Conscience of an Anarchist
“The problem with the state isn’t a bad politician here or there,” writes Gary Chartier in his epic book Conscience of an Anarchist. “It’s not just the Republicans. It’s not just the Democrats. (It’s not limited to any party in any country.) The problem is the state. It creates opportunities for plunder and abuse that are enormously attractive to anyone with the potential capacity to use it to exploit others.”
Gary Chartier has written a calm, well-reasoned, relentlessly sensible guidebook to understanding points about the world that are otherwise overlooked. He draws on these points to demonstrate how life without the state would be better than the best of life now but without the astonishing personal and social costs that are imposed by politics and the state.
Even if you think you know the literature of liberty well, regard such talk as hopelessly utopian, you will find this book to be a revelation. Barry Goldwater wrote his Conscience book, and Paul Krugman wrote his. Lovers of liberty needed one, and Professor Chartier has written it.
It is a beautiful book that takes on every important theoretical point — economics, foreign policy, criminal justice, civil liberties, courts, personal life — but also deals with the practical question of how to get from here to there. This book may well be destined to become a classic.
Chartier himself has an interesting intellectual odyssey. He was a conservative Republican growing up who became a libertarian. But then in college he found himself drawn toward left-wing social democracy as the solution to the world’s injustices. Finally he returned to a richer perspective rooted in his libertarian past but extending it in new ways.
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