Friday, January 04, 2008

Anarchistic Whining

The very late Murray Rothbard didn't want to be called an "anarchist" because the word has acquired several negative connotations. It is clear, however, that Rothbard was an anarchist; he just didn't want to be called one.

Robert Higgs reifies government:
The beginning of political wisdom is the realization that despite everything you’ve always been taught, the government is not really on your side; indeed, it is out to get you.
On top of that, he counsels an ostrich-like foreign policy:
[D]espite everything that is claimed for the military’s protective powers, its operation and deployment overseas leave us ordinary Americans facing greater, not lesser, risk than we would otherwise face, because of the many enemies it cultivates who would have left us alone, if the U.S. military had only left them alone. (Yes, Virginia, they are over here because we’re over there.)
I guess Higgs wouldn't care if the Middle East and its vast reserves of oil were to fall into the hands of Islamofascists.

Anyway, Higgs asserts that
[a]lthough the mugger, the sneak thief, and the con man are not the only types of government operatives, they make up a large proportion of the leading figures in government today. The lower ranks, especially in the various police agencies, have a disproportionate share of the bullies.
I'd like to see his data. Certainly a goodly share of cops are bullies, and a goodly share of government "operatives" behave like bullies, muggers, sneak thieves, and con men (Higgs's characterizations). But the way Higgs puts it, it's as if government was invented to serve those types, which is rather unfair to Mr. Madison et al.

Here's a better way of putting it: Government, when allowed to assume functions beyond the minimal ones alloted by the Constitution, becomes a haven for some bullies, muggers, sneak thieves, and con men. But most of them, I daresay, are not in government.

Related posts:
"But Wouldn't Warlords Take Over?" (24 Jul 2005)
"Liberty As a Social Compact" (28 Feb 2006)
"The Source of Rights" (06 Sep 2006)
"The Golden Rule, for Libertarians" (02 Aug 2007)
"Anarchistic Balderdash" (17 Aug 2007)
"The Fear of Consequentialism" (26 Nov 2007)
"Optimality, Liberty, and the Golden Rule" (18 Dec 2007)