Why the Precautionary Principle Counsels Us to Renounce Statism

Editor’s Pick. Written by Robert Higgs.

Propose that the state be replaced by genuine self-government and immediately people come forth with a litany of objections—anarchy is a pipe dream; it is untried; it would never work; is fails to solve problem R and problem S; and so forth. So the objectors, however much they may concede that the state conducts itself atrociously, always conclude that they prefer it to any proposed alternative.

What none of the objectors ever recognizes, in my experience, is that retention of the state is practically a guarantee of humanity’s ultimate destruction. Why?

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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.