A fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists do not assume that public officials are any more morally entitled to use force or to threaten people with violence than anyone else1. Anarchists therefore argue that officials are not entitled to enforce borders that prevent people with different birthplaces from associating with each other, for example. Or that officials are not entitled to force everyone to participate in a particular collective project that some may reject. In this sense, as Grayson English notes in this symposium, anarchism and democracy have a similar spirit, to the extent that democracy also denies that certain people have a greater entitlement to participate in political rule than others.
Another fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists generally think that it is very difficult to justify the violation of a non-liable person' natural rights, such as rights against force and coercion. For this reason, anarchists think that all people are equally required to refrain from using violence or coercing their compatriots. It is on this point that democrats and anarchists part ways. Democrats think that all people are equally entitled to determine how political acts of violence will be used and whether and when they and their compatriots will be coerced.
In response to the debates that have unfolded in this symposium, I find that democracy is no friend to anarchism, but that it may be an ally. A just society is one where people' natural rights are respected, and for this reason it requires the consent of those who are subject to any laws that go beyond enforcing protections for people' natural rights. Without people' consent, a law or political order is unjust. People do not consent to a law or political order just by having a vote over it, though one may preemptively consent to whatever law or order is favored by a vote. But people generally also do not preemptively consent to the laws and political orders that emerge from a vote of their compatriots either. Therefore, to the extent that democratic institutions enforce laws that go beyond the protection of people' natural rights, and use violence and threats of violence to enforce those laws, democratic institutions themselves violate people' natural rights and are therefore unjust as a matter of principle.
c4ss %28Center for a Stateless Society%29