Doing without a ruler : in defence of anarchism

Robert Paul Wolff interviewed by Alan Saunders

éthiqueWOLFF, Robert Paul. PhilosopheKANT, Emmanuel (1724-1804)

Quotation :

"There is a fundamental obligation that each of us has to make his or her own moral decisions. It goes by the name of autonomy, and the great 18th century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant was the philosopher who more than any other, emphasised the autonomy of the individual.
Over against that is the characteristic claim of virtually every State that has ever existed, namely, the claim that it has the right to rule, that it has a monopoly on the authoritative use of power, that it has the right to tax, that it has the right to require its subjects or citizens to obey the law, and so forth. And what I did in this little book was to ask the question ’Is there any way in which the autonomy of the individual, it can be made compatible with the authority claims of the State ?’ Now the most plausible and these days the most popular answer to that question is ’Yes, in a democracy, because in a democracy the State speaks with the voice of the people.’ But of course it only speaks with a voice of the majority of the people, and therefore it is always in the position of compelling the minority to do what the minority thinks it is wrong to do. "