Thursday, 20 July 2006

A Higher Order of Despotism

Many used to fear the seemingly ineluctable march of Prussianism, that “despotism of officials”, as Lord Salisbury called it, by which society is stifled under the weight of bureaucratic regulation in service to the state. As it turns out, the state of Prussia itself, along with the Second Reich, did not achieve nearly so great a degree of state-intrusion as some of its after-comers have managed, including our own democracy.
.....Few now fear such intrusion; for most are inured to it, or even demand it, as though it were an essential part of life, without which they would lose their orientation. With the rise of democracy, where “identification of the State with society has been redoubled” [1], the threshold has been raised, and we may now fear something of a higher order, namely, totalitarianism. “We should make it impossible to separate society from state” [2], says Neal Lawson of The Guardian, doing a passable impression of Benito Mussolini of Il Popolo d’Italia. “Through its radical democratisation,” says Mr Lawson, “and the involvement of citizens and public sector workers as co-creators of its services, we can have a popular state”— or, as Karl Kraus put it, “the permission to be everyone’s slave”. [3]
[1] Murray N. Rothbard, “The Anatomy of the State”, Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays (Auburn: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000), p.55.
[2] Neal Lawson, “We need to popularise the role of the state for this ageThe Guardian, 20th July 2006. (Tim Worstall also takes note of Mr Lawson's article.)
[3] Karl Kraus, Half Truths and One-and-a-Half Truths, ed & tr. H. Zohn (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1990), p.112.


Anonymous said...

I always fall back on that humourless, dour old libertarian Hoppe when pondering democratic totalitarianism.

He says, "One-man-one-vote democracy implies that every person and his personal property comes within reach of and is up for grabs by everyone else. A "tradegy of the commons" is created. It can be expected that the majority of "have-nots" (typically dull, lazy, or both)will relentlessly try to enrich themselves at the expense of the minorities of "haves" (characteristically bright and industrious).

For this downward spiral to continue, and as more people see what is going on, the state needs more and more power to enforce its thievery.

niconoclast said...

So welfare is a form of modern slavery. Where's our latter day Wilberforce?