Quote of the Day*

It sounds almost like deadpan black humor to state that “except for raising the means,” government need not rely on coercion to render services. Surely, once it has raised the means, it has applied all the coercion it can possibly need; if we treat such coercion as an exception, what is left of the rule? – and what could a liberal ever object to?

Anthony de Jasay criticising Hayek, Against Politics, p. 50.  

I love the mild vitriol, but don’t quite agree. Governments has proved very willing to engage in much coercive behaviour in addition to raising the means. I would be ecstatic if the New Zealand government kept current levels of taxation and spending but did not engage in any other sort of coercion. A removal of drug prohibition and paternalistic regulation would hugely improve freedom and welfare. If we ignore coercive taxation, there’s plenty left for a liberal to object to.  

*Yes, I know I don’t post these daily.