After working as the editor of a newspaper in Temecula, California, and of a journal published by La Sierra University, and teaching courses in religion and philosophy at Loma Linda University and California Baptist University, Chartier enrolled at the UCLA School of Law. At UCLA, he studied with philosophers including Stephen R. Munzer, Seana Shiffrin, and Pamela Hieronymi, with the political theorist Stephen Gardbaum, with former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, and with constitutional law scholar Kenneth L. Karst; he graduated in 2001 as a member of the Order of the Coif and as the recipient of the Judge Jerry Pacht Memorial Award in Constitutional Law. He had served during law school as lecturer in business ethics at La Sierra; a full-time academic appointment began in September 2001. Following a 2005 stint as lecturer in law at Brunel University, Chartier was promoted to the rank of associate professor and tenured at La Sierra in 2008. He became associate dean of La Sierra's business school in 2009; he was promoted to the rank of professor in 2012. He was named La Sierra's first Distinguished Professor effective January 2016.
Chartier serves as a member of the editorial board of the Libertarian Papers, as a member of the advisory board of and an article reviewer for the Journal of Philosophical Economics, as a trustee and senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society, a contributor to Spectrum magazine, and treasurer (formerly chair and Western Region vice-chair) of the Riverside CountyLibertarian Party. He is a contributor to the Bleeding Heart Libertarians weblog; he has used the website to argue in favor of anarchy, and against having a criminal justice system.
Chartier had abandoned his earlier libertarian views by the time he entered graduate school. Despite his support for the anti-authoritarian New Left and the fact that his doctoral dissertation had called for radical political decentralization, his earlier work in political theory was, perhaps somewhat inconsistently, statist. It assumed, without criticism, that remedying poverty and reducing subordination, especially in the workplace, required the activity of the state.
Chartier defends a variant of natural law thinking, which he has employed in discussions of anarchism, economic life, and the moral status and claims of non-human animals, as well as such other topics as sexuality and lying.
Chartier offers an understanding of property rights as contingent but tightly constrained social strategies—reflective of the importance of multiple, overlapping rationales for separate ownership and of natural law principles of practical reasonableness, defending robust but non-absolute protections for these rights in a manner similar to that employed by David Hume. This account is distinguished both from Lockean and neo-Lockean views which deduce property rights from the idea of self-ownership and from consequentialist accounts that might license widespread ad hoc interference with the possessions of groups and individuals. Chartier uses this account to ground a clear statement of the natural law basis for the view that solidaristic wealth redistribution by individual persons is often morally required, but as a response by individuals and grass-roots networks to particular circumstances rather than as a state-driven attempt to achieve a particular distributive pattern. He advances detailed arguments for workplace democracy rooted in such natural law principles as subsidiarity, defending it as morally desirable and as a likely outcome of the elimination of injustice rather than as something to be mandated by the state. He discusses natural law approaches to land reform and to the occupation of factories by workers. He objects on natural-law grounds to intellectual property protections, drawing on his theory of property rights more generally. And he develops a general natural law account of boycotts.
Chartier argues for anarchism on the basis that the state is unnecessary, illegitimate, and dangerous, and that the elimination of the state will unleash human creativity. His affinity for anarchism differentiates him from other proponents of natural-law ethics. Natural law theorists from St. Thomas Aquinas to the present have frequently been statists. They have often rejected consent-based theories of state authority as unrealistic, arguing instead, in a manner similar to David Hume's, that actually existing states deserve allegiance because of their capacity to preserve order. Chartier contends that the state is not needed to maintain social order, and that natural law theorists need not be attached to it in preference to other means of maintaining order, including custom, convention, and various voluntary arrangements. He has also linked his concerns with anarchism and natural law theory indirectly by defending anarchism against objections levelled by natural law theorist Mark C. Murphy. Murphy has maintained that all arguments for "philosophical anarchism" fail because they misconstrue the nature of many people's support for the authority of state-made law and that people who believe in the authority of state-made law are entitled to retain their beliefs in the face of anarchist criticism. Chartier argues in response that for many people, at least, belief in state authority is defeasible and can rightly be undermined by positive arguments against particular justifications for the authority of state-made law. Also important to his defense of anarchism is his detailed justification for the conclusion that, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, the institutions of a consensual, polycentric legal order can enforce the law without becoming morally indistinguishable from states. Even in Economic Justice and Natural Law, which is not concerned particularly with anarchism, he explicitly challenges the necessity of the state, and his discussion of law in a natural law context focuses on "communal norms, rules, and institutions"—which need not be maintained using force and which are intended to be understood as elements of a polycentric legal order—rather than on state-made laws.
