Auberon HerbertAuberon Herbert, (1838-1906) English writer, theorist, philosopher, 19th century individualist, member of the Parliament of the U.K.

Auberon Herbert Quote

“Socialism is but Catholicism addressing itself not to the soul but to the sense of men... [Both implore you to] accept authority, accept the force which it employs, resign yourself to all-powerful managers, give up the free choice and the free act... They both seek to sacrifice man.”

Auberon HerbertAuberon Herbert
~ Auberon Herbert


Ratings and Comments


Dave Whalen, Mount Holly, NC

This is the problem with the modern Church today. And this is why we have such problems in the United States, and that is because we have weak churches. And why do we have weak churches? Because Christians today think that the Church is a democracy where everyone can do what they want, live any way they want, pastors pick and choose what they want out of the Scriptures to believe or not to believe, twisting Scripture to please the masses is nothing more than the work of the Devil as St. Paul (Apostle and given authority by Christ by the way in the Church) so aptly states in 1 and 2 Timothy. For Christ gave they keys to the kingdom of heaven to the apostles which is handed down by the laying on upon qualified men who are pastors. And Christ is our King, yes a Monarchy, but a holy one, over the whole Church and world. The Law of God itself and even in the NT, we have the prescriptions laid down for civil government and Church governments. The problem is that today many so-called theologians who are ignorant of the Scriptures mix the two and say, how it should be civilly is how it should be in the Church and vise-versa. I think it is time that the whole Church pick up a copy of St. Augustines "City of God" and learn about the biblical teaching of the two cities, the "City of God" which is ruled by Christ through his Word and authority that he has set up in Church government, and then there is the "City of man" which is ruled by man in order to provide freedom, protection, and to keep order throughout all nations. These two are in the world at the same time and will exist together until Christ returns, but neither are allowed to mix. Basic Sunday school teaching would teach Herbert that in God's Word he has laid down a Representative republic for all civil governments to abide by to provide the best sort of government in a fallen world. And he has also laid down a government for his Church where Jesus is the Monarch, and that means it is not a democracy. But actually, a Representative republic is not a democracy either, never does God allow "mob rule." Amen.

Joe, Rochester, MI

Socialism takes your freedom from you. The church tries forcing you to see things only their way, also taking your freedom. Both show you ONLY what they want you to see.

Wm. Murphy, Modesto

Amazing: this is almost identical to the observation made by Eric Hoffer the longshoreman philosophizer

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

Joe in Rochester, The church does not take away your freedom. Every man is free to choose to follow Christ or to reject Him. Christ says He came to set men free, but yes, we then have to live by His rules ... WOW ... freedom with rules to follow ... what a novel concept. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

Mike, Mount Holly, NC

Another point ... we have a choice in accepting the edicts of the church unless we live in a Theocracy (which we don't). Government has power to imprison us or kill us if we don't follow their edicts. What can the church do to you if you choose not to follow them?

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

This mindless belch is one more piece of evidence that Herbert was a bumptious twit. "in God's Word he has laid down a Representative republic for all civil governments to abide by to provide the best sort of government in a fallen world" - ra-ra-raaaight.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

While different motivators are used in each case, the parallel is obvious to any who have open eyes and an inquiring mind. Sadly, many have already had their eyes and minds closed by the perverted leadership of these so called religious leaders...

E Archer, NYC

Auberon Hebert consistently spoke in defense of freedom and, more importantly, independence. Churches and social reformers throughout history have proven to be the tools of oppression and war. The individual does not fare well when these groups assume authority.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Auberon Herbert - a god to big oil. He spoke in defense of freedom if one has conflated 'freedom' with 'license'. That's the charm of 'laissez-faire' - it erases the distinction between the two ideas.

