The Godfather Government


From the Introduction to Gary DeMar's book, Liberty at Risk, "Godfather Government" shows that the crime underworld of the Corleone family in the famous Godfather books and movies is really nothing more than an alternate government:

Vito Corleone began his crime-boss career by working outside the political system and the conventions of morality and law by developing a parallel but counterfeit government. His organization and his governing principles had the five necessary characteristics that make up a functioning governmental structure:

1. Sovereignty: Who's in charge? (Don Vito Corleone.)
2. Hierarchy: To whom do I report? (Clemenza, Tesio, "buffers.")
3. Law: What are the rules? (Don't go against "the family.")
4. Positive and Negative Sanctions: What happens if l keep/break the rules? (Positive sanctions: advancement, a piece of the action, your own "family"; Negative sanctions: bullet in the eye, bullet in the back of the head, bullet in the front of the head, horse head in your bed, strangulation, sleep with the fishes.)
5. Continuity: Is there a future? (Maintain and perpetuate "the family" at all costs.)

The government of the Godfather lacked one thing: legitimacy, the most important factor in establishing confidence, continuity, liberty, and justice in any form of government. But even without legal legitimacy, the Godfather's government worked at various levels because it supplied a service to the community. It dealt with heavy-handed criminal rivals, solved problems for the politically disconnected, and granted favors to the dissatisfied, disillusioned, and disenfranchised. People turned to the Godfather out of hopelessness. For these people, the government of the Godfather was considered salvific. The Don was seen as a benevolent dictator. In reality, the Godfather's government was the exercise of raw and unregulated power with the claim that it was for the good of the people and the community.

The predatory politics and violent methods of the Godfather are criminal. Everyone understands this. But what is considered criminal when practiced by the Godfather, all of a sudden becomes "government policy" in legislation coming from Washington. 


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