| The great political lie is that individuals need the state. It is a lie on at least two levels.

The first layer of the great lie: It states the opposite of what is true; the state needs individuals. And the state is desperate for you to believe it is indispensable to your life. If it were not there to “take care of you,” the state wants you to believe that your children would be uneducated, the roads would remain unpaved, health care would disappear, foreign tanks would roll past your doorstep and crime would run amok in the streets. Nonsense.

The state produces nothing; it only takes and consumes what productive individuals create. The few state ‘services’ that mimic free-market ones are so notoriously inefficient and incompetent that they are often worse than nothing at all; public schools are an example. Moreover, the purpose of the ‘services’ is not to benefit society but to skim tax dollars from it and to exert social control over it. If the state wanted society to function at its potential, then it would step out of the way of private competitors rather than hobble or ban them. Instead, it obstructs private services precisely because they perform far better and less expensively.

The second layer of the great lie is its foundation. Namely, there is no “state” as opposed to individuals. Both the state and society consist of nothing more than their individual members and the sum total of their interactions. In other words, the state consists of individuals who organize together according to a set of rules; the individuals cooperate together in order to perform specific acts, from passing legislation to delivering tax bills. But every act of the state devolves to one individual dealing with another individual. In his magnum opus, Human Action, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises described this dynamic. “First we must realize that all actions are performed by individuals… If we scrutinize the meaning of the various actions performed by individuals we must necessarily learn everything about the actions of the collective whole. For a social collective has no existence and reality outside of the individual members’ actions.” The state exists only through its individual members. Read Entire Article

By Wendy McElroy