Box 13, item 996: Draft chapters 1 to 4 on anarchism, for correction

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Box 13, item 996: Draft chapters 1 to 4 on anarchism, for correction

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Typescripts and handwritten chapters, with handwritten emendations and annotations. Title in collection finding aid: Blue folder: Anarkism - For Correction - chapters 1-4.

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The University of Queensland's Richard Sylvan Papers UQFL291, Box 13, item 996

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This item was identified for digitisation at the request of The University of Queensland's 2020 Fryer Library Fellow, Dr. N.A.J. Taylor.

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For all enquiries about this work, please contact the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland Library.

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Text

CASE DISSOLVED:

critique of argumentsto and for the State
Over the centuries that humans have been stuck with states, many different attempts to
justify them, as in some way necessary or desirable (as more than an unfortunate accident of
history), have been attempted. None pf these arguments succeed (as much would perhaps be
quite widely conceded^).
/
/
There are various wayjs of showing that the arguments fail. One powerful way deploys,

indicates or develops, counterexamples; for instance modelling social arrangements without

states. Another more pedestrian but essential way consists in direct examination of the
arguments, not merely some of them or various classes of them, but, for completeness, each and
every one of them. Ultimately that calls for, what is attempted first in a first attempt fashion,
an exhaustive classification of the arguments „
A preliminary classification of these arguments can take the following form:
1. //i-yfonc or <?Ma,s7-/H,s'f(9rzc. These arguments divide in tum into two principal subclasses:
1.1 Daycrzpnve.*
/b/Zacy o/TAo
quo.
A first group of arguments^justification of the state, try to take advantage of the
descriptive features that states are entrenched almost everywhere as the dominant feature of the
political landscape. Helpful as it may be having states in avoiding hypothetical in injecting a
heavy element of realism oLesdisn, nonetheless fact is not per se justification: what is often

X

ought not to be. Bank robbers and robber barons are justified by their mere existence There
are similar problems<dth the argument from tradition. If some principle, practice or theory
stood for a good while it had something going for it. Some such consideration lies at the basis
of precedence in law; the idea of tradition as encapsulating past wisdom - or past folly. Among
the problems are that with authoritarian institutions come their antitheses, with the state the
anti-state. Many practices like barbarism and racism have stood for a very long tirne,^ many
organisations like mafia have been airound for a long time, so they have something going for
them? Such troubles, the evident gap between descriptive and normative, are among those that
plague
In s^prt without utterly questionable connecting assumptions,

such as that what is is necessary (a modal fallacy) or that what is is right (a deontic fallacyi),
such arguments fail to afford justification.
There are some important JMbtypes of descriptive (or quasi-descriptive) arguments,
namely

*

1

arguments. The state is not only established, it works. Immediate difficulties
This fallacy, heavily utilized by Hegel, is critically examined in NNL.

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2

with such arguments are obvious. The Mafia too/is well-established. It too works, often in
opposition the the State (as a sort of negative opposite, like the Devil to God). What sort of

standards of
is working
intended to meet? All sorts of awful political
arrangements have "worked", at least in persisting for as long as statist arrangements:
despotisms, dictatorships, tyrannies, ... . Still as pragmatic arguments enjoy considerable
popularity, especially in North America, they will have to be considered in more detail (than
they deserve).

*
arguments. The state has evolved through a long sequence of political forms.
It is tried and tested, and now selected, selected as best available. Such arguments afford
scientific clothing for the appalling Hegelian "what is is right". For what has evolved is
selected thereby as best, and what is selected as best is no doubt right (by a familiar utilitarian

deontic reduction). Slather evidently such arguments prove too much. Any form that in fact
emerges, no matter how achieved, though what dusta^dly Machievellian deeds, no matter how
awful, is thereby justified: empires and dictatorships of the worst sort, fa^ist and totalitarian
states, one and all, are justified, provided only they are established.^
this only for climax states, where some sort of evolutionary plutoniums have been achieved

have been achieved (otherwise bad means to select evolutionary ends may temporarily prevail).
But where is the evidence that the State is not another transitional stage, like feudalism before
it? As an evolutionary form it is very recent, and fortunately not yet established in evolutionary
time.
1.2 AfoK-J&pcripf/ve. Difficulties with descriptive arguments, including prescriptive

fallacies (deriving presciptive or evaluative conclusions from purely descriptive premisses), are
evaded/idealisation arguments, which include

These are genetic in justificatory character, relating the
mythological "historical" development of the State from an imaginary pre-state situation.^
These arguments are not sharply^p^rated from
* fdea/ /n,yfory arguments.

* MMagmary
and ideal reconjfrMcrfoK arguments. For the transactions, such as an
originating social contract, may be presented in a quasi-historic form. This important class of
arguments is broader than contractual arrangements, including all the following sorts of
imaginary transactions: negotiating, bargaining, experimenting, etc., in given (idealised)
conditions, perhaps issuing in an arrangement, agreement, contract, etc. One preliminary
That contemporary exponents and practitioniers of state craft are inclined to accept these^orts of
considerations, and to recognise any region that has gained (short-term) control over a territory
and its administration, does nothing for the considerations^ What it reveals rather is the moral
sickness of contemporary real-politics.
They include
(as opposed to
relocation arguments, where a group ("voting
with its feet ) relocates and forms a state (except of course these gorups, when there was room
for them, tended to aim for new societies, not states).
These arguments form a bridge between descriptive and ntunative. While voluntary contract
arguments are descripively implausible, voluntary relocation has, or did have, a little descriptive

3
classification of these arguments divides them into
natural
quasi-theological, legalistic
invisible hand
evolutionary

consensual or equivalent.

artificial,

The most notorious of these reconstructions, or political thought-experiments, are the
social contract theories whereby individual members of a society fictitiously enter into an
enforceable contract, inescapable for themselves and all their descendants, setting up the state,
primarily as a security arrangement. In later versions which may involve other legalistic forms
than contracts, such as pa^cts, trusts, etc., there is much negotiating and bargaining in contrived
situations, where humans lose many of their distinctive features and accoutrements (in a effort
to ensure some initial fairness).

A variant on contract theories, which justify some sort of state arrangements
Z/* they
arose in an ideal way, is retrojustification of the state as naturally arising, as a sort of super­
insurance agency, from pre-state arrangements. For example, the minimal state evolves from a

competing set of state-like security agencies one of which somehow gains a monopoly, and is
retrojustified through insurance arguments (concerning risk and compensation).
Such arguments are sometimes presented as replacing overall contractual arrangements
(through minor arrangements undoubtedly enter) with invisible hand mechanisms. Whereas
contractual arguments take the general segmented shape:
INITIAL STATE: INPUT

INTERMEDIATE STATES

prestate

negotiation followed by

situation:

draft contrad, assessment

"state of nature"

FINAL STATE: OUTPUT

state established
situation

followed by contract adoption

^in invisible hand arguments the intermediate steps, on route to the state, consist in formation of
organisations and their progressive amalgatiation to provide finally a state. For example, in
Nozick these organisations are taken to comprise protective agencies (though that is only one
statist function), and to ensure legitimacy for the final object, it is contended that each

intermediate state derives from the proceeding in a morally permissible way, namely preserves

% selected rights. Such arguments fail for two main classes of reasons: inadequacy in the
derivations of late and final stages from earlier ones, and unsatisfactoriness over the initial state
(in particular, what is assumed in it, such as proprietorial rights, and what is excluded, i$ the
way of more satisfactory alternatives).

In these forms the State arises through voZimfary actions and transactions. Whereas
anarchists and many socialists see anarchism as a post-state state, these transaction arguments

often assume anarchism, in very motly forms, as pre-state states. People voluntarily elect to

escape those pre-state form, "rushing" into the jaws of the State. But there are, as well,
versions, where the State is established through legalistic or religious means,
natural religion or the like. For example, the details of State organisation, or a recipe or

4

commandments therefore, are received by or given to some powerful religious personage, who
implements the organisation under religious authority. The legalistic equivalent came about
through implementation, not of religious dictates, but what may be very similar in practical
affect and detail, natural law. Normally this law will be "seen", for, by some powerful
personages, who are in a position to convey, and have put into effect, their illumination. With

the decline of religion these sorts of arguments have lost much of their general appeal (they
should never have enjoyed much credibility). But many relics of these shattered arguments
remain, to be removed. A critical point is that such arguments should not gain independent
standing. Most law is mfra-state, state manufactured and state serving. What is independent of
states has to answer to standards, moral standards especially, that are independently justified.
Similarly for religious commandments. As a result, these arguments collapse back to
arguments for the State.

Now modern states did not arise in any such "natural" or contractual way. Often they
were imposed by conquest or through colonialisation, and with a few exceptions, using
military means rather than offering much sweetness and light and choice. There are a notable
discrepancies between typical justifications of the state (in which much is sweetness and light,
though it is far from a pareto-optimal object) and common explanations of the role of the state
(in which much is obviousness and intrigue). Nor do the ideal constructions or histories offer

much justification for these resulting state power configurations. For the states so delivered
are very different from those most people presently toil under.

In any case, the arguments involved do not succeed. They are extraordinarily gappy by
contemporary logical standards. They depend upon some utterly implausible assumptions,
for example as to how vile conditions are^n extra^state situations. These changes are easily
illustrated, and will be.) small immediate)^eana&14 example.
Underlying several of the imaginary transaction arguments to the state, are various c/zofcg
arguments of a thought-experiment cast. Commonly such arguments ambitiously aim to show
that

* the state is necessary, and that
* the state is superior to its absence.

But such arguments.like those embedcTin
confracf arguments .are little better than con
jobs.as are presented depend upon a false choice. For only two options are considered:
H, a horrible Hobbesian "state of nature" and
S, a well-ordered (contructually-reached) Hobbesian state.
The argument, appealing to the vices of H and the virtues of S, has little trouble in concluding
* * S is better than H (or similarly, rational agents would select S over H, etc.)

other options, such as anarchist ones. Why should
anarchists want to line up with S? They can agree with proposition * *. They might also want
The choice conveniently leaves

to assert that anarchistic arrangements Z are superior to S. Whereupon it is evident that neither

* nor * follows. For necessity all accessible alternatives have to be considered (by the

semantics of
That has not been done. For superiority, the superiority of S to Z and
other alternatives has to be taken into account. That has not been done. — ,
-----------------------

alternative i^\Carter^^(?c^ry^which produces The kind of individuals who have
strongly internalized values and can live cooperatively and freely without the threat of force ...\
i^)(p.25).4 6V1C-

No doubt some of the gaps in the arguments could be plugged by further, further
contestable, assumptions, but such analytic work remains to be attempted and assessed, after
two millennia of such arguments. In fact it was long ago realised that such arguments exhibit
unlikely and even paradoxical features. For example, in consenting to a state for security
purposes, participants to the state contract proceed to establish an institution which is far

more dangerous to them than the power of others taken distributively. It would seem that

those smart enough to enter into a social contract for a state would be smart enough to foresee
the problems of hiring a monster, and to avoid the state and steer along without it. In

establishing a state, inhabitants set up an institution that is far more powerful and dangerous
to them than the power of other inhabitants taken singly or in groups.
This is to think that Men are so fulish that they tak care to avoid
what Mischiefs may be done then by PoZe-caM, or
but are
contra^ f^ay think it Safety, to be devoured by AZo/asA

These arguments, like others to follow, even if somehow repaired, would not establish an
institution with anything approaching the power and complexity of the modern state.
Arguments to the state typically establish, at best, only a rather minimal state, with certain

protective and regulatory powers. Such minimal states would not deliver many of the goods
economists, still less socialists, have come to expect of the state. The arguments certainly do

not establish anything like the oppressive paternal state with a panoply of powers that many

citizens are forceably subject to, power states have accumulated by their own unjustified
predatory activity. In this respect too, arguments to the state resemble arguments to God.

Deistic arguments characteristically establish (insofar as they establish anything) only a quite
minimal rAar w/zZc/t, a first cause, some existent, a most perfect object, a universal designer,
clockmaker or the like. They do nothing to establish many of the powers or properties
asciibed to God.
There is yet another resemblance a surplus of attributes are regularly ascribed to Gock so

much power, knowledge, andj^^like^that paradoxes of omnipotence, omniscience, and
jimilar, are quickly engendereb^aradoxes that a lesser God that merely satisized on virtue (and

could tolerate some production of evil) could easily escape)^ So too a surplus of power is

conceded to the State. The state carries ^far more power than is required for collective
organisation, a large "political surphis" which should be relinquished.
/4
^ reversmg Hobbes' argument,pottom halfl really a cranking.
$
Locke p.372.
——^Lesser Gods encounter ^other difficulties: their plurality, the fact that they can be exceeded by
other greater Gods, and their upstaging by ontological arguments.

6

2(-l*) S*y^7?zayic. These arguments divide again into two principal subclasses, namely
2.1 Ana/yac and
2.2 M?K#K(2/y%c.

Further both subclasses may be subdivided in tum into individualistic and holistic subclasses,
for instance 2.1 into

2.1.1 Indiviualistic and
2.1.2 Non-individualistic.
Most recent investigation has been concentrated within subdivision 2.1.^1, upon game-theoretic

justifications of the State. Indeed, given prevailing methodological individualism, which
almost invariably takes analytic form, all acceptable justification reuced to this subdivision?
Certainly other systematic ways of endeavouring to justify the state tent
z to have
fallen by the wayside or been abandoned. However it is worth listing two further forms, one of
which remains significant:

* Holistic/brz/t considerations. The State is presented as the form, or even spirit, of Society,
much as the mind is the form of the corresponding body. Insofar as there is an argument, it is
analogical, from an increasingly dubious basis. Contemporary up-dating of the torm'ideas
would no doubt have the State as - what is even less plausible - the program, or the software,
of a corresponding Society.
* Mora/ considerations.

But there is little good reason to embrace individualism, methodological or other, because many
sorts of wholes, beginning with ^bstra&i, do not come down to individuals; it is poor
methodology to try to proceed as if they do. More on individualism elsewhere. See aM JB

3VHATEVER3
2. Arguments in a game theory setting: Prrhners' Diiemma games and supergames.

