By Murray N. Rothbard

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Once articulated and set forth, they impel assent to their truth by a shock of recognition: once articulated, they become evident to the human mind. Since these axioms are then established as certain and apodictic, the processes of logic - themselves universal and apodictic and transcending time and place - can be used to arrive at absolutely true conclusions. While this method of reasoning - of philosophy and of economics - is both empirical, being derived from the world, and true, it runs against the grain of modern philosophies of science.

Their power is not such that they can assemble mass followings, and they command no awe that might quell [such gatherings] by their opponents. How can they compare with a display of the royal anger, which can deploy armies and move battalions, making people who hold no enmities attack states that have done no wrong? To the common charge that he has overlooked good and benevolent rulers, Pao replied that the government itself is a violent exploitation of the weak by the strong. The system itself is the problem, and the object of government is not to benefit the people, but to control and plunder them.

The first political economist to discern the systemic effects of government intervention, Lao Tzu, after referring to the common experience of mankind, came to his penetrating conclusion: 'The 24 Economic thought before Adam Smith more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished... The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be' . The worst of government interventions, according to Lao Tzu, was heavy taxation and war.

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An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Volume I: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith by Murray N. Rothbard


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