Classical Liberal Class Analysis

[Created: 2 Feb. 2013]
[Updated: January 31, 2023 ]
The Frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
[showing the two pillars of state authority -
"throne and altar" - more]
James Gillray, "The British Atlas, or John Bull supporting the Peace Establishment (1816)


Here are some questions to consider about the nature of the state and who controls it. I attempt to answer these in my lecture:

The State:

  • what is the State and how does it function?
  • who controls it?
  • why has it grown so much over the past 100 years? & where is it heading now?
  • is there an optimal size of the State & can it be limited to just these powers?

The Ruling Class:

  • who has access to State power & what do they do with this power?
  • what are the key power centres & who controls them?
  • who benefits from this control (cui bono?) & what are these benefits?
  • who pays for this?
  • if the same group/s who benefit from State power persist over time, can we call them a “ruling class”?
  • if the number of people who benefit from State power come to exceed the number who pay for it, how (in a democracy) can we ever return to a free society?

This site contains the followng material on class analysis: