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Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude MP3 CD

• Mises.Org

In times when dictators the world over are falling from pressure from their own people, this book, written nearly 500 years ago, is truly the prophetic tract of our times.

Étienne de La Boétie was born in Sarlat, in the Périgord region of southwest France, in 1530, to an aristocratic family, and became a dear friend of Michel de Montaigne. But he ought to be remembered for this astonishingly important essay, one of the greatest in the history of political thought. It will shake the way you think of the state. His thesis and argument amount to the best answer to Machiavelli ever penned as well as one of the seminal essays in defense of liberty.

La Boétie's task is to investigate the nature of the state and its strange status as a tiny minority of the population that adheres to different rules from everyone else and claims the authority to rule everyone else, maintaining a monopoly on law. It strikes him as obviously implausible that such an institution has any staying power. It can be overthrown in an instant if people withdraw their consent.

He then investigates the mystery as to why people do not withdraw, given what is obvious to him that everyone would be better off without the state. This sends him on a speculative journey to investigate the power of propaganda, fear, and ideology in causing people to acquiesce in their own subjection. Is it cowardice? Perhaps. Habit and tradition. Perhaps. Perhaps it is ideological illusion and intellectual confusion.

La Boétie goes on to make a case as to why people ought to withdraw their consent immediately. He urges all people to rise up and cast off tyranny simply by refusing to concede that the state is in charge.
The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Etienne de la Boetie:

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

With regard to servitude, we DO need to be careful. Why? Here's why:


Exodus 9:13-16 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.


Throughout the Bible you will find loads of people who fought tyranny, both for their own reasons, and also on behalf of God. When you look in detail, you will find that the whole Bible is about the Kingdom of God.

Did you catch that? The word is "KINGDOM." This shows us that, among other things, the whole Bible, and the whole world, is all about POLITICS.

God is the King of His Kingdom, the earth. He raised Pharaoh up - this wicked, tyrannical, Egyptian king - so that all people could see that God is the GREAT KING of the whole world.

We need to be careful in our fight for freedom, that we are on the side of God in our fight against tyranny. If we are not careful, we might find ourselves becoming the exact thing that we are attempting to overcome.

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