Disembodiment

Since a corporation is not a human being, it has no human rights that can be violated through regulation or taxation.

But do not restrictions imposed on a corporation also restrict the activities of individuals?  Not unless they are explicitly written to apply to individuals as well as corporations.  And if they are not so written, a man may do business on his own account without limitation even while corporations are being strangled by regulation.  He may collaborate with partners, or even with the general public in an informal association.  There is nothing a corporation can do that he cannot do as well, except perhaps that it may grow larger, richer, and more powerful than his business ever will.

Economics are only the proximate cause of the corporation’s power in the twenty-first century.  The ultimate cause is the special treatment accorded by the state to a relatively small number of individuals and businesses in allowing them to form corporations in the first place.  Because of the ways in which corporations may evade taxes, pay nominal tax on only a tiny portion of their income, protect their owners and officers from liability and prosecution, and so on, they are not merely an alternative form of business organization, but a way of privileging certain individuals above others.  The corporation, like currency, is by its very existence a form of artificial interference with market forces.

This interference arises from the way in which the corporation, while only a conceptual entity, is permitted to behave as if it were a human being exempted from many of the laws that govern the actions of individuals.  Take away that permission – again a benefit granted and enforced by the state – and draw a firm line between the personal and the conceptual, and the advantages of the corporation as a business structure disappear.  As it is only a concept, a corporation has no right to special treatment in any case.  Nor do its owners by virtue of their ownership.  To deprive them of the benefits of incorporation would only be to place them on an equal footing, as individuals, with the rest of humanity.  Abolishing the corporation, or squeezing it out of existence, is a validation of human rights and marks a weakening rather than a strengthening of state authority.

The color of freedom

What is the function of a policeman? To enforce the law. What is the law? A set of behavioral restrictions imposed on individuals. It doesn’t particularly matter who creates the laws; the key point to remember is that they exist as limitations on the free will of the individual.

Von Clausewitz defines war as “an act of force to compel your enemy to do your will.” But who is your enemy? If he is one who must be forced to do your will, then it follows that he is one who opposes your will to begin with.

Consequently, if a policeman’s job is to enforce limitations on your will, it is logical to conclude that he is your enemy. Certainly he can’t prevent you from committing a crime. But after you have done so, he can ensure that you are imprisoned and tortured in a form of abstract and impersonal revenge. Unless you are a dedicated masochist, that is probably not your desired outcome. If you were speeding on the highway, you probably have somewhere you need to be; if you are snorting cocaine, you would like to enjoy the high; if you’ve killed someone, it was because you expected to enjoy the state of affairs resulting from their death. The intrusion of a policeman into any of these situations is a form of opposition to your will, and that makes him your enemy.

This conclusion is not contingent on a specific scenario, or on the behavior of some or all policemen. It doesn’t matter if they’ve ever killed or not. It doesn’t matter if they’re fair, or honest, or trustworthy. It doesn’t matter if they’re violent thugs or dedicated public servants. Merely by donning a badge and taking an oath to uphold the law, merely by existing in their role as potential opposers of individual freedom of action, they become enemies of human rights and therefore of humanity. How, then, can their actions be defended, when their presence itself, even as a concept, is a danger to the individual? And their presence is never only conceptual. It is a very real threat that directly influences human behavior. The man considering whether or not he will commit a crime is forced to take into account the likelihood of police interference with his actions, and he alters them accordingly. Without doing anything other than existing, the police have interfered with his free exercise of his will.

A policeman might attempt to justify his actions by saying that some freedoms must be restricted in order to preserve others. By doing so, he is tacitly admitting that he is engaged in the business of limiting freedom – period. But the nature of ideal freedom is that it is limited only by man’s capacity for action. If something can be done, humanity is free to do it. Those who attempt to prevent human beings from exercising this capacity are their enemies. The reasoning is clear enough.

Blue is not the color of freedom.

The President and the pear

Suppose that all legislative and executive authority in the United States were consolidated into the person of the President, so that he became in effect an absolute monarch.  And suppose that this particular President hated pears.  Hated them with a fanatical, unreasoning passion.  Naturally, one of his first acts would be to outlaw growing or eating pears.  He could even impose capital sentences on anyone caught eating a pear in public if he liked, lest they spread the contagion to the rest of the population.

