Vol. IX.
<No. 39.>


“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!

Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;

And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”

John Hay.

Confession and Criticism.

Dear Tucker:

I too have been wondering what you have been wondering at, at times, and have felt “moved” to express myself clearly, if possible. For instance, I did not understand the significance of the capital “I” in “Individualist,” and thought you were really making distinctions that had neither fact nor “supremacy of logic” to support them. But now I know for the first time that there is a body of persons somewhere known as “Individualists” with a platform that “includes compulsory taxation.” So it is plain enough that those “Individualists” are disposed to reach their desired ends by means that must be described as “compulsory.” The moral is (no offence) that one who would criticise Liberty must be sure to be right before going ahead. It is one’s “duty,” I, for one, am convinced, to keep himself better posted.

Then, I have thought — though undoubtedly now, as heretofore on sundry occasions it has happened, I have not thought the matter out into sun-clear statements — that you were very much mixed over the question of “rights,” your wits, say truth, ill at sorts; your

most sovereign reason,

Like sweet jangled bells, out of tune and harsh.

So I have proposed to myself to think the matter out profoundly, and, once for all, put you and the world aright. In short, to borrow your own recurring phrase, I would “dispose” of your errors, showing “conclusively” my own position to be sound, logical, and correct. But then, I am a busy man after my own fashion; and often my brain-force maliciously, wilfully eludes me; I can neither coax, bribe, nor terrorize it; it will, for all me, have its own way and do no bidding of mine. I say to it: “Come with me, now; let us together enter the Tuckeranian labyrinth, and do a manly and altogether vigorous stroke of work.” Possibly we get safely into the labyrinth, and I begin to be certain of some particular thing, and look eagerly ahead for the next undoubtable certainty, when, lo, there am I alone with poor self, — brain-function suspended or fled! “What a predicament!” quoth I to myself. And thus the master enterprise, auspiciously begun, then and there ingloriously ends.

I do not, however, despair. You may remember my once saying to you years ago, when you were young and positive, that I could easily enough answer you if I had the time. You laughed, of course. But there was a deal of sense in my remark, and I still cling to it, — not as a drowning man to a straw, please take note, but as embodying a supreme and never-flagging confidence. I am sure I can state this question of “rights” rightly — some day. And in that day I shall probably show you that there are rights which are absolute, inalienable, coeval with individual existence: independent of the chances of bargain or patched-up contract: “moral rights,” implying obligation to respect them on the part of every fellow who cares for society; if he does not, then let him take himself out of the way. I shall say that an injury is wrong because it is injury; not only because it is an assault and damage to one’s neighbor, but for the further reason that it is an assault and damage to one’s own sense of what ought to be to make the social peace secure. One may well look on the “social peace” or prosperity as on whatever else in nature is beautiful and good to behold. There is the obligation to his own nature; or, to the better nature of him; to that which separates and elevates him above the other animals; to that which distinguishes him as Man. The obligation, in short, is to his manhood. Expedient? Yes; and even there lurks an obligation. But, as Whately said of honesty, “It is the best policy, but no honest man ever acted from that motive,” so, I venture, it may be said of expediency; because, raising the question of expediency as distinct from one’s reverence for truth and beauty is a disloyalty. Of course the right, the true, the beautiful, are expedient. But it is not the expediency of the politician who is ready and willing on emergency to set aside a principle, say, for office and power, or for a “handful of silver.” I shall strive to show you in that day that Acquiescence, not Contract, will be the commanding word.

And now you smile again, I doubt not; smile as of old. But I have this for my consolation with the wise Shakspere (apparently) for my surety, — “A man may smile and smile and be” — mistaken — “still.”

