Étienne de la Boétie:  A Political and Economic Analysis

By Neil M. Tokar, B.B.A., M.B.A.

        

        The inspiration for this paper came from the ideas expressed by Étienne de la Boétie, the first libertarian political philosopher in the Western world,[1] in his 1552 or 1553 Discourse of Voluntary Servitude.[2]  He wrote his discourse at the age of twenty-two when he was still in university as a law student.[3] Despite its rather humble origins in sixteenth century France, la Boétie's relatively short work has proceeded to leave its mark on the course of human history by influencing important later events such as the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.[4]  The fact that la Boétie's ideas also had influenced such notable figures as Ghandi,[5] suggested to Murray Rothbard that la Boétie's work must be regarded as a timeless contribution to our understanding of tyranny.          

        From Rothbard's introduction and from the general line of discussion provided by the other authors that he cited, one might be tempted to assume that la Boétie's discourse had contributed to advancing the field of political philosophy only.  For example, Rothbard described la Boétie as "one of the seminal political philosophers, not only as a founder of modern political philosophy in France but also for the timeless relevance of many of his theoretical insights."[6]  Rothbard's discussion revolved around purely political consideration.  For example, la Boétie's treatise was analyzed based on its relationship to different classifications of power such as personal power or usurped power or governmental power that goes against the established and customary laws.[7]  In addition, a political discussion about the sources of power and about potential solutions for the abuse of power were also provided in Rothbard's introductory discussion, which was sufficiently demonstrated by noting both la Boétie's "insight about power necessarily resting on popular consent" and the fact that "the remedy to power is simply to withdraw that consent."[8]  Rothbard stressed that la Boétie was a writer of "political philosophy" who was tending to favor a society without a leader, i.e., anarchy.  "But while La Boétie cannot be considered an anarchist, his sweeping strictures on tyranny and the universality of his political philosophy lend themselves easily to such an expansion," wrote Rothbard.[9]  Much of Rothbard's introduction pertained to how a long list of later anarchist writers extended la Boétie's attacks on tyranny to all forms of government.  Some of the names mentioned by Rothbard in this regard included Thoreau, Tolstoy, Tucker, Landauer, and de Ligt.[10]  Moreover, Rothbard devoted a part of his introduction to the constitutional issues raised by Lysander Spooner.  Spooner divided the supporters of the constitution into three groups consisting of the knaves who used government as a means for acquiring personal power and personal wealth, of the dupes who thought that by voting they actually had a voice in government, and of the passive accepters who were aware of the problem but chose to resign themselves to the status quo.[11]  Rothbard's penchant for citing these anarchist authors who were intellectually indebted to la Boétie, suggested, once again, that the primary focus was on political issues not economic issues because even Rothbard, in what he called the "Spooner-Tucker doctrine" viewed many of these anarchists as non-economists:  

At this point, money-crankism separates into two schools:  what we might call the "orthodox," who call on the State to print enough paper money to do the job (for example, Ezra Pound, the Social Credit Movement); and the anarchist or Mutualist, who wants private persons or banks to do the work (for example, Proudhon, Spooner, Greene, Meulen).  Actually, within these narrow limits, the statists are far better economists than the anarchists.[12]

 

        However, viewing la Boétie's discourse as simply a political treatise undermines the true significance of his work.  Separating political analysis from economic analysis is a grave mistake especially when dealing with a study centered on the issue of tyranny in government.  The problem steams from the fact that, under tyranny, the political and economic issues of society merge into one problem.  "We have seen before," wrote F. A. Hayek, "how the separation of economic and political aims is an essential guaranty of individual freedom and how it is consequently attacked by all collectivists."[13]  The collectivists, the planners leading Hayek's contemporaries down the road to serfdom, were attacking the separation of the economic from the political because they were deliberately trying to merge the two into one.  This issue was observed best by H. D. Dickinson whom Hayek quoted favorably in a discussion on the totalitarian nature of socialism:

"In a socialist society," he [i.e., Dickinson] says, "the distinction, always artificial, between economics and politics will break down; the economic and political machinery of society will fuse into one."[14]

Hayek continued by interpreting Dickinson's candid remark, especially given the intellectual differences that existed between them, to mean that this merger of economics with politics produced tyranny and totalitarianism.  Hayek observed that Dickinson's observation was nothing but a reflection of the authoritarian dogmas shared by the Nazis and the Fascists.  "The distinction breaks down," Hayek noted, "because in a planned system all economic questions become political questions."[15]  From a practical perspective, a purely planned system that would fully merge all economic questions with all those of the political cannot function; therefore, the idea of completely merging the two spheres must be considered as an impractical proposal or as utopian fantasy of some tyrants.[16]  For example, the Soviet Union merged the political and economic spheres as demonstrated by Trotsky who wrote about how the Soviet regime had established itself as the sole employer so that it could achieve its political aims by starving to death all dissenters.  To try to operate outside of the government's apparatus by trying to exercise the economic power of choosing an employer for oneself meant death by starvation.[17]  As a further example, under the Nazi regime smuggling and black markets emerged, which allowed people to engage in economic activity outside of the official government channels.[18]  Moreover, as will be elaborated on later, the feudal lords had to contend with rebellious merchants and international traders who were continually trying to extricate themselves from feudal rule.  Finally, again from a purely pragmatic perspective, the tyrant's interests were better served by not fully merging the economic and political spheres but rather partially merging them so that the tyrant's regime could benefit from the existence of the independent economic sphere.  This consideration was demonstrated by the Soviet planners who backtracked repeatedly on implementing their initial plan to completely merge the political and economic spheres.  For example, Mises reported that the Soviet planners had attempted to abolish money so that the masses would have to depend entirely upon the politically controlled state distribution centers.[19]  Rothbard mentioned that the "war communism" failed miserably, caused Lenin to retreat to a "mere semisocialist system," and motivated Lenin's favorite theoretician, Nikolai Bukharin, to advocate moving closer to "a free-market economy, with peasants allowed to develop their land voluntarily and to purchase manufactured goods from abroad."[20]  Mises went further by noting that the dictatorial systems of both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany functioned only because they could resort to foreign prices, which formed on markets in a relatively free economic sphere.  "They could resort to economic calculation on the ground of the prices established abroad.  Without the aid of these prices their actions would have been aimless and planless."[21]  In other others, even these tyrannies were dependent upon the existence of the economic sphere.  

        Given the observations of both Hayek and Dickinson and given the fact that la Boétie's treatise dealt exclusively with tyranny in government, one must proceed by interpreting la Boétie's work from the perspective that most political and most economic decisions had already been merged by the tyrant into one interconnected issue.  The problem that la Boétie addressed was not simply about "economic interests" who benefited from despotism or about some favorites who engaged in "economic exploitation."[22]  The problem that la Boétie focused on was that pure politics and pure economics ceased to exist under tyranny; instead, politics and economics merged together and operated around both arbitrary rule and the coercion of the police power.  As Hayek explained, the merger had taken place because the economic sphere appeared to be an area operating outside of the government's control and against the government's will.  The existence of a separate economic sphere caused alarm for totalitarians because "economic forces are now [i.e., before totalitarianism dominates] allowed to work for ends which are not part of the policy of the government" and because "economic power can be used independently of government direction and for ends of which the government may not approve."[23]  In contrast to the economic sphere, the political sphere is nothing but "the worship of force."[24]  Therefore, one purpose of this paper is to illustrate the fact that la Boétie contributed not only to political thought but also to economic thought because la Boétie analyzed the resulting mixed political with economic state of tyranny.  The resulting product was not a merger with two equal divisions but rather a hierarchical merger in which political considerations dominated over those of economics.  The "common demand for the dominance of politics over economics" was a hallmark trait of a totalitarian regime.[25]  By emphasizing the political, the economic, and especially the mixture of the two, this paper attempts to give a fuller portrayal of la Boétie's treatise on tyranny in government.

        La Boétie's discussion centered around how a tyrant organized a hierarchical structure that necessarily created caste conflicts.  The tyrant deliberately created various groups with different amounts of privilege because such an arrangement assisted him in subjugating the masses.[26]  Unfortunately, present day Marxian terminological confusion necessitates first distinguishing the term "caste" from the term "class."[27]  Even more unfortunate is the fact that any discussion of class and caste seems to presume that the analysis must be from a Marxian position.  This assumption is unwarranted because class analysis predated the rise of Marxism.  As Ralph Raico noted, classical liberalism had a better claim than did Marxism to the title of class analysis theory builder:

The two most prominent "bourgeois historians" whom he [i.e., Marx] named are the Frenchmen, François Guizot and Augustin Thierry; two years later, Marx referred to Thierry as "the father of the 'class struggle' in French historiography."[28]

 

Therefore, one can discuss the terms caste and class without reference to the Marxian philosophy of history with its accompanying revelation of the class struggle.[29]  One cannot verify a philosophy of history because no rational means exists to do so;[30] therefore, the value of such an approach is questionable.  On the other hand, one can, with certain assumptions, verify the liberal class struggle analysis by appealing to observable fact.  The liberal analysis classifies the members of a community into two groups based on whether the individual plunders resources or produces them.  As long as the terms "producer" and "plunderer" maintain their ordinary definitions then no confusion should exist on how to classify people; consequently, people can then be reasonably classified into the appropriate group.[31]  The dichotomy between producers and plunderers is the essence of the liberal view on class struggle:

In any given society, a sharp distinction may be drawn between those who live by plunder and those who live by production.  The first are characterized in several ways by Comte and Dunoyer; they are "the idle," "the devouring," and "the hornets."  The second, are termed, among other things, "the industrious" and "the bees."  To attempt to live without producing is to live "as savages."  The producers are "the civilized men."[32]

 

        Confusion arises because the term "class" is often used rather loosely and inconsistently.  To be precise, a caste differs from a class because of differences in entry barriers and differences in the level of government intervention.  The lack of insurmountable entry barriers makes class membership dynamic.  Conversely, caste membership is static; one is born into a caste, and one rarely leaves it.[33]  A high level caste endeavors to protect itself from the competition of non-members who, if not impeded by entry barriers, would compromise the privileged position of the high level caste.  A class is also different from a caste because of varying propensities to engage in conflicts.  The members of a class and the members of any other class have no reason to quarrel because no privileged opportunities exist.  However, the members of a caste have legitimate reasons for wanting to quarrel with the members of other castes because certain castes have more privileges including the power to rule over the lower castes.  Rothbard succinctly summarizes the essential features of castes as "State-made groups, each with its own set of violence-established privileges and tasks.  Castes necessarily conflict because some are instituted to rule over the others."[34] 

        The existence of caste conflicts permeated la Boétie's hierarchical model for subjugating a population.  La Boétie's emphasis on caste conflicts was to be expected given the historical events that had happened in his boyhood.  La Boétie was born in 1530, and Europe at that moment was just about to embark on some radical experiments with the caste structure.[35]  The Münster incident from about 1533 to 1535 illustrated the sort of world that La Boétie grew up in.  In Rothbard's account of this early pre-Marxian communist experiment, the masses were starving while the king and his court of favorites lived opulently because "the new ruling class was now imposing a rigid class oligarchy seldom seen before."[36]  Hoppe stated that "roughly speaking, before the eighteenth century in Europe and throughout the world, a social system of 'feudalism' or 'absolutism,' which was in fact feudalism on a grander scale, existed."[37]  La Boétie's work was clearly influenced by his feudal surroundings as demonstrated by his description of the nature of property.  La Boétie, writing about the situation of the wretched masses, stressed, with regard to property ownership, that " you live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives."[38]  The idea that the masses of people were forced to borrow back their own property was completely consistent with Hoppe's description of feudalism's property relationships.  Hoppe described these relationships as marked by "the practice, based on these alleged ownership rights, of renting land and other production factors out to the natural owners in return for goods and services unilaterally fixed by the overlord."[39] 

