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The Restless Desire of Power for Power

The Restless Desire of Power for Power

Today, the regulatory operations of central governments impinge upon virtually all areas of life, leading to widespread efforts by interest groups to have their vision of the good life implemented through law and regulatory oversight. Much of the resulting fiscal, educational, and social intervention is largely invisible to the electorate. Nevertheless, what Thomas Hobbes called “the restless desire of power for power” has set into motion an insatiable empire of debt and dependency, redistribution and retribution, while it divides and rules.[1] 

In a series of major studies, the Austrian political scientist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who lived and taught in America for a decade after the 1937 Anschluss, was careful to distinguish between two concepts which have gotten confused in the public mind: liberalism and democracy. 

While democracy answers the question as to who should rule, liberalism deals with the problem of how government should be exercised. The answer liberalism gives is that regardless of who rules, government must be exercised in such a way that each individual, each citizen enjoys the widest personal liberty compatible with the common good.[2] 

As the American constitutional republic took shape, the early system of civil liberty and self-government was modified by democratic expectations as the country moved westward. Yet, as Kuehnelt-Leddihn put it, “the marriage between liberalism and democracy . . . came late in history and had the seeds of divorce in it.” In the shadow of the French Revolution, an early American observer, Alexis de Tocqueville, anticipated “a type of tyranny the world had never seen before and for which it was partly conditioned by modern administrative methods and technological inventions.”[3]

His friend Francis Lieber agreed. The two intellectual entrepreneurs met in 1831 and carried on a long correspondence afterward. Decades later, Lieber described three gusts of passion – flattery of the people, the disregard of politicians, and the politicization of every issue – which made politics both more divisive and less responsive to the electorate. Then, with the France of Napoleon III in mind, Lieber presciently warned: “The advance of knowledge and intelligence gives to despotism a brilliancy, and the necessity of peace for exchange and industry give it a facility to establish itself which it never possessed before.”[4] The great challenge ever since has been, as John W. Burgess put it, “the reconciliation of government with liberty.”

In the name of good government, the seeds of a new administrative state were planted following the American Civil War. Even before the war, legal innovations, including the codification of law, incentivized a release of economic energy into new industries. The rise of business corporations socialized the risks of investment through limited liability. A new civil service system was offered as a retort to political party machines, which grew in like measure. The rise of professional associations conferred privileges, regulatory control, and political influence. The Progressive movement sought to bypass or weaken state legislatures by creating a national constituency for regulatory oversight. The War to make the world safe for democracy reintroduced conscription and curtailed political dissent. Prohibition led to domestic surveillance and the federalization of law enforcement. The Eugenics movement inspired various educational and health initiatives which have left virtually no aspect of human life off the table. The emergence of a more narrowly educated political and intellectual class – in place of the old Protestant Establishment – has disrupted the circulation of elites and reflected a hardening of class lines. The political class expects deference but is largely heedless or ignorant of the biblical and republican traditions that once knitted the culture together.

As Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed: “Modern parliaments can be more peremptory in all their demands because they operate with the magic democratic formula: ‘We are the people, and the people – that’s us.” In the same vein, he characterized identitarianism or identity politics as a major contributing factor to a collective “divide and rule” approach to politics, describing it as a drive toward group conformity which “has fear as its driving motor in the form of an inferiority complex engendering hatred and envy as its blood brother.”[5] Mutual dependence between urban America and “flyover country” has bred mutual disdain.[6] An arrogant dismissal of the abilities of others often leads to political and military miscalculations, a mistake Thomas Hobbes pointed out long ago in his classic treatise, Leviathan.. As Thaddeus Williams notes: “The more under the power of Tribes thinking we become, the less we will care whether we violate the laws of logic with ad hominem fallacies.”[7]

The economic lockdown during the first two years and more of the spread of Covid-19, like the earlier creation of a Department of Homeland Security and the militarization of police forces, demonstrates the nearly open-ended extent to which many people are willing to accept severe restraints on their liberties. The common pattern of exemptions from the lockdowns was also revealing. Scores of major cities were subjected to mass protests and even mob action by well-coordinated and well-financed radical political organizations. How are we to understand this once unimaginable level of delinquency? 

