Anthony de Jasay awarded the ECAEF Prize
By Alberto Mingardi
Anthony de Jasay has been awarded the first “ECAEF Prize for Thinkers for the 3rd Millennium“. This is a much deserved recognition, for de Jasay has set a standard for clarity of thought that is seldom matched by others.
Regarding the award,the European Center for Austrian Economics Foundation emphasises de Jasay’s “seminal and exceptional works on defending individual liberty by challenging the legitimacy of states and unchecked ‘democratic’ governments.”
Indeed, a good part of de Jasay’s writings offer a remedy to what he considers the “loss of identity, loss of moral vigor, and vulnerability to dilution” of liberalism in modern times, to quote from his “Before Resorting to Politics”, now included in “Against Politics” (a collection that includes many formidable articles).
De Jasay’s shorter, brilliant pieces are hosted on this very website. His column on EconLib is titled “Thinking Straight,” which is what he always wanted to do, and perhaps to persuade others to do so, too.
I thought the best way to celebrate this well-deserved award is reading a divertissement by de Jasay published a few years ago in his “Justice and Its Surroundings.” It may well be the shortest piece he has ever written. Its irony is as brilliant as it is dense. I don’t know about you, but upon reading it a second time, I felt the need of reading it a third time.
Throughout its history, humanity has permanently displayed a physical condition classified in ordinary language as “illness” or “disease.” There has always been what Hume would call a “constant conjunction” between human life and illness.
The Hobbesian hypothesis that illness is a necessary condition of the survival of the human species has strong empirical support. It has never been falsified.
Throughout its history, humanity has permanently displayed a social condition classified in ordinary language as “the state” or “government.” There has always been what Hume would call a “constant conjunction” between human society and government.
The Hobbesian hypothesis that government is a necessary condition of social life has strong empirical support. It has never been falsified.
Arguments in favor of the prevention or eradication of disease are evidently misguided and may be dangerous. They are often put forward by naive persons with little understanding of reality.
Arguments in favor of fostering society’s capacity to evolve anarchic orders and live with less or no government are evidently misguided and may be dangerous. They are often put forward by naive persons with little understanding of reality.