Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX, USA. Crispin Sartwell, Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory. (Albany: State University of. In Against the State, Crispin Sartwell unleashes a quick and brutal rejection of the traditional arguments for state legitimacy. Sartwell considers the classics of. Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Sep 6, , Nathan J. Jun and others published Review of Crispin Sartwell’s, Against the State: An Introduction to.

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Irreverent and incisive critique of liberal theories of the state. Read more Read less. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Six Names of Beauty. The Art of Living: Aesthetics of the Ordinary in World Spiritual Traditions.

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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. This book is only pages long, but it does a good job destroying the standard philosophical justifications for the state. As the author notes that is not difficult because the arguments for it are so bad.

I particularly love the author’s rather sharp style when discussing these ideas. He throws in a lot of what Sartaell find to be humorous descriptions of statists in the state. He certainly doesn’t pull any punches and I loved it. This book is purely negative in that it doesn’t really argue positively for anarchism, but gets to that conclusion by destroying any justification for the state.

This isn’t a comprehensive work, but for what it does it’s well done. An Cripsin to Anarchist Political Theory. In asserting this, he intends at least three things: Sartwell promises a future book on his positive anarchist vision. Here, his concern is to argue against conventional legitimations of the state.

He goes after the three strongest defenses of what he takes to be the most legitimate kind of government, democracy: Sartwell’s “mindful destruction” of state-legitimations is sandwiched between an opening chapter in which he clarifies what he means by terms like “coercion,” “force,” “government,” and “state,” and a concluding one in which he provides an outline of the positive anarchism he embraces. One of the strong features of the preliminary chapter is Sartwell’s recognition that the terms are a bit boggy, and allow for gradations in practice–for example, democracies are surely less coercive than tyrannies.


This of course raises questions of trade-off: Obviously, Sartwell thinks not. But it seems to me that strong cases can be made otherwise. The concluding chapter, which I presume is a preview of a future book, is especially intriguing. Sartwell avoids collectivist anarchism on the one hand and the to my mind pseudo sstate of capitalism cheerleaders such as Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.

Instead, he locates himself within the tradition of Emerson, Thoreau, and Josiah Warren. One of the consequences of this is that he must try to juggle a rugged individualism “each person is the owner of herself, or is self-sovereign,” p.

Crispin Sartwell

Emerson made the connection by positing the Oversoul. Sartwell has no such convenient deus ex sarywell, and argues that radical individuality is enhanced by relatedness and therefore isn’t incompatible with it.

sarhwell I find his argument unpersuasive. But in all fairness to him, the defense is presented more as a sketch than a fullblown argument, and he refers readers to his previous books for a fuller account p. Anarchism, if nothing else, is a valuable gadfly whose sting reminds the rest of us that the political institutions we take as part of the natural landscape in fact can be called into question.

It’s good to ssartwell Sartwell’s book buzzing in our ears. There’s a lot of nonsense used to support social-systems of slavery, Crispin Sartwell does an excellent job of pointing it out. And the nonsense just keeps on coming, like the 1 star comment on this book that makes the irrational conclusion that anarchy can’t work because we can’t have universal consensus. For those not so deluded, give this book a read with an open mind. If you have any interest in Anarchist theory, or for that matter any political theories justifying the existence of States atainst is close to perfect.

Bottom criepin, I recommend this to friends. One person found this helpful. Best single volume introduction to anarchism around. Sartwell makes compelling and convincing arguments.


This book served as a great introduction to anarchist theory and offered insightful analysis into the monotony of political theories we are all brainwashed into accepting as divine gospel. Crispin Sartwell gives a excellent overview why government is contigent on force and coercion.

However he does not give reason why force and coercion are not necessary for an orderly society. Like most anarchists, he does not give the ways cripin anarchist society could come about and be maintained. I guess one star is as criwpin as I can rate this “pamphlet” at only pages of text it’s hard to call it a book.

In short this text is little more then a High School exercise in dicing 18th. Century Political Philosophers like: Locke, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau etc. Marx is dismissed out of hand as being a ” Ok, so a state of anarchy can’t possably exist, wow big news.

This book adds nothing to the dicussion of anarchy, in fact after reading it one has empithy for the lower divisional poly sci. Professor Sartwell as an instructor. See all 8 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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Crispin Sartwell – Wikipedia

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