Serious arguments, economic and moral, exist to justify the state (the central and sovereign apparatus of government). Serious objections to these arguments also exist. It is interesting to note that most people, including most economists, ignore both kinds.

I thought about this when I read the funny factoid reported by the Wall Street Journal about the king’s horses running amok in London this morning (“King’s Horses Run Amok in London, Escaping Monarch’s Birthday-Parade Practice,” April 24, 2024):

Several of the king’s horses and a few of his men sparked chaos on this capital’s streets Wednesday when members of the Household Cavalry lost their mounts, allowing the animals to gallop through rush-hour traffic, careering into cabs and double-decker buses while being pursued by police over several miles. …

The news that equine members of the Household Cavalry—which styles itself as the “trusted guardians of the monarch”—had gone rogue soon lit up social media.

“How could we have the king’s horses without the state?” would not be a serious argument, except perhaps as a recognition of the importance of traditions. It would certainly not be a decisive argument in favor of the monstrous states we now have. The king’s horses weigh little compared to, say, the strong arguments against the state developed by Anthony de Jasay—who was also a strong supporter of conventions and traditions. On de Jasay, see my post of this morning as well as my Econlib review of his Against Politics.


DALL-E has no information of the king’s horses galloping in London this morning. I thus asked ze to imagine such an event. I use one of zir responses as the featured image of this post.

DALL-E imagines the King's horses running amok in London

DALL-E imagines the king’s horses running amok in London