Robert LeFevre

American libertarian businessman
(Redirected from Autarchism)

Robert LeFevre (October 13, 1911 – May 13, 1986) was an American libertarian, businessman, radio personality and primary theorist of autarchism.

Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.

Quotes edit

  • The bill of grievances contained in the immortal Declaration of Independence could be extended by our own citizens in modern times, had they the stomach for it.  …  So important is the right and duty of the people to dispense with despotism, this great Declaration contains the sentence not once, but twice.  In its final utterance, the choice of words does not call for the formation of a government.  Rather, it calls for "new guards" which may or may not entail such a unit as an artificial agency.
    • This Bread is Mine (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: American Liberty Press, (1960) pp. 363, 365.  Source.
  • If you have a government of good laws and bad men, you will have a bad government. For bad men will not be bound by good laws.
    • Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, “Unlimited Government” (Dec. 29, 1961).
  • Governments, by their nature, are instruments of privilege.
    • Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, “Unlimited Government” (Dec. 29, 1961).
  • The family unit is the incubator for human character; the state is the incubator for human dependency.
    • “The Family”, Pine Tree Press (Nov. 1963) p. 16.
  • Government, when it is examined, turns out to be nothing more nor less than a group of fallible men with the political force to act as though they were infallible.
    • "Aggression is Wrong" essay (1963) published by Rampart College.
  • Since I favor total self-control—absolute government of the individual over himself—I believe autarchy more accurately describes, in a positive fashion, the kind of situation I consider most desirable. Some dictionaries define autarchy as a kind of tyranny or despotism, but of necessity it is limited to self-application.
    • “Autarchy Versus Anarchy”, Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter, 1965): 30–49.
  • Government doesn't cure problems. It aggravates them.
    • Lift Her Up, Tenderly, Pine Tree Press (December 1, 1976) p.196
  • If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.
    • As quoted in Facets of Liberty: A Libertarian Primer, L.K. Samuels, editor, Freeland Press and Rampart Institute, Santa Ana: CA, (1985) Chap. 5, p. 70
  • But history shows repeatedly the madness of crowds and the irrationality of majorities. The only conceivable merit relating to majority rule lies in the fact that if we obtain monopoly decisions by this process, we will coerce fewer persons than if we permit the minority to coerce the majority. But implicit in all political voting is the necessity to coerce some so that all are controlled.
    • As quoted in Bagatorials: A Book Full of Bags by John Roscoe and Ned Roscoe, Simon & Schuster, "Abstain from Beans" (1996) p. 17.
  • An anarchist is anyone who believes in less government than you do.
    • As quoted in "What Is Anarchy?" By Butler Shaffer, (Jan. 13, 2004)

Nature of Man and His Government (1959) edit

Caldwell: Idaho, Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1991

  • Government may be intrinsically evil; clearly they operate on the basis of tax predation.
    • p. 16
  • But the thing all members of governments desire to do is to rule their own people and to collect money from them. This is inherent in their natures. So the United Nations, perforce, will aid and abet the member governments in their universal desire to maintain a coercive hold over their individual subjects. Thus, the United Nations is a government of the governments, by the governments, and for the governments. And it cannot and will not restrain their governments,…
    • p. 45
  • And thus we see the government is at once both protector and predator. It is not that governments begin in virtue only to end in sin. Government begins by protecting some against others and ends up protecting itself against everyone. This is the course of history.
    • p. 73
  • Government alone, in all man’s inventions, is capable of independent life. Government alone, like Mrs. Shelley’s terrifying creation of the monster born in Frankenstein’s mind, has the power and the ability to turn upon its creators and destroy them.
    • p. 78
  • We know that men cannot be compelled to be good. They can only be prevented from being bad—a negative condition. We know from bitter experience that men cannot be forced into doing the wise thing, for such a forcement is foolishness.
    • p. 81

Anarchy (1959) edit

Colorado Springs, CO, Freedom School, 1959

  • The aim of the anarchist is to eliminate private ownership.
  • Economically speaking, all anarchists are socialists, however they may coalesce to the political spectrum. Economically speaking, the libertarian is an individualist, believing in and supporting the concept of private ownership, individual responsibility and self-government.
  • The most constructive of the anarchists were, socially speaking, individualists, peaceful and harmless. The least constructive, socially speaking, were dedicated to the overthrow of force by counter force. But without exception, in the realm of economics every anarchist comes unglued.
  • In brief, let us define the anarchist as a political individualist and an economic socialist. In contrast, the libertarian can be defined as an individualist, both politically and economically.

Good Government: Hope or Illusion? (1978) edit

Santa Ana: CA: Rampart Institute Press, Society for Libertarian Life edition, 1978, speech from 1977

  • So the thing I object to about government isn't its organizational feature. Organization has to be accomplished. It is the coercive nature of government organization. My argument is that we can organize better without coercion.
    • p. 8
  • Many times when I use the term 'government', people think that I mean law and order. And so, if they hear me say: 'We don't need government', they think I mean we don't need law and order. Well, this is probably what makes me an 'autarchist' rather than an anarchist. I think we need law and order. You see, I am dedicated to the idea of lawful and orderly procedures. And because of that I have to stand against government. Because government doesn't provide either law or order.
    • p. 8
  • Now, where did we ever get the idea that there is such a thing as 'good government?' That is a contradiction in terms as ridiculous as 'constructive rape.'
    • p. 14
  • Very few crooks perform with a police audience.
    • p. 14
  • I am constantly staggered by those who say they are libertarian and are trying to set up their own particular way of providing a ‘good government.’ It is a contradiction in terms. To say ‘unlimited government’ is a redundancy and to say ‘limited government’ is a contradiction. All you have to say is ‘government.’ And that takes care of the whole thing.
    • p. 19
  • When the government uses "divide and conquer," it sows suspicion so that the people who would naturally tend to affiliate will distrust each other. Thus, they don't affiliate. The consequence is that everyone distrusts his neighbor. But everyone trusts the government.
    • p. 23

Does Government Protection Protect (1979) edit

Santa Ana: CA: Rampart Institute Press, Society for Libertarian Life edition, 1979, speech from 1978

  • What you want is protection. You want to be safe. What the government does is to try to retaliate after the fact.
    • p. 14
  • The police aren't hired to protect you. They're hired to keep an eye on you to see what you did that was wrong so that they can book you. That's their function. They are not protectors. They are not hired to be protectors. They are hired to keep an eye on all of us as potential criminals. Now, do you think they're going to make you safe? They weren't hired to make you safe.
    • p. 16
  • Does government protection protect? It doesn't do anything of the sort. It takes vengeance in your name after you've been hurt and calls it protection.
    • p. 30

The Fundamental of Liberty (1988) edit

Santa Ana: CA, Rampart Institute 1988

  • Cannibalism is actually a sort of dietetic socialism. Here is the ultimate sacrifice. A human life is taken for the purpose of maximizing the ‘public welfare.’
    • p. 375
  • As a result of this failure of communist ideology to comprehend the nature of man, Stalin decided to alter the Russian constitution. No longer would economic rewards be distributed on the basis of 'need'; rather, the new concept was to be 'to each according to his work.
    • p. 402
  • Politics may be defined as: the method adopted in governments for obtaining motivation toward a monopoly. In all political actions, a monopoly of control and method is sought.
    • p. 411
  • If men were basically good, we would not require government; if men were basically evil, we could not afford to grant any man the power of government.
    • p. 431
  • Very few men advocate government control over themselves. But they constantly believe that others must be controlled by some outside force.
    • p. 432
  • Formal government can be defined as: a group of men who sell retribution to the inhabitants of a limited geographic area at monopolistic prices.
    • p. 409

A Way to Be Free: The Autobiography of Robert LeFevre, Volume I, (1999) edit

Culver City, CA, Pulpless.Com, 1999

  • The man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free.
    • p. 11
  • Hundreds if not thousands of zealots seeking ever to create universal harmony and understanding, have offered their particular theology as the truth faith. The justification has been that, once men all agree on a particular series of concepts or beliefs, they will stop imposing on one another. To date, this effort has also fallen short.
    • p. 18
  • The single merit I can claim at this junction is that I am not seeking to obtain agreement. I am seeking only to outline the reality that exists, not to win support, start a movement, or contrive concurrence. The reason is clear. It can’t be done. Additionally I do not know everything. Therefore, I can be wrong. What evil I could impose if I obtain agreement on a point that happened to be in error! I do not intend to be wrong, but the mind and the memory are both fallible. So I propose to set down what is so, to the degree I am capable of recognizing it.
    • pp. 18-19
  • The nature of man is such that he tends to believe what he wants to believe. Whether it is true or not usually provides only a brief hesitation. Men believe on the basis of their likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, much of what we believe to be true may be partially true. Absolute truth or absolute falsehood is rare. A total falsehood is easier to detect than a partial falsehood. Even a total truth is totally true only in context.
    • p. 19
  • It is strange that many believe they cannot control themselves, but they can control others.
    • p. 21
  • All governments behave like any other instrument of war and terror. A gun doesn’t change it nature. When it is aimed at someone you fear or dislike, you will praise the importance of guns. When the gun is aimed at you, you will call for help against those who use guns.
    • p. 136
  • While it is relatively easy to see that government is a bully, a thief, and a killer, the most baneful effect of government has always been psychological. Government convinced man that it was an absolute necessity for human survival. ‘No matter how bad a government may be, it is better than no government.’ No other church had a more convincing argument.
    • p. 137
  • In order to convince the world to worship government, those within its presumably divine channels of rule had to create an image of superiority. Early governments did so by invoking fear and terror. This is not surprising. Early deities were ruthless, vindictive, and cruel.
    • p. 137

A Way to Be Free: The Autobiography of Robert LeFevre, Volume II, (1999) edit

Culver City, CA, Pulpless.Com, 1999

  • I demonstrated that slavery is rationalized, under the name of government and politics, because of the belief that if we didn’t enslave others, the others would enslave us. Thus, we practice slavery on some in order that others should be free.
    • p. 319
  • The government is an agency of legalized force. It has exhibited skill and efficiency in only one area—that of collecting whatever it wants from the populace. There are three things government traditionally takes away from the people over whom it exercises coercion. It takes their money and we call it ‘taxation.’ It takes their property and we call it ‘eminent domain.’ Or, it takes them as people. We call this a ‘draft.’
    • p 479
  • If people are capable of committing evil deeds, then the people occupying the offices of government will be cut from the same cloth. They are evildoers, too. There is not a single shred of evidence that they will be otherwise.
    • p. 487
  • If men are capable of committing evil actions, granting them power over others makes evil actions certain. But there is a difference. When men in government commit and evil act, they are legally shielded from their consequences of the act. ** p. 487
  • I carry no brief in favor of the criminal. That is why I carry no brief in defense of those in government. Setting a thief [the government] to catch a thief doubles the amount of loot stolen.
    • p. 493

Quotes About LeFevre edit

  • On the other hand, the single negative position of anarchism, opposition to the State, was too narrow for LeFevre. He felt that the positive virtues of individualism were greater than mere opposition to an institution.
    • Quote in "Robert LeFevre: “Truth is Not a Half-way Place”" by Carl Watner, Voluntaryist (1988) p. 7

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