Friday, April 10, 2009

State of Fear and Violence

Author and economist Robert Higgs recently spent three hours on C-Span. A few choice comments:

"Nothing works better for a politician than making people afraid."

"Governments have always relied on fear to keep subjects in line."

"Most of what the government has come to do over time doesn't even fit into the category of public goods."

"The US has more than 87,000 separate governments, more than 60,000 with the power to tax."

"Don't just stand there. Undo something."

"We desperately need to reduce the size, scope, and power of government."

"Government is not what it purports to be. It represents itself as everybody's friend or everybody's savior."

"The social safety net [which some people say has been shredded] has never been denser than it is today."

"When you add up all the elements of military spending [not explicitly in the defense budget] can approximately double the DOD total."

"If you think that's it's bad without government...just imagine what happens when you place enormous power in the the hands of government officials."

"Governments have killed 200 millions of their own citizens, not counting those killed in wars."

"Whenever we resort to government, we're resorting to a gun."

"The government's way is the violent way."

"Greed does not cause bubbles. Greed is a social constant. [It] doesn't fluctuate. What does fluctuate is government policies."

"The idea that we are bailing out big institutions by basically stealing from the taxpayers is wrong, and I denounce it."

"I would like to see everything deregulated. Because then everyone would have an incentive to be more careful...Every time the government regulates something, it creates a false sense of security."

"If we got rid of all the risks, the world would be a nightmare."

"I have little faith in the ability [of cost benefit analysis] to divert government from what it's really trying to do, which is help its friends, hurt its enemies, and line somebody's pockets."

"I'm opposed to anyone using government power to feather his nest."

"Government purports to help the little guy...but it is beholden to special interest groups...The way to get rid of that problem is to take power away from government."

"Government is organized is like a loaded gun lying there waiting for someone to pick it up and use it for illicit purposes."

"To my recollection, no corporation forces anyone to buy its product...corporations have only as much power as they wield through government. Corporations didn't run the Holocaust. Corporations weren't running Pol Pot's regime. Corporations weren't running Stalinist Russia...only governments have the means and often, sad to say, the incentive to carry out great crimes."

"It's a big mistake for people to fear corporations as such. They're not dangerous. What's dangerous is the corporation allied with and making use of government force."

"I call it the military-industrial-congressional complex."

"Some people have a lot more income than others for altogether legitimate reasons...the grotesque thing would be if we all had the same income."

"If you exert enough force, you can bring about equality, but you'll also create a hell on earth."

"A lot of the government actions to help poor people are frauds."

"War and prosperity were not linked, not even in World War II."

"Poor people don't run governments...Governments are captured by people who have knowledge, money, or connections."

"Limited government is extremely rare and short-lived."

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