In no other system of government might a libertarian so enjoy the satisfaction of his principles, as in that of a sagacious king.
The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons,
the more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever people are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.
Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.
– Tao Te Ching 57
There is nothing complicated about subsidiarity. The sagacious king understands that the less he does to interfere with the people, the greater his revenues will be. In any other system than monarchy, the competition among the oligarchs – who are always with us – for state revenues will push taxes and regulations ever higher, impoverishing and depraving the people.
The satisfaction of the libertarian impulse, then, can lie only in the repudiation of libertarianism. Only if the King has unchallengeable authority to let go, or not, will there be any definite letting go.
What happens then?
A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man,
They are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple, their homes secure;
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbours,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.
– Tao Te Ching 80