Anthony de JasayAnthony de Jasay, (1925- ) Hungarian writer

Anthony de Jasay Quote

“In the process of helping some (perhaps most) people to more utility and justice, the state imposes on civil society a system of interdictions and commands.”

Anthony de JasayAnthony de Jasay
~ Anthony de Jasay

The State (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1985), p. 123.

Ratings and Comments

J Carlton, Calgary

It would seem a mixed message. It implies that the state actually wants to help someone and then states that we have been imposed upon with commands and interdictions. I call BS on the fist part and say BS TO the second part.

  • 3
  • Reply
Dan    7/17/08

The state imposing anything on anyone without being granted limited authority by the people under a constituion of law such as we "used to have" is where the problem starts. And that is always there catch all phrase. We're here to help. As J Carlton said: BS.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

We need to change our use of language it seems to me. We talk about "the state" as if it is somthing real, It is only an etheral concept, alien to and outside of us. Many see it as some kind of sci-fi being with a life and ability to grow on its own. We thus should change the above quote in my opinion to read, "we impose upon each other a system of interdictions and commands". Some agree and accept these interdictions and commands more than do some others. When enough of us do not accept them we have power to change them. Take deer hunting licensing and quotas as an example.

  • Reply
RobertSRQ    7/17/08

Yes, and...

Mike, Norwalk

Said well J Carlton and Dan. Waffler, I even agree with most of what you've said. Some of why I agree with you is that language, concepts, ideas, and understandings have already been changed (they need to change to reflect the difference between a free and liberated society and a society under imposed despotism and tyranny). The 'state' and its slave (at heart and mind) supporters act as though the 'state' is real, alien to and outside of us, with a life and ability to grow on its own (the state's supported ability to compel compliance, issue license, commit larceny with impunity, inflict society with victimless crimes, etc. are all examples of a real alien). The state is not 'thee' sovereign, it is only an ethereal concept. Only a real alien, out side of us could impose anything on a sovereign. With all sovereigns being equal, (one man, one vote kinda thing) no one person, individually or in concert (no matter the number or percentage) has the right or de jure lawful ability to impose on civil society a system of interdictions and commands (my rights end at your nose)

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Ah! some agreement but I don't think you get all of my drift, Mike. I think it would be more honest to say "we seek to control each other" rather than saying "the state does this". It is a cop out and counter productive to say "the state" did this or that. It is we that do it to each other. And we can change things. The changes may not be to everyone's liking but we can still change things. We basically cannot win a fight against a shadowy entity called the "state" but know our adversary when it is other individuals just like us. The state is not outside of us and alien to us it is us.

E Archer, NYC

I have no doubt that there are a great many who "seek to control each other" -- that is counter to Liberty and responsibility. In fact, that is the very crux of classic liberalism vs. statism. The idea that the 'state' knows best and should enforce its will (which is but the will of the ruling minority) is the very definition of statism. Statism results in authoritarianism whether religious or political in nature. To force one's good intentions upon someone who doesn't share the same opinions is tyrannical. In a free country like America, those with good intentions can only serve those who wish them -- the rest are to be let alone no matter how much 'saving' others believe they need.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

We seek to control each other in reference to traffic laws, spitting on the sidewalkm, abusing children etcetera. These things are not liberalism or statism. We control how many deer an individual may kill. These controls are good for everybody. Some of your fellow knuckle-walkers Archer are killing and exterminating mountain gorillas in Africa. I guess you defend their rights to freedom against all comers also.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, your arguments are addressed to a neocon / right wing fascist, not a libertarian that acknowledges and honors the God of Nature's laws. Those that honor law believe not as the tree huggers - man is evil or, the neocons - a scorched earth is man's right. The Warren Supreme Court declared for the first time that the government has inherent rights, not just duties. There were no precedence supporting the decision with literally hundreds of examples to the contrary. This government was once as you have said 'ours'. It is no longer, it is by its own declaration a real alien. With its slave liberals and conservatives vying for favor with in its heavily armed sanctuaries, the courts, legislative branches, enforcement arms, and media propagandists, all guarding jealously the real alien status, unlawfully imposing upon civil society. It is the authority of the real alien (real or imagined) that empowers the USA's despotism and tyranny. I do not stand with, and am adversarial to the real alien.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

is it okay and a basic freedom to kill moutanin gorillas. Yes or no!

E Archer, NYC

I would say that killing for sport is a crime against Nature whether it be gorillas or Muslims. But we live in a strange world in which everything lives off of everything else. We all die, and in nature, dead animals are food. When we attempt to 'fix' nature, we only end up screwing it up. The day vegetarianism is legally mandated, that will herald the extinction of the cow. When man attempts to be God, we get a devil for a lord. No laws can protect us from ourselves.

warren, olathe

I believe the author is speaking of the states intent to help. The people "helped" then owe.

  • Reply
    Anonymous    5/5/09

    It might seem that way at the time, but until there is justice for everyone, EVERYONE suffers.


    Get a Quote-a-Day!

    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.