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Posted By Don Boudreaux On May 31, 2012 @ 4:40 am In Books,Civil Asset Forfeiture,Complexity & Emergence,Politics,Science,State of Macro | Comments Disabled
The notion that the state is a legitimate agency – one deserving respect – an institution that, despite its flaws, generally promotes (or at least aims to promote) the welfare of its citizens – is increasingly difficult to understand, much less to accept. A far more realistic view of the state, any state, comes from Mancur Olson: the state is a stationary bandit . Prudence might require that ordinary people tolerate it, but wisdom requires that those same ordinary people understand that, when dealing with the state, they are dealing with organized thuggery. Obey it because your failure to do so will prompt it to unleash its guns and prisons on you, but please don’t pretend that the state’s commands are issued with your best interests in mind. Walter Olson has more evidence here . (FYI, as far as I’m aware, Walter isn’t related to the late Mancur.)
For more evidence on the true nature of the state, see Shikha Dalmia’s latest column .
To many Cafe patrons, the above might sound extreme. I plead guilty. And I turn for support to my colleague Bryan Caplan . (See also here .)
Speaking of The Freeman, don’t miss this essay by Peter Lewin on the relevance of Austrian capital theory .
Kyle Smith reviews Paul Krugman’s new book . (HT Kerry Dugas and Howie Rich)
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URLs in this post:
 the state is a stationary bandit: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2938736?uid=3739936&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=56221093073
 Walter Olson has more evidence here: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/forfeiture-on-the-farm-the-feds-structuring-crackdown/
 Shikha Dalmia’s latest column: http://reason.com/archives/2012/05/29/captive-citizens-the-left-and-rights-pla
 And I turn for support to my colleague Bryan Caplan: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/05/a_question_for_3.html
 here: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/05/somin_on_extrem.html
 In my latest Freeman column I riff again on a theme from Julian Simon: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/thoughts-on-freedom/imagine-that/?utm_source=The+Freeman&utm_campaign=5ba410f12f-Freeman_Jan2010_Issue&utm_medium=email
 this essay by Peter Lewin on the relevance of Austrian capital theory: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/austrian-capital-theory-why-it-matters/
 George Will continues to defend free speech, eloquently and powerfully: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/montana-attempts-to-buck-the-supreme-court-on-citizens-united/2012/05/30/gJQA4DCi2U_story.html
 Speaking of George Will, his assessment of Donald Trump strikes me as being spot-on correct: http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/05/29/george-will-donald-trump-bloviating-ignoramus/
 Kyle Smith reviews Paul Krugman’s new book: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/krug_attacks_cv5ld2kSZ5DFnNMQcxt8aJ
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