        He began his hierarchical model of subjugation by proposing a model of tyrant that built upon the insights of what is now referred to as the "Iron Law of Oligarchy," that is to say, the sociological observation that "every field of human endeavor, every kind of organization, will always be led by a relatively small elite."[40] 

        Moreover, la Boétie observed that betrayal was a source of instability in a tyranny.  La Boétie's accounts of betrayal displayed a timeless quality because the same general idea re-emerged later in history to inspire the nationalist and racist philosophies of what Mises called the "antiharmonists."[41]   This particular idea drew upon the doctrine of the French essayist Michel Eyquem de Montaigne who was a contemporary and close personal friend of la Boétie.[42]  Montaigne's dogma, based on a restatement of the ideas of earlier writers, was succinctly defined by Mises as "the gain of one man is the damage of another; no man profits but by the loss of others."[43]  When acted upon, these ideas can lead to a state of perpetual war because some castes can gain only at the expense of other castes implying that a process of exploitation and victimization will be the norm.  In the process of implementing these ideas, alliances were formed but then betrayed when the weaker alliance members were no longer needed by the stronger alliance member in the joint effort of subduing the weaker non-alliance members.  Mises elaborated on the nature of this antiharmonist strategy of first forming a coalition against the weaker castes followed by the betrayal of the weaker coalition members in order to establish one caste's total domination of all by stating that

it may also happen that sometimes in warfare a group cooperates in alliances with other groups.  Such alliances are temporary makeshifts of politics.  They do not in the long run affect the inexorable natural conflict of interests.  Having, in cooperation with some allied groups, defeated several of the hostile groups, the leading group in the coalition turns against its previous allies in order to annihilate them too and to establish its own world supremacy.[44]

A similar pattern of events was enunciated by Hoppe in his description of the operation of coalitions and betrayals during the age of feudalism.  The arch-enemy of feudalism was not the enslaved masses but rather the traveling merchants.[45]  These merchants or "international men" who were "crossing the borders of various feudal territories constantly" were motivated by a desire to operate in an environment that minimized government control;[46] hence, the feudal merchants described by Hoppe displayed the same type of economic power that would later irritate the Nazis and socialists in Hayek's time.  Unfortunately for the merchants who had endeavored to trade freely, they also developed an alliance strategy in order to overthrow a weaker local lord.  This alliance strategy ended with a betrayal by their stronger coalition partner and a reestablishment of the very feudal system the merchants were trying to end.  The merchants had formed an alliance with another feudal lord.  This coalition feudal lord achieved not only an extension of his territory but also an elimination of both the merchants, who had been his former allies before the betrayal, and the local lord, thus the alliance member feudal lord was able to achieve total domination over a much bigger territory.  Hoppe documented this chain of events, which illustrated exactly the same antiharmonist strategy that Mises illustrated later in history with the philosophies of nationalism and racism.  Hoppe began by illustrating the first stage of the total domination strategy, namely, the formation of an alliance against a common enemy:

In their endeavor to free themselves from the exploitative interventions of the various feudal lords, the merchants had to look for natural allies. Understandably enough, they found such allies among those from the class of feudal lords who, though comparatively more powerful than their noble fellows, had the centers of their power at a relatively greater distance from the commercial towns seeking assistance.  In aligning themselves with the merchant class, they sought to extend their power beyond its present range at the expense of other, minor lords.[47]

As to be expected, immediately after the alliance's victory over the common enemy, the local feudal lord, the lead member of the coalition then betrayed the merchants and established his own total domination.  To use the Hayekian description of totalitarianism, the merchants had attempted to exercise economic power free from governmental harassment, but the alliance feudal lord having lured the merchants in with a promise to protect economic power ended the alliance by integrating the economic sphere into the political sphere.  This merger process of the political and economic spheres was for Hoppe the process of alliance formation between a feudal lord and merchants followed first by betrayal and then by the transition from feudalism to super-feudalism or absolutism:

But as soon as the coalition had succeeded in its joint attempt to weaken the local lords and the merchant towns' "foreign" feudal ally had thereby become established as a real power outside of its own traditional territory, it moved ahead and established itself as a feudal super power, i.e., as a monarchy, with a king who superimposed his own exploitative rules onto those of the already existing feudal system.  Absolutism had been born; and this was nothing but feudalism on a larger scale, economic decline again set in, the towns disintegrated, and stagnation and misery returned.[48]

        Both Mises with his description of the antiharmonist philosophy and Hoppe with his observations of the transition from feudalism to absolutism have restated the same pattern of tyranny that la Boétie had already noticed.  La Boétie began by observing that the tyrant must form a coalition before embarking upon his plan to enslave the masses.  He observed, as did Mises and Hoppe, that the tyrant was only one man; therefore, the tyrant could never physically subdue an entire nation.[49]  In fact, according to la Boétie, the tyrant's recruitment process, which aimed at finding suitable coalition members, was rather easy.  The tyrant not only exploited the avarice and ambitions of corrupt people, but also he lured in recruits with ostentatious displays of his ill-gotten gains.  "Whenever a ruler makes himself a dictator," wrote la Boétie, "all those who are corrupted by burning ambition or extraordinary avarice, these gather around him and support him in order to have a share in the booty and to constitute themselves petty chiefs under the big tyrant."[50]  To further attract potential recruits to his machinations, the tyrant tempted potential recruits.  The tyrant manipulated the situation so that "these wretches [would] see the glint of the despot's treasures," and so the tyrant "bedazzled [them] by the radiance of his splendor.  Drawn by this brilliance they come near, without realizing they are approaching a flame that cannot fail to scorch them."[51] 

        In fact, tyrants used a number of techniques to attract both potential favorites and the masses to the "flame that cannot fail to scorch them."  One of la Boétie's examples from classical antiquity anticipated the later methods of the dialectic because the technique proposed to the masses that the means to freedom was to hand over all power to the dictator.  The masses were advised that they should empower one man as dictator.  Once the dictator had unlimited power, he would then guarantee to the masses that their freedom would be restored and preserved.  The reality was just the opposite.  The merchants, who had formed an alliance with a feudal lord against the weaker lord, were disappointed when they saw their trading towns destroyed not prospering.  The alliance that had empowered the coalition feudal lord brought tyranny not liberty to the merchants.  La Boétie mentioned another illustrative example of the fallacy of trying to secure liberty by first empowering a tyrant when he wrote that  

this was the case with the people of Syracuse, chief city of Sicily when, in the throes of war and heedlessly planning only for the present danger, they promoted Denis, their first tyrant, by entrusting to him the command of their army, without realizing that they had given him such power that on his victorious return this worthy man would behave as if he had vanquished not his enemies but his compatriots, transforming himself from captain to king, and then from king to tyrant.[52]

        Drawing upon the works of Russian anarcho-communist Mikhail Bakunin, Rothbard trenchantly noted that the Marxian revolution also proclaimed that freedom can only be achieved by first concentrating all power into the hands of a new ruling caste.  Dictatorship was presented as the father of its opposite, namely, freedom.  Rothbard dismissed this cause and effect relationship as spurious because

only a believer in the preposterous necromancy of the 'dialectic' could believe otherwise, that is, could believe that a totalitarian state can inevitably and virtually instantly be transformed into its opposite, and that therefore the way to get rid of the state is to work as hard as possible to maximize its power.[53]

The dialectic trick that Rothbard mentioned was another example of trying to merge the political with the economic since the political apparatus of the totalitarian state would control all the economic factors of production.  Consequently, no independent economic sphere could exist outside of the state's control.  Moreover, Bakunin's prophecy, that "a minority ruling class will once again, after the Marxian revolution, rule the majority,"[54] was realized quite literally by the events of the former Soviet Union.  As Mises observed, the dictatorship of the proletarians gave birth to a dictatorship over the proletarians, not to a withering away of the state or to an emancipation of the people.  The Soviet Union produced neither income equality nor a better standard of living for the proletarians.  The Soviet Union's standard of living was lower than that of Czarist Russia; moreover, the Soviet Union produced greater income inequality than did even the relatively speaking "capitalist" United States.[55]  Therefore, both the logic of Rothbard and Bakunin that rejected the idea that a dictatorship could give birth to its opposite and the historical experiences documented by la Boétie, Mises, and Hayek illustrated the fact that tyrants trick people into thinking that dictatorship is the means to freedom even though this is never the case.

        A second measure that tyrants used to stabilize their hold on power was to buy consent with a system of open bribery.  La Boétie's mentioned that "the mob has always behaved in this way--eagerly open to bribes that cannot be honorably accepted"[56] when he was discussing the techniques used by Tiberius and Nero to control the mob.  La Boétie may have been overly optimist when he assumed that bribery was an obvious form of mob manipulation.  Evidently, the classical liberal philosophers, despite all of their numerous contributions to both political and economic thought, failed lamentably on this point.  Mises conceded that the classical liberal philosophers failed because they erroneously assumed that the masses could think logically and because they failed to see that for most people "a momentary, special advantage that may be enjoyed immediately appears more important than a lasting greater gain that must be deferred."[57]  Unlike the classical liberal philosophers, la Boétie recognized immediately the lethal combination of bribery with the short-term mindset of most people.  Tyrants, according to la Boétie, focused on bribing both the masses and their favorites with ephemeral largess.  The recipients thought that this arrangement with the tyrant was the means to their desired end, but this arrangement actually achieved only the tyrant's desired end of engineering mass consent.  

        First, with regard to the tyrant's bribery arrangement with the masses, the tyrant won popular consent by bribing the people with their own property.  In other words, the tyrant transferred his costs for obtaining popular consent to the people about to be further enslaved.  "The fools," la Boétie sardonically wrote, "did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them."[58]  The people were tricked into thinking that they had benefited from tyranny, but they actually were injured twice.  Not only were the people bribed with their own property rendering their gains totally illusory, but they also were forced to enjoy these gifts for a very short amount of time.  The recipients of these bribes quickly discover that by accepting these bribes they had sold their lives and the lives of their family to the tyrant.  "On the morrow," the recipient would learn the true nature of the arrangement between himself and the tyrant.  This arrangement meant that the recipient would "be forced to abandon his property to their avarice, his children to their lust, his very blood to the cruelty of these magnificent emperors" without offering any substantial resistance.[59]

        The tyrant's strategy of buying the consent of the masses also illustrated the merger of the political sphere with the economic sphere because production, or the economic sphere, was inextricably linked to the political problem of buying mass consent.  The people's economic sphere was invaded by the tyrant who promptly plundered the producers so that he could turn around and bribe his earlier victims.  The tyrant achieved his political ends through the economic means of controlling the supply of goods and especially that of food.  

