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Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism, 1827-1908

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879260064
ISBN-10: 0879260068
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Ralph Myles Publisher (June 1, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879260068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879260064
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,867,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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_Men Against the State: The Expositors of Individualist Anarchism in America, 1827-1908_ by individualist anarchist James J. Martin, republished by the libertarian press Ralph Myles, is a fascinating account of libertarian history in America. Perhaps the first individual to refer to himself as an anarchist, formerly merely a pejorative, was Proudhon, whose cry that "property is robbery!" began a revolution. Later in America others developed the philosophy of anarchism, eventually creating a schism between those who were opposed to property (the communist anarchists) and those who supported private property so long as it could be defined as the total product of an individual's labor (the individualist anarchists). Anarchism developed as a trend in direct opposition to the state and often maintained the need for a radical form of decentralization. However, most anarchists were not violent, advocating a peaceful slugging off of statism rather than violent revolution. This is contrary to the depiction of anarchists in popular literature and the media. In addition, while anarchists advocated the abolition of the state, they did not propose that anything new be set up as its replacement. This distinguishes true anarchists from others who may have opposed the status quo at the time but who in turn advocated a different form of government.

This book traces the development of individualist anarchism in America from the early experiments in mutualism of Josiah Warren, to the development of philosophical egoism particularly emphasizing early advocates of money and land reform, to the writings of Lysander Spooner and other abolitionist anarchists who later came to support secession, to the writings of Benjamin Tucker in his journal _Liberty_.
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Format: Paperback
James J. Martin's MEN AGAINST THE STATE is well worth reading. Martin gives a detailed account of men whose thinking could be considered anarshism-not anarchy. Martin not only reveals a forgotten historical tradition, his writing is an example of a clear writing style that clearly explains complex concepts.

James J. Martin presents such individuals such as Warren, Andrews, etc., whose political writings were a constructive attempt to improve economic organization which was attempt to improve both living conditions and enhance a free economic theory that would benefit men. The section on Time Stores and mutualism in communities are interesting. These were examples cooperatives that worked surprisingly well until illness decimated these cooperatives. One should note that these individualists, or anarchists if you will, were not violent maniacs attacking the state and attempting to overthrow the state. These men were presenting concepts to withdraw from a rigged economic system and present an effective alternative.

Martin's section on Lysander Spooner is instructive in understanding the United States Constituion. Spooner demonstrates that the Constitution was not an applicable document to succeeding generations who were not around to sign the document. In other words, Spooner argued the only contracts that men should honor were those which they actually signed. Another interesting view of Spooner's was that the Constituion was a document that enabled free men to act independently. If this were so, then why did the U.S.Government use considerable armed force to crush the Confederates whose only political crime was the desire to seceed and to be left along.

Martin's sections on Benjamine Tucker are examples of clear logic and good writing.
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Format: Paperback
MEN AGAINST THE STATE (1953)
by James J Martin
includes original forward by Harry Elmer Barnes

This book contains the biographies of several men who advocated varyious types of societies without government. They are some of the ideological ancestors of various modern movements including anarcho-capitalism, individualist anarchism, libertarianism and mutualism. Anybody who sympathizes with any of these philosophies should read this book!

'MEN AGAINST THE STATE' has a special place in my own memory because it was the first place that I learned about Josiah Warren. Warren was an interesting guy who actually got to put his economic ideas into practice. He founded various little colonies including "Modern Times" on Long Island, NY and a second incarnation of "Utopia" in southwestern Ohio. Unlike many contemporary anarchists, Warren believed in private property. His ideas were compared with Pierre Proudhon, although he denied any connection. The first four chapters deal with his activities and his influence. In my opinion, the chapters on Josiah Warren are worth the price of the book.

The most famous men in this book are Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker. Both are discussed at length as well as Ezra Heywood, William H Greene, J.K. Ingalls and Stephen Pearl Andrews. You will notice some similarities between many of these men. Several of them started as ministers, and several of them were abolitionists. Nevertheless, many opposed the Civil War on various grounds ranging from simple pacifism to opposition to state aggression to the constitutional right to secession. It is interesting to hear the internal debates over issues that are still relevant today, such as taxation, labor organizing and the role of a central bank.
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