Blog Archives

The Tale of the Slave

by Robert Nozick, originally published in his Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974), pp. 290-92.


Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

1: There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on.

2: The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time.

3: The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on.

4: The master allows his slaves four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own. Read the rest of this entry

Try This on Your Friends

by F. A. Harper, originally published in Faith and Freedom, January 1955, p. 19.


The elections are over and the campaign dirt has settled a bit.

Do you enjoy riddles? This one challenges many students of liberty. Once we see the problem, lack of a solution will bedevil us until we can solve it logically to the satisfaction of our own conscience.

We want to answer this question: To what extent should politicians be enthroned to rule affairs in our daily lives? What should be the proper domain of political rulership — that is, government? Read the rest of this entry

A Thought Experiment for a Fresh Look at Government

by Murray Rothbard, originally published in his For A New Liberty (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2006 [1973]), p. 84.

An argument statists never respond to

Let us try to transcend the fact that for as long as we can remember, the State has monopolized police and judicial services in society. Suppose that we were all starting completely from scratch, and that millions of us had been dropped down upon the earth, fully grown and developed, from some other planet. Debate begins as to how protection (police and judicial services) will be provided. Someone says:

Let’s all give all of our weapons to Joe Jones over there, and to his relatives. And let Jones and his family decide all disputes among us. In that way, the Joneses will be able to protect all of us from any aggression or fraud that anyone else may commit. With all the power and all the ability to make ultimate decisions on disputes in the hands of Jones, we will all be protected from one another. And then let us allow the Joneses to obtain their income from this great service by using their weapons, and by exacting as much revenue by coercion as they shall desire.

Read the rest of this entry

Repeatedly Ask Central Bankers This Question

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
in a Q & A session at the 2012 Property and Freedom Society Meeting

Ben Bernanke

It is very important in these replies to people like Krugman that we don’t get involved in technical details, but ask them questions almost like a child:

Explain to me how increase in paper pieces can possibly make a society richer? If that were the case, explain to me why there is still poverty in the world? Isn’t every central bank in the world capable of printing as much paper as they want? And do you then think society as a whole would be richer? Read the rest of this entry