Michael Taylor Quote

“ ... I suggest that the more the state intervenes in such situations, the more 'necessary' (on this view) it becomes, because positive altruism and voluntary cooperative behaviour atrophy in the presence of the state and grow in its absence. Thus, again, the state exacerbates the conditions which are supposed to make it necessary. We might say that the state is like an addictive drug: the more of it we have, the more we 'need' it and the more we come to 'depend' on it.”

~ Michael Taylor

The Possibility of Cooperation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 168

Ratings and Comments


Frank, Canton, Ohio

I agree with this statement. I work as a volunteer at a local museum, and we are experiencing a similar situation. The Executive Director and Board of Trustees want the volunteers to do more, but they keep intervening because they do not think we are capable. They then wonder why volunteers that stay with the museum complain; while volunteers simply lose interest and find something else to do.

Me Again
  • Reply
Me Again    8/18/05

I agree with part of this quote and disagree with part of it.I agree with the first 2 sentences.I also agree with the perception that "the state" CAN BE like an addictive drug but I disagree with the perception that the more of it we have,the more of it we need.I also understand how and why some people become dependent on the State but that is a personel decision.If one can recognize the trappings of this belief system,one can choose to unsubscribe to this perception."When we change the way we look at things,the things we look at change".

Dick Trice, Fort Worth

Altruism and voluntary cooperation don't just atrophy without control, they die a sudden death in the face of laissez faire greed. It is the absence of state control that metastisizing greed becomes addictive and destructive to human potential.

dave, St. Augustine, FL

I wish it were not true but, in spite of other comments, history has proven it so. As government involvement increases in an area, volunteerism decreases. It has happened over and over. State control over any aspect of life has shown itself to be counter-productive. This is not a matter of opinion, many studies have shown it to be true.

garret seinen, vancouver island

Very well thought out, but too wordy for general use.

Ben, Orem, UT

Dick, why is the state more altruistic than free enterprise? What evidence do you have that government is any more immune to greed and corruption than "laissez faire"? Your statement is so full of ignorance I am surprised you don't feel out of place here. This is LIBERTY quotes.

Mike, Norwalk

kinda, sorta; for some more than others. dave, said very well.

J Carlton, Calgary

Hi! We're from the government and we're here to help. (Run for your lives) ....Dick has been trained to think that what we have today is capitalist greed. It isn't. Its fascism...and that comes with government. Too damned much government!

J Carlton, Calgary

This is what Congress has come to....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thR-lVuztIY&feature=related

cal, lewisville, tx

Come on Dick! I'm your neighbor over here to your north and i'm sure you well know that Capitalist greed is no where close to Government greed. It's true we must jail some like in the Enron case, but the truth is there are many more crooks in government as we just saw happen with the Dallas city council!

jim k, austin

Dick,Fort Worth, are you sure you are living in Texas and not in Barney Frank or Nancy Pelosi country. Our government (the state) Causes 90% of the problems and then makes them worse trying to fix them. People will generally work thngs out pretty well if the gang in Washington would just get out of the way.

warren, olathe

well put in a short statement.

A.WOODS, Gloucester

I agree with Mr. Taylor's conclusion but not his reasoning. I think it depends on the state in question and the needs of its people. ____ J. Carlton, thank you for the link; I can see how it illustrates your point. But what I found most impressive about Representative Bachman's (R - MN) presentation was her outrage at two GM dealer's successfully contacting their specifically "Democratic" congressmen for recourse, but then using a call from a GM dealer from her own constituency to bolster her argument. She refers to GM as "nationalized" and "Government Motors", but having thus established its status she contradicts herself herself by later referring to GM dealerships as "private businesses" oppressed by government interference from an "imperial presidency". Representative Bachman then describes businessmen bringing their grievances to their "politically well-connected" congressional representatives as if this were something new. ___ Not that I am partial to the other side of the aisle. During a recent radio story about the inclusion of "'hate crimes' language" in HR 1930, Speaker of the House Pelosi (D-CA) mentioned her efforts to pass this legislation since she was first elected to Congress. That was what, twenty-three years ago? This describes her lack of effectiveness quite well, but no matter. ___ My point is that our representatives today consider their constituents as nothing more than a means to their own continued status but otherwise beneath contempt. They not only disregard their responsibilities to us, but do not even consider what they say in public, "on our behalf". This does not describe a state anyone would need. My state hardly deserves the name.

E Archer, NYC

We have been conditioned to become addicts of the state. A great many of us do not even realize the needle in our arm -- and now, the state assumes the right to keep us dependent and subservient to them. Those trying to 'rehabilitate' themselves and be free of the statist pimps and pushers are considered 'radical' and even 'terrorists.'

jim k, Austin

After further review, I give it 5 stars.

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