As an Englishman, Herbert took a well established aristocratic route in life, including an education at Oxford and a seat in parliament. Herbert was to become the patron saint to a movement known as "voluntaryism." Those who supported this movement were not anarchists, but they were close to it. Among the practical measures suggested by the voluntarists it that a free people can never use force amongst themselves; and that the only legitimate force is a defensive one, one that could only be exercised in the community, and in a legitimate way, by a legitimate government. The only legitimate purposes are; first, to use force to the extent necessary to repel a foreign aggressor; and, second, to bring criminals in the community under control, -- criminals being defined as those who use illegitimate force, or fraud of any kind. Voluntarists believe that there is a role for government, (a belief that distinguishes them from anarchists), however, legitimate government force is not to be extended to a compulsory taxation system. The natural state of things (this being a continuing state in equilibrium, therefore, a state where everyone in that state gets their "fair share" of state benefits; -- and where the determination of the "fair share" is defined by the receiver himself through an automatic and self ad-justing system: The Free Market. Such a system need not be installed, it exists naturally; it is the same system that brought us into existence; and it is the only system that will keep the species safe. Government's role, in such a system, is carefully and narrowly defined. By its very definition the role of government could extent only to those "services" that, by their very nature, cannot be measured; and further, thought to be of equal good to all. For such a very limited operation, it is thought, there would be no great expense, and thus a legitimate government would depend on voluntary payments being made to it, such as is made, for example, to the American public broadcasting system. Typical of Herbert's thoughts, is this: "you will not make people wiser and better by taking liberty of action from them. A man can only learn when he is free to act. It is the consequences of his own actions, and the consequences of these same actions as he sees them in other persons, that teach him." I am proud to say: after a life of professional searching, my position -- which has gone from one end to the other -- is, as I draw near to the end of my study, closely allied to that of Herbert's. Herbert's work, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays which includes a bibliography and an index is readily available (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics).
[BIOGRAPHIES JUMP PAGE]