Thursday, July 10, 2008


Every law, tax, rule, or regulation of the state is ultimately enforced at the point of a gun. This reality is often ignored by progressives and communitarians, who believe in the positive goodness of coercive state action.

Markets, on the other hand, rely on voluntary behavior. In a market, we don't call coercion a good thing. We call it theft, and we use the state to punish thieves.

Therein lies the difference between the two groups. The first believes it should use the power of the state to improve people's lives, even if it has to act against people's preferences. The second believes it should only use the power of the state to punish those who use force or fraud to get what they want.

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