Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Politics of Obedience

I stumbled over a fantastic quote today, from Étienne de La Boétie, in his book, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, which was first published in 1574. I want you think about whether it reminds you of anyone today, in modern day Britain, despite the text having been written more than four hundred years ago:

But O good Lord! What strange phenomenon is this? What name shall we give it? What is the nature of this misfortune? What vice is it, or, rather, what degradation? To see an endless multitude of people not merely obeying, but driven to servility? Not ruled, but tyrannized over? These wretches have no wealth, no kin, nor wife nor children, not even life itself that they can call their own. They suffer plundering, wantonness, cruelty, not from an army, not from a barbarian horde, on account of whom they must shed their blood and sacrifice their lives, but from a single man; not from a Hercules nor from a Samson, but from a single little man. Too frequently this same little man is the most cowardly and effeminate in the nation, a stranger to the powder of battle and hesitant on the sands of the tournament; not only without energy to direct men by force, but with hardly enough virility to bed with a common woman!
Does anyone come to mind at all, as this single cowardly, effeminate little man, unable hardly to bed a single woman (who also hides in a bunker behind iron gates and an endless army of parasitical flunkies)? Let me give you another clue:

Yes, we have allowed ourselves to be ruled over by this single deeply effeminate teenage wannabe tyrant

What a marvellous book. I humbly recommend that everyone interested in freedom either reads or listens to this short but power-packed 80 page book:

=> PDF link, including a great introduction by the legendary Uncle Murray Rothbard: http://mises.org/rothbard/boetie.pdf

=> Individual MP3 file link: http://mises.org/media.aspx?action=category&ID=116

=> Podcast audio book subscription link: http://mises.org/Feeds/media.ashx?CategoryId=116

=> Hard copy link: http://www.mises.org/store/Politics-of-Obedience-P529.aspx (For a measly $7 dollars)

Simply fantastic.

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