The Public Face of the Rulers

They get up every morning and take a warm shower. They dress in clean business suits and ties. They speak — most of the time — in calm, measured, seemingly reasonable tones. They appear to be normal, respectable people. They are our rulers: presidents, senators, congress members, leaders of the government bureaucracies. No one ever sees them directly engaged in armed robbery, torture, or butchery.

But that’s only the public face of the rulers. Though their bodies may be clean, their hearts are as dirty, as foul, as evil as hearts can be. Though their clothes may be clean and respectable, the actions they order and oversee are as vile as actions can be: they send their minions across the earth to plunder, torture, destroy, and murder — and not only outside the country’s boundaries, but within them as well. Though they seem like normal people, they are actually sociopaths and psychopaths far outside the normal bounds. If your daughter or son married one of them, you would be entitled to consider your parenting an abject failure. If you were a Christian and dwelt on what these people direct and oversee, you would never be able to sleep peacefully again, lying awake wondering what impelled St. Paul to write Romans 13.

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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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