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About the Author: Auberon Herbert

Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert (Highclere, 18 June 1838 – 5 November 1906) was a writer, theorist, philosopher, and "19th-century individualist anarchist."
A member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Herbert was the son of the 3rd Earl of Carnarvon, brother of Henry Herbert, the 4th Earl, and father of the 9th Baron Lucas. He promoted a libertarian philosophy (that several authors consider related to libertarian anarchism) and took the ideas of Herbert Spencer a stage further by advocating voluntary-funded "government" that uses force only in defense of individual liberty and property. He is known as the originator of Voluntaryism.

Herbert was Member of Parliament for the two member constituency of Nottingham between 1870-1874. He served as President of the fourth day of the first ever Co-operative Congress in 1869.

Government, he argued, should never initiate force but be "strictly limited to its legitimate duties in defense of self-ownership and individual rights", and to be consistent in not initiating force they should maintain themselves only through "voluntary taxation." He stressed that "we are governmentalists... formally constituted by the nation, employing in this matter of force the majority method"—however, using this force only in a defensive mode. He strongly opposed the idea that initiation of force may somehow become legitimate merely by constituting a majority, reasoning that "If we are self-owners (and it is absurd, it is doing violence to reason, to suppose that we are not), neither an individual, nor a majority, nor a government can have rights of ownership in other men."

Herbert recommends a "central agency" to defend liberty and property that is funded by a "voluntary tax," calling it "government." In his essay "A Politician in Sight of Haven," Herbert does discuss the franchise, stating it would be limited to those who paid a voluntary "income tax," anyone "paying it would have the right to vote; those who did not pay it would be – as is just – without the franchise. There would be no other tax." The law would be strictly limited, of course, and the "government... must confine itself simply to the defence of life and property, whether as regards internal or external defence."

Herbert says that in "voluntaryism the state employs force only to repel force—to protect the person and the property of the individual against force and fraud; under voluntaryism the state would defend the rights of liberty, never aggress upon them."

A collection of Herbert's work, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State and Other Essays, was published by Liberty Classics in 1978.

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Being The Herbert Spencer Lecture, 1906, And A Plea For Voluntaryism (1908) by

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ISBN10: 0548697841 | ISBN13: 9780548697849

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