Where politics and economics meet 

Let us for a moment think back to a contemporary of Tocqueville and Lieber, Frederic Bastiat, and his work on economic sophisms. Interest in Bastiat’s work was renewed nearly a century after his death when Henry Hazlitt published Economics in One Lesson. The lesson was simply this: "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."[8]

Hazlitt asked, for example: Does deficit spending stimulate the economy? During the New Deal era, deficit spending by the government was likened to “priming the pump” with water to get it moving again, assuming people could spend their way right back to prosperity if the government were to assume much of the risk and expense by taxing and borrowing. Is this so different from the notion Bastiat noticed nearly a century earlier by observing how some people assumed that damage caused by a storm could benefit a community?

To understand where such a notion leads, Bastiat suggested that we look at the matter on a small scale. When a homeowner or storekeeper has a broken window replaced, the purchase of a new window may appear to be a boon to the local economy. In his essay “That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen,” Bastiat noted that what we see is the benefit to the glass manufacturer and the window installer. What we miss seeing is what economists call the opportunity cost – the other transactions that might otherwise have been made. The loss of a window may mean that the homeowner or storekeeper must forego some other purchase which might have benefited the clothier or a furniture maker instead.[9]

Let us now remove the blinders that narrow our field of vision and, once again, enlarge the scope of our thinking. Returning to Lieber’s analysis of an early experiment with totalitarianism in France, what needs to be asked here is: How did this advance of knowledge which supported the rise of despotism occur in the first place?

“Why Europe?” asks James Nickel in Mathematics: Is God Silent? He answers by quoting the physicist and philosopher of science, Stanley Jaki: “the history of science with its several stillbirths and only one viable birth, clearly shows that the only cosmology, or view of the cosmos as a whole, that was capable of generating science was a view of which the principal disseminator was the Gospel itself.”[10]

David Landes asks the same question in The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: “Why Europe? Why Then?” Landes focused on two factors: buildup, the accumulation of knowledge and knowhow; and breakthrough—reaching and passing thresholds.” He then emphasizes three considerations:

(1) the growing autonomy of intellectual inquiry;

(2) the development of unity in disunity in the form of a common, implicitly adversarial method, that is, the creation of a language of proof recognized, used, and understood across national and cultural boundaries; and

(3) the invention of invention, that is, the routinization of research and its diffusion.”[11]

These considerations are the fruits of the Christian cosmology cited by Father Jaki. They help account for the accumulated mass of intellectual and material capital that produced what Ralph Raico called “The European Miracle.” The question to ask today is how we are squandering that capital. In 1945, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn suggested that a nominally Christian civilization is heedlessly “living from the whiff of an empty bottle.”[12] Have we been casting our seed on rocky ground? Are we eating our seed corn rather than planting it? Or, as the theologian Cornelius Van Til put it, living on “borrowed capital” without replenishing it? Do we thoughtlessly risk draining the wellsprings of our civilization’s creativity? If so, how can we prevent this?

Questions such as these make the study of economics, politics, ethics, law, and history so vital for getting our bearings. Let us turn to field of political economy for a few concepts that may help clarify the impact of what James Burnham called the “managerial revolution” which has restructured our customary habits as well as our expectations. It may require lead, first of all, an understanding of the oversized role of government regulation; secondly, an appreciation of the values, priorities, and interests that are at stake; and finally, insight into the ways the political agendas, ideologies, and special pleading of various interest groups shape public policy and reshape our common life together. Are we “purchasing submission,” as Philip Hamburger puts it?[13] 

The gravitational pull of privilege 

Jonathan R. T. Hughes begins with what Sidney Milkis has called the Third New Deal which resulted from restructuring the administrative apparatus in 1939. 

In Executive Order 8248 Roosevelt set this country on a completely uncharted course. Other presidents were happy enough to follow his charismatic lead, and from 1939 to the present, great and infamous events alike have stemmed from this power, including fundamental contributions to our burgeoning apparatus of nonmarket control over economic life.[14] 

A concept that is especially relevant here is rent-seeking, which is discussed by Michael Munger: “In politics you try to move money around and take credit for it. In markets you try to create value and make profits." [15] Adam Smith identified three forms or sources of income: profits, wages, and rents. What is called rent-seeking involves the extraction of something of value from others without compensation and without enhancing productivity. Rent-seeking often involves the acquisition of special monopoly privileges through legislation or regulation by a government agency. A privilege, the Roman term for a private law, is a kind of property which exists at the pleasure of the state. Such a monopoly may allow its holder, for example, to charge high fees or else restrict entry into a market in order to reduce competition.