        A similar pattern of offering ephemeral bribes was used by the tyrants to win over the consent of their favorites.  The tyrant ensured that his favorites had to go through him in order for the favorites to procure any profits.  In a discussion of how Julius created more supporters by enlarging the senate, by establishing new ranks, and by creating new offices, la Boétie emphasized that by doing so, the tyrant can engineer a situation in which "there are found almost as many people to whom tyranny seems advantageous as those to whom liberty would seem desirable" because too many people now saw "through big favors or little ones, that large profits or small are obtained under a tyrant."[60]  Once again, the tyrant's plan was based on transitory considerations only.  La Boétie conceded to the favorites that they certainly could obtain material benefits from aligning themselves with the tyrant.  However, the favorites, like the masses of ordinary people, ultimately paid for their own enslavement; the favorites were bribed with ephemeral material rewards as well.  To ensure the success of this scheme, the tyrant exploited the burning ambitions of the favorites.  The tyrant granted them the privilege of accumulating wealth through a system of grand larceny in which the masses of the population were the victims of this organized looting operation.  Just as the bribed masses woke up on the morrow to discover the real intentions of the tyrant's plan, so too the bribed favorites woke up on the morrow to discover how the tyrant had played them.  First, the favorites noticed how the dictator actually saw them:

The dictator sees men about him wooing and begging his favor, and doing much more than he tells them to do.  Such men must not only obey orders; they must anticipate his wishes; to satisfy him they must foresee his desires; they must wear themselves out, torment themselves, kill themselves with work in his interest, and accept his pleasure as their own, neglecting their preference for his, distorting their character and corrupting their nature; they must pay heed to his words, to his intonation, to his gestures, and to his glance.[61]

The favorites were not only exerting copious amounts of effort trying to maintain the tyrant's favor, but they also were abdicating their very human nature of choosing.  As la Boétie mentioned, the favorites neglected their own preferences and adopted the tyrant's preferences as their own.  Mises observed this outcome as well when he wrote of tyrants who "elevate their personal judgments of value to the dignity of an absolute standard of value.  They urge other people to stop valuing according to their own will and to adopt unconditionally the precepts to which collectivism has assigned absolute eternal validity."[62]  The observations of la Boétie and Mises further demonstrated the merging of the political and economic because economic power implied that people could make choices that were different from and contrary to the choices made by the government.  The favorites, by both abdicating their own preferences and adopting the tyrant's preferences as their own, were in actual fact relinquishing the entire economic sphere to the tyrant so that the plan of the state could operate unmolested.  

        Unfortunately for the favorites, the tyrants were not finished in making the favorites pay dearly for the initial bribe of privileges that the tyrant graciously gave them.  La Boétie observed that the tyrant usually finished his scheme by plundering the wealth of the favorites.  In essence, the tyrant exploited the burning ambitions of the favorites by unleashing them on the public as an organized robbing gang.  The favorites accepted this arrangement because they were made better off materially.  However, the material benefits received by the favorites were only transitory because the tyrant then expropriated the wealth of many of his favorites.  La Boétie warned the favorites that they too will be liquidated in the end.  "Most often, after becoming rich by despoiling others, under the favor of his protection, they find themselves at last enriching him with their own spoils."[63]  The fundamental problem for the favorites was that they had neither secure ownership in their material belongings nor the courage to assert a claim of self-ownership.  Using language reminiscent of modern-day treatises on liberty,[64] la Boétie eloquently captured the fundamental problem of the favorites, which can also be applied to the masses, namely, that "men accept servility in order to acquire wealth; as if they could acquire anything of their own when they cannot even assert that they belong to themselves, or as if anyone could possess under a tyrant a single thing in his own name."[65] 

        Based on la Boétie's model, the tyrant's strategy amounted to simply bribing everyone.  The tyrant's strategy of manipulating and bribing both sides, i.e., both the masses and the favorites was an illustration of the failed strategy of trying to give privileges to everybody.  As Mises noted, trying to grant privileges to everyone was a self-defeating strategy because "these then cancel one another out in their value for those whom they are supposed to specially favor."[66]  The tyrant transferred wealth from the masses to the favorites thus benefiting the favorites at the expense of the masses.  He then did the exact reverse because he taxed some of his favorites, usually the ones who were falling out of his favor possibly because they appeared as dangerous rivals to his hold on power, to fund gains for the masses.  In the final analysis, neither the masses nor the favorites gained in the long-run from accepting bribes.  

        Near the end of la Boétie's discourse, he observed that a shift in public opinion now made the favorites the scapegoats for all the suffering endured by the masses.  The tyrant's role in causing this ubiquitous suffering appeared to be downplayed by the masses:

Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand obscenities, a thousand maledictions.[67]

La Boétie's discussion implied that the tyrant had effectively shifted all blame to some of his favorites.  The tyrant whom la Boétie described here apparently utilized another common tactic of tyrants throughout history, namely, to align himself with the masses against some of his own favorites.  "From time immemorial," Mises wrote, "it has been the idea of all absolute monarchs, of all despots and tyrants, to ally themselves with the 'people' against the propertied classes."[68]  The favorites were the propertied classes who received their property by plundering the masses under the favor of the tyrant.  Moreover, the tyrant may have asked himself the same question that Rothbard asked hundreds of years later, simply "do these elites circulate or do they become entrenched?"[69]  The tyrant had a legitimate reason for worrying; he feared that some of his entrenched favorites might become too powerful and might then threaten his power and his life.  Therefore, the tyrant's reason for aligning himself with the masses against some of his former favorites was for self-preservation.   The tyrant achieved his goal of self-preservation, his goal of winning popular support for his rule, and his goal of circulating his elites so that they did not become entrenched by imposing taxation on his potential rivals thus weakening them and by redistributing the tax gains to the masses.  Hoppe, when he discussed this alignment between the tyrant and the masses, noted that the tyrant might bribe the people with cheaper justice services in order to burden the potential rivals with new taxes:

Yet this is why the eventual kings typically aligned themselves with the "people" or the "common man."  Appealing to the always popular sentiment of envy, kings promised the people cheaper and better justice in exchange for and at the expense of taxing--cutting down to size--their own betters (the king's competitors).[70]

        

        Hoppe's observation demonstrated the merger of the political with the economic because a service, in this particular case that of justice, was to be monopolized by a tyrant.  The economic issue of supply was merged with the political issue of protecting the tyrant's hold on power from unwanted invasions by overly ambitious favorites.  Moreover, Hoppe's observation needed an important qualification because the tyrant did not literally intend to provide better justice services.  The idea that a tyrant without credible opponents could bring about the opposite of tyranny, i.e., justice, would simply be an illustration of the fallacious idea of the dialectic.  La Boétie further illustrated that tyrants established phony courts of justice not to do what was right but rather to do what served best their own interests.  The fraudulent nature of the courts of justice established by tyrants was best illustrated by the experiences of "Cato the Utican, while [he was] still a child under the rod," for he observed the inner workings of the court.  Barriers to access appeared to be low for Cato because he "could come and go in the house of Sylla the despot."[71]  According to la Boétie, the young Cato had remarkable access to the despot "because of the place and family of his origin and because he and Sylla were close relatives."[72]  Cato then could be classified as one of Sylla's "close favorites" because Cato was well connected to the despot on a personal level.  The young Cato astutely observed that

in the house of Sylla, in the dictator's presence or at his command, some men were imprisoned and others sentenced; one was banished, another was strangled; one demanded the goods of another citizen, another his head; in short, all went there, not as to the house of a city magistrate but as to the people's tyrant, and this was therefore not a court of justice, but rather a resort of tyranny.[73]

Cato was not able to contain his fury over the shame justice provided by the tyrant because his reply, according to la Boétie, was to ask his teacher to give him a dagger so that Cato could later kill the sleeping despot and "rid the city of him."[74]

        The danger of tyrannicide executed by one of the tyrant's close favorites was a serious concern for the tyrant described by la Boétie.  He warned the tyrant that "the majority of the dictators of former days were commonly slain by their closest favorites who, observing the nature of tyranny, could not be so confident of the whim of the tyrant as they were distrustful of his power."[75] Knowing the dangers that he faced, the tyrant's actions with regard to "cutting down to size" his potential rivals appeared to be a form of pre-emptive strike so that the potential rivals would not be able to raise a large enough army to back a successful coup d'état.  As an illustrative example, during the early days of Nazism, the favorites around Hitler were engaged in an intense power struggle.  Some of these favorites actually recruited their own personal private defense forces, which might be used as a means for staging a coup.   William Shirer noted that in order "to protect himself in the jungle warfare which was now going on, Goering also recruited his own personal police force, the Landespolizeigruppe General Goering, several thousand men strong, which he concentrated in the former Cadet School at Lichterfelde."[76]  Although Shirer doubted that such a scheme existed, Hitler believed that some of his favorites were plotting to kill him.  "Hitler later claimed, [that] Roehm began 'preparations to eliminate me personally.'"[77]  Therefore, the tyrant had an incentive to weaken the favorites through taxes, which would impede the favorites' ambitions by making the raising of private personal defense forces, the means for a potential coup, much more difficult.  Moreover, by winning over public support and by rendering his favorites as the objects of public enmity, the tyrant preserved his position.  The potential rivals now had neither the resources nor the popular support to stage a successful coup d'état.  If the potential usurpers were to move forward with their coup despite the tyrant's popularity, then the usurpers would make themselves into the enemies of the masses because the masses would not tolerate such an open assault on their source of privileges.  

        The idea of utilizing "selective" taxation policies in order to weaken or even to eliminate a potential rival, another example of the merging of the economic with the political, was also effectively demonstrated in American history by the national banking machinations for monopoly privileges.  In order to eliminate the recalcitrant state banks and their spirited competition, the national banks enlisted the help of Congress, which provided such assistance in the form of a discriminatory tax that only harmed the state banks not the national banks.  The details, provided by Rothbard, demonstrated clearly that taxation is a weapon used to consolidate power:

The national banking system was intended to replace the state banks completely, but many state banks refused to join as members, despite the special privileges accorded to the national banks.  The reserve and capital requirements for state banks were more onerous, and national banks were prohibited from making loans on real estate.  With the state banks refusing to come to heel voluntarily, Congress, in March 1865, completed the Civil War revolution of the banking system by placing a prohibitive 10 percent tax upon all state bank notes.  The tax virtually outlawed all note issues by the state banks.  From 1865 national banks had a legal monopoly to issue bank notes.[78]

This example from 1865 pertaining to an alliance between part of the banking industry and the federal government to consolidate and monopolize the banking industry was just an illustration on a common and well-known theme.  John Calhoun had noted one decade before the Civil War began that the tax system functioned as simply a special case of Montaigne's dogma because the system created two groups inherently in conflict.  One group, the net recipients, benefited from the tax system only because the other group, the net payers, lost under this arrangement.  The net recipients, therefore, benefited at the expense of the net payers.  Calhoun summarized his observation of how the tax system created one caste of privileged net tax recipients and one caste of unprivileged net tax payers by writing that

some one portion of the community must pay in taxes more than it receives back in disbursements; while another receives in disbursements more than it pays in taxes.  It is, then, manifest, taking the whole process together, that taxes must be, in effect, bounties to that portion of the community which receives more in disbursements than it pays in taxes; while, to the other which pays in taxes more than it receives in disbursements, they are taxes in reality,--burthens, instead of bounties.[79]

This process of caste creation was precisely what la Boétie's tyrant executed when he created through "selective" taxation a group of winners, namely some of the masses or some of the other favorites who received a bounty from him, and a group of losers, namely the newly created group of demoted favorites, i.e., former favorites who were now targeted for "selective" taxation and were now net tax payers.  

