My new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation is on, “The Political and Economic Mystiques of State Power.”
One of the mysteries of human history is how a handful of rulers succeed in gaining the loyalty and obedience of large numbers of subjects and citizens, when historically the origin of the state has been in conquest and plunder, and continues to be used for coerced redistribution of wealth through taxes and regulations.
An attempt to answer this question was offered by the, now, little known French philosopher and
classical liberal economist, Louis Rougier, in two books published in the 1930s on the political and economic “mystiques” of modern times.
In revealing and insightful ways, Rougier dissected the cultural, social and often seemingly irrational beliefs held by many that leaders have a right to rule and command, especially under the “democratic mystique” that the people “rule themselves” through the representatives elected to political office. And how and why many blindly accept various “economic mystiques” that governments can successfully achieve virtually any interventionist or planning goal if enough money and authority is provided to those in political power.
Rougier’s analysis still has relevancy for us in own time with its new “mystiques” of gender, race and ethnic “identity politics,” which carries within them the same totalitarian tendencies about which Rougier was so concerned in that earlier world of the 1930s that then confronted the political and economic mystiques of communism, fascism and Nazism.