Libertarianism in 42 Words, 9 Premises and 4 Conclusions

Column by Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski.
Exclusive to STR
1.     Intention presupposes liberty.
2.     Morality presupposes intention.
3.     Property presupposes morality.
4.     Exchange requires property.
5.     Efficiency requires exchange.
6.     Well-being requires efficiency.
7.     Coercion negates liberty.
8.     Coercion negates morality. (From (1), (2) and (7).)
9.     Coercion negates efficiency. (From (3), (4), (5) and (8).)
10. Coercion negates well-being. (From (6) and (9).)
11. Morality, efficiency and well-being constitute humanity.
12. States require coercion.
13. States negate humanity. (From (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12).)  

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Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski's picture
Columns on STR: 12

Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski is a philosophy graduate from the University of Cambridge, a three-time summer fellow at the Mises Institute, and a three-time fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies, currently working on a PhD in Austrian Economics in London. He has published in, among others, Independent Review, Libertarian Papers, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and Reason Papers. Visit his blog at


Glen Allport's picture

Concise and logical -- nicely done, and simple and brief enough to get the message into minds that might otherwise wander off.

I'd replace "morality" with "emotional health" or "love" or some other term; morality is the (often artificial) veneer of emotional health in the same way that etiquette is the veneer of manners. (That thought is from A. S. Neill; quote below):

"To have good manners means to think of others, no -- to feel for others. One must be group-conscious, have the gift of putting oneself in the other man's shoes. Manners prohibit the wounding of anyone. To be mannerly is to have genuine good taste. Manners cannot be taught, for they belong to the unconscious.

"Etiquette, on the other hand, can be taught, for it belongs to the conscious. It is the veneer of manners. . . .

"Bad manners always spring from a disordered psyche. Slander and scandal and gossip and backbiting are all subjective faults; they show hatred of self. They prove that the scandal-monger is unhappy. If we can take children into a world where they will be happy, we shall automatically rid them of all desire to hate. In other words, these children will have good manners in the deepest sense; that is, they will show forth loving-kindness."
~ A.S. Neill, Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing (1960), page 192

(re: my point above, people can display excruciatingly correct etiquette while exhibiting bad manners -- being cold to someone for no reason for instance, even while going through the motions Emily Post might prescribe in a given situation).

In any case, that change would require some other modification to your scheme -- perhaps an addition pointing out that a healthy and consistent morality requires (statistically) a free and loving childhood; badly-treated children do not (as a rule) become compassionate, healthy adults who understand and naturally respect the rights of others.