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Murray Rothbard on The Lions of Liberty

This week we look at a couple excerpts from Rothbard's classic essay, "Do You Hate The State?". The purpose of this essay is to address what Rothbard believes was the biggest divide amongst the libertarian intellectuals of his day. He believes that the biggest issue is not the debate between different philosophies or strategies amongst libertarians, rather that it is between those that passionately hate the State, the "radicals" if you will, and those that simply see anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism as a better system, but at the same time seem to be content to live in the system we have now.

Perhaps the word that best defines our distinction is "radical." Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and antistatism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul.

I believe this "radicalism" accurately describes, for the most part, the philosophy and passion of the writers at Lions of Liberty, (as well as many of of the passionate posters here at the Daily Paul). I don't believe that any of us were inspired to get together and create this website as a forum for advancing the ideas of liberty simply because we think that libertarianism is a marginally better system than the one we have now. Each of us were passionately driven by a deep moral resentment towards the State and all of its schemes once we began down the path towards learning about liberty. While we all may have come to this through different issues - be they the wars, civil liberties, etc., we all came to a similar radicalism in our cause against the State.

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man's nature

If man's nature is not mostly good as you propose, then limited government can never work. Bad people will go into government and bad people will vote and support that government.

If mans nature is not mostly

If mans nature is not mostly good = Anarchy will Fail
If mans nature is not mostly good = Government will Fail

If mans nature IS mostly good = Anarchy will Succeed
If mans nature IS mostly good = Government will only Succeed if the minority that are consumed by their covetous nature are not allowed control.

The men who are consumed by their covetous nature can only succeed with government.

Mans nature can be overruled. You have free will.

"The men who are consumed by their covetous nature can only succeed with government."

A whip works just fine.

Government is force. Some people have gotten away with telling people they're Gods (Elites?) and we're all here to serve them, and after that the word "government" kind of loses all meaning, but it still works.

Force is what works, and in a free market of force, might makes right. No wonder so many Godless self worshipers are into Anarchy.

Mans nature can be overruled.

But what I hear from Anarchists is that we're all just animals, so why should I even care? Why not just sit back and watch you animals burn in a free market of force, fighting over which one of you is going to be God this week?

Anarchy is admitting that no

Anarchy is admitting that no human is God. With the state you are either playing out your god-like complex or worshiping a false idol.

Why do you insist on worshiping false idols?

That's not what I see from Anarchists

"Anarchy is admitting that no human is God."

That's sure NOT what Anarchists sound like to me. They talk about all kinds of faith, but in them, God is absent.

Saying there is no god is a great first step to worshiping a man, to start worshiping yourself. There's no WORSE false idol than a man.

Most Anarchists I talk to fall to one or another category of self worship, and they fall in predictable ways. It's never enough for a man to worship himself as a soulless monkey.

They eventually start looking for more, for higher meaning. If the earth is just a mud ball floating through space and we're just worms feeding on that mud ball, why should anything you do even matter? Why should I care what happens to you or what you think? Why shouldn't I just make a snack out of you?

WHY SHOULD I GIVE A DAMN ABOUT ANOTHER MANS LIBERTY? Why do you?

Questions, questions.. Why are we all still here?

Most Anarchists recognize the kind of evil that's out there. They know there are false idols who peddle hate, fear, and misery, who get off on destroying, and wish they could eliminate most of the human population, but evil men just can't seem to get the job done...

I wonder why? Especially when there are guys like you who'd try and make the case that it doesn't matter anyway. Look at all the hate in the world. It should be VERY easy. Just start pushing buttons and dig a rat hole to hide in; and bingo, evil men inherit the earth.

But it just keeps NOT happening.

I wonder what it is that's protecting human beings, why evil men can't seem to get the job done.

It really is a miracle that human beings still exist. No matter how much you want people to see each other as soulless animals, they know better.

I'm sorry that you have meet

I'm sorry that you have meet some flawed anarchists. I hope that you don't let your impressions of these people effect your judgements about the true nature of the state. I also hope that your impressions are misunderstanding, but they probably aren't, there are plenty of misguided anarchists (to be fair, there are many misguided people period, in any category).

