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by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist

“Stockholm Syndrome” refers to an event in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973, when some bank robbers took captive a group of hostages and held them for six days while the robbers negotiated with the police. What happened was that the hostages developed an attachment to their captors, despite the fact they were held prisoner by them and their captors were criminals. The name Stockholm Syndrome was given to this paradoxical psychological phenomenon by criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot who investigated the crime.

Could the same phenomenon explain the strange attachment people have for their politicians?

Politicians are often held in rather low regard by the citizens of a country. They rank down there with car salesmen when surveyed on trust and respect. And yet there is also a strange attachment the electorate holds for these politicians, these guards and jailors who take the citizens’ money (in the form of taxes), spend it foolishly and wastefully, impose liberty-restricting regulations on their “captors” and they behave like lords and masters of the people who elect and pay for them.

What is this about?

Why do the citizens identify with and protect those “guards and keepers” who hold them hostage with promises and threats? If one has been born in a kind of prison, and then been told that it is one of the best prisons around, that it is a bit better than this other prison across the water, much better than some prisons, especially those Communist prisons we hear of. And there are even people lining up to get into our prison and out of a much worse prison. Our prison has a nice flag, a national song and a pretty good football team. In our prison we get to elect our own guards, which we pay for, of course, but they do let us keep a fair bit of our own money.

In our prison we can say what we like about our guards, and the inmates can’t do that in some of the other prisons we hear about on the other side of the world.

Our prison has a proud history of reforms and we are better off than we were a few years ago.

Yeah, sure, some of our guards are useless and worse. Some are a bit corrupt, and we resent the big bills they run up on overseas trips where they go to look at other prisons. But let’s face it, they are our guards, we chose them and elected them, and we pay them, so technically they work for us. And we are free to leave this prison anytime we like and go and find another prison. But the weather is nice in this prison, our families are here, we grew up here, we went to school here.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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