And then again, — and this the worst fix of all, — I was about ready to say a few words to you concerning “goodness.” But, lo, now, here in Liberty today arrived, I am billeted its one agreeing with you, — my own very lines quoted as verification of your assertion. What to do? I can’t go back on the “lines,” and I am only too glad if we are, after all, in atonement, to revive an old-time Unitarian phrase. But you see I thought you were holding some other kind of views; that you eschewed and snapped your finger at goodness per se; that you hated it, spit on it, and all that sort of thing. How I came by this notion I know not, except that it had found its way into my, I fear, too easy-going careless brain, by reason of recent imperfect readings of your Liberty-editorials. Now the scales fall, and my eyes see clearly that you have gone into no such preposterous undertaking. I consider myself fortunate that my procrastinating proclivities have allowed Mr. Lloyd to precipitate himself, and that on his head has descended the punishment that might have fallen first on mine. I confess I am not a little surprised to find both Mr. Lloyd and myself in the wrong. Yet I should be even more surprised now, after your deliberate assertion that your “opposition to the gospel of goodness” is not opposition to “goodness itself,” to find that we were in the right. That you are not right in your own interpretation of yourself I cannot for a moment suppose. So certain am I of this that I wish to “retract all I was going to say,” and assure you that I am quite of your opinion. You quote me aright in the use you make of my lines that assume the goodness of the world to be in excess of its wit. I have encountered so many “good” people who didn’t know enough even to attend to their own business that I am all the time desirous of celebrating Knowledge as being now (and for a long time yet likely to be) the one thing needful. I am unable to believe that it is the depravity of the race and not its stupidity that keeps so much that seems to be desirable for all the earth’s well-being in abeyance. I can call up no great “burning issue” that is not either stranded or in some manner retarded by the popular ignorance “Light, more light shall break,” said Robinson to the Pilgrim pioneers, “from between the lids of your Bible.” His prophecy has been fulfilled. And there are yet rays of light in those old Jewish records which even the heretical Smiths and Briggses have not as yet permitted to fall aslant their newly-windowed souls. And what is more and better, out of the whole world’s experience light is continually breaking. For which reason the world is more and more in the throes of a mental agitation, — its busy brain striving to readjust and fashion better and better social conditions. Plain evidence that a disposition of goodness is not lacking where Intelligence open the portals and beckons the people all to move on.

Here ends my rambling confessional sort of note to you, — too long for Liberty’s few and, for the most part, well-freighted columns. You need not crowd out other matter for its sake. The spirit moved me; the spirit is satisfied; and I shall remain continually

Yours truly, S. H. Morse.

Chicago, April 23, 1893.

[This good-humored, beautiful, and thoroughly delightful letter has my warmest appreciation. It comes to me like a breath of “auld lang syne.” For its admirable reënforcement of my view of goodness I am thankful. For the writer’s previous misunderstanding of my position I am not disposed to chide him, since he does not claim that his misunderstanding was my fault. He generously places all the blame upon himself, and I selfishly allow it to remain where it properly belongs. When he “has time” to set me right on rights, I shall have time to listen. What he gets time to say on the subject in the present letter I have listened to before and have frequently “disposed” of in these columns. I note simply that his defence of moral obligation is, like Mr. Hanson’s, fatal to moral obligation. Moral obligation is universal — that is, incumbent upon all without exception — or it is nothing. To lift it from the fellow who does not care for society is to place it upon the social fellow for the very reason that he does care for society, — in other words, is to make it no longer a moral obligation, a duty, but a course of conduct chosen from expediency, for the satisfaction of desire. Whichever way Mr. Morse may turn, he will find this satisfaction of desire at the bottom of his ought. Now, the satisfaction of desire is the opposite of the performance of duty, although outwardly the two may look very much alike. But enough. May the spirit move Mr. Morse again! My old friend’s letter whew my appetite, and I am sure it will have the same effect on all who read it. The literary executor of Josiah Warren cannot do his “duty” better than by contributing regularly to the foremost organ of Josiah Warren’s doctrines. — Editor Liberty.]

An Angelic Quality.


“Since you have matrimonial Inclinations, why shouldn’t you marry this charming Marguerite, your sister’s friend? She is an angel.”

“I agree, but she paints.”

“Oh! see, now, my dear fellow, tell me with your hand upon your conscience, did you ever see an angel that wasn’t painted?”

“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.

The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.