But he would be disappointed by the results of his fiat.  People would go on eating and growing and selling and buying pears.  No one would be brought up before a judge or jury accused of public pear-eating, and no human rights advocates would spring up to defend the pear-eaters.  It wouldn’t be considered necessary.  Why would the President fail in his quest to stamp out the horrors of the pear from civilized society?

Because by the compression of the entire executive branch of government into himself, all those with the power to enforce the laws he made would have vanished.  He would have no PEA (Pear Enforcement Agency) agents to investigate or arrest pear-eaters, no prosecutors to present a case against them in court, no officers to shepherd them from the dock to the execution chair, no wardens or jailers to hold them in prison, no excisemen to extract fines from them, no soldiers to patrol the streets looking for them.  Without a civil service, no law he made could be executed unless he himself, as Chief Executive, put it into operation.  And so the pear-eaters would go free.

True, if he were walking down the street, and crossed paths with a man eating a pear, he would have the undeniable legal authority to arrest or shoot the pear-eater if he felt like it.  But he would have to do so himself.  He couldn’t merely beckon and have someone a thousand miles away do the dirty work, as if he were the central figure in Rousseau’s mandarin paradox.  Under those circumstances, he would have to weigh the possible results of his actions.  If he could kill the pear-eater, but the pear-eater’s wife was standing behind her husband and would immediately strangle the President in retaliation, would it be worth the satisfaction he would get from the pear-eater’s demise?  Remember that all the executive civil service was previously collapsed into himself.  He would have no Secret Service men to jump to his defense.  It would be his wits and strength against those of his fellow citizens if he chose to enrage the latter.

Given his situation, the President would most probably allow the pear-eater to go on his way with a glance of loathing.

The moral of the tale?  The most vicious law is harmless if the means to enforce it are lacking, and the man who is not shielded from the consequences of his actions is circumspect.

Freedom from confusion

The backlash over North Carolina’s new anti-anti-discrimination law, HB2, has increased considerably over the past few weeks. Major corporations are pulling their operations out of the state or canceling expansion plans. Film productions have moved elsewhere. Musicians, including some hitherto regarded as being staples of the red right, have canceled their appearances. Even a legislator who voted for the bill has since publicly reversed his position. The popular consensus appears to be that the law is a deliberate affront to LGBT individuals by permitting them to be denied services on the basis of their sexual orientation if the business providing those services wishes to do so.

As usual, consensus does not imply unanimity. The boycotts have generated their own wave of criticism, ranging from complaints that it is undemocratic to attempt to interfere with a law passed by the majority consent of elected representatives to comparisons with attaching sanctions to dictatorships, as actions that will only harm and inconvenience an innocent population without affecting the state’s policy.

All commentary on the situation so far has missed the two main issues at hand. The first is the question of why there is a need for such a “protective” law in the first place. It goes without saying that any individual or business has the right to refuse service to any potential customer for any reason. To require a man, as the price of the existence of his business or the cost of freedom from penalty, to serve another against his will approaches dangerously close to the condition of involuntary servitude which is forbidden alike by the US Constitution, the tenets of classical liberalism, and the ideals of modern secular democracy.  In fact, the definition of forced labor used by the Department of Justice defines it as “threat of serious harm or physical restraint.”  A hate crimes law that imposed fines or imprisonment on businesses and individuals who refused to serve certain customers would certainly count as a threat of serious harm.  And yet an apparently large number of people who would normally consider themselves ardent opponents of wage slavery, human trafficking, and abuse of the justice system would now like to make just such a threat against their fellow citizens – because their opinions on customer service don’t coincide with their own.  Freedom of choice, it seems, cannot be permitted where that choice might harm someone, or where it’s just plain wrong.

The second, and more important question at stake, is that raised by the criticism of the boycotts. Their critics fail to see that this uncomfortable, chaotic situation exemplifies the way a free society should operate. Has the business a right to discriminate? Yes. Has the disappointed customer the right to retaliate against the business for that discrimination? Also yes. Neither side has more rights than the other, and when there is a conflict between them, it is normal and healthy for it to be fought out until they reach a conclusion. In that way the rights of both parties are respected, and criticism of their conflict becomes, in effect, criticism of their human rights.

A national consciousness of fear

During the past few years, an interesting trend in American film and television has become more explicit than ever before.  Look at the common thread running through some of the more high-profile films of the period.  American Sniper.  Blackhat.  White House Down.  Olympus Has Fallen.  The same theme is apparent in television.  Consider The BlacklistScorpion, Madame Secretary, Quantico, Homeland, Intelligence.  And that’s without counting all the forensic dramas and police procedurals that are the backbone of the major networks, which make the same point in a slightly more subtle manner.  Of course this is nothing new in thrillers, but it is happening much more often than it did a decade or two ago.

