As a follow up to Bastiat’s quote about the nature of government, I also find the reflections of early 20th century American journalists, H.L. Mencken to be particularly insightful. Mencken has a mastery of the English language that gave him success as a social critic and a satirist of American society.
In observance of the true nature of our political system, Mencken stated (my emphasis)
The state, or, to make matters more concrete, the government, consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting “A” to satisfy “B”. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
Let’s be sure to remind people of this fact, especially those of whom argue that voting for “the lesser of two evils” is somehow a moral obligation on our part.