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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 58 of the 1969 Arlington House edition of Ludwig von Mises’s 1944 Yale University Press book, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War (available free-of-charge on-line here):

Governments have always looked askance at private property. Governments are never liberal from inclination. It is in the nature of the men handling the apparatus of compulsion and coercion to overrate its power to work, and to strive at subduing all spheres of human life to its immediate influence. Etatism is the occupational disease of rulers, warriors, and civil servants. Governments become liberal only when forced to by the citizens.

DBx: Power, unquestionably, is highly addictive. Few who possess it can resist its allures. And individuals thirsting for ever-more power are aided in their quest by the one theological belief that seems to be most widespread among human beings – namely, the faith that so many people have in the miraculous abilities of individuals holding power.

The most rational and proud skeptic of orthodox religious dogmas too often becomes a brainless and devout devotee of state power. Likewise, many believers in the Judeo-Christian God, or in Allah, or in any other supernatural being, also believe that their god has here on earth an agent or a counterpart that is nearly as knowing, as loving, and as capable as is their God above of performing impossible feats here below.

Then the state-god did saith “Let wages be higher and prices be lower!” and the incomes of the poor thus did rise as the cost to them of their provisions thus did fall. The state-god then commandeth “Let there be more economic equality!” and greater equality did thus spread across the land. The state-god looked with satisfaction upon His creation and on His people, whom He doth love unconditionally as long as they do please Him. And the state-god promised always to protect His creation and His people – reminding His people that all that is good comes only from His beneficence and power, and in return for His continuing love and protection and wise intervention, this all-loving state-god demands only that His people obey to the letter His wise commandments and never, ever question His demands for more subservience and obedience and sacrifices.