Blogs > Liberty and Power > Legal Plunder

Jan 10, 2006 10:22 pm

Legal Plunder

There is something pernicious in the media's response to the Abramoff scandal. Jeff Greenfield of CNN this morning was regaling Don Imus with some of the details of how Abramoff paid congressmen to do his clients favors, such as block labor legislation in the Mariana Islands or help an Indian tribe get exemption from federal taxation."You can't make this stuff up," Greenfield said. What's missing from that sort of comment is that this is what government does; it's what it has always done! (If there were no power to impose labor legislation, or other kinds of coercive favors, or to tax, no one could be bribed to prevent it.) Being surprised that it happens is like being surprised that monkeys eat bananas. These commentators surely know this. But their mission to promote the"democratic" consensus obliges them to encourage people think it once was—and could again be—otherwise. They are committed to making sure people never realize that plunder is the essence of the state.

Hat tip: Frédéric Bastiat.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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