E Archer, NYC

"It is not laissez-faire that has failed. That would be an ill day for men. What has failed is the courage to see what is true and speak it to the people, to point to the true remedies." -- Auberon Herbert

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Sounds to me like Mr. Herbert probably grew up in a Catholic home and city. Religion can be oppressive, procrustean, and dictatorial. A relationship with God and a spiritual lifestyle, on the other hand, can be liberating.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Auberon Herbert was one of the 19th century's English 'radical individualists' .

Laissez-faire did fail - time and again and will do so - again. See: Standard_Oil,Archer_Daniels_Midland,Enron.

Even George Bush thinks he should be left alone to do as he pleases because we will 'laisser lui faire' as he pleases. He's been right so far and, if history is any guide, may continue to be so.

While it may be true that 'Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it', it's also true that 'Those who do learn from history are doomed to repeat it as well.'
Belief (ideology) yields to no amount of fact - ever.

E Archer, NYC

Laissez-faire, with regard to economics, did not fail -- it has hardly been seen in American trade in 100 years. Standard Oil, Archer Daniels and particularly Enron were not operating in a 'true' free market -- they all had government support of their monopolies. Despite (and actually due to) government regulations, billions were funnelled to Enron by the very government agents entrusted with preventing such blatant corruption. As far as being a radical individualist, what's the problem? (Terry, I thought you didn't use -isms or -ists in your arguments because it incites division -- kind of hard to do, eh?) America is the quintessential radical individualist country -- that is the spirit of America's quest for Liberty. Since when did Individualism become a dirty word? And finally, GWB as an officer of the government and under oath to uphold the laws of the nation (i.e. the Constitution) does NOT get 'laissez-faire' -- it is the people who have those rights, not the State.

Mike, Norwalk

said well Terry, thank you

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

E. A.; Like I said - no amount of fact ... - 100-120 years ago we had the 'Gilded Age'. I expect you'd like to go back to that. Did you bother to actually check out the links or are you stuck on only quotes pages?

"individualists" - not my term - sorry to disappoint. It's a term used by historians to describe an ideological group by people who use those sorts of terms (click the link). I don't mind using '-ist' or 'ism'. I just know how it tends to be 'heard' in settings where people have a strong ideological investment (like that which your misreading evidences). It's usually either the final dismissive word or seal of approval before a smile of self-satisfaction siezes their faces with both talons, like when GWB utters 'freedom', as opposed to just being a 'neutral value' descriptive term.

I don't regard 'Individualism' as a dirty word. The term 'radical individualist', however, denotes a particular ideology in historical circles and is in use by historians as a descriptive shorthand for people promoting that ideology. You clearly think that's an ideology to be promoted. Given the historical track record of how that ideology has consistently fostered breathtaking abuses by its adherents, I disagree.

I'm also sorry to say that there are no 'dirty words' as far as I'm concerned - even the 'Hollywood forbidden 7'. All words have their place. It sounds like not just a few folks here have long lists of 'dirty words' however - mostly 'ists' and '-isms'.

GWB - 'not operating under' laissez-faire? I don't even know how to respond to that - ostrich maybe?

E Archer, NYC

Terry, ah how you love to play the game of semantics. I did not say you invented the word Individualist (I have a dictionary, too). I merely commented on your criticism of using -isms. So what if the term 'radical individualist' is a common term for an ideology -- so are the words 'socialism' and 'totalitarianism'. Sure, if you only read AHD, then the definitions are limited -- go to other references and there will be expanded versions. Yes, I read the links you included (not that I have to). The list of 'radical individualists' include some of my favorites -- like Frederic Bastiat. So, no, simply posting a page of individualists did not evoke any sense of shock or awe. And finally, twisting my words about GWB doesn't add anything to your argument -- the point is simple -- The People are free, the government is not. IMHO GWB has 'taken liberties' with his post contrary to the Constitutional limitations of his office. As far as a laissez-faire free market economy goes, you can include me among its supporters -- and to say only 'radical individualists' support laissez-faire is certainly a stretch.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

E. A. - "I did not say you invented the word Individualist" - Who said you did? (Where did that come from?)
What I did say was that it was not my term, which implies, for those conversant with English, 'in this instance of usage'. It's the usage on the link named by the term. If you're not comfortable with AHD, I could go to my OED2 but I'll use Webster's unabridged if you like. AHD matches fairly well in the 'common usage' category with Webster's unabridged while the OED tends to be a history of usage, most of which usage tends to be 'archaic' and less useful in this particular context. The American Heritage Dictionary is roughly equivalent to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. I have yet to see you supply any definitions. If you don't like the definitions I supply, do some 'radical' legwork and please supply your own, from the reference of your choice, if it's not too much trouble for you.

