The Western model of democratic government is broken. Successive body blows to individual liberty have left our political system with more than just a bloodied nose. Everywhere you look you see the slow creep of unchecked Executive power, new restrictions on freedom of speech and all-powerful central planners and technocrats making decisions with absolutely no democratic mandate.
Long cherished and hard-fought for rights, such as freedom of the press are now under serious threat. Your allegiance to a mainstream political party could exclude you from fostering a child. The most powerful man in the world is able to send unmanned drones into another sovereign territory to perform ritual executions, without so much as a whiff of due process. The expression of an opinion that is contrary to the mainstream groupthink will ensure you receive a swift visit from the state’s bully boys in blue. George Orwell move over. 1984? This is 2012.
The state has assumed so much power in part because it has been able to cushion people from the consequences of their own actions. Concentrated gains for some are paid for by dispersed costs for the many, thus ensuring the minimum of hissing from the goose as it is slowly plucked. Decisions are centralized and tax and regulation is harmonized. The pluralism and competition that was responsible for pre-World War II Europe’s staggering growth and innovation has now been stifled by the increasing erosion of national sovereignty by the EU. The state offers it’s citizens answers to many of life’s problems, hilariously unaware that many of these problems exist because of state intervention in the first place. Intervention upon intervention is called for to fix the side effects of previous interventions.
Cui bono? Do you ultimately believe in the maternal/paternal model of the state that runs society to the benefit of it’s incapable of children? Or do you see the modern state as the machinery of a ruling elite for extracting the maximum amount of wealth out of the productive portion of society?
Philip Bagus illustrates the true nature of the state in “The Tragedy of the Euro” (if you have an e-reader you can download the e-book or PDF from mises.org for free!):
“The state is the monopolist of coercion and the ultimate decision maker in all conflicts in a given territory. It has the power to tax and make all manner of interventions.
The ruling class is exploitative, parasitic, unproductive, and has a strong class consciousness. It needs an ideology to justify its actions and prevent rebellion of the exploited class. The exploited class represents the majority, produces wealth, is indoctrinated into obedience to the ruling class, and has no special class consciousness”
The current ideology of the ruling class is a toxic mix of welfarism, interventionism and mercantilism. They have cleverly narrowed the field of debate so that any opinions and ideas contrary to the service of their own vested interests are frowned upon as taboo, or even punished by imprisonment.
The elitist left display a staggering level of cognitive dissonance when they talk about the danger of monopolistic corporations exploiting consumers whilst simultaneously providing hearty support to such paragons of consumer choice as the BBC and the NHS. The elitist right lavishly applaud the wealth generating (sic) financial industry with blind ignorance to it’s priveleged position to create money out of thin air, backstopped by the white-hot ink jets of an independent (sic!) central bank.
It’s enough to drive a man to drink… No wonder minimum alcohol pricing is on the cards.