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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 178 of Michael Huemer’s excellent 2013 volume, The Problem of Political Authority (original emphasis):

It is the notion of authority that forms the true locus of dispute between libertarianism and other political philosophies.  Libertarians are skeptical about authority, whereas most accept the state’s authority in more or less the terms in which the state claims it.  This is what enables most to endorse governmental behavior that would otherwise appear to violate individual rights: nonlibertarians assume that most of the moral constraints that apply to other agents do not apply to the state.


I have suggested that the best explanation for the inclination to ascribe authority to the state lies in a collection of nonrational biases that would operate whether or not there were any legitimate authorities.  Most people never pause to question the notion of political authority, but once it is examined, the idea of a group of people with a special right to command everyone else fairly dissolves.