Today’s quote comes from Mark D. Friedman, of Natural Rights Libertarian, from his book Nozick’s Libertarian Project: An Elaboration and Defense:
Thus, the commingling of the political and economic realms permits the development of a vicious circle in which constituencies use the apparatus of the state to achieve illegitimate financial advantages and the authorities use their ability to provide such rewards as leverage to further erode our freedoms. Just as the human body can tolerate extremely low doses of arsenic and other toxins (do not try this at home!), societies with deeply ingrained traditions supportive of the rule of law can withstand a substantial level of state interference in their economic lives without collapsing into outright tyranny. However, even “minor” abridgements of liberty are pernicious in and of themselves, and if such cancers are allowed to metastasize, the “patient” will eventually succumb.
I should note here that Mark D. Friedman has become one of my favorite political thinkers lately, both through his blog and this book. His writing is clear, cogent, and his arguments are often surprisingly persuasive; I find myself initially disagreeing with his positions sometimes, but am often convinced by the time he rests his case. And, above all, his commitment to the value of the individual is never lost.