A disastrous intellectual package-deal, put over on us by the theoreticians of
statism, is the equation of economic power with political power. You have
heard it expressed in such bromides as: “A hungry man is not free,” or “It
makes no difference to a worker whether he takes orders from a businessman or
from a bureaucrat.” Most people accept these equivocations—and yet they know
that the poorest laborer in America is freer and more secure than the richest
commissar in Soviet Russia. What is the basic, the essential, the crucial
principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of
voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion.
The difference between political power and any other kind of social “power,”
between a government and any private organization, is the fact that a
government holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force.