How It Started

Humans evolved to act in groups: packs, families, tribes. Most of us are born with the sense of rights and fairness needed for successful group behavior. Even young children may have a strong sense of what is fair in simple situations.

So long as groups were small and the members in frequent contact, they could consent to a leader to rule on more complex disagreements. The other members of the group were able to restrain the leader if power was misused.

With improved transportation and communication, groups became nations and leaders became inaccessible to their people. Those in remote colonies might not be treated as full citizens, but as resources to be exploited. The power of a ruler could no longer be restrained. Power without restrain is tyranny.

Hard thinking by many people through the 18th Century resulted in a coherent libertarian political theory. Americans declared their independence from tyranny with a clear and ringing libertarian statement.

[Next: Our Declaration]