Among intellectuals who consider themselves “scientific,” wrote Murray Rothbard in The Ethics of Liberty, the phrase “the nature of man” is apt to have the effect of a red flag on a bull. It is indeed puzzling that so many modern philosophers should sniff at the very term “nature” as an injection of mysticism and the supernatural: the brusque rejection of the concept of the nature of man is arbitrary. If natural-law theory has one great flaw, it is not its supposed mysticism, it is that the tradition has been profoundly statist rather than individualist.
It is not the intention of this book to expound or defend at length the philosophy of natural law, or to elaborate a natural-law ethic for the personal morality of man. The intention is to set forth a social ethic of liberty i.e., to elaborate that subset of the natural law that develops the concept of natural rights, and that deals with the proper sphere of “politics,” i.e., with violence and non-violence as modes of interpersonal relations. In short, to set forth a political philosophy of liberty. FULL ARTICLE