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« Can One Be a Classical Liberal and Really Believe This? | Main | Now That is What I am Talking About! The Bob Higgs Version »

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"Entrust it to one man, or to several men, or to all men, as you please; whichever it is, the results will be equally unfortunate for you. You will then wax hot against the actual holders of this power, and will, according to circumstances, accuse in turn monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, mixed governments and the representative system. You will be wrong; it is the measure of force that is the culprit, not its holders. Your indignation needs to be directed against the sword and not against the arm. There are weapons which are too heavy for the hand of man."
-Benjamin Constant

Often one can see the point of thiking about the State like a monster out of Goya but to do so is to abandon methodological individualism. Ordinary people get to do extraordinary things, like the fire-bombing of Dresden. That was probably planned by soft-voiced men standing around a map of Western Europe on a table, moving models and lines around while they did complicated sums in cost benefits and logistics. They would have loved their wives and children and pets, and maybe art and literature or gardening and soccer. The same applied to the aircrew and to the people standing around illuminated table and wall maps on the other side of the line.

Events get out of hand and the answer is not to think of the State as an evil person but to win the battle of ideas for the liberal order. Of course we all agree on that, I am just wondering about the Rothbardian vision. Maybe we all need to go with our own visions, mine is probably the ball game where there are winners and losers but nobody in the normal course of events gets killed or eaten. (Sometimes you wonder when you see the NZ All Blacks doing their war dance before a test match). At the same time the fight against Evil personified has tremendous emotional appeal that is tapped by The Lord of the Rings, for example.

"I cannot help it, but other visions of the state always appear to me as overly romantic. Politics without romance, to me, must begin with the recognition that the state is an instrument of coercive exploitation --- organized predation if you will --- and can be and will be used by some to exploit others."

I cannot help it, but other visions of the market always appear to me as overly romantic. Trade without romance, to me, must begin with the recognition that the market is an instrument of coercive exploitation --- organized extorted value of the workers by the capitalists if you will --- and can be and will be used by some to exploit others.

Ok, I don't really believe more in my version than in yours. But they are both simplistic and ideological. Basic marxism and basic libertarianism are really two faces of the same coin. On the one side there is market worshipping, on the other it's the state.

I completely disagree Kaem. It is the freedom that man experiences within the market structure free of government coercion that we strive for and as such I believe that we should see intrusive government policy as lessening our choice set and making us either worse off, or less free.

In response to your parody:
"There is, in a competitive society, nobody who can exercise even a fraction of the power which a socialist planning board would possess..." - F.A. Hayek

Kaem,

What in my post communicating anything about worshoping the market?!

I admit my post was about hating the state, but romanticism of the market isn't in there.

What did I tell you about those New Zealand rugby players - while the Australian team lost a desperately close game in South Africa the reserves were eaten by Maori in New Zealand.

http://au.sports.yahoo.com/070525/2/1902m.html

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