simple synopsis and reminder of what all government really is.