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Life and Liberty
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“Fed Up with Politicians?”

[An article from Free Life]
Such was the title of a political leaflet received through my door last week.
Readers familiar with my work on this blog will know that I place little faith in the mainstream, political process as the primary means of achieving a freer society in the UK. There is no point in trying to grab control of the system when it is the system itself that is rotten.
Nevertheless, this leaflet – from an organisation called “NotLibLabCon” – caught my eye for three reasons.
First, the leaflet is clearly written from a right-leaning, pro-freedom perspective, listing political priorities such as:
  • Sensibly sized government
  • Strong borders
  • Individual choice
  • Stopping mass surveillance
  • Freedom of speech
  • Balanced budget
  • Low inflation
Even political outsiders in this country tend to taint otherwise agreeable ideas by making obeisance to the NHS or to enforced “fairness” in this, that and the other. No mention of either was a good reason to save this leaflet from my rubbish bin.
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Life and Liberty
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How Fearsome is the State?

Together with other free marketeers, Austro-libertarians are adept at explaining the inefficient and destructive nature of the state. This compulsory aegis of taxation and redistribution destroys economic progress and the standard of living, siphoning off an increasing quantity of the fruits of our labour into vast bureaucracies. For our efforts, control and regulation of every aspect of our lives with a fine tooth-comb is all we can expect in return.
Such an enormous concentration of wealth and power could never be attained by a private individual (or even an institution) in a genuine free market. What’s more, the state seldom shies away from any opportunity to extend its destructive influence not only within its own territory, but also overseas with armies, navies, air forces and all of the destructive fire power they can carry.
To any one individual the state can seem like an awesome, overwhelming entity – if only because it professes to do so much for us.
In the UK, for instance, the government provides your with your banking infrastructure, your healthcare, your transportation networks, educates your children, and supposedly is the guardian of your health, safety and well-being from greedy, unscrupulous companies which might seek to defraud you. Moreover, should you get on the wrong side of the state, its uniformed police force can arrest you, its black robed judges can imprison you, and, of course, it promises to do the same to all of the people who attempt to commit a crime against you. And who could fail to be overwhelmed by the state’s vast, impressive edifices such as the Houses of Parliament or the US Capitol, together with their patriotic pageantries (such as Presidential inaugurations) which inspire a turnout of millions?
This article will in no way dispute the fact that the state is something to be feared. Indeed, one need only contemplate the fact that a handful of states are sitting on a nuclear arsenal sufficient to destroy the worlds tens of times over.
What we will explore here, however, is the fact that the monopolistic, overreaching nature of the state is both its source of power yet also its Achilles’ heel. That, far from being a lean, mean, fighting machine, the state more often acts in a bumbling, bloated and altogether rather stupid manner.
First, the state is severely handicapped by its very nature as a monopolistic force. Shorn of much need to compete in any areas in which it decides to wade, it is burdened by a natural tendency to languish in laziness and inefficiency to a degree which renders it extremely vulnerable. Britain’s NHS, for instance, suffers from repeated crises of chronic shortages and supposed underfunding year after year. This is in spite (or perhaps because) of the fact that it is the world’s fifth largest employer, with its pre-COVID spending consuming as much as 7 to 8% of Britain’s GDP.
Or take the highly cartelised commercial banking sector. In the UK, most salary and routine business payments are made through the BACS network, the infrastructure for which dates from the 1960s. In our age of instant communication, this system can still take three days to transfer funds between bank accounts. According to entrepreneur Simon Black (whose frustration with the service offered by established banks led him to establish his own), the Society for Worldwide Interbank Telecommunication (“SWIFT”) was using Windows Vista as its platform as late as 2017. By that time, Microsoft was no longer supporting the operating system. How is it possible for the world’s premier financial network to be using software more outdated than that available to any private individual on a recently purchased laptop or smartphone?
The answer, of course, is that these organisations are simply removed from any genuine competitive pressure to innovate or to stay ahead of the game. With a continued supply of tax dollars and/or the blessing of state privilege, they see no impetus to maintain the highest standards that would ensure their efficiency.
