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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 408 of Albert Venn Dicey’s great 1905 volume, Lectures on the Relation Between Law & Public Opinion in England During the Nineteenth Century:

The demand for peace abroad and economy at home stood in very close connection with the passion for individual freedom of action which was a leading characteristic of Benthamite liberalism.  Peace ought to mean light, and war certainly does mean heavy taxation….

Modern American conservatives who support vigorous U.S. military and diplomatic interventions abroad while calling for lower taxes and fewer economic interventions at home are unrealistic.  One can, it is true, imagine a government that spends so few resources intervening into the economy at home that the sizable amounts of resources that it consumes with its interventions into societies abroad result in a tax burden lower than that which Americans today bear.  But such an image is akin to a flying horse: given human nature and the nature of politics, it’s unrealistic.  Just as no horse will spring wings that enable it to fly, no government with the authority and power to commandeer whatever resources it claims to require to successfully meddle abroad will spring restraints that prevent that same government from meddling in domestic economic matters.  Power simply cannot be so neatly confined.


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