The State

You cannot be at once entirely free and entirely enslaved, much as you cannot be pregnant and not pregnant at the same time. Either you are free, or you are a slave. Once you have become a slave, no matter how much better or worse it gets, you are no less a slave until that time you become truly free and independent.

Similarly, the economic system is either socialist or it is free market. If it is not free market it might be socialism in the form of interventionism, but it is still socialism and will only lead to further “installments” towards its full realization. As Ludwig von Mises observed of Germany, Britain, and to a lesser extent the United States, one control led to one hundred others, all to correct the problems created by the previous measure until the system is completely overrun by the bureaucratic rent-seeking portion of society. Mises said it best; “The middle-of-the-road policy is not an economic system that can last. It is a method for the realization of socialism by installments.”[1]

Every government action, by definition, takes place outside of the realm of peaceful trade and in the realm of domination by force, thus it is simply not possible that the State perform an act that will make proper use of the scarce resources of society. This is not just a moral consideration to hold that Government not be used to solve any sort of problem, because it involves aggressive violence, but an economic one. Government is simply incapable of solving said problems.

Initially, there must be an understanding that the State is the organized, legally legitimized means of aggressive violence. Acceptance of aggressive, coercive violence is morally repugnant. This principle does not change in a situation of one versus one, five versus five, one hundred versus one hundred million, etc. Clamoring for economic utilitarianism does not solve the matter, since it is a fortunate coincidence that taking the high ground on property rights and philosophy also leads society to the high ground in terms of economic prosperity.

The utilitarian strategy leaves the door open to du jour economic theories that might persuade the people to clamor once again for the indomitable will or government over their lives. The happy fact is that the benefits of infusing our economic theories with a robust defense of the philosophy of property rights will serve as a bulwark against whatever economic illusions could persuade the people to act against their own principles, since it is these very principles upon which their freedom is based.

 

[1] Von, Mises Ludwig. “Middlie-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism.” Two Essays by Ludwig Von Mises: Liberty and Property ; Middle-of-the-road Policy Leads to Socialism. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Auburn University, 1991. Print.

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