The US federal government has “power” over me. It can crush me into a bloody pulp. What to do? Well, I personally try to abide by its rules and regulations as best I can. I exercise prudence by paying my taxes, doing jury duty, etc.
However, while the feds elicit from me the requisite formal obeisance, and while they do have the power, they get from me no “ideological might,” as Mises used this term, to help them dominate, because I do not recognize the US government as legitimate.
I do not recognize it as legitimate, because I consider almost all of those rules, regulations, and taxes to be both unjust and uneconomic; in other words, bad all around.
Here’s the relevant passage:
… might is the power to direct other people’s actions. He who is mighty, owes his might to an ideology. Only ideologies can convey to a man the power to influence other people’s choices and conduct.
One can become a leader only if one is supported by an ideology which makes other people tractable and accommodating.
Might is thus not a physical and tangible thing, but a moral and spiritual phenomenon. A king’s might rests upon the recognition of the monarchical ideology on the part of his subjects. (HA, 188)
Being “tractable and accommodating” is just not my thing.
I mean, I will pay up, when a gun is put to my head, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go.
If I could abolish the federal government and free all of you, my friends, then I would. Unfortunately, the majority of the people do not share my ideology. Hence, the state enjoys considerable legitimacy in their eyes. I alone am not enough to undermine the foundations of the US government. But my hope is that the people will eventually see the enormous benefits to all or almost all of laissez-faire in economics and near-anarchy in politics.