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The Conscience of an Anarchist: Why It's Time to Say Good-Bye to the State and Build a Free Society Paperback – 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 129 pages
  • Publisher: Cobden Press; 1st edition (2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935942026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935942023
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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A wide variety of anarchists will agree with Chartier's criticisms of the State.
William Kiely
It is this vision of a better tomorrow that inspires me (and hopefully you, as well) to continue down the road towards a stateless society.
Darryl W. Perry
Exposure to new ideas is good, and this book eloquently explains what modern anarchism is all about.
Jeremy Warren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Warren on June 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Worth reading, especially if you're considering buying the anarchist ideology and would like to take it out for a test drive first. It addresses most of the concerns and questions that someone exploring the ideas of anarchism will probably have, but unfortunately it does so from the perspective of someone who has already been converted. I could have done with a little more exploration of issues that could go wrong in an anarchist society, like the question of how anarchy can be kept in place without violence-based feudalism overrunning it. The book spends a little bit too much time attacking and explaining the flaws in the current system, and pointing out the abuses that states perpetrate, when I would have enjoyed exploring potential flaws in an anarchist society. Without that section, I feel like I'm left with an ideological product that has the "hazards" section of the user manual blacked out. That said, it's a short, enjoyable book that gives you a lot to think about, and definitely gives you something interesting to talk about as you philosophize with your fellow high-minded chaps at the speakeasy. I recommend it. Exposure to new ideas is good, and this book eloquently explains what modern anarchism is all about.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Darryl W. Perry on July 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Gary Chartier has raised the bar in his new book The Conscience of an Anarchist. Chartier begins by asking the (non-anarchist) reader to "open your mind to anarchy" writing, "As an idea, anarchism is the conviction that people can and should interact on the basis of peaceful voluntary cooperation... without the state." Chartier's introduction continues as he explains why he's an anarchist, with each reason listed he gives a brief synopsis of the chapter dealing with the listed reason(s). Chartier writes (and most - if not all - anarchs agree) there is: no natural right to rule, the state lacks legitimacy, the state is unnecessary, the state tips the scales in favor of privileged elites and against ordinary people, the state tends to be destructive, the state restricts personal freedom, and a stateless society would provide opportunities for people to explore diverse ways of living fulfilled, flourishing lives.

Chartier begins by looking at the "official" political theory of these United States as laid out in the Declaration of Independence with the central phrase being that "governments acquire 'their just powers from the consent of the governed'." Chartier explains, since no one has a natural right to rule and governments supposedly acquire and retain power through consent of the governed, it should rest on the rulers to prove they have consent to rule. However, they instead use force to coerce consent. Some argue that voting and/or remaining in a given location are ways of "giving consent" - this is certainly not true.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Kiely on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Gary Chartier is a self-described "leftist" and its clear from his book that he is a leftist. However, the "left vs right" spectrum works differently for market anarchism than it does for statism.

Specifically, many libertarian anarchists and anarcho-capitalists who do not label themselves as left wing will find that they do not disagree with many, if any at all, of the views on justice that Chartier presents in his book. A wide variety of anarchists will agree with Chartier's criticisms of the State.

While Chartier makes several consequentialist arguments against the state, many readers who oppose the State on principle will find that Chartier's consequentialist arguments do not over-rule any principled arguments against the state, but instead simply support them.

For example, on the subject of tariffs Gary Chartier writes:

"I remember arguing about tariffs with dad when I was a high school student. I didn't understand basic economics then. But I knew there was something wrong with treating goods and services differently because they came from other countries. It was chauvinistic, nationalistic, discriminatory.

"Now I realize too how much tariffs disadvantage ordinary people in the territory of a state that imposes them-while benefiting elites. Tariffs are, effectively, subsidies by the state to favored industries and firms. A state's tariffs may not actually exclude goods or services from outside its borders. But tariffs can make these goods and services a lot less attractive to purchasers inside its borders. In so doing, it props up wealthy, well-connected businesses that don't want to be undersold by foreign producers.
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Format: Paperback
This book really addressed the main points of anarchy well. It was thorough, succinct, enlightening, and accurate. Though most of the topics he addresses I was already familiar with and on his side of the fence (or at least understanding of his stance) I find the real value of this book to be in handing it out to friends for reading. It will quickly teach them that anarchy is peaceful voluntary association and is NOT the red circled A, chaotic, "rioting in the streets" type of meaning that has been associated with the word.
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More About the Author

My motto these days is, "Give peace a chance." I hope my writing and speaking can help people find ways to craft patterns of life marked by peaceful, voluntary cooperation.

Everything I've published to date has been non-fiction. I write about law, politics, ethics, and religion, largely from a philosophical perspective.

My philosophical work is very much in the analytic tradition, though I'm inclined to embrace the process metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Hartshorne, John Cobb, and David Ray Griffin. In moral and political philosophy, I've been influenced by people including Thomas Nagel, John Finnis, David Wiggins, and Owen Flanagan, along with my Center for a Stateless Society compatriots Roderick T. Long, Charles W. Johnson, Kevin Carson, Sheldon Richman, Joe Stromberg, and Brad Spangler. In philosophy of religion and philosophical theology, I've gained a lot from current and not-so-current thinkers including, apart from people I've already mentioned, Karl Rahner, Nicholas Lash, Austin Farrer, David Brown, John Macquarrie, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Robert Adams, Fritz Guy, Charles Teel, Jr., David Larson, and John Hick.

Politically, I'm a left-wing market anarchist. I take anarchism to be the project of doing without the state. I support the elimination of states and their replacement by a diverse array of consensual communities in which people experiment with ways of being human and of being free.

I'm a market anarchist because (while I don't think everyone should be forced into a cookie-cutter mold), I'd opt for a state-free community in which people enjoyed robust individual possessory rights and were free to structure relationships through exchange. My market anarchism is left-wing because I support inclusion and oppose subordination, deprivation, and aggressive and preventive war. I own the American individualist anarchists, especially Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner, as forebears; thus, I'm happy to identify as a socialist in something like the sense suggested by Tucker's work.

My day job is as associate dean of La Sierra University's School of Business. At La Sierra, I teach courses in business ethics, global poverty, employee and labor relations, religion and science, political philosophy, and social theory. On a more personal level: I'm sentimental and nostalgic. I'm an insomniac, an early riser, a geek, a technophile, and a vegetarian. I abhor positional authority. Friendship is central to who I am. Born in Glendale, I've lived in SoCal most of my life and it still moves and excites me. I devour TV shows via Netflix. And I read, and read, and read.