Deleting the State: An Argument about Government

Deleting the State: An Argument about Government

Deleting the State: An Argument about Government

Deleting the State: An Argument about Government

Synopsis

Is the state a necessary evil? Or can we hope to evolve beyond it? This book, in the tradition of Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia, sheds new light on persistent philosophical questions about the nature and justification of political authority.

Excerpt

Before we isolate and examine the point of contention that separates libertarian minimal-statists and libertarian anarchists, we must first understand the common ground that makes the separation interesting. It will be helpful to our analysis of how they differ with regard to justifying the coercion of the state to see the shared understanding of the concepts of ‘coercion’ and ‘state’. Indeed, it is not only instructive but crucial to observe that between the libertarian minimal-statist and the libertarian anarchist, the concepts of ‘coercion’ and ‘state’ are not in dispute, for this shared conception is in fact what makes the larger disagreement puzzling. That is, given general agreement about the nature of the state as an essentially coercive institution, and general agreement about the difficulties posed by state coercion for human freedom and autonomy, the justification of state authority by some libertarians and not others becomes problematic. in this chapter, I will explicate the concepts of ‘state’ and ‘coercion’ in order to show how all parties concerned understand them, specifically, that the state is regarded as essentially coercive by both libertarian minimal-statists and anarchists, and that coercion is seen as unacceptable to both libertarian minimal-statists and anarchists because of the conflict between coercion and the priority of freedom in libertarian theory. in the course of giving the definitions and showing that they are common to all the parties within classical liberalism, I shall also show why these theorists find state coercion objectionable, which in turn will be part of defend-

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