Monopoly of force and the personalistic norm

The essence of the state is its legal monopoly of force. But force is subhuman; in words I quote incessantly, Simone Weil defined it as “that which turns a person into a thing — either corpse or slave.” It may sometimes be a necessary evil, in self-defense or defense of the innocent, but nobody can have by right what the state claims: an exclusive privilege of using it. –Joe Sobran

Against the power of the State, the proper response to a person is love.  See Karol Wojtyła’s “personalistic norm” in his Love and Responsibility, Ignatius Press, 1993, page 41.

4 thoughts on “Monopoly of force and the personalistic norm

  1. William Luse

    This is weird. Over the last few days I’ve been dipping into my book of Sobran essays, and then I come here to see you’re plundering his works for quotes as well. I loved the guy.

  2. admin Post author

    There’s a book of essays?! All I know is what’s at

    I return to him for a bit every few years and each time I find he makes more sense than he did the last time, sort of like the old quote attributed to Twain: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

    1. William Luse

      I have a book called Single Issues published by the Human Life Foundation. It’s a collection of his stuff for the Human Life Review and I’ve had it since the 1980’s. I was at his website recently and saw one of the essays from the collection there. There might be others, but I’d have to fish around a while to find out.

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