Such lack of standards spreads also to the quality of the personnel in these organisations. Bureaucrats – who are more or less promised a job for life so long as the avoid making a major mistake – have little incentive to develop their knowledge and skills. As such, they are unlikely to possess the drive of private entrepreneurs, who keep a sharper eye on the game. This is one reason why (in spite of all of the hullabaloo from politicians seeking election) tax and regulatory loopholes will always exist: the people finding and exploiting them have a keener motivation than those who are supposed to close them.
This is not to imply, of course, that politics is not a competitive arena. However, the nature of competition in politics is very different from the nature of competition in the free market.
In the latter, people are certainly competing, but the objective of that competition is to create more goods and services for the benefit of consumers. As such, market competition is positive sum – the more that is created, the more opportunities there are for everyone. What is gained by one person doesn’t come at the expense of anybody else.
It is true, of course, that some companies may prosper while others go bankrupt – and obviously there can only be one CEO of any particular company at a time. But even if one company should collapse, the process of wealth creation furnishes us with the wherewithal for new enterprises to be started - businesses which will exploit opportunities which are yet to be explored. In the free market, one door closed is two more opened.
Politics, however, is a zero-sum game. The power possessed by one individual is necessarily taken from another; money handed over to one set of beneficiaries has necessarily been taxed (i.e. confiscated) from another set. There can only be one President of the United States or one Prime Minister of Great Britain, and there is only so much landmass on the Earth from which to fashion powerful states. The process of politics will never create an unlimited number of opportunities to lead a great country.
The budding politician, therefore, must necessarily gain from what anyone else loses; in this eliminative game, he must ensure that no one else is able to beat him to the top job. Thus, politics is a poison for any genuine co-operation or betterment; ultimately, everyone is the enemy of everyone else. The only co-operation that does exist is in the transient form of favours, bribes or other “tit-for-tat” arrangements, with relationships susceptible to a sudden backstabbing by the more ruthlessly ambitious partner. With such a widespread lack of trust serving as the foundation for the state, it becomes impossible for it to operate as a fast, efficient and unified whole. In fact, private citizens can often be thankful for the feuds and foibles of the fiefdoms and factions craving state power; if they are so busy stamping on each other, they have little time left over for plundering everyone else.
Given that state power is inherently eliminative and unproductive, creating the wherewithal to exercise that power is - ironically - highly dependent upon a vibrant and efficient capitalist economy. The only reason we are now threatened with digital regimentation and surveillance is because our level of capital accumulation and technological advance has produced the complex goods that make these things possible. The warped commitment of our leaders leaders today is not only to the exertion of a greater degree of socialisation and control, but also to deindustrialisation and impoverishment in the name of greenery and “saving the planet”. But to press for these aims is to sign the death warrant of the infrastructure that enables systematised power and control. Without maintaining the extent and structure of the capital stock that feeds an efficient economy, there will be no internet, no smartphones, no CCTV, no facial recognition, no microchips, no nothing. The result of this is that people will have a greater ability to wrest themselves free of state power long before the only things left to enforce it are bows and arrows.
This leads us neatly onto to the state’s second major stumbling block: that statist intervention can never produce any positive achievements (or, at the very least, it can do so only with significantly inflated cost). All of the state’s declared aspirations – the conquest of poverty, affordable healthcare, employment for all, safety and security in retirement, the vanquishing of crime, and so on – are beyond the state’s reach for one, very simple reason: these things cannot be achieved through the means of wealth redistribution.
In fact, because there is no way in which the state can genuinely make a positive difference for the whole of society, the state can survive and thrive only by making problems worse rather than better. If society continues to experience degradation and destitution, the state can swoop in so as to declare itself the saviour. It is better for the state, for instance, for people to be kept poor so that they remain dependent upon government handouts. It is better for the state to disarm its citizenry so that the latter present no threat to the state’s own armed guards (but at the cost of increasing crime, resulting in bigger budgets for the state’s monopolised provision of law enforcement). It is better for the state if more people are sick so that increasing sacks of cash can be siphoned off into its wasteful, inefficient healthcare bureaucracies.
Unfortunately this perverse incentive is fed by the fact that many people see the state’s failings as a reason not for cutting the state down to size, but for lending it even more power.
One reason for this peculiarity is that – in our “mixed” economy dominated by publicly connected, but nominally private actors – the symptoms of state failure tend to be far removed from the state itself. As such, one has to follow a chain of cause and effect in order to identify the true culprit.