Chartier has been an active participant in discussions among market anarchists and others about the aptness of "capitalism" as a label for what some participants in the conversation have termed "freed markets" in order to distinguish them from existing economic arrangements, which they see as shot through with statist privilege. He has argued that proponents of genuinely freed markets should explicitly reject capitalism and identify with the global anti-capitalist movement, while emphasizing that the abuses the anti-capitalist movement highlights result from state-tolerated violence and state-secured privilege rather than from voluntary cooperation and exchange. According to Chartier, "it makes sense for [left-libertarians] to name what [it is] they oppose [in] 'capitalism.' [And by d]oing so . . . ensure that advocates of freedom aren't confused with people who use market rhetoric to prop up an unjust status quo, and[, therefore,] express solidarity between defenders of freed markets and workers— as well as [with] ordinary people around the world who use 'capitalism' as a short-hand label for the world-system that constrains their freedom and stunts their lives." He has joined Kevin Carson, Charles Johnson, and others (echoing the language of Benjamin Tucker and Thomas Hodgskin) in maintaining that, because of its heritage and its emancipatory goals and potential, radical market anarchism should be seen—by its proponents and by others—as part of the socialist tradition, and that market anarchists can and should call themselves "socialists."
While supporting vegetarianism and affirming that non-human animals have moral standing, Chartier follows Stephen R. L. Clark in rejecting consequentialist defenses of vegetarianism like those offered by Peter Singer. Singer acknowledges that, on consequentialist grounds, it might seem as if there is little reason for individuals to be concerned about their dietary choices, since few of those choices will actually have consequences for any actual animals. But Singer maintains that some few dietary choices will, by crossing certain demand thresholds, dramatically increase production of animals for food and that taking this possibility into account provides good reason to avoid purchasing meat, since there is a small chance that a single meat purchase might lead to substantial negative consequences for many animals. Chartier dissects Singer's argument, maintaining that it is unsuccessful because it fails to take proper account of the actual characteristics of the meat production market (or any similarly enormous market). He examines in detail consequentialist, natural law, and virtue theoretic accounts of boycotting the meat industry, concluding that both natural law and virtue theory provide limited grounds on which a boycott might be defended, but that consequentialism does not. While he maintains, in tandem with the new classical natural law theorists, that consequentialism is in principle incoherent, he also challenges the factual predictions made by consequentialist proponents of the meat industry boycott.
Philosophy of religion and philosophical theology
Chartier's work in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology has focused especially on theodicy and divine action, but he has also addressed a range of other topics, including the significance of talk about God as personal, Christology, the relationship between God and ethics, and the idea of substitutionary atonement.
The meaning of God-language
Chartier has offered a reading of language about God as personal that partly parallels logical behaviorist interpretations of talk about consciousness. He suggests that, because we cannot pretend to know what God is like in se, this sort of reading, while inappropriate when applied to finite persons, could be helpful when used in relation to God.
Divine action and theodicy
He suggests that talk about divine action provides a necessary starting point for theological reflection, and argues that the only reasonable way to think about divine action, in turn, is to begin by considering the constraints on credible talk about divine providence imposed by the reality of suffering and evil. Reviewing a range of options in theodicy, he concludes that, while their underlying assumptions (and accounts of creation) are different, classical free willtheism and process theology lead to very similar predictions regarding what kinds of divine action are to be expected, and that, in connection with the task of constructive theology, there is therefore no need to choose between them, though the differences continue to matter with respect to questions in the philosophy of religion and philosophical theology.
When he does directly address questions related to theodicy, he implies that process philosophy offers a more satisfactory theodicy than any alternative approach to theism, but he argues that even the process approach has significant difficulty taking proper account of the reality of animal suffering. He maintains that Christian attempts to use the Incarnation as a component of theodicy are rendered problematic by the need to articulate belief in incarnational Christology using a robust account of divine action, which seems likely itself to make it harder to resolve the problem of evil (if God is in the business of working miracles, as such a robust view implies, why aren't there more of them?).
