Anarchism: A Theoretical Analysis
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The central claim of anarchism is that government, being the chief cause of human misery, must be replaced by a stateless society of strongly independent persons who are strongly bound together in a group. In an anarchist social order, individual and communal tendencies, now often contradictory, become mutually reinforcing so as to create a nurturing environment. The main purpose of this 1980 book is to vindicate this argument as presented by leading anarchists: William Godwin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin. Early chapters are devoted to proving the anarchists consistent in seeking to combine the greatest individual development with the greatest communal unity. Later chapters show the plausibility of the various anarchists' models of the good society, of their criticisms of established institutions and of their strategies for creating an anarchist social order. The analysis presented accords the anarchists a leading voice in the debate among political theorists over how to create and organize a just society.
more is needed here as an account of their objections than a brief sketch. This section is less concerned to describe these objections than to clarify how far they extend. What it seeks to establish is whether anarchists call for the abolition of legal government no matter what its type, or whether, as some have thought, there is one type they accept. It is of course as a hindrance to self-development and mutual awareness that anarchists condemn legal government. The generality and
mandate) radical egalitarianism by forbidding treatment that unequally meets the needs of life. Resources in a society governed by the claim of need are distributed unequally to be sure, but since the basic needs of individuals are similar, Social inequality benefits to persons, in the form of need-satisfaction, are much the same.41 The claim of contribution cuts against radical egalitarian ism more sharply. Since the contributions of individuals vary more than their basic needs do, a
give harmony to their system, and since their various remedies for discord, taken to gether, are not obviously ineffective, anarchy remains eligible, 138 A complete achievement despite its internal conflicts, for designation as the ideal social order. The case for acknowledging anarchy as attainable, despite its internal discords, rests on more than the impossibility of alto gether denying its capacity to form a coherent structure. Besides offering this minimal defense of their model's
competitive, self-centered role-players, utterly bereft of mutual understanding. Citizenship was Rousseau's hope for ending this estrangement and for providing a more communal existence. Centering their lives around deliberation in the public forum, where each gives his disinterested opinion on proposed legislation and is respectfully attended to by all the rest, Rousseauist citizens develop a strong mutual awareness. They do lack individuality, but this is the price they pay for their community.
Pamphlets, p. 96. 26 Bakunin, CEuures, III, 235, 253, IV, 248; Proudhon, Justice, III, 253; Godwin, Political Justice, II, 409. Godwin, Political Justice, II, 486. 27 28 Ibid., II, 216. 29 Ibid., I, 329-30; cf. Proudhon, Justice, IV, 366; Bakunin, CEuures, I, 181, 277, V, 321. I would still have some self-image since, as indicated earlier (cf. ch. l, p. 16), spontaneous social pressure, not deliberate censure, suffices to create a self. 30 Proudhon, 'Cours d'economie politique', I-12(4)