Rothbard and the Nature of the State

“To change government one must first change the way people think about government.”

In his article “Anatomy of the State,” Murray Rothbard defines the state as that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.” (p. 57). The state, according to Rothbard, has two fundamental properties: the use of violence, and territory. Indeed, not only is the state made up of a body of people who claim the right to use coercive violence, but their claim to violence is, more typically, endemic to the territory over which they rule.”


Book: Anatomy of the State, by Murray N. Rothbard