Theism and ethics
Chartier argues that divine command views of ethics turn out to be inconsistent with talk about God's love for the world. Talk about love in this context is meaningful only if some intelligible sense can be given to the notion of the beloved's well being that is independent of the choice of the lover, so the theist cannot maintain that God is love without acknowledging that some objective sense can be given to the notion of creaturely flourishing apart from God's will. The range of reasonable moral principles is constrained by facts about flourishing, and basic moral norms seem credible independently of the divine volition. And imposing obligations over and above those following from these principles would itself be an unloving thing to do.
Criticizing substitutionary accounts of atonement, Chartier notes that such theories purport to be committed to belief in retributive justice, and thus fall victim to standard objections to retributivism. At the same time, however, by allowing for substituted punishment, they imply a view of justice unlikely to be satisfactory to retributivists themselves.
Chartier is the author of eight scholarly books—An Ecological Theory of Free Expression, The Logic of Commitment, Public Practice, Private Law, Anarchy and Legal Order, Radicalizing Rawls, Economic Justice and Natural Law,The Analogy of Love, and The Conscience of an Anarchist—and of articles in journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Law and Philosophy, Legal Theory, the UCLA Law Review, and Religious Studies, the co-editor (with Charles Johnson) of Markets Not Capitalism and (with David M. Hart, Roderick T. Long, and Ross Kenyon) of Social Class and State Power, and the editor of The Future of Adventism.
Reactions to publications
David Gordon praised Radicalizing Rawls: "Chartier has written a book of outstanding merit. Radicalizing Rawls confirms his place as one of the best political philosophers of our time."
Reactions to Anarchy and Legal Order have been mixed, though frequently positive.
Reviewing the book in Common Knowledge, Peter Leeson described it as "intriguing" and classed it "among the most sophisticated ethical defenses of anarchy I have encountered." In Anarchist Studies, Eric Roark wrote: "Gary Chartier's Anarchy and Legal Order offers nothing less than a tremendous contribution to contemporary libertarian and anarchist thought." Roark highlighted what he characterized as a "compelling and rich vision of anarchy forged by a just legal regime." Edward Stringham characterized the book as "well written, thought provoking, and a welcome addition to the literature."
Aeon Skoble of Bridgewater State University suggested in a Reason review that Chartier's "arguments [in the book] are laid out with such elegance and precision that any intelligent lay reader should be able to understand them." Skoble writes: "Anarchy and Legal Order is an impressive contribution to libertarian thought generally, and in particular to the ongoing debates on anarchism versus minarchism and on libertarianism's place vis-a-vis the left/right dichotomy. It's a must-read for those interested in political philosophy, and it may well challenge readers' long-held beliefs about the nature of government." In a symposium in Studies in Emergent Order devoted to the book, Skoble added: "Chartier's argument demonstrates not only that natural law theory is compatible with spontaneous order theory, but also that what this confluence points to is a voluntary, polycentric legal order. The book is thus valuable not only for offering a robust defense of polycentrism, but for doing so in a way that ties together two important threads from the liberal tradition, natural law and spontaneous order, and in doing so, enhances our understanding of both." Also writing in the symposium, Jason Brennan criticized Chartier's reliance on the controversial new natural law theory and objected to his embrace of the theory's view that basic aspects of well being are incommensurable, a view Brennan suggested led to counterintuitive, implausible conclusions. While expressing some concerns about the feasibility of Chartier's proposals, Paul Dragos Aligica concluded: "Anarchy and Legal Order is currently the book to read if one wants to explore the potential and limits of natural law, non-aggression maxim, praxeology based doctrines of stateless social order. Austrian scholars of all persuasions will benefit immensely from engaging with its arguments and the intellectual precedent it creates."
Jonathan Crowe called Economic Justice and Natural Law "important and original." Timothy Chappell declared that it was "[e]ssential reading" and maintained that it was "elegant, clear, and well-informed." According to Stephen Munzer, it was "perceptive, timely, and beautifully ordered" and featured arguments that were "probing and trenchant." By contrast, St. John's University economist Charles Clarke criticized the book's anarchism, evaluating it as insufficiently attentive to the need for governmental involvement in the economy and as unduly similar in tone to the work of Austrian economists. The book was the focus of a Molinari Society session at the April 2011 San Diego convention of the American Philosophical Association's Pacific Division.