        The betrayal of the former wealthy favorites through "selective" taxation policies in order to buy popular consent was illustrated nicely by the policies of Nazi Germany.  William Shirer noted the frustration of the industrialists when Hitler shifted from supporting them to supporting the masses:

Buried under mountains of red tape, directed by the State as to what they could produce, how much and at what price, burdened by increasing taxation and milked by steep and never ending "special contributions" to the party, the businessmen, who had welcomed Hitler's regime so enthusiastically because they expected it to destroy organized labor and allow an entrepreneur to practice untrammeled free enterprise, became greatly disillusioned.  One of them was Fritz Thyssen, one of the earliest and biggest contributors to the party.  Fleeing Germany at the outbreak of the war, he recognized that the "Nazi regime had ruined German industry."  And to all he met abroad he proclaimed, "What a fool [Dummkopf] I was!"[80]

These industrialists were apparently operating under Montaigne's dogma as well because they assumed, erroneously, that their interests were advanced only by harming those of labor.  Possibly, these industrialists were confusing the nominal effects of unionism with its real effects.  Mises noted that the power of the unions, when measured in real not nominal terms, was nullified by the existence of industrial cartels that raised domestic prices in order to compensate for the higher domestic nominal wages.  Mises noted that

Germany developed its characteristic system of cartels.  The cartels charged the domestic consumers high prices and sold cheaper abroad.  What the worker gained from labor legislation and union wages was absorbed by higher prices.  The government and the trade-union leaders boasted of the apparent success of their policies:  the workers received higher money wages.  But real wages did not rise more than the marginal productivity of labor.[81]

The industrialists, supposedly wanting "untrammeled free enterprise," actually wanted cartels.  Shirer observed that the industrialists were enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis in its early days; Shirer specifically mentioned that the industrialists were eagerly anticipating Hitler's rise to power.  Shirer's explanation made no sense because Hitler did not reward his backers by instituting "untrammeled free enterprise."  On the contrary, some of the earliest Nazi economic policies were deliberately aiming to achieve the opposite of "untrammeled free enterprise."  Shirer should have observed this contradiction because on the next page of his book he wrote that some of the earliest Nazi economic policies centered around the deliberate establishment of compulsory cartels.  "The great cartels, which even the Republic had favored, were further strengthened by the Nazis.  In fact, under a law of July 15, 1933, they were made compulsory."[82] 

        A better interpretation of what Shirer observed would begin by pointing out that government establishment of compulsory cartels is not "untrammeled free enterprise" but rather the merger of the political with the economic.  Shirer's major interpretative error screamed out a few pages later because he wrote that "the much maligned capitalists, not the workers, benefited most from Nazi policies."[83]  Even a person who was completely illiterate of either economic theory or economic history should see the glaring contradiction in Shirer's linking of "free" enterprise to "compulsory" cartel.  Shirer apparently assumed that cartels necessarily benefited the "capital class" while necessarily harming the "labor class."  This assumption was totally unwarranted.  In fact, an assumption closer to the facts would postulate that the "labor classes" might very well favor cartels.  In his radical reinterpretation of American history, Gabriel Kolko made just such an observation.  Kolko noted that both the creation and the maintenance of cartels were actually favored and encouraged by socialists, who supposedly only cared for the best interests of the "laboring classes."  The socialists' enthusiasm for cartels was based not so much on sound economic theory as on political opportunism.  Cartels were simply a means to their desired end, namely, the means to the realization of socialism in America:

But the resignation of the socialists to inevitable monopoly was not merely a passive commitment to an article of faith.  It stimulated many of them to a personal admiration of big businessmen unequalled by most paid eulogists.  Indeed, big businessmen were the vehicles of progress and the guarantors of socialism, and worth defending from personal attacks for the parts they played in an impersonal industrial process.  For the socialists "are not making the Revolution," The Worker declared in April, 1901.  "It would be nearer the truth to say that Morgan and Rockefeller are making it."[84]

Consequently, no reason existed for Shirer to assume that "labor" instinctively would oppose the extension of industrial cartels or to assume that "labor" would be harmed by their growth.  Moreover, Shirer's confusion steamed from his failure to distinguish between the political and the economic means for generating wealth.  Franz Oppenheimer also made this crucial distinction, which was later pounced upon by writers such as Thomas DiLorenzo,[85] to emphasize the difference between voluntary exchange and government coerced exchange:

I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the 'economic means' for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the 'political means.'[86]

To utilize the government apparatus of coercion in order to seize wealth from others is the essence of the "political means."  On the other hand, to engage in voluntary transactions free of government coercion is the essence of the "economic means."  The industrialists mentioned by Shirer were not enthusiastic supporters of "untrammeled free enterprise," but rather energetic supporters of wealth acquisition through the "political means" of  government compulsory cartels.  These industrialists were not screaming at Hitler for laissez-faire; they were screaming at him for government created privileges.  These industrialists wanted him to give them the benefits of membership in a high-level caste.  Hayek stressed the point that the loudest calls for "free enterprise" often came from its staunchest enemies.  In one of his typical condemnations of the socialists of "all parties," to allude to the dedication page of his most famous work, The Road to Serfdom, Hayek saw little difference between most of the calls for "free enterprise" and the policies of the openly socialist parties.  They were all advocating for essentially the same thing.  Hayek wrote that

there is some justification at least in the taunt that many of the pretending defenders of "free enterprise" are in fact defenders of privileges and advocates of government activity in their favor rather than opponents of all privilege.  In principle the industrial protectionism and government-supported cartels and the agricultural policies of the conservative groups are not different from the proposals for a more far-reaching direction of economic life sponsored by the socialists.[87]

Continuing this line of reasoning, Mises pointed out that industrialists, if they wanted to benefit from discriminatory policies, never advocate for "untrammeled free enterprise" but rather advocate for interventionism.  Mises wrote that "it is nothing but specious propaganda" for people to claim that "the defense of capitalism is purely an affair of the capitalists and the entrepreneurs, whose special interests, as opposed to those of other groups, are furthered by the capitalist system."[88]  The existing rich and successful industrialists had no vested interest in a system of competition open to all because the competition threatened their existing wealth.  The existing industrialists had a special vested interest in interventionism because interventionism "always has a tendency to preserve the existing division of wealth among those in possession of it."[89]  The industrialists supported the compulsory cartels because they were a form of interventionism that protected their interests from competition.  The industrialists saw the cartels as a means to the desired end, which was to benefit themselves at the expense of the consumers.  The means to this end was through government coercion, which is the "political means" in Oppenheimer's terminology.  So naturally, the industrialists would, at least early on, support Hitler's economic policies because the industrialists benefited from a compulsory cartel arrangement.  However, as Shirer pointed out, the economic policies were not limited to just compulsory cartels.  These additional policies, which amounted to socialism, tended to cancel out the benefits that accrued to the industrialists.  The industrialists were complaining about the egalitarian socialist policies that Hitler initiated because such policies expropriated their monopoly gains.  If Hitler were really trying to benefit the industrialists at the expense of the workers, he would have implemented compulsory cartels that benefited the industrialists by allowing them to charge monopoly prices and would have cancelled all egalitarian and all socialist policies.  However, as Götz Aly convincing argued, Hitler transformed himself into a champion of the welfare state.[90]  Even Shirer's description of what Hitler had done with regard to economic policy demonstrated clearly that Hitler's policies were socialistic.  One of the most obvious illustrations of this point was that Hitler was regulating prices.  Commenting upon the monetary and economic policies of Hilter's Germany, George Reisman emphasized that the price controls observed by Shirer were symptoms of socialistic interventionism:

But what specifically established de facto socialism in Nazi Germany was the introduction of price and wage controls in 1936.  These were imposed in response to the inflation of the money supply carried out by the regime from the time of its coming to power in early 1933.  The Nazi regime inflated the money supply as the means of financing the vast increase in government spending required by its programs of public works, subsidies, and rearmament.  The price and wage controls were imposed in response to the rise in prices that began to result from the inflation.[91]

Hitler's strategy seemed to be designed around the idea of transferring the blame for his failed economic policies to his former favorites, the industrialists.  If one were to attribute the rising prices and wages to monetary causes, as Reisman did, then blame would fall onto Hitler and onto his ruling group because they launched the monetary expansion and the subsequent spending spree.  However, if one were aware of the monetary phenomena described by Reisman, then one could easily blame the compulsory cartels for causing the price increases, which subsequently necessitated Hitler's price and wage control interventions.  One could assume that cartels were raising their prices because they were engaged in "profiteering."  Such a claim was plausible since cartels normally were created in order to increase prices, to restrict output, to block competition from new entrants, and to earn monopoly profits.[92]  What Hitler now had was a convenient and readily identifiable scapegoat because now he could attribute all of the price increases to the machinations of corporate executives in the cartels.  By shifting the blame for this increasing price problem to the cartels, he reduced the blame attributed to his monetary policies.  Consequently, the former favorites, the industrialists, appeared to be the enemies of the people because they caused the increasing price problem while Hitler appeared to be their ally because he was instituting price controls.  This worked because few people were able to distinguish between price increases caused by monetary expansion and price increases caused by nationwide changes in industrial organization that created compulsory cartels.  As a matter of fact, trying to explain prices changes has been recognized as a very difficult task because to do so one must already possess causal theories.  "For example," wrote Rothbard, "suppose that the price of zinc rises over a certain time period.  We may ask:  why has it risen?  We can only answer the question by employing various causal theories arrived at prior to our investigation."[93]

        However, life was much easier for the demagogic Hitler because he was more concerned about public opinion than about causal theories arrived at beforehand.  Aly described Hitler and his ruling caste as obsessed with public opinion.  "The best strategy in the eyes of the public-opinion-conscious Nazi leadership was to keep all Germans happy.  Goebbels was fond of saying that public optimism was 'a weapon crucial to the war effort.'"[94]  A much easier strategy was to resort to propaganda that blamed all the problems on "war profiteering," or on "big-money capitalism," or on a failure to remember one's "sense of social responsibility."[95]  In other words, the compulsory cartels were functioning as the scapegoats for the adverse effects of Hitler's monetary inflation.  Aly graphically wrote of the two-sided propaganda utilized by the Nazis in order to shift all the blame onto the industrialists, the compulsory cartel members, and their alleged Jewish accomplices:

Popular anxieties about wartime profiteers and revolutionaries were easily projected onto a phantom propaganda enemy:  the "Jewish plutocrat" whose greed played into the hands of the equally rapacious "Jewish Bolshevik."  While the former was accused of destroying the middle classes and enslaving agricultural and industrial workers in the service of big-money capitalism, the latter was blamed for "the complete dissolution of order" and the erosion of public respect for religion, morality, property, and the rule of law.[96] 

        All of these historical observations pertaining to Hitler's economic machinations that shifted the blame for the economic problems from his monetary inflation to the industrialists demonstrated that Hitler and his economic advisers were shrewd.  Even though they were cunning, they were certainly not original in utilizing this scheme.  Mises, in both his groundbreaking work on monetary theory, The Theory of Money and Credit (1912), and his World War I inspired work on imperialism and on the economics of war, Nation, State, and Economy (1919), anticipated fully the strategy utilized by Hitler to shift the blame for monetary inflation to the industrialists and then to position himself as the "hero of the people" against the evil exploitative industrialists.  Mises summarized the economic and political distortions of monetary inflation succinctly when he wrote that

inflation had the great advantage of evoking an appearance of economic prosperity and of increase of wealth, of falsifying calculations made in terms of money, and so of concealing the consumption of capital.  Inflation gave rise to the pseudo-profits of the entrepreneur and capitalist which could be treated as income and have specially heavy taxes imposed upon them without the public at large--or often even the actual taxpayers themselves--seeing that portions of capital were thus being taxed away.  Inflation made it possible to divert the fury of the people to "speculators" and "profiteers."  Thus it proved itself an excellent psychological resource of the destructive and annihilist war policy.[97]

The first major issue that Mises identified was that inflation made accounting figures misleading, which he termed "falsifying calculations made in terms of money."  Following Mises's lead, both Rothbard and DiLorenzo noted that the implication of inflation on accounting figures was to cause an artificial and significant overstatement of profits.[98]  Mises mentioned that inflation's distortions of the accounting figures were actually more far reaching than just distorting the computations of depreciation, which was the example that both Rothbard and DiLorenzo used.  Mises warned the entrepreneur that all items on a company's balance sheet were distorted by ongoing decline in value of money caused by inflation.  Mises advised them to take heed of the fact that "the decline in the value of money now made all items in balance sheets become inaccurate."[99]  However, being a demagogue and knowing that the average person was unaware of the accounting implications of inflation, all Hitler had to do was to point to all of these "overstated profits" as the socially irresponsible "greed" of corporations, which he could and did heavily tax.

