What if There Is No Authority?
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If there is no authority, does it follow that we ought to abolish all governments? No. The absence of authority means, roughly, that individuals are not obligated to obey the law merely because it is the law and/or that agents of the state are not entitled to coerce others merely because they are agents of the state. There might still be good reasons to obey most laws, and agents of the state might still have adequate reasons for engaging in enough coercive action to maintain a state. If the arguments of the preceding chapters are correct, the circumstances and purposes that would justify coercion on the part of the state are just the circumstances and purposes that would justify coercion on the part of private agents. It remains to be seen whether some organizations are justified in engaging in enough statelike activities to qualify as states. In the terminology of contemporary political philosophy, I have so far defended philosophical anarchism (the view that there are no political obligations), but I have yet to defend political anarchism (the view that government should be abolished).1
KeywordsPolice Officer Political Authority Civil Disobedience Social Contract Theory Political Obligation
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