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Anti-statism is opposition to state intervention into personal, social or economic affairs. Anti-statist views may reject the state completely as well as rulership in general (e.g. anarchism), they may wish to reduce the size and scope of the state to a minimum (e.g. minarchism), or they may advocate a stateless society as a distant goal (e.g. autonomism). Henry David Thoreau expressed this evolutionary anti-statist view in his essay Civil Disobedience:

I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. [1]


[edit] General categories

Radical anti-statists differ greatly according to the beliefs they hold in addition to anti-statism. Thus the categories of anti-statist thought are sometimes classified as collectivist or individualist.

A significant difficulty in determining whether a thinker or philosophy is anti-statist is the problem of defining the state itself. Terminology has changed over time, and past writers often used the word, "state" in a different sense than we use it today. Thus, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin used the term simply to mean a governing organization. Other writers used the term "state" to mean any law-making or law-enforcement agency. Karl Marx defined the state as the institution used by the ruling class of a country to maintain the conditions of its rule. According to Max Weber, the state is an organization with an effective legal monopoly on the use of force in a particular geographic area.

[edit] Anti-statist philosophies

Completely anti-statist
Partially anti-statist, or anti-statism as an ideal or deferred programmatic goal

[edit] Chronology of anti-statist writing

[The editor of Proudhon and Tucker's link has fixed it but advises that someone match those links up with the rest so they don't mess up the symmetry]

1548  â€“ Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude
1793 â€“ William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice
1825 â€“ Thomas Hodgskin, Labour Defended against the Claims of Capital
1840 â€“ Pierre Joseph Proudhon, [2]
1844 â€“ Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own
1849 â€“ Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
1849 â€“ Frédéric Bastiat, The Law
1849 â€“ Gustave de Molinari, The Production of Security
1851 â€“ Herbert Spencer, The Right to Ignore the State
1866 â€“ Michael Bakunin, Revolutionary Catechism
1867 â€“ Lysander Spooner, No Treason
1886 â€“ Benjamin Tucker, [3]
1902 â€“ Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid
1935 â€“ Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, the State
1962 â€“ Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy & State with Power and Market
1983 - Samuel Edward Konkin III, The New Libertarian Manifesto
1985 â€“ Anthony de Jasay, The State
2001 â€“ Kevin A. Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand

[edit] References

  1. ^ [1]

[edit] See also

Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Social Change  – 

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