Epictetus on one’s inner freedom that is immune to external coercion (c. 100 CE)

The ex-slave and Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-100 CE) argues that one’s inner power to assent or not to assent to something is what constitutes one’s true freedom:

Francis Hutcheson on the difference between “perfect” and “imperfect” rights (1725)

The Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) distinguished between “perfect rights” (like the right to life and liberty) which were so essential that one was permitted to use violence to protect, and “imperfect rights” which were not:

William Godwin on the need to simplify and reduce the power of the state (1793)

The English radical political philosopher and novelist William Godwin (1756-1836) thought that human beings were not naturally “vicious” but were made so by complex political institutions which rewarded predatory behavior:

Benjamin Constant on the difference between rights and utility (1815)

The French-Swiss political theorist Benjamin Constant (1767-1830) thought Jeremy Bentham confused cause and effect when he rejected the idea of natural rights:

Mises states that it is the division of labor which makes man truly “social” or “communal” (1922)

Ludwig von Mises rejects the claim of the socialists that only under socialism or communism can man be truly “social”. In his view mankind is “social” as soon as cooperation and the division of labor enter the picture:

Adam Smith on the illegitimacy of using force to promote beneficence (1759)

Adam Smith (1723-1790) argues that force should never be used to make people be beneficent to others:

Richard Cobden on how free trade would unite mankind in the bonds of peace (1850)

Richard Cobden (1804-1865) did not advocate free trade just because it would increase the production of goods, but primarily on the moral grounds that it would reduce violence and “unite mankind in the bonds of peace”:

Molinari calls the idea of using tariffs to promote a nation’s economy “a monstrosity” (1852)

The Belgian-French economist Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912) thought that since the borders of nation states were usually decided by historical accident or the hazards of war, to erect tariff barriers along their borders was “a monstrosity”:

Robert Filmer thought that the idea of the “consent of the governed” would inevitably lead to anarchy (1680)

The defender of the theory of the divine right of kings, Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653), thought that the idea of the “consent of the governed” would inevitably lead to anarchy:

Robert Molesworth on the benefits of open borders and free immigration (1705)

The Irish Commonwealthman and “True Whig” Robert Molesworth (1650-1725) defended open borders and free immigration on the grounds that England was a beacon of religious liberty and private property and that all immigrants were “useful and profitable Hands”:

Jeremy Bentham on rights as a creation of the state alone (1831)

The English utilitarian political philosopher and lawyer Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) dismissed the notion of “natural” rights as nonsense and argued the all rights were the creation of the state:

William Graham Sumner on free trade as another aspect of individual liberty (1888)

The American sociologist William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) argues that free trade is not just a “theory” but another aspect or “mode” of the broader movement for liberty:

William Graham Sumner on the “do-nothing” state vs. ”the meddling” state (1888)

The American sociologist William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) distinguished between an older conception of the state, as a “do nothing” state, and a newer conception which was beginning to appear in the late 1880s, where there was constant “meddling and fussing and regulating”:

Algernon Sidney on de facto vs. de jure political power (1698)

The radical English republican Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) distinguishes between states that have illegitimate de facto power and those that have legitimate de jure power:

Adam Smith thinks many candidates for high political office act as if they are above the law (1759)

The economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) contrasts how people from “the middling and inferior stations of life” acquire their reputations and their fortune with those from “the superior stations of life”:

Philip Wicksteed on “non-tuism” in economic relations (1910)

The English philosopher and economist Philip H. Wicksteed (1844-1927) argues that what motivates an economic relation between two individuals is not pure “egoism” on the part of the participants but what he terms its “non-tuism” or impersonal aspects:

Joseph Priestley on the presumption of liberty (1771)

The English radical theologian Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) argued that, if it were not clear how much the government should interfere in people’s lives, then it should leave things “to take their natural course”:

Frédéric Bastiat’s theory of plunder (1850)

The French economist Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) developed a theory of plunder in the late 1840s which he defined in the following way:

Jeremy Bentham on how the interests of the many (the people) are always sacrificed to the interests of the few (the sinister interests) (1823)

The English lawyer and utilitarian political philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) scathingly denounces the English political system which had emerged during the 18th century. A trinity of statesmen, lawyers, and priests had gathered around the monarch forming a “sinister interest” of privilege which exploited the ordinary people:

James Bryce on the autocratic oligarchy which controls the party machine in the American democratic system (1921)

The British jurist and diplomat Viscount James Bryce (1838-1922) argues that American politics is controlled by an autocratic oligarchy of professional politicians and party bosses who provide benefits to their clients and supporters at taxpayer expence:

Yves Guyot warns that a new ruling class of managers and officials will emerge in the supposedly “classless” socialist society of the future (1908)

The French economist and politician Yves Guyot (1843-1928) very quickly realised that socialism would not lead to a peaceful and classless society as promised, but would result in a new form of class rule of party officials:

The Leveller John Lilburne argues from prison that the King and the Magistrate must obey the law like everyone else (1648)

While in prison once again the Leveller John Lilburne (1615-1657) demanded his day in court and fulminated against the arbitrary acts of the magistrates who put him in prison:

Auberon Herbert warns that the use of force is like a wild and dangerous beast which can easily get out of our control (1906)

At the very end of his life the English individualist thinker Auberon Herbert (1838-1906) gave a powerful speech at the University of Oxford in which he denounced the use of violence in all its forms, especially its political forms:

John Taylor and the rhetoric of liberty and tyranny (1814)

The Jeffersonian Republican John Taylor (1753-1824) warns us against the abuse of political phrases which are often used “to gull prejudice and varnish tyranny” by powerful vested interests:

John Lilburne shows defiance to the tyrants who would force him to pay tythes to the Church (1648)

The Leveller soldier and pamphleteer John Lilburne (1615-1657) was imprisoned many times for his beliefs during the 1630s and onwards. In this pamphlet “A Defiance to Tyrants” (Jan. 1648) he says he has an obligation to refuse to obey unjust laws, such as compulsory payments to the Church: