… is from page 266 of philosopher Michael Huemer’s contribution, titled “Ethical Intuitionism,” to the superb 2016 collection edited by Aaron Ross Powell and Grant Babcock, Arguments for Liberty:
I believe that political philosophy ought to start from ethics: to figure out how the government should behave in some situation, we should first reflect on how we think people should behave in analogous situations, because the government is just a certain group of people.
DBx: I don’t know how much – 50 percent? 75 percent? 99.9 percent? – of the problems caused by the state would disappear if people understood that the particular hairless apes who at any time have their sweaty palms on the state’s levers of power are just that: hairless apes who differ in no essential ways from the most obscure and powerless persons imaginable (save, perhaps, in their inordinate lust for power). But I’m quite confident that a substantial portion of state-caused problems and havoc would disappear were this understanding more widespread.
Even in the most secular and liberal societies, the state is worshipped by far too many people as if it is something higher, more magnificent, and more sacred than non-state institutions. And therefore the self-righteous priests who conduct the state’s (mostly ridiculous) ceremonies are generally, if foolishly, regarded as being unrealistically benevolent possessors of the power to work miracles.