The Politics of Obedience

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[Introduction
to The
Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

by tienne de La Boétie , written 1552-53. Translated by
Harry Kurz for the edition that carried Rothbard's introduction,
New York: Free Life Editions, 1975. The pagination in the footnotes
refers to this 1975 edition. This online edition of Rothbard introduction
2002 The Mises Institute.]

tienne de
La Botie[1] has
been best remembered as the great and close friend of the eminent
essayist Michel de Montaigne, in one of history's most notable
friendships. But he would be better remembered, as some historians
have come to recognize, as one of the seminal political philosophers,
not only as a founder of modern political philosophy in France
but also for the timeless relevance of many of his theoretical
insights.

tienne de
La Boétie was born in Sarlat, in the Perigord region of
southwest France, in 1530, to an aristocratic family. His father
was a royal official of the Perigord region and his mother was
the sister of the president of the Bordeaux Parlement (assembly
of lawyers). Orphaned at an early age, he was brought up by his
uncle and namesake, the curate of Bouilbonnas, and received his
law degree from the University of Orlans in 1553. His great and
precocious ability earned La Botie a royal appointment to the
Bordeaux Parlement the following year, despite his being under
the minimum age. There he pursued a distinguished career as judge
and diplomatic negotiator until his untimely death in 1563, at
the age of thirty-two. La Botie was also a distinguished poet
and humanist, translating Xenophon and Plutarch, and being closely
connected with the leading young Pleiade group of poets, including
Pierre Ronsard, Jean Dorat, and Jean-Antoine de Baif. 

La Botie's
great contribution to political thought was written while he was
a law student at the University of Orleans, where he imbibed the
spirit of free inquiry that prevailed there. In this period of
questing and religious ferment, the University of Orleans was
a noted center of free and untrammeled discussion. La Botie's
main teacher there was the fiery Anne du Bourg, later to become
a Huguenot martyr, and burned at the stake for heresy in 1559. Du
Bourg was not yet a Protestant, but was already
tending in that direction, and it was no accident that this University
was later to become a center of Calvinism, nor that some of La
Botie's fellow students were to become Huguenot leaders. One
of these was La Botie's best friend at the University, and Du
Bourg's favorite student, Lambert Daneau. The study of law in
those days was an exciting enterprise, a philosophical search
for truth and fundamental principles. In the sixteenth century,
writes Paul Bonnefon, u201CThe teaching of the law was a preaching
rather than an institution, a sort of search for truth, carried
on by teacher and student in common, and which they feverishly
undertook together, opening up an endless field for philosophic
speculation.u201D[2] It
was this kind of atmosphere in the law schools of Orleans and
other leading French universities in which Calvin himself, two
decades earlier, had begun to develop his ideas of Protestant
Reform.[3] And it
was in that kind of atmosphere, as well, that lawyers were to
form one of the most important centers of Calvinist strength in
France. 

In the ferment
of his law school days at Orleans, tienne de La Botie composed
his brief but scintillating, profound and deeply radical Discourse
of Voluntary Servitude (Discours de la Servitude Volontaire).[4]  The
Discourse was circulated in manuscript form and never
published by La Botie. One can speculate that its radical views
were an important reason for the author's with holding it from
publication. It achieved a considerable fame in local Perigordian
intellectual circles, however. This can be seen by the fact that
Montaigne had read the essay long before he first met La Botie
as a fellow member of the Bordeaux Parlement in 1559.

The first
striking thing about the Discourse is the form: La
Botie's method was speculative, abstract, deductive. This contrasts
with the rather narrowly legal and historical argument of the
Huguenot monarchomach writers (those sectarian writers who argued
for the right of subjects to resist unjust rulers) of the 1570's
and 1580's, whom La Botie resembled in his opposition to tyranny.
While the Huguenot monarchomachs, best exemplified by Francois
Hotman's Franco-Gallia (1573), concentrated on grounding
their arguments on real or presumed historical precedents in French
laws and institutions, La Botie's only historical examples were
numerous illustrations of his general principles from classical
antiquity, the very remoteness of which added to the timeless
quality of his discourse. The later Huguenot arguments against
tyranny tended to be specific and concrete, rooted in actual French
institutions, and therefore their conclusions and implications
were limited to promoting the specific liberties against the State
of various privileged orders in French society. In contrast, the
very abstraction and universality of La Botie's thought led inexorably
to radical and sweeping conclusions on the nature of tyranny,
the liberty of the people, and what needed to be done to overthrow
the former and secure the latter. 

In his abstract,
universal reasoning, his development of a true political philosophy,
and his frequent references to classical antiquity, La Botie
followed the method of Renaissance writers, notably Niccolo Machiavelli.
There was, however, a crucial difference: whereas Machiavelli
attempted to instruct the Prince on ways of cementing his rule,
La Botie was dedicated to discussing ways to overthrow him and
thus to secure the liberty of the individual. Thus, Emile Brehier
makes a point of contrasting the cynical realism of Machiavelli
with the u201Cjuridical idealismu201D of tienne de La Botie.[5]  In
fact, however, La Botie's concentration on abstract reasoning
and on the universal rights of the individual might better be
characterized as foreshadowing the political thinking of the eighteenth
century. As J. W. Allen writes, the Discourse was
an u201Cessay on the natural liberty, equality and fraternity of man.u201D
The essay u201Cgave a general support to the Huguenot pamphleteers
by its insistence that natural law and natural rights justified
forcible resistance to tyrannous government.u201D But the language
of universal natural rights itself, Allen correctly
adds, u201Cserved no Huguenot purpose. It served, in truth, no purpose
at all at the time, though, one day, it might come to do so.u201D[6] Or,
as Harold Laski trenchantly put it: u201CA sense of popular right
such as the friend of Montaigne depicts is, indeed, as remote
from the spirit of the time as the anarchy of Herbert Spencer
in an age committed to government interference.u201D[7]

The contrast
between the proto-eighteenth-century speculative natural rights
approach of La Botie, and the narrowly legalistic and concrete-historical
emphasis of the Huguenot writers who reprinted and used the Discourse, has
been stressed by W. F. Church. In contrast to the u201Clegal approachu201D
which dominated political thought in sixteenth-century France,
Church writes, A purely speculative treatises, so characteristic
of the eighteenth century, were all but non-existent and their
rare appearances seem oddly out of place. Church then mentions
as an example of the latter La Botie's Discourse of Voluntary
Servitude. [8]

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 Botie 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. In short, the bulk of the people themselves,
for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection. If this
were not the case, no tyranny, indeed no governmental rule, could
long endure. Hence, a government does not have to be popularly
elected to enjoy general public support; for general public support
is in the very nature of all governments that endure, including
the most oppressive of tyrannies. The tyrant is but one person,
and could scarcely command the obedience of another person, much
less of an entire country, if most of the subjects did not grant
their obedience by their own consent.[9]

This, then,
becomes for La Botie the central problem of political theory:
why in the world do people consent to their own enslavement? La
Botie cuts to the heart of what is, or rather should be, the
central problem of political philosophy: the mystery of civil
obedience. Why do people, in all times and places, obey the commands
of the government, which always constitutes a small minority of
the society? To La Botie the spectacle of general consent to
despotism is puzzling and appalling: 

I should
like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so
many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer
under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power
they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to
which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could
do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up
with him rather than contradict him. Surely a striking situation!
Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder
the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness,
their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude
than they… [10]

And this
mass submission must be out of consent rather than simply out
of fear: 

Shall we
call subjection to such a leader cowardice? … If a hundred,
if a thousand endure the caprice of a single man, should we
not rather say that they lack not the courage but the desire
to rise against him, and that such an attitude indicates indifference
rather than cowardice? When not a hundred, not a thousand men,
but a hundred provinces, a thousand cities, a million men, refuse
to assail a single man from whom the kindest treatment received
is the infliction of serfdom and slavery, what shall we call
that? Is it cowardice? …  When a thousand, a million
men, a thousand cities, fail to protect themselves against the
domination of one man, this cannot be called cowardly, for cowardice
does not sink to such a depth. . . . What monstrous vice, then,
is this which does not even deserve to be called cowardice,
a vice for which no term can be found vile enough . . . ? [11]

It is evident
from the above passages that La Botie is bitterly opposed to
tyranny and to the public's consent to its own subjection. He
makes clear also that this opposition is grounded on a theory
of natural law and a natural right to liberty. In childhood, presumably
because the rational faculties are not yet developed, we obey
our parents; but when grown, we should follow our own reason,
as free individuals. As La Botie puts it: u201CIf we led our lives
according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught
by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later
we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody.u201D
[12]  Reason
is our guide to the facts and laws of nature and to humanity's
proper path, and each of us has u201Cin our souls some native seed
of reason, which, if nourished by good counsel and training, flowers
into virtue, but which, on the other hand, if unable to resist
the vices surrounding it, is stifled and blighted.u201D[13]
And reason, La Botie adds, teaches us the justice of equal liberty
for all. For reason shows us that nature has, among other things,
granted us the common gift of voice and speech. Therefore, u201Cthere
can be no further doubt that we are all naturally free,u201D and hence
it cannot be asserted that u201Cnature has placed some of us in slavery.u201D[14]
Even animals, he points out, display a natural instinct to be
free. But then, what in the world u201Chas so, denatured man that
he, the only creature really born to be free, lacks the memory
of his original condition and the desire to return to it?u201D[15]

La Botie's
celebrated and creatively original call for civil disobedience,
for mass non-violent resistance as a method for the overthrow
of tyranny, stems directly from the above two premises: the
fact that all rule rests on the consent of the subject masses,
and the great value of natural liberty. For if tyranny really
rests on mass consent, then the obvious means for its overthrow
is simply by mass withdrawal of that consent. The
weight of tyranny would quickly and suddenly collapse under
such a non-violent revolution. (The Tory David Hume did not,
unsurprisingly, draw similar conclusions from his theory of
mass consent as the basis of all governmental rule.) 

Thus, after
concluding that all tyranny rests on popular consent, La Botie
eloquently concludes that u201Cobviously there is no need of fighting
to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated
if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement.u201D Tyrants
need not be expropriated by force; they need only be deprived
of the public's continuing supply of funds and resources. The
more one yields to tyrants, La Botie points out, the stronger
and mightier they become. But if the tyrants u201Care simply not
obeyed,u201D they become u201Cundone and as nothing.u201D La Botie then
exhorts the u201Cpoor, wretched, and stupid peoplesu201D to cast off
their chains by refusing to supply the tyrant any further with
the instruments of their own oppression. The tyrant, indeed,
has nothing more than the power that you confer upon him
to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon
you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have
so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from
you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get
them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over
you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had
not cooperation from you? 

La Botie
concludes his exhortation by assuring the masses that to overthrow
the tyrant they need not act, nor shed their blood. They can
do so u201Cmerely by willing to be free.u201D In short, 

Resolve
to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask
that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but
simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold
him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled
away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.[16]

It was
a medieval tradition to justify tyrannicide of unjust rulers
who break the divine law, but La Botie's doctrine, though non-violent,
was in the deepest sense far more radical. For while the assassination
of a tyrant is simply an isolated individual act within an
existing political system, mass civil disobedience, being a
direct act on the part of large masses of people, is far more
revolutionary in launching a transformation of the system itself.
It is also more elegant and profound in theoretical terms, flowing
immediately as it does from La Botie's insight about power
necessarily resting on popular consent; for then the remedy
to power is simply to withdraw that consent.u201D [17]

The call
for mass civil disobedience was picked up by one of the more
radical of the later Huguenot pamphlets, La France Turquie (1575),
which advocated an association of towns and provinces for the
purpose of refusing to pay all taxes to the State.[18]  But
it is not surprising that among the most enthusiastic advocates
of mass civil disobedience have been the anarchist thinkers,
who simply extend both La Botie's analysis and his conclusion
from tyrannical rule to all governmental rule whatsoever. Prominent
among the anarchist advocates of non-violent resistance have
been Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Benjamin R. Tucker, all of the nineteenth
century, and all, unsurprisingly, associated with the non-violent,
pacifist branch of anarchism. Tolstoy, indeed, in setting forth
his doctrine of non-violent anarchism, used a lengthy passage
from the Discourse as the focal point for the development
of his argument.[19] In
addition, Gustav Landauer, the leading German anarchist of the
early twentieth century, after becoming converted to a pacifist
approach, made a rousing summary of La Botie's Discourse
of Voluntary Servitude the central core of his anarchist
work, Die Revolution (1919). A leading Dutch pacifist-anarchist
of the twentieth century, Barthelemy de Ligt, not only devoted
several pages of his Conquest of Violence to discussion
and praise of La Botie's Discourse; he also translated
it into Dutch in 1933.[20]

Several
historians of anarchism have gone so far as to classify La Botie's
treatise itself as anarchist, which is incorrect since La Botie
never extended his analysis from tyrannical government to government per
se.[21] But
while La Botie cannot be considered an anarchist, his sweeping
strictures on tyranny and the universality of his political
philosophy lend themselves easily to such an expansion. All
this considerably disturbed La Botie's biographer, Paul Bonnefon,
who wrote of the Discourse: 

After
having failed to distinguish legitimate from illicit authority,
and having imprudently attacked even the principle of authority,
La Botie put forth a naive illusion. He seems to believe
that man could live in a state of nature, without society
and without government, and discovered that this situation
would be filled with happiness for humanity. This dream is
puerile. . . .[22]

To the
acute analyst Pierre Mesnard, Bonnefon's alarm is wide of the
mark; Mesnard believes that La Botie defined tyranny as simply
any exercise of personal power.[23] In
doing so, La Botie went beyond the traditional twofold definition
of tyranny as either usurpation of power, or government against
the u201Clawsu201D (which were either defined as customary law, divine
law, or the natural law for the u201Ccommon goodu201D of the people).[24] Whereas
the traditional theory thus focused only on the means of
the ruler's acquiring power, and the use made of that power,
Mesnard points out that La Botie's definition of tyranny went
straight to the nature of power itself. Tyranny
does not depend, as many of the older theorists had supposed,
on illicit means of acquiring power, the tyrant need not be
a usurper. As La Botie declares, u201CThere are three kinds of
tyrants: some receive their proud position through elections
by the people, others by force of arms, others by inheritance.u201D[25]
Usurpers or conquerors always act as if they are ruling a conquered
country and those born to kingship u201Care scarcely any better,
because they are nourished on the breast of tyranny, suck in
with their milk the instincts of the tyrant, and
consider the people under them as their inherited serfs. As
for elected they would seem to be u201Cmore bearable,u201D but they
are always intriguing to convert the election into a hereditary
despotism, and hence u201Csurpass other tyrants … in cruelty,
because they find no other means to impose this new tyranny
than by tightening control and removing their subjects so far
from any notion of liberty that even if the memory of it is
fresh it will soon be eradicated.u201D In sum, La Botie can find
no choice between these three kinds of tyrants: 

For although
the means of coming into power differ, still the method of
ruling is practically the same; those who are elected act
as if they were breaking in bullocks; those who are conquerors
make the people their prey; those who are heirs plan to treat
them as if they were their natural slaves.[26]

Yet Mesnard's
neat conclusion – that La Botie meant simply to indict
all personal power, all forms of monarchy, as being
tyrannical – is inadequate.[27]
In the first place, in the passage quoted above La Botie indicts
elected as well as other rulers. Moreover, he states that, u201Chaving
several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts
to being that many times unfortunate.u201D[28]
These are not precisely indictments of the concept of a republic,
but they leave the definition of tyranny in La Botie sufficiently
vague so that one can easily press on the anarchist conclusions. 

Why do
people continue to give their consent to despotism? Why do they
permit tyranny to continue? This is especially puzzling if tyranny
(defined at least as all personal power) must rest on mass consent,
and if the way to overthrow tyranny is therefore for the people
to withdraw that consent. The remainder of La Botie's treatise
is devoted to this crucial problem, and his discussion here
is as seminal and profound as it is in the earlier part of the
work. 

The establishment
of tyranny, La Botie points out, is most difficult at the outset,
when it is first imposed. For generally, if given a free choice,
people will vote to be free rather than to be slaves: u201CThere
can be no doubt that they would much prefer to be guided by
reason itself than to be ordered about by the whims of a single
man.u201D[29] A
possible exception was the voluntary choice by the Israelites
to imitate other nations in choosing a king (Saul). Apart from
that, tyranny can only be initially imposed by conquest or by
deception. The conquest may be either by foreign armies or by
an internal factional coup. The deception occurs in cases where
the people, during wartime emergencies, select certain persons
as dictators, thus providing the occasion for these individuals
to fasten their power permanently upon the public. Once begun,
however, the maintenance of tyranny is permitted and bolstered
by the insidious throes of habit, which quickly
accustom the people to enslavement. 

It is
true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and
by force; but those who come after them obey without regret
and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because
they had to. This is why men born under the yoke and then
nourished and reared in slavery are content, without further
effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any
other state or right, and considering as quite natural the
condition into which they are born … the powerful influence
of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely,
habituation to subjection.[30]

Thus, humanity's
natural drive for liberty is finally overpowered by the force
of custom, for the reason that native endowment, no matter how
good, is dissipated unless encouraged, whereas environment always
shapes us in its own way, whatever that might be in spite of
nature's gifts.u201D[31] Therefore,
those who are born enslaved should be pitied and forgiven, u201Csince
they have not seen even the shadow of liberty, and being quite
unaware of it, cannot perceive the evil endured through their
own slavery….u201D While, in short, u201Cit is truly the nature of
man to be free and to wish to be so,u201D yet a person's character
u201Cinstinctively follows the tendencies that his training gives
him… La Botie concludes that u201Ccustom becomes the first reason
for voluntary servitude.u201D People will 

grow
accustomed to the idea that they have always been in subjection,
that their fathers lived in the same way; they will think
they are obliged to suffer this evil, and will persuade themselves
by example and imitation of others, finally investing those
who order them around with proprietary rights, based on the
idea that it has always been that way.[32]
[33]

Consent
is also actively encouraged and engineered by the rulers, and
this is another major reason for the persistence of civil obedience.
Various devices are used by rulers to induce such consent. One
method is by providing the masses with circuses, with entertaining
diversions:

Plays,
farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures,
and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the
bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments
of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient
dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the
yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes
and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience
as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn
to read by looking at bright picture books.[34]

Another
method of inducing consent is purely ideological: duping the
masses into believing that the tyrannical ruler is wise, just,
and benevolent. Thus, La Botie points out, the Roman emperors
assumed the ancient title of Tribune of the People, because
the concept had gained favor among the public as representing
a guardian of their liberties. Hence the assumption of despotism
under the cloak of the old liberal form. In modern times, La
Botie adds, rulers present a more sophisticated version of
such propaganda, for u201Cthey never undertake an unjust policy,
even one of some importance, without prefacing it with some
pretty speech concerning public welfare and common good.u201D[35]
Reinforcing ideological propaganda is deliberate mystification:
u201CThe kings of the Assyrians and … the Medes showed themselves
in public as seldom as possible in order to set up a doubt in
the minds of the rabble as to whether they were not in some
way more than man… . u201C Symbols of mystery and magic were woven
around the Crown, so that u201Cby doing this they inspired their
subjects with reverence and admiration…. It is pitiful to
review the list of devices that early despots used to establish
their tyranny; to discover how many little tricks they employed,
always finding the populace conveniently gullible….
[36]
At times, tyrants have gone to the length of imputing themselves
to the very status of divinity: u201Cthey have insisted on using
religion for their own protection and, where possible, have
borrowed a stray bit of divinity to bolster up their evil ways.u201D[37]
Thus, u201Ctyrants, in order to strengthen their power, have made
every effort to train their people not only in obedience and
servility toward themselves, but also in adoration.u201D [38]

At this
point, La Botie inserts his one and only reference to contemporary
France. It is on its face extremely damaging, for he asserts
that u201Cour own leaders have employed in France certain similar
[quasidivine] devices, such as toads, fleurs-de-lys, sacred
vessels, and standards with flames of gold [oriflammes].u201D[39]
He quickly adds that in this case he does not u201Cwish, for my
part, to be incredulous,u201D for French kings u201Chave always been
so generous in times of peace and so valiant in time of war,
that from birth they seem not to have been created by nature
like many others, but even before birth to have been designated
by Almighty God for the government and preservation of this
kingdom.u201D [40]
In the light of the context of the work, it is impossible not
to believe that the intent of this passage is satirical, and
this interpretation is particularly confirmed by the passage
immediately following, which asserts that u201Ceven if this were
not so,u201D he would not question the truth of these French traditions,
because they have provided such a fine field for the flowering
of French poetry. u201CCertainly I should be presumptuous,u201D he concludes,
surely ironically, u201Cif I tried to cast slurs on our records
and thus invade the realm of our poets.u201D[41]

Specious
ideology, mystery, circuses; in addition to these purely propagandistic
devices, another device is used by rulers to gain the consent
of their subjects: purchase by material benefits, bread as well
as circuses. The distribution of this largesse to the people
is also a method, and a particularly cunning one, of duping
them into believing that they benefit from tyrannical rule.
They do not realize that they are in fact only receiving a small
proportion of the wealth already filched from them by their
rulers. Thus:

Roman
tyrants … provided the city wards with feasts to cajole the
rabble…. Tyrants would distribute largesse, a bushel of wheat,
a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly
cry, u201CLong live the King!u201D The fools did not realize that they
were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and
that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving
without having first taken it from them. A man might one day
be presented with a sesterce and gorge himself at the public
feast, lauding Tiberius and Nero for handsome liberality, who
on the morrow, would be forced to abandon his property to their
avarice, his children to their lust, his very blood to the cruelty
of these magnificent emperors, without offering any more resistance
than a stone or a tree stump. The mob has always behaved in
this way – eagerly open to bribes… [42]

And La
Botie goes on to cite the cases of the monstrous tyrannies
of Nero and Julius Caesar, each of whose deaths was deeply mourned
by the people because of his supposed liberality.

Here La
Botie proceeds to supplement this analysis of the purchase
of consent by the public with another truly original contribution,
one which Professor Lewis considers to be the most novel and
important feature of his theory.[43]
This is the establishment, as it were the permanent and continuing
purchase, of a hierarchy of subordinate allies, a loyal band
of retainers, praetorians and bureaucrats. La Botie himself
considers this factor u201Cthe mainspring and the secret of domination,
the support and foundation of tyranny.u201D[44]
Here is a large sector of society which is not merely duped
with occasional and negligible handouts from the State; here
are individuals who make a handsome and permanent living out
of the proceeds of despotism. Hence, their stake in despotism
does not depend on illusion or habit or mystery; their stake
is all too great and all too real. A hierarchy of patronage
from the fruits of plunder is thus created and maintained: five
or six individuals are the chief advisors and beneficiaries
of the favors of the king. These half-dozen in a similar manner
maintain six hundred u201Cwho profit under them,u201D and the six hundred
in their turn u201Cmaintain under them six thousand, whom they promote
in rank, upon whom they confer the government of provinces or
the direction of finances, in order that they may serve as instruments
of avarice and cruelty, executing orders at the proper time
and working such havoc all around that they could not last except
under the shadow of the six hundred…u201D [45]

In this
way does the fatal hierarchy pyramid and permeate down through
the ranks of society, until u201Ca hundred thousand, and even millions,
cling to the tyrant by this cord to which they are tied.u201D In
short,

when
the point is reached, through big favors or little ones, that
large profits or small are obtained under a tyrant, there
are found almost as many people to whom tyranny seems advantageous
as those to whom liberty would seem desirable. . . . Whenever
a ruler makes himself a dictator, all the wicked dregs of
the nation … all those who are corrupted by burning ambition
or extraordinary avarice, these gather around him and support
him in order to have a share in the booty and to constitute
themselves petty chiefs under the big tyrant.[46]

Thus, the
hierarchy of privilege descends from the large gainers from
despotism, to the middling and small gainers, and finally down
to the mass of the people who falsely think they gain from the
receipt of petty favors. In this way the subjects are divided,
and a great portion of them induced to cleave to the ruler,
u201Cjust as, in order to split wood, one has to use a wedge of
the wood itself.u201D Of course, the train of the tyrant's retinue
and soldiers suffer at their leader's hands, but they u201Ccan be
led to endure evil if permitted to commit it, not against him
who exploits them, but against those who like themselves submit,
but are helpless.u201D In short, in return for its own subjection,
this order of subordinates is permitted to oppress the rest
of the public.[47]

How is
tyranny concretely to be overthrown, if it is cemented upon
society by habit, privilege and propaganda? How are the people
to be brought to the point where they will decide to withdraw
their consent? In the first place, affirms La Botie, not all
the people will be deluded or sunk into habitual submission.
There is always a more percipient, elite who will understand
the reality of the situation; u201Cthere are always a few, better
endowed than others, who feel the weight of the yoke and cannot
restrain themselves from attempting to shake it off.u201D These
are the people who, in contrast to u201Cthe brutish mass,u201D possess
clear and far-sighted minds, and u201Chave further trained them
by study and learning.u201D Such people never quite disappear from
the world: u201CEven if liberty had entirely perished from the earth,
such men would invent it.u201D[48]

Because
of the danger these educated people represent, tyrants often
attempt to suppress education in their realms, and in that way
those who u201Chave preserved their love of freedom, still remain
ineffective because, however numerous they may be, they are
not known to one another; under the tyrant they have lost freedom
of action, of speech, and almost of thought; they are alone
in their aspiration.u201D[49]
Here La Botie anticipates such modern analysts of totalitarianism
as Hannah Arendt. But there is hope; for still the elite exists,
and, culling examples once again from antiquity, La Botie maintains
that heroic leaders can arise who will not fail u201Cto deliver
their country from evil hands when they set about their task
with a firm, whole-hearted and sincere intention.u201D[50]
The evident task, then, of this valiant and knowledgeable elite
is to form the vanguard of the revolutionary resistance movement
against the despot. Through a process of educating the public
to the truth, they will give back to the people knowledge of
the blessings of liberty and of the myths and illusions fostered
by the State.

In addition
to rousing the people to the truth, the opposition movement
has another vital string to its bow: the unnatural lives lived
by the despots and their hierarchy of favorites. For their lives
are miserable and fearful and not happy. Tyrants live in constant
and perpetual fear of the well-deserved hatred they know is
borne them by every one of their subjects. [51]
Courtiers and favorites live miserable, crawling, cringing lives
every moment of which is bent on servilely fawning upon the
ruler on whom they depend. Eventually, as enlightenment spreads
among the public, the privileged favorites will begin to realize
the true misery of their lot, for all their wealth can be seized
from them at any moment should they fall out of step in the
race for the favors of the king. When they u201Clook at themselves
as they really are . . . they will realize clearly that the
townspeople, the peasants whom they trample under foot and treat
worse than convicts or slaves … are nevertheless, in comparison
with themselves, better off and fairly free.u201D [52]

Although
he does not explicitly say so, it seems to be La Botie's contention
that the spread of enlightenment among the public will not only
generate refusal of consent among the mass, but will also aid
its course immeasurably by splitting off, by driving a wedge
inside, a portion of the disaffected privileged bureaucracy.[53]

There is
no better way to conclude a discussion of the content of La
Botie's notable Discourse of Voluntary Servitude than
to note Mesnard's insight that u201Cfor La Botie as for Machiavelli,
authority can only be grounded on acceptance by the subjects:
except that the one teaches the prince how to compel their acquiescence,
while the other reveals to the people the power that would lie
in their refusal.u201D[54]

After graduating
from law school, tienne de La Botie took up an eminent career
as a royal official in Bordeaux. He never published the Discourse,
and as he pursued a career in faithful service of the monarch,
never a hint did he express along the lines of his earlier treatise.
Certainly one of the reasons for Montaigne's stout insistence
on his friend's conservatism and monarchical loyalty is that
La Botie had changed his political views by the time they met
around 1559. Indeed, in late 1562, shortly before he died, La
Botie wrote but did not publish a manuscript forgotten and
lost until recent years, in which he, with moderate conservatism,
advised the State to punish Protestant leaders as rebels, to
enforce Catholicism upon France, but also to reform the abuses
of the Church moderately and respectably by the agency of the
king and his Parlements. Protestants would then be forced to
convert back to Catholicism or leave the country.u201D[55]

Certainly
it is far from unusual for a young university student, eagerly
caught up in a burst of free inquiry, to be a fiery radical,
only to settle into a comfortable and respectable conservatism
once well entrenched in a career bound to the emoluments of
the status quo. But there seems to be more here than
that. For the very abstractness of La Botie's argument in the
Discourse, the very Renaissance-like remoteness of the
discussion from the concrete problems of the France of his day,
while universalizing and radicalizing the theory, also permitted
La Botie, even in his early days, to divorce theory from practice.
It permitted him to be sincerely radical in the abstract while
continuing to be conservative in the concrete. His almost inevitable
shift of interest from the abstract to concrete problems in
his busy career thereby caused his early radicalism to drop
swiftly from sight as if it had never existed. [56]

But if
his abstract method permitted La Botie to abandon his radical
conclusions rapidly in the concrete realm, it had an opposite
effect on later readers. Its very timelessness made the work
ever available to be applied concretely in a radical manner
to later problems and institutions. And this was precisely the
historical fate of La Botie's Discourse. It was first
published, albeit anonymously and incompletely, in the radical
Huguenot pamphlet, Reveille-Matin des Francois (1574),
probably written by Nicholas Barnaud with the collaboration
of Theodore Beza.[57] The
full text with the author's name appeared for the first time
two years later, in a collection of radical Huguenot essays
compiled by a Calvinist minister at Geneva, Simon Goulard.
[58]
Montaigne
was furious at the essay's publication under revolutionary Huguenot
auspices. He had intended to publish it himself. Now, however,
not only did he refuse to do so, but he tried to refurbish La
Botie's conservative reputation by successively averring that
his friend had been eighteen, and then sixteen, years old at
the time of the essay's writing. For their part, however, even
the Huguenots used La Botie in gingerly fashion. u201CAttractive
as was the spirit of La Botie's essay,u201D writes Harold Laski,
u201Cavowed and academic republicanism was meat too strong for the
digestion of the time. Not that La Botie was entirely without
influence; but he was used as cautiously as an Anglican bishop
might, in the sixties, have an interest in Darwinism.u201D[59]

Almost
completely forgotten in the more peaceful days of the first
half of the seventeenth century in France, the Discourse became
widely known again during the Enlightenment of the eighteenth
century, through being printed as a supplement to Montaigne's
essays, but was not particularly influential. Finally, and unsurprisingly,
the essay found its metier in the midst of the French
Revolution, when it was twice reprinted. Later the radical Abbe
de Lammenais reprinted the Discourse with a u201Cviolentu201D
preface of his own, and the same was done by another writer
in 1852 to strike back at the coup d’etat of Napoleon
III. And we have seen how the Discourse inspired the
non-violent wing of the anarchist movement in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. As the centuries went on, the abstract
argument of the Discourse continued to exert a fascination
for radicals and revolutionaries. The speculative thought of
the young law student was taking posthumous revenge upon the
respectable and eminent official of the Bordeaux Parlement.

La Boétie s's
Discourse has a vital importance for the modern
reader – an importance that goes beyond the sheer pleasure
of reading a great and seminal work on political philosophy,
or, for the libertarian, of reading the first libertarian political
philosopher in the Western world. For La Botie speaks most
sharply to the problem which all libertarians – indeed,
all opponents of despotism–find particularly difficult:
the problem of strategy. Facing the devastating and seemingly
overwhelming power of the modem State, how can a free and very
different world be brought about? How in the world can we get
from here to there, from a world of tyranny to a world of freedom?
Precisely because of his abstract and timeless methodology,
La Botie offers vital insights into this eternal problem.

In the
first place, La Botie's insight that any State, no matter how
ruthless and despotic, rests in the long run on the consent
of the majority of the public, has not yet been absorbed into
the consciousness of intellectuals opposed to State despotism.
Notice, for example, how many anti-Communists write about Communist
rule as if it were solely terror imposed from above on the angry
and discontented masses. Many of the errors of American foreign
policy have stemmed from the idea that the majority of the population
of a country can never accept and believe in Communist ideas,
which must therefore be imposed by either a small clique or
by outside agents from existing Communist countries. In modern
political thought, only the free- market economist Ludwig von
Mises has sufficiently stressed the fact that all governments
must rest on majority consent.

Since despotic
rule is against the interests of the bulk of the population,
how then does this consent come about? Again, La Botie highlights
the point that this consent is engineered, largely by propaganda
beamed at the populace by the rulers and their intellectual
apologists. The devices – of bread and circuses, of ideological
mystification – that rulers today use to gull the masses
and gain their consent, remain the same as in La Botie's days.
The only difference is the enormous increase in the use of specialized
intellectuals in the service of the rulers. But in this case,
the primary task of opponents of modem tyranny is an educational
one: to awaken the public to this process, to demystify and
desanctify the State apparatus. Furthermore, La Botie's analysis
both of the engineering of consent and of the role played by
bureaucrats and other economic interests that benefit from the
State, highlights another critical problem which many modem
opponents of statism have failed to recognize: that the problem
of strategy is not simply one of educating the public about
the u201Cerrorsu201D committed by the government. For much of what the
State does is not an error at all from its own point of view,
but a means of maximizing its power, influence, and income.
We have to realize that we are facing a mighty engine of power
and economic exploitation, and therefore that, at the very least,
libertarian education of the public must include an expos of
this exploitation, and of the economic interests and intellectual
apologists who benefit from State rule. By confining themselves
to analysis of alleged intellectual u201Cerrors,u201D opponents of government
intervention have rendered themselves ineffective. For one thing,
they have been beaming their counter-propaganda at a public
which does not have the equipment or the interest to follow
the complex analyses of error, and which can therefore easily
be rebamboozled by the experts in the employ of the State. Those
experts, too, must be desanctified, and again La Botie strengthens
us in the necessity of such desanctification.

The libertarian
theorist Lysander Spooner, writing over four hundred years after
La Botie, propounded the similar view that the supporters of
government consisted largely of u201Cdupesu201D and u201Cknavesu201D:

The ostensible
supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters
of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.:
1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government
an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement
or wealth. 2. Dupes – a large class, no doubt –
each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions
in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own
property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice
in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have
in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough
to imagine that he is a u201Cfree man,u201D a u201Csovereignu201D; that this
is a u201Cfree governmentu201D; u201Ca government of equal rights,u201D u201Cthe
best government on earth,u201D and such like absurdities. 3. A
class who have some appreciation of the evils of government,
but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose
to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves
seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change.[60]

The prime
task of education, then, is not simply abstract insight into
governmental u201Cerrorsu201D in advancing the general welfare, but
debamboozling the public on the entire nature and procedures
of the despotic State. In that task, La Botie also speaks
to us in his stress on the importance of a perceptive, vanguard
elite of libertarian and anti-statist intellectuals. The role
of this u201Ccadreu201D – to grasp the essence of statism and to
desanctify the State in the eyes and minds of the rest of the
population – is crucial to the potential success of any
movement to bring about a free society. It becomes, therefore,
a prime libertarian task to discover, coalesce, nurture, and
advance its cadre – a task of which all too many libertarians
remain completely ignorant. For no amount of oppression or misery
will lead to a successful movement for freedom unless such a
cadre exists and is able to educate and rally the intellectuals
and the general public.

There is
also the hint in La Botie of the importance of finding and
encouraging disaffected portions of the ruling apparatus, and
of stimulating them to break away and support the opposition
to despotism. While this can hardly play a central role in a
libertarian movement, all successful movements against State
tyranny in the past have made use of such disaffection and inner
conflicts, especially in their later stages of development.

La Botie
was also the first theorist to move from the emphasis on the
importance of consent, to the strategic importance of toppling
tyranny by leading the public to withdraw that consent.
Hence, La Botie was the first theorist of the strategy of mass,
non-violent civil disobedience of State edicts and exactions.
How practical such a tactic might be is difficult to say, especially
since it has rarely been used. But the tactic of mass refusal
to pay taxes, for example, is increasingly being employed in
the United States today, albeit in a sporadic form. In December
1974 the residents of the city of Willimantic, Connecticut,
assembled in a town meeting and rejected the entire city budget
three times, finally forcing a tax cut of 9 percent. This is
but one example of growing public revulsion against crippling
taxation throughout the country.

On a different
theme, La Botie provides us with a hopeful note on the future
of a free society. He points out that once the public experiences
tyranny for a long time, it becomes inured, and heedless of the
possibility of an alternative society. But this means that should
State despotism ever be removed, it would be extremely difficult
to reimpose statism. The bulwark of habit would be gone, and statism
would be seen by all for the tyranny that it is. If a free society
were ever to be established, then, the chances for its maintaining
itself would be excellent.

More and
more, if inarticulately, the public is rebelling, not only against
onerous taxation but-in the age of Watergate – against the
whole, carefully nurtured mystique of government.
Twenty years ago, the historian, Cecilia Kenyon, writing of the
Anti-Federalist opponents of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution,
chided them for being u201Cmen of little faithu201D – little faith,
that is, in a strong central government.[61]
It is hard to think of anyone having such unexamined faith in
government today. In such an age as ours, thinkers like tienne
de La Botie have become far more relevant, far more genuinely
modern, than they have been for over a century.

References

[1]
Properly pronounced not, as might be thought, La Bo-ay-see,
but rather La Bwettie (with the hard) as it was pronounced in
the perigord dialect of the region in which La Boétie lived.
The definitive discussion of the proper pronunciation may be
found in Paul Bonnefon, Oeuvres Completes d’Estienne de La
Boétie (Bordeaux: C. Gounouilhou, and Paris: J. Rouam et
Cie., 1892), pp. 385-6.

[2]
Bonnefon, op.cit., p. xlvi.

[3]
Pierre Mesnard, L ‘Essor de la Philosophie Politique Au XVle
Siecle (Paris: Boivin et Cie., 1936). p. 391.

[4]
Having remained long in manuscript, the actual date of writing
the Discourse of Voluntary Servitude remains a matter
of dispute. It seems clear, however, and has been so accepted
by recent authorities, that Montaigne’s published story that
La Boétie wrote the Discourse at the age
of eighteen or even of sixteen was incorrect. Montaigne’s statement,
as we shall see further below, was probably part of his later
campalgn to guard his dead friend’s reputation by dissociating
him from the revolutionary Huguenots who were claiming La Boétie
‘s pamphlet for their own. Extreme youth tended to cast the
Discourse in the light of a work so youthful that
the radical content was hardly to be taken seriously as the
views of the author. Internal evidence as well as the erudition
expressed in the work make it likely that the Discourse was
written in 1552 or 1553, at the age of twenty-two, while La
Boétie was at the University. See Bonnefon, op.cit., pp.
xxxvi-xxxvii; Mesnard, op.cit., pp. 390-1; and Donald
Frame, Montaigne: A Biography (New York: Harcourt
Brace, & World, 1965), p. 71. There is no biography of La
Boétie . Closest to it is Bonnefon’s “Introduction” to
his Oeuvres Completes, op.cit., pp. xi-Ixxxv, later
reprinted as part of Paul Bonnefon, Montaigne et ses Amis (Paris:
Armand Colin et Cie., 1898), I, pp. 103-224. 

[5]
Emile Brehier, Histoire de la Philosophie, Vol. I: Moyen
Age et Renaissance, cited in Mesnard, op.cit., p.
404n. Also see Joseph Banere, Estienne de La Boétie
contre Nicholas Machiavel (Bordeaux, 1908), cited in
ibid. 

[6]
J. W. Allen, A
History of Political Thought in the Sixteenth Century
 (New
York: Barnes and Noble, 1960), p. 314.

[7]
Harold J. Laski, “Introduction,” A Defence of Liberty Against
Tyrants (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1963), p.
11.

[8]
William Fan Church, Constitutional Thought in Sixteenth-Century
France (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1941),
p. 13 and 13n.

[9]
David Hume independently discovered this principle two centuries
later, and phrased it with his usual succinctness and clarity:

Nothing
appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs
with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many
are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which
men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their
rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected,
we shall find, that, as Force is always on the side of the governed,
the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is
therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this
maxim extends to the most despotic and military governments,
as well as to the most free and most popular.

David Hume,
“Of the First Principles of Government,” in Essays,
Literary, Moral and Political
.

[10]
See p. 46 below.

[11]
p. 48.

[12]
p. 55.

[13]
pp. 55-56.

[14]
p.56.

[15]
p. 58.

[16]
pp.50-53.

[17]
The historian Mesnard writes that this theory is “rigorous and
profound,” that the critics have never fully grasped its point,
and that “it is the humanist solution to the problem of authority
.” Mesnard, op.cit. , p. 400.

[18]
See Laski, op.cit., p. 29; Allen, op.cit., p.
308.

[19] Thus,
Tolstoy writes:

The
situation of the oppressed should not be compared to the constraint
used directly by the stronger on the weaker, or by a greater
number on a smaller. Here, indeed it is the minority who oppress
the majority, thanks to a lie established ages ago by clever
people, in virtue of which men despoil each other. …

Then, after
a long quote from La Boétie , Tolstoy concludes,

It
would seem that the workers, not gaining any advantage from
the restraint that is exercised on them, should at last realize
the lie in which they are living and free themselves in the
simplest and easiest way: by abstaining from taking part in
the violence that is only possible with their co-operation.

Leo Tolstoy,
The
Law of Love and the Law of Violence
(New York: Rudolph
Field, 1948), pp. 42-45.

Furthermore,
Tolstoy’s Letter to a Hindu, which played a central role
in shaping Ghandi’s thinking toward mass non-violent action,
was heavily influenced by La Boétie . See Bartelemy de Ligt,
The
Conquest of Violence
(New York, E.P. Dutton & Co.,
1938), pp. 105-6.

[20]
Etienne de La Boétie , Vrijwillige Slavernij (The Hague,
1933, edited by Bart. de Ligt). Cited in Bart. de Ligt, op.cit.,
p. 289. Also see ibid., pp. 104-6. On Landauer, see ibid.,
p. 106, and George Woodcock, Anarchism
(Cleveland, Ohio: World Pub. Co., 1962), p. 432.

[21]
Among those making this error was Max Nettlau, the outstanding
historian of anarchism and himself an anarchist. Max Nettlau,
Der Vorfruhling der Anarchie; Ihre Historische Entwicklung
den Anfangen bis zum Jahre 1864 (Berlin, 1925). On
this see Bert F. Hoselitz, “Publisher’s Preface,” in G.P. Maximoff,
ed., The
Political Philosophy of Bakunin
 (Glencoe, Dl.:
The Free Press, 1953), pp. 9-10.

The first
historian of anarchism, E. V. Zenker, a non-anarchist, made
the same mistake. Thus, he wrote of La Boétie ‘s Discourse, 
that it contained: u201CA glowing defence of Freedom, which goes
so far that the sense of the necessity of authority disappears
entirely. The opinion of La Boétie is that mankind does not
need government; it is only necessary that man should really
wish it, and he would find himself happy and free again, as
if by magic.u201D

E. V. Zenker,
Anarchism (London: Methuen & Co., 1898), pp.15-16.

[22]
Bonnefon, op.cit.,  “Introduction,” p. xliii. In
short, even Bonnefon, reacting gingerly to the radical nature
and implications of La Boétie ‘s work, classified it as anarchist. 

[23]
Mesnard, op.cit. , p. 395-6.

[24]
On the classical and medieval concepts of tyranny, see John
D. Lewis, “The Development of the Theory of Tyrannicide to 1660″
in Oscar Jaszi and John D. Lewis, Against the Tyrant: The
Tradition and Theory of Tyrannicide (Glencoe, Dl.: The Free
Press, 1957), pp. 3-96, esp. pp. 3ff., 20ff.

[25]
p. 58.

[26]
pp. 58-59.

[27]
Mesnard writes: “If La Boétie does not distinguish between monarchy
and tyranny (as he was charged by Bonnefon), it is precisely
because the two are equally illegitimate in his eyes, the first
being only a special case of the second.” Mesnard, op.cit.,
pp. 395-6. La Boétie also levels a general attack on monarchy
when he questions whether monarchy has any place among true
commonwealths, “since it is hard to believe that there is anything
of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one
master.” p. 46.

[28]
p. 46.

[29]
p.59.

[30]
p. 60.

[31]
p. 61.

[32]
pp. 64-65.

[33]
David Hume was later to write in his essay u201COf the Origin of
Governmentu201D: u201CHabit soon consolidates what other principles
of human nature had imperfectly founded; and men, once accustomed
to obedience, never think of departing from that path, in which
they and their ancestors have constantly trod….

[34]
pp. 69-70

[35]
p. 71.

[36]
p. 72.

[37]
p. 73.

[38]
P. 75.

[39]
P. 74.

[40]
Ibid.

[41]
pp. 74-75. Bonnefon seizes the occasion to claim his subject
as, deep down and in spite of his radical deviations, a good
conservative Frenchman at heart: “It was not the intention of
the young man to attack the established order. He formally excepts
the king of France from his argument, and in terms which are
stamped by deference and respect.” Bonnefon, op.cit., p.
xli. See also the critique of Bonnefon’s misinterpretation by
Mesnard, op.cit., p. 398. 

[42]
p. 70.

[43]
Lewis, op.cit. pp. 56-57.

[44]
p. 77.

[45]
p. 78.

[46]
pp. 78-79. John Lewis declares that “La Boétie here put his
finger on one important element of tyranny which earlier writers
had neglected and which contemporary writers sometimes neglect.”
Lewis, op.cit., p. 56.

[47]
pp. 79-80.

[48]
p. 65.

[49]
p. 66.

[50]
Ibid.

[51]
pp. 67-68.

[52]
pp. 79-80. Also, pp. 79-86

[53]
See the thoughtful conclusion in Mesnard, op.cit. ,
p. 404. Also see Oscar Jaszi, “The Use and Abuse of Tyrannicide,”
in Jaszi and Lewis, op.cit. , pp. 254-5.

[54]
Mesnard, op.cit., p. 400.

[55]
This was La Boétie ‘s Memoir Concerning the Edict of January, 1562.
See Frame, op.cit., pp. 72-3, 345.

[56]
Mesnard., op.cit., pp. 405-6.

[57]
See J.H.M. Salmon, The
French Religious Wars in English Political Thought
 {Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1959), p. 19n.

[58]
The third volume of the Memoires de L ‘estat de
France {1576). See Bonnefon, “Introduction,” op.cit.,
pp. xlix-l. 

[59]
Laski, op.cit. , p. 24.

[60]
Lysander Spooner, No
Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
(Colorado
Springs, Co.: Ralph Myles Pub., 1973), p.18.

[61]
Cecilia Kenyon, “Men of Little Faith: the Anti-Federalists on
the Nature of Representative Government,” William and Mary
Quarterly {1955), pp. 3-46.

Murray
N. Rothbard (1926–1995), the founder of modern libertarianism
and the dean of the Austrian School of economics, was the author
of The
Ethics of Liberty
and For
a New Liberty
and many
other books and articles
. He was also academic vice president
of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Center for Libertarian
Studies, and the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report
.

Murray
Rothbard Archives


     

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