I'm sorry to hear you referring to semantics (Merriam-Webster) as a 'game'. Perhaps that's the value of precise articulation in your view. Poetry would free you from most of the annoying constraints of English usage but, so far as I can ascertain, this is not a poetry site.

"Yes, I read the links you included (not that I have to)" - Did someone say you had to? BTW, it was not the 'list' that mattered. it was the attendant information as relates to this ideology. The 'list' simply points to further reading for anyone so inclined. If you are saying that 'list' is the gist of the links, you've, once again, misread.

"So, no, simply posting a page of individualists did not evoke any sense of shock or awe." - Was it supposed to? I would be 'shocked' and 'awed' (but no longer surprised) to hear that you read such intent into what I wrote.
These links were supplied to frame the debate in its historical perspective. I don't think it's any secret that you subscribe to the same ideology as Milton Friedman and company. A historical perspective on that ideology might (or might not) be useful to other readers of this site.

You happen to like Bastiat. I find him to be a romantic (Merriam-Webster) buffoon, full of haughty, self-serving puffery, draped in lavish amounts of supposition and political ideology (offered as 'supporting' lemmas), then 'baked' in overwrought pseudo-logic. He was a perfect exponent of the Zeitgeist of his era. The fashion of the time. It's a matter of taste I suppose - like the haute couture of the day - the 1840s that is, whalebones and all. His simplistic, philosophy-based 'economics' (if you can even call it that) gave us John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company (1863-1911). Thanks for that Freddie. Oh, and thanks for the 'inspirational' vagueness of your writing too. It's nice to see your Christ-like resurrection.

As a political ideologue, Bastiat was, well, compelling. Applying his 'ideology of economics' to actual economics however, is like applying religion to medicine - it's perennially in vogue with some people - with mixed results. Bastiat's stance was a political one, not an economic one. I expect this accounts, in large measure, for his appeal in some circles. He speaks to philosophy with elegance and fervor. As an 'economist' Bastiat was, at the very best, inept. - to wit: "It also seemed to me that this analysis of the Social Contract was useful in showing what characterizes artificial social orders. Start with the idea that society is contrary to Nature" -- Frederic Bastiat, Economic Harmonies

Now There's an insight!

From a proponent of Bastiat:
[Indeed Bastiat is generally not even considered an economist and is certainly not considered an economic theorist. Joseph Schumpeter, the eminent historian of economic thought called Bastiat "the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived" but concludes, "he was not a theorist." Another renowned Austrian economist, F.A. Hayek failed to defend Bastiat against this charge in his introduction to Bastiat's collected works. Even his intellectual biographer claimed that with respect to economics, Bastiat "made no original or significant additions to the science."]

"twisting my words about GWB" - Please enlighten me on this one unless, of course, this 'twisting' too, was 'made up' of whole cloth.

"IMHO GWB has 'taken liberties' with his post ..." - Isn't 'taking liberties' what so-called 'radical individualists' do?

"-- and to say only 'radical individualists' support laissez-faire is certainly a stretch.": Yes it is, and let me congratulate you on being the first to say it.

