This weeks reading laid out for us what the State is..and what the State is not....if the State is an organization that has a monopoly on the use of force, and keeps itself alive by coercive means..how is it that the State remains and that the masses have not risen up in revolt against the predation and coercion we are all subjected too?
I believe part of that answer is the coalitions the State builds...and how those coalitions have the masses conditioned to accept certain ideas.
We spoke in class about one of the readings that spoke the concept of IDEAS being the force for change and that in order to change society, the ideas need to change, and we had a conversation about that needing to start in the world of Academia. However, I would like to propose a different slant to that argument.
The State preserves itself through coalitions with the "Intellectuals"...in my last blog I wrote about how the Administrative Bureaucracy that we all so readily accept was based on the idea of scientific experts creating policy, and one of our readings elicited this point as well.
I think this is very dangerous, and one of those IDEAS we must reform and replace. The State has preserved its monopoly on the use of force by forming coalitions with the Intellectuals in our society. "The masses of men do not create their own ideas or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by a body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are the opinion molders in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear" (Bastiat)
So why is following the advice of the "experts" so dangerous to liberty? And how has this allowed the State to retain its monopoly on force?
Because the State creates a coalition with the intellectuals through political patronage. It provides them with a permanent place in the administrative and political power centers of the government, which in turn provides them the means to be rent seekers and to amass greater political support by providing plunder. And they promote more rent seeking (plunder) to align more people to their political ideology, and amass a political basis that provides legitimacy to their use of force to take from some at the expense of others. "In other words, experts are often called in, not to provide factual information or dispassionate analysis for the purposes of decision-making by responsible officials, but to give political cover for decisions already made and based on other considerations entirely. (Sowell)"
The other issue with trusting the exercise of force to the "experts" is that although one may be an educated expert in one field, they often cross over into other fields where their expertise is not so sure footed, and we the people, the masses, as Bastiat states, are molded by those opinions. "The ignorance, prejudices, and groupthink of an educated elite are still ignorance, prejudice, and groupthink - and for those with one percent of the knowledge in a society to be guiding or controlling those with the other 99 percent is as perilous as it is absurd. (Sowell).
Now take into considerations Mancur Olsen's contention that the longer a nation is stable with stable borders and no wars...ie..the longer one form of government continues, the greater the degree of rent seeking will occur, and combine that with the obvious connection between intellectuals, policy making, and the power monopoly of the state, and the conclusion this student must reach is THANK GOD for classes like Austrian that are outside the normal groupthink of the Academic experience and teach an individual to think for one self and not to blindly follow the "experts".