What is widely regarded
as the most persuasive justification of the state [is] "the argument
that, without the state, people would not voluntarily cooperate to
provide themselves with certain public goods... ". This argument,
which is quite popular with contemporary academics, suggests
that, without the state, people would not be able to "act so as to
realise their
interests."*
.
So far, hewexEr, we have not encountered^an argument, but simply a very large claim. The

argument itself^is remarkably circuitous, circuiting through a range of examples drawn from

game theory, and, so it will emerge, as yet quite indecisive. Obtaining a view, a clear view, of
the whole argument, or rather the spectrum of potential arguments, matters for anarchism. For

that will help considerably in dispelling the myth that here, partly hidden, is a powerful
P3p*x

argument against
A
The

argument takes the form of a modal syllogism:
* The state is necessary for the optimal, or adequate, provision of collective (i.e. public)
goody (zzm/or premiss),

of*

'

* Collective goods are necessary for a satisfactory social life, (J%7M% premiss) .
the state is necessary for a satisfactory social life./Moreover, given that the latter, a

satisfactory social life (in a given region), is a certain desiderata, the state is to that extent
necessary (a

necessity is (^bolutized).

While the big argument takes thatybrm, it is subject to variation. Furthermore, some
variation is essential, else it, and one of the chief forms incorporated, is invalid. For the
argument displayed has a different, and an ambiguous, middle term. For requisite uniformity,

and validity, the middle term has to be either a) adequate provision of colective goods, or o)
optimal provision of collective goods. While little supporting argument get lavished on the

minor premiss, it being assumed obvious, that obviousness
selected. For a satisfactory social life may result when

when term o) is
than optimal provisioning of

collective goods occurs. Adequate lives only require adequate goods, perhaps even a modest
supply of goods for less consumptive societies, not optimal or maximal levels.

There is/a significant skating about, of justificatory relevance, in the "most persuasive

justification of the state", as normally slackly presented^between
(as in o), nomally explicated in terms of maximization;

erms of satisization);

of provisioning: opPma/
(as in a), have construed int

(unspecified, as in the quote above, or perhaps

specified as in Hobbes, e.g. defence and security of property).
Unfortunately for the argument, all that the game-theoretic arguments for the major

1

2

Grofman 80, p.108, quoting Taylor. For another similar statement, qualified to members of a
large public, see Taylor 82, p.53.
Thus, basic collective goods for a basic social life, as for instance in subsistence lifestyles.

'

'

'

' /

premiss typically establish at best is failure of optima^ or certain large prov^pning, without the

state. They do not show failure to provision at all without the state, or failure to achieve

"basic" provision, or even adequate provisioning. Now anarchism can^granF that certain large

provisioning is improbable without the state; for example^ntercoiynental nuclear missiles, or
large output nuclear power plants. 3 But i^hardly matters! f&r such state-posessed goods are?
arguably antithetical to satisfactory social life. Nor need anarchism accede Rr optimality
requirements, thereby destroying usual game-theoretic arguments. For these arguments usually

show that more would be obtained under certain counter-individualistic cooperative strategies
than would otherwise be obtained, not that some or basic levels would not be achieved. To
put it bluntly, satisizing anarchists can throw out the challenge: what does it matter if a few
state prisoners defect (i.e. there are some not fully-paid-up rider^so long as enough goods are

still delivered? That challenge has not been met, even implicitly, as will appear. 5?
It is unreasonable, in any case, to demand optimal levels from non-statist societies,
because no extant stat^ measure up to such excessive requirements. Indeed most staites do
...
...........................................
,
. bd
not even meet utterly basic demands. Henceforth we shall be looking for
leads,

which %?.yo /hero cover basic demands.
The argument for the critical major premiss takes the following sort of route, involving

these components:
1. Assimilation of the problem of provision of collective goods (in the light of the minor
premiss it can be cast as a problem) to paradigmatic problems in game theory, initially the

Prisoners' Dilemma (PD for short). No doubt efforts at provision of public goods commonly
result in arrangements that can be represented formally as Prisoners' Dilemmas. But it is
sometimes claimed, what will be repudiated subsequently, that all such efforts result in PD
situations, that is that there is a universal linkage. Two connections are regularly assumed: a

universal representation of problems in game theory, and a more plausible less ambitious
connection with PD games. That is:
* all provisioning problems can be represented within game theory.

** these problems^requently)takePD form.

.

The first assumption, of game theory representation, is^severe. Each problem is transformed

into a game, with n independent players, normally individuals or individual units (such as an
"individual" family or firm in economics^)/ These players characteristically possess but limited

information, and almost invariably are allowed only extraordinarily narrow motivations and
objectives, am) as maximizing their own interests or pay-offs, in a rigid setting with fixed
predetermined moves.$
According to the more plausible, less ambitious collections,
3

4

5

So much is argued elsewhere (nuclear wo^k).
While in many politically relevant applications, such as the "tragedy of the common^' game,the
players may bedndividuals, in other applications the players may be communities, societies, or
even states, e.g\mtemational traaR and war games.
It is this sort of rigidity and limitation that/make^ parts of game-theory automatically tractable.

<?;

3

* provisioning of public goods frequently yields prisoners' dilemma situations, Ahat is the
problem involved can be transformed into a typical PD game, comprising a perhaps interated

games among a public of n individuals.
2. Sometimes these games yield unfavourable results, that is not enough individuals cooperate
but instead defect, so the good in question will not be delivered.
3. On/y by intervention pf the state can cooperation be obtained, by coercion of individuals?

other devices, such a;

of the market, will notsucceed.

4
3. THE CASE AGAINST REPLACEMENT FROM PRISONERS' DILEMMA SITUATIONS AND THE

buttress the State status quc^are based on variants of the prisoners' Dilemma, to the effect that
there are imporran? cases where individuals will not agree^ or co-operate to provide them­
selves with (or to maintain) collective goods without coercion, such as on/y the State can
furnish? In such 'dilemma' situations each individual will hope to gain advantage, without

contributing (or exercising restraint), from others' contributions (or restraint), by freeloading on

others (or profiting from others' restraint). The claim is that only the State with its backing of

force can resolve such situations: anarchistic replacement cannot succeed. In short,'certain
individual choice cannot replace state-covered choice.
important cases, coo<
There are (as the bracketed clauses indicate) two main types of case, those where people
do not conrri&M&.to

themselves with, or with optimum quantities of, a "collective

good", and those where people do not

themselves to

or maintain optimum

quantities of, some already available "collective good". The first type of case is taken to
include such traditional and modern concerns of the state and its subsidiary institutions as
order, security, defence, and perhaps private property, as well as sewerage schemes, water
supplies, waste services, public health, social security, etc. The second case is supposed to
include, as well as village commons, newer enviromental concerns such as clean air, unpolluted

streams and beaches, parks, rainforests, wilderness, whales, etc. But there is no sharp division
between the cases (security or parks could be of either type depending on the status quo), and

The case broken-backed right here: because if we don't ^o this^not going to agree to social
contract — which allegedly implies these things — either. Similarly,
jocia/ contract theory
&ro&cn-&ac%cJ.
The Tragedy of the Commons is set up so as to assume no collective methods have been
developed or can be developed without coercion. (Roberts).
The point of coercion is to retain the privatised individual. For the factor of coercion makes it in
intrests of private individual. So coercion makes the effect of relations to be got without
exceeding provatised individual picture. Coercion substitutes for relations in the context of
privatised individuals.
Privatised individuals are, of course, products, in large part, of the operation (and enforcement
and entrenchment) of a particular social theory, or ra/Zzcr jar/ ofsocial theory.
Arguments of this type are sometimes said to represent 'the strongest case that can be made for
the desirability of the State* (M. Taylor, Anarc/ty anJ Coap^raZiaa, Wiley, London, 1976, p.9).
To cover all arguments of the type, and to avoid repetition of the phrase 'variants of and
disputes as to whether certain arguments such as those of Hume and of Olson involve Prisoners'
Dilemma situations, 'Prisoner's Dilemma' is used in a wide sense to include not merely single nperson Prisoners' Dilemma games, but, for example, games where the payoffs are not merely
egoistic (as with both Hobbes and Hume) and where such games are iterated. As the bracketed
clauses in the text indicate, there are two types of case, not sharply separated and both the jawt^
Zagica/ /oral — those where people do not
to
themselves with, or with
'optimum' quantities of, a 'collective good' (e.g. security, order, sewage), and those where
people do not refrain themselves to wainfam, or maintain 'optimum' quantities of, some alrca<
available 'collective good' (e.g. commons, unpolluted streams, whales, wilderness). That
received arguments of all these types involves Prisoners? Dilemma situations (in the wide sense)
is argued in effect, in Taylor, op.cif. and elsewhere. An easier introduction to the material
covered by Taylor, which also surveys other important literature, is given in the final chapter of
R. Abrams, FoaaJan'aaj o/Po/aica/ Aaa/y^, Columbia University press, New York, 1980.

Z

y

5

as arguments for state institution both have the same logical form, that of a Prisoners' Dilemma

or some finite sequence of Prisoners' Dilemma games (what are called Prisoners' Dilemma
&%?^rgames).
The arguments are not mere exercises in game theory since it is through arguments of this

type that political theorists such as Hobbes and Hume have attempted to demonstrate the
necessity of the State, so it is sometimes claimed (e.g. by Taylor). Furthermore, it is with

arguments of the same^form, the "Tragedy of the Commons", that Hardin and others have tried
to show that extensive, indeed draconian, state powers are required to resolve environmental

problems; without such powers no exploiter or polluter will exercise restraint, ra

c

.

Consider the single Prisoners' Dilemma game where each player, or prisoner, is assumed,

as is usual in these things, to be egoistic (sometime equated with "being rational"), to seek just
maximisation of his own private payoff, in the special case where there are just two players.
(The special case illustrates all the main points except one, the

c/size in making a

case for the state.)
<
. A basic ingredient^a.considerable variety of argumentfof this type, including Hobbes'
andlTragedy of the Commons' argument, and recent economic arguments for State
intervention to secure collective goods, i^/tne single prisoners' Dilemma game with just two
players.s Two prisoners, 1 and 2, taken to be accomplices in a crime, have been separately

imprisoned. A State representative makes the following offers separately to each: if the
prisoner confesses and becomes a State's witness while his or her accomplice remains silent, he

or she will be released at once while the accomplice gets 8 years. 3t so happens that if both
prisoners remain silent the State has only enough evidence to impose a 1 year sentence. But if

both confess they would each receive 4 years. The 'game' can be summarised in the following

'payoff' matrix:
Prisoner 1

Strategies

S(ilence) C(onfess)

S

-1,-1

-8,0

C

0, -8

-4, -4

'—
Prisoner 2

The game is not intended to present a moral ^ilemma, that each can only go free at the cost of
the others' freedom, but the following dilemma: It is in each prisoner's private interest to

An important matter the two player game does not illustrate is the relevance of populations size
in the arguments for the State. But size is not decisive (see, e.g., Taylor, chapter 2), and the issue
can be avoided (or relocated) by organisation into smaller communities. The figures given in the
matrix are illustrative only; for inequalities which suffice for a Dilemma situation, see Tayor,
p.5.

6
choose strategy C no matter what the other does: strategy C is, in the jargon, each players'

'dominant' strategy (and also in fact a minimax strategy). For if 2, for example, remains silent,
the%l goes free by confessing, while if 2 confesses, then 1 halves his or her sentence by

if both prisoners choose their dominant strategy they obtain an
outcome to that which would have resulted by what is tendentiously called 'co-operating', by

confessing.

their both remaining silent.
3.1 FOILING THE PRISONERS' DILEMMA ARGUMENT.

It is bizarre that a dilemma alleged to show the necessity of the State — which is

supposed to intervene, forcibly if required, to ensure that the prisoners 'co-operate' to obtain an
optimal outcome — should be set up by the State's own operative.^ The case looks like an

inside job; and it M, though neither the operative, nor for that matter the prisoners on their own,
continue to play an essential role. The prisoners, in any finite number, can be members of a
community and payoffs quantities of some collective good. The claim is, that without
intervention (by the State), the community will only chase a subotimal quantity of the good if
any. Some features of the prisoners' relations are assumed to transfer however. Of course the
State's presence in arranging (of accentuating)

such dilemmas is inessential, as is much

else from the example. But some features of the Prisoner's relations are isolated, and so have
no opportunity to communicate or r^aZZy co-operate. Similarly, in the more general argument a

privatisation assumption is smuggled in in the way the dilemma is formulated, that we are
dealing with self contained individuals who, like the prisoners, act only in their own narrowly

construed private interests and whose interests are opposed. The applicability of the dilemma

to the human condition is accordingly seriously limited, io
A cursory aside is often added to the Prisoners' Dilemma to the effect that the segregation

of the priisoners makes no real difference. It is claimed that even if the prisoners could meet
and discuss and even agreed to co-operate, that would make no difference, since neither could

trust (the sincerity) of the other (Abrams, p.193), 'neither has an incentive to keep the

agreement' (Taylor, p.5). Experimental and historical evidence indicates that this is very often
no so — and in a more co-operative social setting than currently encouraged privatisation of

life, the extent of co-operation and trust would undoubtedly be much higher n The argument
has to depend crucially then on substantially mistaken assumptions about human propensities
It is similarly bizarre that there should be outcomes that the State alone is said to be able to
arrange, but not mere social cooperation, when the State rv (as on many theories) the result of
reflection of social cooperation.
This important point is much elaborated in V. and R. Routley, &?cmZ 77^or^.y, S^Zf
aztrZ Envirownf/tfaZ Pro&Zewty in Environmental Philosophy (edited D. Mannison
and others), RSSS, Australian national University, 1980.
As a result of G. Hardin's Tragedy
CoHWHonj, historical evidence has been assembled
which reveals how far Hardin's 'Commons' diverges from historic commons; see, inparticular,
A. Roberts, 77^ S^Zf-Managing
Allison & Busby, London, 1979, chapter 10, but
also Routley, op.cir., p.285 and ppp.329-332. Similar points apply as regards many other
Dilemma situations. Tn the experimental studies of the prisoner's dilemma game approximately
half of the participants choose a cooperative strategy even when they know for certain that the
other player will cooperate'. Abrams, op.ciz., p.308.

7
in various settings, e.g. that purely egoistic interests are always pursued, backed up by a large

measure of scepticism about the reliability of other people (but if people were Jia? unreliable

and devious, many State arrangements involved in providing public goods would not succeed
either). That such assumptions are operating can be seen by elaborating the situation; e.g. to
bring out the first, suppose the prisoners have a common bond, e.g. they are friends or they are

political prisoners with a shared social commitment, or they are neighbours and face a future in
the same community; to bring out the philosophical scepticism involved, suppose the prisoner
with a tarnished record offers the other security against default, and so on.