E Archer, NYC

As usual, Terry, your comments become a lengthy sarcastic treatise. I know better than to take the bait. You give selective definitions that appear to make your point while withholding other definitions also found in AHD, Wikipedia or wherever. For example, according to AHD, Socialism is not just defined as you have quoted but also as "The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved." Also, on the pages on Herbert, you only chose from the 'criticisms' section. Write 20 pages in bold, purple, italics -- your 'shouting' hasn't convinced me. Defending the status quo is no stand at all -- you know where I stand. A multitude of words does not increase the argument against freedom. You obviously do not believe in Liberty but in some form of social engineering (of course ultimately up to an individual mind). Go ahead, stick your neck out -- who are the defenders of Freedom that you endorse? (Do you honestly categorize GWB as a 'radical individualist'? He is a puppet!) No man is perfect, nor is there a perfect philosophy for all -- and since no man can be trusted with power, it is better to allow too much freedom than none at all. It is because we cannot agree that Liberty become the basis of our society -- the freedom to believe whatever nonsense we wish on our search for Truth (for those that dare). The fact is WE DO NOT KNOW what that Truth is -- and because we do not know, we afford others the right to figure it out for themselves (whether anybody else agrees or not).

Every argument against a free market economy is FOR regulated monopolies that prevent competition and a diversity of solutions. So expect more Enron's, Exxon's, Haliburton's, and the monopolies that they promote. When we treat corporations as persons and persons as corporations, the free market is turned on its head thus requiring endless regulations. But politics is still politics, and when there is no free market, the market is controlled by politicians (which is not good for anyone except the politicians and their buddies).

Economics is but politics in disguise. Without an honest money system, without allodial title to land, without the sovereignty of the States and ultimately the sovereignty of the People, a 'free market' is indeed non-existent -- we are simply playing Monopoly with someone else's money, and all the pieces end up back in the box.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

If (too many) facts are sarcasm then so be it. The funniest part is that this dodge is coming from the sarcasm capital of the country. That's funny. Someone needs to peel the air-brush layer off of this 'Virgin Mary' ideology and expose some of the pustules. If you have an issue with my selections, you can hardly take issue with my having provided the link to the whole paper.

I have no idea if you're afraid of it but, if you're afraid of "collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat", I'd have to classify that as slightly unrealistic or slightly paranoid - not impossible (hell, we went to the moon), just highly unlikely (less likely than the next moon landing under GWB let's say) - hence its inapplicability to our discussion in practical terms. It's 'NICE' language for a scare tactic, just not a practical likelihood.

"A multitude of words does not increase the argument against freedom." - Oh but you presume too much - again. Reading 'into' is not reading. You should have the 'freedom' you seek, and all that attends it.

I read the article: Voluntaryism: The Political Thought of Auberon Herbert. That was not another point of view. That was another person's version of the same point of view.
Now I'm convinced that, for adherents to this ideology, the most extreme positions imaginable can never be extreme enough. But then, that's the definition of 'radical', isn't it? Herbert is one of many Jim Jones types of philosophers. The Kool-Aid looks really refreshing, and there are eager converts who imagine themselves as pioneering 'independent' thinkers, who are 'on to' the 'Truth' and a 'new' way. It's reassuring to make up road markers to coincide with where you wish you were going when you're lost. If the shoe fits ...
Even J. A. Hobson is given pause according to this (Voluntaryism) piece and he's libertarian. He appears to be backing gingerly away from a nut case.

There's a small issue with allodial title to land: when a property owner dies and leaves ownership to more than one heir, the allodial status of the property is lost. Also, allodial title cannot be mortgaged (it can't be used as collateral because it's under allodial title rules). This would prevent millions of those who want to buy homes using a mortgage loan vehicle from availing themselves of that option. Now there's a pioneering innovation.

" -- we are simply playing Monopoly with someone else's money, and all the pieces end up back in the box." : Well, when 'we' go 'back' in a box, do you expect to take the 'pieces' with you?

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Sorry - "who are the defenders of Freedom that you endorse?" -- I can answer that when you can define for me what you mean by 'freedom'.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

"Write 20 pages in bold, purple, italics -- your 'shouting' hasn't convinced me." - 'Convincing' you is not my aim. That would be futile. My aim is to draw out your views. So far, so good.

Joe M., NYC

Here's another way he phrased it: “Of all the strange games at which men play in the world, I think politics and religion are the two strangest…A man will do anything for his church and anything for his party and ask no questions, just because some accident has pitch-forked him into his place as a member of one or the other. But whether he is right or wrong to be where he finds himself is a question that he never stops to ask.”--Auberon Herbert from "A politician in trouble about his soul" (pg 66)

Tharos, Richmond

Christianity is voluntary, at least in the free Republic established by our Founding Fathers. There can be no liberty without virtue. There can be no virtue without Christ. Socialism on the other hand is forced upon a nation by an oligarchy. Unfortunately the oligarchy trying to take our liberty is Congress, with the aid of the President and the courts. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof -- The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion by the Congress or the preference of one religion over another, non-religion over religion, or religion over non-religion. Traveling in the Democrat Party's Wilderness these last 50 or so years, and in the head-on race towards hedonism, the anti-Christian bigots conveniently ignore the "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" portion of our First Amendment. They ignore it with good reason. Christianity is under attack because it places limits on government. It is complete balderdash we have to leave our religious morals and beliefs at the door when we vote. God does not say "Thou shalt not steal unless thou hast 51% of the vote." Any program not specifically addressed in our Constitution, requiring funding by raising someone's taxes, starts from the basic premise of coveting that which is our neighbor's in order to enact it. This quote is nothing short of an attempt to marginalize Christianity, where you voluntarily give up free will for a seat in heaven. Socialism is a system where a small group of people who think they know better than you what's good for you, forcibly steal your liberty, prohibit the free exercise of religion, and tempt us to engage in all sorts of immoral activity.

Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

"No liberty without virtue, no virtue without Christ", eh? Wow. Sounds voluntary to me. I find it very reassuring that I am not reliant on the whims of some all-powerful cosmic tyrant. I've read the Bible, and this god is not a very nice anthropomorphic hallucination: murder, war, rape, threats of eternal torment, and micro-management of trivial aspects of human behavior seem to be his modi operandi. I am relieved that I am not under its thumb, although it is still worrisome that so many imagine that they are, and act as if this control-freak puppetmaster were pulling their strings.

The Sheriff, Franklin, Pa.

Fabian Socialism,nothing wrong with socialism as long as I am in charge, nothing wrong with communism as long as I am in charge. See what they have in common? Only those in charge like these political systems, the rest of us poor bastards get screwed! Loved your reply ...Tharos, Richmond.

Anon
  • Reply
Anon    10/13/09

No matter what you believe in that is your religion and all the passion, zeal and love one feels for what he believes determines the strength of his faith and how far he is willing to stand his ground on what he believes. All governments are forms of religion and that includes self government as well if one believes in self above all other aspects of natural law that equalizes us all.

Mike, Norwalk

Tharos, Sheriff, and Anon well said. Joe, you've obviously not read the bible, and if you had, its obvious you didn't understand it. There are words in the Bible (such as anger - often times should have been translated facial grimace with a sigh or a separation / the phrase 'God's anger was kindled against Israel', would be more accurately relayed as; the father grimaced as Israel separated themselves - pain and suffering being the effect of abiding actions contrary to the Creator's given natural law) that are changed to meet the current religious administrator's control issues. Sound familiar, just like socialist and otherwise government despots. And with Archer, I am an staunch supporter of inalienable individual rights. I view such as a sovereign heir to the King of the universe, equal to all my brothers and sisters (believer/ nonbeliever, rich / poor, any color / any nationality, gay / straight, etc.)

J Carlton, Calgary

The reason I'm not a socialist is the same reason I'm no longer a practising Catholic. It's all BS, but unlike socialism, I respect everyone's right to practice religion.

