There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. "I'm this way because my father made me this way. I'm this way because my husband made me this way." Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible.
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.
And yet we have what purports, or professes, or is claimed, to be a contract—the Constitution—made eighty years ago, by men who are now all dead, and who never had any power to bind us, but which (it is claimed) has nevertheless bound three generations of men, consisting of many millions, and which (it is claimed) will be binding upon all the millions that are to come; but which nobody ever signed, sealed, delivered, witnessed, or acknowledged; and which few persons, compared with the whole number that are claimed to be bound by it, have ever read, or even seen, or ever will read, or see.
There can be no greater stretch of arbitrary power than to seize children from their parents, teach them whatever the authorities decree they shall be taught, and expropriate from the parents the funds to pay for the procedure.
To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and, as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason. He must be able to detect no inconsistencies in slavery. The man that takes his earnings, must be able to convince him that he has a perfect right to do so. It must not depend upon mere force; the slave must know no Higher Law than his master's will. The whole relationship must not only demonstrate, to his mind, its necessity, but its absolute rightfulness.
Throughout the history of our civilisation, two traditions, two opposed tendencies, have been in conflict: the Roman tradition and the popular tradition, the imperial tradition and the federalist tradition, the authoritarian tradition and the libertarian tradition.
Trade protection accumulates upon a single point the good which it effects, while the evil inflicted is infused throughout the mass. The one strikes the eye at a first glance, while the other becomes perceptible only to close investigation.
The ruling classes use broken and smashed up childhoods as weaponised instruments of domination around the world. This is why the government has no incentive to end child abuse; because the government needs abuse victims as enforcers.
In regard to the so-called social contract, I have often had occasion to protest that I haven't even seen the contract, much less been asked to consent to it. A valid contract requires voluntary offer, acceptance, and consideration. I've never received an offer from my rulers, so I certainly have not accepted one; and rather than consideration, I have received nothing but contempt from the rulers, who, notwithstanding the absence of any agreement, have indubitably threatened me with grave harm in the event that I fail to comply with their edicts.
No, the state is anything but the result of a contract! No one with even just an ounce of common sense would agree to such a contract. I have a lot of contracts in my files, but nowhere is there one like this. The state is the result of aggressive force and subjugation. It has evolved without contractual foundation, just like a gang of protection racketeers. And concerning the struggle of all against all: that is a myth.
Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success.
It would be an instructive exercise for the skeptical reader to try to frame a definition of taxation which does not also include theft. Like the robber, the State demands money at the equivalent of gunpoint; if the taxpayer refuses to pay, his assets are seized by force, and if he should resist such depredation, he will be arrested or shot if he should continue to resist.
The problems in every country are the same. Bureaucracy is strangling innovation. Overgrown political sectors are sucking away resources that could otherwise lead to growth. Regulations and taxes are punishing innovation. Public sector services are breaking down and no longer serving people's needs. Laws and prevailing legislation control a world that no longer exists. People who go into politics to change the system end up getting co-opted by it. Workers feel trapped and fear a lack out options outside the status quo. In every case, it comes down to the great evil of our time and all times: government itself. There is no place on earth in which more liberty and less or no government would not be welcome and bring about real progress.
In the first place, it would efface from everybody’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a cer- tain degree, but the safest way to make them respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality are in contradiction to each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense, or of losing his respect for the law—two evils of equal magni- tude, between which it would be difficult to choose.
Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys.
The important question is, therefore, not whether anarchy is possible or not, but whether we can so enlarge the scope and influence of libertarian methods that they become the normal way in which human beings organise their society.
The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society's legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.
People and their values are almost infinitely diverse, and people will never agree on many elements of social arrangements that might be subjected to uniform rules of governance. Hence, the greater the scope of strictly individual self-determination, the lesser the scope of governance, and the greater the tolerance with which people live and let live among their fellows, the more peaceful and flourishing society will be
The idea that the State is capable of solving social problems is now viewed with great skepticism - which foretells a coming change. As soon as skepticism is applied to the State, the State falls, since it fails at everything except increasing its power, and so can only survive on propaganda, which relies on unquestioning faith.
You look back in time to when there was slavery and you think 'how did people even remotely believe that this was a good idea?'. It's incomprehensible for us to think of what the mindset was 100 or 200 years ago. I hope to make the present as incomprehensible to the future as the past is to us.
No one wants their stuff stolen. No one wants their physical person harmed. If you understand the implications of those two truths, you can come to see the egregious moral and practical problems of a state-managed society.
The search for liberty is simply part of the greater search for a world where respect for the rule of law and human rights is universal—a world free of dictators, terrorists, warmongers and fanatics, where men and women of all nationalities, races, traditions and creeds can coexist in the culture of freedom, where borders give way to bridges that people cross to reach their goals limited only by free will and respect for one another's rights. It is a search to which I've dedicated my writing, and so many have taken notice. But is it not a search to which we should all devote our very lives? The answer is clear when we see what is at stake
The government never minds having more power, and is always prepared to paper over the problems it creates. An economy not bludgeoned by powerful elites is the ideal we should seek, even if it has a name that is wildly unpopular: capitalism
As regards the social apparatus of repression and coercion, the government, there cannot be any question of freedom. Government is essentially the negation of liberty. It is the recourse to violence or threat of violence in order to make all people obey the orders of the government, whether they like it or not. As far as the government’s jurisdiction extends, there is coercion, not freedom. Government is a necessary institution, the means to make the social system of cooperation work smoothly without being disturbed by violent acts on the part of gangsters whether of domestic or of foreign origin. Government is not, as some people like to say, a necessary evil; it is not an evil, but a means, the only means available to make peaceful human coexistence possible. But it is the opposite of liberty. It is beating, imprisoning, hanging. Whatever a government does it is ultimately supported by the actions of armed constables.
It's illegal to forcefully take money from people unless you're the government. It's illegal to take someone's liberty, unless you're the government. It's illegal to kill someone, unless you're the government. Private organizations can do everything that government can do except for legally break the law.
A free society cherishes nonconformity. It knows that from the non-conformist, from the eccentric, have come many of the great ideas of freedom. A free society fertilizes the soil in which non-conformity and dissent and individualism can grow.