Autarchy and Individual Liberty

“Auto means self. Archy means rule. Autarchy is self-rule. It means that each person rules himself, and no other…. As I will use the word, autarchy will signify total self-rule. It will presume a system or social arrangement in which each person assumes full responsibility for himself, proceeds to control himself, exercises control over himself, exercises authority over himself, supports himself, takes initiative, joins with others or not as he pleases, and does not in any way seek to impose his will by force upon any other person whatever.”

The above from the essay Autarchy by Robert LeFevre. See the Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought  (Summer 1966) (free pdf download).

Here’s a bit  more from that book:

Is there such a scarcity of resources and goods that some must be masters and others slaves? Is our ability to procreate so large and our ability to produce so meager that, as Malthus opined, there will always be those who are pressing upon the food supply and only the fortunate and the strong will eat?

It is against this background that the idea and ideal of autarchy emerges. The fundamental premise of autarchy is rooted in stoicism. (See Zeno, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius.) The Stoics understood that each man does control his own energy and his own person. Because of this observable fact or nature, and because of the added fact that man has a rational ability to foresee the results of his actions, it follows that each man is responsible for his choices and actions. The preachment of the Stoics can be summed up in this phrase: Control yourself.

To this end, the Stoics were among the first who philosophically supported the idea of individual liberty. Nor did they imagine that liberty was a mere lack of control so that any can could do exactly as he pleased. On the contrary, the requirement was rigid self- discipline. Freedom was not to be construed as license. Liberty could only endure when individuals voluntarily refrained from imposing their wills upon others.

I recommend this book to those inclined to learn about the true nature of governments.

Note that autarchy is different from autarky which the wiki defines as

Autarky is the characteristic of self-sufficiency; the term usually applies to political states or to their economic systems. Autarky exists whenever an entity survives or continues its activities without external assistance or international trade. If a self-sufficient economy also refuses to conduct any trade with the outside world then economists may term it a “closed economy”.

Author: Atanu Dey


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