Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 23, 2011

in Law, Politics, Seen and Unseen

… is from page 17 of Robert Higgs’s remarkable 1987 book Crisis and Leviathan:

Note that once constitutional barriers have been lowered during a crisis, a legal precedent has been established giving government greater potential for expansion in subsequent noncrisis periods, particularly those that can be plausibly described as crises [original emphasis].

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Gordon Richens September 23, 2011 at 8:09 am

In time, criteria becomes so relaxed that a true crisis is no longer recognizable.

Speedmaster September 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

Outstanding! I literally just began reading C&L last night! :-)

Fred September 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Everything is a crisis.

erp September 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

… that’s why I’m not ruling out martial law as a ploy in avoiding messy elections in the future. World socialism here we come.

indianajim September 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

There are still more armed freemen in America than can be easily herded; it ain’t over til its over.

vikingvista September 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm


indianajim September 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm


vikingvista September 23, 2011 at 11:14 pm


Greg Webb September 24, 2011 at 12:32 am

Geaux Tigers!

Greg Webb September 23, 2011 at 11:41 am

Excellent quote! And, the most common way to bootstrap a non-crisis into a crisis that results in the further lowering of Constitutional standards and the expansion of governmental power is to call the non-crisis a war, whether it is the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on income inequality, etc.

James Madison correctly noted that “[o]f all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Actual war leads to military armies, while non-crisis “war” leads to armies of bureaucrats, and from these “armies” proceed DEBT AND TAXES, which combined with armies of any kind “are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

In non-crisis “war” as in real war, “the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and … degeneracy of manners and of morals…. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Sounds like the “stimulus” frauds perpetrated by both the Obama and Bush Administrations.

dithadder September 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

from wikipedia:

The United States is formally in an ongoing limited state of emergency declared by several Presidents for several reasons. A state of emergency began on January 24, 1995 with the signing of Executive Order 12947 by President Bill Clinton. In accordance with the National Emergencies Act, the executive order’s actual effect was not a declaration of a general emergency, but a limited embargo on trade with “Terrorists Who Threaten To Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process”.[30] This “national emergency” was expanded in 1998 to include additional targets such as Osama bin Laden,[31] and has been continued to at least 2008 by order of President George W. Bush.[32] There are a number of other ongoing national emergencies of this type,[33][34] regarding for instance diamond trade with Sierra Leone. Especially noteworthy are the ongoing states of emergency declared on November 14, 1979 regarding the Iran Hostage Crisis,[35] that declared on March 15, 1995 with respect to Iran,[36] and that declared on September 14, 2001 through Bush’s Proclamation 7463, regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.[37]

President Barack Obama extended George Bush’s Declaration of Emergency regarding terrorism on September 10, 2009[38] and again on September 10, 2010.[39]

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