Category Archives: Liberty

The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I’ve just spent the last ninety minutes reading an amazing short book by Étienne de la Boétie, written in 1553, on the nature of how the state gains mass obedience and on how we can reduce and then eliminate the state by reducing and eventually eliminating that obedience in a completely non-violent manner, in a bid to create Hoppe-World. Yes, it’s a long battle, but one worth fighting for. Now I’ve read it, I think this book may be essential reading for all believers in property, freedom, and liberty.

My favourite quote:

“Let us therefore learn while there is yet time, let us learn to do good. Let us raise our eyes to Heaven for the sake of our honor, for the very love of virtue, or, to speak wisely, for the love and praise of God Almighty, who is the infallible witness of our deeds and the just judge of our faults. As for me, I truly believe I am right, since there is nothing so contrary to a generous and loving God as tyranny—I believe He has reserved, in a separate spot in Hell, some very special punishment for tyrants and their accomplices.” – Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, 1553 A.D

A close runner-up, and my second favourite quote:

“Place on one side fifty thousand armed men, and on the otherthe same number; let them join in battle, one side fighting to retain its liberty, the other to take it away; to which would you, at a guess, promise victory? Which men do you think would march more gallantly to combat—those who anticipate as a reward for their suffering the maintenance of their freedom, or those who cannot expect any other prize for the blows exchanged than the enslavement of others? One side will have before its eyes the blessings of the past and the hope of similar joy in the future; their thoughts will dwell less on the comparatively brief pain of battle than on what they may have to endure forever, they, their children, and all their posterity. The other side has nothing to inspire it with courage except the weak urge of greed, which fades before danger and which can never be so keen, it seems to me, that it will not be dismayed by the least drop of blood from wounds. Consider the justly famous battles of Miltiades, Leonidas, Themistocles, still fresh today in recorded history and in the minds of men as if they had occurred but yesterday, battles fought in Greece for the welfare of the Greeks and as an example to the world. What power do you think gave to such a mere handful of men not the strength but the courage to withstand the attack of a fleet so vast that even the seas were burdened, and to defeat the armies of so many nations, armies so immense that their officers alone outnumbered the entire Greek force? What was it but the fact that in those glorious days this struggle represented not so much a fight of Greeks against Persians as a victory of liberty over domination, of freedom over greed?” – Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, 1553 A.D.

With a long and penetrating foreword by Murray N. Rothbard, the book is freely available to download:

For those who like that sort of thing, there is also an accompanying audio book:

 

Advertisements

Emmanuel Goldstein strikes again!


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Democrats in the United States are now demanding war, death, and destruction in the Middle-East, in places most of them would be unable to point to on a globe. Why? Because Donald Trump is trying to reduce war, death, and destruction in the Middle-East, or at least he’s trying to reduce American involvement in such terrible things. One is of course reminded of George Orwell’s quote from Nineteen-Eighty-Four:

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

Once again it seems the elites have been using Mr Orwell’s dystopian novel as a guidebook for their own continuing power over the rest of us, rather than as a portentive Cassandran warning.

Personally, I would like to congratulate President Trump for withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, and hopefully later from Afghanistan too, to reduce the destruction wrought by elite globalism. Though no doubt he’s merely serving the whims of that global puppet-master, that Emmanuel Goldstein himself, Vladimir Putin.

But what is the United States doing anyway in such places? Was it not founded on the ambition of George Washington to avoid permanent alliances and Thomas Jefferson’s wish to avoid entangling alliances? Are two oceans really not enough to defend America, plus the largest and most technologically advanced set of armed forces in the world? The American Democrats make me sick with their double-think and their hypocrisy. Keep going, Sir Donald!

Anyhow, enough of that. Here’s an excellent interview on the subject, between Jeff Deist and Dave Smith. As our American friends would say, enjoy y’all!

Britain: A World Power Again, if by Accident?


Britain: A World Power Again, if by Accident?
Sean Gabb
(22nd December 2018)

One of my Books
Learn More

In London, and it seems elsewhere, the political and media consensus is that Britain is in its weakest international position since the late summer of 1940. Because we have a government of fools, we are at the mercy of the French, the Germans, the Spanish, and even the Irish. If we accept Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, we become a colony of the European Union. If we withdraw our notice to quit, we suffer a different though probably equal humiliation. If we leave without any deal, we face some degree of economic disruption. Which of these options is worst may have some bearing on the lack of agreement within our political class – though which brings more or less advantage to any of the individual groups in Parliament also has much bearing.

I disagree with this consensus. I still regard Theresa May as our most incompetent and possibly treasonous Prime Minister in at least living memory. At the same time, we find ourselves with the greatest power to shape our destiny since 1938. It needs only minimal work from our diplomatic establishment, and minimal cooperation among our leading politicians. Let me explain. Read more

Immigration – An Austro-Libertarian Analysis


Immigration – An Austro-Libertarian Analysis

By Duncan Whitmore

Both the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as the US President have elevated the topic of immigration to the top of the political agenda. Leftist, liberal elites – previously so sure they would arrive easily at their vision of an open, borderless world – have been scalded now that the lid has been lifted from the bubbling cauldron of the needs of ordinary, everyday citizens seeking to preserve their jobs and the culture of their homelands.

It is high time that this vitriolic, divisive and – frankly – often quite tiresome issue is put to rest. That, alas, is unlikely to happen, particularly as the political globalists seem content to plough on with their vision of open borders through the looming UN Global Compact for Migration. Listening to the mainstream arguments (or at least to how the leftist/liberal media chooses to portray them), one would be forgiven for thinking that the immigration question needs to be met by an all or nothing answer – i.e. that it is either an unqualified good or an unqualified bad. We are led to believe that it is a contest between liberals, or self-styled “progressives”, clamouring for fully porous borders on the one hand, versus elderly, conservative, racist bigots who supposedly want to keep everyone out and preserve England’s green and pleasant land for white faces.

