Archived from the live broadcast, this lecture was presented by Bob Higgs at the 2013 Mises University, hosted by the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 27 July 2013. Includes a Question and Answer period.


Defending the continued existence of the state, despite having absolute certainty of a corresponding continuation of its intrinsic engagement in extortion, robbery, willful destruction of wealth, assault, kidnapping, murder, and countless other crimes, requires that one imagine nonstate chaos, disorder, and death on a scale that nonstate actors seem incapable of causing.

If a population acts to serve its common interests, it will never choose the state. In reaching this conclusion, we need not deny the countless problems that will plague people living in a society without a state. Any anarchical society being peopled in normal proportions by vile and corruptable individuals will have crimes and miseries aplenty. But a everything that makes life without a state undesirable makes life with a state even more undesirable. The idea that the antisocial tendancies that afflict people in every society can be cured or even ameriolated by giving a few persons great discressionary power over all the others is upon serious refleciton seen to be a wildly mistaken notion.

Perhaps it is needless to add that the structural checks and balances on which Madison relied to restrain the gvernment’s abuses have proven to be increasingly unavailing, and bearing in mind the expansive claims and actions under the present US regime, these checks and balances are almost wholly superceded by a form of executive ceasarsim in which the branches of government that were supposed to check and balance each other have instead coaleced into a mutually supporting design to plunder the people and reduce them to absolute domination by the state.