Government survives by myths. Tales designed to scare us, so making us depend on a wise, powerful, benevolent State - which it then pretends, by means of a further myth, to be. Myths of enemies, poised to attack us at home and by hearth; amazingly in retrospect, Bush-2 persuaded enough of us that Iraq had that capability, even though half a world away with nary a WMD. Myths of Global Warming, which it re-named "Climate Change" so as to be undeniable. Myths of terrorists, lurking behind every lamp-post or carrying bombs aboard every other flight.
The biggest and probably earliest myth of all: that we need government for protection against Bad People, who may be any among us, for are we not sinners every one? This tale is sustained daily by the State-licensed media, who bolster ratings and sales by conveying mainly bad news, stories of people who did shocking things. The reports are not untrue; they are simply selected. In a day, in a city, there are millions of acts between people, so an editor's job is just to pick out the few that are unusual and horrifying. Yet taken over time, the TV watcher or newspaper reader gets only a daily dose of evil acts, and like water wears a stone, he gets to suppose this is how most people relate to each other. So does fear build and trust of strangers reduce; so does a dependence on Departments of Safety rise.
This implanting of a fear and distrust of one's fellow man is seen in the very basis of government. When Americans were preparing to cut loose from British rule, Tom Paine outlined the kind of government that would replace that of His Majesty; but it was very clear on Page 1 of Common Sense that there would be a replacement, not an abolition. Why? - because
Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher.
And that perspective comes directly from the Bible, which most people trusted at the time; there in plain language in Romans 13 comes the key passage, written by Paul to Christians in Rome, where persecution by the government was so bad that many of them may well have been wondering how to resist it, and whether their religion sanctioned an abolition of the State:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Notice, Paul is laying down an universal principle, which he said should apply even in the very trying situation in which his readers found themselves. The "powers that be" are "ordained [by] God." Wow!
That in turn goes back to the root of the religion, in the alleged Garden of Eden. There at the dawn of the human race, the story is that the Creator gave mankind every good thing, but with-held one: a knowledge of good and evil. And that instruction, Eve disobeyed and Adam went along. Such is the fable that insists that mankind ever since has a nature tainted with evil, that we are all born in sin. This belief affects Jews and Christians, a third of the whole human race. Mighty convenient for those who pretend to limit and punish wrongdoing, and a clear reason for the close alliance of Church (or Temple) and State for at least the last 3,000 years.
It isn't true. Obviously, people have the ability to do evil (otherwise those TV reports would all be false, not merely selected) and krime does take place; but notice of exactly what an evil action consists: a person imposes his will upon another. He swindles someone out of property, forcing a change of possession. He attacks a man physically, forcing him to endure injury. He rapes a woman, forcing her to submit her will to his. He shoots someone dead, forcing him to lose a life he wished to preserve. Always, evil can be defined as violating a person's self ownership, or over-ruling his or her wishes. Governing him. People can do that; governments always do it.
The dark, Pauline / Paineian view of human nature is staggering in its stupidity. If arguendo it were true, the very last fix one would sensibly devise is to put a set of these bad people in charge of everyone else! That would take the moral flaw and magnify it! It would give skilled killers (say) the power of a thousand at their disposal, to wreak death and destruction... just as government has actually done, century after century; because in reality people do bad things only when handed power over others. That's what evil is.
If mankind were intrinsically evil, any and all attempts to ameliorate our lot would be doomed from the get-go. Eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow we die. This is indeed just what Christian eschatology predicts; times and sequences are a bit vague, but in essence the few good guys get an eternity of heavenly bliss while the bulk of our race will come to a horribly sticky end.
Real life, or virtually all of it, isn't like that. When Katrina flooded New Orleans, hundreds of airboat owners in Florida fired up their pickups and trailered them to the city to provide help. Many were turned back by the Federal rescue monopolists, but the point is that spontaneously, help was offered and freely available. People are nice; not under compulsion, but because it's our nature. As Louis Carabini pointed out in his fabulous book Liberty, Dicta & Force, humans evolved that way because that conduct brings us progress and pleasure.
Or just recall your own ordinary experiences; is it not true that people you know are basically good? You pass neighbors in the street. How many fail to return a pleasant "Good morning!"? You go shopping. When was the last time the staff were rude or unhelpful? Last time you stumbled, did not a total stranger help you up?
Human nature, then, does not need to be changed, even if that were possible; we're fine the way we are. All that's required is serious re-education. That includes moral education. just to the level any five year old can grasp: "Don't hurt people, and don't take their stuff." The needed Academy is ready.
The origin of such evil as exists is not a mythical Eden. It's government itself, by its very nature.