December 29, 2022

When I was involved in international security development, essentially teaching third world countries how to build military and law enforcement institutions, I heard an American general officer at a conference state a basic truth: When a nation-state neglects to pay their soldiers, as is often the case due to corruption, the soldiers will fight for someone else who does.

This is why state actors feel compelled to monopolize the use of force within their geographic jurisdictions.  States cannot tolerate competition and still remain a state in accordance with the standard and accepted definition explained by Max Weber.  A state claims the effective monopoly on the use of force in a given geographic territory as well as the power to collect taxes.

It should come as no surprise, then, that two or more monopolists cannot exist simultaneously in a given space.  Therefore, the people operating a state feel compelled to buy off enough warriors so as to prevent any credible competitors from challenging their positions, livelihoods, and the source of their power.

Yet, in order to do so, those holding positions within the state must continually gain access to and control the distribution of ever-more financial resources.  This means states are compelled to continually consume a greater proportion of the resources held by their own citizens and also increase the range of their jurisdiction so as to find new resource pools.

A state’s voracious appetite to consume thereby puts it on a collision course with other states that have the same imperatives.  This also drives the perceived need of those holding public office to ‘enrich the troops’ in line with Septimius Severus’ admonition mentioned above.

Unfortunately, the need to gain control of ever-increasing pools of resource and then ‘enrich the troops’ leads those holding office to make compromising innovations with public finances, to the point of being absurd.  The individuals at the helm of a state need money to buy popular support as well as the forces necessary to impose their will.  These mandates are expensive and extracting the resources held by other people tends to generate resistance.

Therefore, in order to avoid resistance and remain popular, those holding office will often opt for more subtle ways to get the money they believe they need.  This is why the ability to issue bills of credit, rather than relying on commodity-based money, like the gold and silver mandated by the US Constitution, is so attractive to political actors.

Tolerating a ‘monopoly on the use of force in a given geographic territory’ is what allows the political caste to undermine overall wealth through currency manipulation.  This then leaves the average citizen, scrambling to make a living while currency depreciation erodes their real income and savings, with less capacity to perform their civic duties to help secure a free state.

The departure from market-chosen, commodity-based money and into a politically “commanded” fiat monetary regime is a tremendous hazard to both economic and political liberty.  Fiat money is an inherently corrupt form of surreptitious theft and institutionalized parasitism, undermining constitutional order.

A ‘free state’ is different from a political monopoly.  We The People are the government without dependence upon public officials.  There is no need for the political caste to control resources and enrich troops that are beholden to them because We The People are the executors of law and security within the territory.  That is what self-government and self-determination look like in practice.

Leaving monetary policy, as well as security and justice provision, subject to the whims of politicians and bureaucrats imparts a wave of corruption that perverts the very purpose for constituting government in the first place.  Putting an end to gun control, and thereby denying the political caste any monopoly privileges with which to undermine the integrity of law, is indispensable for securing, in the present and for the sake of posterity, the blessings of liberty.