Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It's a Thieves' World After All (William Grigg)

William Grigg writes on how the only real difference between private criminals and those that make up "government" is....well, nothing really, except that those in power claim "legal authority" to commit their crimes. An excerpt:

In his fascinating book Adventures in Legal Land, Marc Stevens -- who advocates building a society on voluntaryist principles (he insists that no "service" supplied by government should be provided -- make that inflicted -- at the point of a gun) -- takes note of a fascinating fact: The only thing that separates public sector robbers from their private sector competition is the incantatory phrase, "without legal authority."

What, exactly, is "legal authority"? Simply put, it is the permission one group of thieves gives itself to steal from people, or commit other acts of criminal violence, with impunity.

The nature of the act remains the same, of course. It is always a violation of the Law -- call it Nature's Law, if you will, or God's Law -- to take an individual's property through force. But when (to paraphrase Augustine) a dominant band of robbers institutionalizes itself as a "government," it anoints itself with "legal authority" and re-baptizes its crimes as acts of public policy.

Read the rest

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