All of these productions portray the nation-state, with its immense capacity for inflicting harm, as a victim under constant assault from aggressive outsiders, usually individuals.  Imagine for a moment that this reflects how American writers and producers and viewers see the world.  They picture the United States government, with 2.5 million soldiers and 700,000 police at its disposal, as a victim.  By extension, it suggests they see themselves, all three hundred million of them, with the highest rate of civilian armament in human history, as victims too, but that’s beside the point.  In the films they make, the state is always under attack, and it’s always forced to retaliate with violence in order to preserve its existence, which is usually justified with the codewords “saving lives”.

This shared style has another aspect worth mentioning.  In most cases, the state is never hinted to have deserved the assaults it suffers; instead, they are depicted as irrational and arbitrary.  The criminals, the terrorists, occasionally the third world country – they have no possible reason for attacking the Americans save sheer perversity and a desire to maim.  Their reasoning is rarely mentioned and even more rarely taken seriously.  And when they become in turn the victims of the state’s counterattack, their defeat is presented as not only justified but inevitable: the logical triumph of the nation over the individual.

Perhaps, given that the state and the Grand Old Flag always win, these stories are not so much about victimhood as they are about a sort of inherent conservatism, conveying the same kind of message that The West Wing was so good at delivering: The United States government may have its flaws, but it’s the best government humans have ever devised, and it’s here to stay.  Production teams take the state for granted.  They cannot picture life without it, and they feel threatened by attempts to challenge its authority – hence their need to show it in the ascendant above its defeated, puny foes.  New threats to state supremacy arise every year, which has forced Hollywood to switch sides.  No longer is the prevailing fantasy one in which the status quo is successfully challenged.  Instead, the preferred outcome preserves stability and the state, because the state is desirable and worth saving.  It is the same sort of attitude that induces a writer to opine that even a weak state or a tyrannical state is better than no state at all.

And that isn’t the voice of a society that pictures itself as a victim and is busy pitying itself.  It’s the voice of a society that is still fighting, but which is in deadly fear that it will lose more than its existence: it will lose its template for understanding existence.  So it fights back with pretty pictures to reassure itself.  It’s running scared.

The gods defend their rights

Trial by combat has historically been an integral part of Germanic/Gothic cultural systems, involving as it does an appeal by violence to both a higher authority and social custom. After having been codified in law since the early Middle Ages, it fell out of favor in the modern era, with Edmund Burke describing it as “superstitious and barbarous”, and was formally abolished in English law in 1819.  The famous jurist Sir William Blackstone referred to the practice as “unchristian” and “uncertain”. In spite of these criticisms, trial by combat has not only continued, it has become the standard method of jurisprudence in a submerged but nonetheless significant way.

The modern court trial, civil or criminal, is no more than a preliminary to the later trial by combat. In a civil trial, the state decides to which of two opponents it will grant its quasi-divine support; in a criminal trial, it decides whether or not it will itself oppose the accused. The trial by combat begins when the court trial concludes, with the unsuccessful litigant or convicted defendant facing off against the state. The key difference in these two situations is that, following a civil trial, the state acts as a proxy for the litigant of its choice. In a criminal trial, in the event of a guilty verdict, it acts on its own behalf. In either case, the individual, with his private and limited capacity for violence, stands opposed in a very real trial by combat to the state and its collective capacity for violence.

It is plain that the odds in such a trial are so heavily against the individual that he stands very little chance against the state. Those convicted of criminal offenses find the state employing violence, in the form of prison and confiscation, against them from the outset. Those who are only found liable for civil offenses are generally treated with some forbearance, although they are as a rule compelled to obey certain orders given to them by the state, which can be considered acts of violence against the human will. And if they fail to comply with those orders, the state will then employ physical violence against them as well. The result is almost always the same. Just as in a traditional trial by combat, the party capable of inflicting more violence and damage is held to have prevailed. The state prevails in such trials due to its greater capacity for violence, not the justice of its system of adjudication or its sovereign authority.