The question of the character of human interests and preferences %/iJ the extent of their
determination by the social context in which they occur is/MKJcwtcnhJ to the whole question of

social economic arrangements, and also accordingly to arguments for the State on the basis of
human propensities. A major assumption underlying prevailing (non-Marxist) economics and

associated political theory, is that the interests and preferences, as summed up in a preference
ranking or utility function, of each human that is taken to count is an mJcpcnJcnr parameter,

which depends neither on the preference rankings of other nor on the social context in which

that human operates. Wh8ile the individuals and firms of mainstream economic theory do, by
definition, satisfy the independence requirements, and while there is very substantial cultural
pressure on consumers to conform (through advertising, education, popular media), vc/y many

Jo /io? cozi/briH, and the extent of cultural pressure towards privatisation itself belies
the naturalness of this independence. And having sufficiently many interest-interdependent

people in a small community (which is not thoroughly impoverished) is normally enough,
given their social influence, to avoid or resolve by co-operation the types of Prisoners'

Dilemma situations that appear to count in favour of the State.
3.2 Why the dilemma arguments cannot succeed.
What the Dilemma-based case for the State has to show — what never has been shown —
is that there are outstanding Dilemma situations which are relevant, important, and also

damaging if unresolved, and that they are resolvable by State intervention, and only so
(optimally) resolvable. Finally it has to be shown that in the course of so resolving these

Dilemma situations, worse situations than those that are resolved are not thereby induced.
These complex conditions cannot be satisfied, if they can be satisfied at all, in a way that is not

question begging. For several of the conditions are value dependent (e.g. what is important,
damaging, optimal, worse) and involve considerations about which resonable parties can differ.
The selection of Dilemmas itself provides an example of value dependence: after all there are

many such Dilemmas (e.g. as to environmental degradation, of over-exploitation, of family
violence or fueds) which are considered beyond the sphere of the State or not worthy of State
attention.

There are now grounds for concluding that the conditions cannot be satisfied at all. For

12

Cf. the disucssion in Taylor, op.ci/., p.93.

8
many of the arguments using Prisoners' Dilemma games, Hobbes' and Hume's arguments for
the State and Hardin's 'Tragedy of the Commons' for instance, turn out when

to consist not just of a single game but of a sequence of such games, to be more

adequately represented by what is called a
But in many such sequential Prisoners'
Dilemma games, rational 'co-operation' can occur, even assuming separated players with
purely egoistic interests. 13 For what sequential games permit that isolated games exclude, is
that players' actions may be dependent upon past performance of other players.

This

dependence effectively removes one extremely unrealistic self-containment assumption from
Dilemma situations, that individuals act in totally isolated ways, not learning from past social

interaction. In such sueprgames then, no intervention is required.
Undoubtedly some Dilemmas are resolved by 'intervention', e.g. by allowing the
prisoners to get in touch so that they find they are neighbours or that they can really co-operate.
Euqally important, and equally independent of the State, is the matter of breaking down the
adverary, or game, situation so the prisoners do not act as competitors but are prepared to co­
operate.^ Informational input may also be important, e.g. news that each prisoner has a good

record of adhering to agreement, or if not is prepared to stake collateral, etc. Nor is force or

threat of force required as an incentive to guarantee optimal strategies: a range of other
inducements and incentives is known (shuld they be required in recalcitrant cases), and is used
even by the State, e.g. gifts, deprivation, social pressure, etc. But at no stage is the State

required to make these arrangements: much as some real Prisoners' Dilemmas are resolved by
work of Amnesty International, so voluntary organisations can be formed to detect and deal

with Prisoners' Dilemma situations where they are not already catered for. And in fact
communal and co-operative organisation did resolve Prisoners' Dilemma-type situations
historically, for example in the case of the Commons.
In sum, here also replacement works. There are no important Dilemma situations, it
seems, where the State is essential. The State has been thought to be essential because of
certain influential flase dichotomies; for example, that all behaviour that is not egoistic is
altruistic (but altruistic behaviour is uncommon, and 'irrational'), that the only way of

allocating goods, apart from profit-directed markets — which tend to deal abysmally with
collective goods — is through State control.^ But it is quite evident that there are

methods of allocation, both economic (e.g. exchange, through traditional markets, based on

supply costs) and social (e.g. by co-operatives, clubs).
Lastly, introduction of the State to resolve
13

14

15

Dilemma situations has very extensive

This important result is established in Taylor, op. ctf., for a number of critical cases, though not
generally; see, e.g. p.32 but especially chapter 5.
Such moves have proved valuable in reducing the State's role in legal prosecution, and in
eliminating courtroom procedures, including cases where the State is one of the 'adversaries'.
Both the false dichotomies cited are common-place, not to say rife, in modem economic and
political theorising. Both are to be found in Abram's final chapter, for example, and the first
(with an attempt to plaster over the gap with a definition) in Taylor. For a further criticism of
such false dichotomies, see Routley, op.cit., pp.250./ff

9

effects, *6 many of them negative, so that the gains made, if any, in so resolving Dilemma

situations, appear to be substantially outweighted by the costs involved. For there are the many
evil aspects of the typical State to put in the balance. As regards Dilemma situations, entry of

the State with its authority showing may not help but may worsen some situations, and morre
important, new Dilemmas may be initiated by State activity, as in the case of the prisoners, or
differently with the State as a further player (since the State may engage in whaling, have
access to a commons, etc.). These points lead also to further arguments against the State.

Suppose, to see the impact of the first reason for the failure of independence, the
prisoners are friends and their common interest is to be together. Then, if they are given the
opportunity to co-operate, and independence is not enforced by separation, they will, quite

rationally, choose a joint optimal strategy, and there is no dilemma.

Since the same

considerations will not apply where large numbers of strangers are involved, the question arises
as the extent and severity of Dilemma situations. The question is complicated by the second
double-edged reason for the failure of independence, namely that statist political arrangements

undoubtedly accentuate the extent and severity of Dilemma situations by discouraging
(providing negative incentives) for genuinely co-operative behaviour and mutual aid. This is
another respect in which statist arrangements (like some subclimax biological communities)

tend to be self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating.

Accordingly, what arguments for the State on such bases as Prisoners' Dilemma situations
have to show is not merely

1) that state coercion does suffice to resolve (sufficiently) many such (damaging) Dilemmas,
but also

2) that such coercion is the on/y way of doing so, and
3) that in doing so worse situations than those that are resolved are not thereby induced.
These things have never been shown: nor can they be shown definitively, since firstly there are

various nonstatist arrangements for resolving wehat are taken to be damaging Dilemmas, and
secondly the overall assessment of what Dilemmas are

and what costs are worf/t

incurring in resolving them are ultimately evaluative and go back to rival, and presumably
coherent, value systems. Hence, when all this is spelled out, the irrefutability of anarchism.

To get some feel for the complexity of the issue and for the extent to which evaluative
matters do enter, several points relevant to 1) - 3) should be introduced. Firstly, there are many
Dilemma situations into which the State puts little or no effort and many others which are, or

were, considered as beyond the sphere of influence of the State or as not worthy of State

attention, for instance, cases of environmental degradation, overexploitation of a "resource",
personal or family fueds, etc., several of them aggravated by State arrangments such as

To take one lesser example, State intrusion often induces a certain social escapism: one escapes
one's social roles and is enabled to concentrate on private affairs or just to laze. Or so it may
appear: for in reality anyone who works, works long and often alientated hours to pay for this
apparent escapism and to cover the high costs of frequently inadequate State activity.

10
excessive privatisation of resources (e.g. enclosure of the commons). (7/* such Dilemmas can be

downgraded in importance to suit the Statist case so can other Dilemmas apparently favouring
State intervention.)
Many of these cases would not be helped at all by the entry of the State or its
representatives with their authority duly showing (thugh they might be assisted by sensitive
mediation, which does not call for a State, only rudiments of a society). Secondly, introduction
of the State to resolve
Prisoners' Dilemma situations is not without wide-ranging effects,

many of them negative, so that the gains made, if any, in so resolving Dilemma situations have
to be weighed against costs involved in achieving these gains. Among the costs are new

Dilemmas, such as the very example considered in illustrating prisoner Dilemma games which

was initiated by State activity. Differently, new Dilemmas will result with the state as a further

player (since the State may have access to the commons, engage in whaling, etc.). Some of
these situations are interesting in theat they may lead to litigation and decision-making outside
of or largely independent of the State, the results of which the State is supposed to enforce
though it may be against its interests. But what ensures that if sticks to the findings. Nothing
does: it is simply assumed that the State will adhere to its role. But if that assumption is valid

with respect to the State (not known for its reliability) then it is good also for various other
parties. In short, agreement or decisions can be reached and adhered to without need for State
enforcement. So coercion is not always required.
Are there important Dilemmas where use the authority of the State is the (?H/y way?

Often behind the claim that is is, is a false (but very influential) dichotomy, that the only way

of allocating goods, apart from profit-directed markets which may deal abysmally with

collective goods, is through state control. But it is quite evident that there are other methods of
allocation, both economic (e.g. exchange, based on costs involved) and social (e.g. club, co­
operatives). [And a mixture of these methods can be applied to resolve any Prisoners' Dilemma

that matters, i.e. here too replacement works. An important initial move is, as was seen, to put

the prisoners in touch, so that they could cooperate: equally important is breaking down the ...]
Such organisations would not have nearly so much to do as statists would like us to
believe, especially once co-operative ways of doing things and mutual aid had become

established ways in contrast to competitive and privatised ways. For the extent of simple
Prisoners' Dilemma situations calling for intervention (of some sort) has been exaggerated and

many, probably, very many, of those that have been thought to require intervention do not

because the players (are prepared to) "cooperate" anyway. There are importantly different

reasons why the latter can happen:- Firstly, enough players operate with motives which are not
purely privatised for a sufficiently optimal outcome to result. This does not imply that these
players have altruistic motives: their interests may depend on those of other players in a range

of nonaltruistic ways. Secondly, many cases presented as if they were simple Prisoner's
Dilemma games turn out when properly analysed, in particular when time is duly taken account

of, to be Prisoners' Dilemma super-games.

Such, for instance, is the positions with the

11
arguments of Hobbes, Hume and Hardin. But in such supergames rational "cooperation" often

occurs even assuming the players have the worst of privatised motives. In short, where the
correct analysis of a Prisoner's Dilemma game is as a supergame, statists are often beaten at

their own game. [Detail Taylor's partial results, anJ their problems.]

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to be accomplices in a crime, have been
separately imprisoned. A State represen­
tative makes the following offers
separately to each: if the prisoner con­
fesses and becomes a State's witness
while his or her accomplice remains
silent, he or she will be released at once
while the accomplice gets 8 years. It so
happens that if both prisoners remain
silent the State has only enough evidence
to impose a 1 year sentence. But if both
confess they would each receive 4 years.
The 'game' can be summarised in the
following 'payoff' matrix:

Prisoner 1
Strategies S(ilence) C(onfess)
S

-1, -1

-8, 0

C

0, -8

-4, -4

Prisoner 2

3. T7/E C/1SE z1G.4/MSE
AEFL.4 CEA^E^T ERCW
ER/5CWERS' D/EEA7AE1
tS77X/?177CW5
E/7E E/AE.
I he main arguments designed to rebut
the replacement argument for anarchism
and to buttress the State status quo, are
based on variants of the Prisoners'
Dilemma, to the effect that there are /wporftm/cases where individuals will not
agree^-or co-operate to provide them­
selves with (or to maintain) collective
goods without coercion, such as cw/y the
State can furnish/ In such 'dilemma'
situations each individual will hope to
gain advantage, without contributing (or
exercising restraint), from others' contri­
butions (or restraint), by freeloading on
others (or profiting from others'
restraint). The claim is that only the
State with its backing of force can
resolve such situations: anarchistic
replacement cannot succeed^
A basic ingredient of a considerable
variety of arguments of this type, in­
cluding Hobbes' and Hume's arguments
for the State, the 'Tragedy of the Com­
mons' argument, and recent economic
arguments for State intervention to
secure collective goods, is the single
Prisoners' Dilemma game with just two
players/ Two prisoners, 1 and 2, taken

The game^ is not intended to present a
moral dilemma, that each can only go
free at the cost of the others' freedom,
but the following dilemma: It is in each
prisoner's private interest to choose
strategy C no matter what the other
docs: strategy C is, in the jargon, each
players' 'dominant' strategy (and also in
fact a minimax strategy). For if 2, for ex­
ample, remains silent, then 1 goes free
by confessing, while if 2 confesses, then
1 halves his or her sentence by confess­
ing.
if both prisoners choose their
dominant strategy they obtain an m/er/or
outcome to that which would have
resulted by what is tendentiously called
'co-operating', by their both remaining
silent.