E Archer, NYC

Just an aside as I have already expounded a great deal on this quote: the current system of 'law' in the Western world has its roots in religion. Catholic canonical law is the root of most European, British, and American law. And even further back, the Hebrew Torah and 10 commandments have served as the basis of thousands of years of law. Church and state have been merged as totalitarian empires throughout time (and can we expect that this tendency will change?). The Roman civil law, which most of the West adopted, had its roots in its pantheistic religious sects later to incorporate the tenets of Christianity. Of course the Muslim world have their laws based on their religion. Often we see governments and their respective 'legal' systems operate similarly to the great religions of the past, and as they have often done in previous 'dynasties,' men have propped themselves up as gods. The Natural Law is not made up by man -- it already is, and throughout the eons, man has been coming to terms with it. Too often the 'law' has been used as a tool to oppress, wherein man aims to take on the role of 'god.' Natural Law requires no human intervention, no 'enforcement.' It is unavoidable and applicable to all.

Mike, Norwalk

The term "catholic" (being a broad or liberal scope, comprehensive, including all humankind; universal) in the state of an "ism" describes well the omnipresent / omnipotent theocracy that is socialism. I think Dave Whalen in the first comment said well. Catholicism, as a specific religious organization or church today does implore one to accept its authority, but I don't believe that it seeks to sacrifice man. Socialism on the other hand doesn't just implore, it mandates acceptance to its authority, it enforces acceptance to all that which it employs, it demands under threat and duress each and every (except certain elite) individual to resign self to its all-powerful managers, give up free choice, inalienable rights and acting within a true scope of lawful liberty. Socialism by its very religious nature seeks to sacrifice man.

jim k, Austin

Dave, Mt. Holly, religion, in general, has started more trouble than almost any thing else.

Mike, Norwalk

jim, you are absolutely right. for example; Atheistic Socialism, as a religion, in the past industrial age has killed, maimed and destroyed more than any atrocities prior. That is why the de jure representative republic was to separate religion from administrations of order at law. Now that an occupying statist theocracy infesting this land has so completely replaced the once hopeful land of liberty, war is the desire of the day. The occupying statist theocracy infesting this land seeks to sacrifice liberty and man.

Anonymous, New Jersey

I think that we should read the documents available and describe clearly and succinctly the meaning and execution of the doctrines of the catholic church and after you have read these Papal documents; after having dope so you will not be able to blame the church, but, if you are truthful to yourself you will agree with every word; I find it brilliant. Read Encyclical of Pope Leo Xii: "On Freemasonry" (Humanium Genus).
If you still have doubts please enter it here in commentary.

Ronw13, OR
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Ronw13, OR    11/5/18

"[ Socialism ] is a creed even more denigrating than catholicism, but it offers more tangible bribes for its acceptance." Herbert.
Roman catholics preferred an absolute monarchy and the right to tax, by way of the crown. simple. The "old wigs" were right in taking a stance against such oppression from a Threskeia religious system. " Old wigs " opposed the roman catholic church because they saw it as a threat to Liberty, or as the Elder Pitt stated, " The errors of Rome are Ranked idolatry, a subversion of all civil as well as religious liberty, and the utter disgrace of reason and of human nature." one can find in the USA, the "dissenters" such as presbyterians are leading the influx of refugees and migrants into the USA. " stuart kings and pretenders " who were roman catholic. Our founding fathers held in great disdain the roman catholic church, seeing we sided with the apostle Paul, and his 13 bks 85 pages, of sound doctrines of liberty from such heavy handed oppression and bloodshed throughout their history. 3 liberties and 13 attributes heavily censored "knowledge" doctrines, withheld from all the pulpits. Now no more to be suppressed. 

Mike, Norwalk

When I said well said to Terry, I was speaking of his first comment. Laissez-faire, at natural law can NOT fail  an economic / financial impossibility. Sentient sovereign's servants, administrating life, liberty, and property at "the laws of nature and of nature's God and justice ONLY address that which is illicit and an adjustment to correct. Laissez-faire is a term which describes such action. Patrons of ultra controlling theocracies, socialists and the like are incapable of recognizing the laissez-faire administrations of life, liberty and property at natural law and justice.

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