It is a common pop-libertarian argument, but given our recent republication of selections from “Uncle Sam, the Monopoly Man,” it bears repeating: the state does not actually exist. What we cavalierly call “the government” is an abstraction–an organizational, ideological schematic our minds impose on the world. In fact, in all that “the state” does, from legislating to dog-catching, no collective entity ever actually *acts*.
As always, only individuals act. “The government” is simply a subset of individuals pursuing their own self-interests under the mantle of their office, which functions as an ideological tool for monopolization. The clever and unscrupulous few exploit the political faith of the many to aggrandize personal wealth and power.
Historically, liberty and prosperity have flourished the most when individuals reclaimed their rights from monopolists. Wooldridge’s discussions of private post, money, and roads are three of many such examples in the modern era; and modernity is perhaps best-defined by the triumph of anti-monopolistic variety and a relative superabundance of choices in everyday life.
“The government” only exists so long as our minds call it into existence, and without our support the whole edifice falls to pieces. Left standing in the ideological rubble of statism will be the liars, cheats, thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse with whom we have kept the faith so long.
By: Anthony Comegna
Assistant Editor for Intellectual History