An example of rent-seeking would be the high fee for purchasing a taxicab medallion and the resulting restraint of trade. Walter Williams, who was once a taxi driver himself, has written on this phenomenon for decades. 

Perhaps the most egregious form of licensure involves New York City taxicabs. The municipal government requires a medallion for each operating cab. The code also provides for regulation of taxi fares and other conditions of operation. The medallion system stemmed from the Haas Act of 1937. Under the act, the city sold medallions for $10 to all persons then operating taxis.[16] 

Since that time, no new medallions have been issued except for 54 awarded for operating wheel-chair accessible vehicles. What has happened in the three-quarters of a century since that date tells the rest of the story. “In 1947, the medallion price rose to $2,500. By 1960, it was $28,000; 1970, $60,000; 1998, $200,000; and in May 2007, a taxi medallion sold for $600,000... In 2007, Medallion Finance Corporation had $520,000,000 outstanding in taxi-medallion loans.” As Williams describes it, the bottom line is simple: “the value of the medallion shows what the buyer is willing to pay for government protection from free-market competition.”[17] If a free market were introduced, the rent would disappear and the market value of the medallions would plunge.

Another illustration of rent-seeking may be found in the Book of Acts, chapter 19, when Paul and his companions were caught up in a riot by a guild of silversmiths who sought to have them thrown out of town for hurting their idol business. But political institutions also provide foundations for cooperative enterprises and the liberty that enables us to pursue our vocations. Ancient Roman collegia and medieval guilds, including roving bands of college students, were predecessors of craft unions like the American Federation of Labor and modern universities.

Unfortunately, the difference between legitimate and illicit extractions – taxes as opposed to mere brigandage – is often not very great. In The City of God, St. Augustine recounted the story of a pirate leader captured by Alexander the Great: “When that king asked the man what he meant by infesting the sea, he boldly replied: ‘What you mean by warring on the whole world. I do my fighting on a tiny ship, and they call me a pirate; you do yours with a large fleet, and they call you ‘Commander.’”[18]

A related concept is that of the free rider. A free rider is the beneficiary of some collective good for which he does not pay the costs. When this sort of benefit takes the form of a privilege it is a variation on what Bastiat called legal plunder. What separated Alexander and the pirate was a difference of scale – “wholesale” rather than “retail” – but not of kind. Alexander may have considered the pirate a poacher, but both had larceny in their hearts.

A black market presents a different case. New York has a large and flourishing illicit and semi-legal gypsy-cab business that operates almost side by side with the licensed cabs. Free markets often reassert themselves when the expense and inconvenience of monopolies creates a demand for alternatives. It is a vast phenomenon which arises in all sectors of the economy. In the area of education, for example, alternatives to state schools run the gamut from charter schools to home schools. The means of financing these options also varies widely. 

Subversive effects of rent-seeking 

 In The Government Habit Redux, Jonathan R. T. Hughes sets forth his major findings in a set of ten general propositions. Together they help us recognize the magnitude and difficulty we face if we wish to bring public spending back down to more manageable levels. The first proposition is the key to understanding the rest: 

  1. Regulation creates economic rent. This is really a truism. Regulation is interference with normal market outcomes. Someone loses, someone gains. The gains are economic rents – returns in excess of competitive returns. Resources flow to the highest returns and therefore to the rents. The economy adjusts accordingly. It becomes a different economy because of the rents – the regulation.[19] 

What this means is that regulation is, by definition, something that removes a portion of the economy from the free-market sector. The connection of the next proposition with Bastiat’s legal plunder, which is logically connected to the first, should be even more evident: 

  1. The rents made available by regulation encourage free-riding by stretching the rules or ignoring them. If most people are held in check by regulation, it will pay, potentially, for individuals to violate the regulations, getting a free ride at the expense of the rest.[20] 

But Hughes is perhaps being too generous here. New York’s system of awarding taxi medallions might be regarded by an ordinary citizen as “highway robbery.” It results in the growth of an underground economy which keeps a wide variety of transactions off the books. When this black market becomes commonplace, government revenue sources dry up. Unless taxes are raised, then governments are likely to turn to other tools at their disposal, such as borrowing and inflation. The costs of such alternatives are even more difficult to calculate.

