Robert LeFevre

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Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.

Robert LeFevre (1911–1986) was an American libertarian, businessman, radio personality and primary theorist of autarchism.


  • Government, when it is examined, turns out to be nothing more nor less than a group of fallible men with the political force to act as though they were infallible.
    • Robert LeFevre, essay "Aggression is Wrong" (1963) published by Rampart College.
  • If you have a government of good laws and bad men, you will have a bad government. For bad men will not be bound by good laws.
    • Robert LeFevre, Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, “Unlimited Government” (Dec. 29, 1961).
  • Governments, by their nature, are instruments of privilege.
    • Robert LeFevre, Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, “Unlimited Government” (Dec. 29, 1961).
  • When we express a preference politically, we do so precisely because we intend to bind others to our will. Political voting is the legal method we have adopted and extolled for obtaining monopolies of power. Political voting is nothing more than the assumption that might makes right.
    • Robert LeFevre, as quoted in Bagatorials: A Book Full of Bags by John Roscoe and Ned Roscoe, Simon & Schuster, "Abstain from Beans" (1996) p. 17.
  • But history shows repeatedly the madness of crowds and the irrationality of majorities. The only conceivable merit relating to majority rule lies in the fact that if we obtain monopoly decisions by this process, we will coerce fewer persons than if we permit the minority to coerce the majority. But implicit in all political voting is the necessity to coerce some so that all are controlled.
    • Robert LeFevre, as quoted in Bagatorials: A Book Full of Bags by John Roscoe and Ned Roscoe, Simon & Schuster, "Abstain from Beans" (1996) p. 17.
  • An anarchist is anyone who believes in less government than you do.
    • Robert LeFevre, as quoted in "What Is Anarchy?" By Butler Shaffer, (Jan. 13, 2004)
  • I carry no brief in favor of the criminal. That is why I carry no brief in defense of those in government. Setting a thief [the government] to catch a thief doubles the amount of loot stolen.
    • Robert LeFevre, A Way to be Free, the Autobiography of Robert LeFevre (1999) in the “Epilogue”
  • The family unit is the incubator for human character; the state is the incubator for human dependency.
    • Robert LeFevre, “The Family”, Pine Tree Press (Nov. 1963) p. 16.
  • The bill of grievances contained in the immortal Declaration of Independence could be extended by our own citizens in modern times, had they the stomach for it.  …  So important is the right and duty of the people to dispense with despotism, this great Declaration contains the sentence not once, but twice.  In its final utterance, the choice of words does not call for the formation of a government.  Rather, it calls for "new guards" which may or may not entail such a unit as an artificial agency.
    • Robert Lefevre, This Bread is Mine (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: American Liberty Press, (1960) pp. 363, 365.  Source.
  • Since I favor total self-control—absolute government of the individual over himself—I believe autarchy more accurately describes, in a positive fashion, the kind of situation I consider most desirable. Some dictionaries define autarchy as a kind of tyranny or despotism, but of necessity it is limited to self-application.
    • Robert LeFevre, “Autarchy Versus Anarchy”, Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Vol. 1, No. 4 (Winter, 1965): 30–49.

Anarchy (1959)[edit]

  • The aim of the anarchist is to eliminate private ownership.
  • Economically speaking, all anarchists are socialists, however they may coalesce to the political spectrum. Economically speaking, the libertarian is an individualist, believing in and supporting the concept of private ownership, individual responsibility and self-government.
  • The most constructive of the anarchists were, socially speaking, individualists, peaceful and harmless. The least constructive, socially speaking, were dedicated to the overthrow of force by counter force. But without exception, in the realm of economics every anarchist comes unglued.
  • In brief, let us define the anarchist as a political individualist and an economic socialist. In contrast, the libertarian can be defined as an individualist, both politically and economically.

The Fundamental of Liberty (1988)[edit]

  • Cannibalism is actually a sort of dietetic socialism. Here is the ultimate sacrifice. A human life is taken for the purpose of maximizing the ‘public welfare.’
  • Politics may be defined as: the method adopted in governments for obtaining motivation toward a monopoly. In all political actions, a monopoly of control and method is sought.
    • Rampart Institute, p.411
  • Very few men advocate government control over themselves. But they constantly believe that others must be controlled by some outside force.
    • Rampart Institute, p. 432
  • If men were basically good, we would not require government; if men were basically evil, we could not afford to grant any man the power of government.
    • Rampart Institute, p. 431
  • Formal government can be defined as: a group of men who sell retribution to the inhabitants of a limited geographic area at monopolistic prices.
    • Rampart Institute, p. 409.

Good Government: Hope or Illusion? (1978)[edit]

  • To say “unlimited government” is a redundancy and to say 'limited government' is a contradiction. All you have to say is 'government.'
  • Now, where did we ever get the idea that there is such a thing as 'good government?' That is a contradiction in terms as ridiculous as 'constructive rape.'
    • Rampart Institute, (Society for Libertarian Life edition), from 1977 speech, p. 14.
  • So the thing I object to about government isn't its organizational feature. Organization has to be accomplished. It is the coercive nature of government organization. My argument is that we can organize better without coercion.
    • Rampart Institute, (Society for Libertarian Life edition), from 1977 speech, p. 8.
  • Many times when I use the term 'government', people think that I mean law and order. And so, if they hear me say: 'We don't need government', they think I mean we don't need law and order. Well, this is probably what makes me an 'autarchist' rather than an anarchist. I think we need law and order. You see, I am dedicated to the idea of lawful and orderly procedures. And because of that I have to stand against government. Because government doesn't provide either law or order.
    • Rampart Institute, (Society for Libertarian Life edition), from 1977 speech, p. 8.
  • When the government uses "divide and conquer," it sows suspicion so that the people who would naturally tend to affiliate will distrust each other. Thus, they don't affiliate. The consequence is that everyone distrusts his neighbor. But everyone trusts the government.
    • Rampart Institute, (Society for Libertarian Life edition), from 1977 speech, p. 23.

Nature of Man and His Government (1959)[edit]

  • And thus we see the government is at once both protector and predator. Government begins by protecting some against others and ends up protecting itself against everyone.
    • Caxton Printers, p. 73.
  • Government may be intrinsically evil; clearly they operate on the basis of tax predation.
    • Caxton Printers, p. 16.

Does Government Protection Protect (1979)[edit]

  • What you want is protection. You want to be safe. What the government does is to try to retaliate after the fact.
    • Rampart Institute (Society for Libertarian Life edition), speech from 1978, p. 14.
  • The police aren't hired to protect you. They're hired to keep an eye on you to see what you did that was wrong so that they can book you. That's their function. They are not protectors. They are not hired to be protectors. They are hired to keep an eye on all of us as potential criminals. Now, do you think they're going to make you safe? They weren't hired to make you safe.
    • Rampart Institute (Society for Libertarian Life edition), speech from 1978, p. 16.
  • Does government protection protect? It doesn't do anything of the sort. It takes vengeance in your name after you've been hurt and calls it protection.
    • Rampart Institute (Society for Libertarian Life edition), speech from 1978, p. 30.

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