"without men with guns telling us how to live,...outside a number of years in the frontier days..."
- Shit, lass/lad, i do like you. You rake up the muck, raise a stink, and you make people _think_. And you usually raise interesting points; but unfortunately wrapped in an inflammatory comment (the typical method of discourse online these days) that can obscure the point you were trying to make. This space has somehow evolved a quieter style of argument; and i think you are trying, by consciousness or by not, to acclimatize. I hope you will take your time, and we all learn to agree to disagree, we benefit from breadth of argument; unfortunately, others have argued similarly to you, flamed out and went away mad.
but i digress -
... outside of the us cavalry, various bands of gunmen hired as mercenary militia during the cattlemen's range wars, bands of thugs hired by the railroad companys to do their dirty work, the fucking Pinkerton's (a pox upon their sulfur-blasted souls), the american legion and various 'veterans' associations, etc...
And firearms have only been effective for a couple centuries...
Your point about coercion by violence and threat is spot-on, though more often involving a pointy stick; your example (popular in some circles im sure) ignores millenia of resistance, rebellion, and the interesting bits around the edges of collapsing civilisations/empires (dozens of both).
I'll leave you with a rhetorical - you say you need industry if you wish to have a certain level of consumable products, fair enough. But what need that industry look like? The hyper-automated factories of japan, filled with gleaming robotics, are fed by hundreds of thousands of cottage machine shops staffed by three or four members of an extended family who live in the small apartments over the shop floor. A machine lathe can be a robot-fed automated instrument of mass-production, or an old lawnmower engine block with a faceplate bolted on; a smelting furnace can burn a hundred tons of ore, or lab model that holds a bare cubic foot; glassworks and brick kilns stretch out a quarter mile of molten hell, while hobbyists tuck their kilns in the corner of their garage.
Please don't respond, just reflect on the idea - what does 'industry' have to look like in your vision of society? and what could it adapt to with increasing levels of anarchy and/or conservation?