Este livro aborda o problema fundamental da filosofia política: o problema de prestar contas à autoridade do governo. Essa autoridade sempre me pareceu intrigante e problemática. Por que 535 pessoas em Washington deveriam ter o direito de emitir ordens para 300 milhões de pessoas? E por que os outros devem obedecer? Essas perguntas, como afirmo nas páginas a seguir, não têm respostas satisfatórias.
Por que isso é importante? Quase todo discurso político se concentra em que tipo de políticas o governo deve fazer, e quase todo mundo - seja na filosofia política ou nos fóruns populares - pressupõe que o governo tenha um tipo especial de autoridade para emitir ordens para o resto da sociedade. Quando discutimos sobre qual deveria ser a política de imigração do governo, por exemplo, normalmente pressupomos que o Estado tenha o direito de controlar o movimento de entrada e saída do país. Quando discutimos sobre a melhor política tributária, pressupomos que o Estado tenha o direito de obter riqueza dos indivíduos. Quando discutimos sobre a reforma da saúde, pressupomos que o Estado tenha o direito de decidir como a assistência médica deve ser prestada e paga. Se, como espero convencê-lo, esses pressupostos estão equivocados, quase todo o nosso discurso político atual está equivocado e deve ser fundamentalmente repensado.
Quem deveria ler esse livro? As questões abordadas aqui são relevantes para qualquer pessoa interessada em política e governo. Espero que meus colegas filósofos aproveitem, mas também espero que alcance além desse pequeno grupo. Portanto, tentei minimizar o jargão acadêmico e manter a redação o mais clara e direta possível. Não pressuponho nenhum conhecimento especializado.
Este é um livro de ideologia extremista? Sim e não. Defendo algumas conclusões radicais nas páginas seguintes. Mas, embora eu seja extremista, sempre me esforcei para ser razoável. Eu raciocino com base no que me parecem juízos éticos de senso comum. Não suponho uma grande teoria filosófica controversa, uma interpretação absolutista de algum valor particular ou um conjunto de afirmações empíricas duvidosas. Isso quer dizer que, embora minhas conclusões sejam altamente controversas, minhas premissas não são. Além disso, tenho me esforçado para abordar pontos de vista alternativos de maneira justa e razoável. Considero detalhadamente as tentativas mais interessantes e plausíveis de justificar a autoridade governamental. Quando se trata de minha própria visão política, abordo todas as importantes objeções encontradas na literatura e na tradição oral. Sendo a política como é, não posso esperar convencer partidários comprometidos de outras ideologias. Meu objetivo, no entanto, é convencer aqueles que mantém a mente aberta em relação ao problema da autoridade política.
O que há neste livro? Os capítulos 2 a 5 discutem teorias filosóficas sobre a base da autoridade do Estado. O capítulo 6 discute evidências psicológicas e históricas sobre nossas atitudes em relação à autoridade. O capítulo 7 faz a pergunta, se não há autoridade, como os cidadãos e funcionários do governo devem se comportar? É aqui que as recomendações práticas mais imediatas aparecem. A parte II do livro propõe uma estrutura social alternativa não baseada em autoridade. Os capítulos 10 a 12 abordam os problemas práticos mais óbvios para essa sociedade. O último capítulo discute se e como as mudanças que recomendo podem ocorrer.
Desejo agradecer a alguns amigos e colegas que me ajudaram neste livro. Bryan Caplan, David Boonin, Jason Brennan, Gary Chartier, Kevin Vallier, Matt Skene, David Gordon e Eric Chwang fizeram comentários valiosos que ajudaram a eliminar erros e melhorar o texto em vários lugares. Sou grato pela generosidade deles. Se houver algum erro, o leitor pode procurar esses professores e perguntar por que não os corrigiram. O trabalho foi concluído com a ajuda de um fellowship do Centro de Ciências Humanas e Artes da Universidade do Colorado no ano acadêmico de 2011-12, pelo qual também sou grato por essa assistência.
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