Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wolff: Authority

"The defining mark of the state is authority, the right to rule. The primary obligation of man is autonomy, the refusal to be ruled. It would seem, then, that there can be no resolution to the conflict between the autonomy of the individual and the putative authority of the state. Insofar as a man fulfills his obligation to make himself the author of his decisions, he will resist the state's claim to have authority over him. That is to say, he will deny that he has a duty to obey the laws of the state simply because they are laws. In that sense, it would seem that anarchism is the only political doctrine consistent with the virtue of autonomy."
~Robert Paul Wolff

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