"The state is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it tells lies too; and this lie crawls out of its mouth: "I, the state, am the people."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Government is not the same as society. However, politicians love to say things like this because it makes you, dear voter, feel included in whatever they say and more likely offer your consent to be ruled. It gives credibility to the State by linking the public will to government action.
It would also mean that tyranny is impossible. After all, since you are the government, almighty voter, you're basically ruling yourself! If the government picks a fight, it's our war. The government takes on debt? That's national debt. We owe it to ourselves. If we protest and get thrown in jail, we did it to ourselves. They sign you up to pay for their ambition, greed, and negligence by throwing the cloak of "we" over everything they say and do.
That's a bunch of crap. A government is, at its most basic level, an organization that seeks to monopolize the use of violent force in a geographical area. In other words, a government is simply the most powerful gang in a country. A government does everything a criminal does - theft (taxes), murder (war), fraud, etc. - but has the resources and the blind support of the masses to enforce itself.
So are we part of that gang? Well, when is the last time Obama invited you to the White House to consult you on matters of foreign affairs or the state of the economy? When was the last time you were called for one of those made-up opinion polls that we see plastered all over political discussion? Did you get your
Besides, being an elected gang doesn't make it any less of a gang. Remember, the cartoonishly fascist and thuggish Nazi Party was elected to power; and being elected doesn't mean that the government even has the support of a majority (let alone all) of its people. In the words of the Rothbard:
Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have "committed suicide," since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part.