Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Coronavirus must not rob us of our liberties forever

From the magazine
Coronavirus must not rob us of our liberties forever

The American economist and historian Robert Higgs noted long ago that during the 20th century the various wars, and the various declared equivalents of war, such as against drugs and viruses, regularly led to permanent expansions of state power. Power is the ability to coerce physically, war being the pre-eminent coercion. There has to be some reason that citizens of the UK and US are coerced to pay about 40 per cent of GDP for the wars and other activities of the state, whereas a century ago they paid about 10 per cent. Further, the state’s recently expanding regulation of many private activities — literally a million regulations promulgated by the US federal government, for example — calls on citizens to pay indirectly, too.

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey

Coronavirus must not rob us of our liberties forever

From the magazine
Coronavirus must not rob us of our liberties forever

The American economist and historian Robert Higgs noted long ago that during the 20th century the various wars, and the various declared equivalents of war, such as against drugs and viruses, regularly led to permanent expansions of state power. Power is the ability to coerce physically, war being the pre-eminent coercion. There has to be some reason that citizens of the UK and US are coerced to pay about 40 per cent of GDP for the wars and other activities of the state, whereas a century ago they paid about 10 per cent. Further, the state’s recently expanding regulation of many private activities — literally a million regulations promulgated by the US federal government, for example — calls on citizens to pay indirectly, too.

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