        In addition to the accounting distortions, other factors contributed further to an upward rise in the level of profits.  Mises identified two additional causes for the general improvement in the profitability of the industrialists.  The two additional causes were increased government spending especially on rearmament and the fact that earlier recipients of the newly created money benefit most at the expense of later receivers:

The war suppliers in the broadest sense of the word (also including workers in war industries and military personnel who received increased war incomes) have therefore gained not only from enjoying good business in the ordinary sense of the word but also from the fact that the additional quantity of money flowed first to them.[100]

The earliest receivers of new money benefited because of a process described first by Richard Cantillon in which the creation of new money caused changes in the relative prices of goods.  "One of the superb features of Cantillon's Essai," wrote Rothbard, "is that he was the first, in a pre-Austrian analysis, to understand that money enters the economy as a step-by-step process and hence does not simply increase or raise prices in a homogenous aggregate."[101]  That prices of the various goods did not change all at once in the same proportion was the reason for why some people win and some people lose because of new money creation.  Mises summarized this discriminatory process of creating winners and losers through new money creation by noting that

those who bring to market the goods and services whose prices are caught up first in the upward price movement are in the favorable position of already being able to sell at higher prices while still able to buy the goods and services that they want to acquire at the older, lower prices.  On the other hand, again, those who sell goods and services that rise in price only later must already buy at higher prices while they themselves, in selling, are able to obtain only the older, lower prices.  As long as the process of change in the value of money is still under way, such gains of some and losses of others will keep occurring.[102]

Hitler's demagogic exploitation of this process of creating winners and losers because of the uneven changes in the prices of various goods and services was predicated on the fact that the winners in this process were normally the "suppliers and producers of war materials."[103]  Hitler's former favorites, the industrialists, now were in a position to be plundered through higher taxes so that Hitler could position himself as the defender of the interests of the masses.

        Hitler's driving motivation, then, was not to win over the industrialists and "profiteers" but rather to establish a consensual dictatorship supported by the masses of average Germans.  To do so, he bribed the masses of Germans into giving him the pubic support that he needed.   Hitler's means to his desired end was simply to turn the average German into a net beneficiary of the state's largess.  In other words, Hitler employed the Tiberius-Nero strategy, mentioned by la Boétie, of bribing the masses on a large scale in order to win over their support.  The strategy was flagrantly geared toward bribery of the masses:

In the fall of 1939, most Germans had little desire to go to war again purely to serve the cause of patriotism.  It was a political necessity for the Nazi leadership to cut them in, as quickly as possible, on a significant portion of the spoils.[104]

        Hitler achieved this goal of cutting the masses in for a share of the spoils by running a gigantic larceny operation.  He began by robbing the industrialists, and he finished by robbing most of Europe.  Aly noted that "the only major tax increase enacted between 1933 and the beginning of World War II to cover the spiraling deficit was in the corporate income tax, which had been introduced nationally in 1920 under the Weimar Republic."[105]  The discriminatory nature of these taxes was clearly evident because they favored the masses of Germans at the expense of the industrialists.  Montaigne's dogma was at work in Hitler's tax policies.  Aly documented the discrimination against the industrialists by noting that "industrialists complained that some 80 to 90 percent of business profits were being siphoned off by the state.  This figure is clearly exaggerated, but it speaks volumes about the Nazi government's basic tax-policy orientation."[106]  The Nazi appetite for plunder was not satisfied by harming the industrialists.  Aly documented that the Nazis then added the Jews and the citizens of neighboring countries to their list of plunder victims.  The Nazis were stuck in a continuous process of expanding their looting operation to more victims, but they were unable to expand their victimization at a fast enough rate.  This continuous process of trying but failing to expand the rate of loot inflow in order to keep up with the rate of loot outflow demonstrated the inherent instability of the Nazi's economic system:

Nonetheless, after every military victory, no matter how quick and relatively painless for German forces, the same problems with finances and food supplies kept cropping up.  However vast the amounts of loot and the size of territories annexed, the revenues derived fell short of expectations.  The Nazi state could never develop and cultivate what it had conquered.[107]

In fact, the Nazi planners were well aware of the instability of their system because they wrote about why it was not sustainable in the long-term.  Moreover, they pondered stopgap measures in order to extend the life of their victims.  The Nazi planners suggested a joint-optimization strategy in order to maximize the returns on both their military and their economic, i.e., plundering, objectives:

Differences of opinion arose chiefly around the questions of how quickly and by which means Europe could be robbed penniless.  Financial experts tended to be concerned with maximizing medium-term profits.  They stressed a certain degree of sustainability, preferring, as it were, to milk the cow for an extended time rather than leading it directly to the slaughter.  Schwerin von Krosigk insisted on pursuing what he called "the military-economic optimum," which involved "preventing countries whose potential we want to use from premature collapse."[108]

        Consequently, Aly concluded that the masses of Germans had been transformed not into ideological fanatics but rather into insatiably greedy socialists who did not want their horn of plenty to come to an end:

The Nazi leadership did not transform the majority of Germans into ideological fanatics who were convinced they were part of the master race.  Instead it succeeded in making them well-fed parasites.  Vast numbers of Germans fell prey to the euphoria of a gold rush, certain that the future would be a time of unbridled prosperity.  As the state was transformed into a gigantic apparatus for plundering others, average Germans became unscrupulous profiteers and passive recipients of bribes.  Soldiers became armed couriers of butter.[109]

        To summarize, the Nazi policies were consistent with the observations made by la Boétie regarding the operation of a tyranny.  The Nazi policy was essentially based upon the idea of creating one caste of tax consumers and one caste of tax payers, to use Calhoun's distinction.  La Boétie emphasized that the tyrant had to divide the population into different groups in order to successfully enslave them all.  "Thus the despot subdues his subjects, some of them by means of others, and thus is he protected by those from whom, if they were decent men, he would have to guard himself; just as, in order to split wood, one has to use a wedge of the wood itself."[110]  Based on la Boétie's observation, the tyrant has to use some of the population as a tool in order to subdue the rest of the population.  What Hitler did was to divide Germany into one group of producers who suffered under this arrangement because they were not only accused of "profiteering" but also forced into the net tax payer group and into another group of parasites who benefited from not only a sense of "justice" in expropriating the "profiteers" but also a material benefit by being tax consumers.  When the domestic producers became overwhelmed, new sources of plunder were simply added to the bottom of the hierarchy of exploitation.  The political concern of securing and maintaining popular consent merged with the economic concern of maintaining an adequate supply of goods for the enjoyment of the masses.  The German masses became the tool used by Hitler to enslave the industrialists; however, the masses were not free in the classical liberal sense of the term but rather enslaved by themselves.  These German masses, although they outwardly benefited materially from the domestic subjugation of the industrialists and later from the subjugation of the foreigners, enslaved themselves because they made themselves totally dependent upon Hitler's favor.  He was in a virtually omnipotent position because he was not only the sole distributor of material largess but also the sole director of labor.  "As with the medieval serfs, the workers in Hitler's Germany found themselves being more and more bound to their place of labor, though here it was not the employer who bound them but the State."[111]  Consequently, both labor and capital were subordinated to Hitler and his ruling group.  The problem for the masses, which consisted mainly of labor, was that they were nominally part of the productive side of society but substantively part of the parasite side of it.   The masses of Germans demonstrated that Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui was right when he observed that all hitherto revolutions had been fought between productive and parasitic forces.  Blanqui sagaciously wrote that "in all the revolutions, there have been but two parties confronting each other; that of the people who wish to live by their own labor, and that of those who would live by the labor of others."[112] 

        The important question that Aly asked was why did Hitler do what he did.  Why did he need to bribe the German masses with a continent-wide bag of stolen loot?  How did Hitler benefit from turning the masses of Germans into parasites?  One reason, which was also emphasized by la Boétie, was that all government, no matter how tyrannical or how benevolent, must ultimately rest upon the consent of the majority.  A second reason, related to the first, was that violence cannot serve as a the foundation of any government.  

        The ineffectiveness of violence as a means for a lasting government was demonstrated historically by the Nazis.  Their regime understood that violence and coercion were incapable of subduing a nation; therefore, they did not expend vast resources on domestic suppression.  The domestic surveillance operations of the Gestapo, according to Aly, were relatively small compared with the total population of the nation.  Aly noted that "the Gestapo in 1937 had just over 7,000 employees, including bureaucrats and secretarial staff.  Together with a far smaller force of security police, they sufficed to keep tabs on more than 60 million people."[113]  The priority of the Nazis regime was neither domestic suppression of dissenters nor military rearmament.  The top priority of the Nazis was, in fact, ensuring that public opinion was behind them:

The Third Reich was not a dictatorship maintained by force.  Indeed, the Nazi leadership developed an almost fearful preoccupation with the mood of the populace, which they monitored carefully, devoting considerable energy and resources toward fulfilling consumer desires, even to the detriment of the country's rearmament program.[114]

        Furthermore, the application of reason to the question of whether violence could serve as a means of supporting a government demonstrated violence's futility.  La Boétie observed that the tyrant was only one man; consequently, the idea that he physically overpowered millions of subjects was simply untenable.  La Boétie noticed that "he who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you."[115]  Similar observations about the impossibility for one man or a small group of men to subdue an entire nation by force alone were made by both Hoppe and Mises.[116]  Violence ostensibly favored the masses against their rulers because of the numerical superiority of the ruled and because rulers were unable to keep weapons out of the hands of the masses even if they tried to do so.[117]  David Hume famously observed that "as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion."[118]  A system that relied solely on violence would be, moreover, self-defeating because such a system would only produce more enemies than friends of the regime.  In his discussion of fascism, Mises noted that "the suppression of all opposition by sheer violence is a most unsuitable way to win adherents to one's cause.  Resort to naked force--that is, without justification in terms of intellectual arguments accepted by public opinion--merely gains new friends for those whom one is thereby trying to combat."[119]  Another factor, which caused tyrants to realize that naked force was self-defeating, was that enslaved masses were not very productive.  Unproductive slave labor compromised the long-term viability of the parasitical state of tyranny.  Mises emphasized that "a system of production in which the only incentive to work is the fear of punishment cannot last.  It was this fact that made slavery disappear as a system of managing production."[120]  Therefore, a tyranny based solely upon the use of force will be unstable and will collapse because force alone favors the masses.

