The State is the group of people that by having effective control over a government stand to benefit the most from the exercise of its power. Nock differentiates between government and the State, indicating the former "implements the common desire of society" for "freedom and security" (quoting Paine), whereas the State originates in "conquest and confiscation". An individual such as a public school teacher may be part of a government but perhaps not part of the State. Conversely, an executive at a military contractor who may not be formally a government employee, can still be considered part of the State, particularly if the executive influences government procurement decisions.


The State - Online Library of Liberty
Ten titles, including works by Frédéric Bastiat, Franz Oppenheimer, Herbert Spencer, Ludwig von Mises, James M. Buchanan and Anthony de Jasay


Albert Jay Nock: A Gifted Pen for Radical Individualism, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Mar 1997
Biographical essay, including his early life, editorship of The Freeman, and notable books and essays
"'The State,' he continued, 'both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.'"
Albert Jay Nock, Forgotten Man of the Right, by Jeffrey Tucker, 22 Aug 2002
Lengthy biographical essay, with a selection of quotes from Nock's writings
"In Nock's view, it is the State that crowds out all that is decent, lovely, civilized. He demonstrates this not through deduction but through calm and entertaining tales of how rich and varied and productive life can be when the State does not interfere. In a society without the State, for example, the 'court of tastes and manners' would be the thing that guides the operation of society, and this 'court' would have a much larger role in society than law, legislation, or religion."
Related Topics: Albert Jay Nock, Politics
Alternative Medicine Is Libertarian Medicine, by Butler Shaffer, 2 Dec 2006
Discusses several aspects of healthcare, including self-ownership, being responsible for our own care, decentralised information, the collapse of external authorities and the dehumanizing decisions resulting from institutionalized healthcare
"The state is like a chicken that has just had its head chopped off: it flaps and flails around in a noisy and messy display, spreading blood in its trail. ... Like the headless chicken, the state is brain-dead. Its power derives from inertia (i.e., the unwillingness of a well-conditioned populace to consider alternative systems) rather than from intelligent conviction. There is nothing coming from within its halls that would engage the mind of any thoughtful human being."
Anarchism, by Voltairine de Cleyre, Free Society, 13 Oct 1901
Examines various economic propositions for anarchism (socialist, communist, individualist and mutualist) and opines that all could be tried out
"If I may venture, at this point, a criticism of this position of the Anarchist Socialist, I would say that the great flaw in this conception of the State is in supposing it to be of simple origin; the State is not merely the tool of the governing classes; it has its root far down in the religious development of human nature; and will not fall apart merely through the abolition of classes and property."
UpdAre the Salad Days for Somalia Over?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 8 Jun 2006
Comments on Somalia's status 15 years after the fall of Siad Barre and in the midst of the rise of the Islamic Courts Union
"What is to be gained by the creation of a state? Well, consider what a state does. First, it taxes, which means taking from the people and giving to the government, which then gives money to its friends. Second, it regulates, meaning that government tells people to do things they would not otherwise do. Third, it creates a central bank to water down the value of money. Fourth, it builds jails to put people who disobey, including political enemies. Well, rather then just go on with a catalog of what government does, consider the words of the Prophet Samuel from 1 Samuel, chapter 8:11-18 ..."
Related Topic: Somalia
UpdA scholar's scholar retires, by Donald J. Boudreaux,, 21 Jul 2015
Discusses Higgs' retirement, highlighting his books Competition and Coercion and Crisis and Leviathan as well as his identification of "regime uncertainty"
"As summarized by the late Nobel laureate economist Robert Fogel in his review of Bob's book, 'Those who seized control of the state machinery not only disenfranchised the blacks, but used their political power to transfer income from blacks to whites, to restrict blacks' access to such public institutions as schools and hospitals, to restrict the occupational mobility of blacks, and to bar them from certain occupations ... Higgs concludes that the forces of competition proved strong enough to check the forces of coercion ...' Competition in the market is the best friend that disfavored people can have. Not so the state."
Atlas Shrugged and the Corporate State, by Sheldon Richman, 12 Oct 2007
Explains how Ayn Ran's Atlas Shrugged properly depicted some businessmen as privilege seekers
"... liberty is threatened by business owners who seek privileges from the state in order to gain protection from open competition ... Those privileges ... encourage others to seek countervailing privileges. If businesses are protecting their market positions with protectionist licensing, taxes, regulations, subsidies, trade restrictions, patents, and the like, why shouldn't labor and other interest groups also seek protection?"
Auberon Herbert, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Feb 2011
First part of biographical essay on Auberon Herbert; discusses Spencer's influence on him, his views on anarchism vs. voluntaryism, self-ownership, majority rule, war and imperialism
"In short, Herbert believed defensive force and the protection of property were legitimate roles for government or 'a central agency.' The government would be financed solely by a 'voluntary tax.' Payees would gain the privilege of voting; nonpayees would not have the franchise but could set up their own associations. Herbert doubted they would do so because the benefits of a 'central agency' would be apparent to all. Thus, he called himself a 'governmentalist' and, in 1879, once more attempted to join the House of Commons but failed."
Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
"It being discovered long ago that so long as the proportion of the populace which holds the state in favor increases, the fewer resources a state needs to use in order to keep the rest under control. That is, the greater legitimacy a state has, the less it needs to use violence against any single person or faction. A state which continually uses violence to achieve its ends would soon be seen for exactly what it was: a criminal ring."
Benjamin Ricketson Tucker, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Sep 2007
Biographical essay on Benjamin Tucker from the first issue of Liberty until his death
"As a strategy, Tucker stressed psychological rather than physical disobedience; he urged people to withdraw the consent upon which the authority of the state rested. The concept of the state with its illusion of legitimacy was what commanded respect and obedience from people. He wrote, 'The state is a principle, a philosophical error in social existence.' Correcting the error required education in its many manifestations."
UpdBenjamin Tucker's Liberty, by Carl Watner, Reason, Apr 1979
Examines several of the themes discussed by Tucker in Liberty, e.g., anarchism, natural rights, monopoly, and how his views changed throughout the years
"The State is a compulsory institution to which all are forced to belong and which all are compelled to support. When Tucker inaugurated his journal, his starting point was the absolute sovereignty of every individual. He and his readers were the sternest enemies of invasion of person and property, making war upon the State as the chief invader. Tucker realized that criminals would remain even after governments disappeared, but his position was that, '... the governmental idea, with the State as its principal embodiment, is the efficient cause of almost all of our social evils.'"
Big Business and the Rise of American Statism, by Roy Childs, Reason, Feb 1971
Originally a speech given at first convention of the Society for Individual Liberty, 15-16 Nov 1969
"A philosopher who preaches total state control of individual human actions and decisions, for instance, might profitably look at history for instances of what has happened as his ideal has been approached, approached as a limit case. If he finds destruction, chaos and the like, then the burden of explaining this within the confines of his assertions of the supposedly beneficial nature of state control comes into play."
