THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA: A Government By, For, and Of Special Interests

Economics, like war, is politics by other means.

By Jay Hanson - September 8, 2007
Permission to reprint expressly granted! –


A feeling arose by the seventeenth century that moralizing and preaching religious doctrine could no longer be trusted to restrain the destructive and “irrational passions” of men. A new means of control had to be found.

“Libertarianism” is a political philosophy that advocates the maximization of liberty for every individual. Bernard Mandeville (1670?-1733) laid the political foundation for Libertarianism when he suggested that a society based on “rational interests” (like a bee hive) would suppress irrational passions. Mandeville’s ideal society was one where the unwitting cooperation of individuals, each working for his or her own interest would result in the greatest benefit to society at large.

Survival of the fittest!

The French writer Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755), further developed Libertarian politics with a division of political powers in government.  The division of power would, in effect, neutralize government and prevent citizens from gaining power over each other; conversely, citizens could easily make power powerless by changing parties. This is what Montesquieu called “liberty”. Today, we call Montesquieu’s philosophy “Social Darwinism” – a term which is most closely associated with the writings of Herbert Spencer.  Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” – a term that describes Montesquieu’s state of “liberty” perfectly.

The French physician François Quesnay (1694-1774) was the leader of a sect of Enlightenment thinkers known as the Physiocrats [1] (or économistes) who founded Libertarian economics.[2] The term “Physiocracy” means rule of nature and was coined in 1767 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours to describe the doctrine of the first modern school of economics. Quesnay transformed economics into its modern role as the science of wealth. In so doing he disengaged economic process from its role as servant of the sociopolitical order, and established its claim to be the direct manifestation of the natural order. In other words, he argued that economic process itself embodied natural law and should thus dictate the sociopolitical order.

Quesnay had arrived at his theories of a free market and economic individualism by studying the emergence of a national market in England. But he always understood that in eighteenth century France the unfettered pursuit of individual interest might not result in the natural order he sought to establish.  Quesnay knew that men could fail to behave “economically.”

Quesnay believed that his introduction of arithmetic precision into economics provided a scientific rule that should dictate appropriate political arrangements – and even the obedience of sovereigns.  He was never willing, however, to trust the spontaneous development of the proper sociopolitical order. Nature required the assistance of an absolute authority capable of forcing natural order upon recalcitrant humans.[3]

Montesquieu’s philosophy of Social Darwinism (survival of the economically fittest), Libertarian politics, and Libertarian economics were imported to America by Pierre Samuel DuPont, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison thereby establishing America as the first true Libertarian state. The principal functions of America’s new Libertarian government were two: to protect property and to force men to act economically. All other political activity was assigned to the economic sphere.

The number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000 to more than 34,750, while the amount that lobbyists charge new clients has increased by up to 100 percent.

Government has no other end than the preservation of property. – John Locke


[1] and


[3]  The economy requires the assistance of an absolute authority capable of forcing natural order upon recalcitrant humans:

"because many great men of England ... have complained that they cannot make their Profit of the residue of their Manors, as of Wastes, Woods, and Pastures, whereas the same Feoffees have sufficient Pasture, as much as belongeth to their Tenements;"