        As Hume rightly observed, public opinion must be on the side of the tyranny.  Public opinion provided the tyrant with the only tool for overcoming his numerical inferiority.  Power over the minds of men and women was the real source of the tyrant's power over the masses:

The theorists and practitioners of power politics should have remembered Hume's famous arguments that all rule rests on power over minds; the government is always only a minority and can govern the majority only because the latter either is convinced of the legitimacy of the rulers or considers their rule desirable in its own interests.  Then they could not have overlooked the fact that the German authoritarian state, even in Germany, rested in the last analysis not on the power of bayonets but precisely on a particular disposition of the German mind, which was caused by the national conditions of settlement of the Germans in the East.[121]

Even this analysis inspired by the writings of la Boétie and of Hume understated the true significance of public opinion.  As Mises observed, public opinion "determines not only the singular role that economics occupies in the complex of thought and knowledge.  It determines the whole process of human history."[122]  In the final analysis, the tyrant had to ensure that public opinion held on his side, meaning that the people had no compelling reason to remove the existing regime of the tyrant and his closest favorites.  The people had to be of the opinion that they would rather maintain the existing state of affairs than change the situation to something else.  If the majority of the people held the opinion that they would rather maintain the status quo than change, then the tyrant achieved his goal of securing the consent of the majority.  Mises explained that all government "depends on the consent of the governed, i.e., on their acceptance of the existing administration.  They may see it only as the lesser evil, or as an unavoidable evil, yet they must be of the opinion that a change in the existing situation would have no purpose."[123]  In other words, from the point of view of a tyrant, the optimal state of public opinion was ultra-conservative meaning the desire for change was nonexistent.[124]  Mises's position with regard to the central role that public opinion played in all forms of government was that

the rulers, who are always a minority, cannot lastingly remain in office if not supported by the consent of the majority of those ruled.  Whatever the system of government may be, the foundation upon which it is built and rests is always the opinion of those ruled that to obey and to be loyal to this government better serves their own interests than insurrection and the establishment of another regime.  The majority has the power to do away with an unpopular government and uses this power whenever it becomes convinced that its own welfare requires it.  In the long run there is no such thing as an unpopular government.  Civil war and revolution are the means by which the discontented majorities overthrow rulers and methods of government which do not suit them.[125]

             

        Furthermore, la Boétie emphasized throughout his discourse that tyranny was based on consent.  People were confronted with one fundamental choice, namely, between choosing freedom and choosing enslavement.  In other words, the people were responsible for their own enslavement.  La Boétie stated that the masses not only consent to their own enslavement but also welcome it openly:

It is therefore the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would put an end to their servitude.  A people enslaves itself, cuts its own throat, when, having a choice between being vassals and being free men, it deserts its liberties and takes on the yoke, gives consent to its own misery, or, rather, apparently welcomes it.[126]

        Having rooted his central thesis on the fact that all rule must be based on power over the minds of the masses, la Boétie then extended his argument by noting that tyrants deliberately suppressed the minds of their subjects.  One method for robbing people of their minds was through denying them an education.  As a general rule, tyrants desired to minimize the number of educated people within their realm.  "The Grand Turk," observed la Boétie, "was well aware that books and teaching more than anything else give men the sense to comprehend their own nature and to detest tyranny.  I understand that in his territory there are few educated people, for he does not want many."[127]  In a remarkably prescient observation that anticipated the later writings of Albert Jay Nock, la Boétie made the critical distinction between education and training.  Similarly, Nock argued that most people were capable not of being educated but merely of being trained.  Nock evaluated army test results, which demonstrated that the average person of military age was stuck for the rest of his or her life with either a fourteen-year-old level of development or less, and concluded by saying that "when we consider what that average is, we are quite free to say that the vast majority of mankind cannot possibly be educated.  They can, however, be trained; anybody can be trained."[128]  However, as la Boétie sagaciously observed, the tyrant intervened in this process in order to make sure that the subjected masses were trained in the "right" way, meaning in the way that protected the tyrant's power.  Drawing upon the life of Mithridates, one of the most dangerous enemies of Roman power, la Boétie argued that people were trained over time to be submissive slaves.  Through ongoing training, people developed a habit or custom that blithely accepted servility as a normal state of affairs:

Nevertheless it is clear enough that the powerful influence of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely, habituation to subjection.  It is said that Mithridates trained himself to drink poison.  Like him we learn to swallow, and not to find bitter, the venom of servitude.[129]

Not education, which would only foster rebellion against the tyrant, but rather training in servility and in adoration was the primary goal of the tyrant.  La Boétie observed that "it has always happened that tyrants, in order to strengthen their power, have made every effort to train their people not only in obedience and servility toward themselves, but also in adoration."[130]  The desire of the tyrant was for the subjects to behave in an instinctive manner as if they were robots that mechanically executed whatever orders the tyrant gave.  Having crushed their spirits, the tyrant made his subjects into automatons.  La Boétie observed the change that took place in the characteristics of people as they transitioned from liberty to tyranny.  Free men, wrote la Boétie, without being ordered to do so, would automatically take the initiative to do what most benefited the group, but enslaved men would take no initiative because they would only respond submissively:

Among free men there is competition as to who will do most, each for the common good, each by himself, all expecting to share in the misfortunes of defeat, or in the benefits of victory; but an enslaved people loses in addition to this warlike courage, all signs of enthusiasm, for their hearts are degraded, submissive, and incapable of any great deed.  Tyrants are well aware of this, and, in order to degrade their subjects further, encourage them to assume this attitude and make it instinctive.[131]

The spontaneous reaction of free men to do, without compulsion, what was best for the group was to be observed later in history as observed by T. S. Ashton when he described the true nature of the Industrial Revolution.  "The truth is (as Professor Koebner has said)," wrote Ashton, "that neither Marx nor Sombart (nor, for that matter, Adam Smith) had any idea of the real nature of what we call the Industrial Revolution."  Ashton continued by explaining that these men were in error because they had "overstressed the part played by science and had no conception of an economic system that developed spontaneously without the help of either the state or the philosopher."[132]  Continuing with Ashton's observation regarding how progress required neither the state nor the carefully designed scheme of the philosopher, Mises explained how free men recognized problems in their existing situation, took the initiative, and solved their own problems while simultaneously solving those of the masses of the people.  Mises elaborated on this process of how free men can organize solutions for the common good without external influences directing the change by writing that

out of this serious social situation emerged the beginnings of modern capitalism.  There were some persons among those outcasts, among those poor people, who tried to organize others to set up small shops which could produce something.  This was an innovation.  These innovators did not produce expensive goods suitable only for the upper classes; they produced cheaper products for everyone's needs.[133]

La Boétie's spontaneous order observation, Ashton's elaboration on it, and Mises's historical example of progress through individual innovation, all demonstrate the distinction between the political and economic spheres.  In these examples, progress for the common good only occurred in the economic sphere, the sphere without government intervention.  In addition, the tyrant deliberately attempted to suppress the economic sphere by integrating it with the political sphere.  In this particular situation, the tyrant attempted to merge the two spheres by getting his subjects to function instinctively; consequently, the subjects would take no initiative and pose no threat to the desires of the tyrant.    

        Mises, observing the same distinction, which la Boétie had observed, between free and enslaved men, proceeded by distinguishing between men who act and animals who instinctively react to momentary urges:

Animals are driven by instinctive urges.  They yield to the impulse which prevails at the moment and peremptorily asks for satisfaction.  They are the puppets of their appetites.  

        Man's eminence is to be seen in the fact that he chooses between alternatives.  He regulates his behavior deliberatively.  He can master his impulses and desires; he has the power to suppress wishes the satisfaction of which would force him to renounce the attainment of more important goals.  In short:  man acts; he purposively aims at ends chosen.[134] 

The tyrant's job, then, was to provide the appropriate impulses and urges that the masses would instinctively satisfy.  Naturally, the tyrant who had refused to educate his subjects and who had trained them in both obedience and adoration followed the strategy later adopted by the public education system of appealing to the lowest common denominator.[135]  The appetite of the masses, what they were longing for the most, was to be entertained.  The masses, as puppets of their appetites, were lured into the cage of tyranny by the enticing food of entertainment.  According to la Boétie, the first tyrant to make this observation was possibly Cyrus who adopted an "unusual expedient" in order to suppress the people of Sardis who had rebelled against him.  Instead of utilizing the police power, Cyrus launched in the city numerous "brothels, taverns, and public games, and issued the proclamation that the inhabitants were to enjoy them."[136]  The Sardians satisfied their appetite for entertainment by "inventing all kinds of games."[137]  The inhabitants of the city behaved as if they were animals not men because they followed their short-term urges and therefore failed to rationally consider the long-term implications of what they were doing.  The Sardians where

the masses, the hosts of common men, [who] do not conceive any ideas, sound or unsound.  They only choose between the ideologies developed by the intellectual leaders of mankind.  But their choice is final and determines the course of events.  If they prefer bad doctrines, nothing can prevent disaster.[138]

They were confronted with a choice between satisfying their short-term urges for entertainment and satisfying their long-term interest that entailed continuing their rebellion in order to rid themselves of Cyrus.  Cyrus dangled an ideology in front of the Sardians; the ideology said that the city dwellers should renounce reason in order to follow their instincts and their urges for short-term entertainment.  By doing so, Cyrus laid the foundation for all future tyrants and all future collectivists because he gave them a convenient way to enslave the people.  His doctrine ascribed "changes and improvements to the operation of instincts."[139]  He told them that their situation in life would improve if they would only follow their short-term urges that told them to pursue entertainment.  He provided the stimuli of taverns, brothels, and games, and the people reacted by putting down their weapons and by amusing themselves with these stimuli.  In contradistinction, a competing ideology might have told the people of Sardis that they should continue their rebellion because living as free men would better serve their long-term interests.  The Sardians chose to follow Cyrus's ideology, renounced reason for instincts, enjoyed their short-term entertainment, satisfied their appetites, and enslaved themselves.  

        This struggle between giving the people what they want now but should not have and giving the people what they should have but do not want now was expatiated upon by Bertrand de Jouvenel.  He observed this friction operating in the real of education.  Too many of the instinct-driven students, assisted by the venality of administrators more interested in retention statistics than in academic standards, caused the system to substitute entertainment for education.  The urges to "live in the now" and to "follow what you feel in the moment" had destroyed the intellectual purpose of academia by once again suppressing reason.  Jouvenel explained this conflict in terms of why the philosophy of business, which gave to the customer whatever he or she wanted, was wholly inappropriate for the academy:

The fundamental difference of attitude between the businessman and the intellectual can be pinned down by resort to a hackneyed formula.  The businessman must say:  "The customer is always right."  The intellectual cannot entertain this notion.  A bad writer is made by the very maxim which makes him a good businessman:  "Give the public what it wants."  The businessman operates within a framework of tastes, of value judgments, which the intellectual must ever seek to alter.  The supreme activity of the intellectual is that of the missionary offering the Gospel to heathen nations.  Selling spirits to them is a less dangerous and more profitable activity.  Here the contrast is stark between offering "consumers" what they should have but do not want and offering them what they avidly accept but should not have.  The trader who fails to turn to the more salable product is adjudged a fool, but the missionary who would so turn would be adjudged a knave.[140]

        From la Boétie's point of view, the process utilized by Cyrus and elaborated on by Mises and Jouvenel was an example of forcing the subjects to remain in an everlasting state of childhood.  La Boétie distinguished between the instinctive and intuitive behavior of children and the behavior guided by reason of adults.  "All would agree," wrote la Boétie, "that, if we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody."[141]  Although la Boétie did engage in some metaphysical speculation about the "intentions of nature," he can be forgiven because this type of argumentation was not uncommon for writers who wrote before the eighteenth century.  As Mises noted, the transition away from this way of thinking began later in history with the rise of the Age of Enlightenment.  The Enlightenment inaugurated "a new social philosophy, entirely different from what is called the philosophy of history.  They looked upon human events from the point of view of the ends aimed at by acting men, instead of from the point of view of the plans ascribed to God or nature."[142]  Without having to speculate about the intentions of nature and without having to hypostatize nature as a woman teaching lessons to mankind, one could interpret la Boétie's distinction between the behavior of children and that of adults as simply the tyrant's plan to find an appropriate means to bring about his desired end.  The tyrant wanted to achieve his goal of enslaving the masses; consequently, he had chosen as his means a strategy of encouraging his subjects to renounce their reason and therefore to stay in a perpetual state of childhood.      

