What Would Murray Say About the Coronavirus?

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Murray Rothbard died in January 1995, long before this year’s coronavirus scare. But the principles this great thinker taught us can help us answer questions about the coronavirus outbreak which trouble many of us. Would the US government be justified in imposing massive involuntary quarantines, in order to slow down the spread of disease? What about vaccines? If government scientists claim that they have discovered a vaccine for coronavirus, should we take it? If we refuse, can the government force us to do so? These are the sort of problems we can solve if we look to Murray for help.

The fundamental rule for deciding whether anyone, including the government, is justified in using force to make us do something we don’t want to do is the Nonaggression Principle (NAP). As Murray put in in “War, Peace, and the State,” “No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor.”

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