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Eternal Vigilance Star
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Eternal Vigilance: Guarding Against the Predatory State
by Ralph L. Bayrer
The title of Bayrer’s impassioned, deeply researched study refers to the price of freedom: the “eternal vigilance” demanded of those who would protect the “Free Extended Order” (a mutually beneficial economic system in which individuals freely enter voluntary transactions while government protects private property) from what Bayrer calls governmental or political “predation.” Bayrer writes, “The last century has shown how the FEO can be smothered by misguided universal utopian programs or continuously undermined by regulations and taxes that pander to special interests.” In that spirit, Eternal Vigilance champions free markets and small government and calls for the defense of both from efforts to drive up government spending or “soak the investor class” by running “the old leftist playbook about income inequality.”
Bayrer shores up his case with much fresh argument and analysis, stretching back to the founders (“Buchanan’s criterion that state activity is justified only to remove external diseconomies that prevent individuals from accomplishing objectives through voluntary contractual relations”), plus Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, and more, and on to consideration of recent history, especially countries’ approaches to FEO. Those nations most “aligned” with FEO principles
eschew the “singular weakness” of representative governments, a “tendency to overpromise benefits and impose regulations supporting special interests.” Bayrer draws cautionary examples from the “utopian temptations” and “profligate behavior” of Greece, the EU, Argentina, and more.
While the thrust of the arguments is familiar, Bayrer offers original research, unique and persuasive examples, and a welcome tendency toward clarity, guiding readers in approachable prose. Despite his use of terms like “predation” to describe, say, the implementation of regulatory frameworks, Bayrer acknowledges that most people concerned more with inequality than the purity of FEO operate from good intentions or a surfeit of sentimental feeling. His arguments and analysis will buoy free market fellow travelers but likely not engage those who believe government should level playing fields.
Takeaway: A thorough, impassioned defense of free markets, small government, and resisting
Great for fans of Jane A. Williams and Kathryn Daniels’s Economics: A Free Market
Reader, David F. DeRosa’s In Defense of Free Markets.
Design and typography: A
Editing: AMarketing copy: A