Journal of Libertarian Studies & Other Publications

The Mos Maioram and the Barbarians

from The Freeman’s Perspective The mos maioram, or “way of the old ones” were the traditional principles and practices of public life in ancient Rome. These customs included: Good faith Respectfulness Self-discipline Virtue Dignity I won’t go through a history lesson, but Rome, which had no written constitution, began to degrade as the mos maioram, …

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In Favorem Libertatis: The Life and Work of Granville Sharp

by Carl Watner 1980     Libertarians, if they care to examine the subject, will discover that they have a rich historical tradition in the English and American antislavery movements. The libertarian tradition in antislavery thought may be concisely summed up: In Favorem Libertatis–In Favor of Liberty. No one familiar with this tradition could fail to …

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“All Mankind Is One”: The Libertarian Tradition In Sixteenth Century Spain

by Carl Watner 1987 [This article appeared in Volume 8, THE JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES (Summer 1987), pp. 293-309.] It would probably be looked upon as unusual to associate sixteenth century Spain with the libertarian tradition. However, during that time there arose a school of natural law thinkers and activists who espoused a universal ethic …

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Libertarians and Indians: Proprietary Justice and Aboriginal Land Rights

CARL WATNER Two remarks will serve to introduce my subject. Several years ago, Rosalie Nichols was asked if the Indians had ever had a title deed to North America. She responded, “Who should have issued them one, I don’t know, unless it was the buffalo.”[1] Secondly, Jonathan Hughes, in his book The Governmental Habit, contrasts …

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“Oh, Ye Are For Anarchy!”: Consent Theory in the Radical Libertarian Tradition

  by Carl Watner 1986 The twentieth century libertarian movement has experienced an ongoing debate between the minarchists, the advocates of “limited” government, and the anarchists, who argue that the ultimate implications of libertarian principles are “no” government. Few of the parties to these arguments realize that they are participating in a discussion whose roots …

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“Oh, Ye Are For Anarchy!”: Consent Theory in the Radical Libertarian Tradition – Part II

  by Carl Watner 1986   (Much like the assumption that if one’s parents are English, one’s allegiance and citizenship are automatically British.) “In Thoreau’s day, the church taxed each member of its congregation, and the taxes were billed and collected by the town officials.”[118] The First Parish Church (Unitarian) of Concord “taxed” Thoreau in …

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Those “Impossible Citizens”: Civil Resistants in 19th Century New England

CARL WATNER 1979 Most libertarians view civil disobedience or resistance to the State differently than members of the general public.  Many people, of a variety of persuasions, recognize the right of the individual to resort to self-defense when attacked or threatened by the criminal.  In the libertarian view, and by libertarian definition, only the criminal …

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“Come What, Come Will!” Richard Overton, Libertarian Leveller

  by Carl Watner The Levellers were a group of politically active soldiers and civilians whose organized efforts during the English Civil War (1642-1649) were based on their beliefs in individual liberty.  John Lilburne was their popularly recognized leader, but it is in the works of his associate, Richard Overton, that we find the most …

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The English Individualists as They Appear in Liberty*

by Carl Watner 1982 The leading English individualists as they appear in Benjamin Tucker’s journal, Liberty, are Auberon Herbert, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Joseph Hiam Levy, Joseph Greevz Fisher, John Badcock, Jr., Albert Tarn, and Henry Seymour. Ranked approximately according to their contributions and involvement in Liberty, this group also includes M. D. O’Brien, J. M. Armsden, …

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BENJAMIN TUCKER AND HIS PERIODICAL: LIBERTY

CARL WATNER Baltimore, Maryland In a letter to the New York Tribune on December 4, 1898, Benjamin Tucker (1854-1939) described himself as an Anarchist. “I was the first American–I may say the first Anglo-Saxon–to start (in 1881) an avowedly Anarchistic newspaper printed in the English language. I am still the editor, publisher, and proprietor of …

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BENJAMIN TUCKER AND HIS PERIODICAL: LIBERTY Part II

CARL WATNER Baltimore, Maryland Liberty truly touched on nearly all of the pressing social questions of its era. Space was devoted to articles about free love, marriage and divorce, and sexual relations among men and women. Even the woman suffrage movement came under attack: “Women are human beings, and-consequently have all the natural rights that …

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THE TERRITORIAL ASSUMPTION: RATIONALE FOR CONQUEST

  by Carl Watner Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? —St. Augustine, The City of God, Book IV, Chapter IV The classic definition of the State involves two elements: a coercive monopolization of defense services over a given geographic area, and the imposition of coercive revenue collection from all of …

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