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The A Word

Dr. Boudreaux,

You quoting Robert Higgs today makes you seem like an anarchist.

So begins an e-mail that I’ve just opened from Tim Richards, who was inspired to write by this post.  (BTW, I dislike being called “Dr.”  The reason is that in modern American English the word “doctor” is overwhelmingly a synonym for “physician” – and I’m no physician.  To my ears – and this is just a personal, long-held crotchet of mine now fueling my expression – for someone with a mere PhD to call himself or herself “doctor” is way too pretentious.  Anyway….)

Government is necessary. Sometimes its ruthless. However because no society can exist without government it itself can’t be blamed for the evils that some of its manifestations commit. I welcome your reaction.    –Tim

Other matters occupy me now, so I’ve too little time to offer a response as complete as I’d like.  So I’ll be very brief.

While I agree that no society can survive without law, I do not believe that society necessarily requires a state (or the rule of “archons”).  I elaborate a bit more fully here, where – in line with my quotation earlier today from Bob Higgs – I opine that “No institution with the state’s track record deserves a presumption of legitimacy.”  (Were I to write this essay today, I would change this line to read “No institution with the state’s track record deserves an irrebutable presumption of legitimacy.”)


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