Showing posts from June, 2010

Does Using Force Convert a Legal Regime in a Stateless Society into a State?

I. Introduction Apart from the rare exception—someone in the mold of Robert LeFevre or Leo Tolstoy—most anarchists are not pacifists. They suppose, that is, that there are occasions when it might be appropriate to use force—most commonly, to protect oneself or someone else against unjust attack or to secure compensation for such an attack. While the anarchist seeks to realize an ideal of peaceful, voluntary cooperation, she is likely to be very much aware that it may sometimes be necessary to call the people with guns. Force may sometimes be employed to settle disputes over just control over possessions—what I will call property rights without attempt to settle the question of just when someone might be thought justly to control a given possession. However, forcibly defending property rights in a stateless society is not the moral equivalent of state aggression. In Part II, I briefly describe different sources of legal rules that might obtain in a stateless society and note the kin

Any (Good) Thing the State Can Do, We Can Do Better

The question whether people in a stateless society could respond satisfactorily to a disaster like the BP oil spill is really just a special case of the general question whether people without the state can do the things people attempt to do through the state. It seems to me that the answer is “yes.” That’s because everything the state purportedly does is actually done by people. Sometimes they act out of fear; sometimes out of the perception that the state is legitimate; sometimes what the state commands turns out to be just what they want to do anyway; and sometimes because they believe that what the state is asking them to do is just what they are morally required to do anyway. But, for whatever reason, they do it. This fact ought to be sufficient to make us confident that ordinary people, cooperating peacefully, can deal with environmental or other disasters in a stateless society. In what follows, I briefly discuss the purported advantages the state might be thought to possess