If the power of government be very extensive, and the subjects of it have, consequently, little power over their own actions, that government is tyrannical, and oppressive; whether, with respect to its form, it be a monarchy, an aristocracy, or even a republic.

—Joseph Priestley. An Essay on the First Principles of Government and on the Nature of Political, Civil, and Religious Liberty, 1771.

Bureaucracy does not work by means of fixed written law, which would be inoffensive, but by arbitrary and capricious human interjection. It follows that the larger the bureaucracy, the more oppressive the government. This principle extends to government-owned monopolies, such as electricity utilities, hospitals, airlines or trains. The mere fact that individuals cannot buy from a competitor intrinsically changes the relationship between customer and supplier. The ‘customer’ must take what he is given, like an inmate in the prison cafeteria.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove