Anthony de Jasay (1925-2019)
Anthony de Jasay died yesterday in Normandie (France), where he was living. In a recent Econlib “Liberty Classics” review of his book The State (1985), I wrote:
When the dust settles, Anthony de Jasay’s The State will probably be recognized as one of the great books of the 20th century. It may be the most serious and subversive challenge to state authority ever written. That this book is not banned must be proof that we are not living under real tyranny or at least under intelligent tyrants. Or perhaps the powers-that-be are confident that few people can understand the book, the more so as “snowflakes” become scared of intellectual challenges.
I had the honor and the pleasure of knowing Tony personally as he participated in a couple of the Liberty Fund conferences I directed in France and Canada. After my Econlib review of The State, he emailed me that it had “given him a great pleasure” and that (pardon me for boasting about this) it was “the most sophisticated … writing” that he was aware of about his book.
But I recommend my review only if you can’t read The State right now. The book is the real thing. It does require some economic and philosophical background and some effort but, like all de Jasay’s books, it is well worth the ride.
P.S.: See on this blog Alberto Mingardi’s very interesting obituary of de Jasay. Alberto corrected my mistake about the date of Tony’s death, which was apparently the 23, not the 25 as was reported on Facebook.
P.P.S.: To correct another thing (mea culpa), I directed four Liberty Fund conferences where Tony was a participant, and they were all in France, spanning two decades from 1990 to 2009.