?./
It is bizarre that a dilemma alleged to
show the necessity of the State — which
is supposed to intervene, forcibly if re­
quired, to ensure that the prisoners 'co­
operate' to obtain an optimal outcome
— should bg set up by the State's own
operative.^Of course the State's
presence in arranging (or accentuating)
such dilemmas is inessential, as is
much else from the example. But some
features of the prisoner's relations are
essential, in particular the separability
assumption that the prisoners are
isolated, and so have no opportunity to
communicate or rec/Zy co-operate.
Similarly, in the more general argument,
a privatisation assumption is smuggled
in in the way the dilemma is formulated,
that we are dealing with self contained
individuals who, like the prisoners, act
only in their own narrowly construed
private interests and whose interests are
opposed. The applicability of the dilem-

A
7

ma to the human condition is accordingly
seriously limited/
A cursory aside is often added to the
Prisoners' Dilemma to the effect that the
segregation of the prisoners makes no
real difference. It is claimed that even if
the prisoners could meet and discuss and
even agreed to co-operate, that would
make no difference, since neither could
trust (the sincerity) of the other
(Abrams, p.193), 'neither has an incen­
tive to keep the agreement' (Taylor, p.5).
Experimental and historical evidence in­
dicates that this is very often not so —
and in a more co-operative social setting
than the currently encouraged privatisa­
tion of life, the extent of co-operation
and trust would undoubtedly be much
higher/ The argument has to depend
crucially then on substantially mistaken
assumptions about human propensities
in various settings, e.g. that purely
egoistic interests are always pursued,
backed up by a large measure of scep­
ticism about the reliability of other peo­
ple (but if people were /Ar?/ unreliable
and devious, many State arrangements
involved in providing public goods
would not succeed either). That such
assumptionsareoperating can be seen by
elaborating the situation; e.g. to bring
out the first, suppose the prisoners have
a common bond, e.g. they are friends or
they are political prisoners with a shared
social commitment, or they are neigh­
bours and face a future in the same com­
munity; to bring out the philosophical
scepticism involved, suppose the
prisoner with a tarnished record offers
the other security against default, and so
on.
The question of the character of
human interests and preferences
the
extent of their determination by the
social context in which they occur is
/MnrArznrvna/ to the whole question of
social and economic arrangements, and
also accordingly to arguments for the
State on the basis of human propensities.
A major assumption underlying prevail­
ing (non-Marxist) economics and
associated political theory, is that the in­
terests and preferences, as summed up in
a preference ranking or utility function,
of each human that is taken to count is
an mc/e/zenr/enf parameter, which
depends neither on the preference rank­
ings of others nor on the social context
in which that human operates. While the
individuals and firms of mainstream
economic theory do, by definition,
satisfy the independence requirements,
and while there is very substantial
cultural pressure on consumers to con­
form (through advertising, education,
popular media),
wany
<7o
/?oz ccw/bfTn, and the extent of cultural
pressure towards privatisation itself
belies the naturalness of this indepen-

sequential games permit that isolated
games exclude, is that players' actions
may be dependent upon past perfor­
mance of other players. This dependence
effectively removes one extremely
....a major functmn of the state is unrealistic self-containment assumption
to maintain and pohee inequitable from Dilemma situations, that in­
dividuals act in totally isolated ways, not
distribution.
learning from past social interaction. In
such supergames then, no intervention is
required.
Undoubtedly some Dilemmas are
Z/gtZ-f resolved by 'intervention', e.g. by allow­
dence. And having sufficiently many/ ing the prisoners to get in touch so that
interest-interdependent people in a smali they find they are neighbours or that
community (which is not thoroughly im­ they can really co-operate. Equally im­
poverished) is normally enough, given portant, and equally independent of the
State, is the matter of breaking down the
their social influence, to avoid or resolve
adversary, or game, situation so the
by co-operation the types of Prisoners'
prisoners do not act as competitors but
Dilemma situations that appear to count are
prepared to co-operate/' Informa­
in favour of the State/
tional input may also be important, e.g.
news that each prisoner has a good
ff /yy 77/E /VLEA7A/.1
record of adhering to agreement, or if
not is prepared to stake collateral, etc.
Nor is force or threat of force required
SC/CC777)
as an incentive to guarantee optimal
What the Dilemma-based case for the strategies: a range of other inducements
State has to show — what never has been and incentives is known (should they be
shown — is that there are outstanding required in recalcitrant cases), and is
Dilemma situations which are relevant, used even by the State, e.g. gifts,
important, and also damaging if deprivation, social pressure, etc. But at
unresolved, and that they are resolvable no stage is the State required to make
by State intervention, and only so (op­ these arrangements: much as some real
timally) resolvable. Finally it has to be Prisoners' Dilemmas are resolved by
shown that in the course of so resolving work of Amnesty International, so
these Dilemma situations, worse situa­ voluntary organisations can be formed
tions than those that are resolved are not to detect and deal with Prisoners' Dilem­
thereby induced. These complex condi­ ma situations where they are not already
tions cannot be satisfied, if they can be catered for. And in fact communal and
satisfied at all, in a way that is not ques­ co-operative organisation did resolve
tion begging. For several of the condi­ Prisoners' Dilemma-type situations
tions are value dependent (e.g. what is historically, for example in the case of
important, damaging, optional, worse) the Commons.
In sum, here also replacement works.
and involve considerations about which
reasonable parties can differ. The selec­ There are no important Dilemma situa­
tion of Dilemmas itself provides an ex­ tions, it seems, where the State is essen­
ample of value dependence: after all tial. The State has been thought to be
there are many such Dilemmas (e.g. as to essential because of certain influential
environmental degradation, of over­ false dichotomies; for example, that all
exploitation, of family fcuds/or^violencQ) behaviour that is not egoistic is altruistic
which are considered beyond the sphere (but altruistic behaviour is uncommon,
of the State or not worthy of State atten­ and 'irrational'), that the only way of
allocating goods, apart from profittion.
There are now grounds for concluding directed markets — which tend to deal
that the conditions cannot be satisfied at abysmally with collective goods — is
all. For many of the arguments using through State control.'^ But it is quite
Prisoners' Dilemma games, Hobbes' evident that there are o/Aer methods of
and Hume's arguments for the State and allocation, both economic (e.g. ex­
Hardin's 'Tragedy of the Commons' for change, through traditional markets,
instance, turn out when projver/y /or- based on supply costs) and social (e.g. by
to consist not just of a single co-operatives, clubs).
Lastly, introduction of the State to
game but of a sequence of such games,
to be more adequately represented by resolve so/ne Dilemma situations has
what is called a
But in many very extensive effects/ many of them
such sequential Prisoners' Dilemma negative, so that the gains made, if any,
games, rational 'co-operation' can oc­ in so resolving Dilemma situations, ap­
cur, even assuming separated players pear to be substantially outweighed by
with purely egoistic interests.'" For what the costs involved. For there are the
SOCIAL ALTERNA ! tVES Vet. 2 No. 3. )982

25

many evi! aspects of the typicai State to
put in the baiance. As regards Dilemma
situations, entry of the State with its
authority showing may not help but may
worsen some situations, and more im­
portant, new Dilemmas may be initiated
by State activity, as in the case of the
prisoners, or differently with the State as
a further player (since the State may
engage in whaling, have access to a com­
mons, etc.). These points lead also to
further arguments against the State.

available 'collective good' (e.g. commons, un
polluted streams, whales, wilderness). That
received arguments of ail these types involves
Prisoners' Dilemma situations (in the wide
sense) is argued, in effect, in Taylor, op.cit.
and etsewhere. An easier introduction to the
material covered by Taylor, which also
surveys other Important literature, is given in
the final chapter of R Abrams, Foundations
of Political Analysis, Columbia University
Press, New York, 1980.

5.

An important matter the two player game
does not illustrate is the relevance of popula­
tion size in the arguments for the State. But
size is not decisive (see, e.g., Taylor, chapter
2), and the issue can be avoided (or relocated)
by organisation into smaller communities.
The figures given in the matrix are illustrative
only; for inequalities which suffice for a
Dilemma situation, see Taylor, p.5.

6.

It is similarly bizarre that there should be out­
comes that the State alone is said to be able to
arrange, but not mere social cooperation,
when the State zs (as on many theories) the
result or reflection of social cooperation.

7.

This important point is much elaborated in V.
and R. Routley, Soc/af Theories, Se//
Management, and T'n wronwm'a/ ProAferru
in Environmental Philosophy (edited D
Mannison and others), RSSS, Australian
National University, 1980.

9.
10.

11.

12.

4.

Arguments of this type are sometimes said to
represent 'the strongest case that can be made
for the desirability of the State' (M. Taylor,
Anarchy and Cooperation, Wiley, London,
1976. p.9). To cover all arguments of the
type, and to avoid repetition of the phrase
'variants of' and disputes as to whether cer­
tain arguments such as those of Hume and of
Olson involve Prisoners' Diiernnta situations,
Prisoner's Dilemma' is used in a wide sense
to include not merely single n-person
Prisoners' Dilemma games, but for example,
games where the payoffs are not merely
egoistic (as with both Hobbes and Hume) and
where such games are iterated. As the
bracketed clauses in the text indicate, there
are two types of case, not sharply separated
and both of the same /ogtcaZ/orm — those
where people do not rwr/A/wfe to sup/r/y
themselves with, or with 'optimum' quantities
of, a 'collective good' (e.g. security, order,
sewage), and those where people do not
re.s/ram themselves to mam/am, or maintain
'optimum" quantities of, some already

13.

As a result of G. Hardin's Tragerh' o/ rhe
Commons, historical evidence has been
assembled which reveals how far Hardin's
'Commons' diverges from historic commons;
see, in particular, A. Roberts, 7'he Se/fManagmg TTiwonmenr, Allison & Busby.
London, 1979, chapter 10, but also Routley,
op.cit. p.285 and pp. 329-332. Similar points
apply as regards many other Dilemma situa­
tions. 'In the experimental studies of the
prisoner's dilemma game approxtmately half
of the participants choose a cooperative
strategy even when they know for certain that
the other player will cooperate'. Abrams.
op.cit., p.3O8.
'
Cf. the discussion in Taylor, op.cit.. p.93.

This important result is established in
Taylor, op.cit, for a number of critical cases,
though not generally; see, e.g. p.32 but
especially chapter 5.
Such moves have proved valuable in reducing
the State's role in legal prosecution, and in
eliminating courtroom procedures, including
cases where the State is one of the 'adver­
saries'.
Both the false dichotomies cited are common­
place, not to say rife, in modern economic
and political theorising. Both are to be found
in Abram's final chapter, for example, and
the first (with an attempt to plaster over the
gap with a definition) in Taylor. For a further
criticism of such false dichotomies, see
Routley, op.cit., pp.25O ff.

To take one lesser example. State intrusion
often induces a certain social escapism: one
escapes one's social roles and is enabled to
concentrate on private affairs or just to laze.
Or so it may appear: for in reality anyone
who works, works long and often alienated
hours to pay for this apparent escapism and
to cover the high costs of frequently inade­
quate State activity.

of course. ]
5^

The case if broken-backed right here:

to agree

because if we don't to this not goint/

to social contract - which allegedly implies these things - either.

Similarly, the social contract theory is broken-backed.
G5;

. Alternative longer

at this point in §3:-

In shof^* in certain

important cases, cooperative individual choice cannot replace state-covered choice.
There are (as the bracketed clauses indicate) two main types of case, those

where people do not contribute to supply themselves with, or with optimum quant­
ities of, a "collective good", and those where people do not restrain themselves

to maintain, or maintain optimum quantities of, some already available "collective

good".

The first type of case is taken to include such traditional and

modern

concerns of the state and its subsidiary institutions as order, security, defence,
and perhaps private property, as well as sewerage schemes, water supplies^.waste

services, public health, social security, etc.

The second case is supposed to

include, as well as village commons, newer environmental concerns such as clean
air, unpolluted streams and beaches, parks, rainforests, wilderness, wha les, etc.
But there is no sharp division between the cases (security or parks could be of

either type depending on the status quo), and as arguments for state institution

both have the same logical form, that of a Prisoners' Dilemma or some finite

sequence of Pri soners' Dilemma games (what are called Prisoners' Dilemma

The arguments are not mere exercises in game theory since it is through

arguments of this type that political theorists such as Hobbes and Hume have

5.

attempted to demonstrate the necessity of the Stato4^

Furthermore, it is with

arguments of the same form, the "Tragedy of the Commons", that Hardia and others

have tried to show that extensive, indeed draconian, state powers are required
to resolve environmental problems;

without such powers no exploiter or polluter

will exercise restraint.
Consider the gj^le Prisoners' Dilemma game where each player, or prisoner,
is assuined, as is usual in these things, to be egoistic (sometime equated with
"being rational"), to seek just&axijnisation of his own private payoff, in the

special case where there are just two players.

(The special case illustrates all

the main points except one, the importance of size in making a case for the state.)
[Joins text again at fn.5 point.]

/* 4.

In §3:-

The Trac^ec[y of the Commons is set up so as to assume no collective

methods had [Teen developed or can be developed without coercion.

(Roberts).

The point of coercian is to ret^n the privatised individual.

$

For the factor

of coercion makes it in interests of private individualize coercion makes the

effect of relations to be got without exceeding privatised individual picture.
Coercion substitutes for relations in the context of privatised individuals.

Privatised individuals are, of course, products, in large part, of the
operation (and enforcement and entrenchment) of a particular social theory, or
rather sort of social theory.

^5^

In §4:-

The case looks like an inside job;

and it is, though neither

the operative, nor for that matter the prisoners ^n their own,
essential role.

play an

The prisoners, in any finite number, can be members of a

community and payoffs quantities of some collective good .

The claim is, that

without intervention (by thecate), the community will only corpse a subeyy^mo/
quantity of the good if any.

Some features of the prisoners' relations are

assumed to transfer however.

Suppose, to see the impact of the first reason for the
failure of independence, the prisoners are friends and their common interest is to

6.

be together.

Then, if they are given the opportunity to cooperate, and independ­

ence is not enforced by separation, they will, quite rationally, choose a joint
optimal strategy,and there is no dilemma.

Since the same considerations will not

apply where large numbers of strangers are involved, the question arises as the

extent and severity of Dilemma situations.

The question is complicated by the

second double-edged reason for the failure of independence, namely that statist
political arrangements undoubtedly accentuate the extent and severity of Dilemma
situations by discouraging (providing negative incentives) for genuinely cooper­
ative behaviour and nmttAcd

aid.

This is another respect in which statist

arrangments (like some subclimax biological communities) tend to be self-reinforcing

and self-perpetuating.

[Transfer some experimental material to here?]

Accordingly, what arguments for the State on such b ases as Prisoners' Dilemma
situations have to show is not merely

1)

that state coercion does suffice to resolve (sufficiently^ many such (damaging)

Dilemmas, but also
2)

that such coercion is the only way of doing so, and

3)

that in doing so worse situations than those that are resolved are not thereby

induced.

These things have never been shown:

nor can they be shown definitely, since firstly
4

there are various nonstatist arrangements for resolving what are taken to be

damaging Dilemmas, and secondly the overall assessment of what Dilemmas are damaging
and what costs are worth incurring in resolving them are ultimately evaluative and

go back to rival, and presumably coherent, value systems.

Hence, when all this is

spelled out, the irrefutability of anarchism.

To get some feel for the complexity of the

issue

and for the extent to

evolutive matters do enter, several points relevant to l)-3) should be introduced.
Firstly, there are many Dilemma situations into which the State puts little or no

effort and many others which are, or were, considered as beyond the sphere of

influence of the State or as not worthy of State attention, for instance, cases of

7.

environmental degradation, overexploitation of a "resource", personal or family
feuds, etc., several of them aggravated by State arrangements such as excessive

privatisation of resources (e.g. enclosure of the commons).

(If such Dilemmas can

be downgraded in importance to suit the Statist case so can other Dilemmas appar­
ently favouring State intervention.)

Many of these cases would not be helped at all by the entry of the State or
its representatives with their authority duly showing (though they might be
assisted by sensitive mediation, which does not call for a State, only rudiments

Secondly, introduction of the State tof&yolve some Prisoners'

of a society).

Dilemma situations is not without wide-ranging effects, many of them negative, so
that the gains made, if any, in so resolving Dilemma situations have to be

weighed against costs involved in achieving these gains.

Among the costs are

new Dilemmas, such as the very example considered in illustrating Prisoner Dilemma
games which was initiated by State activity.

Differently, new Dilemmas will

result with the state as a further player (since the State may have access to the

commons, engage in whaling, etc.).

