Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kristof's Theory of the State

A recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org:









Kristof's Theory of the State

Jim Fedako



Buried deep in this article is Nicholas D. Kristof implicit theory on how the state came into being. According to Kristof, "Until the mid-19th century, firefighting was left mostly to a mishmash of volunteer crews and private fire insurance companies. In New York City, according to accounts in The New York Times in the 1850s and 1860s, firefighting often descended into chaos, with drunkenness and looting."

So we replaced firefighters who loot at the scene with those who loot at the ballot box. And this is an improvement? Hmmm.

Note: I do not challenge the theory that the state came into being when the various looting mobs (or the other forms of muscle) morphed into a looting bureacracy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

...Kristoff's argument is that government has evolved into a useful and benevolent solution to community problems--using the comparison of early firefighters. But, staying true to the wild eyed optimism that liberals hold for all government intervention he doesn't see that it's not the organization that has evolved--just the methods of the theft.

Anonymous said...

...Kristoff is one of the most dishonest journalists working today. No wonder he's at the NY Times.

Anonymous said...

So going to the ballot box and voting as a group is theft? That is the most dishonest element of Libertarianism. You want the benefits of Society without the cost. Talk about the ultimate entitlement. You want the rest of us to carry the burden of a civilized society and have the benefit of picking and choosing which elements you support.

Unfortunately that is not possible. As a group we decide what we want and as a group we bear the cost and the ultimate benefit of living in a civilized Society.

Luckily your philosophical view is a very small minority in our Society thus we are spared the destructiveness of your philosophy.

Jim Fedako said...

1:19 --

Is it theft? Sure it is.

Keep in mind that you use the ballot box to do that which you are too prideful to do otherwise: beg from your neighbor.

You want your neighbor to pay for (say) your child's sport. You can either knock on his door with your hat out (the honest way) or you can claim that sports are beneficial to the community, cobble together a majority, walk into the polling station, cast your vote, and proudly display your "I Voted" button.

It's ironic that none of what you call essential for your collective good was considered a role of government when our Patriots walked this land.

Instead of Jefferson, you look to Bismarck.

When we finally attain your socialist utopia, pray that you are in the party. Otherwise, your life in the collective is going to be nothing more than toil and death.

Anonymous said...

My goodness...what a smackdown. Anon was Fedakerated.

Anonymous said...

Theft is when something is taken without your permission. Simply by choosing to live in the Society you have agreed to live by the rules of the Society.

In this case the Society has followed its rules to decide the cost for an individual to live and benefit from the Society.

It is not, therefore, theft but the cost of membership to the Society.

Don't like it, gain enough power to change the rules of the Society, something you movement is far removed from achieving or leave the Society for one that better suits your interests.

Jim Fedako said...

10:52 --

I'm going out on a limb here ...

You are someone who gains at the expense of the labor of others, i.e. you are a government employee, etc.

So your definition of society is any social structure, utilizing the coercive power of the state, that allows you to reap that which you do not sow.

Theft, anyone?

Anonymous said...

You really need to watch what limbs you climb out on. I'm a business owner and yes I gain at the expense of the labor of my employees. I provided capital and my own labor. They provide their labor and I reimburse them at a mutually agreeable rate. I benefit by the surplus of value created by their labor.

I also participate fully in my Society and I reap the benefits of that Society. The cost is I pay taxes on the surplus of value created by my employees. (profit)