Controversial Ethics as a Foundation for Controversial Political Theory

Gary Chartier’s Anarchy and Legal Order is a defense of a left-libertarian anarchist market society and a critique of statism. Few people in the world are more sympathetic to Chartier’s conclusions than I. Indeed, for me, the choice between statism and anarchism ultimately comes down to consequences. I think there is a strong moral presumption in favor of anarchist market societies over the alternatives, and the only way to defeat this presumption is to show that the former won’t “work”. That is, statists need to show that anarchism won’t deliver sufficiently good consequences or would be a disaster in practice, while some alternative in the latter set will “work” much better. So, I am very much Chartier’s ideological ally. I think his basic conclusions are probably correct. However, in general, I think his main arguments for these conclusions are not successful, and that will be the focus of my critique here.