For instance, when the government inflates the money supply, prices are likely to rise. However, because it is businesses who actually implement any increase, all of the blame is heaped upon their alleged “greed” and “profiteering”. Similarly, if state mandated minimum wages result in unemployment, the only thing that the public can see is those same, evil businessmen refusing to lower their profits so as to hire more workers.
Much of this is also due to the fact that the advent of democracy has weakened the distinction between the state and the people – i.e. between “us” and “them”. Rather, through our voting rights, we believe that the government either belongs to us as our servant, or is an integral part of us as a nation. As such, any notion of the state harming its people amounts, effectively, to an accusation of self-destruction. Avoiding the cognitive dissonance of this conclusion simply causes most people to default to incorrect, but psychologically comfortable explanations for their woes.
Here, again, however lies another of the state’s weaknesses. As the growing backlash against globalisation and political gigantism has revealed, that crucial feeling of unity with (and control of) the state begins to dissolve if the state becomes too big and bloated. If decision making authority is delegated upwards to supranational institutions, people begin to withdraw their consent to be governed by foreign technocrats who seemingly have little interest in people’s priorities. In short, a clear perception of “us” and “them” re-emerges. A major motivation for the Brexit vote, for instance, was to repatriate decision making authority from Brussels, suggesting that the degree to which power can be removed from its proximity to the people is finite. Such a limit is serving to frustrate the unifying, globalising and bureaucratising ambitions of political elites.
Indeed, it is now unlikely that these ambitions will ever be fulfilled in their totality, in spite of the continued attempt to weaponise crises (such as COVID) in favour of greater centralised decision making. Given that smaller states and state entities are, all else being equal, weaker than larger ones, the impossibility of excessive centralisation suggests that there will always be an upper limit to the state’s power vis-à-vis its citizens.
Majority vs. Minority
This leads us onto our third and final major point which is that the state – or rather the people who can be said to form it – are a minority of the citizenry. As a parasitic entity, it is simply impossible for the state to be comprised of the majority. The vampires will always be outnumbered by those pumping the blood they crave.
Contrary to popular belief no state has ever retained power as a result of force alone; rather, the sustenance of state rule is dependent upon – at minimum – the tacit acceptance of the majority of the citizenry. Although the fear of force may certainly help the state to attain that tacit acceptance, the state only has enough resources to dispense actual force against a bare minority of rebels and upstarts. In order to ensure sustained, widespread compliance, the state has to ensure that its subjects are kept within the confines of a general degree of contentment – either materially, or, preferably, through the conviction that state rule is legitimate. In other words, even though people may mumble and groan about the state’s inadequacy in this, that or the other, they can find no reason for upsetting the apple cart.
The Brexit vote and, we might suggest, the election of Donald Trump are instances of when contentment with the status quo was exhausted in the minds of at least a significant proportion of the population. Although – as is now clear – the beneficiaries of that status quo are refusing to go down without a war, each of these instances shows that they cannot win every battle. Once the people decide to exert their preference for a particular direction with ferocity, then the state has no choice but to yield. Whichever plundering/pillaging/controlling/regimenting/surveillance plans that the state has in store for us ultimately cannot succeed without our compliance. Indeed, it was the elites’ frenzied reaction to both Brexit and Trump which demonstrated how truly scared they are of popular resistance.
The bumbling, bloated nature of the state is indicated by a joking phrase apparently made by the industrialist Charles F Kettering - “Thank God we don’t get as much government as we pay for”. Indeed, if all of the wealth and resources that the state commands were actually put to use effectively and efficiently, then it truly would be a terrifying, formidable obstacle.
Unfortunately, however, the state’s capacity for buffoonery leads also to what we might call, informally, the “cock up theory of history”. When certain key individuals are able to dispense a degree of power disproportionate to their abilities, it is not only the effects of their conscious decisions that become magnified – so too do their mistakes. So whereas statists would have us believe that great leaders and statesmen shape the world’s events for the benefit of humanity, we cannot overlook the fact that anything significant that has happened in history is, at least, equally attributable to accidents and mishaps. And it is with cock ups that the true danger of the state may lie.
One of the most infamous of these mistakes occurred in 1983 at the height of the Cold War when the Soviet nuclear early-warning system reported the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles from the United States. The Soviet officer monitoring the system at the time, Stanislav Petrov, interpreted the warnings to be the result of a computer error – a belief which was verified by a subsequent inspection. Petrov’s refusal to act on the false warnings prevented a Soviet retaliatory attack which would have almost certainly elevated the Cold War into a full scale nuclear holocaust. In other words, the annihilation of human existence was averted by the prudential actions of a single individual who refused to trust his government issued equipment.
When the state today still handles so much (and handles it so very very badly) the possibility of such a mistake going the other way remains very high indeed – all the more so when East and West, once again, are running headlong towards nuclear tripwires. Given the exceedingly poor quality of our statesmen today, can we expect them to show the same kind of caution displayed by Colonel Petrov?
It is for this reason more than any other that the state should be regarded as dangerous. So much power in the hands of so few people is at risk of one them making a simple error. As awesome as the state may be, our fate may be in the hands of its stupidity as much as its evil ingenuity.
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Life and Liberty
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The Ministerial Merry-Go-Round

How Britain's Wars at the Top Could Sow Distrust in the State

2022 has seen the upper echelons of the British state locked in a game of musical chairs – and we still have two months left to go. This has been the year of two monarchs, three prime ministers, four chancellors and three/four home secretaries (depending on how one counts Suella Braverman’s non-contiguous terms).
When comparing the US with the UK (and, more broadly, with Europe) it is often remarked that the latter is more social democratic or "left-leaning" than the former, which seems to have preserved something, at least, of the spirit of free enterprise and self-reliance.
This isn’t entirely true, of course. For one thing, it is difficult to argue that fiscal and financial debauchery is qualitatively better or worse on either side of the Atlantic. Domestically, it may seem like Britain has been more crippled by the weight of excessive governance than its transatlantic ally. But many of the more extensive horrors of statism – war-mongering imperialism, a permanent spying, security and warfare industry – either have their contemporary origins within, or are otherwise at their worst, in the US. Additionally, it is likely that the culture war is more intense over the pond, with cultural leftists in the UK struggling to ignite the same kind of racial narratives that dog our American cousins.
Nevertheless, if I was a betting man, I would probably count on the population of the US to resist more forcefully the impetus for any kind of “reset” into a form of globalised, digital socialism – if only because they are blessed with the tradition of states’ rights, secession and decentralisation (as well as the corresponding, regionalised political infrastructure) that can, at least in principle, serve as a credible counterbalance to the accumulating insanity in Washington DC.
However, there is one aspect of the British attitude that seems more conducive to liberty than that of the Americans: that the British have very little love for politicians of any creed or colour.
This is not to imply, of course, that certain sections of the British electorate have no enthusiasm for one political candidate over the another. Nor that Americans fail to display outright hatred and disgust for some of theirs. But while Conservative Boris Johnson – one of this year’s several prime ministers – achieved a modicum of populist enthusiasm by breaking through the so-called “Red Wall” of working class voters in the 2019 election, it seems unlikely that any British politician could stage a rally attracting the kinds of crowds that accumulate for American presidential candidates. In fact, I would say that British politicians generally are viewed as lying, self-serving crooks, an opinion which emanates from all sides of the political spectrum.
This may not amount to much, of course, and perhaps I am misjudging attitudes on either side of the Atlantic. Optimistically, however, it might well be the start of a clearer recognition of the fact that political tax eaters are little more than a parasitic class of spongers, scroungers and plunderers leeching off the blood of the rest of us.
This year’s ministerial musical chairs may help to emphasise this. Many libertarians have always been in tune with the fact that democracy has presented the people with very little, real choice. Rather, we are normally treated to a parade of pre-screened candidates, all of whom are agreed on most of the fundamentals. Relatively minor or trivial differences are exaggerated into deep gulfs so as to instil the illusion of choice. Certainly today, there is very little difference, for instance, between the major UK political parties; everyone is committed to high taxes and high spending while all are content to swing the economic wrecking ball of so-called climate change policy. One might as well be asked to choose between the noose and the electric chair.
Occasionally, however, the electorate does manage to exercise a genuine choice which sails against the prevailing winds of elite preference – as we saw, for instance, with the vote for Brexit in 2016 and, in the US, for Donald Trump in the same year.
