I’ve recently invested in a number of books from the Mises Institute.   In addition to the printed material, I’ve also managed to download their entire audio/video content via torrent.  That took some careful planning to ensure I didn’t go over my monthly cap.

One of the books I am currently reading is “The Discovery of Freedom”, (1943) written by Rose Lane Wilder, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, of the “Little House on the Prairie” fame.

She’s quite the writer.  I’m impressed and I wanted to share an excerpt from her book that resonated pretty strongly with me (emphasis mine):

They revolt against their King, and replace him by another King; they revolt against him, and set up another King.  In time, they revolt against the monarchy; they set up another kind of living Authority.  For generations or centuries, they revolt against that kind of Authority, and set up another kind.

From Nebuchadnezzar to Hitler, history is one long record against certain living rulers, and revolt against kinds of living Authority.

When these revolts succeed, they are called revolutions.  But they are only revolutions only in the sense a wheel’s turning is a revolution.  An Old World revolution is only a movement around a motionless centre; it never breaks out of the circle.   Firm in the centre is belief in Authority.  No more than the Communist or National Socialist (Nazi) today, has any Old World revolutionist questioned that belief; they all take it for granted that some Authority controls individuals.

They replace the priest by the king, the king by an oligarchy, the oligarchs by a despot, the despot by an aristocracy, the aristocrats by a majority, the majority by a tyrant, the tyrant by oligarchs, the oligarchs by aristocrats, the aristocrats by a king, the king by a parliament, the parliament by a dictator, the dictator by a king, the king — there’s six thousand years of it, in every language.

Every imaginable kind og living Authority has been tried, and is still be tried somewhere on earth now.

All these kinds have been tried, too, in every possible combination; the priest and the king, the king who is the priest, the king who is God, the king and a senate, the king and the senate and a majority, the senate and a tyrant, the tyrant and the aristocrats, a king and a parliament — Try to think of a combination; somewhere it has been tried.

I liked this.  At least the subjects would revolt.  Who would do that today?   People are too busy pursuing who is going to be voted off the island, who dances the best, sings the worst, and who is doing Paris Hilton.

The notion of a central Authority is failed and discredited.  It’s time to try something else.  What would that be?

No Authority at all.  There’s a true revolution.  Do we need governing?  Absolutely.   What we don’t need is a centralized monopoly on violence to provide it.  Some say government is needed to protect property.   Once you grant this institution to have the power to tax, then it must have the power to collect those taxes unopposed.   Taxation is property theft.   It’s a moral faceplant right out of the starting gate.

As David was kind enough to point out to me, citing Lysander Spooner:, either the constitution authorizes the government which we now have, or it has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

Or as Bob Lefevre said, “If men are inherently good, we don’t need government.  If men are inherently evil, we dare not form one.”