But do know that I give a damn about your liberty. I care so much that I don't want to see the protection of that liberty in an institution as inefficient, corruptible, destructive and as soulless as the Government. I just can't make sense of handing the most sacred thing humans posses to the government.

We're all flawed. Me included.

"I don't want to see the protection of that liberty in an institution as inefficient, corruptible, destructive and as soulless as the Government."

Tell me about this institution you want to create to replace government? I'll bet you can't explain it in any terms that make sense in the real world.

I know Anarchists see themselves as good people, and some probably are, but I've never spoken to ANY that can explain what it is they want to create, because in the end it starts sounding a lot like what they claim to hate; government.

They have the right idea. Liberty is what we should strive for, but we'll never get it without justice because we live in a world filled with covetous people, and justice won't be what the free market produces unless liberty is what it wants.

Look around our country. These people don't want liberty. They mock liberty and hate Libertarians. They want plunder and slaves.

Don't listen to me. Listen to the voices screaming to you from the past. Look at our history as a people, it can tell you what a free market of violence produces without justice; SLAVERY, a meat market selling human beings to one another.

I'm forced to either believe that Anarchists are the most naive people on the face of the earth, or they WANT to lord over people in a free market of violence, and when I listen to them talk, I can't help but notice they seem to hate people as they constantly exalt themselves, mock faith, and ridicule my country.

Most Anarchists are just well meaning haters, but they are being set up, and I don't want to see them go down like that, because I DO believe they want to defend liberty.

"Tell me about this

"Tell me about this institution you want to create to replace government?"

the point is central planners don't know what this institution to protect liberty would look like. Just like central planners don't know how to run an economy. If you want liberty protected, trust it, a market will form.

I think you give the government too much credit

The government doesn't create order or reduce violence. It actually has a negative effect on both.

"Tell me about this institution you want to create to replace government?"

I don't want to create an institution to replace government. I believe in self government.

Anarchists think I pray to Government, and call it a false diety

"I believe in self government."

You believe in liberty, and so do I, but you think people will "self govern"; that they'll defeat their covetous nature when they don't have the choice to use government force to take what they covet. They don't...

Force does not begin with government and it does not end when you get rid of government. Government is an attempt to govern the use of force so that it serves justice rather than mans covetous nature. Government force should only be used to defend liberty.

When all we have left is covetous people, 300 million sick and covetous people begging a politician for slaves and plunder, government force no longer serves justice; it serves oppression and injustice. You have to win from the bottom up, and to be honest, you CAN'T win. Jesus tried to show you that. YOU WILL FAIL.

If you were any real threat to this system, evil men would nail you to a cross, because you're a threat to how they control covetous people.

Just look how hard it is to even get an Anarchist to accept that mans covetous nature exists. Maybe it's because they believe WITH ALL THEIR HEART that what can save the world with the virtue of self interest?

Sorry, that won't work. Self interest and a mans covetous nature go hand in hand.

Self interest, Atheism, self worship, ignoring mans covetous nature, I'm starting to see a pattern here? You won't save the world with self interest. All an Anarchist does is unleashes self interest in a free market of force.

Look around. These people DON'T WANT LIBERTY! They aint buying it. Liberty isn't what wins in a free market. These people are terrified, and think Satan Claus serves them, and he does. He serves their self interest and an Anarchist wants to loose that in a free market of force.

The evil men that nailed

The evil men that nailed Jesus to the cross represented the state. They represented state authority. That is what you are arguing for, not me.

What threatens liberty?

Anarchists are no friend to liberty because they don't know what threatens it...

Sure we do. The belief that the initiation of violence and threats against the innocent is unjust, is what threatens liberty.

Violent monopolies are one example of a violation against this libertarian code (known as the non-aggression principle).

The state is a violent monopoly, this is why we hate the state. Any service that people want or need (including courts and defense), can be provided by the free market.

That doesn't even make any sense...