The Analogy of Love received mixed reviews. In the course of a tepidly favorable assessment, Timothy Gorringe maintained that some passages disposed him to "reach for the whiskey bottle," though he also observed that the book did "not parade its erudition" and suggested that it was "consistently on the side of the angels." By contrast, Ian Markham characterized the book as "a rare treat," labelling it "[c]ompelling, well-argued, crystal clear and deeply creative" and identifying it as "[a]n absolute must-read." Paul Ballard described Analogy as "extremely well informed and researched," as "comprehensive," and as "rich, sensitive and insightful." Ballard evaluated the book's "style of presentation" as "remarkably lucid and jargon free" and as "spare, simple, direct and logical, cutting to the heart of a discussion." 
Stephan Kinsella has described Chartier's third book as "the best of the crop of political 'conscience' books." Jeff Riggenbach maintains that "[l]ibertarians who are now in their teens and twenties could do far worse than to let their own attention be captured by Gary Chartier's Conscience of an Anarchist." According to Aeon Skoble, "Chartier's arguments are logically well structured and rhetorically effective. His writing style is clear and straightforward." Skoble emphasizes that "[p]eople with a background in philosophy or economics will find the arguments interesting and not simplistic, yet any intelligent lay reader will find the book accessible." Skoble says the book features "five chapters of convincing argument that the state causes terrible problems for no justifiable reason."
Authored scholarly books
Flourishing Lives: Exploring Natural Law Liberalism. New York: CUP 2019. ISBN978-1108493048.
A Good Life in the Market: An Introduction to Business Ethics. Great Barrington, MA: American Institute for Economic Research 2019. ISBN978-1630691691.
Hart, David M., Chartier, Gary, Kenyon, Ross Miller, and Long, Roderick T., eds. Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition. New York: Palgrave 2018. ISBN978-3319648934.
The Future of Adventism: Theology, Society, Experience. Ann Arbor, MI: Griffin 2015. ISBN978-0692520215.
Chartier, Gary, and Johnson, Charles W., eds. Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty. New York: Minor Compositions-Autonomedia 2011. ISBN978-1570272424. OCLC757148527
Chartier, Gary, ed. Law and Anarchism: Legal Order and the Idea of a Stateless Society. Griffith Law Review 21.2 (2012): 293-498.
"Contracts and Vows." Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 5.3 (2016): 482-509.
"Incommensurable Basic Goods.' Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 40 (2015): 1-16.
"Self-Integration as a Basic Good: A Response to Chris Tollefsen." American Journal of Jurisprudence 52 (2007): 293-6.
"Niebuhr's Ghost?" Essay rev. of The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, by Peter Beinart. Conversations in Religion and Theology 5.1 (2007): 91–115.
(Dunn, Deborah K., and Chartier, Gary.) "Pursuing the Millennium Goals at the Grassroots: Selecting Development Projects Serving Rural Women in Sub-Saharan Africa." UCLA Women's Law Journal 15.1 (Fall 2006): 71–114.
"A Progressive Case for a Universal Transaction Tax." Maine Law Review 58.1 (2006): 1–16.
"Toward a Consistent Natural Law Ethics of False Assertion." American Journal of Jurisprudence 51 (2006): 43–64.
"On the Threshold Argument against Consumer Meat Purchases." Journal of Social Philosophy 37.2 (Sum. 2006): 235–51. ISSN0047-2786
"Truth-Telling, Incommensurability, and the Ethics of Grading." Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal 3.1 (2003): 37–81.
"Contested Practices: Arthur Isak Applbaum's Ethics for Adversaries." Jahrbuch für Recht und Ethik 10 (2002): 254–77
"Righting Narrative: Robert Chang, Poststructuralism, and the Limits of Critique." UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal 7.1 (Spring 2001): 105–32.
"Civil Rights and Economic Democracy." Washburn Law Journal 40.2 (Winter 2001): 267–87.
Rev. of The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles. Journal of Value Inquiry 52.4 (2018): 517-21.
"Getting Crony Capitalism Half Right." Rev. of The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, by Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles. Reason. Reason Foundation, May 2018 <[reason.com] -half>. Nov. 30, 2018.