The remaining propositions should bring the story of Alexander and the Gordian Knot to mind: 

  1. Rent-seeking is socially wasteful ... 5. It pays special-interest coalitions to manipulate the power of the state to create rent ... 6. Dominant groups will tend to use the state to redistribute wealth to themselves ... 10. It pays those inside the government regulatory establishment to push for expansion of regulation. The more regulation, the greater the career opportunities for experienced hands in the regulatory game.[21] 

Through the marvels of social engineering, we have created something akin to Oliver Wendell Holmes’s “Wonderful One-Hoss Shay,” which “was built in such a logical way, It ran a hundred years to a day” before “it went to pieces all at once.”[22] Like the New England theology, some political schemes may also have a natural expiration date. 

Postscript: raising the stakes 

In Tyrants (2019), Waller R. Newell distinguishes between three types of tyranny and, in the process, provided additional support to the analyses offered by Tocqueville, Lieber, and Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

“The first are garden-variety kleptocracies in which the whole society is run for the benefit of the ruler, who operates like a Mafia don on a national scale.” The second type is the reforming tyrant – for example, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte – who seeks to do good for his people, “to make them powerful and prosperous.”[23] A special category is the modernizing autocrat – for example, the Tudors, Louis XIV, Peter the Great, and Frederick the Great – who centralizes power and enriches the commercial classes at the expense of the aristocracy. Such reforms often improve the lives of the common people and give them opportunity to advance. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted, this may open the door to a revolution of “rising expectations.” Additionally, James Chowning Davies in his J-Curve theory contended that any widespread reversal of fortunes may engender a fear of loss that creates conditions favorable to political violence and revolution.[24]

The third type of tyranny, however, is the most relevant to understanding the endgame of a strategy for subverting and capturing a constitutional system of civil liberty and self-government.[25] 

Finally, there is millenarian tyranny, in my view unique to the modern age, a revolution conducted in the name of “the people” that seeks to destroy all existing traditional privilege and hierarchy in order to create a collectivist utopia. Beginning with Robespierre and the Jacobins, this club of the scariest tyrants includes Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Khomeini and al-Baghdadi. Although frequently cruel and corrupt, their revolutions have cost hundreds of millions of lives to date. In almost every case, their movements are imperialistic, aiming not only to defend the revolution from external attack but, most important, to extend its blessings by force to all mankind. In almost every case as well, they are genocidal: They believe that the extermination of a hostile class or race in the present (the aristos, the bourgeoisie, the kulaks, the Jews) – which is the embodiment of all greed, selfishness, and vice – will usher in a future of bliss for everyone, in which the individual will be submerged in the collective. The terror has to be permanently maintained, because without it, selfish bourgeois vices will creep back into the people’s character.[26] 

Newell traces “millenarian tyranny” back to Maximilien Robespierre and his spiritual mentor, Jean Jacques Rousseau. “Rousseau sparks the call for a founder who will strip away by force man’s acquired traits of bourgeois selfishness and return us all to a mythical state of collective purity and innocence, ‘the natural state of man.’” Such revolutionary puritanism maintains its esprit by savaging rejecting and fighting against the reformist impulse to secure improvements by customary political means. Instead, it decries what it declares to be “half-measures.” 

It’s all or nothing – as Lenin put it, ‘the worse, the better.’ The more oppressive or stubborn the revolution’s enemies are in the present, the more necessary it will be to sweep them away through annihilating violence. True millenarian revolutionaries do not want concrete concessions like higher wages, economic development or social services. Such reforms only threaten to corrupt “the people” further by turning them into petites bourgeois. The revolution needs to portray itself as incessantly “surrounded by enemies” in order to create the sense of peril necessary to galvanize violent action and vigilance.[27] 

Hannah Arendt’s work on totalitarianism recognizes its identitarian origins: “Totalitarian movements use socialism and racism by emptying them of their utilitarian content, the interests of a class or nation. The form of infallible prediction in which these concepts were presented has become more important than their content. The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.”[28] She also focuses on the crucial role played by scapegoating (Antisemitism), imperialism (the Pan-German and Pan-Slavic movements in particular), and pervasive unreality of the propaganda and cynicism of its consumers: 

In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.[29] 

Yet at the ideological heart of this revolutionary program lies a paradox, whether it is Rousseau’s myth of original innocence or Marx’s scientific materialism. The revolution must capture the state – supposedly the byproduct, emblem, or instrument of man’s fallen estate – as the means to restore the original Arcadia or Eden. Every revolutionary fantasy-ideology seems to offer some vision of an often-bucolic paradise to be attained through the very same industrial measures – standardization, regimentation, mass production, interchangeable parts, time-motion studies, economies of scale, production quotas, relentless propaganda – which turned the West into an economic powerhouse.

Rational organization of masses and classes is at the heart of the scheme, which for Fyodor Dostoevsky the Crystal Palace and the anthill symbolized. A great folly of modern times is the pursuit of liberty through so-called egalitarian means. The demand for equality and conformity on a mass scale has escalated to such a high pitch that people believe that they can and should be able to be whoever they wish. Entire political movements are devoted to causing social, cultural, and even biological differences of all sorts to disappear. The result is ideological inbreeding. We have become so progressive-minded that we follow scripts which might have sprung from Jonathan Swift’s fevered imagination three centuries ago.

The administrative mechanisms which have brought us to the commanding heights of technological prowess have so perfected the arts of behavioral manipulation and control that the very institutions upon which we depend are now rapidly devolving into mechanisms for undermining the humane values articulated and defended by the Great Tradition of civilization. Genuine diversity in the liberal arts is inevitably squeezed out when pressed into the service of political agendas devoted to endless, reductionist experimentation. As Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed soon after the Second World War: 

True self-government can only be the mastery man exercises over himself; most human beings need for this purpose a personal sphere, “elbow room,” privacy which cannot be invaded by either state or society. Families, for instance, are minor kingdoms – ideal spheres for the development of personality; and free societies always have strongly developed hierarchically built family cells. The franchise, as F. Lieber pointed out over two generations ago, is no synonym for liberty; it can therefore not guarantee this Lebensraum, this “personal sphere,” which is the postulate of liberalism and not of democracy.[30] 

It is time to take stock of both past and present if we are to have a future worth passing along to our heirs: indeed, if we are to produce heirs! 

The totalitarian imperative 

What astonished many Americans two years ago is how relentlessly the political establishment resisted, denounced, defied, and sabotaged the Trump Administration; how eagerly it locked-down the economy and enforced social distancing in face of a novel coronavirus; and yet, with barely a whisper of disapproval, how readily mayors and governors yielded to mass demonstrations, a flagrant disregard of social distancing, the occupation of public buildings, the creation of so-called autonomous zones, and the defacing and destruction of both public and private property.

In like fashion, public figures of the past and present as well as representatives of disfavored groups (“deplorables”) are being transformed into stock villains in a contemporary political morality play. Such caricature is becoming a hallmark of the same political class and its allies which, in recent decades, openly welcomed the judicial redefinition of constitutional rights, liberties, marriage, and even gender. Most people could be pardoned for wondering whether they somehow missed the call to vote on matters of such importance.

The initial spadework for this transformation was done decades earlier. Even before Roosevelt’s Executive Order, Garet Garrett wrote in 1938 that “The Revolution Was.”[31] As Edward S. Corwin wrote in 1941, “the truth is that the practice of delegated legislation [to the executive branch] is inevitably and inextricably involved with the whole idea of governmental intervention in the economic field.”[32] Having devised legal and financial incentives to stimulate economic growth, Congress has the task of overseeing and regulating what it has created, but even the proliferation of regulatory agencies is unequal to the task. The resulting administrative state has a life and character of its own. Its imperial – even revolutionary – dynamic is built into the very fabric of our daily lives.

In the late 1960s, the major university campuses were roiled by large-scale antiwar protests which became the vehicle through which the New Left insinuated itself into the administrative apparatus. Today this long march through the institutions presents itself as a struggle against endemic racism but, increasingly, it has slipped into a mob frenzy of revolutionary iconoclasm. First comes demoralization through the defiant degradation of cultural icons, then capture of the commanding heights of both the culture and government. Today, everything we have and are, publicly and privately, is subject to renegotiation in face of an implacable Jacobin spirit. The result is a fight by relentless change agents to redefine the past in order to impose a new agenda for the future. We are confronted by what Roger Scruton called the “culture of repudiation,” which is now dominated by the revolutionary Left. Its apologists offer no quarter, no compromise, and leave its enemies no sanctuary.[33]

Few people recognize the endgame. We must discern the primary target by setting to one side its secondary and accidental features. Our civilization has been fundamentally shaped by the Bible and the faith communities it informs. The destructive urge to utterly root out every institution associated with Western civilization must be met firmly with a strength of conviction in the clearly-articulated alternative found in God’s word.

