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Slide 1

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Critique of the State and Consent
Anarchism…read more

Slide 2

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The state is oppressive!
Represents few who seek to repress many
Close to Marxist view: ruling class governing
Historically, ruling class made up of landed gentry
Modern: forces of capitalism exploit proletariat
"The basic function of government everywhere in all times,
whatever title it adopts and whatever its origins and
organisation may be, is always that of oppressing and
exploiting the masses of defending the oppressors and
exploiters; and its principal, characteristic and
indispensable instruments are the police agent, the tax
collector, the soldier and the gaoler." ­ Anarchy (1906)…read more

Slide 3

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The state removes freedom!
State subjects us to laws and controls that are artificial,
offending basic principle of individual sovereignty
Like liberals, they see incompatibility between power of
state and freedom of individual
"To be governed is to be at every operation, at every
transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped,
measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorised,
admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished." ­
Proudhon (1846)…read more

Slide 4

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The state is corrupting!
Even people who enter government with good motives
are ultimately corrupted
"Nothing is as dangerous for man's morality as the habit of
commanding. The best of men, the most intelligent,
unselfish, generous and pure, will always and inevitably
be corrupted in this pursuit. Two feelings inherent in the
exercise of power never fail to produce this
demoralization: contempt for the masses, and, for the man
on power, an exaggerated sense of his own worth." ­
Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism…read more

Slide 5

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The state is unnatural!
The state is an artificial form of society
Humankind should be free to form voluntary, natural
communities or the individual should be free to
withdraw from any political organisations
Political state denies this freedom, creating an
unnatural community
Kropotin ­ exponent of the view that humankind
should form natural communes
If communities are voluntary, there would be no
need for government and laws
If it is unnatural, explain nationalism…read more

Slide 6

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Anarchist responses to consent theory
Anarchists object to Social Contract Theory on three
1. Individuals cannot give up their own liberty in this way if
they are to remain true to their real nature; liberty is a
birthright that cannot be conceded. Its abandonment would
be a denial of our humanity
2. It implies there will be a majority and minority ­ and the
majority will oppress the minority. Theoreau: "a
government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot
be based on justice"
3. Even if consent is justly arrived at, it cannot be binding on
future generations; it would have to be subject to continuous
consent.…read more


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