Rev. of Social Justice Isn't What You Think It Is, by Michael Novak and Paul Adams with Elizabeth Shaw. Independent Review 21.2 (Fall 2016): 302-6.
Rev. of Anarchy, State, and Public Choice, ed. Edward Stringham. Review of Austrian Economics 28.3 (Sep. 2015): 361-3.
"Liberating Capitalism?" Rev. of Why Not Capitalism?, by Jason Brennan. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 15.1 (2015): 97-103.
Rev. of Anarchy Unbound, by Peter Leeson. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 28.1 (Jan. 2015): 237-40.
"A Definitive History of Millerism." Rev. of Millennial Fever and the End of the World: A Comprehensive Survey of Millerism and America's Fascination with the Millennium in the Nineteenth Century, by George R. Knight. Adventist Heritage 16.3 (Spring 1995): 41–3.
^Gary Chartier, "Toward a Theology and Ethics of Friendship" (PhD diss., U of Cambridge 1991) ch. 4.
^See, e.g., Gary Chartier, "Peoples or Persons? Revising Rawls on Global Justice," Boston College International and Comparative Law Review 27.1 (Winter 2004): 1–97; "A Progressive Case for a Universal Transaction Tax," Maine Law Review 58.1 (2006): 1–16; The Analogy of Love: Divine and Human Love at the Center of Christian Theology (Exeter: Imprint Academic 2007) 126-8.
^See Stephen R. L. Clark, Civil Peace and Sacred Order, Limits and Renewals 1 (Oxford: Clarendon-OUP 1989); "Slaves and Citizens" and "Anarchists against the Revolution," The Political Animal: Biology, Ethics, Politics (London: Routledge 1999).
^See Gary Chartier, Economic Justice and Natural Law (Cambridge: CUP 2009). This book is principally an exercise in applied ethics, in which differences from other natural law views are more described than defended; it nonetheless addresses some more fundamental theoretical issues. These include the differences between natural law views and others regarding the character of practical reason and the limits of the arguments offered by other natural law theorists regarding the authority of the state.
^"Natural Law, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Politics of Virtue," UCLA Law Review 48.6 (Aug. 2001): 1593–1632.
^See "Toward a Consistent Natural Law Ethics of False Assertion," American Journal of Jurisprudence 51 (2006): 43–64; "Self-Integration as a Basic Good: A Response to Chris Tollefsen," American Journal of Jurisprudence 52 (2007: 293–6)
^See Gary Chartier, Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics for a Stateless Society (New York: Cambridge UP 2013) 44-156.
^See Gary Chartier, "Natural Law and Non-Aggression," Acta Juridica Hungarica 51.2 (June 2010): 79–96 and, for an earlier version, Justice 32–46.
^"In Defence of the Anarchist," Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 29.1 (2009): 115–38.
^Gary Chartier, "Enforcing the Law and Being a State," Law and Philosophy 31.1 (2012): 99–123.
^Chartier clearly intends Economic Justice and Natural Law to be read as an anarchist text; see Gary Chartier, "An Anarchist Text?" For the brief challenge to state authority in the book, see Justice 26-9. Chartier's Thomist view that multiple possible property systems might (within tight constraints) be just allows for a broader range of property rules than, e.g., many modern Lockeans might find appropriate; see, e.g., Justice 32–46, 69–122.
^See, e.g., Gary Chartier, "Natural Law and Animal Rights," Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 23.1 (2010): 33–46.
^See the discussion of consequentialism and meat purchases in Gary Chartier, "Consumers, Boycotts, and Non-Human Animals," Buffalo Environmental Law Journal 12 (Spring 2005): 123–94. Singer's own position is articulated in Peter Singer, Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, 2d ed. (London: Cape 1990); Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2d ed. (Cambridge: CUP 1993) 55–63. For Clark's rejection of consequentialist arguments for the vegetarian position he himself endorses, see Stephen R. L. Clark, The Moral Status of Animals, 2d ed. (Oxford: Clarendon-OUP 1984) x–xi; Stephen R. L. Clark, "Vegetarianism and the Ethics of Virtue," Food for Thought: The Debate over Eating Meat, ed. Stephen F. Sapontzis (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus 2004) 139, 146; Stephen R. L. Clark, Animals and Their Moral Standing (London: Routledge 1998) 100.