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]

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

This article is based on one or more articles in Wikipedia, with modifications and additional content contributed by Connexions editors. This article, and any information from Wikipedia, is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

We welcome your help in improving and expanding the content of Connexipedia articles, and in correcting errors. Connexipedia is not a wiki: please contact Connexions by email if you wish to contribute. We are also looking for contributors interested in writing articles on topics, persons, events and organizations related to social justice and the history of social change movements.

For more information contact Connexions