The beginning of political wisdom is the realization that despite everything you’ve always been taught, the government is not really on your side; indeed, it is out to get you.— Robert Higgs
The most passioned Robert Higgs quotes you will be delighted to read
Income inequality has no necessary connection with poverty, the lack of material resources for a decent life, such as adequate food, shelter, and clothing. A society with great income inequality may have no poor people, and a society with no income inequality may have nothing but poor people.
In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy's mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state's mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.
Of course, political leaders are much more ambitious than gangsters.
The latter are content to take your money, whereas the former, besides taking far more of your money, have the effrontery to violate your just rights whenever their convenience dictates.
If anarchists are idealists, they may simply be likened to someone who finds himself swimming in a cesspool and, rather than paddling about looking for the area with the least amount of floating faeces, seeks to climb out of the pool completely.
But politicians who talk about failed policies are just blowing smoke.
Government policies succeed in doing exactly what they are supposed to do: channeling resources bilked from the general public to politically organized and influential interests groups.
No doubt, anarchy, once established, might not last forever.
But if your house is on fire, the sensible course of action is to put out the fire, even though this extinguishment provides no guarantee that the house will never catch fire again.
This is the true lesson of our history: war, preparation for war, and foreign military interventions have served for the most part not to protect us, as we are constantly told, but rather to sap our economic vitality and undermine our civil and economic liberties.
...History shows that ... (people) can be deflected from their natural tendencies by artful propaganda, bogus crises, or other political trickery.
If I had to use a single word to describe what is fundamentally wrong with government today, I would use the word fraud.
Liberty in the United States will never be reestablished so long as elites and masses alike look to the president to perform supernatural feats and therefore tolerate a virtually unlimited exercise of presidential power. Until we can restore limited, constitutional government in this country, God save us from great presidents.
To continue on the road we Americans have traveled for the past century is ultimately to deliver ourselves completely into the hands of an unlimited government. We can have a free society or a welfare state. We cannot have both.
It would take little more than $50 billion to raise every poor person above the official poverty line, yet the percentage of the population classified as poor hardly budges, while annual welfare spending amounts to four times that much. Where's the money going?
Any society that entails the strengthening of the state apparatus by giving it unchecked control over the economy, and re-unites the polity and the economy, is an historical regression. In it there is no more future for the public, or for the freedoms it supported, than there was under feudalism.
By adopting programs to distribute substantial amounts of income, a nation guarantees that its government will become more powerful and invasive in other ways.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, if not earlier, presidents have misled the public about their motives and their intentions in going to war.
True counselors of despair are those who hope against hope—and historical experience—that the government can and will act constructively.
Government spending either is completely wasteful, merely transfers income, purchases an intermediate rather than a final good, or purchases valuable final services whose value cannot be ascertained because the transaction is not made by private parties exchanging their own resources in a market setting.
Abetted by misguided or co-opted intellectuals, the rulers weave a cloak of legitimacy to disguise their theft and hence to ease their extraction of wealth from the rightful owners.
The state is the most destructive institution human beings have ever devised - a fire that, at best, can be controlled for only a short time before it o'erleaps it's improvised confinements and spreads its flames far and wide.
Inflation is not a benign element in the economy's operation.
It is, as it has always been, the most dangerous and destructive form of taxation.
For members of the political class, the crucial question is always: how can we push out the frontier, how can we augment the government's dominion and plunder, with net gain to ourselves the exploiters who live not by honest production and voluntary exchange, but by fleecing those who do so?
Once a bureau is created, its staff becomes a tenacious political interest group, well placed to defend its budget and to make a case for expanding its activities.
When American presidents prepare for foreign wars, they lie.
Many anti-energy groups display little appreciation of the extent to which modern economies depend pervasively on the use of fossil fuels and petrochemical products.
Nothing has done more to render modern economic theory a sterile and irrelevant exercise in autoeroticism than its practitioners’ obsession with mathematical, general-equilibrium models.
Transfer payments discourage the recipients from earning income in the present and from investing in their potential to earn income in the future. People respond to a reduced cost of idleness by choosing to be idle more often.
Ironically, in the full-fledged transfer society, where governments busy themselves redistributing income by means of hundreds of distinct programs, hardly anyone is better off as a result.
In the transfer society, the general public is not only poorer but also less contented, less autonomous, more rancorous, and more politicized. Individuals take part less often in voluntary community activities and more often in belligerent political contests. Genuine communities cannot breathe in the poisonous atmosphere of redistributional politics.
Recipients of transfers tend to become less self-reliant and more dependent on government payments. When people can get support without exercising their own abilities to discover and respond to opportunities for earning income, those abilities atrophy. People forget - or never learn in the first place - how to help themselves, and eventually some of them simply accept their helplessness.
Who can dispute that the governments of the United States constitute the most voracious tax system in the history of mankind? In the year 2000, those governments succeeded in laying hands on more than $3 trillion - almost $11,000 each for the 275 million men, women, and children resident in the country. No other nation-state rakes in an amount even close to the U.S. total.
In U.S. history, war has served as an important diversionary tactic, causing the people at large to shift their attention away from the state's own criminality and toward real or fictitious devils abroad. Wars have therefore proved to be extremely useful in propping up the political class and preserving it from the public resistance and rebellion that might otherwise have arisen.
Without popular fear, no government would endure more than twenty-four hours.
It is a sound interpretive rule...that anything that cannot be accomplished except with the aid of threats or the actual exercise of violence against unoffending persons cannot be beneficial to one and all.
Intervene globally, lose freedom locally.
The legacy of the New Del was, more than anything else, a matter of ideological change. Henceforth, nearly everyone would look to the federal government for solutions to problems great and small, real and imagined, personal as well as social.
All nonstate threats to life, liberty, and property appear to be relatively petty and therefore can be dealt with. Only states can pose truly massive threats, and sooner or later the horrors with which they menace mankind invariably come to pass.
Recipients of transfers set a bad example for others, including their children, other relatives, and friends, who see that one can receive goods, services, or money from the government without earning them. The onlookers easily adopt an attitude that they, too, are entitled to such transfers. They have fewer examples of hardworking, self-reliant people in their families or neighborhoods.