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Thomas Hobbes explains the reasons for nations, governments, and war, and even police departments (which did not show up for another two hundred years) in Leviathan, Part I: Of Man. Chapter 13: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery, pp. 73-74. You can read it in full in Google books, in his own language and spelling. (It's not hard, but it's not a beach read, either.) It won't cut and paste, worse luck. I am going to type parts of it in modernized form.
It is so relevant.
In the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition: secondly, diffidence: thirdly, glory.
The first, maketh men invade for gain: the second, for safety: and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men's persons, wives, chilcren, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons, or by reflection in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name.WARRE
In the next paragraph, Hobbes notes that WAR is a period of both violence and potential violence. One can live in a state of war even when they are not being robbed, invaded, killed, or beaten--if they know it could happen any minute. His example is weather. It doesn't have to be raining twenty-four hours to be a rainy day. It's a matter of environment, and what one must do to survive it (carry an umbrella, go out only in armed company, stay under the awning or inside the fort. THEN he writes (I have divided the paragraph):
Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal.Anarchy
This is Hobbes' famous "war of all against all" or anarchy. It is Road Warrior the movie (no old people or young ones, only predators and prey), only ten times worse; infighting and genocide between the Serbs and Croats and why gangs spring up in part. A strong man with good luck can live long enough to do--what? Steal and sneak and kill to gain what's needed in life, or to keep the bone he's got.
In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society;
and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.Government
Hobbes goes on to say that Kings (read: warlords, band Chieftains, or hey, our own government) have these same qualities: a military for gain, or for defense, or stuck in pride and invasive for that reason. But what a government does is displace this anarchic war of "All against All" to the limits of territory. Thus farmers may "till the soil" and builders may "build cities". Trade may take place under the protection of the state (flagships, caravans, trains, etc). The "movement of large things" might be Treasuries or even a load of lumber, impossible when people are hanging onto every part of it to make it booty or spoils of war.
It's not that Hobbes didn't lock his door or hide his money. However, once he did that, he could sleep at night, and wake up to study and write his famous work. Band chieftans and kings also held their own territory with domestic troops--if for no other reason than to execute murderers and gather tax money. But without a King or Chieftan or Police Force, in Hobbes words, there is no justice. Nor is their injustice. Because anything goes. Any strong person or lucky person can do whatever they want, and everybody else either has to kill him or suck it up.
Our police force did not give us life, or air, or buy our food. They are the facilitators of our own ability to "know the face of the earth" or at least our part of it; to "plan our time" and expect that the plan will be fulfilled; to enjoy arts, letters, society and contribute to them in our own way..
Right now, many cities are giving up their police forces--contracting city services to the county sheriff as a cost-saving measure. In so doing, they may very well be contributing through economic choice to a more streamlined effort in county-wide protection. They have also given up their first reason to be a government, the only reason they are a government. Therefore, they are not really a government at all.
If you can, read some of Hobbes. The link and pages are above.
Last comment: isn't it funny that Hobbes also links politics to having an economy? I'm telling you, political economy is the way to know government the best. There will be another post on an economist this week.
In the meantime, appreciate your police force! They make it happen for you.