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How To Have Law Without Legislation

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 How To Have Law Without Legislation

08/07/2017 Murray N. Rothbard

This article is also available as an Audio Mises Daily

[Adapted from Rothbard’s book review of Freedom and the Law by Bruno Leoni. This review first appeared in New Individualist Review,edited by Ralph Raico.]

[In his book Freedom and the Law,] Professor [Bruno] Leoni's major thesis is that even the staunchest free-market economists have unwisely admitted that laws must be created by governmental legislation; this concession, Leoni shows, provides an inevitable gateway for State tyranny over the individual. The other side of the coin to increasing intervention by government in the free market has been the burgeoning of legislation, with its inherent coercion by a majority—or, more often, by an oligarchy of pseudo-"representatives" of a majority—over the rest of the population. In this connection, Leoni presents a brilliant critique of F.A. Hayek's recent writings on the "rule of the law." In contrast to Hayek, who calls for general legislative rules as opposed to the vagaries of arbitrary bureaucracy or of "administrative law," Leoni points out that the real and underlying menace to individual freedom is not the administrator but the legislative statute that makes the administrative ruling possible. 1 It is not enough, demonstrates Leoni, to have general rules applicable to everyone and written down in advance; for these rules themselves may—and generally do—invade freedom.     :snip:   https://mises.org/blog/how-have-law-without-legislation-0

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