One of National Review‘s most amusing pundits, Jonah Goldberg, reviews this morning the new book from one of his most amusing colleagues, Kevin D. Williamson.

The State — properly capitalized — is a different creature altogether from mere government. It is an instrument of will. It seeks to tell people how to live. Worse still, it uses force to do so. Worst of all, its paramount purpose is not answering the question “What’s best for the people?” — that is at most a secondary consideration — but “What is good for the State?”

Kevin Williamson’s new book is quite possibly the best indictment of the State since Our Enemy, the State appeared some eight decades ago. It is a lovely, brilliant, humane, and remarkably entertaining work.

Though he sometimes sounds like a reasonable anarchist, Williamson is not in fact opposed to all government. But he is everywhere opposed to anything that smacks of the State. There’s an old line about how to carve an elephant: Take a block of marble and then remove everything that isn’t an elephant. Williamson looks at everything we call the State or the government and wants to remove everything that shouldn’t be there, which is quite a lot. In what may be my favorite part of the book, he demolishes, with Godzilla-versus-Bambi ease, the notion that only government can provide public goods. In fact, most of what government provides are nonpublic goods (transfer payments, subsidies, etc.), and a great deal of what the market provides — from Google and Wikipedia to Starbucks rest­rooms — are indisputably public goods.