An alternate and perhaps simpler view, reaching the same conclusion, places the state as the default opponent in every trial by combat by seeing each offense or complaint as an act of lese majeste, in which the state is always the offended party. Some form or exercise of violence is necessary to vindicate it and its privileges. From this perspective the actions of a court appear less like a medieval trial by combat and more like an eighteenth-century duel, where maintaining honor was prioritized above resolution of a dispute.  In either case, however, the outcome of a trial is still determined by force.  That is as much a fact of life today as it was a thousand years ago, and it is dishonest to suggest otherwise in order to discover fictitious evidence of human progress.

The libertarian flaw

The stated goal of the libertarian movement is maximum individual freedom.  Within libertarian philosophy, government is presented as the main obstacle to such freedom, either as a well-meaning but clumsy roadblock or as a genuinely malicious enemy.

Government arises in response to the conflicts created by the clustering of humanity in groups.  The larger and more diverse the group, the more frequent the occurrence of conflict within that group, the greater the impetus given to the establishment of authority and law, and the more numerous the victims of the law when established.  This function is sometimes closer to being exponential than linear.  Canada, with a population little more than a tenth of that of the United States, has a prison population less than one-one hundredth of that of its southern neighbor.

The physical locations where human beings cluster and come into conflict are called cities.  Individuals are frequently drawn to relocate from the countryside to cities by the presence of industries offering employment in those cities.

Therefore, if government is the enemy of individual liberty, and cities and industries are responsible for the birth or at least the rapid expansion of government, then cities and industries are also the enemies of individual liberty.

Are cities and industries permanent features of human civilizations?  No.  They develop and decline when driven by external factors, the most important of which are the size of the population and its growth rate.  A large population or an expanding population forces more people into close contact with one another, leading to the creation of cities and the rise of industrial production.

Therefore, if the growth of a population, or a large population, is responsible for the creation of cities and industries, and cities and industries are the enemies of individual liberty, then a large population is also the enemy of individual liberty.

And this is the chief flaw in the libertarian line of reasoning.  Libertarian philosophy rejects the use of the state to control or manage social conditions through regulation, but offers no alternative means by which a national, regional, or planetary population may be maintained at a consistently low level over time.  Nevertheless, a limited population is not only conducive to but necessary for the existence of personal liberty.  The closest libertarians come to offering a solution to this problem is to advocate the abolition of centrally-controlled currencies.  This would, of course, put an eventual end to large-scale industrialization and urban areas.  It would not, however, guarantee a reversal of the population growth rate, or the redistribution of the population back into rural areas, or the transformation of a post-industrial economy into an agrarian one.  Without those results, there would still be widespread human conflict, and with it an excuse and even a demand for government interference and protection.  No liberty.  No libertarianism.

The obvious solution

In May of 2014, National Geographic launched an eight-part series of articles intended to explore how the planet’s growing population will feed itself during the coming decades.  Figures released by the United Nations suggest that the global population, which is currently estimated at 7.3 billion, will rise to more than 10 billion by 2050 and will be approaching 16 billion by the end of the century.  In an attempt to place these numbers in a realistic context, the series covered topics that included ancient eating habits, the impact of meat production on natural resources, genetically modified crops, and even the emotional influence of food on human behavior, all with an eye to suggesting how present eating patterns could be maintained into the future.

At no point in the series did the writers or editors bother to suggest the most obvious solution of all: If the Earth’s population is having difficulty feeding itself, reduce the population.

This answer to the question, which apparently seemed so obscure or implausible that National Geographic couldn’t bring itself to mention it, was already seen as inevitable by science fiction authors more than half a century ago.  In 1953, Isaac Asimov, a biochemist by profession, stated in The Caves of Steel that the largest population the Earth could support was eight billion, and then only if they were all housed in cities for maximum efficiency in production and distribution of goods.  Still earlier, in Foundation, he had created an extreme case of overpopulation in the imperial planet Trantor, which had been terraformed so that its entire surface was one continuous building and which was completely dependent for its food and raw materials on imports.  The population of Trantor was forty billion.*  After the fall of the Empire later in the story, the peripheral kingdom of Anacreon ruled at least thirty-one inhabited planets with a combined population of nineteen billion.  Rendezvous with Rama, written by Arthur C. Clarke in 1973 and set in 2130, speaks of Earth’s difficulty in reducing its population below a goal of one billion for long-term sustainability.  Clarke’s subsequent novel Imperial Earth, depicting events in the year 2276, twice mentions a terrestrial population of five hundred million.  With one exception, Earth’s present civilization has long since passed, or is about to pass, all of those milestones for manageable population, and by 2100 it will not be so far from even the exaggerated picture of Trantor.  Meanwhile, terrestrial governments keep giving out tax credits and medals as a reward for bearing children, and trust to fertilizers and high-yield crops to ensure the survival of those children.

