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The Truth About Politics


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The Truth About Politics


FEBRUARY 5, 2016 Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

The very first votes of the 2016 presidential election season were cast this week in the Iowa caucuses. This is supposed to fill us with happy thoughts about self-government, civic virtue, rational deliberation, and about politics as the way the people’s will is put into effect.


But to the contrary, we should spurn what the establishment would have us celebrate. Politics operates according to principles that would horrify us if we observed them in our private lives, and that would get us arrested if we tried to live by them. The state can steal and call it taxation, kidnap and call it conscription, kill and call it war.


And yet we are taught to fear capitalism, of all things.


But what, after all, are capitalism and the free market? They are nothing more than the sum total of voluntary exchanges in society.


When we engage in a voluntary exchange — when I buy apples for $5, or when you hire someone for $25 per hour — both sides are better off than they would have been in the absence of the exchange.


Think for a moment just about this last claim: that government employees are our servants. These people staff an institution that decides how much of our income and wealth to expropriate in order to fund itself. They will imprison us if we do not pay. And we are to believe that these people are our servants? Scissors-32x32.png

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Ah, but we need the state, virtually everyone tells us. Whether it’s “monopoly,” or drugs, the bad guys overseas, or the scores of other bogeymen the state uses to justify itself, we’re constantly being reminded of why the state is supposed to be indispensable. To be sure, these and other rationales for the state sound plausible enough, which is why the state and its apologists use them. But the first halting steps toward intellectual liberation come when someone considers the possibility that the truth about these things might be different from what he hears on TV, or learned in school.



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