Subsequent UK elections have hardly been as dramatic. Boris Johnson, for all of his promise, was a sore disappointment to anyone counting on his apparent libertarian fervour. He imposed COVID lockdowns while wholeheartedly supporting the vaccine programme. He is a net-zero zealot while he went above and beyond the call of duty in lending his (quite considerable) weight to perpetuating the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In fact, he is officially regarded as something of a hero in the latter. In every relevant way, he is an obedient little statist. 
But the establishment (or fighting factions within it) are now so desperate to maintain their grip on power that not even this was good enough for Johnson to be assured of tenure. As such, he was ousted for largely unimportant reasons. But even more perversely, Johnson’s successor, Liz Truss was booted out after a mere six weeks following her announcement of an economic programme that was, at least, pointing in the direction of something resembling a smaller state. It now seems that exactly the right, reliable people have to be in place in the upper echelons of government if the powers that be are to be satisfied.
Consequently, the coronation of Rishi Sunak as our latest prime minister – with no say on the appointment having been granted to either the whole electorate or to his party members – is likely to infuriate not only anti-Tories but also the Tory base, especially as the latter had earlier rejected Sunak in favour of Truss. If candidates can simply be shuffled out in favour of options more preferable to forces operating behind the scenes, then precisely who is the state actually serving?
Asking questions of this nature is vital if people are to ever understand the true nature of the state and its participants: that, far from representing the people, it is an institution that seeks only to benefit itself. Weakening the state’s grip over our freedom cannot be achieved unless and until it is firmly identified as being, like oil and water, separate and apart from the populace, not a part of it. The idea that "we are all the government" or that the government somehow belongs to “us” must be firmly rejected.
Unfortunately, it also seems to be the case that people still, generally, perceive that the problem with the state is with the specific people in charge rather than with the institution itself – that only if we elect the “right” leaders then everything will be OK. Not until there is a realisation that whoever populates the state is irrelevant, and that they will all (with one or two exceptions that tend to confirm the rule) behave in more or less the same way, will there be much hope of wresting the UK free from the power of its centralised government.
Pro-liberty minded UK citizens should concentrate their efforts in this direction.
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Life and Liberty
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One Law for All

One of the obfuscating features of sociological commentary – whether it takes place in academic tomes or in popular magazines – is the tendency to describe the subject matter in terms of vast, overreaching abstractions. For instance, “the market” does X, “the government” does Y, “companies” do Z, and so on. Such categorisations are not, of course, unimportant; the use of shorthand is often needed as a clear identification of particular groups of individuals, each of whom share a common feature relevant to the discussion. However, the fact that every group is, indeed, nothing more than a group of individuals is precisely what is forgotten if the use of these abstractions is taken too far.
Such use becomes particularly meaningless when one starts to ascribe to these groups particular characteristics independent of those of the individual participants – as if the group itself is some kind of sentient, thinking entity. So, for instance, we are always told that “the markets” are “wild”, “capricious,” “erratic”, “reckless”, “selfish” and imbibed with “irrational exuberance”; “the government”, on the other hand, is always “wise”, “prudent”, “far sighted”, “selfless” and “serving”. Each of these groups, however, is populated by human beings, all of whom are living, breathing, thinking, desiring, choosing and acting. Only by examining the precise motivations and incentives acting upon these individuals can we ever hope to gain an understanding of the true nature of the groups they join.
One of the most serious misunderstandings to which thinking in terms of bland abstractions can lead is the idea that “government” is somehow endowed with a different set of moral rules from every other group. We all know that theft is wrong, whatever the circumstance. Regardless of your status or qualities – rich or poor, fat or thin, smart or stupid – every person can gain the property of another only by offering him something that he values in voluntary exchange (unless that person wishes to make you a gift). In short, you must offer a valuable service. Taking property that belongs to another person is almost universally condemned as immoral.