Food production in the twenty-first century is an inefficient process due to the distortions of the marketplace caused by monetary systems, national borders, tariffs, and regulations.  More significantly, it is an extremely fragile process.  Consider the origins of food in modern civilization.  Consider the complex path that food must follow before it can be consumed.  A loaf of bread begins with a single seed, its characteristics refined in the laboratory through pure Darwinian trial and error over a period of decades.  This seed is planted by a poor farmer hired by its developer to produce copies of it in bulk. When subsequent generations of seeds are harvested, they are shipped thousands of miles to the developer’s distribution center near the place where they will be grown.  After they are purchased by a farmer who intends to use them, they are then sent on to his farm.  He and his employees plant them in soil tilled by tractors obtained from a distant factory, fertilized with nitrates obtained from another distant factory, and irrigated by the overflow of a dam hundreds of miles away or a deep well feeding its water through miles of piping.  As the seeds grow into plants, they tend them with pesticides and herbicides obtained from still other remote sources, and when the plants are ripe, they harvest them with yet other varieties of machines.  Once again, the seeds are shipped hundreds of miles from the field in which they were grown, this time to a mill where they are ground into flour.  In its turn the flour is dispatched to a warehouse, and then on to a supermarket or a bakery before it ever passes into the hands of its eventual consumer.

All foodstuffs in commercial production today follow a similar pattern of production.  If one link in this chain is broken, if the transportation system fails, or there is a fertilizer shortage, if a well dries up, if a dam silts up, then food cannot be produced.  The farther back along the line the break, the more drastic its effects.  The world’s food supply is entirely reliant upon a workable transport network and a few sources of seeds and chemicals used to support industrial-style agricultural operations, which in turn are the only methods of food production capable of sustaining the planet’s large urban populations.  Local production and consumption, which is a far more resilient method, has been extinguished due to its nominal inefficiency at this task.  More than that, it has become impossible.  The constant use of high-nitrogen fertilizer for decades has enervated vast tracts of farmland to a point where they could not grow crops without a continued supply of such fertilizer; insects and weeds have responded to the evolutionary demands placed on them by pesticides by increasing their own resistance to a point where their presence could not be tolerated at all without the use of pesticides.  The present system must somehow manage to continue operating without a break, ever, in order to prevent global famine.  And all to feed a population which has more than tripled since the end of World War II, and which will triple again shortly.

An increasing population will increase the strain on this delicate system.  A decreasing population will lessen the strain, and permit it to be redistributed more logically and more locally.  The solution to the problem is an easy one.  In theory.

*Asimov speaks of Trantor as consuming the produce of “twenty agricultural worlds”.  It is reasonable to assume that Trantor, as the administrative capital of the First Galactic Empire, would have a standard of living comparable to that of the modern United States.  According to an estimate made by Popular Science in 2011, it would take the resources of four planets the size of Earth to raise the standard of living of Earth’s entire population (then approximately 7 billion) to that of the United States.  Extrapolating those figures suggests that Trantor’s population of 40 billion would require twenty-three, not twenty, agricultural worlds to maintain its urban civilization.

A choice of environment

The public choice critique of government proposes that members of a government are motivated more by self-interest than by a desire to find either rational or popular solutions to the problems with which they are confronted. This seems obvious, but let it pass. Equally obvious, though less discussed, is the corollary that the public choice critique applies far more to civil servants than to elected officials, who are both more numerous and more influential than their public counterparts. But politicians and civil servants are not unique in placing their own interests before reasoned solutions. Selfishness is inseparable from humanity. It keeps the human race alive.

With that in mind, consider the argument that in the absence of laws to preserve public land and prevent environmental contamination, individuals and businesses will act on their own to protect the environment from damage. They are no less human than their political counterparts; they are just as self-interested. The mere fact that they are not members of an elected government will not compel them to make a rational decision, or to consider the interests of the planet and the human race alongside their own. Nor will the average individual place even his own long-term interests ahead of his short-term desires, especially, as in the case of an employee or manager being pressured to make a profit for his employer, if his survival seems dependent upon a decision that deliberately neglects a long view. True, there are occasional eccentrics or idealists who are aware consumers, but they are too uncommon to affect the general attitude of a population. Most people, in the absence of restraint, will quickly come to the conclusion that their interests are best served by consuming all available resources as quickly as possible before their competitors can do so. The outcome of such public-choice environmentalism is the destruction rather than the preservation of the environment.