        Since the masses had this tendency to prefer ruinous urge satisfaction to more beneficial long-term considers, and since the tyrants exploited this fact as an appropriate means to their ends, Mises recommended that to break this enslavement process society needed "the intellectual power of outstanding men to conceive sound social and economic theories, and the ability of these or other men to make these ideologies palatable to the majority."[143]  Mises wanted to convince people that they should not choose to follow their urges but rather choose liberty because new discoveries, new ideas, and progress could be generated only in that environment.  This is the same advice that la Boétie gave; freedom began the moment a person firmly decided that he was going to be free.  "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed."[144] 

        Since all rule was based on power over the mind and since the tyrant endeavored to sabotage the minds of his subjects by encouraging them to substitute urge satisfaction for rational choice, the tyrant apparently achieved his goal of stabilizing his hold on power.  The tyrant's grip on power appeared to be solid at this point because the subjects were giving their consent.  The idea that all governments, including tyrannies, must be founded upon the consent of the governed implied that if the people were to withdraw their consent then the government necessarily must collapse.  This observation, made by la Boétie, was the cornerstone of his entire strategy for overthrowing a tyrant.  La Boétie summarized his strategy for unleashing maximum instability on the tyrant's claim to power by writing that

I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces?[145]

All of the attempts by the tyrant to establish stability were nothing but attempts by the tyrant to cause the subjects to give him their consent.  The Soviet application of the Marxian idea of the dictatorship of the proletarians and the betrayal by Denis who had promised to bring the people of Syracuse liberty but actually brought them dictatorship demonstrated a naked attempt to get the people to give their consent to their own enslavement.  The people gave their consent because they erroneously assumed that by empowering a dictator he would bring them liberty as opposed to tyranny.  They accepted dictatorship because they thought that such an arrangement was in their own best interest.  The utilization of bribery was simply a tool to buy the consent of both the favorites and the masses.  The recipients acted as if they had received something for nothing even though the tyrant had no intention of letting anybody accumulate property in the long-run.  The masses saw the tyrant as the distributor of largess.  They accepted his rule because they profited from the tyrant or because they apparently profited from him even though he was simply returning a part of what he had stolen from them earlier. The favorites accepted his rule because they thought that by supporting him they would secure for themselves power and material profits.  Moreover, the tyrant secured the consent of the masses by establishing a scapegoat who deserved to be vilified and expropriated by the tyrant.  The strategy of withholding education, training subjects in obedience and adoration, and encouraging them to remain in a childlike state, again, was meant to bolster consent for the tyrant.  Men, who reasoned, would probably pick social cooperation as the means for attaining their ends, assuming that most men strive for an improvement in their life situation.[146]  The childlike subjects functioned in a world in which they did not choose means since the tyrant was the only means to any end.  The childlike subjects seemed to be allowing their urges to choose their ultimate ends for them.  These childlike subjects accepted the tyrant's rule because he provided them with the means to satisfy their ends.  If the subject had an urge that cried out "bored, entertainment me," then entertainment became his or her ultimate end.  The tyrant, then, won the acceptance of the subject by providing the means to satisfy the end, for example, by providing the public games.  In fact, since "choosing means is a matter of reason"[147] and since the tyrant had a monopoly over all the means, then the childlike masses did not need to have reason at all because the masses were never given an opportunity to choose means.      

        A non-violent strategy of mass withdrawal of consent was the path to freedom according to both la Boétie.  He associated the situation of a people living under the yoke of a tyrant with the situation of a fire consuming wood.  Just as a fire without a fuel supply of wood will naturally die out without the need for external intervention, so too a tyrant without a fuel supply of popular consent will naturally lose his privileged position.  La Boétie's strategy was essentially to remove the tyrant by starving him to death:

Everyone knows that the fire from a little spark will increase and blaze ever higher as long as it finds wood to burn; yet without being quenched by water, but merely by finding no more fuel to feed on, it consumes itself, dies down, and is no longer a flame.  Similarly, the more tyrants pillage, the more they crave, the more they ruin and destroy; the more one yields to them, and obeys them, by that much do they become mightier and more formidable, the readier to annihilate and destroy.  But if not one thing is yielded to them, if, without any violence they are simply not obeyed, they become naked and undone and as nothing, just as, when the root receives no nourishment, the branch withers and dies.[148]

La Boétie's recommendation, that the tyrant be deprived of the resources that he needed to enslave the masses, focused on the fact that the resources were actually provided to the tyrant by the same enslaved masses.  The masses paid for their own enslavement:

You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows--to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check.[149]

La Boétie's recommendation, in summary, was for the masses and the favorites to first change their minds about the usefulness of consenting to the tyrant's rule.  He wanted them both to realize that they would be better off without the tyrant even though he manipulated them in the short-run into thinking that they were benefiting from his tyranny, and he wanted them both to become aware of the fact that the tyrant was just played one group off another.  He permitted his favorites to rob the masses, but he robbed his favorites in order to bribe the masses with apparently free gifts such as cheaper and better justice.  Moreover, sometimes he robbed the masses in order to turn around and bribe them with their own goods.  After realizing that hardly anybody benefited from tyranny in the long-run, both the favorites and the masses would change their minds, withdraw their consent, and take action against the tyrant.  Not violence but rather disobedience was the action to be taken by both the masses and the favorites.  Everybody was to simultaneously refuse to follow orders; therefore, everybody was to stop handing over their resources to the tyrant.  By doing so, the tyrant would be deprived of the resources that he needed to enforce his existing system of enslavement of the masses.

        What initiated the movement away from tyranny and toward freedom was a change in the minds of the masses initiated by a small group of non-conformists.  La Boétie noted that a small remnant who had not taken on the yoke of tyranny as the majority had were unwaveringly opposed to tyranny and were firmly committed to liberty.  La Boétie went on to say that "even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it."[150]  These people, always a small minority, were "better endowed than others," because they felt "the weight of the yoke" and they could not "retrain themselves from attempting to shake it off."[151]  This small group was markedly different from the "brutish masses" because, unlike the masses who focused only on what was obvious at the moment, the remnant took at the present, past, and future implications of tyranny.  They took a broader perspective of their current situation because they learned from the lessons of history.  La Boétie summarized the defining characteristics of the remnant in contrast with those of the masses when he wrote that

these are in fact the men who, possessed of clear minds and far-sighted spirit, are not satisfied, like the brutish mass, to see only what is at their feet, but rather look about them, behind and before, and even recall the things of the past in order to judge those of the future, and compare both with their present condition.[152]

These dissenters who were never tamed played a vital role in the struggle for liberty against tyranny because they, unlike the masses, wanted to change.  These were the people who had already withdrawn their consent from the tyrant, and these people might then spread their views to the brutish masses.  Certainly, such a task was not easy; the dissenter was always marginalized at least in the beginning.  These struggles of the early dissenters against the tyrant were captured by Mises when he described the situation of writers who wrote literature as opposed to fawning and non-controversial books:

Literature is not conformism, but dissent.  Those authors who merely repeat what everybody approves and wants to hear are of no importance.  What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones.  He is by necessity anti-authoritarian and anti-governmental, irreconcilably opposed to the immense majority of his contemporaries.  He is precisely the author whose books the greater part of the public does not buy.[153]

The dissenters, although marginalized, were not facing insuperable odds, for they were capable of undermining and overthrowing the status quo.  In the long-run, only the dissenters changed minds; consequently, only dissenters progressed society.  "All mankind's progress has been achieved," wrote Mises, "as a result of the initiative of a small minority that began to deviate from the ideas and customs of the majority until their example finally moved the others to accept the innovation themselves."[154]  These dissenters, who embraced liberty because they refused to be tamed by the tyrant, represented a formidable force against the tyrant since the dissenters could mold public opinion against the idea of granting one's consent to the tyrant.  By changing the prevailing ideology of the masses, the dissenter can "cut the ground from under the tyrant's feet."[155]  Therefore, the struggle between tyranny and liberty, the tug of war between stability and instability of tyranny, reduced down to the issues of who was molding the opinions of the public and of what was the intention of the molders.  When Mises wrote about the success of socialism in period immediately after World War II, he observed that "the masses favour socialism because they trust the socialist propaganda of the intellectuals.  The intellectuals, not the populace, are moulding public opinion."[156]  In the final analysis, Mises stated bluntly that civilization rose or fell depending upon the views that the group of intellectuals adopted and used to mold the public's opinion.  "The intellectual leaders of the peoples have produced and propagated the fallacies which are on the point of destroying liberty and Western civilization," wrote Mises.  "The intellectuals alone are responsible for the mass slaughters which are the characteristic mark of our century.  They alone can reverse the trend and pave the way for a resurrection of freedom."[157]  Mises's sober conclusion, that a small group of opinion molders can either destroy or save civilization, was essentially the same conclusion drawn by la Boétie.  The only way to restore liberty was for a small group of dissenters to mold the opinions of the public so that the majority embraced an ideology that would undermine the ideology that was supporting the tyrant and his ruling group.  The ideology that the small group of dissenters must adopt is that of separating the political from the economic sphere.

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Mises, Ludwig von.  Between the Two World Wars:  Monetary Disorder, Interventionism, Socialism, and the Great Depression.  Vol. 2 of Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2002.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Bureaucracy.  Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2007.

Mises, Ludwig von.  "The Economic Foundations of Freedom."  In Economic Freedom and Interventionism:  An Anthology of Articles and Essays,  edited by Bettina Bien Greaves, 3-11.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Economic Policy:  Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow.  3rd ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics.  Scholars ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition.  Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time.  Translated by Leland B. Yeager.  Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Omnipotent Government:  The Rise of the Total State and Total War.  Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2011.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Epilogue to Socialism:  An Economic and Sociological Analysis.  Translated by J. Kahane.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981.

Mises, Ludwig von.  Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution.  Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005.

Mises, Ludwig von.  The Theory of Money and Credit.  Translated by H. E. Batson.  Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981.

Nock, Albert Jay.  The Theory of Education in the United States:  The Page-Barbour Lectures for 1931 at the University of Virginia.  New York:  Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932.

Oppenheimer, Franz.  The State:  Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically.  Translated by John M. Gitterman.  New York:  Vanguard Press, 1926.

Raico, Ralph.  "Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of Classes."  In Requiem for Marx, edited by Yuri N. Maltsev, 189-220.  Auburn:  Praxeology Press, 1993.

Reisman, George.  "Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian." Ludwig von Mises Institute. http://www.mises.org/daily/1937 (accessed October 17, 2011).

Rothbard, Murray N.  Introduction to the first edition of America's Great Depression.  5th ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000.

Rothbard, Murray N.  "Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States."  Journal of Libertarian Studies 11, no. 2 (Summer 1995):  3-75.

