Saturday, March 6, 2010

State of Thieves

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
--The Wizard (The Wizard of Oz)

Chodorov (1959) observes that government size and power are proportional to a country's wealth, because that wealth can be appropriated. In 1789, for example, the scope of political interference in the US was limited by the country's lack of wealth. Intervention subsequently escalated with the productive energy of the country.

If one asks why should this relationship should be so, then the underlying driver of State power becomes more apparent:

"When the nature of political power is put under the microscope of analysis, its incorrigible penchant for predation becomes understandable. For then one see that political power is not 'in the nature of things' but in the nature of man. It [political power] is not, like the force of gravity, self-operating and inexorable, but is an expedient devised by man to facilitate his urge for acquiring satisfactions with the last expenditure of labor. In essense, political power is physical power, of the threat of it, that one man or a group of men may bring to bear on other men to affect behavior. It may originate in a body of social sanctions, but it is hardly political power until these sanctions are implemented with a police force. In any case, it is exercised by human beings and therefore must be related to the all pervasive law of human action, the drive to get the most for the least." (p. 85)

Because they  have an aversion to labor, individuals construct and support political regimes perceived capable of satisfying their needs thru non-economic (read: predatory) means.

The State is nothing more than a hired thug for thieves.

"But there must be some means of restraining Cain from going after Able's hide and property, lest human life go the way of the dinosaur. There cannot be a Society until there is a market place, and there cannot be a market place unless security of possession is assured. Without that assurance the individual will not strive to improve his circumstances and production will drip to the level of mere subsistence; man will be little better than an animal, a status against which his primordial compulsions revolt. It is for that reason that he sets up a machinery for the protection of life and property, even against himself, a machinery to which he gives the name of Government.

"'To secure these [inalienable] rights [to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness],' says the best phrasing of the subject, 'governments are instituted among men.' It follows that if there were some way of securing these rights without Government, man would not institute it. And it also follows that when Government employs its monopoly of coercion for purposes which violate these rights it ceases to be Government. It is some other kind of concern, even as a merchantman who turns to piracy cannot be classified as a merchantman. So that, when the committee in charge of the power of compulsion uses it to confiscate property they cannot lay claim to the name of Government. It is a corruption, and its name is the State." (p. 88)


Chodorov, F. 1959. The rise and fall of society. New York: The Devin-Adair Company.

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