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If, as George Washington said, "All government is force," is not resistance to government a necessary and morally superior corollary to resistance to force in general?

November 3, 2005

Response from Alexander George on November 10, 2005
That may be a corollary to the general claim that one ought to resist all force. But is the general claim true? Presumably, the thought behind the general claim is that all force is morally wrong and so resistance to it is morally permissible if not required. But is all force morally wrong? This is one way of casting the central topic in political philosophy: whether, and if so under what conditions, the state could have the right to use force over individuals to compel compliance with its commands. Anarchism takes the answer to be No. Utilitarian and social contract approaches believe the answer is Yes: under certain conditions, the establishment of a state that wields power over individuals can be justified. (See Question 452 for some references.)


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