Will to Bondage | Etienne De La Boetie | Libertarian Broadsides No. 6
edited by: James J. Martin
size: 5.5×8.5″ | pages: 134
This classic of anti-statist and libertarian thought — originally entitled Discours de la Servitude volontaire — is the best known and most enduringly influential work of Étienne de la Boétie (1530–1563), a French judge, writer and poet.
Written when he was a student in his early twenties, Boétie is regarded as the father of non-violent anarchism and civil disobedience. This short but powerful work has influenced some of the world’s greatest social thinkers, from Leo Tolstoy to Ralph Waldo Emerson to Ayn Rand.
James J. Martin, in his preface to this well-annotated edition, puts “this remarkable early libertarian treatise” in historical context. Edited, with annotations and an introduction, by Wm. Flygare. In English, with original French text on facing pages.
Humans are free by nature, says the author, who then asks the key question: Why do people consent to their own enslavement? “It is indeed the nature of the populace,” wrote Boétie, “to be suspicious toward one who has their welfare at heart, and gullible toward one who fools them. Do not imagine that there is any bird more easily caught by decoy, nor any fish sooner fixed on the hook by wormy bait, than are all these poor fools neatly tricked into servitude by the slightest feather passed, so to speak, before their mouths.” He also wrote: “There are almost as many to whom tyranny is profitable as there are to whom liberty would be agreeable.”
Gene Sharp, author of The Politics of Nonviolent Action, praised this work as “a highly significant essay on the ultimate source of political power, the origins of dictatorship, and the means by which people can prevent political enslavement and liberate themselves. The Discours should have a prominent place in the history of political theory, and also of the development of the power analysis in which the technique of non-violent struggle is rooted.”
The “Libertarian Broadsides Collection.” was published by Ralph Myles Publisher, Inc. between 1967 and 1978. Edited by James J. Martin, these booklets were a serialized series of booklets reprinting (then) rare individualist/egoist tracts paired with new prefatory and editorial material.
This is not a facsimile but an "as new old stock" booklet from the estate of James J. Martin. While these are new and unread, some may show discoloration from being more than 30 years old.