In the empire of fibs and euphemisms, the person who re-asserts the bald truth can find himself excoriated not merely as a traitor to All That Is Good And True and Beautiful, but scorned as a crazed lunatic and all-around dangerous fellow.
After economist David Brat defeated the House Majority Leader this week, folks left, right and center set themselves to poring through the professor’s writings for any juicy tidbit to get excited about. The drollest kerfuffle was over this:
If you refuse to pay your taxes, you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military.
Charles Cooke defended Brat from the New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico’s Ben White, all dismissive or worse. And then, for the real meat of the frenzy, “[a]s is its wont, the progressive blogosphere lost its collective marbles too: One contributor sardonically described Brat’s claim as a ‘doozy,’ while another contended that such opinions were sufficient for ‘one to question his, shall we say, cognitive coherence.’”
Cooke’s point is that Brat’s thesis is obviously true.
But it’s more than that. This notion that governments claim a monopoly on the use of force is non-controversial. It was defined neatly in almost those very words by the near-universally respected sociologist Max Weber. A long time ago.
And, news to progressives with short attention spans, Barack Obama also stated this as a bedrock truth: “What essentially sets a nation-state apart . . . is the monopoly on violence.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.