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Friday, June 24, 2005

working around leviathan

Lew Rockwell has a lengthy and interesting column at Mises.org on how private enterprise continues to flourish as best it can by ignoring, or "working around" leviathan.
If I can present the following metaphor of how I imagine the relationship of the productive matrix of human voluntarism to exist alongside the leviathan state. Imagine a vigorous game of football with fast and effective players, cooperating with their teams and competing with the other team. These, we might say, constitute the activities of the market economy: consumers, producers, savers, investors, innovators, workers, and all institutions associated with the voluntary sector of society such as houses of worship, educational institutions, charitable endeavors, families, and artistic and literary associations of every sort. They are the players in this game.

However, right on the 50 yard line sits a huge and overgrown elephant, enormously strong but also swelled up, slow, and completely unsuited to being a player in this game. Everyone knows that this monstrous animal is there, and they wish it were not. But rather than attempt to slay it and drag it away, the game proceeds apace, with runners, kickers, and throwers zipping around it. The elephant is powerful and authoritative, more so than ever, but it can hardly move. It can bat its trunk at players that prove especially annoying but it cannot finally stop the game from taking place. And the longer these players confront this strange obstacle, the better they become at working around it, and growing stronger and faster despite it.

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