However, there is a method by which a few well-intentioned members of the population, acting as individuals, can effectively prevent environmental destruction. In the novel Lone Star Planet, author H. Beam Piper depicted a legal system in which no citizen could be convicted of murder for killing a practicing politician. Politicians by the very nature of their profession were held to have committed an act of aggression against their fellow men by attempting to curtail their liberties, and political assassination was therefore regarded as a legitimate form of self-defense. The same logic may be applied to cases of environmental damage. Each human being occupies a part of the global environment and is dependent on the correct functioning of that environment as a whole for his continued existence. Anyone who damages the environment is deliberately harming his fellow men and reducing their capacity for survival. Consequently, it is reasonable for the individual to defend himself against such acts of violence. If he burns down a polluting factory, caves in a mining tunnel, or sinks a whaling ship, he is acting in self-defense, since any attack on any portion of the global environment is an attack on himself. All these actions are logically inherent in the right to self-defense. Embracing this right as a part of human culture can effectively protect the environment, and can do so without resulting in widespread acts of industrial espionage. The mere availability of the right will act as a deterrent to resource consumers, who will consider the impact of their actions more carefully to avoid being assailed by outraged members of the public, and who will make small sacrifices in efficiency in order to prevent the total destruction of their enterprises.

The human right to self-defense guarantees the preservation of the environment even in the face of the human hunger which threatens it – provided that the right to self-defense is understood and exercised. One form of self-interest balances another.

The root of the problem

Capitalism is not the same thing as a free market.  In fact, capitalism would not survive five minutes in a free market.  Far from being the antithesis of socialism, it is a moderate, middle-of-the-road sort of economic system.  Where socialism calls for a completely managed economy, capitalism requires a partially-regulated economy, not an unregulated one.

The defining feature of capitalism is capital.  Money.  Currency.  Capitalism gained its competitive advantage through the invention of the joint stock company, which allowed ambitious merchants to pool their resources in order to engage in profitable ventures that were more costly than any of them could afford to undertake alone.  How was this pooling accomplished?  By means of currency.  Only when their wealth became reducible to a widely accepted standard of value could they employ it as capital for an enterprise.  Capitalism is entirely dependent upon the existence of stable currencies.  Remove the currencies, and capitalism disappears.

No stable currency, backed by a nation-state, can exist in a truly free market.  Currency itself, fiat or otherwise, is a restraint on the market; therefore, for a market to be free, it must have no central or public currency, nothing more than an individual bank or lender could supply.  For an example of the way in which the existence of money distorts the market, consider the banana trade.  Florida’s climate is perfectly suited to growing bananas, and it has an ample population, creating a substantial local demand.  Is banana cultivation common in Florida?  No.  Economic distortions caused by monetary trade have made it more efficient, in financial terms, for businesses to tear oil and metals out of the ground, send them halfway around the world, build them into airplanes and ships, send them even farther around the world, and then transport bananas several thousand miles from Ecuador to Florida.  The pursuit of fractional profits and theoretical efficiencies made possible by the monetary system makes this seem more reasonable to financiers than local cultivation.  Needless to say, it is not just unreasonable in non-monetary terms, but outright dangerous, as it accustoms the local population to depending on a source of supply that would be unreachable in time of crisis.

While currency is the most essential limitation on a market that is required in order for capitalism to exist, national borders are a close second in terms of importance.  These too distort the effects of supply and demand, blocking labor sources that would be otherwise available, or preventing a surplus from being profitably disposed of based on political superstitions about what may be sold to whom, or adding expense to trades by requiring various self-important officials to be paid off and placated in order to secure permission to do business.  The result is the restriction of competition, which in turn benefits capitalist enterprises, as they have the resources to force out their remaining rivals and establish dominance within a market sector.  Furthermore, with their greater capital and revenues, they have better access to national leaders, enabling them to secure legal and regulatory privileges denied to smaller competitors, or even semi-monopolies on a trade.

It is ironic that political and economic theories have so evolved that, as we enter the twenty-first century, capitalism is not only seen as inseparable from the free market, but also from national pride, personal freedom, and entrepreneurship.  The connection between capitalism and the nation is true enough, but those two are diametrically opposed to the existence of individual liberty.  And money is the root of the problem.