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Discourse on Voluntary Servitude

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Discours de la Servitude Volontaire'-LaBoétie001


Mr. Armstrong, I realize this topic is not your normal everyday discussion in your blogs and it does not matter to me if you post this or not, However, I thought you might like this condensed story between my wife and I.

To be honest here,  I recently read a very small book written over 450 years ago by Etienne de La boetie titled ‘Discours de la Servitude Volontaire’.  It was this book that inspired me to write a personal but not private conversation she and I had together due to this young man’s knowledge  of the cure which he saw back then and which the majority of the people on this planet seem to never understand.

I find it somewhat saddening that cycles repeat throughout history and we as human beings with our advanced technology can never seem to mentally rise up and escape the dark ages of thought!

I hope you yourself enjoy this story and thank you so much for your truths and actually opening my eyes to see the world as it actually is by leaving me with much optimism for the future, regardless of what we go through.



Étienne or Estienne de La Boétie (1530-1563)

REPLY: I did not post your story because of the names being personal. But to sum this up, his wife’s family fought in every war as did mine since the American Revolution. My cousin Joseph Armstrong died recently and he was decorated in Vietnam. His children have fought right into Afghanistan and Iraq. Each family member fought because they believed in Freedom. Both our families defended freedom from the beginning. So what inspires that stand for freedom when the majority lay down their freedom for the comfort of a having a ruler?

In contrast to that, I am familiar with The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, or the Anti-Dictator  by Étienne or Estienne de La Boétie (November 1, 1530 – August 18, 1563). We have the same birthday. He is one of the people I have been compared to since he looked deeply into human nature and government as well with the strange surrender of freedom.

The date of preparation of the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude is uncertain but he too was young and delivered his observations between the age of 18 and 22.

The essay argues that any tyrant remains in power because his subjects grant him that power. The freedom of men is voluntarily relinquished by society for they become corrupted by the habit and prefer the servitude of the courtier to the freedom of the free man. This relation between domain and obedience is actually very important to understand for this is the reason we have cycles in our political-economy.  This is the great mystery of politics – why do people surrender their freedom preferring the obedience to rulers? What possesses humankind to even agree to standby and allow their rights, privileges, and immunizes to be plundered and otherwise oppressed by government overlords?

What Boetie explains in “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” is fa fascinating observation. It is not fear that creates the domination of society, for such tyranny to exist requires our consent which can be non-violently withdrawn. This is the 50 shades of politics.


StanleyMilgramI have been asked about my Solution and why I do not advocate eliminating all debt, fractional banking, etc. Such ideas are impractical for the people will surrender their freedoms routinely with time. I believe in this reality of human society and that cannot be changed.

What Boétie observed, so did Stanley Milgram who revealed this strange phenomenon in Obedience to Authority. We seem doomed perhaps because of hard wiring within our species. The majority will never move until they lose something dear to them. They do not believe in the freedom of man, they are content to be subjugated by the tyranny of government. They want to be dominated but then the tyrant goes too far and revolution erupts..