So abstracted have we become that today we ask: Who are we? It is a question raised at the outset of a displaced warrior in Homer’s Odyssey: “Speak, Memory.” Our memories are the touchstones of our sense of time and place and . . . voice. In this day of identity politics our individual and cultural identities are now on the line. The collective identity of Americans – once the bulwark of “the arsenal of democracy” – is now in flux. But it is not just America that the cultural revolutionaries reject. It is also the Biblical heritage that inspired and helped shape it. If we wish to remember and renew the aspirations which once defined “We the People,” we must understand the larger spiritual heritage which it imperfectly represents before we can effectively enlist in the fight and, like Frank Capra, Jr., understand “Why We Fight.” 


[1] Originally the seventh of an eight-part lecture series on Government Regulation and further expanded from “Government Regulation: From Independence to Dependency: Part 2,” The Western Australian Jurist, 5 (2014): 79-121.

[2] Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1974), 183.

[3] Ibid., 35.

[4] Francis Lieber, Miscellaneous Writings. Vol. I: Reminiscences, Addresses, and Essays (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1880), 383.

[5] Kuehnelt-Leddihn, op. cit., 17.

[6] Steven Alan Samson, “Revolt of the Disdained: America’s 2016 Presidential Election,” The Western Australian Jurist, 9 (2018).

[7] Thaddeus J. Williams, Confronting Injustice Without Compromising Truth: 12 Questions Christians Should Ask About Social Justice (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2020), 153.

[8] Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1979 [1946]), 17.


[10] James Nickel, Mathematics: Is God Silent? (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2001,143.

[11] David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), 200-01.

[12] Francis Stuart Campbell (pseud. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn), “The Whiff from the Empty Bottle,” Catholic World, 62 (October 1945): 20-27.

[13] Philip Hamburger, Purchasing Submission: Conditions, Power, and Freedom (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021).

[14] Jonathan R. T. Hughes, The Governmental Habit Redux (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991), 181.

[15] Michael Munger, “Rent-Seek and You Will Find” The costs of rent-seeking are incalculable, as the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual Crews Report, “Ten Thousand Commandments,” avers. See Howard Swartz, “The Hidden Tax: Regulation” (review of the Crews Report)

[16] Walter E. Williams, Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? Stanford: Hoover Institution, 2011), p. 2.

[17] Ibid. p. 2.

[18] City of God, bk. 4, ch. 4.

[19] Hughes, 10.

[20] Ibid. p. 11.

[21] Ibid.11-12.

[22] The Deacon’s Masterpiece: or The Wonderful ‘One-Hoss-Shay.’ A Logical Story.”

[23] Waller Newell, Tyrants: Power, Injustice, and Terror, updated edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), 2.

[24] James C. Davies, “Toward a Theory of Revolution,” American Sociological Review, 6:1 (February 1962): 5-19.

[25] Steven Alan Samson, “A Strategy of Subversion,” The Market for Ideas, 22 (Mar.-Apr. 2020).

[26] Newell, 2.

[27] Ibid., 161.

[28] Hannah Arendt, he Origins of Totalitarianism, new edition (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973 [1951]), 348-49.

[29] Ibid., 382.

[30] Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time, ed. John P. Hughes (Caldwell, ID: Caxton, 1952), 108-09.


[32 ]Edward S. Corwin, Constitutional Revolution, Ltd. (Claremont, CA: Claremont Colleges, 1951), 104.

[33] A growing literature addresses a wide range of pathologies associated with these trends. On the sexual politics of the Frankfurt School, see Carl B. Trueman, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 225-68; on “states of societal hystericization,” see Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil, Psychopathy, and the Origins of Totalitarianism, revised (Otto, NC: Red Pill Press, 2022), 169-73; on the wide sweep of identity politics, see Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody (Durham, NC: Pitchstone, 2020.



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