Members of “the government” however do not have to follow this rule, or at least not when acting in their "official" capacity. These people do not have to offer anyone a valuable service in return for their revenue; they can simply take what they need to fund their ventures through taxation. Similarly, no private citizen is morally permitted to kill another human being, whether this is for either personal or political gain. In the first instance he would be labelled a “murderer”, in the latter a “terrorist” (which itself can be an obfuscating abstraction). Yet those who populate the government – when they launch their foreign wars of imperialism, when they kill thousands of innocent civilians in bombings, when they blockade “rogue” states and starve its children to death – are permitted to do this with seemingly little question. True enough, the question whether such acts are an appropriate means for the state to achieve specific ends may be hotly debated; but the right, in principle, of the state to carry out these acts if it so decides is something that receives far less attention.
Further obfuscation of the basic, criminal nature of the state is achieved through the use of euphemisms for everything that it does. So whereas private citizens may “steal” and “rob” in order to gain “loot”, the government “taxes” in order to gain “revenue”. Whereas private citizens are, as we have said, “murderers” or “terrorists”, the government is a “peacekeeper” or “spreader of democracy”. Yet there is essentially no difference between the clearly immoral acts committed by private citizens and the supposedly “moral” acts committed by members of the government. Indeed, if you are an innocent civilian, does it really make much difference to you whether you are killed in an armed robbery or whether you end up as “collateral damage” (another euphemism) in a drone strike?
Each group – the private citizenry and the government – is populated not by devils and angels respectively, but by humans endowed with the same qualities of rationality, intelligence, and emotional disposition, together with every other blessing and failing of our species. All actions are initiated by one of these individuals or by individuals who choose to act in concert. An action that is immoral for a private citizen to carry out should, therefore, be considered as equally immoral for a government citizen to carry out. Theft is the deliberate appropriation of property belonging to another without that person’s consent. How are taxes to be distinguished from this? Taxes are deliberately taken; the property belongs to another; and it is certainly taken without that person’s consent. For if taxes are truly voluntary then refusal to pay them would not land one in jail. Launching any kind of offensive, foreign war (which itself will be paid for with tax loot) that kills innocent civilians is indistinguishable from murder. Why does the fact that those who commit these atrocities in the state’s name, while wearing government-issued costumes, or waving and saluting flags with pomp and circumstance, let them off the hook?
This phenomenon of divided codes of morality is hardly to unique to our time. With the aid of an anecdote from antiquity, St Augustine indicates that the fundamental basis for any such division has always been “might makes right”:
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor".[1]

The idea that any immoral acts of the state are legitimated by the institution of democracy is false. For what is true for the one is, in general, true for the many. If no one person can, alone, steal or murder then it follows that no group of people may, together, steal or murder. Further, if I have no right to steal or murder then neither can my so-called “representative” derive this right from my endorsement of his candidacy in an election.
If all of this – the division of morality in society, this separation into two distinct moral castes – wasn't bad enough, it is made far worse by its sickening decoration and honour with the rhetoric of “public service”. Theft and murder makes little difference to the victim whether it’s done by a saint or sinner, by a Samaritan or sadist. The whole cloud of altruistic verbiage is designed, again, to obscure the fact that the state is populated by exactly the same type of human being as the rest of society; they will each attempt to further their own ends with the means available to them. Thus, if immoral means are legitimated then they will most certainly take advantage of them. In fact, even if we were to assume that they genuinely seek “good” ends, and are thoroughly convinced of the “morality” of their position, it has often been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Communism – the political system that butchered tens of millions – was created and fostered by those who believed that what they were doing was right. But this is before you get into the very convincing argument that the state – the sphere where it is permissible to behave immorally – attracts the very people who relish to immoral behaviour for its own sake.
Libertarians believe in a basic morality that is uniform to all people – that everyone, king or subject, employer or employee, rich or poor, are subject to the same cardinal moral rule, namely that you can do whatever you want with your own person and property so long as it does not inflict violence on the person or property of anyone else. The actions of all human beings need to be examined in regard to this basic truth; no excuses are derived from being a member of a certain caste. The fact that individual humans, their motivations, choices and ends are central to everything that happens in this world, cannot be hidden by abstractions, sociological inventions, metaphysical nonsense, traditions, ranks, ceremonies, patriotic songs, flags and so on. Libertarians need to do the best they can to unmask the truth behind these illusions.

[1] St Augustine (tr. Rev. Marcus Dods), The City of God, in Phillip Schaff (ed.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series, Vol. II, WM B Eerdmans Publishing Company (1886), Book IV, Chapter 4, 165.
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