The return of leviathan: Can we prevent it?

Formulations 3 (3) (1996)

Roderick Long
Auburn University
Two years ago, at our Spring 1994 Forum on Systems of Law, I suggested that those seeking to build and maintain a Free Nation would face three problems, which I called "the three Leviathans": "Leviathan Past (that is, the dangers posed by the state presently occupying the territory within which the Free Nation is to arise), Leviathan Present (that is, the dangers posed, once the Free Nation has arisen, by the threat of other states existing outside the Free Nation's territory), and Leviathan Yet to Come (that is, the dangers posed by the unwanted but all too possible emergence of a state within the Free Nation's territory — that is, the possible evolution of the ... Free Nation into a [statist régime]." 1 With regard to Leviathan Past, I noted that there are two ways of getting an existing régime to give up its power and turn libertarian: force and persuasion. Arguing that force was impractical, I suggested three possible modes of persuasion: a) convert the rulers of a country to libertarianism (a daunting prospect); b) convert the ordinary citizens to libertarianism and get them to vote in a libertarian system; and c) pay the rulers to relinquish sovereignty over some portion of their territory.
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