Free Thoughts

A weekly show about politics and liberty, featuring conversations with top scholars, philosophers, historians, economists, and public policy experts. Hosted by Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus. See for privacy and opt-out information.


The Ethics of Dynamite

This week we’re discussing a relatively unknown essay by Auberon Herbert called “The Ethics of Dynamite,” wherein Herbert compares the coercive political force of the state (the majority) to the coercive, terroristic use of force by the dynamiter (the minority), a 19-century reference to violent anarchist sects. Herbert points out that the means of the state and those of the dynamiter really do not differ all that much, and offers his solutions for “unmaking” the coercive nature of each.

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and editor of Cato Unbound.

Show Notes and Further Reading:

Adam Smith, The Wealth of NationsThomas Hobbes, LeviathanHerbert Spencer, Social StaticsMurray Rothbard, The Anatomy of the StateSpecialization and Trade (video)

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 2014-02-03  49m