Capitalism and the Intellectuals [PDF], by Robert Nisbet, Regulation, Dec 1977
Review of Paul Johnson's The Enemies of Society
"The major fault of this book, though, lies in the author's unawareness of what the late A. J. Nock called "Our Enemy, the State." Now there is a monstrous enemy indeed when we are considering the perils faced by the middle class and capitalism. I do not say that [he] is totally without appreciation of the moral destructiveness which can lie in uses of state power, but I would beg him to ponder longer the malign relation between extension of the state's centralizing, monopolizing power into the social-economic sphere and the slow but inexorable erosion of those centers of moral and social authority which once did a fairly good job of holding Mr. Johnson's Enemies in check."
Check Your History, by B. K. Marcus, 11 Mar 2014
Discusses the leftist meme "check your privilege" (criticised in another article by Sarah Skwire) and offers a second, historical point based on the etymology of the word "privilege"
"The conflation between wealth in general and State-granted privilege is understandable: For so much of human history, the 'upper' class and the political class were one and the same. ... Since the Industrial Revolution, more and more wealth has been created from production and voluntary exchange. The State continues to co-opt capitalists, but the rising general prosperity of the past century or two shows that, in the West at least, more and more wealth is the product of mutually beneficial exchange, not privilege."
Related Topic: Robert Anton Wilson
Dialectics and Liberty: A Defense of Dialectical Method in the Service of a Libertarian Social Theory, by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Freeman, Sep 2005
Written ten years after publication of the first of Sciabarra's "Dialectic and Liberty" book trilogy, discusses Hayek's and Rand's dialectical analysis approaches and suggests that such context-keeping analysis is important in radical libertarian theory
"In fact, one might say that his primary concern is with the insidious, multidimensional effects of statism—how its consequences redound throughout a nexus of social relations: economic, political, and even social-psychological. In other words, Hayek analyzes statism not only as a politico-economic scourge, but as a phenomenon whose effects can be measured on many different levels of generality and from many different vantage points."
Does the Market Commodify Everything?, by Thomas Woods, Mises Daily, 18 Sep 2006
Contrasts the behavior of participants in a free market vs. the state's attitude towards those it considers its subjects
"This is how the state behaves all the time. It need not interact with people justly or with any concern for their preferences or rights at all, much less actually arrive at mutually satisfactory terms with them. It may act unilaterally, and the individual has no recourse other than to accept whatever the state determines with regard to how much of his property will be expropriated, what his children will be taught in school, or where he must be sent to fight and die."
Don't Hate on Welfare Recipients - The Real Parasites are Elsewhere, by Kevin Carson, 7 Aug 2013
Examines the ways in which the state, at both the micro and macro levels, acts to extract resources from society for the benefit of the classes controlling the state while returning little to the underclasses
"Consider how state policies on behalf of land owners and real estate investors, like the enforcement of absentee title to vacant and unimproved land, drives up rents and closes off access to cheap living space. Consider how licensing schemes and 'anti-jitney' laws, zoning laws against operating businesses out of one's home or out of pushcarts, and regulations that impose needless capital outlays and entry barriers or overhead costs, close off opportunities for self-employment. And consider how zoning restrictions on mixed-use development and other government promotions of sprawl and the car culture increase the basic cost of subsistence."
Felix Morley: The Journalist Philosopher, by Oscar B. Johannsen, Fragments, 1985
Biographical essay based on Morley's autobiography For the Record, contrasting the Brontë sisters with the Morley brothers (Christopher, Felix and Frank) but focusing on Felix
"It is impossible in the short space available in FRAGMENTS to give the true flavor of the work of the three Morley brothers. ... They are powerful defenders of the individual against the State. ... Essentially, the work of these brothers was to attempt to stop the growth of the State. Too many of today's intellectuals, with a few honorable exceptions, lack any really sound philosophical basis for their thinking. When problems arise, their unconscious bias is such as to cause them to look to the State for solutions. To them, whether they realize it or not, God is the State, the State is God."
Related Topics: Felix Morley, Politics, Technology
Frederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1997
Lengthy biographical essay, covering those who influenced Bastiat as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Félix Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
"Bastiat ridiculed claims that government could increase the total number of productive jobs. 'The state opens a road, builds a palace, repairs a street, digs a canal; with these projects it gives jobs to certain workers. That is what is seen. But it deprives certain other laborers of employment. That is what is not seen. . . . do millions of francs descend miraculously on a moonbeam into the coffers of [politicians]? ...'"
Gustave de Molinari on States and Defense, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 25 Jul 2000
Examines Molinari's conception of the states, including democracies, and their role in defense, as well as his proposal for agencies to provide defense against external aggressors
"In The Society of Tomorrow, Molinari first unfolds his thoughts on human nature and the role of economic activity in human society. Under conditions of primitive scarcity it may have paid some people to fight and kill their neighbors and take their goods. In time, such murderous raiding gave way to more organized exploitation ... Now they enslaved instead of killing. ... These were the first primitive states."
Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Mar 2005
After some background and biographical material, describes the event (Thoreau's imprisonment) that led to writing "Civil Disobedience" and Thoreau's reaction to those who paid the tax on his behalf, his jailers, his neighbors and Ralph Waldo Emerson
"'Civil Disobedience' is an analysis of the individual's relationship to the state that focuses on why men obey governmental law even when they believe it to be unjust. ... Imprisonment was Thoreau's first direct experience with state power and, in typical fashion, he analyzed it: 'The State never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.'"
Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, May 2005
Further examination of themes in "Civil Disobedience", including unjust laws, politicians and reformers, voting, when to resist the state and the influence on Gandhi
"In short, Thoreau believed the state should never rank above the individual conscience or the business of living. But if the state demands a person's first allegiance by asking him to violate his conscience and participate in an injustice, the person should disobey — not through violence but by removing his cooperation."
Henry Hazlitt: An Appreciation, by Roy Childs, Richard Ebeling, Nov 1985
Tribute to Hazlitt on his 91st birthday, reviews his career and works
"His classic work, Economics in One Lesson (1946) has influenced three generations of both economists and the general public. The lesson was simple: what appears as beneficial effects of state intervention in the short run almost invariably carries long-run consequences that make the social condition of man worse off than if free market forces had been left alone. This simple lesson ... also [gave] him ample cause and reason to argue that the retarding of progress and the perpetuation of poverty has had its source in big, wasteful government, gluttonous tax policies, and monetary mismanagement."
Herbert Spencer: Liberty and Unlimited Human Progress, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Apr 1995
Lengthy biographical profile, highlighting Social Statics and his acquaintance with Andrew Carnegie
"The most famous chapter [of Social Statics] was 19—'The Right to Ignore the State.' Even during the heyday of classical liberalism, it was bold for Spencer to declare that 'If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state–to relinquish protection and to refuse paying toward its support. It is self-evident that in so behaving he in no way trenches upon the liberty of others, for his position is a passive one, and while passive he cannot become an aggressor.'"
H.L. Mencken: The Joyous Libertarian, by Murray Rothbard, New Individualist Review, Jun 1962
Examines the themes and style in Mencken's writings, mainly from the self-selected pieces in A Mencken Chrestomathy
"The firmness of Mencken's libertarianism may also be gauged by the numerous quotations from libertarian and even unknown anarchist authors in his New Dictionary of Quotations. Thus, in his section on the 'State,' the great bulk of the quotations are anti-State, and the remainder are so extremely pro-State that the effect on the reader is emphatically ironic. An example of the latter is 'The National Socialist party is the state—Adolf Hitler.'"
How a 19th century French pamphleteer preempted two centuries of economic fallacies, by Christopher Todd Meredith, 18 Oct 2016
Examines some of the main themes in Bastiat's writings, such as ethics and economics, the seen and the unseen and the State
"In another essay entitled 'The State,' he placed politics-as-usual under a microscope and showed how it violated the traditional moral principles it was supposed to uphold. In this essay, he offered the following pithy satirical definition of state: 'The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.' ... What is robbery in private life is not sanctified by the political process. Bastiat called this use of the state to gain benefits at taxpayer expense legal plunder."
How Nationalism and Socialism Arose from the French Revolution, by Dan Sanchez, 12 Apr 2017
Examines how three crucial ideas (liberalism, nationalism and socialism) emerged around the same time (18th and 19th century) and how they depended on the rise of the modern people's state
"... thanks to the Revolution [the] state was no longer a prince who ruled by Grace of God or accident of lineage: like the 'Sun King,' Louis XIV (1638-1715), a pompous dandy who said, 'The State, it is me,' (L'Etat, c'est moi) ... The post-Revolutionary devotees of the French people's state basically believed, 'The State, it is us' (L'Etat, c'est nous). ... The people's state ... gives rise to nationalism, because nothing inspires more devotion to a state-centered community than a state that the individual feels is his creation ..."
How Star Wars Can Lead America Off the Dark Path, by Dan Sanchez, 4 May 2017
Examines the first two Star Wars trilogies, drawing parallels to 20th and 21st century U.S. and world history, and draws lessons from the films that could help the United States from "giving in to the dark side"
"As discussed above, the Sith-like State accumulates power by making enemy menaces (terror), cultivating nationalistic furor (hatred), and instigating foreign wars (aggression). Indeed the very essence of the State is regularized aggression, which it terrorizes the populace into accepting as the only possible way of providing security. And the modern democratic State wins loyalty and revenue by stimulating mutual hatred and fear among its citizens, and then brokering the mutual aggression that results. The dark side is the health of the State. But it is the sickness of civilization."
UpdIf the State Falls, Does Society Crumble?, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 25 Jan 2007
Discusses the situation in Iraq four years after the 2003 invasion and evaluates the question of "just how integral is the state to society?"
"Thus did a simple theory of the state – kill the king and all will be well – fail. ... The state is the only entity that is permitted to maintain a legal monopoly on the use of aggressive force. It therefore operates according to its own law. If you steal or kill, you get in trouble. The state steals and kills as part of its operating procedure, and there is no higher law to keep it in check. The same goes for its monopoly on 'justice.' I am not permitted to chase down and punish a person who broke into my house, but rather the state presumes the prerogative of administering justice and allows no competition."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq, Society
Impeach the American People!, by Butler Shaffer, 17 Nov 2006
Comments on proposals to bring George W. Bush and others in his administration to "justice", observing that most Americans went into a "moral slumber" that allowed the former to "turn America into the 21st century equivalent of 1939 Germany"
"The reality that the state is no more than a product of conquest has long dissipated the fairy-tale of some alleged 'social contract.' ... As with any other contract ... there is a burden upon those who are to be subject to state rule to insist upon adherence to the contractual terms. ... To most people, government may have been established by contract but, once created, the state became a free agent, able to extend its decision-making authority in any direction it chose, without any check upon its power from those it ruled."
James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy, by Peter Boettke, Economics and its Discontents, 1998
Examines Buchanan's contributions in bursting the "romantic vision of political science," advancing subjectivism as a challenge to modern economics formalism and re-integrating moral philosophy into economics
"In The Limits of Liberty, Buchanan distinguished between the 'protective state' and the 'productive state'. The [former] refers to the state as enforcer of agreed to rights that emerged out of the pre-constitutional moment. The state, in this capacity, is external to contracting parties ... The productive state ... is the state as producer of collective goods. ... The logic of politics, unfortunately, biases the process of collective action in a manner which often transforms the productive state into the redistributive state even against the best intentions of economic and political actors."
Lao-Tzu Argues for Liberty in Ancient China, by Lǎozǐ, 1891
Chapters 57 to 60 of the Tao Te Ching, as translated by James Legge, Professor of Chinese at Oxford, see Sacred Books of the East, Vol XXXIX, edited by F. Max Müller
"A state may be ruled by (measures of) correction; weapons of war may be used with crafty dexterity; (but) the kingdom is made one's own (only) by freedom from action and purpose. ... In the kingdom the multiplication of prohibitive enactments increases the poverty of the people; the more implements to add to their profit that the people have, the greater disorder is there in the state and clan; the more acts of crafty dexterity that men possess, the more do strange contrivances appear; the more display there is of legislation, the more thieves and robbers there are."
Related Topic: Government
UpdLes Economistes Libertaires, by Carl Watner, Reason, Jan 1977
Discusses the French economists of the 19th century and in particular Gustave de Molinari and his thoughts on the provision of security and defense services by private agencies
"These Frenchmen in general, and Molinari especially, were perhaps the first group of thinkers to examine the State and its social functions from an objective economic point of view. Government, according to the économistes, is nothing other than the 'industry of protection,' whose primary aim is to attain peace and security for its customers—the citizens of the nation. Starting from the principle of free competition, whose social benefits they readily acknowledged, it was only logical for them to examine the greatest exception to this principle, namely government."
UpdLiberalism, Marxism, and the State [PDF], by Ralph Raico, Cato Journal, 1992
Examines the writings about the state by the French founders and contributors to the early 19th century journal Le Censeur, compares them to Karl Marx (who they influenced), as well as some 1990 comments by Václav Havel
"As has been sometimes noted ..., Marxism contains two rather different views of the state. Most conspicuously, it views the state as the instrument of domination by exploiting classes that are defined by their position within the process of social production, for example, the capitalists. The state is simply 'the executive committee of the ruling class.' Sometimes, however, Marx characterized the state itself as the independently exploiting agent. ... All regimes assisted in the growth of this state parasite, according to Marx ...: '... All revolutions perfected this machine instead of smashing it ...'"
Libertarianism in Ancient China, by Murray Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
Excerpted from chapter 1, section 1.10 "Taoism in ancient China"; discusses the Legalist, Confucian and Taoist schools of political philosophy and then concentrates on the latter, covering Laozi, Zhuangzi, Bao Jingyan and the Confucian historian Sima Qian
"Chuang Tzu, moreover, was perhaps the first theorist to see the state as a brigand writ large: 'A petty thief is put in jail. A great brigand becomes a ruler of a State.' Thus, the only difference between state rulers and out-and-out robber chieftains is the size of their depredations. This theme of ruler-as-robber was to be repeated, as we have seen, by Cicero, and later by Christian thinkers in the Middle Ages, though of course these were arrived at independently."
Related Topics: China, Free Market, Government, Lǎozǐ
Libertarians of Will, Intellect, and Action, by Murray Rothbard, 1977
Keynote address to the Libertarian Party Convention
"Too many libertarians have absorbed the negative and elitist conservative worldview. ... In fact, it is the state that is robbing all classes, rich and poor, black and white, worker and businessman alike; it is the state that is ripping us all off; it is the state that is the common enemy of mankind. And who is the state? It is any group who manages to seize control of the state's coercive machinery of theft and privilege."
Life of Liberty: Robert Nozick, R.I.P., by Richard Epstein, National Review Online, 24 Jan 2002
Memorial tribute, comparing Nozick to Hayek and discussing some of the arguments he made in Anarchy, State and Utopia
"... on the grand question of why it was that any ordinary individual owed allegiance to the state ..., I think it's fair to say that Nozick was not quite able to close the circle. He ingeniously was able to show how individuals for security would become members of extended protective organizations. He was less successful in showing how these repeated voluntary maneuvers were able to generate a single protective association that would exercise the monopoly power over force that marks the distinctive role of the state."
Lord Acton on Liberty and Government, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 11 Nov 2002
Lamenting that most people only know Lord Acton's most famous quote, lists many of his other memorable writings on liberty, government and related subjects
"'... the interest of individuals is above the exclusive interest of the state. The power of the whole is not to be set in the balance for a moment with freedom-that is, the conscience of the subject-and those who act on other principle are the worst of criminals. ... Whenever a single definite object is made the supreme end of the State, be it the advantage of a class, the safety of the power of the country, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or the support of any speculative idea, the State becomes for the time inevitably absolute. ...'"
UpdLysander & Limited Government, by Fred Miller, Reason, May 1976
Argues that Spooner, although critical of the government instituted by the U.S. Constitution, was in favor of a legitimate, limited government, i.e., one that is voluntarily financed
"In the past, three main defenses of the State have been offered ... The Altruistic Defense starts from the premise that the individual, as such, is of no importance. ... The Libertarian Defense goes back as far as the fifth century B.C., when two Greek sophists, Lycophron and Hippodamus, maintained that the proper function of laws is the protection of rights. ... The Social Contract Defense is the target of Spooner's attack. It rests on the premise, first articulated in Plato's Crito, that individuals ought to keep their agreements."
Morals and the Welfare State, by F. A. Harper, 1951
Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman, Sep 1971)
"Yet the state, as such, produces nothing with which to supply these 'benefits.' Persons produce everything which the Welfare State takes, before it gives some back as 'benefits' ... Only by thus confiscating what persons have produced can the Welfare State 'satisfy the needs of the people.' So, the nec­essary and essential idea of the Welfare State is to control the economic actions of the vassals of the state, to take from pro­ducers what they produce, and to prevent their ever being able to attain economic independence from the state and from their fellow men through ownership of prop­erty."
Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
"Indeed if Rothbard is right about political morality, it will often be immoral to attempt to prohibit immoral activity. This seeming paradox, instead of undermining morality, actually serves as an important means for its defense. One has only to glance at any period of history to see that the main violator of morality has been what Nietzsche called 'that coldest of all cold monsters, the State.' Any doctrine, like Rothbard's, that rigidly restricts the role of politics in the enforcement of morality can only be welcomed from the moral point of view."
Nock, Albert Jay (1870-1945), by Charles H. Hamilton, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay
"The strongly antipolitical and antistatist flavor that runs throughout Nock's writing is most evident in his influential 1935 work Our Enemy, the State: 'Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators, and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.' ... the starting point of Nock's legacy to libertarianism is elegantly summarized in Walter E. Grinder's 1973 introduction ...: 'It is a natural rights philosophy of self-responsibility, of inviolable individualism, and a social philosophy of unequivocal voluntarism ... It is a political philosophy of anti-Statism.'"
Related Topics: Albert Jay Nock, The Freeman
Nozick, Robert (1938-2002), by Ellen Frankel Paul, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"To the liberals' wholehearted embrace of the welfare state, Nozick responded that the justification of any state, even a minimal one, is problematic. To their fondness for redistribution, Nozick offered a blistering argument against 'patterned theories' of justice that require constant intervention by the state to prevent deviations that voluntary acts cause. ... A necessary condition for a state is that it 'claims a monopoly on deciding who may use force' within its territory and the consequent right to punish anyone who uses force without its 'express permission.'"
Objectivism and the State: An Open Letter to Ayn Rand, by Roy Childs, The Rational Individualist, Aug 1969
Published by the Society for Rational Individualism (later merged into the Society for Individual Liberty); responds to five of Rand's arguments in her essay "The Nature of Government"
"And there is the major issue of the destructiveness of the state itself. No one can evade the fact that, historically, the state is a blood-thirsty monster, which has been responsible for more violence, bloodshed and hatred than any other institution known to man. Your approach to the matter is not yet radical, not yet fundamental: it is the existence of the state itself which must be challenged by the new radicals."
On Evil Acts, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 19 Apr 2007
In the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, contrasts the typical mainstream and conservative responses to such acts of violence and suggests a third way
"And what if the conservative position of total depravity turns out to put totally depraved people in charge of running the system that is supposed to protect us against evil? That only magnifies the problem. In fact, I've never understood the people who claim that the universal pervasiveness of human evil means that we need a strong state. What guarantee do we have that the people who run the state will be less evil than those who are run by the state?"
Related Topics: Conservatism, Free Market, Society
On Feminism, by Tonie Nathan, Willamette Valley Observer, 1977
Reprinted in On Libertarianism and the 25th anniversary issue of ALF News
"Politically, of course, a person has the right to be a bigot and the state ought take no notice of this flaw. However, more often than not, the state itself promotes bigotry and sponsors legislation which results in unfair discrimination against certain classes of citizens."
Oppenheimer, Franz (1864-1943), by George H. Smith, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"According to Oppenheimer, 'the State grew from the subjection of one group of men by another. Its basic justification, its raison d'être, was and is the economic exploitation of those subjugated.' Oppenheimer identifies six stages in the development of the state. The first was marked by roving tribes of herdsmen who periodically attacked, looted, and killed sedentary peasants. ... There followed a system of economic exploitation that became institutionalized through the payment of regular tributes (later known as taxes) by the vanquished to their rulers."
Paine, Thomas (1737-1809), by David Fitzsimons, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay discussing the main themes in Paine's writings
"Paine based his political philosophy on the belief that the central dynamic of domestic politics was the conflict between what he called state and society. He argued that society consisted of the 'productive classes,' which included laborers, farmers, artisans, small merchants, and small manufacturers not holding government-chartered monopolies. The state, in contrast, consisted of government officials, standing armies, blue-water navies, aristocrats, established clergy, and holders of government-chartered monopolies, the 'plundering classes' who used state power to live off the productive classes through taxation."
Related Topics: Thomas Paine, Free Trade, War
Parallels Between Liberty and Health, by Rich Schwartzman, 30 Sep 2011
Discusses guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration that attempt to regulate nutritional supplements as synthetic food preservatives, in spite of the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, and the advertising concept of "social proof"
"The FDA says only drugs can claim to cure diseases, ignoring the fact that vitamin C, through citrus fruits and sauerkraut, cured scurvy in the sailing days of yore. Yet people think that taking prescription drugs is the only way to health. Statists tell us that only Democrats or Republicans can cure society's ills, ignoring the fact that they're the ones who created the problems in the first place. And people believe that voting for anyone other than a Republican or Democrat is a wasted vote. We've heard it all before. It's no more a person's lot in life to be sick than it is to be subservient to the state."
Preventing Opposition to War, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Apr 2007
Explains why the George W. Bush administration has not gotten more people directly involved in its foreign wars, such as by conscription, war bonds or demanding "sacrifices"
"The welfare-warfare state does not exist primarily to serve and protect 'its' people. It does those things to some extent ... but only for the same reason the giant in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' fed the goose that laid the golden eggs ... in its primary role the welfare-warfare state is a grand scheme to enable a ruling class, through its complex bureaucracy and ideological smokescreens, to transfer wealth from the industrious classes to itself. This system deceives and compels the taxpaying producers to support a tax-consuming aristocracy, which includes the bureaucracy and corporations that exist on government contracts."
Related Topic: War
Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block, by Walter Block, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1999
Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, the legality of blackmail and barriers to Austrians in academia
"Consider public finance. The first chapter in every textbook includes a 'proof' that the state is necessary; the question is only how it ought to be financed. But this is a value judgment. The authors have the view that the benefits of coercing outweigh the costs, as determined by some arbitrary measure. Or else they believe that voting covers up a myriad of state aggressions against person and property ... All these texts assume that the state is a productive agent .... For government, ... the GDP counts what it costs to make, whether or not there is a market for what they produce."
Regime Libertarians, by Lew Rockwell, 12 Jul 2005
Criticises the "Iraq Exit Strategy: America's Path Forward" proposal, made by the Libertarian National Committee on 29 June 2005, and suggests the name "Regime Libertarianism" for those who make proposals such as these
"Laissez-Faire Libertarianism can ... hold the view that the state is necessary to intervene in conflicts over property rights and personal crime. ... [The regime] is not the creator of order but the enforcer of conditions that exist already in the absence of the state. It is only there to prevent the freed society from being mauled and attacked by its enemies. But it should never go beyond that, nor should the state be credited somehow for creating freedom."
Robert Nozick and the Value of Liberty, by Aaron Ross Powell, 21 Jun 2011
Responds to Stephen Metcalf's essay "The Liberty Scam", published on
"According to Nozick and most other libertarians, it is for the protection of liberty that we organize a state—and a state that violates its citizens' liberty (beyond, arguably, certain 'night watchman' duties) commits a moral wrong. Metcalf gets that much right. But this is not because liberty is the only value. Rather, it is because liberty is the only value the state should concern itself with. All the other values—of which there are a great many, not all shared equally by all individuals—are the exclusive concern of civil society."
Rockwell on Libertarianism, by Lew Rockwell, Jedrzej Kuskowski, 20 Apr 2007
Interview by Jedrzej Kuskowski for the Polish Libertarian Website Liberalis; topics discussed include libertarianism, the Internet, movement leaders, the State, Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party, left-libertarians, Milton Friedman, immigration and Poland
"Government is always and everywhere a rich man's business. The poor have never played a role in the administration of the State, except insofar as they are used by elites as a cover. In fact, the emergence of the State itself grows out of the successful cartelization of one sector of elites against all its competitors. So of course these same elites rule on behalf of themselves."
Related Topic: Libertarianism
Society without a State, by Murray Rothbard, 28 Dec 1974
Talk delivered at the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
"... I define the state as that institution which possesses one or both (almost always both) of the following properties: (1) it acquires its income by the physical coercion known as 'taxation'; and (2) it asserts and usually obtains a coerced monopoly of the provision of defense service (police and courts) over a given territorial area. An institution not possessing either of these properties is not and cannot be, in accordance with my definition, a state."
Related Topics: Anarchism, Law, Taxation
Somebody Might Get Hurt, by Kevin Carson, 31 May 2013
Comments on two unrelated blog posts to highlight a commonly offered "liberal" argument about state programs
"The coercive state, by its nature, is the instrument of a ruling class. Sometimes the state functionaries themselves will supplant the old ruling class and constitute a new one, as in the case of the bureaucratic oligarchy that ruled the Soviet Union. More frequently, the regulatory and welfare state will align itself with the preexisting corporate capitalist ruling class, and incorporate itself as a junior member, as in European social democracy and American New Deal liberalism. In either case, the vast majority of society will be the ruled. And the rulers will exercise their power over us in all sorts of unpleasant ways. Once you set up an enforcement bureaucracy of cops and administrative law courts capable of shooting or imprisoning people, or seizing their assets without proving them guilty of a criminal offense, they will happily exercise this power."
Subjugating Ourselves, by Sheldon Richman, 7 May 2010
Examines key passages from La Boetie's Discourse on Voluntary Servitude and criticises newspaper editorial writers (with a recent example) for preaching to the people to acquiesce and submit to government
"The government's schools are also instrumental in cultivating the subject mentality in children. And let's not forget the continuing 'need' for adult 'education' to reinforce the propriety of subordination to political authority. The chief propagandists in this effort, aside from the politicians themselves, are the court intellectuals, writers, and academics who hawk statolatry to the rest of us."
Taxation Is Robbery, by Frank Chodorov, Out of Step, 1962
Chapter XXII; starting with the historical origins of taxation, proceeds to examine its indirect and direct forms and the rationales behind it
"It is not the size of the yield, nor the certainty of col­lection, which gives indirect taxation preeminence in the State's scheme of appropriation. Its most commendable qual­ity is that of being surreptitious. It is taking, so to speak, while the victim is not looking. Those who strain them­selves to give taxation a moral character are under obliga­tion to explain the State's preoccupation with hiding taxes in the price of goods."
The Anatomy of the State, by Murray Rothbard, 1974
Examines several attributes of the State, including how it maintains and grows itself and how it deals with other States
"Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion."
The Control Cult, by Butler Shaffer, 21 Apr 2007
In the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, comments on those who believe the causal factors can be identified and controlled by the state, and how this extends not just to gun ownership but many other areas
"The true believers of the dogmas of control have insinuated themselves into all forms of institutions. ... Members of the control cult have always found themselves attracted to the agency whose raison d'être is to subdue all of humanity to its coercive mechanisms of control: the state. What problem, or catastrophe, or even fear thereof, is not met with the aforesaid chant of bureaucrats: 'we will find out what went wrong and fix it, so it doesn't happen again'?"
The Criminality of the State, by Albert Jay Nock, The Conservative Press in Twentieth-Century America, authored by Robert Muccigrosso">American Mercury, 1939
Cautions Americans that rather than being worried or surprised by the doings of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, the Munich agreement and other foreign states, they should devote their energies to reining the growth of the United States government
"... the State's criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical."
The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists, by Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian Forum, 1 Jan 1970
Critique of anarcho-communism, examining its presumed non-coercive nature, and its philosophical and economics orientation
"... anarcho-communists oppose the State ... because they wrongly believe that it is the creator and protector of private property, and therefore that the only route toward abolition of property is by destruction of the State apparatus. They totally fail to realize that the State has always been the great enemy and invader of the rights of private property."
The Ethics of Voting: Part I [PDF], by George H. Smith, The Voluntaryist, Oct 1982
Examines libertarian and anarchist theory to provide a critique of electoral voting, i.e., voting for government officials
"The anarchist ... avers that institutional features of the State, such as the claim of sovereign jurisdiction over a given geographical area, render the State invasive per se. This invasive trait persists regardless of who occupies positions of power in the State or what their individual purposes may be."
Related Topics: Voluntaryism, Voting
The Ethics of Voting: Part Two [PDF], by George H. Smith, The Voluntaryist, Dec 1982
An analysis of the State as an institution ("method of pursuing a social activity")
"The State is a designed institution, forcibly imposed. State-builders had specific objectives in mind, foremost of which was to secure territorial sovereignty. ... Virtually all functions of government ... may be seen as supports for the monopolization of power. ... Sovereignty is the 'product' of this association (or the most fundamental among many); a monopoly on legitimized coercion is the 'process.'"
The History of Freedom in Antiquity, by John Dalberg-Acton, 26 Feb 1877
Surveys the ancient history of liberty, both from the side of rulers (despots, Solon, Pericles, Roman Republic and Empire) and philosophers (Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics), and the later influence of Christianity
"The state is competent to assign duties and draw the line between good and evil only in its own immediate sphere. Beyond the limit of things necessary for its wellbeing, it can only give indirect help to fight the battle of life, by promoting the influences which avail against temptation,—Religion, Education, and the distribution of Wealth."
Related Topics: Democracy, Government, Liberty
The Idea of a Private Law Society, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily, 28 Jul 2006
Discusses the problem of social order, i.e., rules to regulate the use of "everything scarce so that all possible conflicts can be ruled out"
"First, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of ultimate decision-making. That is, it is the ultimate arbiter in every case of conflict, including conflicts involving itself, and it allows no appeal above and beyond itself. Furthermore, the state is an agency that exercises a territorial monopoly of taxation. That is,it is an agency that unilaterally fixes the price private citizens must pay for its provision of law and order."
The Impoverishing Effects of Foreign Aid [PDF], by Manuel Ayau, Cato Journal, 1984
Analyzes the 1980s debt crisis, from the viewpoint of creditor and debtor countries, suggesting some solutions such as removing trade barriers, ending debtor government interventionist policies and creditor government foreign aid and subsidized bail-outs
"Of course, all governments worthy of their 'underdeveloped' status are in the businesses of land, ocean, and air transportation, chemicals, power, communications, and subsidized theaters for the cultured elite. ... Everyone who uses [state-owned enterprises] services or products incurs higher costs, and since the activities of the SOEs encompass such vast and basic spheres, they make the whole economy less competitive. This statization is the unavoidable result of aid programs that, throughout their history, have placed large amounts of soft credit ... at the disposal of statist bureaucrats."
The Politics of Étienne de La Boétie, by Murray Rothbard, 1975
Introduction to the 1975 edition of The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, translated by Harry Kurz; summarises the key insights of La Boétie's work
"The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude is lucidly and coherently structured around a single axiom, a single percipient insight into the nature not only of tyranny but implicitly of the State apparatus itself. Many medieval writers had attacked tyranny, but La Boétie delves especially deeply into its nature and into the nature of State rule itself. This fundamental insight was that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance."
The Real Aggressor, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Apr 1954
Counsels conservatives to reconsider their foreign policy stance of instigating war, fomenting militarism and demanding foreign interventions, and realize that the aggressor is not the "Reds" but the state, which "has been conceived in original sin"
"Thus, conservatives who say that the state should be limited to what is necessary for defense purposes, are caught from the start on the horns of a great dilemma. For the state has been conceived in original sin. Any state, even the best intentioned, subsists by means of coercion. If Henry Thoreau says: I don't want your protection, so will pay no more taxes; he goes to jail—sent there by his 'representatives.' If he attempts to argue by saying: I wish to pay for my defense through privately-financed police and judiciary companies ... the same punishment is meted out to him, or worse."
The Security State's Reaction to Snowden Shows Why It's Doomed, by Kevin Carson, 9 Aug 2013
Comments on how the reactions to the Manning and Snowden leaks tend to be counterproductive to the State's ends
"... the internal witch hunt atmosphere in the U.S. security apparatus is alienating the very contract-work hackers whose skills it is increasingly dependent on. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sticker on Snowden's laptop wasn't a deviation the NSA's leadership failed to catch. It's typical of the cultural pool from which the NSA, of necessity, recruits its contractors. Such people read the news, and they aren't impressed with the government's draconian treatment of people like Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden."
The Servile State Revisited, by Joseph Sobran, The Wanderer, 5 Jun 2003
Ponders David Hume's observation as to the ease with which "the many are governed by the few"
"We are taught to beware of violent tyrannies like those of Stalin and Hitler. But we are seldom warned against the bland and gradual tyranny of the bureaucratic State, which is the one modern man typically lives under. ... The parasites know they depend on the State; but many of the productive people who create the wealth that supports the parasites are also convinced that their freedom depends on the State. The bureaucratic State has blurred the lines, disguising the opposition of interests."
The Six Faces of the Terrorist; The One Face of Bureaucracy, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 18 Aug 2006
Wonders how much more will Americans tolerate the searches and commands of the Transportation Security Administration agents, contrastring "public sector" security to private security and comparing the TSA and the welfare bureaucracies
"The poor are what provides the welfare state its raison d'être. So the welfare state faces perverse incentives. This is one reason the welfare state didn't work. So it is with the security state. It only benefits from increasing insecurity and fear. The more threats there are to security, the better off it is. Finally, the money that runs the security state is not a drain on a business's bottom line, so there is no one setting out to find ways to reduce the expenditure."
Related Topics: Bureaucracy, Government
The Sphere of Government: Nineteenth Century Theories: 1. John Stuart Mill, by Henry Hazlitt, The Freeman, Jan 1980
Critiques Mill's ideas on what are the "necessary" and "optional" functions of government
"As he keeps adding to his list of 'exceptions' to the general rule of laissez-faire, he gradually seems to forget all his earlier warnings against piling an unmanageable number of functions on the state and building excessive powers that can more easily be abused. In many of his exceptions he unconsciously takes it for granted that the state will necessarily do better than private initiative. ... After having warned us that the state may carry out its delegated powers very badly, he assumes in particular instances that they will carry out these powers very well."
The State: Judge in its Own Cause, by Kevin Carson, 22 Aug 2013
Explores, with several historical examples, the state's role in judging itself
"During the administration of Richard Nixon ... Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a collection of classified documents showing how the United States had inexorably increased its involvement in Indochina ... lying to the American people about the situation the whole time. ... In 1953 the CIA helped overthrow Iran's elected government ... In the late '70s, under Zbigniew Brzezinski's foreign policy leadership, the U.S. began backing Islamic fundamentalist rebels against the Soviet-friendly government of Afghanistan ..."
The State in the Dock, by Lew Rockwell, 26 May 2006
Reflects on the then ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein (2004-2006) and wonders what would happen if other heads of state, including George W. Bush, were put on trial
"Judged by this standard, all states are guilty. And all heads of state are guilty of criminal wrongdoing if we are using a normal, everyday kind of moral standard to judge them. Thus are they all vulnerable. To be clear, I'm not talking about states in our age, or just particular gangster states. I'm speaking of all states in all times, since by definition the state is permitted to engage in activities that if pursued privately would be considered egregious and intolerable."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Government, Iraq
The War the Government Cannot Win, by Lew Rockwell, 1 May 2007
Discusses how government cannnot win the war on terror because economic law is more powerful than the state
"We all need to begin to say no to the state on an intellectual level. When you are asked what you would like the government to do for you, we need to be prepared to reply: nothing. We should not ask it to save our children, nor provide security, nor vanquish all evil, nor give us anything at all. ... Nothing the government does takes place without a greater cost than benefit to society."
The Wisdom of LeFevre, by Lew Rockwell, The Free Market, Jul 2001
Discusses various aspects of LeFevre's thoughts, e.g., the distinction between true and artificial government, patriotism, and includes excerpts from a draft new Declaration of Independence
"He liked to distinguish between its true and artificial forms. True government is made up of the customs (habits, manners, folkways) and institutions (family, workplace, church) that regulate our daily life. Artificial government (the state) is the institution that steals our property, restricts our freedom, and endangers our lives in the name of protecting us. He saw his main role as a teacher as dislodging the false conscientiousness that keeps so many from seeing artificial government as a parasite. Whether the form is democratic or autocratic, the state adds nothing to the development of civilization but rather hinders it."
Thinking about Foreign Policy, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Analyses why most people tend to think about foreign policy as if it were decided upon by "the people" and attempts to correct the misunderstandings
"The people do not make foreign policy. The state does; or, more precisely, the ruling elite, which includes influential corporate interests outside the formal organization of the state, makes foreign policy. ... The state's unique characteristics are clear to libertarians when they think about domestic policy. ... Is the state a different sort of entity when its focus is the military and relations with other countries?"
Treating People Like Garbage, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Oct 2013
Prompted by the "closing" of the U.S. government during the first week of Oct 2013, examines two examples of how the state behaves towards people: an Iraq war veteran and his familty, and the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Bengalis in Mar 1971
"At its heart, the state — more precisely, the pretenders who call themselves 'leaders' — is capable of the most horrendous acts. The U.S. government stands out in this regard. ... The other day I saw a commercial for the Wounded Warrior Project ... It shows a former member of the armed forces who sustained a serious head injury ... These scenes brought tears to my eyes, and I said out loud, 'This is what the state does to people.' I should have said, 'This is what the state does to families and little girls and boys.' ... the state treats people like garbage."
UpdTwo Libertarian Classics, by Murray Rothbard, Reason, Mar 1974
Reviews of Albert Jay Nock's Our Enemy the State and John T. Flynn's As We Go Marching
"The better-known conservative libertarian ... regards the State as a bumbling, generally inefficient instrument of society. ... every so often, the conservative libertarian cranks his data into his 'cost-benefit' computer and grinds out the conclusion that, on this particular issue or other, the State should intervene. ... Instead ... the radical sees the State itself, in its very nature, as coercive, exploitative, parasitic, and hence profoundly antisocial. The State is, and always has been, the great single enemy of the human race, its liberty, happiness, and progress."
Warfare/Welfare/Corporate State: All of a Piece, by Sheldon Richman, 24 Jan 2014
Dissects article by Princeton professor Sean Wilentz criticizing Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange
"Wilentz seems to live in fear that the baby — the welfare/warfare state — will be thrown out with the bathwater — the admitted 'abuses' by the NSA. ... Both the establishment Left and the establishment Right offer flawed package deals ... In practice, the two are hardly different except for their rhetorical emphases. The point is to hold various constituencies in line by having them believe they must accept the whole package. Neoliberalism is corporate statism, not the freed market."
We Can Oppose Bigotry without the Politicians, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Feb 2014
Explains why the state is not necessary to ensure that people or businesses don't discriminate against others on the basis of sexual orientation or some other reason
"Right off, I'd ask how a 'compelling state interest' — whatever that may be — could license government to impose burdens, substantial or otherwise, on anyone's peaceful exercise of religion. The state is an organization of mere mortals who, by one dubious method or another, have been allowed to don the mantle of political legitimacy and to command obedience on pain of imprisonment even of those who never consented to the preposterous arrangement. ... The state should not be seen as a remedy, and considering that its essence is violence, it certainly should not punish nonviolent conduct, however objectionable."
Related Topic: Freedom of Association
We Need an Angel Like Clarence, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 28 Dec 2006
Examines, by example, the "unseen" benefits of libertarian activism over the past century
"If the state had had its way — and the state is always happy with more power and money — there would have been no zone of freedom left to us, and we would live as people have always lived when the state controlled every aspect of life: in the absence of civilization. It would have been a catastrophe. ... No state is liberal by nature, said Mises. Every state wants to control all."
Related Topic: Libertarianism
Who Owns the Internet?, by Tim Swanson, Mises Daily, 4 May 2006
Explains how and why "net neutrality" proposals came about, monopolistic tendencies, comparisons to natural resources and others held in common, and how variable pricing has been used elsewhere to solve similar problems
"The chief concern for both individuals and corporations alike has been the role of the State. If either side had their druthers, the State would intervene; it is a win-win situation for government intervention — a role whose legitimate jurisdiction has been left unquestioned. ... It is not a matter of having regulatory oversight — checked or unchecked the intervening State apparatus and its subterfuge obfuscate and remove accountability that private property and contracts would otherwise resolve."
Why I Am An Anarchist, by Caleb Johnson, The New Hampshire Free Press, 12 Mar 2008
Contrasts the general public view of anarchism with the reality of national governments and their actions
"... what distinguishes these forms of government from the state is that the state is not voluntary. The state is really a very specific type of government. It is an authoritarian model of government that enforces its rule over anyone that it considers to be within its jurisdiction, regardless of whether or not they have consented to its rule."
Related Topic: War
Why Limited Representative Government Fails, by Michael S. Rozeff, 17 Apr 2008
Presents a four-element theory of why limited representative government fails
"I regard government (including limited representative government) as an ersatz self-government. It is a substitute and a makeshift, a counterfeit like its fiat money. ... The success of the State owes to many factors, one of which is the State's ability to imitate self-government. Even to distinguish government from self-government and present them as opposites in their essentials is made difficult because of the trappings of self-government that the State employs."
Why the Republicans Are Doomed, by Lew Rockwell, 21 Feb 2007
Discusses recent Republican behavior at both the presidential (George W. Bush) and grassroots level, arguing that they take their societal view from Hobbes
"... the law these days is not the law written on our hearts but rather the rules as laid down by state masters. But this seemingly important point is completely lost on the Republican mind, since they believe that without the state as lawmaker, all of society and all of the world would collapse into a muddle of chaos and darkness."
Related Topics: Liberty, Republican Party, Society
Without the State, No Troops to Support, by Jeremy Weiland, 6 Mar 2007
Comments on the critics of the 2003 Iraq invasion who qualify their opposition by saying they still "support the troops"
"Without exception, each and every participant in this endless debate has supported the authority of the State. ... Critics of the war are obligated to speak in terms that reinforce the abstract dogma of the State — otherwise, why would they seek office? ... The reality is that people are wrongly dying because of the State, people have always wrongly died to preserve the State, and they will continue to die until we, the people, start saying 'no'."
Related Topic: War


UpdA Viper Lived in Johnny's House, or A Child's First Verse in Political Philosophy, by Robert Higgs, 9 Oct 2006
An allegorical poem about vipers that people keep in their houses
"'Listen, boy, it's not wise to wonder.
From the earliest days of mankind,
everyone's had a viper or another
sort of snake: people say they're divine.'
At home, they surrendered a great deal
of their food for the snake to consume. ...

Mother fancied the snake had brought them
prosperity and good fortune; ...

Father deemed that the snake kept away
even worse snakes from down the river ...

But for Johnny, all excuses fell flat,
and he dreamed of the day he would slay
the disgusting, menacing serpent that
distressed him by night and by day."


Anarchy, State and Utopia
    by Robert Nozick, 1974
Partial contents: Why State-of-Nature Theory? - The State of Nature - Moral Constraints and the State - Prohibition, Compensation, and Risk - The State - Distributive Justice - Equality, Envy, Exploitation, Etc. - Demoktesis - A Framework for Utopia
Related Topic: Anarchism
Bargaining With the State
    by Richard Epstein, 1993
Partial contents: Theoretical Foundations: The Problem of Coercion - Government Relations Within a Federal System - Economic Liberties and Property Rights - Positivie Rights in the Welfare State
Freedom in Chains: The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen
    by James Bovard, 1999
Partial contents: The Great Pretending: The State, Ideal & Real - The Mirage of Welfare State Freedom - Cagekeepers and Caretakers: Modern Democracy - The Moral Glorification of Leviathan - Sovereignty & Political Slavery
Interventionism: An Economic Analysis
    by Ludwig von Mises, 1940
Partial contents: Capitalism or Market Economy - The Socialist Economy - Interference by Restriction - Interference by Price Control - Inflation and Credit Expansion - Confiscation and Subsidies - Corporativism and Syndicalism - War Economy
Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children
    by David Harsanyi, 2007
Contents: Tyranny of the Busybody - Twinkie Fascists - Days of Whine - The Smokists - Yahweh (or the Highway) - Playground Despots - Mission Creep - How We Pay
Our Enemy, the State, by Albert Jay Nock, 1935
Table of contents (from the Hallberg edition): Social Power vs. State Power - The Origins of State and Class - The State in Colonial America - Land Monopoly and American Independence - Politics and Other Fetiches - The State and the Remnant
Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State
    by Ron Paul (Foreword), Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom Foundation, 2001
Partial table of contents: What the Welfare State Really Is - Didn't We Vote For it? - How It Started - The Idea of the Welfare State in America - What About the Poor? - Time to Abolish the Welfare State
The Man Versus The State, by Herbert Spencer, 1884
Contents: The New Toryism - The Coming Slavery - The Sins of Legislators - The Great Political Superstition; electronic version of the 1992 Liberty Fund edition available at the Library of Economics and Liberty
The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically, by Franz Oppenheimer, 1908
Contents: Theories of the State - The Genesis of the State - The Primitive Feudal State - The Maritime State - The Development of the Feudal State - The Development of the Constitutional State - The Tendency of the Development of the State
The State Against Blacks
    by Walter E. Williams, 1982
Partial contents: Discrimination Axioms and Discrimination Facts - Racial Terminology and Confusion - Minimum Wage, Maximum Folly - Occupational and Business Licensing - The Taxicab Industry - Economic Regulation by the States


Military Times: Obama--contractors in security-force, by Barack Obama
Senator Obama interviewed by editorial board of the Military Times newspapers, discussing the use of private military contractors like Blackwater
"... I think you're privatizing something that is, what essentially sets a nation-state apart, which is the monopoly on violence ..."

The Sunset of the State, by Stefan Molyneux, 4 Aug 2010
"Our statist system has become so ridiculously complicated because it has ... a fundamental error right down at the root of it ... the belief that violence is the best way to solve complex social problems; the delusion that if you point enough guns at enough people, run up enough debt ..., kidnap and enslave enough free souls, that the world will just get better and better and better."
Related Topic: Non-aggression Principle


The Scam Called the State, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Lew Rockwell Show, 30 Jul 2008
Lew asks Hans-Hermann Hoppe to explain why we allow the State to exist and whether there is any hope in opposing it