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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 197 of Michael Huemer’s impressive 2013 book, The Problem of Political Authority [2] (emphases original):

A related form of utopianism consists of suspending general assumptions about human nature when considering agents of the state.  Defenders of government are often keen to point out the harms that might result from the widespread greed and selfishness of mankind in the absence of a government able to restrain our worst excesses.  Yet they seldom pause to consider what might result from the very same greed and selfishness in the presence of government, on the assumption that governments are equally prone to those very failings.  It is not that statists have some account of why government employees are more virtuous than average people.  Nor do they have some plan for making that be the case.  Rather, it seems simply to have never occurred to most statists to apply realistic assumptions about human nature to the government itself.  The state is treated as if it stood above the empirical human world, transcending not only the moral constraints but also the psychological forces that apply to individual human beings.

In short, the typical statist case for government intervention depends upon the occurrence of miracles [3].  It’s very unscientific and not at all reality-based.  It’s utopian in the worst way.

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