Is Don Quixote A Libertarian Novel? – Learn Liberty


How do we know the novel’s
all about freedom? How do we know Don Quixote
is all about freedom? One important way is that it’s anti-state. In fact, Don Quixote himself is borderline
anarchist in important moments. Rothbard, one of history’s greatest and
most radical anarchists, describes the state as a bunch of guys in one river
valley who just go into the next river valley, impose their will, and extort
those people in a protection racket. At the beginning of an important series
of scenes, Don Quixote himself is that evil representative of the state,
according to Rothbard. He attacks an innocent Barber
who’s walking down the road, travelling from one town to the next. And why?
Because he thinks he has the authority to do so. No, because he just wants his stuff. In the very next scene,
Don Quixote becomes the liberator. Sancho describes a group of
galley slaves who are walking across the Spanish countryside
all chained together. He says those are the men going
to row in the King’s fleet. Don Quixote’s response
here is very important. It cuts right to the issue
of the Monarch’s power. He says what do you mean forced people? Is it possible that the King
uses force against anyone? Then he proceeds to interview
each one of these slaves and finds out that they’re all being
convicted of petty, meaningless crimes. Clearly, the state is exploiting,
using the criminal justice system of Spain to man the oars of its
fleet in the Mediterranean. The galley slaves are the engine of
these war boats, these warships. [LAUGH] The galley slaves are the engines
of these warships in the Mediterranean. If you’re gonna attack a galley, you
target the oars, you target the oarsmen. They’re covered in chains, they can’t
swim, and they’re the main target. To be sentenced to row in the king’s
galley is a death sentence. Now, Don Quixote,
instead of being Rothbard’s oppressor, he becomes the liberator. He attacks and unhorses the officers
escorting the slaves, and frees them. Later in the novel, an officer of the law
attempts to arrest Don Quixote for having freed the galley slaves. Don’t Quixote’s response is to reach
around behind his back in an amazing act of anarchist ju jitsu and
strangle that officer. Immediately after that scene, Don Quixote
launches into an incredible tirade, a diatribe against
the State’s right to tax him. So, this physical encounter with
the State is followed by an objection to the State’s right to tax people. Don Quixote is all about liberty,
but he’s doing so by freeing people from
the oppression of the State, from the officers of the law,
from the tax men, and from the King. From the government, basically. If you wanna keep learning about
the ideas related to liberty, subscribe to learn liberty. If you are interested in
this beautiful novel and seeing more videos about how Don Quixote
has to do with freedom, click here and enroll in the University of
Francisco Marroquin’s MOOC on Don Quijote.

15 Replies to “Is Don Quixote A Libertarian Novel? – Learn Liberty

  1. I believe it's a mistake to revive DQ, as he popularized postmodernism and it's lack of objective standards which is why LEFTISTS bring him up to argue their points. Bury the dog & let him sleep. His arguments are flawed btw

  2. What do you think- is Don Quixote a libertarian novel? What other novels have lessons about liberty?

  3. When I think of liberty, I do not think of opposing various parts of the government just because they are parts of the government: only because of their abuses. I am not a fan of Mr. Graf's view of libertarianism and will not be pursuing further videos on this subject should they come up in my subscriptions list.

  4. I would be interested to see some thriving Anarchist areas. Im sure all the anarchists can point out where anarchy has succeeded.

  5. You do realize that DonQuixote is insane right? The conclusion is that he cant stand to look at himself.

  6. Definitely one of the greatest pieces of literature, a stretch to call it libertarian, I thought he spoke out more against the Church than the State

  7. Cervantes had good reasons to hold grievances against the State. He enroled and served in the military for over a decade. While he was fighting for the State, he was maimed from one arm in battle, he was later captured while he was traveling to his homeland on board of a galley of the State (or of the king).

    For five years he was a slave of the turks, the State for which Cervantes had fought didn't try to rescue him, he was left to his own devices. Cervantes tried to escape from his captors in several occasions without success, evidence that he wasn't particularly happy with his new situation. It was his family who eventually paid for his ransom.

    Once in his homeland, he went from one job to another without much success. Two decades later, while he was working for the State as tax collector, he was imprisoned by the State, apparently twice, after a bank in which he kept much of the money he had collected went bankrupt. It is thought that he came up with the idea for his Don Quixote while staying in jail.

    It isn't far fetched to presume that he felt some resentment against the State at that point in his life, and that such resentment could have inspired him or influenced his literary work. The influence of that resentment in the Part 2 of Don Quixote may be even more significative, since apparently the publisher of the Part 1 of Don Quixote swindled him, denying him any share of the profit from the sale of the book, which became very successful.

    Once again, this situation probably made him feel helpless and left to his own devices by the State. It's funny how so many don't quite realise that the character of Alonso Quixano is clearly inspired in the very Cervantes, in his life, his misfortunes and misadventures. Don Quixote is the alter ego of Cervantes.

  8. Wow I've always wanted to read Don Quixote – now I know why! It also explains why it was never made into a movie.

  9. One of the pillars of libertarian ethics is the non-aggression principle (NAP): To not initial force against anyone's property (our body is our property). Don Quixote certainly violates this principle throughout the novel!

  10. This is entertaining nonsense. In the scene with the three captives, Cervantes shows no compassion for the men's plight whatsoever, even though one of them confessed under torture. It is just a scene. Nothing more. Cervantes was not trying to make a point.

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