The Good Law That Failed.

New York papers congratulated themselves that the legislature which recently adjourned failed to pass most of the objectionable bills that the people were threatened with, but in enumerating the pernicious measures they include one which, so far from being vicious, is very creditable to the person responsible for its introduction and to the branch which gave a majority in its favor. The denunciation of this bill, and its classification with reckless and quack legislation, may be taken as evidence of the untrustworthiness of newspaper moralists. In form, the bill in question was an amendment of the provisions of the Penal Code relating to “conspiracies,” and it was designed to legalize what is called “boycotting.” It declared that it should not be unlawful for persons employed in any calling, trade, or handicraft “to unite, combine, or bind themselves by oath, agreement, alliance, or otherwise to persuade, advise, or encourage, by peaceful means, any person or persons to enter into any combination for or against leaving or entering into the employment of any person, firm, or corporation; or to persuade, advise, or encourage, by peaceful means, any person, firm, or corporation to withhold custom, patronage, or employment from any person, firm, or corporation.” This bill further declared that nothing in the Penal Code should be so construed as to prevent any one from using lawful means to induce employers to grant favorable terms, or to induce any person or find to withhold custom or patronage from any person or firm.

If this bill was really demanded by organized labor, it is a great satisfaction to find that in one case at least labor’s demand was grounded in justice and common sense. There is no rational objection to such a bill. The need of it shows how antiquated and confused conspiracy laws are. What is right and legitimate when done by one person cannot possibly be wrong when done by a voluntary combination of several persons. The bill sought to legalize that which never ought to have been under the cloud of illegality. To read the provisions of the bill, as given above, is to be converted to its support. The English government has been induced to introduce a similar bill, extending to combinations other than trade the provisions of an act applicable to certain trade combinations which declares that an act done by two or more persons shall not be punishable unless legally wrong if done by one person.

To urge, as some do, that such an act would increase the difficulty of preventing distinctly unlawful attacks upon person and property is tantamount to pretending that, in order to prevent wrong conduct, it is necessary to proscribe certain kinds of right conduct. It is certainly palpable nonsense to say that we cannot deprive a man of the freedom to do that which he has no right to do unless we also deprive him of his freedom to do a lot of things which he has a perfect right to do. It is true that labor contests are apt to be characterized by indefensible interference with person and property; but such tendencies cannot and may not be checked by prohibiting interferences with person and property that are morally defensible. It is an unheard-of proposition to compel laborers to be just and discriminating by being unjust and undiscriminating in dealing with them. V. Y.

The German Emperor’s “Education” Case.

The outcome of the recent trial of the editor of the Berlin “Zukunft” for high treason is unexpected and gratifying. The charge against Herr Harden was that he had published an article on the “Education of Monarchs” in which were set forth the grave dangers which result both for princes and people when an exaggerated Byzantinism and servility generate in the mind of the monarch “an unrestrained feeling of Olympian power.” The insinuations and uncomplimentary reflections on immature monarchs misled by insincere flatterers were manifestly referable to the present emperor, and the counsel for the Crown asked for a sentence of four months’ imprisonment. The number of “Die Zukunft” containing the offensive article had been seized and suppressed by the police. But the court acquitted Herr Harden, and the grounds of the court’s decision are decidedly interesting. The article, the court thought, was written in an eminently monarchical vein, and it contained a good deal of truth. The assertion that the education of a monarch must be undertaken when he comes to the throne and continued through life was no insult, but the bare truth. The young emperor, with his energy and spirit, believed he could make quick progress, and the statement of the article, that the emperor imagined he could achieve his objects in a much shorter time than other students of social problems thought necessary, was again the truth and no calumny. Readers between the lines will infer that the court has little sympathy with the emperor’s plans of radical reform. Had the court’s bias been more favorable to the emperor’s notions, the verdict, in all probability, would have been different. German courts are generally inclined to stretch a point and err on the side of loyalty to the government. V. Y.

The Larger Anarchism.

Dear Tucker:

And so it is “a gross blunder” on my part, when lectured for preaching goodness, to arrive at the natural conclusion that my lecturer objects to goodness itself, or else to the use of the word? (1)

(And all that I did to draw down the rebuke for preaching was to claim that character was a necessary part of Anarchism.) (2)

It is very illogical in me, is it, if I attempt to steal a man’s purse and get knocked down and delivered to the policeman, to infer that he objects to being robbed per se? Were I more “mathematically accurate” in thought, I would see that I had no right to suppose anything except that my personal attentions in that line were obnoxious. (3)

Go to, comrade; logic is a beautiful thing and dodging a dexterous art, but there is a way of using both not always creditable, as our enemies, the lawyers, illustrate.

But I am well content. There is an impression abroad that Benj. R. Tucker is, as a lady friend puts it, “a sort of intellectual Mephistopheles.” This I have always opposed.

I have refused to believe that my friend was any other than a man of character and a believer in character, however paradoxical his utterances on the matter might appear. (4)

And behold my justification! Here are admissions worth a gold mine to me.

You say I have inferred from your “opposition to the gospel of goodness” that you are “opposed to goodness itself. Which of course does not follow and is not the case.”

(Italics are mine, but never mind.)

Furthermore you call this mistake “a gross blunder.” This admission contains, too, something that amounts to another concession. I have always maintained that for certain facts in nature, usually designated as moral, we had no better descriptive terms than those contained in the vocabulary of morality. Here, for the fact goodness, you have used the term goodness which is a part of that terminology. If there is a better and more scientific term, why not use it?

Again, I had somehow got the idea that you held to the doctrine that we must have external liberty before we could have character; and that character was not a necessary force in the attainment of liberty.

I was wrong, and that is clear, for now you say, in referring to a previous article: “In that article it was maintained that we already have the amount of character necessary to the securing of liberty.” Again: “If, contrary to my view, the supply of character for the purpose of liberty is still insufficient, it will increase, if at all, by further developing under conditions, not of talk, but, as Mr. Lloyd himself says, of tyranny.”

You do well to rebuke such “gross blunders,” and I offer a thousand apologies. But I would willingly have made a dozen more to have secured these admissions, had that been necessary. (5)

I would call your attention, too, to the fact that the word “character,” as here used, is also a part of the terminology of morality. (6)

I ignored your argument about the amount of character, because I know no way by which such amount can be proved or disproved except by the “logic of events.” (7)

Had you been more “mathematically accurate,” you would not have implied that I taught that “goodness” came “to any important extent by preaching.” Goodness is a product of growth and experience, like intellectual comprehension. I do not suppose people can become good because they are told to be so, any more than I suppose they can be logical when ordered. But when you say logic is important, you are stating a fact; even so I when I declare the necessity of goodness and character in the free and happy life. (8)

Preaching is chiefly valuable to those already good and logic to those already wise.

I am writing this under the greatest difficulties of time, place, and opportunity, and you can be surprised again, if you please, at the calm way in which I shall ignore certain questions you propound.

I only deem it necessary or have time to say that, while I believe the true Anarchism is somewhat larger, in every way, than that which you teach, I do not therefore, of necessity, exclude anything that you teach. (9)

I believe that the instinctive spirit of liberty, which many illogical people possess, is higher than the logical faculty, which many instinctive tyrants possess to perfection. I believe there are right relations inherent in the nature of things superior to the rights of contract, and I believe character affords a better foundation for liberty than any external machine, like the Mutual Bank, howsoever important that may be. (10)

J. Wm. Lloyd.

April 19, 1898.

(1) The conclusion which Mr. Lloyd jumped at and which I criticised was coupled with no alternative. It was single and absolute. From my objection to his preaching of goodness he inferred, that I object to goodness itself. He did not infer, as he now would have us understand, that I object to goodness itself “or else to the use of the word.” The phrase quoted is an addition, an afterthought, awkwardly resorted to in an effort to get out of a corner. It is an example of the “art of dodging,” but it is not “dexterous” enough to be Mephistophelian. Mr. Lloyd’s “use of the word” — that is, his constant dwelling on the necessity of goodness — is precisely what I mean by his “preaching of goodness.” Now, if he had inferred from my objection to his preaching of goodness that I object to goodness itself or else to the preaching of goodness, this would not have been a “gross blunder.” It simply would have been the silliest tautology, and would have laid no foundation for his article charging me with “kicking against the pricks.”

