Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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The State by Franz Oppenheimer

Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 28, 2013

One of the best books on the origin and growth of the nation-state is called The State by Franz Oppenheimer. Written in 1908, his thesis of the State’s origin is more relevant today than the day it was first conceived. Without checks, the State will consume the citizens’ freedoms in its ever increasing desire for power. Sadly, few realize this all-important fact of government and thus believe that by democratically electing the rulers, all is well. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, Hitler was elected democratically, but it didn’t stop him from usurping the power of the State. Franz Oppenheimer identifies the way the State is formed, its reason for existence, and the various ways it centralizes power.

In our soon-to-be-released book LeaderShift, Oliver DeMille and I have pinpointed methods to check the growing power of the State, allowing ordered-freedom to prosper again within society. Is anyone else tired of the same old rhetoric being discussed over and over again for decades? Real change demands that we shift the conversation away from the growing problems and towards viable solutions that check the centralizing tendencies of all governments. The LIFE business has a goal of educating Western Civilization on the greatest books and thoughts throughout history. Furthermore, we attached a compensation plan to the education to reward the influencers who help us in the much-needed mission.

In any case, since 1908, when Oppenheimer wrote his book, the issues have been clearly identified. Isn’t this enough time to start offering some solutions to the State’s challenges? Oliver and I think so, and this is why we wrote LeaderShift. In fact, The State was instrumental in helping me develop the Five Laws of Decline that are covered from a political perspective in our new book. Here is a summary of Franz Oppenhemier’s book from the Mises Institute.


Orrin Woodward

This is the 1908 book that started it all in the 20th century, the book that kicked off a century of anti-state, pro-property writing. This was the prototype for Nock’s writing, for Chodorov’s work, and even the theoretical edifice that later became Rothbardianism.

Indeed, Franz Oppenheimer wrote what remains one of the most bracing and stimulating volumes in the history of political philosophy. The author sought to overthrow centuries of fallacious thinking on the subject of the state’s origin, nature, and purpose, put its it place a view of the state that constitutes a foundational attack on the structure of modern society.

He utterly demolishes the social-contract view of the state as it had been advanced by most thinkers since the Enlightenment. He seeks to replace that view with a realistic assessment of the state, one that can only make anyone with statist leanings squirm: he sees the state as composed of a victorious group of bandits who rule over the defeated group with the purpose of domination and exploitation. It achieves its status through a form of conquest, secures its power through relentless aggression, and sees its main function is to secure its status and power.

Consider that when this book was written such views were a scandal, especially in Germany. Oppenheimer, who was a medical doctor who became a professor of sociology, suffered terribly for his libertarian views. Then this book appeared, which stunned even his most vociferous critics with its analytical rigor, historical sweep, and steely resolve. The book has since appeared in more than a dozen languages. In a world that cared about ideas, this would be required reading in political philosophy.

From an economic point view, his analysis holds up even where his language about capitalism and socialism can be somewhat confused. In fact, it was Rothbard’s own work that took Oppenheimer’s theory and fit it into a free-market framework. But to fully understand the state theory behind modern Austro-libertarian thinking, this work is indispensable.

Of this still under-appreciated classic, Murray Rothbard writes:

“The great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer (1864-1943), who wrote this magnificent little book called The State, put the case brilliantly.”

In essence, he said, there are only two ways for men to acquire wealth. The first method is by producing a good or a service and voluntarily exchanging that good for the product of somebody else. This is the method of exchange, the method of the free market; it’s creative and expands production; it is not a zero-sum game because production expands and both parties to the exchange benefit. Oppenheimer called this method the “economic means” for the acquisition of wealth.

The second method is seizing another person’s property without his consent, i.e., by robbery, exploitation, looting. When you seize someone’s prop­erty without his consent, then you are benefiting at his expense, at the expense of the producer; here is truly a zero-sum “game”–not much of a “game,” by the way, from the point of view of the victim. Instead of expanding production, this method of robbery clearly hobbles and restricts production. So in addition to being immoral while peaceful exchange is moral, the method of robbery hobbles production because it is parasitic upon the effort of the producers.

With brilliant astuteness, Oppenheimer called this method of obtaining wealth “the political means.” And then he went on to define the state, or government, as “the organization of the political means,” i.e., the regularization, legiti­mation, and permanent establishment of the political means for the acquisition of wealth.

In other words, the state is organized theft, organized robbery, organized exploitation. And this essential nature of the state is high­lighted by the fact that the state ever rests upon the crucial instrument of taxation.

This book is classic, with an introduction by George H. Smith. It is on the must-read list of every libertarian in every generation.

40 Responses to “The State by Franz Oppenheimer”

  1. Bring on LeaderShift! Cannot wait! Thanks for another post educating us on what is happening right before our very eyes!

  2. Scott Staley said

    Wow – awesome article. I’ve never heard it stated quite as bluntly as Oppenheimer did – although it definitely rings true. I wish that such works were required reading for everyone – it would certainly spark ‘attention’ in the general population versus a general state of inattention.

  3. Paul Britz said

    Thank you for sharing the link to the book. The Mises Institute is a wonderful organization. I look forward to reading the book.

  4. That book has been on my list of ‘to read’. But LeaderShift and other books on leadership will have to come first! Without first developing my leadership to an adequate level, how can I help more people understand the message?

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Lee, You speak truth. Leadership and Freedom must be married together. Understanding freedom without leadership just adds another voice without influence. However, when combined, it can move mountains. This is EXACTLY what LIFE is going to do! thanks, Orrin

  5. Joanne Brandtjen said

    Orrin- thanks for the post and the great information. I feel I am getting better equipped for the times when I engage in conversations about the future of this country and what we have to do! Can’t wait for LEADERSHIFT! God Bless you and Laurie!

  6. So good! Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, Wayne MacNamara, and Tim Marks have such great blogs! I love the information being taught in the LIFE business. Thank you!

  7. J & P Harteis said

    Thanks, Orrin………….LeaderShift needs at least one million people to spread the education needed, for the “common folks” to take the appropriate action that will make a difference! Guess we better get busy, reading, listening, & associating!! God bless!

  8. Steve Meixner said

    Thanks Orrin, I’ll be reading that book also!! Still looking forward to Leadershift… Steve

  9. Dean Strube said

    Can’t wait for leader shift to kick off the next big change for the betterment of this country,

  10. Cassie Morgan said

    So excited for the new book! Sadly like many Americans I have chosen to not educate myself in the proper areas, I feel so blessed to have LIFE in my life.

  11. Chad Waters said

    Great Blog Orrin

    I love how these books can “catch” the general audience so we all can learn more! Can’t wait for the new release!

    Chad Waters

  12. Can’t wait for the new book…I hope it is an “eye opener” for some…thanks for the information…I can’t believe I was SO blind for so many years! I just hope we/L.I.F.E. can “wake Up” the nation! Orin,Like usual great stuff!!!

  13. Justin Stevens said

    Cant wait to read the new book Orrin, I really hope I can get as many people as possible to read it with me.

  14. JeanetteP said

    I so regret not paying attention in history class! With that said, I’m so grateful for the education in history that yourself and the PC provide in this business. Our country is desperately lacking in this area. I’ve had opportunity recently to see what is being taught in History in our schools and it’s scarey. I can only hope and pray its not too late. Being introduced to this business has fueled a new passion for understanding our History and sharing it with others. Of course this is just one area that LIFE has impacted our lives in a big way:). Can’t wait to get several copies of LeaderShift to read & share! Thanks for all that you do! God Bless!

  15. Brian and Jessica Suddeth said

    I am so excited for the release of Leadershift! Before becoming a part of LIFE, I was never interested or cared much about past or current history or government. I realize now how ignorant this line of thinking was. I am grateful for my eyes being opened and the amazing leaders that mentor us every day! Freedom does matter! Freedom is not free! We can wake up this nation so others can begin to feel like they have a voice and a choice!

  16. Great article, looking forward to reading Leadershift.

  17. Joshua hogarth said

    Another terrific post…it is interesting how so many people are frustrated about our current state of affairs and post angry comments on social media or blame party politics at the watercooler yet here you just shared a classic that can teach us and to help change our thinking and educate people on how they can accept responsibility and change their own state of affairs.
    Lookin out for leadershift…

  18. daniel said

    Orrin, sorry this doesn’t have much to do with this particular blog post, although i appreciate your commentsand influence on this subject … I’m new to the life material, and i was curious what religious denomination you consider yourself a part of. I tried asking the question on the life website and the response i received from the customer service rep said she wasn’t sure and i could best get a response from you personally here. If you prefer to email me directly and not respond publicly i understand.


    • Orrin Woodward said

      Daniel, I am a CHRISTian. I currently go to a church with Baptist roots, but my favorite pastor is presbyterian, and I love the history of the Catholic church, so I refuse to be divided into a denomination. Or, better said, I am the say denomination as my savior – a Christian who, to the best of my ability, follows my Father in Heaven’s will. I hope that helps. thanks, Orrin

  19. Wow Orrin, thanks for sharing! The more I learn the more I realize I have a lot to learn. April can’t come fast enough!

  20. Owen Derry said

    So relevant in today’s world. In the past few years, I think I’ve heard more people say that “someone” ought to do something. With more knowledge, each of us, individually, can realize that the “someone” can and should be ourself.

  21. Judy Serafano said

    Orrin, I absolutely crave this type of information. More than a Peanut Buster Parfait on a 104 degree day in the shade! While waiting for “the book” in April….I’ll have to get warmed up and read “The State.” Thank you so much for the summary, Orrin: “The State is organized theft.” People are slowly but surely starting to wake up to the untruths. So many people have bought into so much crap for so long. Let us suit up the armor and get ready for battle.

  22. Bill Eder said

    Orrin: Yet another great blog. The insight you share with us is priceless. This only wets my appetite for what’s coming in April. We need to get this kind of information to the masses.
    Really appreciate your servant heart in leadership of LIFE/TEAM. God bless.

  23. Kirk Birtles said


    People like you are a tremendous ‘search engine’ resource to find the truth, share the truth, and live the truth. Thanks for your sacrifice and service!! We are truly excited for LeaderShift and the impact it is going to make. kb

  24. Robert Daley said

    Thanks for the post Orrin…. I am looking forward to the leadershift book. I often wonder why people are ok with paying so much tax and then yelling out to “tax the rich “….. Do they just not get it or have they already given up…… This “TEAM” that you have assembled is possibly the only shot our country has of getting into the livingrooms of America and telling the oppressed that we can change our worlds future. I often laugh at the thought of how this business pays people to learn truth….. You are truly a genius Orrin …..
    God bless

  25. Bob Rasmussen said

    Great post again Orrin! It is truly a pleasure to follow leaders who are constantly growing their leadership education and on a mission for freedom!! I believe that the LIFE business education system is the answer to our future as a nation and also the old saying that “you cannot stop an idea whose time has come!” Our time is now, we will be recorded in history as the major catalyst to the freedom movement of the 21st century!! I like what George Guzzardo says “we are helping to build the largest leadership development program known to mankind!!” That is my new elevator speech and I am proud to be part of it! Lead on brother, education like this blog and the book Leadershift gives us all direction for study and fuel for the furnace room. God Bless Bob

  26. JR & Lana Harriman said

    Thanks Orrin for all that you do. LeaderShift is going to change the way people are thinking and hopefully give them courarage to start working together for solutions.

  27. Keith Wrage said

    Great post, Orrin! Thanks again for sharing the stark truth, helping to educate and wake us up from our slumber! Can’t wait for Leadershift!

  28. Orrin,

    I continue to be educated by you sharing your education in areas I have yet to explore. That is the power of the LIFE community. It is the sharing of information that each leader learns and is eager to share.

  29. Kevin Hamm said

    Excellent Orrin,

    All efforts to set men free require leadership. Chills run down my spine every time I ponder the release of Leadershift and the future influence of the greatest leadership engine to hit the planet. I can taste the freedom.

  30. Top notch! Gotta read the book! Thanks for all the study and investigation you do for us! Larry

  31. Wonderful article Orrin! Again we find our eyes opening wider and understanding EXACTLY where all the discontent and wrong way thinking has been spawning from and where the everyday citizens mostly went into a lax-a-daisy way of thinking of “Just let the big fellows in Gov’t fix the mess, that’s what we pay them for” Attitude!

    Wait, I can hear a low roaring in the distance. It sounds like it’s getting louder! Month by month it’s gaining in size and strength and numbers and voice! Can you hear them? Can you see them? …….. Looks to be at least a Million people marching but oh my, Look at all those Leaders in front standing out from the crowd, Serving and guiding them! It’s Amazing but I sure can see it!
    I Thank God for giving us Orrin Woodward, The Policy Council and all the other Leaders standing up to fight the good fight!

  32. omarchetta said

    great post as always orin.looking forward for the next one

  33. Barbara Cassin said

    Orrin, your review of the 1908 book was outstanding! A MUST read! Thank you for your dedication to getting to and informing us of the
    TRUTH. We all are grateful for your preserverance!

  34. Steve Leurquin said

    Great post Orrin! Wow! It is amazing the truth we can learn in our day by studying the great minds of the past. Thanks for finding some of them and putting those great thinkers thoughts on your blog.

  35. Alison Ruhlman said

    thanks for sharing!

  36. Kim Decker said

    As always great post.. If we can keep doing what we are doing we will spread this truth to millions… Thank you to the TEAM

  37. Robin Lawrence said

    I am counting the days until Leadershift is available. Can’t wait to put it in the hands of all my friends! Thanks for all you do for our business and our country.

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