The Power of the State versus the Power of Love

Editor’s Pick. Written by Robert Higgs.

Hardheaded people mock the idea that “love is the answer” to the people’s dire situation. They insist that evil forces and evil men are afoot in the world, men who care nothing for love and seek only vile ends, and that such malevolence can be fended off effectively only by meeting it with adequate force and violence. Thus does the widening “security gap” fuel a race to the bottom in which the ostensible protectors become more and more indistinguishable from the alleged evil men who seek to hurt us. We see, then, that by meeting evil only with the rulers’ upward ratcheting force and violence and their upward ratcheting suppression of our liberties and our means of self-protection, the ultimate goal—a social environment of security and peaceful cooperation—only recedes farther and farther from realization as the state destroys, as it were, one free village after another in order, it claims, to save it.

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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.