Some of these situations are interesting in

that they may lead to litigation and decision-making outside of or

independ­

ent of the State, the resultgof which the State is supposed to enforce though it
may be against its

d

Nothing does:

interests.

But what ensures that rt sticks to the findings.

it is simply assumed that the State will adhere to its role.

But

if that assumption is valid with respect to the State (not known for its reliability)
then it is good also for various other parties.

In short,agreement or decision!*

can be reached and adhered to without need for State enforcement.

So coercion is not

always required.

Are there important Dilemmas where use the authority of the State is the
only way?

Often behind the claim that is is, is a false (but very influential)

dichotomy, that the only way of allocating goods, apart from profit-directed

markets which may deal abysmally with collective goods, is through state control^'

8.
But it is quite evident that there

are other methods of allocation, both

economic (e.g. exchange, based on costs involved) and social (e.g. clubs, cooper­

[And a mixture of these methods can be applied to resolve any Prinsoners'

atives).

Dilemma that matters, i.e. here too replacement works.

An important initial move

is, as was seen, to put the prisoners in touch, so that they could cooperate:

equally important is breaking down the ...]

[Joins top of p.7]

Such organisations would not have nearly so much to do as statists would like
us to believe, especially once cooperative ways of doing things and mutual aid had

become established ways in contrast to competitive and privatised ways.

For the

extent of simple Prisoners' Dilemma situations calling for intervention (o^ some

sort) has been exaggerated and many, probably, very many, of those that have been
thought to require intervention do not because the players (are prepared to)

"cooperate" anyway.
happen:-

There are importantly different reasons why the latter can

Firstly, enough players operate with motives which are not purely priv­

atised for a sufficiently optimal outcome to result.

these players have altruistic motives:

This does not imply that

their interests may depend on those of

other players in a range of nonaltruistic ways.

Secondly, many cases presented

as if they were simple Prisoner's Dilemma games turn out when properly analysed,

in particular when time is duly taken account of, to be Prisoners' Dilemma supergames.

Such, for instance, is the position with the arguments of Hobbes, Hume

and Hardin.

But in such supergames rational "cooperation" often occurs, even

assuming the players have the worst of privatised
correct analysis of a Prisoner's Dil&wima
often beaten at their own game.

problems.]

motives.

In short, where the

game is as a supergame, statists are

[Detail Taylor's partial results, and their

Chapter 3
Con,v7i^c%y^ /)

CRITIQUE OF THE STATE

1. ARGUMENTS

The main argument for anarchism can be concentrated in a detailed critique of the state.
For therewith arguments against state-like institutions are also advanced. However further
ado is no doubt required to remove all other (unexplified) alternatives to anarchism.
A

Anarchist critiques of the state advance the following themes:

* States and state-like institutions are without satisfactory justification.
* Such institutions are not required for organisational purposes.
* Such institutions have most inharmonious consequences; they bring a whole series of
social and environmental bungles or evils in their train.

In brief, they are unnecessary unjustified evils. The anarchist critique does not end
there, but typically includes, such further themes as :
* States have excessive power,
linkages to state power.
* Societies are not inductably saddled with states. States can be displaced or even decay

(though they are unlikely to just wither away).

(9

1
Chapter 3

: CRITIQUE OF THE STATE

1. ARGUMENTS

The main argument for anarchism can be concentrated in a detailed critique of the state.
For therewith arguments against state-like institutions are also advanced. However further
ado is no doubt required to remove all other (unexplified) alternatives to anarchism.
/
Anarchist critiques of the state advance the following themes:
*

States and state-like institutions are without satisfactory justification.

e

Such institutions are not required for organisational purposes.

Such institutions have most inharmonious consequences; they bring a whole series of
social and environmental bungles or evils in their train.

In brief, they are unnecessary unjustified evils. The anarchist critique does not end
there, but typically includes, such further themes as :
* States have excessive power.
* States are devices for channelling privilege and wealth to certain minorities with inside
linkages to state power.
* Societies are not ineluctably saddled with states. States can be displaced or even decay
(though they are unlikely to just wither away).
1. The state is an undesirable, or even downright evii, institution, for the following range
of reasons:-

* States entrench inequities, domination and exploitation. States are devices for the
protection of wealth, property and privilege, and usually for the redistribution upwards, and

often concentration, of wealth and privilege. A minor but popular illustration is offered by the
expensive conferences and other junkets that state employees or party officials organise for
themselves and manage to bill to state revenue, in turn sucked up from inequitable taxation.
Certainly a main historical outcome of the state has been domination of exploitation of certain
segments of society by others, and some see its main, and barely concealed, purpose as just
that: domination and exploitation.

* States are typically corrupt. For example, there are enquiries presently in train, or with

follow-through activities yet to be duly completed, in many states in Australia, enquires
which have revealed considerable corruption, and there are prima facie cases for similar
enquiries in most of the remainder. Nor is this a new phenomenon: these revelations often
resemble older or on-going scandals.
* States are enormously expensive, and constitute a heavy drain upon regional resources, and

accordingly on local environments. In poorer regions they are not merely a heavy burden, but

2

a main cause of impoverishment. One reason for their voracious appetite is an excess of over­

remunerated and often under-productive state employees. Another connected reason is that
many state operations are far from lean and efficient, but incorporate many duplications, drag
factors and dead weight. Under anarchisms, of all varieties, these heavy cost burdens,
weighing down subservient populaces, would be shed. Costs of organisation would be very
significantly reduced.

* The state is an incubus. States are major impositions on everyday life. They are intrusive
and demanding. Never has this been more forcefully expressed than in Proudhon's famous
denouncement of state government:

To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction,
noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed,
licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished.
It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest,
to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized,
extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the
first world of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked,
abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot,
deported sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed,
outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is its
morality (quoted in M p.6).
As a result, there are constant demands for the reduction of the cancerous state, for removing
parts of it through deregulation, selling off state enterprises and so on. There are two troubles
with such demands from anarchist standpoints: they never go far enough, to the complete
reduction of the state to zero, but characteristically retain parts supportive of or favourable to
bigger business, and they proceed in the wrong way, stripping away social safety nets rather
than ripping off business support nets (such as limited liability, strike limitation legislation,
etc.).

* States, for all that they have been promoted as delivering public goods, are mostly dismal

news for environmental protection and health and for social justice. Furthermore they are
liable to impose substantial hazards or risks upon subservient populations not merely through
military and like activities but, more insidious, through support and promotion of dangerous
industries, such as nuclear and giant chemical industries.
* States usually exert a heavy pressure to uniformity, they tend to eliminate plurality and

cultural differences. These pressures are exercised by a state in the alleged interests of
national unity, and against its enemies, external and internal. Even the most liberal of states

tend to give minorities more difficult lives in times of stress, such as war. They are always
espousing national values, state interests, and commonly assimilation and adoption of state
values (thus for example Canada, formerly and briefly a state toying with multiculturalism,

now insistent upon "Canadian values"). Such exercises are conspicuous, not only in citizen
ceremonies and other state rituals, such as national sporting and religious events, but more

important are virtually ubiquitous in elementary education (down to deference to the flag, and

3

similar).

* States are a major source of wars, and the major source of major wars, undoubted evils
(however supposedly inevitable). They are major sources and suppliers of military
technology and weapons, the means of war. Roughly, the more powerful and "advanced" a
state, the further it is engaged in weapon production and export. Without states it is doubtful
that there would be any nuclear weapons, and accordingly there would be no prospect of
nuclear wars as there would be no weapons with which to fight them.
* States are a serious drag on a more satisfactory international order. That there are not
more, and more satisfactory, international regulatory organisations "is mainly a matter of the

reluctance of nation states to surrender their powers and the dangers of their being dominated
by very powerful states. If only nation states would be dissolved into specialized
[departments] there is every reason to believe that most world problems could be handled by
appropriate specialized [organisations]' (Bumheimp.221).
* States have excessive power, and are even accumulating or trying to accumulate more, for

instance through more centralization, further controls, additional licences, etc., etc. The

excessive power of the state is exhibited not only in the treatment of its citizens and foreigners
within its territory; it is exemplified also in its practices
its territory, through such
features as military pressures, including invasion, trade pressures, including sanitions, and in
treatment of its citizens everywhere.!

Obvious responses to excessive power are

regionalization of powers, separation of powers, achieved by decoupling and some
fragmentation, limitation of powers, and so on.

* Present monolithic governments have assumed far too many roles, for many of which they
are not competent, from some of which they are disqualified by other roles (e.g. as impartial
referees by their business commitments). Because the centre tries to do and control foo much,
as a consequence it does very much unsatisfactorily. Improved arrangements would separate
these roles, deconcentrating and decentralizing power.

States thus appear far from a good bargain on a preliminary consideration of costs, and
very far from maximal or optimal. Especially bad states, the run of states, which engage in
politically-motivated inclination or torture of their citizens, and so on. Where are the

The issue tends to be avoided; it is contended that, contrary to
appearances, we cannot get along without state cossetting: states are necessary. But, given
that we can get along without them, would we really be significantly worse off without them?
cfr .
<r
,,^ven m thd better cases (not allowing for alternative nonstatist arrangements which states
have precluded or systems they have usurped)? But arguments for states are not usually so
directly utilitarian in character. Such arguments would make it look as if we might well opt
out of state organisation, and often be better off doing so.
1

A recent shocking example concerns the attempt of Eire to prevent an Irish women having an
abortion in England.

4

These considerations divide into two groups: features that are

on normal,

normally bad, operations of states, and features that are normic on institution and operation of

states. The first group of criticisms are eliminated under good to ideal operation of states,
what officiandos of states characteristically unwarr^ntedly make. For the evidence seems to
be that in practice states will tend away from the ideal. There are arguments from low
efficiencies of complex mechanical structures that can be adopted to lend support to what
evidence reveals. Features that are normic, and perhaps inevitable upon institution of states
do however yield arguments against states that do not depend on ym*e contingencies of most
states, their
and so on.
/

2. Ways of demonstrating that the State is not Required: as for God and the Church, so
for the State.

There is a theological component in the presumption and theory of the State; that
theological component and therewith of the argMmenfa/ foundations for the State should be
fully exposed. By contrast, anarchism, ^ approached from an argument perspective, enjoys
nn
considerable strength requiring no leaps of faith.
The State is like God: the anarchist is like the atheist in disbelief and nonrecognition of
what is commonly assumed, mostly as a matter of faith, to be needed. The
awn by

Bakunin, has as well as considerable strength certain weaknesses. While the atheist believes
that God does not exist, the anarchist does not believe that there are no states: on the contrary,
there are all too many, though none are legitimate.^The important parallel is as to argM/n^n^.
The agnostic does not believe that the arguments for the existence of God succeed, and so
adopts a 'neutral' stance; similarly the State-agnostic does not believe that the arguments for
the State work, and likewise tries to adopt a fence-sitting position. Soundly based atheism
goes further than agnosticism, not only faulting the argumentybr, but taking it for granted that
there are arguments, or at least solid considerations, <2g(?in.yL So it is with soundly based

anarchism; it both faults arguments for the State, showing none are generally viable, and
de ps an incisive case against the State.

A more obvious comparison, appreciated from Reformation on and again emphasised
by Bakunin,2 is that of State and Church. 'Of course Knever should have eventuated; several

bad political turnings were taken in the modern period following the Renaissance, t In several
respects the comparison is better than that of the State and God, since both belong to the same
category, institutions. Thus too both have looked to some philosophers as human inventions

or artifices, both have looked to others (reductionists) as objects that could be reduced to

features of the individuals involved in their organisation (but it is hard to see why such
fictions or logical constructions shuld be assigned the power and deference they are
2

Bakunin on Anap^hy-(gdited S. Dolgolff), Allen & Unwin, London, 1973, especially p.139.

5

accorded). This institutional comparison enables several relevant features of the State to be
emphasised; for example, how, as the Church used to, the State assigns to itself many very
extensive powers, such as a monopoly on the production and control of the main medium of
exchange, currency, and an ultimate monopoly on organised violence, all other internal
security arrangements being eventually answerable to its police, and thence to its officers and
military; how it is of the same category as business organisations such as multinationals,
which now to some extent threaten it but by and large collaborate with it; how, as again the
Church used to, it has nominal support of most of its 'subjects', though many of them are
little better than Sunday believers, and an increasing number have come to see the State as in
many respects evil and inevitably corrupt, but as a necessary evil. It is easy now, in
retrospect, to see how from being a compulsory feature of social life in many places, the
Church has become a voluntary, and fragmented one; such a parallel desirable transformation
of the State would eliminate it.

Whether the State is inevitably evil or not, it is
so it will be argued, in a
way parallelling the famous Five Ways of Aquinas designed to prove that God exists. That is,
much as there are several ways of arguing to the existence of God, assembled by Aquinas into
the famous (but not exhaustive, and invariably invalid) Five Ways, as well as various less
famous but also important arguments against the existence of God, so in a parallel fashion
there are various arguments that the State is required, as well as, what comes later that is

especially relevant for anarchism, several ways of arguing against the necessity and
desirability of the State.
Since the State is unnecessary, as well as costly and typically at least evil in many of its

practices and
in other respects, it should be superseded. And it can be succeeded,
by alternative social arrangements. It can be superseded or replaced as the Churches to a
.9*1
large extent been supeyuated or replaced in many places. Just as the power of the ChurchAas
declined until it has lost its authority over parishioners, so authority of the State can be
undermined, and it can lose recognition and its claim to sovereignty over those in its territory,/A

But there is a crucial difference between State and Church: under those conditions the State
vanishes; for authority backed by coercive power is essential to the State but not (any longer)
to the Church. And where the State differs crucially from Society anarchistically organised is
as to the matter of coercion and of authority back^by force, such a Society relying basically on
voluntary cooperation where the State relies on authority backed by force. Furthermore, the

Church is justified through a religious theory, and is backed up ultimately by appeal to God's
authority. The modern secular State by contrast annexes itself authority (or has simply

inherited it) and, though it may claim to be justified by some political theory which confers
upon it legitimacy, makes no appeal back to a justifying or authorizing agent. So what
justifies it? Briefly, nothing does.
* The First Way of Showing that the State is not Required: t&e

Argument.

/

6
The core of the argument is simple and persuasive: everything in the collective interest
accomplished by the State can equally be accomplished by alternative arrangements such as
voluntary cooperation, the remainder of State activity being dispensed with. The argument is
not a straight substitution argument, for it is not as if a rational person would want to have
everything accomplished by the State replicated by alternative arrangements. There is much
the State does or supports that is at best rather indifferent, for instance, sponsorship of pomp
and ceremony and of junkets by VIP's; and a great deal of typical State activity is positively
evil and not in the collective interest, for instance, graft, corruption, brutality, maintenance of
inequitable distribution of wealth, land and other resources, and encouragement; of protection^

of polluting or qvironmentally destructive industries (e.g. without state sponsorship we should
not be well embarked on a nuclear future, without state assistance and subsidization Australia

would not be burdened with its extensive forest-destructive pine planting and woodchip
projects).
The modern State has however many other functions than repressive or damaging ones,
functions of community welfare or of otherwise beneficial kind. This does not upset the
replacement argument for anarchism. The argument, implicit in the works of the classical
anarchists, goesjike this: The functions of the State can be divided into two types, those that
are in the collective interest and generally beneficial such as community welfare and
organisational functions, and those that are not (but are, presumably, in the interests of some
of the powerful groups the State tends to serve).
But as regards functions of the first type, the generally beneficial functions which are in
the collecdve interest, no coercion is required. For why should people have to be coerced into

carrying out functions which are in their collective interest? Such functions can be
performed, and performed better, without the coercion which is the hallmark of the State, and
without the accompanying tendency of the State to pervert such functions to the maintenance
of privilege and inequality of power, and to remove power from those it 'serves'. The
detailed argument that such functions can be performed takes a case-by-case form considering
each function in turn.3 In each case the function is carried out through alternative
arrangements, such as voluntary co-operation by the people directly concerned, which replace
State arrangements. Consider, for example, the operation of mutual aid or self help medical

services, or community access communications (e.g. radio), most of which are presently
either starved of infrastucture or hindered by the State. Such beneficial services would in
general be reorganised so that all the relevant infrastructure became communally held, and
That is, proper elaboration of this argument takes each facet of generally beneficial state activity
- there is only a (relatively small) finite number to consider - and shows how it can be replaced
in one way or another. Replacement is not of course uniquely determined. Lines such
replacements can take are indicated in much anarchist (and self-management) literature, consider
especially, but no, uncritically, P. Kropootkin, MMfMai Aid, New York University Press 1972,
and also his Fi^/dy, Faci<?rie.y and WorLyAo/w, second edition, Nelson, London, 1913, and 77te
Con<?Me.yf o/Brgad. Chapman and Hall, London, 1913.

7
those wishing to arrange or use the service would manage the operation themselves, taking

the operation into their own hands instead of being the passive recipients of favours meted out
to them by professionals and powerful agencies. Coercion is unnecessary because, in more

communal types of anarchism, the basic infrastructure and many resources (other than
individual labour) are already held by the community, so there is no need to apply coercion to
individuals to extract these resources needed for community welfare projects, as there is in
the situation where wealth and resources are privatised and coercion is required to wrest
resources from unwilling private individuals.
As for the second type of functions, those which are no? in the collective interest,
coercion will normally be required for the performance of
functions, and is thus an
essential part of the State's operation. But those functions are better dispensed with, since
they are not in the collective interest. In this way, while the good part of the state's operation
is retained and improved upon, the bad part — especially the evils of brutality, corruption and
other abuses invariably associated with the coercive apparatus - is detached.

State services that are concerned with orr/gr, in the general sense, may be similarly
removed or replaced. These services, which include reduction of violence to persons and
redress for such violence, quarantine services, security, orderly operation of traffic, and so on,
have often been said to make for especial difficulties for anarchism, or even to refute it. They
do not. Firstly, disputes can be settled and offences dealt with directly by communities
themselves without intervention by the State. Secondly, a great many of these problems are
created or enhanced by the State, e.g. violence of which the State is the main purveyor and
which is often the outcome of the State's propping up of gross inequalitiesA A community
which seriously limits (or dispenses with) the institution of private property and removes
gross inequalities in the distribution of wealth thereby removes the need for many "welfare

services and the basis for a great many offences involving violence: virtually all those
involving violence to private property and many of those involving personal violence. Such a
left-leaning anarchism is also quite invulnerable to further familiar, but ludicrous, arguments

for the State, such as those based on the fairer distribution of land, property and wealth

allegedly achieved by State enforcement of redistribution. As all too many people are aware,
a major function of the State is to maintain and police inequitable distribution.

This then is the main classical argument for anarchism. The argument has however
been challenged, both by historical and more recent objections, which are designed to show
that people cannot act in their collective interest without coercion.

On these points see, e.g.
7?6wZMZz'a/zary Pawp/z/^tj (edited S. Baldwin), Kover
Publications, New York, 1970, p.206ff.; also P.J. Proudhon, Cazz/e^jza/M' a/* a R^va/azza/zary. For
recent discussion of, and practical examples of, replacements for arbitration and law court
procedures (Zzaz for right-leaning anarchism), see C.D. Stone, Sawg
<?H arhZzrazZag oar
way ra anarcAy, Anarchism (reprint of Nomos XIX) New York University Press, 1978, pp.213-

s

8
It is from the simulation argument, in particular, that the corollary of the

q/
will follow? For, to overstate the case, anything the State can do that does
reflect sought collective interests,, cooperation and other techniques can also achieve in the
longer run, and mostly better.

* The Second Way: The argument from problem recurrence.
The solution by the State to problems of social organisation repeats or generates in more

dangerous form the very real problems introduction of the State was designed to solve,
including new Dilemmas. Suppose, for instance, the secular State really
introduced in
order to solve Prisoners' Dilemmas, then the array of States so resulting generates new
Prisoners' Dilemmas (with States as 'prisoners'), which there is no Super-State to resolve by
coercion. In fact, as opposed to State-justifying mythology, the modem secular State was not
introduced (just as the original states were not initiated) for any such apparently intellectually
reputable reasons, but was largely inherited from the religious State (and the Church) and
maintained to prop up privilege and foster objectives that are not in its communities' interests.

Or suppose, as the myth also has it, that the State really were introduced, or contracted, in the
interest of order and stability and to curb violence; then the array of States resulting more than
negates these advantages, with instability, disorder and violence (e.g. between States) on a
grander scale than before the emergence of modern secular States?
* The Third Way: The overshoot argument, from the inadequacy of institutional
controls on state power.

Having ceded a monopoly of power of the State in order to resolve some dilemmas,
some of them arising from an inequitable distribution of power, what controls or balances the
power of the State? A Super-State. And its power? There is a vicious infinite regress if the
reply to the question 'What controls the controller?' is 'a further controller'? The only
promising way of avoiding this problem — other routes lead (even more) directly to

totalitarianism — is by having the first of these controllers, the State, answer back to those in
whose interests it is allegedly established, those of the society or group of communities it

controls. This implies democratic methods of some kind. Others go further: 'democracy [is]
the only known means to achieve this control, the only known device by which we can try to

The title of a joint paper upon which several of these sections draw^.
The argument, to be found in Bakunin, is elaborated a little in Taylor, op cif, chapter 7. A
related argument, also in Bakunin, is from the way in which emergence of the State
compromises and even closes off nonstate solutions to problems of social organisation in
adjoining regions. Several historical examples of this phenomenon are alluded to in M. Harris,
and Ajngj, Collins, London. 1978, where it is also revealed how little the actual origin
and rise of the State had to do with Dilemma situations, e.g. escaping a Hobbesian state of
nature. Indeed, it was (j^th the advent and development of the State that life became for many
what it had not apparently been in pre-State neolithic times, 'nasty, brutish and short'.
The question is in effect Plato's question and the regress is reminiscent of his Third Man
argument.

9

protect ourselves against the misuse of political power'.R In this event, control has mostly
failed. Democracy is extremely attentuated, even in those states that claim to practice it. The
exercise of power in modem 'democratic' states is often channelled through 'non-elected
authority' and 'is not democratic in the traditional meaning of the term'.9 Moreover, the
much increased power in the modern State, which reaches deep into people's lives, has

passed, with no increase in legitimacy, to certain managerial elites who present the power as
directed at the attainment of 'generally accepted' objectives such as economic growth (but
through, e.g., increased military expenditure) or material 'progress' (but through, e.g.,
increased military expenditure) or material 'progress' (but through, e.g. subsidization of
environmentally destructive enterprises of off-shore companies), though the acceptability of
such particular objectives is never democratically tested.

In any case, indirect democratic and other institutional checks are
in as much as
they depend ultimately on the toleration of those who have direct control of the forces of the
State. Experience seems to show that such toleration will only be shown so long as
democratic procedures deliver results that are not too disagreeable, that are broadly in accord
iwth what those who control the coercive power are prepared to accept. (Toleration of such a
tamed democracy then brings benefits to those who hold power, especially the cover of

legitimation). But institutional checks which operate only insofar as a system acceptable to
the powerholders is not seriously challenged, and which depend ultimately upon the toleration
of those 'checked', are not really checks at all.
The problem of controlling the power of the State and preventing the State once
established from usurping further power and exceeding its mandate, is only

solved by not ceding power to the State in the first place. The best way of avoiding the evils
of accumulated power is the anarchist way, of blocking its accumulation.

* The Fourth Way: The argument from freedom and autonomy.
A person is responsible for actions deliberately undertaken. This premise can be

derived, if need be, from the notion of a person as a moral agent. Taking responsibility for
one's actions implies, among other things, making the final decision about what to do on each
such occasion oneself; not acting
on direction from outside, but determining how to
act, what ought to be done, oneself; not handing that decision over to someone or something
else. It implies, that is, moral autonomy. Autonomy in turn implies what responsibility

requires, freedom. For the autonomous being, endorsing its own decisions and principles, is
K.R. Popper, 77ie (?/?<?/i 5*<9c;'<?ry and
Vol. II. Fourth edition (revised), Routledge and
Kegan Paul, London, 1962, p.129 and p.127. The (overshoot) problem is, according to Popper
'the most fundamental problem of all politics: the control of the controller, of the dangerous
accumulation of power represented in teh State' 'upon which' Marxists never had 'any wellconsidered view' (p.129).
V. Lauber, Eco/ogy, po/ZzZcj and Zz&emZ ^efwocracy, Government and Opposition, 13 (1978),
199-217: seep.209 and p.211.

10
not subject to the will of another. Even if it does what another directs, it is not

another so directs. In being free, nof of constraints (both physical and self-determined), but of
the constraints and will of others, an autonomous being is morally free.

A necessary feature of the State is (XMf/ionry over those in its territory (under its de facto
jurisdiction), the right to rule and impose its will uon them. Such authority backed by force is
incompatible with moral autonomy and with freedom. An autonomous being, though it may

act in accordance with some imperatives of the State, those it independently endorses, is
bound to reject such (a claim to) authority, and therewith the State. In sum, being a person, as
also being autonomous and being free, implies rejecting the authority of the State, and so not
acknowledging the State; that is, each condition on personhood implies, if the argument is
sound, anarchism, io
It is possible to combine autonomy with an extremely attenuated 'State', one based on
on-going unanimous direct democracy. But such a 'State', with no independent authority, is
not really a state, since any participant can dissolve it at any time, and so constitutes no threat

to anarchism. On the contrary, such direct democratic methods are part of the very stuff of
anarchistic organisation.

* The Fifth Way: The argument from anarchistic experience.

The replacement argument enables construction of a model of a society functioning
without the State, of a practically possible Stateless world; which shows that the State is not
necessary. But it can always be
- even if the claim can seldom or ever be made good

- that the modelling leaves out some crucial feature of real world circumstances, rendering it
inapplicable. The gap may be closed by appeal to the independently valuable argument from
experience, that at various times and places anarchism has been tested and has rworked.
Examples of such Stateless organisation suffice to show that crucial real world features have
not been omitted.

There are many examples of non-industrialised societies which were, or are, anarchistic,
there is the rich experience of the Spanish collectives,n and there is much localised
experience of self-management and small-scale anarchistic arrangements within the State
structure. 12

The argument, outlined by Bakunin, is much elaborated, but in a very individualistic and
Kantian fashion, in R.P. Wolff, 7%
of A/iarc/H-sw, Harper & Row, New York, 1970.
No argument is without assumptions, which are open to dispute. Wolffs argument, from
which the argument in the text is adapted, has its pitfalls, and is, for example, disputed by G.
Wall, P/uZo-yop/wcaZ
revi\yg<7, Anarchism, op.cit. p.273ff.
Documented in 77ze
1974.

Co/Zecfiv&y (edited S. Dolgoff), Free Life Editions New York

As B. Martin boldly asserts, 'The advantages of self-management and alternative lifestyles

11

The state is far from necessary and iacks adequate justification. The state is not a
self-justifying object. But none of the justificatory arguments to the state are cogent. A

familiar theme, conceding that the state is a problematic object, is that the state is a necessary
evil. 13 But, to the contrary, states, though generally evil, are hardly necessary.
It needs stressing, furthermore, how weak any necessity claimed has to be. For it is
becoming increasingly easy, with the advances in logical modellings and computer
simulations of other worlds, virtual states and the like, to envisage accessible worlds

organised without modern states. As such worlds, inhabited by humans or human-like
creatures are possible, states are not necessary.
No doubt then, the necessity has to be of some more

andpr^m^Jc sort, a

"social human necessity" for example appealing to emergent features of humans, kinks of
human nature, obtruding in unfavourable situations of high concentrations and extensive
scarcity (situations that states themselves have, like many survival systems, helped contrive).
Further the necessity has to be relative to certain organisational objectives, such as a
particular state delivery of collective goods and services. Remarkably, none of the extant
arguments to the state make it plain that such a weak pragmatic relative "necessity" is

indicated, though they would hardly establish more, and though they Jo make strong
(implausible) assumptions about the brutal situation outside states, in states-of-nature and so
on, and about human motivation and practice, its utterly selfish, self-interested and
acquisitive, and frequently debased character (i.e. what appears encouraged under economic
rationalism, and pretty much what many have come to expect under conditions of advanced
capitalism).
Mostly no effort is made any longer, outside a few abstruse texts, to justify the state.
Within contemporary institutional arrangement it is simply taken for granted (like Big

Science), as axiomatic, as God was under medieval arrangements. But unlike God, who was
good personified and therefore had a large problem with the extent of evil in the world, the

state is acknowledged as problematic and far from unimplicated in the evil of the world (but
directly engaged therein when the councils of the many Machievellis are heeded). Such a
problematic object cannot stand up as merely postulated. Nor is there a corresponding

ontological argument for the state, as that organisational structure than which nothing more

are many and significant. And these alternatives are entirely feasible: there is plenty of
evidence and experience to support their superiority over the present way society operates.
The obstacles to self-management and alternative lifestyles are powerful vested interests and
institutional resistance to change', C/zanging f/x? C<%f, Friends of the Earth, Canberra, 1979.
p.6.