"The belief that the initiation of violence and threats against the innocent is unjust, is what threatens liberty."

What are you trying to say, because that doesn't even make sense?

Let me see if I can paraphrase so it makes sense: 'What threatens liberty is the belief that the initiation of force against the innocent is unjust.'

Nope. Still gibberish.

Sorry. That's not what causes one person to use force to take what they unjustly want from another. Try again.

If the liberty movement is to thrive..

Education about the principles of libertarianism has to be paramount for us to succeed. Your comment, FreedomsReigning, shows a distinct lack of it. Police, fire, etc., can all be privately contracted and were for years before state control. It's escaping the state's yoke that is the goal, and eliminating law enforcement as a tool that the state can use to oppress its citizens. In a privately funded police system a company can be fired and replaced if corrupt, inept, etc.

Oh I lack education about libertarianism?

"Police can all be privately contracted and were for years before state control."

Those are called "hired goons", and they serve the man who signs their check, and you want that to be anybody who's willing to pay.

Like I said; Warlord Vs Warlord in a free market. Anarchists can't explain themselves.

"It's escaping the state's yoke that is the goal"

Escaping the yoke of any man who'd put one on you should be the goal, and that's the whole reason we created government to begin with. Government force only has one legitimate purpose; defend liberty.

Yes, put me on the yoke of liberty, and I'll plow the field where I'm the owner of my own mind, body, and labor.

Libertarianism; sign me up.

Warlords

Article: "But Wouldn't the Warlords Take Over?"

http://mises.org/daily/1855

Robert P. Murphy; free range Warlord

"What the anarchist does claim is that, for any given population, the imposition of a coercive government will make things worse."

I can see the warlord argument is scaring the Anarchists aye? Nice. They should be scared because their BS doesn't sell. They're frauds leading the naive.

This was the first paragraph and he tries to negate the use of government force as a tool to serve justice, saying it's very existence makes things worse.

It's peoples covetous nature that "makes things worse", destroys governments, empires, and sets one free range warlord against another. It's what destroys all men, and burns souls in hell. If you you think you can solve the problem when ignoring it, you've already failed.

He's worthless to liberty, and sounds like he just wants to be a free range Warlord himself.

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want."

Far greater men then him figured this stuff out eons ago and they didn't even know how to read.

"Those are called "hired

"Those are called "hired goons", and they serve the man who signs their check, and you want that to be anybody who's willing to pay."

I'm confused, are you describing what goes on today??? This sounds like you are describing our current environment, but you framed it as somehow refuting a police force free of political influence...

You want this to pose as a Libertarian government?

"I'm confused, are you describing what goes on today?"

What's going on today is the collapse of a system under the weight of 300 million sick and covetous people, and it starts at bottom and goes all the way to the top.

When a population rejects liberty and just wants to pray to Satan Clause to answer their unjust prayers, why would anybody be surprised that the system turns into what it is, or when we get an authoritarian top down looter regime.

The only leader a covetous horde deserves is a pharaoh beating them with a whip, showing them the Boogie Man, showing them just how bad things are going to get unless they pull their @#$@ together.

I'm the one who is saying there is no Satan Clause

It seems to me you still want to believe in Satan Clause, just a very limited one...

I want nothing from Satan Clause.

"I'm the one who is saying there is no Satan Clause"

That's why Satan owns you.

You don't know how to fight him. You don't know how he operates, by offering people what they unjustly want, by preying on your covetous nature.

Satan Clause existed long before any government or form of statism, and you can't get rid of HIM by getting rid of THEM.

All you'll do is set him loose on the world with hired goon squads; a thousand little Satan Clauses, a world of Warlords all trying to dominate mankind.

Starting to understand? You can't make Satan Clause disappear by pretending he doesn't exist.

Finally, you are 100% right about something

and that is that Satan Clause existed long before any government... and then Satan Clause invented government so that he could deceptively corrupt mankind. To my knowledge God has not granted any humans the authority to initiate force against on others... so it must be Satan Clause doing that.

