The idea that “we” are the State or control the State seems to be only a platitude repeated in classrooms, not an actual fact describing humans on the planet Earth. State property doesn’t belong to us as private individuals, it belongs to the State. F.A. Hayek developed a great way of testing whether you actually own some type of property; that is, do you have the ability to disown it? An individual cannot sell his share to public parks, public buildings, F-14s, space ships, or anything else the State has bought in his name. The often repeated phrase of a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” reveals itself to be a joke. But why not take the analysis a step further? Is such a government even desirable? Why is being ruled by “the people” any better than being ruled by a single tyrant?
Like Hans-Hermann Hoppe, I would venture to say that it is not. In a democracy people will self identify with the government: “we” invaded Iraq, “we” (meaning the government) should do something about obesity, “we” bombed Hiroshima, etc. I write more about the problems with this here. In addition to leading people to rationalize egregious acts in their minds because they associate themselves with the act, such language conflates society with the State and deflects blame from the individuals responsible (since only individuals can act).
Thus, I would encourage the reader to watch his or her language: don’t use the word “we” when talking about the actions of the government. And if you are feeling really ornery, take away the euphemisms that benefit the State. Call taxation by its more accurate name: robbery. Use the phrase “murder of civilians” instead of “collateral damage.” Though it may not be in the news recently, “enhanced interrogation techniques” is a fancy name for “torture.”
If you refuse to identify yourself with the State and remove governmental control over your language, then you are that much freer. Stay free, my friends.