Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State

In violent times
You shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really, really ought to know
--Tears for Fears

Wonderful essay written in 1885 by Englishman Auberon Herbert. Like contemporaries such as Bastiat, Spencer, and Sumner, Herbert focused on the issue that is still central today: the extent to which the state, defined primarily as a democratic majority of people, can legitimately exercise power over human action.

In fact, he suggests that this issue, one captured by the following question:

"Have twenty men--just because they are twenty--a moral title to dispose of the minds and bodies and possession of ten other men, just because they are ten?"

is perhaps the most important question that an inquiring mind in pursuit of truth can consider.

I happen to agree.

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