The Unique Importance of the Tory Anarchist

By CJay Engel

If ever there was a phrase that deserved more widespread repute in libertarian circles, it is the charming title “Tory Anarchist,” which Murray Rothbard— though not the first to apply it— gave to the likes of H.L. Mencken and Albert Nock in his book The Betrayal of the American Right. What he meant by this phrase, together with a case for its adoption today, are the themes of the present article. Continue reading

The Case for Natural Law

By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I’ve long been a natural law guy, in the sense that nature has endowed all of us (whether this is via a God, some Gods, or just plain old Darwinian evolution) with a basic set of behaviours we know to be good (e.g. do not steal other people’s property, do not murder other people, let other people be free so long as they’re not interfering with you directly, etc), often codified into early religions as ‘commandments’ of one sort or another, as human civilisation emerged from the Stone Age.

These ‘natural laws’ may purely be intra-tribal in that raw native state of a stone-age living human, and may not apply to extra-tribal people (such as those ugly Neanderthals on the other side of the mountain). However, the spread of society and civilisation is in my view the spread of these natural laws extra-tribally until all are governed by them. Whereas the destruction of society and civilisation is the opposite, particularly the actions of those people in the last 10,000 years often collectively known as ‘the state’, to steal other people’s stuff, murder other people, remove the freedoms of other people, etcetera, etcetera. I think this appeal of ‘natural law’, as codified by people such as St. Thomas Aquinas, has led to a particular appeal of Catholicism to many Austrians, via this link to Aquinas, and his own direct link back to Aristotle.

It fails to help, alas, that the current Pope is a communist. I would much prefer that Pope Benedict XVI was still the supreme Pontiff myself, but I still think that there is a natural affinity between Catholicism and Austrian Economics, and that it’s far from being a coincidence that Austrian Economics did finally arise in Austria, a Catholic country, even despite people such as Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner (amongst others) being Jewish.

For Judaism seems to possess a strong basis in natural law itself, and of course via the Old Testament forms the basis of later Christianity and Catholicism.

However, I do think you can still believe in natural law without necessarily being religious. All sorts of higher-order animal societies (such as wolves, lions, and so on) are codified by certain behavioural patterns that all will generally obey, except in the most unusual circumstances. So, it is the ‘natural law’ of a pack of wolves to eat a human who strays too close, without breaking any ‘moral’ code of wolves. But if one wolf offers submission to another wolf at the end of a fight for male reproductive supremacy, then generally, the superior winning wolf will not kill the defeated and now submissive inferior wolf.

Even a pure believer in ‘The Selfish Gene’ can come to human natural law via simply the mechanism of genetic natural selection.

The problem for human society comes of course, when that group known as the state begins to impose fiat, positivist, or state laws, for their own loosely-connected group benefit, at the expense of all others under their military control. That is when aggression and hatred grows within and between different human groups. Whether we codify natural law into something such as the ‘NAP’ (non-aggression principle) or some other ‘libertarian’ philosophy, at the heart of our own march to a world of civilisation, peace, freedom, and property, should we accept that what we are trying to create is a natural law society? Or do we believe in game theory, the might of power, or some other human-societal-organising system?

(I have placed this article within Swithun Dobson’s new ‘Mises UK Forum’ and I would be interested to hear any of your thoughts on this within that forum. You can get a registered login on our new forum by visiting

Natural theory of corporeal justice

Sebastian Ortiz

The stateless enforcement of natural justice, that is the provision of the services named “defense” and “conflict resolution” is a kind of science, namely a natural, normative, corporeal science that deals with what entails invasion of a body, a threat of invasion of a body, whether that is a personal body or owned object, proportional punishment, burden of prooof and due process. This “law” limits and is hierarchically superior to contract, “private” law. Continue reading



About ten years ago, the Belgian philosopher of law Frank van Dun published a paper entitled “Concepts of Order.” In that paper he gives, among much else, an account of what he calls the convivial order. In this order, “people live together regardless of their membership, status, position, role or function in any, let alone the same, society.” It appeared in a book “Ordered Anarchy: Jasay and His Surroundings,” published in 2007 as a tribute to Anthony de Jasay. It has been preserved on the Internet on Anthony Flood’s website here [1].

Around the same time, the German-American libertarian philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe published a paper, “The Idea of a Private Law Society” [2]. That paper outlines some of the institutions, which might maintain order and justice in societies without political states.

Recently, I re-read Frank van Dun’s work in this area, and I find it seminal. I was surprised and rather disappointed to find no evidence of anyone having tried to build on his framework in the intervening decade or so. So today, I’ll try to build on the theoretical ideas of Frank van Dun and the practical suggestions of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. I’m going to sketch a picture of how people might be able to live together, and resolve their disputes, without a state or a “sovereign.” Continue reading

Jeffersonian Governance, Burkean Conservatism, and Anarchism

By Chris Shaw

The conceptions of Jeffersonian governance pride equality before the law, the democratic will of the people tempered by intelligent argumentation and natural societal hierarchies, and a belief in limited, decentralised government. Within this tradition, governance should never truly invade the sensibilities and direction of succeeding generations, and should never supersede the choice of governance that one believes in. From such ideas came the Articles of Confederation, a decentralist set of ideas that gave significant autonomy and rights to the individual states of the Union. Further, Jefferson’s concept of sunset clauses naturally implanted within legislation and law-making[1] the decentralist idea of individual sovereignty and the right of the generation of the living to not be burdened by the collective irresponsibility’s of their ancestors. Continue reading