27 November 2005

An open letter to the apathetic

Many people do not so much disagree with the anarcho-capitalist analysis of the defects and injustices of the state, so much as care to little about it, contented as they are with their own lives. In a reply to one such person I wrote, roughly, the following and thought it was worth publishing here.

One of the problems with the 'I'm alright jack' attitude is that it may well be true now for some individuals, but as the financial services waivers warn; past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns. In less vague terms the trend for those past sixty years has been an ever increasing tax burden with the requisite bureaucracy and increasing intrusion into our lives. In the case of the UK, the tax burden in 1900 was around 13% of GDP, whilst by 2000 it was over 40% and has seen significant rises since. (I took these statistics from a parliamentary paper as it is always good to use the states own publications against it!).

As the state consumes more and more of a country's wealth that country becomes commensurately poorer. Furthermore I would suggest that there is a tipping point a little way over the 50% taxation mark where the private sector begins to collapse under the pressure. This is not merely a failure of whichever political party happens to be in control (although they certainly play their part), it is an inherent structural failure of any statist institution. This view is clearly born out by every conceivable statistic tracing our personal and economic liberty over the past hundred years.

I hope those of you apathetic about politics (in its wider sense) find that disturbing and at least worthy of some consideration and this is the least of it, but I have said plenty elsewhere about the lack of justification for the state or how the majority of people would be personally better off without it. Whether you are an anarcho-capitalist or not I find it naive to believe that the welfare-warfare state can just carry on its merry way, it is a dangerous if popular way to think.

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