Editor's note
on Joseph Audie's "Six principles"

Though The Last Ditch is edited by hard-core anarchists, not all of our writers are anarchists. And it is fair to conclude that Dr. Audie's thought-provoking essay reflects republican constitutionalist assumptions. That is not unprecedented at TLD.

Some of what he writes leads me to reflect on my own path to anarchism, and also that of TLD's senior editor, Ronn Neff. When Mr. Neff and I were investigating, circa 1970, whether we could continue to propose the limited state, a critical problem we identified is the very one Dr. Audie cites in these passages:

... Since the state is subject to the same moral law as individual men, the state should be limited to using force in the same manner morally prescribed for individual men.
According to Jefferson, we simply delegate to the state that which we reserve the right to do ourselves. And since we cannot delegate that which we do not have, it follows that the state is limited by the same moral law that governs all human action. Hence, if an action is morally wrong for you and your neighbor, then it is morally wrong for the state as well.
We reasoned as follows. If it is morally wrong for us to initiate force, then it is morally wrong for a group of people designating themselves a "government" to initiate force. But when a government ceases to initiate force, it is no longer a government.

Vastly more, of course, could be and has been written about the impossibility of rightful government. In addition to Mr. Neff's percipient writings on the subject, I have been fortunate enough to be able to post some such writings by that other great philosopher of Liberty, and contemporary of ours, who proceeded from minarchism to anarchism, Roy Childs.

In the course of our own pilgrimage, Mr. Neff and I investigated a traditional claim closely linked to that of delegation: that the American regime depends on "the consent of the governed." We eventually decided to withdraw our consent. Unsurprisingly — but unfortunately for Jeffersonian theory — we continued to be governed.

Nicholas Strakon

Back to Dr. Audie's essay.

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