In the social sciences, the term government refers to the particular group of people, the administrative bureaucracy, who control a state at a given time, and the manner in which their governing organizations are structured. That is, governments are the means through which state power is employed. States are served by a continuous succession of different governments.
Each successive government is composed of a specialized and privileged body of individuals, who monopolize political decision-making, and are separated by status and organization from the population as a whole. Their function is to enforce existing laws, legislate new ones, and arbitrate conflicts via their monopoly on violence. In some societies, this group is often a self-perpetuating or hereditary class. In other societies, such as democracies, the political roles remain, but there is frequent turnover of the people actually filling the positions.
In most Western societies, there is a clear distinction between a government and the state. Public disapproval of a particular government (expressed, for example, by not re-electing an incumbent) does not necessarily represent disapproval of the state itself (i.e. of the particular framework of government). However, in some totalitarian regimes, there is not a clear distinction between the regime and the state. In fact, leaders in such regimes often attempt to deliberately blur the lines between the two, in order to conflate their own selfish interests with those of the polity.
The 14th century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun defined the government as "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself". The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellner considered Ibn Khaldun's definition to be the best in the history of political theory. For Ibn Khaldun, government should be restrained to a minimum for as a necessary evil, it is the constraint of men by other men."
Government is an arbitrator of justice. Justice can be defined as individual rights in America, as Jefferson said, the individual is the smallest minority. Civil rights seek to prevent abuses of power. Without such 'real securities" as civil rights, then, the individual is at the "mercy of a collective" and collectives tend to Statist's views in understanding and attaining particular purposes. As stated above, "......totalitarian regimes (government and STATE), there is not a clear distinction between the regime and the state. In fact, leaders in such regimes often attempt to deliberately blur the lines between the two, in order to conflate their own selfish interests with those of the polity"
Whenever groups, organization or government blur the distinction between the group's identification factors (State) and the act of governing others, then it has become totaltalitarian, or Statist. And such group identity lends itself to all kinds of atrocities; genocide, prejuidice, Us/them, social death, racism, etc.
American's identification factors are grounded in liberty. Liberty doesn't allow the lines to be blurred between government and the State. This is why whenever the ideologues reign/rule, American ideals suffer hard death blows to the "other side". And it is the basis of our culture wars.