The falsehood of this dichotomy is obvious to almost anyone who is not of the liberal-left, and, in fact, a “sensible” view on immigration is quite prevalent – that it is possible to be in favour of permitted, but regulated immigration, allowing some people to cross the border as immigrants to come and live and work in the territory of the state while denying that privilege to others. It is also recognised that immigration is economically beneficial in some situations, but not in others – i.e. when immigrants are highly skilled and productive instead of welfare consumers.

The task of this essay is to sharpen this “sensible” view with Austro-libertarian theory. We will begin by outlining the core libertarian theory concerning immigration before examining a key area for contention among libertarians – whether, in a world populated by states, any particular state should restrict or otherwise control movements across the border by persons who are not considered to be citizens of that particular state and whether this is in accordance with libertarian theory. We will then move on to exploring the economic and cultural implications of immigration policies. Read more

Let There Be Peace


By Natalie Fawn Danelishen

Every Christmas we are inundated with songs such as “let there be peace on earth” The song and its sentiments are shared among many. So, what happened to Peace?

Perhaps, the best example of laying down arms for a moment of peace is reflected in the Christmas Truce of World War I. As Judge John V. Denson noted,

“The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, is an event the official histories of the “Great War” leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public.”

It was, in itself, an act of rebellion since mingling with the enemy was considered an act of treason.

So, it comes as no surprise that historians wish to hide that peace could be achieved without our masters and overlords (the government). The common man does not wish for war and people will do everything in their power to avoid it. As portrayed in the World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony — Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”

Much of the same response happened on the western front. As Eddie Rickenbacker became a rebel and took to the air to watch the greatest blessing to mankind 100 years ago on Armistice day, peace. He wrote:

“it was 11:00 A.M., the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I was the only audience for the greatest show ever presented. On both sides of no-man’s-land, the trenches erupted. Brown-uniformed men poured out of the American trenches, gray-green uniforms out of the German. From my observer’s seat overhead, I watched them throw their helmets in the air, discard their guns, wave their hands. Then all up and down the front, the two groups of men began edging toward each other across no-man’s-land. Seconds before they had been willing to shoot each other; now they came forward. Hesitantly at first, then more quickly, each group approached the other.

Suddenly gray uniforms mixed with brown. I could see them hugging each other, dancing, jumping. Americans were passing out cigarettes and chocolate. I flew up to the French sector. There it was even more incredible. After four years of slaughter and hatred, they were not only hugging each other but kissing each other on both cheeks as well.

Star shells, rockets and flares began to go up, and I turned my ship toward the field. The war was over.”

That quiet, peaceful Christmas and the day of Armistice 100 years ago are evidence that the common man does not wish for war. As Afghanistan enters its 18th year, children that were born when the war started can soon sign up to fight in it. If there is one thing we know about Afghanistan, it is that we don’t know why we’re still in Afghanistan. How many, men, women, and children must die before it ends? The truth is not what they are telling us, and this war will only end when the common man rises up and demands an end to it. As Lew Rockwell once said:

“We don’t oppose the state’s wars because they’ll be counterproductive or overextend the state’s forces. We oppose them because mass murder based on lies can never be morally acceptable.”

If wars are started by lies, the truth is the antidote. As the song goes “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and ‘Leftism’ – An Appreciation


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

As John the Baptist to the Jesus Christ of Hans-Hermann Hope, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn forms an essential reading component of any modern Miseo-Rothbardo-Hoppeian. As a Renaissance gentleman swimming in a sea of kleptocratic fools – perhaps whilst holding his head aloft and smoking a fine Cuban cigar – Kuehnelt-Leddihn successfully negotiated these seas and serially and routinely speared and devoured our enemies, the hate-filled envious class warriors of ‘social justice’.

Although an Austrian nobleman by birth, he never became a full true ‘Austrian’ in the sense of Ludwig von Mises. However, rising up from the water, he definitely flew within the ambit of angels, describing himself as an ‘extreme conservative arch-liberal’. In one sense of the word, I would personally regard myself as completely ‘apolitical’. I simply wish that everyone else in the world would leave me alone, so long as I abstain from infringing upon their rights of property and freedom. However, if someone compelled me to bear a political label, then I would hold myself happy to concur with this description.

So, if you’ve never read Kuehnelt-Leddihn before, where do you begin? Should you start with Liberty or Equality, The Menace of the Herd, or Leftism? (To my mind, these three immense works rise up clearly as the triumvirate pinnacle of his many books.) Well, as a labour of love I’ve already read all three for you, along with most of the rest, and for me the clear winner stands out as Leftism. It’s historical, it’s complete, and it stands alone by itself. If there existed only one of his books in the vaults of history, it sums up his thinking best of all. Fortunately, it’s also freely available to download and read via Mises.org at the link here! Quickly, before all stocks go!

Read more

Which if not Victory is Yet Revenge


“Which if not Victory is Yet Revenge”
Thoughts on the Tory Apocalypse

by Sean Gabb
1st December 2018

This Book is Free
Get a Copy

As I write, those who demand a second referendum on the European Union seem ever more likely to have their way. Their argument is: that it is now two years since we were asked to vote on leaving; that no one expected the process of leaving to end in the present shambles; that we should be asked what we now think of leaving. These calls are an obvious fraud on the electorate. Since the Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the custom in Europe has been for any unfavourable referendum result to be followed by another vote, in which the preferred result is given. This was done to the French, the Dutch and the Irish. It is now being done to us. Read more

« Older Entries Recent Entries »