Murray Rothbard: Anatomy of the State

Imagine that you live in a repressive society, one that you suspect might falter at some point in your lifetime.

Now imagine that you find yourself amongst your contemporaries in the downfall of that society.

And now imagine that you have been selected to make something new to put in its place. You can do pretty much whatever you want, you even have friends there to help you. However there are also—not a lot, but a sufficient few—people who have very strong and different opinions of what a new government should look like. Thankfully, all of you have at least one thing in common: you supported the downfall of the last regime.

How would you go about forming a new government? Do you battle it out against the vocal minority for control of the pulpit? Do you honor their participation and sacrifice in helping you to win the war against your former tyrants? Or do you concede space for their ideas in this burgeoning era?

Few people have found themselves in a position to think about these questions, regardless of any political downfall. What it must have been like when John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson first considered this possibility, and then found themselves doing it?

You wonder. At first these thoughts begin small, forming needles in your mind from the many swords that you know. A cognitive itch prompts you to seek out what others have done before, then to compare the outcome. You debate with your confidants about what worked, what didn’t, what could have been better, and most importantly what was truly necessary.

It is hard not to imagine all those people, kings and conquerors, tyrants and nobles, peasants, farmers, smithies, and warriors who made up these nations. Most of these people are now dead and buried. They are the rocks that hold up their mighty temples; still others, the fissures that swallow them.

Then you realize you are one of the liberating conquerors. You see that the nation you create will have its own kings and farmers. You hope that the future will spare her of tyrants and enemies, but you know the inevitability of corruption and cancer that can transform your future into the very monster so many died to defeat. All of these people, starting with you and your compatriots, will live and die under this new nation. And God willing, so will generation upon generation to come.

So go on! Tell us. What, then, do you propose?

Murray Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State is such an exploration into the structure and purpose of government. It parallels the very questions that our American Forefathers must have asked when forming a government the likes of which had never been seen before. The Libertarian roots of our nation are exposed to us in this magnificent, yet succinct pocket pamphlet, both as a warning and as a calling.

That bloody mutiny that ended so many a tyrannical regime is not necessary to fix ours, because the might over tyranny wasn’t left to the government envisioned by Adams, Franklin and Jefferson. It was left to its people, knowing they might need to use it. If we are but true to the tenets of this nation we can stop the cancer of corruption, free her Libertarian soul, and ensure Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Just as our forefathers had hoped that we would.