Murray N. RothbardMurray N. Rothbard, (1926-1995) Dean of the Austrian School of Economics

Murray N. Rothbard Quote

“The great non sequitur committed by defenders of the State, including classical Aristotelian and Thomist philosophers, is to leap from the necessity of society to the necessity of the State.”

Murray N. RothbardMurray N. Rothbard
~ Murray N. Rothbard

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC


Joe, Rochester, MI

You mean attacking other countries ISN'T a necessity of our society ... just a necessity of our government (State) to increase their power?

David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood

Joe: Are you referring to when we attacked Japan or to the imminent attack on Iran?

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

Hyperbolic rubbish.

Brett Ruiz, New York City, NY

Rothbard's always acidic wit makes me smile every time.

epilp88, Boise

Amazing how often the non-sequitur is repeated and taken for granted. A recent professor of mine began the class with this very statement, thereby pre-empting any objections I could raise.

Mike, Norwalk

Great distinction

J Carlton, Calgary

There are many many examples of this taking place in the USSA today.

Waffler, Smith

Would and could someone please explain the difference between "the society" and "the state". Which is more dictatorial and intrusive etc? I know where I live there are many societal norms and taboos that are much more pervasive and fraught with penalties of being disfavored etc than any laws passed by "the state". Is not "the state" when democratically elected by "the society" simply us in action.

Mike, Norwalk
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Mike, Norwalk Waffler, Smith 4/15/20

“A society is a number of persons united together by mutual consent, in order to deliberate, determine, and act jointly for some common purpose.” (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) A society, with no geographical boundaries, acts uniquely in specific civil matters with individuals free to disassociate from the relationship at anytime. A state is a political body, identified by geographical boundaries, that exercises a general civil and criminal jurisdiction (membership is not entered of left in the same way as a society). In a representative republic, societies may act freely if no other party’s rights or liberties are disturbed. In a democracy, each society is limited to the dictates of the collective.

Ben, Orem, UT

No, Waffler. Again, you miss the point, because society allows the individual to choose, regardless of what everyone else chooses. Democracy does not allow the individual to choose. Rather, it is the collective making a decision without regard for the will of the individual. In society, I can still buy a product or service, even if the majority doesn't. The state monopolizes everything leaving no choice to those who would choose differently. The god of democracy has failed you. Turn away from it.

Vedapushpa, Bangalore - India

Roth bard is quite right in objecting to the leap from the necessity of sSociety to the necessity of State. As 'Scety' is the 'real Nation' and the Polity only its Official set up .. a State cannot sustain itself without its Sciety's genuine value co-ordinates.

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Anon    10/13/09

Society is a natural state of free association among and between individuals and acting like this to create a State structure to support self government clearly defines the difference between the two. When the individuals through their servants obey the law of the land they are one in the same when electors legislate with the protection of individual natural rights prioritized first. Electors are responsible to their special interests now and not necessarily any constituency of those that elect or don't elect them. Whoever's got the most power to influence our legislators after election is who gets represented. The rights of the individual are trashed in the process.

jim k, austin

Liberals seem to think that the state is the solver of all problems when it creates most of the problems.

Waffler, Smith

In my world, my city, my county, my state, and my national government is run by my society. They are one and the same thing. Sorry for you guys like Ben who live in some spintered, disparate, choaotic world where apparently his society is at war with his govenment. All is at peace in my world and society and state are if not a unity at least a cooperative, communicative and well functioning dualism.

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    Anon    10/14/09

    All is at peace in your world Waffler because you ignore reality. That was easy to figure out. And for reality's sake, it is the government who is at war with society enslaving it by denying free choice which is what makes a free individual a free individual and not a "yes man" for others.

    Waffler, Smith

    What free choices are you denied Anon. Can you be specific!

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Waffler Says: In my world, my city, my county, my state, and my national government is run by my society... No Waffler none of those entities are run by society, unless by society you mean The Globalist Bankers, The UN, The CFR, Crony Corporatist Interests, The Bilderberg's and others..."Society" has no say in anything any more.
    We live in a soft tyranny that has an overall agenda of population control and the destruction of soveriegn rights. The Land of The disappearing very quickly.

    Mike, Norwalk

    Waffler, the non sequitur you have embraced as reality is as Anon stated: "government who is at war with society enslaving it by denying free choice. An extremely terse list of free choices denied is: 1) the choice to own property - the best anyone individual can do is purchase a limited privilege / title; 2) the choice to live within a government of law as is averse to a government of men; 3) the choice to live free where victimless crimes are not an omnipresent threat to each and every individual; 4) the choice not to be a slave to the thieves that make funny money and mandate any percentage theft of my labors - as they so choose to extract at any given time; and . . .

    E Archer, NYC

    This is one of those quotes that collectivist group-thinkers will have trouble understanding. Instead of left vs right, think of statist vs individualist.

    Either the individual is responsible for himself and associates with others by mutual agreement, or the state is responsible, and all individuals are compelled to obey. It matters not that the state is made up of members of society if the authority of the state is bestowed upon certain individuals to dictate to the rest under threat of violence (prison, confiscation, death). In fact, in an individualist society, yes, cultural customs hold more sway than statutes -- that is as it should be. That is true self-government, everyone deciding how best to live in a society without a 'lord' to whom they must serve.


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