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An Introduction to Political Philosophy

Aug 30, 2014



An Introduction to Political Philosophy

Hubert Lerch An Introduction to Political Philosophy

Copyright Hubert Lerch 2011

All rights reserved.

Without limiting the rights under copyrights

reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. First published 2008 Formatted using LibreOffice Printed and bound by

ISBN-13: 978-1468056068 ISBN-10: 1468056069

For Lina

Table of ContentsChapterPreface Introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Politics: what it is and what it is not Elements of a Theory of Politics What is Justice? What is Law, Natural and Civil? What is Property? What is Interest? What is Obedience? What is Security? What is Collective Belief? What is Happiness? What is Contract, Private and Social? What is Order?


Page1 3 5 7 16 25 33 39 50 58 65 70 79

Appendix: Source TextsSource1A 1B

TextPlato: The Republic, Book II, 358e-367e David Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature. Book III: Of Morals. Part II: Of Justice and Injustice. II. Of the Origin of Justice and Property Anthony de Jasay: Social Justice Examined, With A Little Help From Adam Smith Cicero: On the State (III) Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince. Chapter XXVI. How Princes Should Honour Their Word Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan. Chapter XXVI. Of Civil Laws Baron de Montesquieu: The Spirit of Laws. Book I. Of Laws in General Aristotle: Rhetoric. Book I. Chapter V Aristotle: The Politics. Book II. Chapter V. The Ownership of Property John Locke: The Second Treatise of Government. Chapter V. Of Property Hans-Hermann Hoppe: The Ethics and Economics of Private Property. I The Problem of Social Order. II The Solution: Private Property and Original Appropriation Jean-Baptiste Say: Treatise on Political Economy. Book III, Chapter VI. On Public Consumption Frdric Bastiat: That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen. I. The Broken Window Karl Marx: The German Ideology. Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook. D. Proletarians and Communism

Page93 102

1C 2A 2B 2C 2D 3A 3B 3C 3D

116 126 127 130 147 153 154 159 172

4A 4B 4C

178 186 189


TextFriedrich Nietzsche: Human. All Too Human. A Book for Free Spirits. VIII. A Glance at the State. 473, 474 Plato: Crito tienne de la Botie: Discourse on Voluntary Slavery John Locke: Second Treatise of Government. Chapter XIX. Of the Dissolution of Government Herbert Spencer: The Right to Ignore the State Lysander Spooner: No Constitution of No Authority Treason. The


5A 5B 5C 5D 5E 6A

205 215 248 258 270 283

Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan. Of Man. Part I. Chapter XIII. Of the Naturall Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery Gustave de Molinari: The Production of Security Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Government and the Private Production of Defense, I-III. From: The Myth of National Defense Thucydides: Pericles' Funeral Oration Johann Gottlieb Fichte: Addresses to the German Nation. 13th Address Giuseppe Mazzini: An Essay on the Duties of Man Addressed to Workingmen, Chapter V Duties Towards Your Country Theodor Herzl: The Jewish State, Introduction

6B 6C

288 306

7A 7B 7C

315 324 341



Source8A 8B 8C

TextAristotle: Politics, Book VII, Part XIII Adam Ferguson: An Essay on the History of Civil Society. Sections IX, X. Of National Felicity Jeremy Bentham: Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Chapter 1: Of the Principle of Utility Thomas Hobbes: De Cive. Chapters I (Of the State of Men without Civill Society) and V (Of the Causes, and First Begining of Civill Government) John Locke: The Second Treatise of Civil Government. Chapter VIII. Of the Beginning of Political Societies Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract. 6. The Social Compact David Hume: Of the Original Contract Aristotle: Politics, Book VII, Part VIII Immanuel Kant: The Natural Principle of the Political Order Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of Right. The State. 257, 258 Murray Rothbard: The Anatomy of the State

Page355 358 373





9C 9D 10 A 10 B 10 C 10 D

404 406 423 425 440 448

PrefaceIf you wish to converse with me define your terms. If we make Voltaire's motto ours, we must first find answers to the following three key questions: What is political? What is the objective of political philosophy? Where are the limits of political philosophy? To initiate the debate, I define my terms as follows: Political philosophy delimitates the public sphere in contrast to the private sphere. Political philosophy discusses the unique features of the political sphere. Political philosophy shows the implications of choices made, whether these choices are desirable or not. This book is a reader, admittedly an anachronism at a time when brains are conditioned to visually reinforced images rather than trained to freely play with ideas. It demonstrates, however, that intellectual training can be enjoyable and insightful. For that reason its threshold has been kept as low as possible without sacrificing depth by keeping texts and explanations short. Although the source texts are taken from a timespan of almost three millenniums, their content is remarkably fresh. They show that the intellectual cul-de-sac in which we find ourselves today has more to do with the nature of the modern state than with the diversity of available ideas. It goes without saying that in an age of mediation the study of source texts is more important than ever. Political science has become apologetic and therefore shallow and boring. Now the time seems ripe to revitalize political science and make it again what it once was: analytical and critical. As such, it should be open in both directions: vertically in the sense that it discusses stages of political control on a scale from zero (no state) to one hundred (all state); horizontally in the sense that it defines, identifies, analyzes, and compares various political systems. The criteria chosen for this purpose have been in the political debate from the beginning; criteria like justice, happiness, or order. Others have been addressed indirectly1

or simply taken for granted like property and contract. This book addresses itself to undergraduate students and students of politics of all ages who still have chaos in themselves to give birth to a dancing star.1 It does not even try to say something new. However it is strongly anti-collectivist. It fights all attempts at dehumanization, noticeable in the growing loss of individual self-determination and the freedom to choose. It also goes against the omnipresent tendency of decivilization characterized by an accelerated loss of knowledge in favor of cheap laughs and syrupy pap 2. Last but not least this book prepares the reader for a life of individual freedom, a life determined by a coordinate system with the three vectors of property, justice, and contract. ALL sources are freely available on the Internet, including LibreOffice for word processing and OS Kubuntu. Ignorance is no excuse these days ... I dedicate this book to my daughter Lina. May she learn from this book and grow up as a responsible individual, and be well prepared for the coming times. Tokyo, December 2011 Hubert Lerch Associate Professor Political Science

I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air that progress made under the shadow of the policeman's club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave. H. L. Mencken1 2 Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra Steve Moore: V for Vendetta, p. 51 2

Politics: What It Is and What It Is NotThe Definition of PoliticsPolitics comes from "polis", the Greek word for city state. And as Aristotle's understanding of man as "zoon politikon" or political animal seems to suggest, man can only exist as a member of a collective which necessarily is political, i.e. public. Regardless of the self-understanding of the Ancients, a definition of politics must set the political sphere apart from social action where individual preferences are respected. Social interaction results from overlapping personal preferences. Where personal preferences differ, social interaction does not take place. Human action ("praxis" is the Greek word for action) results from the free interplay of personal preferences. Politics is decision making on behalf of a collective which is characterized by

Power Power is the ability of a monopolistic agency of coercion government to impose its decisions on the governed, i.e. to change their personal preferences by compulsion.

Boundaries We can distinguish between horizontal and vertical boundaries: Horizontal boundaries Four types of horizontal boundaries boundaries between collectives have evolved in history:

Natural boundaries like waterways and mountain ridges Man-made boundaries like city walls and fortifications Customary boundaries like language, customs, traditions, religion, dress codes, etc. (Pseudo) Scientific boundaries like race, sex, and class3

Vertical boundaries Vertical boundaries mark the gulf between government and the governed.

Distribution and Redistribution Distribution occurs within political coll