Rothbard, Murray N.  The Case Against the Fed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1994.

Rothbard, Murray N.  Classical Economics.  Vol. 2 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Rothbard, Murray N.  Economic Thought before Adam Smith.  Vol. 1 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Rothbard, Murray N.  For a New Liberty:  The Libertarian Manifesto.  2nd ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Rothbard, Murray N.  The Mystery of Banking.  2nd ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008.

Rothbard, Murray N.  "The Myth of Monolithic Communism." Ludwig von Mises Institute. http://www.mises.org/daily/4492 (accessed November 17, 2011).

Rothbard, Murray N.  Introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008.

Rothbard, Murray N.  Power and Market:  Government and the Economy.  4th ed.  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006.

Rothbard, Murray N.  "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine:  An Economist's View."  Journal of Libertarian Studies 20, no. 1 (Winter 2006):  5-15.

Rothbard, Murray N.  What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010.

Shirer, William L.  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany.  New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990.


[1]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 32.

[2]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 9n.

[3]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 9n.

[4]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 31-32.

[5]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 17n19.

[6]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 7.

[7]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 19.

[8]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 16.

[9]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 18.

[10]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 17.

[11]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 34.

[12]        

         Murray N. Rothbard, "The Spooner-Tucker Doctrine:  An Economist's View," Journal of Libertarian Studies 20, no. 1 (Winter 2006):  10.

[13]         F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom:  Text and Documents, vol. 2 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2007), 166.

[14]         F. A. Hayek, "Socialist Calculation III:  The Competitive 'Solution'," in Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1980), 206-207.

[15]         F. A. Hayek, "Socialist Calculation III:  The Competitive 'Solution'," in Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1980), 207.

[16]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 46-50; F. A. Hayek, "Socialist Calculation II:  The State of the Debate (1935)," in Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1980), 151-152; Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 43.

[17]        

         Ludwig von Mises, epilogue to Socialism:  An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981), 538.

[18]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 110-111.

[19]         Ludwig von Mises, Between the Two World Wars:  Monetary Disorder, Interventionism, Socialism, and the Great Depression, vol. 2 of Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2002), 127.

[20]         Murray N. Rothbard, "The Myth of Monolithic Communism," Ludwig von Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/daily/4492 (accessed November 17, 2011).

[21]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 698.

[22]        

         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 33-34.

[23]         F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom:  Text and Documents, vol. 2 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2007), 139.

[24]         Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government:  The Rise of the Total State and Total War, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2011), 56.

[25]         F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom:  Text and Documents, vol. 2 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2007), 139.

[26]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 71-74.

[27]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 76.

[28]         Ralph Raico, "Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of Classes," in Requiem for Marx, ed. Yuri N. Maltsev (Auburn:  Praxeology Press, 1993), 192.

[29]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 75-76.

[30]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 110.

[31]         One can easily imagine people quibbling over the precise definitions of each of these terms.  Is an entrepreneur a "producer" or a parasitic "plunderer" of the workers?  If Mr. X robs the liquor store with a gun, is he a "plunderer" because he stole the liquor from the store owner without paying for the merchandise, or is he a "producer" because his robbery creates jobs for the police officers and for the court system?  To clarify, a "producer" is someone who acquires property through his or her own labor or through voluntary trade.  A "plunderer" is someone who acquires property through non-voluntary and coercive means.  Therefore, the robber is a plunderer because he acquires the liquor by means of coercion, i.e., with a gun, and the entrepreneur is a producer because he or she earns his entrepreneurial labor income and his profits through the voluntary means of contracts.  Thankfully, in la Boétie's discourse, the distinction between "plunderer" and "producer" was so obvious that to raise an objection over classification would be unthinkable.  In la Boétie's discussions, the masses of enslaved people were the "producers" who did not get to keep what they had produced.  They were rendered totally dependent upon the largess or gifts of the tyrant.  The tyrant and his favorites were the "plunderers" because they used coercion and manipulation to acquire property.  La Boétie's model also included a "plundering of the plunderers" component because the tyrant did plunder some of his favorites.  These victims were falling out of his favor as they transitioned back to a lower status.

[32]        

         Ralph Raico, "Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of Classes," in Requiem for Marx, ed. Yuri N. Maltsev (Auburn:  Praxeology Press, 1993), 199.

[33]        

         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 76-77; Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2007), 80-81.

[34]         Murray N. Rothbard, Power and Market:  Government and the Economy, 4th ed.  (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 16-17n.

[35]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 7.

[36]         Murray N. Rothbard, Economic Thought before Adam Smith, vol. 1 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 157.

[37]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 84.

[38]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 46.

[39]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 84.

[40]         Murray N. Rothbard, "Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States," Journal of Libertarian Studies 11, no. 2 (Summer 1995):  4.

[41]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 28.

[42]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, by Étienne de la Boétie (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 7.

[43]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 660.

[44]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 28.

[45]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 84-85.

[46]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 85.

[47]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 86-87.

[48]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 87.

[49]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 42; Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 189; Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "The Sociology of Taxation," Ludwig von Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/daily/2068/The-Sociology-of-Taxation (accessed October 25, 2011).

[50]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 72-73.  

[51]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 78.  

[52]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 53-54.  

[53]         Murray N. Rothbard, Classical Economics, vol. 2 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 334.

[54]         Murray N. Rothbard, Classical Economics, vol. 2 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 334.

[55]         Ludwig von Mises, epilogue to Socialism:  An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981), 506; F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom:  Text and Documents, vol. 2 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 2007), 135n.

[56]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 64.

[57]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 121.

[58]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 64.

[59]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 64.

[60]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 72.

[61]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 74.  

[62]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 40.

[63]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 75.

[64]         Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty:  The Libertarian Manifesto, 2nd ed.  (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 33-34.

[65]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 74.

[66]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 146.

[67]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 79.

[68]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 45.

[69]         Murray N. Rothbard, "Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States," Journal of Libertarian Studies 11, no. 2 (Summer 1995):  4.

[70]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State," Ludwig von Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/daily/2214 (accessed October 20, 2011).

[71]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 57.

[72]

         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 57.

[73]        

         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 57-58.

[74]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 58.

[75]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 77.

[76]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 216.

[77]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 216.

[78]         Murray N. Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, 2nd ed.  (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 227.

[79]         John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government and a Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States, ed. Richard K. Cralle (Columbia:  The General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, 1851), 19-20.  "Burthens" is an archaic word meaning "burdens."

[80]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 261.

[81]         Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government:  The Rise of the Total State and Total War, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2011), 88.

[82]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 262.

        

[83]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 264.

[84]         Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism:  A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (New York:  The Free Press, 1977), 16-17.

[85]         Thomas J. DiLorenzo, How Capitalism Saved America:  The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present (New York:  Three Rivers Press, 2004), 110-112.

[86]         Franz Oppenheimer, The State:  Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically, trans. John M. Gitterman (New York:  Vanguard Press, 1926), 25.

[87]         F. A. Hayek, "'Free' Enterprise and Competitive Order," in Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1980), 107.

[88]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 145.

[89]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 145.

[90]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 314.

[91]         George Reisman, "Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian," Ludwig von Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/daily/1937 (accessed October 17, 2011).

[92]         Murray N. Rothbard, The Case Against the Fed (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1994), 85.

[93]         Murray N. Rothbard, introduction to the first edition of America's Great Depression, 5th ed.  (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2000), xxxix.

[94]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 324.

[95]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 32, 33, and 63.

[96]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 32-33.

[97]         Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit, trans. H. E. Batson (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981), 254.

[98]         Murray N. Rothbard, What Has Government Done to Our Money (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010), 52-53; Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Hamilton's Curse:  How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution--and What It Means for America Today (New York:  Crown Forum, 2008), 74.

[99]         Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time, trans. Leland B. Yeager, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 133.

[100]         Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time, trans. Leland B. Yeager, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 130.

[101]         Murray N. Rothbard, Economic Thought before Adam Smith, vol. 1 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 355.

[102]         Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time, trans. Leland B. Yeager, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 130.

[103]         Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time, trans. Leland B. Yeager, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 130.

[104]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 323.

[105]        

         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 38.

[106]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 68.

[107]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 318.

[108]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 313.

[109]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 324.

[110]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 73.  

[111]         William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:  A History of Nazi Germany (New York:  Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1990), 264.

[112]         Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui, author's introduction to History of Political Economy in Europe, trans. Emily J. Leonard (New York:  G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1885), xxviii.

[113]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 29.

[114]         Götz Aly, Hitler's Beneficiaries:  Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York:  Metropolitan Books, 2007), 28-29.

[115]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 46.

[116]         Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "The Sociology of Taxation," Ludwig von Mises Institute, http://www.mises.org/daily/2068/The-Sociology-of-Taxation (accessed October 25, 2011); Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 189.

[117]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 191.

[118]         David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, vol. 1 of Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects in Two Volumes (Edinburgh:  Bell and Bradfute, 1804), 29.

[119]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 29.

[120]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 39.

[121]         Ludwig von Mises, Nation, State, and Economy:  Contributions to the Politics and History of Our Time, trans. Leland B. Yeager, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 87.

[122]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 859.

[123]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 20-21.

[124]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 246.

[125]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 149-150.

[126]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 44.  

[127]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 60.  

[128]         Albert Jay Nock, The Theory of Education in the United States:  The Page-Barbour Lectures for 1931 at the University of Virginia (New York:  Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932), 58-59.

[129]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 54-55.

[130]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 69.

[131]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 62.

[132]         T. S. Ashton, "The Treatment of Capitalism by Historians," in Capitalism and the Historians:  A Defense of the Early Factory System and Its Social and Economic Consequences by a Group of Distinguished Conservative Historians, ed. F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1963), 58.

[133]         Ludwig von Mises, Economic Policy:  Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow, 3rd ed.  (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2006), 3.

[134]         Ludwig von Mises, "The Economic Foundations of Freedom," in Economic Freedom and Interventionism:  An Anthology of Articles and Essays,  ed.  Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2006), 3.

[135]         Albert Jay Nock, The Theory of Education in the United States:  The Page-Barbour Lectures for 1931 at the University of Virginia (New York:  Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932), 39.

[136]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 63.

[137]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 63.

[138]

         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 860.

[139]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 130.

[140]         Bertrand de Jouvenel, "The Treatment of Capitalism by Continental Intellectuals," in Capitalism and the Historians:  A Defense of the Early Factory System and Its Social and Economic Consequences by a Group of Distinguished Conservative Historians, ed. F. A. Hayek (Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1963), 118-119.

[141]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 49.

[142]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 110.

[143]         Ludwig von Mises, Human Action:  A Treatise on Economics, Scholars ed. (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1998), 860.

[144]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 47.

[145]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 47.

[146]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 37.

[147]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 9.

[148]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 45.

[149]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 46-47.

[150]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 59.

[151]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 59.

[152]         Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience:  The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, trans.  Harry Kurz (Auburn:  Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008), 59.

[153]         Ludwig von Mises, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality (Mansfield Centre, CT:  Martino Publishing, 2009), 51.

[154]         Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism:  The Classical Tradition, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 32.

[155]         Ludwig von Mises, Theory and History:  An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 2005), 246.

[156]        

         Ludwig von Mises, epilogue to Socialism:  An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981), 540.  Mises used the term "moulding," which is a British variant of the word "molding."  Mises was saying that the intellectuals were the sole shapers of public opinion.

[157]         Ludwig von Mises, epilogue to Socialism:  An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane (Indianapolis:  Liberty Fund, 1981), 540.