A2 Government and Politics: Anarchism Part Two

Revision summary for EDEXCEL A2 Government and Politics - Anarchism Part Two.

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Explain and individualist Anarchists view of consc

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1. Conscious not unconscious egoists - An unconscious or involuntary egoist is one who does not recognise his own self importance and individuality. 'He who knows nothing about himself higher and yet is infatuated about something higher'. In contrast conscious egoists are aware that they act purely out of self interest and if they support a 'higher cause' or being it is not because it is a noble thought, but because it will benefit themselves. He argues that individuals in order to maximise their uniqueness, must become aware of the real reasons for their actions.

2. Self Liberation - Stirner recognises the importance of self liberation and the way that authority often exists purely through acceptance by the governed. Part of this process of liberation involves the destruction of hierachy, for Stirner 'Hierachy is domination of thoughts, domination of minds' and this means we are 'kept down by those who are supported by thoughts', by our own willingness to not question and the sources of that authority.

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Outline an Individualist Anarchists opposition to



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1. Opposition to State and Authority - Stirners egoism places the individual self at the centre of the moral universe. The individual according to Stirner should simply act as he or she chooses, without any consideration for laws or conventions. For Stirner, the state is the greatest threat to individuality 'I am free in no state'. The state claims to be sovereign, but for Stirner only the individual is sovereign. In contrast to collective anarchists, Stirner wants to abolish not only the state, but also society as an institution responsible for its members.

2. Organisation under Egoism - As well as a negative account of the institutions and practices that egoists must reject as incompatible with authonomy, 'the ego and its own' also contains some positive suggestions about the possible shape of egotistic relationships which do not conflict with individual self mastery. Stirner believes that as more and more people become conscious egoists conflict in society would decrease as each individual recognises the uniqueness of others, thus ensuring a suitable environment within whuch they can co-operate. These truces Stirner termed 'Union of the egoists'. They are the means by which egoists could firstly annihalate the state and secondly build a new society.

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Outline the importance of the Individual conscienc



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1. Importance of the Individual Conscience - Thoreau believed that the individual above all else, must be faithful to their own conscience, what he or she deems to be right. Consequently Thoreau places the individual conscience above any obligation to the state or government, the individual is quite justified in not obeying the government and law when it does not match up to their own views. He claimed that 'government is best that governs not at all'. Thoreau used this to justify civil disobedience in opposition to the US Governments defence of slavery.

2. Absolute Individual Sovereignty - Warren began his radical career as a follower of the socialist Robert Owen. Warren blamed the faulure of New Harmony on its denial of personal property rights, on the demand for communal property that shifted all individual initiative. From Josiah Warren disillusionment with socialist collectivism, from his conviction that social harmony required radical individualism - the essential groundwork for an individualist anarchist society emerged. First and foremost, it was founded as a concept captured by the Liberal phrase 'sovereignty of the individual'. In his work (Practical Details) 'society must be so converted as to preserve the sovereignty of the individal.

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Outline a Libertarian Anarchists view of Organisat

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1. Libertarian Organisation - Warren thought that individuals have a sovereign right to property they themselves produce, but are also forced by economic logic to co-operate with others. Libertarians such as Benjamin Tucker and Josiah Warren claimed that the institution necessary to secure individual sovereignty and co-operation in a stateless society already existed in the institution of the free market. What was needed was to get rid of the state and to allow the free market (that already exists) to function.

2. Time Store and Contracts - Warren and Tucker believed so strongly in the power of the contract that they called their ideal society by contract. One persons labour could be exchanged for a promise to return labour in kind. Warren opened a retail store called a 'time store' from which he issued labour dollars. The customer would then pay the price of goods in traditional money and then compensate Warren for his time with a labour note. Warrens goal was to divorce the price of goods from the compensation he receive, to establish an economy in which his profit was based on the exchange of time and labour.

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Outline the differences within Collectivist Mutual



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The key question becomes: what if the shopkeeper decides to charge too high a price for his services.

Mutualists would place restrictions on such practices, a moral guide which would ensure a fair and equitable exchange and eliminate exploitation. Individuals who persisted would be asked to leave the community.

Individualist anarchists gave primacy to the free market and the right of contract. Eventually mutualists see businesses and mutual banks as community controlled functions, libertarians see time banks as another instrument of the free market.

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Outline an Anarcho- Capitalists belief in Self Int



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1. Self interest and Individual Autonomy - Anarcho-capitalism combines the views of individualist anarchism and classical liberalism. It is therefore based on the egotistical self interest of the individual, an extreme interpretation of negative liberty (the absence of external restraints) and the belief in the 'invisible hand' of the free market as a mechanism for resolving the needs of self interested individuals. They are convinced that government is inherently evil and believe that in society individuals should be free from any form of collective. Individuals should be free to organise themselves in any economic way that they like, they defend capitalism as a legitimate choice as its most efficient, but wouldnt have to be imposed on others.

2. Anti-hierarchical structures - The Anarcho-Individualist and Anarcho- Capitalists share with Liberals a desire to see society that is as free as possible. Indeed classical liberals and Social Darwinists share with anarchists the belief that every individual can only reach his or her full potential in a free society. They all believe that the freedom of the individual should stand above social constraints, they hope and expect that individuals will use their liberty exclusively for good ends, whereas Liberals accept that individuals are likely to pursue their own interests, creating a highly competitive world.

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Outline an Anarcho-Capitalist view of Property Rig



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1. Defence of Private Property Rights - Anarcho-capitalists in contrast to most forms of anarchism, promote the right of individuals to possess and defend private property. Murray Rothbard pushed free market ideas to their limit and believed that property must be in private hands and owners must be free to control it as they see fit. Rothbard claimed that taxation was merely 'organised theft' which takes capital from private hands and prevents it from being used to serve private interests and the consuming public. Similar to classical Liberal critics like Milton Friedman he argues that the state spends taxes in ways that alter the production patterns of the market. If money is spent on market created projects it unjustly competes , if it is spent on non-market projects it is economically inefficient. Rothbard said: 'it is utopian to think that the power to tax won't be abused once granted'.

2. Ultimate privatisation - They reject any kind of government control, taxation or regulation. Anarcho-Capitalists believe that police services could be sold by freely competitive firms and that a court system would emerge to peacefully arbitrate disputes between firms, and that a sensible legal code could be developed through custom and precedent and contract. Anarcho-Capitalists point out that many social duties are already performed without the aid of the state. E.g. Increased reliance on private security guards. In the ideal Anarcho-Capitalist society free market alternatives to government services ould take over all legitimate security services. On other issues the anarcho-capitalists differs little if at all from the more moderate Libertarian. Services should be privatised and opened to free competition, regulation of personal and economic behaviour should be done away with, poverty would be handled by work and responsibility for those able to care for themselves and voluntary charity for those who cannot.

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Outline how an Anarcho-Capitalist would argue that




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Critics of Anarcho-capitalism (collectivist and most other individualist anarchists) believe that this would result in chaos with police forces fighting one another. Rothbard and other anarcho-capitalists counter this claim.

Firstly; failure to peacefully arbitrate will yield to all out war which would be bad for profits and not in anyones self interest.

Secondly; firms will want to develop long term business relationships and hence be willing to negotiate in good faith to insure their long term profitability.

Thirdly; aggresive firms would be likely to attract only high risk clients and thus suffer from extra-ordinarily high costs.

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