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By Robert Paul Wolff

Right here with a brand new preface is Robert Paul Wolff's vintage research of the principles of the authority of the country and the issues of political authority and ethical autonomy in a democracy.

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Extra resources for In Defense of Anarchism

Sample text

This point is so simple that it may seem unworthy of such emphasis. Nevertheless, a number of political philosophers, including Hobbes and John Austin, have supposed that the concept as well as the pfinciples of authority could be derived from the concepts of power or utility. For example, Austin defines a command as a sig. nification of desire, uttered by someone who will visit evil on those who do not comply with it ( The Providence of Jurisprudence Deter. mined, Lecture I) . 12 In Defense of Anarchism mains to be decided whether political philosophy proper exists.

Ject. " Thus one speaks of "popular sovereignty," which is the doctrine that the people are the state, and of course the use of "sov· ereign" to mean "king" reflects the supposed concentration of supreme authority in a monarchy. Authority is the right to command, and correlatively, the right to be obeyed. It must be distinguished from power, which is the ability to compel compl , the use or the threat of force. When I turn over my wallet to a thief who is holding me at gunpoint, I do so because the fate with which he threatens me is worse than the loss of money which I am made to suffer.

It is meant a good deal more than half in earnest, and I urge those readers who are prone to reject it out of hand to reBect on what that reaction reveals about their real attitude toward democ­ racy. I propose that in order to overcome the obstacles to di­ rect democracy, a system of in-the-home voting machines be set up. In each dwelling, a device would be attached to the television set which would electronically record votes The Solution of Classical Democracy 35 and transmit them to a computer in Washington.

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