... there are only individual politicians, civil servants, and public sector employees.
Too much individualist or liberal economic thought is vitiated by a tendency to hypostatise the state and represent it as an individual, an individual responsible for the oppression of the general population. Cobbett's reference to the "The Thing" may be taken as typical, indeed classic, but the error is pervasively present and embedded even in our metaphors, for instance in references to the "dead hand of the State", or in our casual reificatory references to Big Government.
This error makes it almost impossible to deal with that creeping loss of liberty, which is real and one of the great evils of our time, because the source is misidentified as an organism that has, in fact, no personal identity, consciousness, will, liability, or physically vulnerable being. A blow struck against 'it' disturbs the air but nothing else.
If the oppression is to be removed the sources must be identified in the real people who execute that coercion; that is to say in those that Cobbett coarsely and correctly referred to as 'tax eaters'. The focus should not be on the outline of abstract 'Leviathan', but on the real biological individuals within that boundary, on those that extract our taxes, and in return provide goods and services that are either wholly unwanted or wholly inadequate, as is inevitable within a monopoly protected by the law and by the police.
In other words we must trace the problem back to the politicians and their clients who tempt voters into an irreversible surrender of the power of choice on the strength of a false promise of services to secure our lives from hazards that cannot in any real world circumstances actually be banished, and the empty offer to provide centralised solutions to problems that, with the exception of those addressed (however poorly) by the system of national defense and the operation of the civil and criminal justice systems, are much better handled by distributed decision making.
In essence these people, for they are individuals with names and addresses and bank accounts and personal responsibility, these people have obtained unbreakable monopolistic contracts on false pretences, for they have asserted degrees of competence and disinterest to which no human being has any plausible claim. Members of the remainder of the population need, therefore, have no compunction in repudiating this unfair contract, withholding some portion of their taxation, and undertaking for themselves, as they did in the past, such matters as they think fit.
It will be necessary to be extremely firm with those currently leading sheltered lives at our expense, but we cannot much longer afford either the cost or the opportunity cost of their support. Resistance will be vigorous, but most if not all of these people will benefit from a return to normal economic circumstances, where they trade their goods with those willing to purchase them, rather than forcing themselves upon those they 'serve' with inevitable loss of self- and public esteem. The revolution I have sketched above will make of them honest men and women.
But there will be those so threatened by these reforms that they cannot be reconciled, namely the political intermediaries, amongst whom I include not only politicians strictu sensu, but also public sector union officials and the upper bureaucracy. These are the great gangster rentiers of our time, and they stand to lose both wealth and privilege by a return to a liberal economy. Few of such would accept the transition with grace, and while we should treat them with decency, their surrender must be unconditional.