"Equality without freedom," taught Mikhail Bakunin, "is the
despotism of the State. ... [T]he most fatal combination
that could possibly be formed, would be to unite socialism
to absolutism." It is the process itself, the very operation
of nonviolence and trade, that will erode state-capitalism
by eliminating privilege.
Libertarians who have rightly fixed themselves on the
nonaggression principle as the nucleus of our social theory
ought to ponder the implications of that principle; they may
find it uncomfortable to learn that today's corporations
have not amassed their power or their domination of
resources merely through competition, through "offering
something the consumer wants." The idiosyncratic preference
for an economy commanded by oversized companies should not
be enough for conscientious libertarians.
We must—at the very least—accept the possibility that the
state's impediments to voluntary relationships are both the
origin of this capitalism and a handicap to "smallness" and
its potential. That so many libertarians have a predilection
for America's corporate pecking order economy, and for
exporting it around the world, is perhaps some attestation
of the success the state and its deputies have had in
fraudulently stamping their system as "the free market."
This inclination is part of what Roderick Long calls "right-conflationism,"
and its twin on the left "is the error of treating the evils
of existing corporatist capitalism as though they
constituted an objection to a freed market." In A
Vindication of Natural Society, Edmund Burke identified an
inevitable corollary of the latter species of conflation,
which mistakes today's economy as an unbridled free market;
left-conflationists, met with the evils of the supposed
"free market," turn to the state as—in Burke's words—"Protection
for the Poor and Weak," but what could be more, as he calls
Voluntary relationships that don't rely on hierarchies
superimposed to profit the powerful are full of untapped
potential, of sundry ways to attend to society's problems.
The state, by comparison, was never set up or set in motion
to do anything but line the pockets of its patrician class.
To truly discourage bribery and corruption, we need to work
around the state, removing it from the equation and allowing
free people to thrive.