13

The theme, enunciated for instance by Popper, that * state power must always remain a
dangerous though necessary evil' (II, p.30) is a commonplace one.

12
perfect can exist. Outside the flawed imagination of German idealists there is no such Super
State; all actual states are manifestly highly imperfect, all humanly realisable ones are likely
similar.

As a result of the institutionalisation of the state itself, as a received and indeed central
part of modern political arrangements, the onus of proof has become curiously inverted.
Efforts to justify the state have become fairly ideal and academic, no longer a serious issue,
and onus transferred to anarchists to demonstrate that human social life could proceed well
and smoothly (as it now does, of course) without states. While anarchists are not absolved
from offering some account of operations of good social lives without states (for, except in
fairy tales, it does not all just emerge, unplanned, in the new stateless setting), neither are
archists absolved from justification of de facto statist arrangements, beginning with the state
itself.

4

a ARCrpM&^S-.
The main argument for anarchism can be concentrated in a detailed critique of the state,
therewithal state-like institutions a/t? %/ro
/j
/< 7

) c /A—Zb

n X! ct

A<$

Anarchist critiques of the state advance the following

themes:
* States and state-like institutions are without satisfactory justification.
* Such institutions are not required for organisational purposes.

* Such institutions have most inharmonious consequences; they bring a whole series of social

and environmental bungles or evils in their train.
In brief, they are unnecessary unjustified evils

The anarchist critique does not end

there, but typically includes.'further themes/ such as :
w States are devices for channelling privilege and wealth to certain minorities with inside

,

The state is an undesirable, or even downright evii,
institution, for the following range of reasons:-

* States entrench inequities, domination and exploitation. States are devices for the protection

of wealth, property and privilege, and usually for the redistribution upwards, and often

concentration, of wealth and privilege. A minor but popular illustration is offered by the
expensive conferences and other junkets that state employees or party officials organise for
themselves and manage to bill to state revenue, in turn sucked up from inequitable taxation.
Certainly a main historical outcome of the state has been domination of exploitation of certain

segments of society by others, and some see its main, and barely concealed, purpose as just
that: domination and exploitation.

)

* States are typically corrupt. For example, there are enquiries presently in train, or with
follow-through activities yet to be duly completed, in many states in Australia, enquires which
have revealed considerable corruption, and there are prima facie cases for similar enquiries in
most of the remainder. Nor is this a new phenomenon: these revelations often resemble older or
on-going scandals.
* States are enormously expensive, and constitute a heavy drain upon regional resources, and
accordingly on local environments. In poorer regions they are not merely a heavy burden, but a

main cause of impoverishment. One reason for their voracious appetite is an excess of over­
remunerated and often under-productive state employees. Another connected reason is that
many state operations are far from lean and efficient, but incorporate many duplications, drag
factors and dead weight. Under anarchisms, of all varieties, these heavy cost burdens,
weighing down subservient populaces, would be shed. Costs of organisation would be very
significantly reduced.
* States are major impositions on everyday life. They are intrusive and demanding^. As a

Never has this been more forcefully expressed than in Proudhon's famous denouncement of state
government:
^1/7^

To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled,
taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden,

reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the
general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized,
extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first world of
complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed,
choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown
all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is
its morality (quoted in M p.6).

result, there are constant demands for the reduction of the cancerous state, for removing parts of

it through deregulation, selling off state enterprises and so on. There are two troubles with such

demands from anarchist standpoints: they never go far enough, to the complete reduction of the
state to zero, but characteristically retain parts supportive of or favourable to bigger business,
and they proceed in the wrong way, stripping away social safety nets rather than ripping off
business support nets (such as limited liability, strike limitation legislation, etc.).

* States, for all that they have been promoted as delivering public goods, are mostly dismal
news for environmental protection and health and for social justice. Furthermore they are liable
to impose substantial hazards or risks upon subservient populations not merely through military
and like activities but, more insidious, through support and promotion of dangerous industries,
such as nuclear and giant chemical industries.
* Statetusually exert a heavy pressure to uniformity, they tend to eliminate plurality and cultural

differences. These pressures are exercised by a state in the alleged interests of national unity,
and against its enemies, external and internal. Even the most liberal of states tend to give
minorities more difficult lives in times of stress, such as war. They are always espousing
national values, state interests, and commonly assimilation and adoption of state values (thus for
example Canada, formerly and briefly a state toying with multiculturalism, now insistent upon
"Canadian values"). Such exercises are conspicuous, not only in citizen ceremonies and other
state rituals, such as national sporting and religious events, but more important are virtually
ubiquitous in elementary education (down to deference to the f la , and similar).
* States are a major source of wars, and the major source of major wars, undoubted evils

(however supposedly inevitable). They are major sources and suppliers of military technology
and weapons, the means of war. Roughly, the more powerful and "advanced" a state, the
further it is engaged in weapon production and export. Without states it is doubtful that there
would be any nuclear weapons, and accordingly there would be no prospect of nuclear wars as
there would be no weapons with which to fight them.
* States are a serious drag on a more satisfactory international order. That there are not more,
and more satisfactory, international regulatory organisations 'is mainly a matter of the reluctance
of nation states to surrender their powers and the dangers of their being dominated by very
powerful states. If only nation states would be dissolved into specialized [departments] there is
every reason to believe that most world problems could be handled by appropriate specialized

[organisations]' (Burnheimp.221).
* States have excessive power, and are even accumulating or trying to accumulate more, for
(hT)
instance through more centralization, further controls, additional licences, etc., etc. Obvious
responses to excessive power are separation of powers, achieved by decoupling and some
fragmentation, limitation of powers, and so on.
States thus appear farTrom a good bargain on a preliminary consideration of costs,

Especially bad states, the run of states, which engage in politically-motivated incun-ation or

t.ifure of their citizens, and so on. Where are the compensating benefits?' yven that we can get
along without them, would we really be significantly worse off without them? Even in the
better cases (not allowing for alternative nonstatist arrangements which states have precluded or
systems they have usurped)? But arguments for states are not usually so directly utilitarian in
character. Such arguments would make it look as if we might well opt out of state organisation,
and often be better off doing so. Mat it is contended that, contrary to appearances, we cannot
get along without state cossetting: states are necessary.
,

*?:

-

Present monolithic governments have assumed far too many roles, for many of which

they are not competent, from some of which they are disqualified by other roles (e.g. as
impartial referees by their business commitments). Because the centre tries to do and control

top much, as a consequence it does very much unsatisfactorily. Improved arrangements would

separate these roles, deconcentrating and decentralizing power.

wcef-

/%^2^

/\^^ 1 C
4

Z

Z^-^7

W
GW, //?(? C/7//A /7,

jWr
f/7(? 3/(7/d

The State is like God: the anarchist is
like the atheist in disbelief and
nonrecognition of what is commonly
assumed, mostlv as a matter of faith, to
be needed. T)ie pafatlel,
BakummTtlibjat^weaknessessas well as Rs
strengt%^.''^Vhiie the atheist believes that
God does not exist, the anarchist does
not believe that there are no states: on
the contrary, there are all too many,
though none are legitimate. The impor­
tant parallel is as to arguments. The
agnostic does not believe that the
arguments for the existence of God suc­
ceed, and so adopts a 'neutral' stance;
similarly the State-agnostic does not
believe that the arguments for the State
work, and likewise tries to adopt a fence­
sitting position. Soundly based atheism
goes further than agnosticism, not only
faulting the argumentsybr, but takingdt
for granted that there are arguments, or
at least solid considerations, rzgm/ry/. So
it is with soundly based anarchism;
<t
both fault) arguments for the
r" 3tatuce- a case against the
State.
A more obvious comparison, ap­
preciated from Reformation on and
again emphasised bvBakunin,' is that of
State and Church^ This institutional
comparison enables several relevant
features of the State to be emphasised;
for example, how, as the Church used
to, the State assigns to itself many very
extensive powers, such as a monopoly on
the production and control of the main
medium of exchange, currency, and an
ultimate monopoly on organised
violence, all other internal security arrangernggt^)eing eventually answerable
to its pdhee and military^; how it is of the
same category as business organisations
such as multinationals, which now to
some extent threaten it but by and large
collaborate with it; how, as again the
Church used to, it has nominal support
of most of its 'subjects', though many of
them are little better than Sunday
believers, and an increasing number

have come to see the State as in many This does not upset the replacement
respects evil and inevitably corrupt, but argument for anarchism. The argument,
as a necessary evil.^)
implicit in the works of the classical
Whether the State is inevitably evil or anarchists, goes like this: The functions
not, it is M/mecas-wry, so it will be of the State can be divided into two
argued, in a wav parallelling the famous types, those that are in the collective in­
jVquinas designed to prove terest and generally beneficial such as
that God exi^&^Since the State is un­ community welfare and organisational
necessary, as welt as costly and typically functions, and those that are not (but
at leas! evil in many of its practices and are, presumably, in the interests of some
undesirable in other respects, it should of the powerful groups the State tends to
be superseded. And it can be succeeded, serve).
by alternative social arrangements,
But as regards functions of the first
type, the generally beneficial functions
gg 77^ /7r.v/ IWj Q/ SbotWg which are in the collective interest, no
coercion is required. For why should
/r7t?/ //?C S/t//^ Ay ,76)/ 7?^T//7W.'
people have to be coerced into carrying
//!f /?e/)GcT/77^?7/ WRM/W7/.
out functions which are in their collec­
tive interest? Such functions can be per­
The core of the argument is simple formed, and performed better, without
and persuasive: everything in the collec- the coercion which is the hallmark of the
tive interest accomplished by the State State, and without the accompanying
can equally be accomplished by alterna­ tendency of the State to pervert such
tive arrangements such as voluntary co­ functions to the maintenance of privilege
operation, the remainder of State activi­ and inequality of power, and to remove
ty being dispensed with. The argument is power from those it 'serves'. The detail­
not a straight substitution argument, for ed argument that such functions can be
it is not as if a rational person would performed takes a case by case form,
want to have everything accomplished considering each function in turn7 In
by the State replicated by alternative each case the function is carried out
arrangements. There is much the State through alternative arrangements, such
does or supports that is at best rather in­
different, ^"'sponsorship of pomp and as voluntary co-operation by the people
directly concerned, which replace State
ceremony and of junkets by VIPs; and a arrangements. Consider, for example,
great deal of typical State activity is the operation of mutual aid or self help
positively evil and not in the collective medical services or building programs,
interest,'e^. gral^t, corruption, brutality, or self managed welfare, housing or en­
maintenance of inequitable distribution vironment services, or community access
of wealth, land and other resources, and communications (e.g. radio), most of
encouragement of protection of
polluting or environmentally destructive
industries (e.g. without state sponsorship
we should not be well embarked on a
nuclear future, without state assistance
and subsidization Australia would not
be burdened with its extensive forest­
destructive pine planting and woodchip
projects).
The modern State has however many
other functions than repressive or
damaging ones, functions of community
welfare or of otherwise beneficial kind.

which are presently either starved of
infrastructure or hindered by the State.
Such beneficia! services would in genera!
be reorganised so that ah the relevant
infrastructure became communaHy heid,
and those wishing to arrange or use the
service wou!d manage the operation
themselves, taking the operation into
their own hands instead of being the
passive recipients of favours meted out
to them by professional and powerful
agencies. Coercion is unnecessary
because, in more communal types of
anarcnism, the basic infrastructure and
many resources (other than individual
labour) are already held by the com­
munity, sdthereis no need to apply coer­
cion to individuals to extract these
resources needed for community welfare
projects, as there is in the situation
where wealth and resources are privatis­
ed and coercion is required to wrest
resources from unwilling private in­
dividuals.
As for the second type of functions,
those which are /tor in the collective in­
terest, coercion will normally be required
for the performance of //tew functions,
and is thus an essentia! part of the State's
operation. But those functions are better
dispensed with, since they are not in the
coHective interest. !n this way, while the
good part of the State's operation is re­
tained and improved upon, the bad part
— especially the evils of brutality,
corruption and other abuses invariabty
associated with the coercive apparatus
— is detached.
State services that are concerned with
orjpr, in the genera! sense, may be
similarly removed or replaced. These
services, which include reduction of
violence to persons and redress for such
violence, quarantine services, security,
orderly operation of traffic, and so on,
have often been said to make for especial
difficulties for anarchism, or even to
refute it. They do not. Firstly, disputes
can be settled and offences dealt with
directly by communities themselves
without intervention by the State.
Secondly, a great many of these pro­
blems are created or enhanced by the
State, e.g. violence of which the State is
the main purveyor and which is often the
outcome of the State's propping up of
gross inequalities? A community which
seriously limits (or dispenses with) the in­
stitution of private property and
removes gross inequalities in the
distribution of wealth thereby removes
the need for many 'welfare' services and
the basis for a great many offences in­
volving violence: virtually ail those in­
volving violence to private property and
many of those involving personal
violence. Such a left-leaning anarchism
is also quite invulnerable to further
familiar, but ludicrous, arguments for

the State, such as those based on the
fairer distribution of land, property and
wealth allegedly achieved by State en­
forcement of redistribution. As all too
many people are aware, a major func­
tion of the State is to maintain and
police inequitable distribution.
This then is the main classical argu­
ment for anarchism. The argument has
however been challenged, both by
historical and more recent objections,
which are designed to show that people
cannot act in their collective interest
without coercion.

7./
NOTES

14.

[5.

16.

oK

!.

Bakunin on Anarchy (edited S. Dolgofl),
Allen & LJnwin, London, (973, especially
p.139. Much else in this paper, eg. the
distinction between the State and Society, also
derives from Bakunin.

2.

That is, proper elaboration of this argument
takes each facet of generally beneficial state
activity — there is only a (relatively small)
finite number to consider — and shows how it
can be replaced in one way or another.
Replacement is not of course uniquely deter­
mined. Lines such replacements can take are
indicated in much anarchist (and self
management) literature, consider especially,
but no/ uncritically, P. Kropotkin, Mutual
Aid, New York University Press, 1972, and
also his Fields. Factories and Workshops,
second edition, Nelson, London, 1913, and
the Conquest of Bread, Chapman and Hall,
London, 1913.

3.

On these points see, e.g. Kropotkin's Revolu­
tionary Pamphlets (edited S. Baldwin), Dover
Publications, New York, 1970, p.206 ff.; also
P.J. Proudhon, Confessions of a Revolu­
tionary. For recent discussion of, and practical
examples of, replacements for arbitration and
law court procedures (6td for right-leaning
anarchism), see C D. Stone, Some re/?ec//on.s
on o/Tn/rohng our way /o anarc/ty * Anarchism
(reprint of Nomos XIX) New York University
Press, 1978, pp.213^4.

