The Euthanasia of Government<sup>1</sup>: Classical Anarchism Reconsidered

Saul Newman

in The Politics of Postanarchism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780748634958
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652846 | DOI:
The Euthanasia of Government1: Classical Anarchism Reconsidered

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This chapter revisits the classical anarchism of such thinkers as Godwin, Bakunin, Proudhon, and Kropokin, examining the key elements of their political philosophy: the rejection of the state and centralised political authority; the scepticism about democracy, the social contract and other legitimating discourses of the state; and the critique of property and inequality. It argues that anarchism's central political and ethical impulse is the desire for equal-liberty, in which the two principles of equality and liberty are, for anarchists, inextricably bound together, animating and giving meaning to one another. Furthermore, the chapter shows that classical anarchism is based on a certain conception of society and the social principle as inherently natural and rationally ordered, in opposition to power and authority, which are seen as unnatural and morally corrupting, and whose intervention disrupts the natural functions of society.

Keywords: centralised political authority; state rejection; political philosophy; social contract; liberal theory; classical anarchism

Chapter.  11934 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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