Friday, May 11, 2007
judaism and libertarianism
In his book “Libertarianism: A Primer”, David Boaz writes (p.27) that the first libertarian may have been the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu (6th century BCE), author of Tao Te Ching, who advised, “ Without law or compulsion, men would dwell in harmony”. When I read that line I immediately thought of the contrast to Pirkei Avot, where we are advised to pray for the welfare of the government because without its protection men would eat each other alive, i.e. anarchy would prevail. Of course, one line in Pirkei Avot is not necessarily the full picture of Judaism's outlook on libertarianism, but interesting nonetheless.