Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Making Anarchy Believable by David Gordon

Making Anarchy Believable by David Gordon:

The Conscience of an Anarchist: Why It's Time to Say Good-Bye to the State and Build a Free Society • By Gary Chartier • Cobden Press, 2011 • X 118 pages

Gary Chartier is a difficult author to review. In this excellent book, he displays a remarkable ability to discuss a profusion of arguments in a short number of pages. Given this abundance, I cannot hope to give a comprehensive account of the book. I propose instead to concentrate on a few arguments; but to get the full impact of the way Chartier amasses point after point in his relentless case against the state, one needs to read the entire work.

Chartier quickly dispatches philosophical arguments that claim to show a duty of obedience to the state. One such argument claims that "simply remaining within a state's territory somehow constitutes consent to its authority" (p. 7). Against this, Chartier raises two points. First, if someone remains in a territory, this by no means shows that he has in fact consented to the state's authority. He might have all sorts of other reasons for staying. "Perhaps I remain there because opportunities for work are plentiful, or because my friends are there, or because I like the style of architecture. And perhaps I don't [leave] because gangs of thugs seem to be in charge everywhere else" (p. 7).....

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