Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy
No scholar has done more than Robert Higgs to demonstrate that a principled and powerful advocate of free markets can also be -should also be- a principled and powerful opponent of many of the most cherished notions by both liberals and conservatives regarding governmental power. And no notion is more cherished than the belief that the military is immune to the many problems that cause other agencies to squander resources while failing in their alleged missions. Higgs's careful scholarship in Delusions of Power exposes this notion as being a dangerous delusion.
Taking a close look at the dense fabric that our government weaves between war, state power, and economics, this collection of essays reveals the growing authority—and corruption—of the American state. Covering topics from the Lyndon Johnson presidency to the provocatively titled article “Military-Economic Fascism” on the military-industrial-congressional complex, it argues that the U.S. government consistently exploits national crises and then invents timely rhetoric that limits the rights and liberties of all citizens for the benefit of the few, be they political leaders or various industrialists in the areas of defense and security. As its title suggests, this book presents a clear narrative of trends and events—from the United States’ entry into World War II to the origins of income tax—causing individuals to question whether those in power are truly blind to the effects and causes of their policies.
Higgs tersely describes the state as 'the most destructive institution human beings have ever devised.' The charge is supported by a massive array of data and a narrative of the process by which the U.S. government has preempted an ever-increasing portion of its citizens' resources and rolled back their liberty.
Lively throughout and based on deep historical knowledge, Delusions of Power can be read profitably by anyone interested in the fundamental controversies of economies and politics.
310 pages, paperback
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Austrian Economics, Freedom and Peace