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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

If you’re The State you need to be Right. You need to be seen to be in a good light. You are going to tax and regulate your citizens and so these good subjects need to know the reason for being thus oppressed. If The State, be it under a King, a Prince, a President or a Prime Minister of a Democracy, it needs to be seen to be on the side of righteousness, of looking after its subjects, of being The Good Guys. And so it needs some Bad Guys.

Some times the Bad Guy appears gratuitously, like a Hitler, and is a gift to The State and its rulers. It is very easy to cast a Hitler as a Bad Guy, and he was. Mussolini, Hirohito, Stalin were all easy to paint as bad guys. Of course for a while Stalin was a Good Guy — he was on our side against the Very Bad Guy, Adolf Hitler, even though he had killed and enslaved millions of his own people: “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

When Saddam Hussein got painted as a Bad Guy (and he was), America and Britain and Australia needed a Bad Guy and a War. America was itching for a war after 9/11 and even though the US had previously armed and funded Mr Hussein to fight Iran, who were then seen as the Bad Guys.

I remember on the day it was announced by Prime Minister John Howard that Australia too would invade Iraq, because this Bad Guy, Mr Hussein, had these horrible and threatening Weapons Of Mass Destruction — we were in danger of being annihilated, weren’t we? I spoke with a friend from a Think Tank who stated that “It was a just war”.

Now I am not sure what constitutes a “just war”. If someone invades my house and I hit him with cricket bat, this could be termed a just war. Or if a fleet of ships or aircraft attack, then defence would be “just”. But was Vietnam a just war? Is interfering in other peoples’ business, other countries’ business, reason for going to war with that country, or some of the people of that country? Is the invasion of Iraq in a vain search for Weapons of Mass Destruction a just war? Saddam Hussein was a Bad Guy for sure and our Aussie State made sure they painted him in that light.

If The State needs some Bad Guys they will soon find some good reason for a “just war”, and nothing galvanises a populace more that an apparent threat from some newly-found Bad Guys.

Terrorism portrays some alien religious anti-west zealots as the New Bad Guys and so taxation and repression is ramped up to combat this alien force.

Also the “War Against Drugs” (not sure how you fight a war against a substance, and a substance that many find agreeable and pleasurable and acquire it voluntarily). This “War” paints the “Drug Lords” as the Bad Guys. And then The State extends their war to include money laundering, and thus they empower themselves to invade people’s privacy and confiscate their property if they are suspected of doing something The State disapproves of. Just as foreign wars require taxes and regulations, so too do domestic wars give The State the reasons it needs to tax and repress.

Bad Guys can be the Overpaid CEOs if it is a popular theme, and so these executives get some extra taxation and repression. It is funny how highly paid entertainers and sports stars never seem to get branded as Bad Guys — they are too popular with the masses I suppose.

With Europe and the United States becoming economically moribund it would not surprise me if a New Enemy is discovered, some New Bad Guys, that will take the attention of the Subjects off their economic problems and focus on a more imminent and dangerous one, the New Bad Guys over the horizon. The King will need a new distraction for his people to take attention away from his own failings. And what better distraction than a war?

Fortunately the West is cash-strapped so such a war, such a crusade, “just” though it may be, may be too unpopular with the subjects. Let’s hope so, and The King fights his War on Poverty or some other war rather than kills and maims and represses another alien Bad Guy. Even the crusade “to make the world safe for democracy” may not be sufficiently popular.

(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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