Moral Development and Critiques of Anarchism

Journal of Libertarian Studies 8 (2):237-245 (1987)
Anarchism, literally, means "without authority," although it is most commonly defined as a system in which social order is maintained voluntaristically, without the presence of a state or any other coercive mechanisms. There are many varieties of anarchism, and it is difficult in just one brief paragraph to specify the central beliefs. Nonetheless, there are some widely shared assertions, among which are (l) the primacy of individual sovereignty; (2) the opposition to coercive authority of any kind impinging upon the individual’s freedom; (3) the principle of voluntarism or mutual aid as the basic social cement for society; (4) a "human solidarity" model, which recognizes that a free individual within a free society is the only basis for realizing humans’ full potential—and that individual and society are inseparable, not mutually exclusive or antagonistic. Clearly, such contentions are incompatible with the existence of sovereign govemmcnt. By its very nature, according to anarchists, government is coercive and suppresses freedom. They believe that only by continually asserting its legitimacy and its right to coerce can the state continue. Thus, it follows that the state must be abolished if there is to...
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