The argument, to be found in Bakunin, is
elaborated a littic in Taylor, op.cit., chapter 7.
A related argument, also in Bakunin, is from
the way in which emergence of the State com
promises and even closes off nonstate solu­
tions to problems of social organisation in ad­
joining regions. Several historical examples of
this phenomenon are alluded to in M. Harris,
Cannibals and Kings, Collins, London. 1978.

where it is also revealed how little the actual
origin and rise of the State had to do with
Dilemma situations, e.g. escaping a Hobbesian
state of nature. Indeed, it was with the advent
and development of the State that life became
for many what it had not apparently been in
prc-State neolithic times, 'nasty, brutish and
short'.
The question is m effect Plato's question, and
the regress is reminiscent of his Third Man
argument.

K.R. Popper, The Open Society and Its
Enemies. Yol.iL Fourth edition (revised),
Routledge and Kegan Paul. London. 1962,
p.129 and p.127. The (overshoot) problem ts.
according to Popper 'the most fundamental
problem of all politics: the control of the con­
troller. of the dangerous accumulation of
power represented in the State' 'upon which'

Marxists never had
view' (p. 129).

'any well-considered

17.

V. Lauber. /co/o^y, po/t/tes an<7 hbera/
r/emocracv. Government and Opposition. 13
(1978), 199-217: see p.2O9 and p.211.

18.

The argument, outlined by Bakunin, is much
elaborated, but tn a very individualistic and
Kantian fashion, tn R.P. Wolff, In Defense of
Anarchism, Harper & Row, New York. 1970.
No argument is without assumptions, which
are open to dispute. Wolff's argument, from
which the argument in the text is adapted, has
its pitfalls, and is, for example, disputed by
G. Wall. P/b/o.sop/hca/ awc/n.sw re row/,
Anarchism, op.cit. p.273ff.

19.

Documented in The Anarchist Cotiectives
(edited S. Dolgoff), Free Life Editions, New
York. 1974.

20.

As B. Martin boldly asserts, 'The advantages
of self-management and alternative lifestyles
are many and significant. And these alter­
natives are entirely feasible: there is plenty of
evidence and experience to support their
superiority over the present way society
operates. The obstacles to self-management
and alternative lifestyles are powerful vested
interests and institutional resistance to
change', ( hanging the Cogs, Friends of the
Earth, Canberra, 1979, p.6.

ANARCHISM - ENLARGED j

____________ foundations*

There is a theological

component in the theory of the ^tate;.the weakness af^whieh should be brought out.
A
A
By contrast, anarchism ^.s approached from an argument pe^p^ctive, of considerable
streng
strength^

Since the &tate is an imposed structure that induces considerable costs,

the onus of proof is moreover on the State side.

(The State versus states:

r

instantiate the universal.)

2.

they

Circled numbers hereafter refer to insert places in elder working version.

In §1:-

(^

In several respects the comparison is better than that of the State and God,

since both belong to the same category, institutions.

/cc
Thus both have looked to

some philosophers as human inventions or artifices, both have looked to others
(reductionists) as objects that could be reduced to features of the individuals

involved in their organisation (but it is hard to see why such fictions or logical
constructions should be assigned the power and deference they are accorded).

0

It can be superseded, or replaced^ as the Church has to a large,

^in many places.

extent been

Just as the power of the Church has declined until it has lost

its authority over parishioners, so authority of the State can be undermined, and

it can lose recognition and its claim to jAu&h^rit^ over those in its territory.
But there is a crucial difference between State and Church:

under those condit­

ions the State vanishes, for authority backs!by coercive power is essential to the

State but not (any longer) to the Church.
from

Society anarchistically organised

And where the State differs crucially
is as to the matter of coercion and of

authority backed by force, such a society relying basically on voluntary cooper­
ation where the State relies on authority backed by force.

Furthermore, the

Church is justified through a religious theory, and is backed up ultimately by
appeal to God's authority.

The modern secular State by contrast annexes itself

J

A

2.

itself authority (or has simply inherited it) and, though it may claim to be
justified by some political th(o^ry which confers upon it legitimacy, makes no

appeal back to a justifying or authorizing <3<^e.nt.

So what justifies it?

2^.^

These sorts of considerations prompt two connected complaints of the anarch-

ist, which have never been satisfactorily met, the agnostic's complaint that the
State has no adequate justification - the arguments for its imposition or certain

action fail - and the stronger complaint that the State is not necessary at all.

These complaints are backed by arguments and further arguments, namely an assess)

ment of arguments.

These arguments are important, not, or not merely, because

they will show, if unsuccessful, that anarchism j^s irrefutable, but because they
convey muqh information, e.g. as to the weak (to the point of vacuity) sense

in

which the State is "necessary", because they do much to determine the general

0^

logical shape of the anarchism that results, and because they indicate routes to
anarchism, not merely why but, to some extent, how the State can be superseded
by a Society anarchistically organised.
t

pfuch as there are several ways of arguing to the existence of God, assembled
by Aquinas into the famous (but not exhaustive, and invariably invalid) Five Ways,

and various less famous but also important arguments against the existence of God,
apcni&Igs
, (jAtb
so there are various arguments that the State is required, and^ especially
—-2
relevant for anarchism^, several ways of arguing against the necessity of the
State.

is from the simulation argument, in particular, that the irrefutibj.lity of
Ai)
anarchism will follow^ anything the State can do that does reflect the collective

interests

A/.

A74

cooperation.can also do in the long-run, and mostly better.

[Over-

i

g T7/E SECOAD
X 777E
/1RGGA7EATFROM PROEEEM
RECGRREyVCE.
The solution by the State to problems
of social organisation repeats or
generates in more dangerous form the
very real problems introduction of the
State was designed to solve, inciuding
new Diiemmas. Suppose, for instance,
the secular State realty were introduced
in order to soive Prisoners' Dilemmas,
then the array of States so resulting
generates new Prisoners' Ditemmas
(with States as 'prisoners'), which there
is no Super-State to resotve by coercion.
In fact, as opposed to State-justifying
mythology, the modern secutar State
was not introduced (just as the originat
States were not initiated) for any such
apparentty intellectually reputable
reasons, but was targety inherited from
che religious State (and the Church) and
Jiaintained to prop up privitege and
foster objectives that are not in its com­
munities' interests. Or suppose, as the
myth atso has it, that the State reaity
were introduced, or contracted, in the
interest of order and stability and to curb
violence; then the array of States
resuming more than negates these advan­
tages, with instability, disorder and
viotence (e.g. between States) on a
grander scale than before the emergence
of modern secutar States."*

S 77/E 77//RD HA1 Y. RHE
(9 YERSEOGE /IRGt/MEAE
FROM EE/E /A/(/9E()G^CY
GE /AF77EG77GA74E
CGA7RGES GA A7MEE
PG^ER
Having ceded a monopoty of power
J) the State in order to resotve some
diiemmas, some of them arising from an
inequitable distribution of power, what
controts or batances the power of the
State? A Super-State. And its power?
There is a vicious infinite regress if the
repty to the question 'What controts the
controtter?' is 'a further controller'A
The onty promising way of avoiding this
problem — other routes tead (even

1
more) directty to totaiitarianism — is by
having the first of these controllers, the
State, answer back to those in whose in­
terests it is aitegediy estabtished, those of
the society or group of communities it
controts. This implies democratic
methods of some kind. Others go fur­
ther: 'democracy (is] the onty known
means to achieve this control, the onty
known device by which we can try to
protect oursetves against the misuse of
pohtica! power'.'* In this event, control
has mostty failed. Democracy is ex­
tremely attenuated, even in those states
that claim to practice it. The exercise of
power in modern 'democratic' states is
often channelled through 'non-elected
authority' and 'is not democratic in the
traditional meaning of the term'E
Moreover, the much increased power in
the modern State, which reaches deep in­
to people's lives, has passed, with no in­
crease in legitimacy, to certain
managerial elites who present the power
as directed at the attainment of 'general­
ly accepted' objectives such as economic
growth (but through, e.g.', increased
military expenditure) or materia! 'pro­
gress' (but through, e.g. subsidization of
environmentally destructive enterprises
of off-shore companies), though the ac­
ceptability of such particular objectives
is never democratically tested.
In any case, indirect democratic and
other institutional checks are /em/OMS in
as much as they depend uttimately on the
toleration of those who have direct con­
trol of the forces of the State. Experience
seems to show that such toleration wit!
only be shown so long as democratic
procedures deliver results that are not
too disagreeable, that are broadly in ac­
cord with what those who control the
coercive power are prepared to accept.
(Toleration of such a tamed democracy
then brings benefits to those who hold
power, especially the cover of legitima­
tion). But institutional checks which
operate only insofar as a system accep­
table to the powerholders is not seriously
challenged, and which depend ultimately
upon the toleration of those 'checked',

39 EE/E FGGR 777
Y. EE/E
ARGGMEA?^ FRGA7
EREEDGA7 ^lAD^l GEGAGAf Y.
A person is responsible for actions
deliberately undertaken. This premise
can be derived, if need be, from the
notion of a person as a moral agent.
Taking responsiblity for one's actions
implies, among other things, making the
final decision about what to do on each
such occasion oneself; not acting
on direction from outside, but determin­
ing how to act, what ought to be done,
oneself; not handing that decision over
to someone or something else. It implies,
that is, moral autonomy. Autonomy in
turn implies, what responsibility re­
quires, freedom. For the autonomous
being, endorsing its own decisions and
principles, is not subject to the will of
another. Even if it does what another
directs, it is not /yeemzse another so
directs. In being free, no/ of constraints
(both physical and self-determined), but
of the constraints and will of others, an
autonomous being is morally free.
A necesary feature of the State is
<7H//io,7/y over those in its territory
(under its de facto jurisdiction), the right
to rule and impose its will upon them.
Such authority backed by force is incom­
patible with moral autonomy and with
freedom. An autonomous being, though
it may act in accordance with some im­
peratives of the State, those it in­
dependently endorses, is bound to reject
such (a claim to) authority, and
therewith the State. In sum, being a per­
son, as also being autonomous and being
free, implies rejecting the authority of
the State, and so not acknowledging the
State; that is, each condition on per­
sonhood implies, if the argument is
sound, anarchism.'*
It is possible to combine autonomy
with an extremely attenuated 'State', one
based on on-going unanimous direct
democracy. But such a 'State', with no
independent authority, is not really a
state, since any participant can dissolve
it at any time, and so constitutes no
threat to anarchism. On the contrary,
such direct democratic methods are part
of the very stuff of anarchistic
organisation.

W E/7E E7E777 HA1Y. 777E
are not really checks at ali.
^RGGMEAEFRGM
The problem of controlling the power
of the State and preventing the State M
A91 RCA75&EAVER7EACE.
once established from usurping further
The replacement argument enables
power and exceeding its mandate, is only
construction
of a model of a society
w/cyAc/orr/y solved by not ceding power
functioning without the State, of a prac­
to the State in the first place. The best
tically possible Stateless world; which
way of avoiding the evils of accumulated
shows that the State is not necessary. But
power is the anarchist way, of blocking
it can always be c/c/wer/ — even if the
its accumulation.
claim can seldom or ever be made good
— that the modelling leaves out some
crucial feature of real world circum­
stances, rendering it inapplicable. The
gap may be closed by appeal to the inde­
pendently valuable argument from ex­
perience, that at various times and places
anarchism has been tested and has work­
ed. Examples of such Stateless organisa­
tion suffice to show that crucial real
world features have not been omitted.
^Yiere are many examples of nontndustrialised socieities which were, or
are, anarchistic, there is the rich experi­
ence of the Spanish collectives,'" and
there is much localised experience of
seif-management and small-scale anar
chistic arrangements within the State
structure?"

z

e

The state tacks adequate justification. The state is not a self-justifying object. But
none of the justificatory arguments to the state are cogent. A familiar theme, conceding that the
Al
state is a problematic object, is that the state is a necessary evil. But, to the contrary, states,
though generally evil, are hardly necessary^ It needs stressing, furthermore, how weak
necessity claimed has to be. For it is becoming increasingly easy, with the advances in logical!^
modellings and computer simulations of other worlds, virtual states and the like, to envisage
accessible worlds organised without modern states.
No doubt then, the necessity has to be of some more pragmatic sort, a "social human
necessity" for example appealing to emergent features of humans, kinks of human nature,

obtruding in unfavourable situations of high concentrations and extensive scarcity (situations
that states themselves have, like many survival systems, helped contrive).Remarkably, none of
the extant arguments to the state make it plain that such a weak pragmatic "necessity" is

intricated, though they would hardly establish more, and though they

make strong

(implausible) assumptions about the brutal situation outside states, in states-of-nature and so on,
and about human motivation and practice, its utterly selfish, self-interested and acquisitive, and
frequently debased character (i.e. what appears encouraged under economic rationalism, and
pretty much what many have come to expect under conditions of advanced capitalism).
Mostly no effort is made any longer, outside a few abstruse texts, to justify the state.
Within contemporary institutional arrangement it is simply taken for granted (like Big Science),

as axiomatic, as God was under medieval arrangements. But unlike God, who was good

personified and therefore had a large problem with the extent of evil in the world, the state is

acknowledged as problematic and far from unimplicated in the evil of the world (but directly
engaged therein when the councils of the many Machievellis are heeded). Such a problematic

Popper^s view that 'state power must always remain a dangerous though necess­

ary evil'

(II, p.30) is a commonplace one.

object cannot stand up as merely postulated. Nor is there a corresponding ontological argument
for the state, as that organisational structure than which nothing more perfect can exist. Outside
the flawed imagination of German idealists there is no such Super State; all actual states are
manifestly highly imperfect, all humanly realisable ones are likely similar.
As a result of the institutionalisation of the state itself, as a received and indeed central part
of modem political arrangements, the onus of proof has become curiously inverted. Efforts to
justify the state have become fairly ideal and academic, no longer a serious issue, and onus

transferred to anarchists to demonstrate that human social life could proceed well and smoothly
(as it now does, of course) without states. While anarchists are not absolved from offering
some account of operations of good social lives without states (for, except in fairy tales, it does
not all just emerge, unplanned, in the new stateless setting), neither are statists absolved from
justification of de facto statist arrangements, beginning with the state itself.

Collection

Citation

Richard Routley, “Box 13, item 996: Draft chapters 1 to 4 on anarchism, for correction,” Antipodean Antinuclearism, accessed May 27, 2024, https://antipodean-antinuclearism.org/items/show/77.

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