The Australian radical liberal Bruce Smith lays down some very strict rules which should govern the actions of any legislator (1887)

Bruce Smith

Found in Liberty and Liberalism (1888)

Even in 1887 there were classical liberals, like the Australian barrister Bruce Smith, who lamented the fact that state intervention was on the increase and that legislators had little regard for individual liberty. Here is his list of principles which all legislators should keep in mind:

The broad principles, then, which I should venture to lay down as guides for any one assuming the responsible position of a legislator are three in number.

  1. The state should not impose taxes, or use the public revenue for any purpose other than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens.
  2. The state should not interfere with the legally acquired property of any section of its citizens for any other purpose than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens; and in the event of any such justifiable interference amounting to appropriation; then, only conditional upon the lawful owner being fully compensated.
  3. The state should not in any way restrict the personal liberty of citizens for any other purpose than that of securing equal freedom to all citizens.

As an Australian and an admirer of late 19th century radicals such as Herbert Spencer, Auberon Herbert, and Thomas Mackay I was very surprised to come across one of their kind in Australia. This work did not deserve the obscurity into which it had sunk and it was a pleasure to put it online on the OLL.