(2) Mr. Lloyd’s claim was not simply that character is a necessary part of Anarchism, but that a lack of character today is what prevents the realization of Anarchism. This is one of those “hair-splitting” distinctions which the mathematical mind sees and which the non-mathematical mind does not see.

(3) Truly this is the only inference that logic warrants; and, if the illustration had arisen in the course of a discussion of Jean Valjean’s conduct in giving his purse to the man who tried to steal it, it would have been a gross blunder to assume any other inference than that which logic justifies.

(4) After charging me with dodging, Mr. Lloyd in the very next paragraph states that there is an impression abroad that I am an intellectual Mephistopheles and that he believes the impression to be erroneous. Suppose I were to print such a statement as this: “John Smith has just taken advantage of a legal technicality to get possession of property which he knows to be mine. There is an impression abroad that John Smith is a thief, but I don’t believe it.” In such a case I think I might be called with truth a Mephistopheles.

(5) Mr. Lloyd is evidently willing to pay a very high price for commodities so plentiful that they are to be had for the asking. These admissions of mine which fill him with such joy are old assertions of mine. Fancy Mr. Lloyd, after being distinctly worsted in discussion of a problem in the higher mathematics, flinging his hat in the air and shouting: “Ha, ha! What a victory I have won! My opponent admits that two and two make four. This is a perfect gold mine. To discover another such, I would willingly commit unutterable stupidities.”

(6) Must I, then, cease to talk about the sun because that word was a part of the Ptolemaic terminology? I favor discarding only so much of the terminology of morality as is in my view inconsistent with Egoism.

(7) Which is an excellent reason for having no more to say about the necessity of character, and for seeing to it that facts and events accord with the principles of contract and mutualism; because in the absence of such accord even the logic of events can prove nothing regarding the necessary amount of character. But, given such accord followed by social failure, perhaps we may then infer that character is lacking.

(8) But in using logic in the exposition of truth I do more than state a fact; I convince others. It was this idea that I thought to convey in my last article, when I said that, though goodness seldom comes by preaching, truth often does. I bow to the justice of Mr. Lloyd’s re-proof when he declares that he has said nothing, to indicate a belief that goodness comes by preaching. My inference was unwarranted. But why, then, does Mr. Lloyd continually preach goodness? For mere love of preaching? Well, if that is the sort of thing he likes, I can understand his course. But I do not see how it serves Anarchism. Anarchism needs exegetics, the preaching of truth; not mere homiletics, the preaching of goodness.

(9) My questions were very direct and simple, requiring no answers beyond a plain “Yee” or a plain “No.” But for Mr. Lloyd they were also very awkward, and, however he might have answered them, he would have left himself in a ridiculous position. Few of us “have time” to do that.

(10) The word “higher” is often used in what seems to me a meaningless fashion. It would be difficult to prove that Mr. Lloyd’s coat is higher than his hat, though he probably could more easily dispense with the latter. On the other hand, it is perfectly obvious that his hat is higher than his head, though less essential, — at least, to him. Whether the spirit of liberty is higher or lower than the logical faculty I do not know and do not care to discuss. What I want to know is whether it conflicts with the logical faculty. This Mr. Lloyd prudently refuses to tell me. His refusal blocks our discussion. T.

State Socialists will probably continue to “point with pride” to the government Post Office as an object-lesson in State management, whether the facts should justify it or not. The State Socialists have use for facts only when they favor their theories; when they happen to clash with such theories, references to particulars give place to very general remarks of a kind it is not easy to seize upon and dispose of. But the following extract from the budget speech of Sir William Harcourt may be interesting to others than irrepressible governmentalists: “The Post Office yields no more than the estimate, a very unsatisfactory return considering the great growth of the expenditure. The telegraphs are £80,000 less than the estimate, a bad revenue. They are £115,000 less than the actual working expenditure, setting aside the non-payment of the interest upon the purchase money. If you look at the telegraph returns since the purchase of the telegraphs, including the moderate interest they ought to have paid upon the money, the loss upon that commercial transaction has been four and a half millions of money. The whole of this affair was founded upon a miscalculation. Six years ago the deficiency was leas than £2,000,000, and I have told you it is more than double that amount now, and, for anything we can see to the contrary, it is a revenue going from bad to worse, and the competition with the telephone is not likely to improve it. As to the Post Office expenditure, that is an abyss which no plummet can sound. It is likely to be the despair of successive Chancellors of the Exchequer.”

“Freedom” closes a report of a recent lecture by William Morris on “Communism” as follows: “To a question by A. Henry, Morris replied: What is Anarchism? Many folks in the Socialist League are merely disturbandist. Your Anarchist proper is a man like Tucker, who wants the dissolution of all society. Socialism, on the other hand, says that all our acts should be directed towards the welfare of society. He did not agree with the negation of government. Anarchism, it seemed to him, made Communism impossible. As to the hatred of force expressed by Anarchists, we cannot get rid of force in society. To denounce majority rule is a mistake; the advantage of a majority is that it simply declares where lies the greater force.” It is gratifying to learn that Morris is finding out the incompatibility of Anarchism and Communism. For many years he has been exhibiting enticing pictures of a society in which no man should own anything and all men should be free. This dream, which was never an inviting one to me, is now seen to be only a dream. Morris has discovered that a state of things in which no man owns anything can be maintained only by force, and that in that case some men will not be free. So, being determined that there shall be no property, he abandons freedom. This is better news than “News from Nowhere,” for I prefer a consistent foe to a blind friend. But imagine the indignation of the Kropotkinians who invited Morris to Grafton Hall to lecture for the “Freedom” fund, only to be told by him that they were simple disturbers of the peace and that Tucker was the true type of an Anarchist! Where, though, did Morris learn that I want the dissolution of all society?

Art and the State.

[Octave Mirbeau in Le Journal.]

The art period in which we live is hideous. It is on every hand the triumph of the ugly. No longer is it known what a beautiful form is, what a beautiful material is. It is impossible today for a man of taste to find in France an acceptable stuff for decoration, a harmonious piece of tapestry, a piece of furniture of delicate workmanship, an ingenious door-knob, a lamp pleasing to the eye. The little utensils which serve us in our daily needs, and into which the workman of former times knew how to put emotion, proportion, and line, have become distressingly commonplace. All that we manufacture is horrible. Not only does it lack style, but it oversteps all conceivable limits of hideousness. Nor could it be otherwise in a social organization like ours, where the State is everything and the individual nothing. This deep fall into the ugly is the necessary consequence of universal suffrage, by which mediocrities dominate. . . .

I beg the painters not to hate me. I have no feeling of animosity against them. Many, I know, are worthy people, and some had natural gifts, quickly wasted. In a different social organization they undoubtedly would have given us beautiful works. I do not even reproach them with the abjection of their art. One has not always the moral force or even the right to resist the evil solicitations of the epoch, the temptations of money and vanity. But it is with the State that I find fault, it is it that I accuse of having protected thin impious art, of having in a sense legalized it, by its infamous lessons, by the fatal direction which it gives to minds, by the nepotic and unjust rewards with which it favors some to the detriment of others. This is an abominable work, for art has powerful reactions, for good as well as evil, upon national life.

If some have freed themselves from these detestable influences, they should be admired as exceptions and heroes. All are not endowed with the energy necessary for such struggles, with the courage which alone can keep one from yielding to suffering and homicidal injustice.

Art is what it must be; artists, who are men, are what they must be. Before they can again become the good workmen of former days, a new era must dawn.

Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!

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Liberty’s Library

Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.

Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis

Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!

Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau

Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.

Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.