The state expects you to pledge allegiance to it. How is that not worshiping a false God?

Satan Claus LOVES goon squads.

Satan Claus doesn't need government or statism to operate; he just needs mans covetous nature.

He'd LOVE to get goon squads in a free market catering to the covetous hordes unjust desires. It would be like Shangri La for Satan.

"To my knowledge God has not granted any humans the authority to initiate force against on others."

Sure he has. He gave us free will.

Our free will is what both raises us up and gives us dominion over all the animals, but it's also what destroys us. Make no mistake about it, he's given you permission to destroy yourself, and knows in the end you'll serve HIS will even if it's just as a cautionary tale.

"Thou shalt not steal."

He didn't say thou shalt not initiate force.

He may as well be saying ; thou shalt not initiate force to take what you covet; to take another mans liberty.

The only way to win is from the bottom up, or else both my Libertarian government and your Anarchist goon squads end up serving one thing: mans covetous nature.

Anarchy

means without rulers, not without rules. I don't know if I consider myself an Anarcho-Capitalist quite yet, but I'm definitely moving in that direction.
Are you suggesting that liberty is not threatened by the corrupt, coercive monopolistic institutions that commprise our legislate and enforce the laws?

You want the definition of Anarchy?

Anarchy: a state of society without government or law.

As a Libertarian I care about the law, and want those laws to serve one end; defend peoples liberty. I want a government that serves justice. Nothing else. Defending liberty is the ONLY legitimate purpose of government force.

"Are you suggesting that liberty is not threatened by the corrupt, coercive monopolistic institutions that compromise our legislate and enforce the laws?"

Are you suggesting that "corrupt, coercive monopolistic institutions" are where the real threat to liberty begins?

I can strip you of all your liberties without any: "corrupt, coercive monopolistic institutions that compromise our legislate."

What threatens your liberty predates all those things, and it will be here long after you take down all the institutions you'd blame.

Law isn't what threatens your liberty, and there's nothing "monopolistic" about using force to defend liberty. You have the right to defend yourself and be judged by a jury of your peers.

The real problem is that jury of your peers.

People get the government they deserve. They get the justice they wanted and you're surrounded by covetous people who don't even know where justice comes from. What you'll get from Anarchy is even worse than what we have now.

That is not the definition of anarchy

It is "without rulers".

And yes, there is something "monopolistic" about a State monopoly.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

That IS the definition

You just don't like the fact that words have definitions.

Anarchy: a state of society without government or law.

Anarchism: a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.

Anarchist: a person who advocates or believes in anarchy or anarchism.

If you want to start your own private police force, ya, there's a monopoly. If you want to defend yourself or somebody else, no, there's no monopoly.

YOU don't represent justice, and nothing you try and buy in the free market will represent justice, because Anarchists don't know what threatens justice. They just like to think of themselves as benevolent vigilantes peddling justice in a free market.

You know damn well what kind of justice the free market will generate; slavery; an auction block selling human beings to one another.

Create your own definitions if you like

Create your own definitions, but "lawlessness" is certainly not the definition advocated by anarcho-capitalists.

Your talk of free markets sound a lot closer to Marxism than it does libertarianism, so perhaps you are a bit confused on your philosophy.

Again it seems you refuse to even look into or read our well thought out posts on the subject.

You love the State, I understand. Many others do. It's just not a libertarian position.

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Oh ya? Look up the defintions.

You want me to cut and paste you some more definitions?

In the world an Anarchist would build; the first books burned are the dictionaries.

Clearly

You don't understand much about anarchism if you think that anarcho-capitalist don't want to have any institutions that serve justice and want no law.

We simply don't agree that these institutions should be run by a coercive monopoly.

That being said, not all of the "lions" are necessarily anarchists. But we do share the "hate the state" passion that Rothbard describes.

If you have an open mind I've written a series on anarcho-capitalism, and how law and defense would function in an ancap society.

http://lionsofliberty.com/2012/10/24/the-ancap-recap/

http://lionsofliberty.com/
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*