David Axelrod Admits to the Anatomy of the State

David Axelrod Admits to the Anatomy of the State
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Recently on Fox News Sunday, David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser to President Obama and now communications director for his reelection campaign, let slip a sneering remark on the true essence of government.  When pushed by anchor Chris Wallace on whether or not Obama would donate a portion of his income to the U.S. Treasury in an effort to pay down the deficit, Axelrod let fly a tirade on the inherent “involuntary” nature of the state (the video can be seen here, via RealClearPolitics)

I take it then he is not going to contribute money to the Treasury to help with the deficit,” Wallace observed.

“Listen, that’s not the way we operate our tax system. We don’t run bake sales, it’s not about volunteerism. We all kick in according to the system and the system allows that — look, the fact that Mitt Romney pays 14-percent on $20 million income is not the issue. The issue is that the system permits that and he would perpetuate that and he would enhance it,” Axelrod said…

The relevant term here is “volunteerism” as nothing the state does can ever be considered voluntary.  In his concise and powerful essay “The Anatomy of the State,” Murray Rothbard defines the state as

Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion. While other individuals or institutions obtain their income by production of goods and services and by the peaceful and voluntary sale of these goods and services to others, the State obtains its revenue by the use of compulsion; that is, by the use and the threat of the jailhouse and the bayonet.

Axelrod is 100% accurate; a bake sale the state is not.  It is an institution staffed with fallible, imperfect men who seek to use violence to mold society to their liking.  The state exists not by offering itself as a choice but as usurper of authority.  This truth is normally hidden from taxpayers with appeals to the “common good” and “we’re all in this together” declarations.  The fine line of predation and the prey must remain out of the larger public conscious  for the scheme of exploitation to continue.

The former White House adviser’s admission is shocking but not because of the mocking deceitfulness.   The group of bandits fancying themselves as voices of the people have always operated under “do as I say, not as I do” dictation.  Hence Axelrod dismissing the notion that Obama donate a portion of his paycheck to the Treasury.  Fairness means forcing everyone else to follow your command, not practicing what you preach.

Axelrod’s dodge is only further evidence of the foundation by which the state operates on.  Rules apply only to the peons and not the rule makers themselves.  Murder, fraud, and theft are all committed on a regular basis by those employed in or by the so-dubbed “public” sector.  Indefinite detainment is practiced in the non-declared War on Terror.  Wall Street brings the global economy to its knees as industry regulators, who only wait in eager anticipation of using the revolving door to cash out big with the banks they are supposedly tasked with looking after, both cheered on and played hapless busybody to the unfolding housing bubble.  The Federal Reserve creates money out of thin air and distributes it first to bankers who piggyback on the credit creation and politicians who have a checklist as long as the eye can see of requests for pork.  Even at the local level, increasingly armed police are making a habit of satisfying their lust for power by interfering in the private affairs of otherwise innocent victims.  The Supreme Court recently ruled on allowing the police, at any jurisdictional level, to strip search for just minor offenses.  In all of these instances, depravities are sanctioned for the few to carry out and banned for the rest.

This isn’t the rule of law; it is lawlessness in the hands of the privileged.

While theft is rightfully viewed as immoral and unethical, it remains Leviathan’s predominant source of sustenance.  To justify this, it means convincing as much of the public as possible as to the inevitably of the state and taxes as well as serving as a mechanism for outside interests to use its prestige and thieving hands.  As Rothbard writes:

Once a State has been established, the problem of the ruling group or “caste” is how to maintain their rule.  While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a “democratic” government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects. This support, it must be noted, need not be active enthusiasm; it may well be passive resignation as if to an inevitable law of nature.

It is evident that the State needs the intellectuals; it is not so evident why intellectuals need the State. Put simply, we may state that the intellectual’s livelihood in the free market is never too secure; for the intellectual must depend on the values and choices of the masses of his fellow men, and it is precisely characteristic of the masses that they are generally uninterested in intellectual matters. The State, on the other hand, is willing to offer the intellectuals a secure and permanent berth in the State apparatus; and thus a secure income and the panoply of prestige. For the intellectuals will be handsomely rewarded for the important function they perform for the State rulers, of which group they now become a part.

This is why Axelrod’s admission is somewhat of a surprise.  The mere mention of taxation “not being about volunteerism” but rather irresistible reality is a tug at the cloak of stature the state and its supporters drape themselves in.  They don’t “lead” society but merely control it for their own personal gain.

The state continues to chomp at the bit to obtain whatever resources it can without disturbing the masses too much as to invoke protest.  It is analogous to the frog in the pot of boiling water; turning up the heat slowly to not cause the frog to exodus.   Again, like Axelrod emphasized, this is no bake sale.  There is no choice on if you want to pony up to the tax man; less you would like to live out the rest of your existence in a cage.

The notion of equality under the state’s law is a sick and twisted joke.  With Axelrod practically admitting to the utter criminality and hypocrisy of his boss, and thus every occupant in the halls of government, one more layer is chipped away at an institution struggling to remain necessary and clean in society.  If Obama truly sought fairness, not only would he refuse a paycheck and send it back to the people from whom it was illegitimately pilfered from but he would surrender himself over to face justice for the crimes and atrocities he has so far committed as chief executive.

  • @ChuckBaggett

    Does anyone else see a bunch of unwanted letters throughout the text here? It's an A with a circumflex, or something similar. Â

    • Redmond

      yeah, unfortunately when we switched servers we ended up with a bunch of weird characters in the text set.

      Double unfortunately, we still haven't repaired it.

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James E. Miller is editor-in-chief of Mises Canada and a regular contributor to the Mitrailleuse . Send him mail

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