Political Problems Have Only One Real Solution

Written by Robert Higgs for Independent.org.

Eldridge Cleaver famously declared, “You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.” Although I did not agree with this sentiment in its original context, it has more definite applicability in regard to what one might think of as “solving political problems.”

Notice, first, that politics consists in the struggle to control the power that allows one party (whether an individual or a group) to impose its preferences on other parties who object to this imposition. Some political struggles involve attempts to make new impositions; others involve attempts to throw off existing, unwanted impositions. Because in our time the state is usually the organization that possesses the greatest coercive power, politics often boils down to a contest over who will control the state and how state authorities will wield their power. Politics, in short, ultimately has to do with the question: who will be master?
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Robert Higgs

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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