FINISH The State
The StateWe've discussed already the use of grouping words to describe collectives of human individuals working together towards the attainment of common goals; the idea of government, the state, is an example of this. There is no entity government or state, simply a collection of indiviudals who themselves and their systems are working towards a common set of goals. They are not we and we are not they nor is it possible to represent the individual interests of a true majority of of other individuals. So what is the state then, this group? Murray Rothbard has penned it nicely IMHO:
While there are for sure a few (misguided) idealists in this group, the overall purpose of government is command and control of the masses, by and for the benefit of a privileged few. This has been going on for essentially all of recorded history. In our post Roman Empire age, government is the enforcement arm of banking and corporate interests. Those entities as they are today could not exist without government. Think of it as a triangle with the fraudulent monetary system being the string that joins and holds the three groups together. One thing we always need to keep in mind: there is no entity 'government', it's not a thing but rather a grouping word we use to refer to individual humans who feel they have a right to govern over other humans. This so called right comes from nothing in nature or natural law but again, the desire or need to command and control. Its only reason for existence is to ensure its continued existence.
Murray Rothbard saidThe State is almost universally considered an institution of social service. Some theorists venerate the State as the apotheosis of society; others regard it as an amiable, though often inefficient, organization for achieving social ends; but almost all regard it as a necessary means for achieving the goals of mankind, a means to be ranged against the "private sector" and often winning in this competition of resources. With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, "we are the government." The useful collective term "we" has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If "we are the government," then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also "voluntary" on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that "we owe it to ourselves"; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is "doing it to himself" and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. 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. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.
We must, therefore, emphasize that "we" are not the government; the government is not "us." The government does not in any accurate sense "represent" the majority of the people.1 But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority.2 No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that "we are all part of one another," must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.
If, then, the State is not "us," if it is not "the human family" getting together to decide mutual problems, if it is not a lodge meeting or country club, what is it? Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.3 Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate the other actions of its individual subjects. One would think that simple observation of all States through history and over the globe would be proof enough of this assertion; but the miasma of myth has lain so long over State activity that elaboration is necessary.
Anatomy of the State
Cato Letters saidWe know, by infinite Examples and Experience, that Men possessed of Power, rather than part with it, will do any thing, even the worst and the blackest, to keep it; and scarce ever any Man upon Earth went out of it as long as he could carry every thing his own Way in it. . . . This seems certain, That the Good of the World, or of their People, was not one of their Motives either for continuing in Power, or for quitting it.
It is the Nature of Power to be ever encroaching, and converting every extraordinary Power, granted at particular Times, and upon particular Occasions, into an ordinary Power, to be used at all Times, and when there is no Occasion, nor does it ever part willingly with any Advantage. . . .
Alas! Power encroaches daily upon Liberty, with a Success too evident; and the Balance between them is almost lost. Tyranny has engrossed almost the whole Earth, and striking at Mankind Root and Branch, makes the World a Slaughterhouse; and will certainly go on to destroy, till it is either destroyed itself, or, which is most likely, has left nothing else to destroy.
NO 115. Saturday, February 9, 1723
The encroaching Nature of Power, ever to be watched and checked. (John Trenchard)
- criminal organization
- taxation is theft
- personal liberty
- involuntary servitude
- war and foreign policy
- government and business
- inflation and the business cycle
- conservation, ecology and growth
- welfare and the welfare state
Murray Rothbard saidIn contrast to all other thinkers, left, right, or in-between, the libertarian refuses to give the State the moral sanction to commit actions that almost everyone agrees would be immoral, illegal, and criminal if committed by any person or group in society. The libertarian, in short, insists on applying the general moral law to everyone, and makes no special exemptions for any person or group. But if we look at the State naked, as it were, we see that it is universally allowed, and even encouraged, to commit all the acts which even non-libertarians concede are reprehensible crimes. The State habitually commits mass murder, which it calls “war,” or sometimes “suppression of subversion”; the State engages in enslavement into its military forces, which it calls “conscription”; and it lives and has its being in the practice of forcible theft, which it calls “taxation.” The libertarian insists that whether or not such practices are supported by the majority of the population is not germane to their nature: that, regardless of popular sanction, War is Mass Murder, Conscription is Slavery, and Taxation is Robbery. The libertarian, in short, is almost completely the child in the fable, pointing out insistently that the emperor has no clothes.
For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto