Étienne de la Boetie and Egypt

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Modern libertarians know of many great thinkers only because of Murray Rothbard. My favorite in this category is the 16th century anarchist, Étienne de la Boetie. To him, the great mystery of politics was obedience to rulers. Why in the world do people agree to be looted and otherwise oppressed by government overlords? It is not just fear, Boetie explains in “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” for our consent is required. And that consent can be non-violently withdrawn. Read Rothbard’s brilliant essay and ponder the significance of Boetie’s conclusion, in the light of Egypt, for us and all the human race, so long under the yoke of states:

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.

11:41 am on February 11, 2011