Monday, January 17, 2011

Anarchy I

Among many things, I call myself an anarchist. Why? The social conception of anarchy is the rule of the mob, chaos, destruction, mindless violence. The reality is nothing like that. This negative conception is a defamation proffered not my anarchists, but by the Left and the Right, by liberals and conservatives. The truth is, anarchy is the center. It is the belief that the rule of humanity by men, whether they be of a business or government bent, is contrary to nature, that men take control of society at the expense of freedom for individuals, always to the benefit of some at the expense of the many. Modern liberalism is on the pole side of communism; modern conservatism is on the pole side of fascism. The Anarchist understands he has all of these tendencies inside him, and he assails all in favor of freedom.

There is hardly a more loaded word in this culture than freedom. Conservatives likes to bandy it about, as if freedom is the right of any man to take control of whatever he may, as long as he is a capitalist. Because capitalism, they like to say, is ordained by God, just like Adam Smith said, though I suspect the spirit of Adam Smith weeps every time he hears a man use his name in support of corporate tyranny. The modern capitalist does not exercise freedom as much as he limits the freedom of others, as evident in the structure of the modern corporation, which is anti-democratic tyranny, and by the behavior of corporations globally, with the use of government to assure pro-corporate, tyrannical social structures in third-world countries.

Conversely, but similarly, the modern liberal argues for freedom in the form of equality, while striving to achieve it by expanding government - which inherently assures the inequality of individuals, by giving a considerable amount of unearned power to government officials, who inevitably wield it in a way that enslaves people to the notion of government as paternal patron, through which the majority of moneys should be distributed, as these government officials deem fit. The growth of the bureaucracy is deemed a triumph of the people, when it is really only the corrupt accumulation of power by a few at the expense of the many, a weakening of character generally, and the negation of individual responsibility.

That the collapse of Soviet Communism is a triumph of Capitalism is a widely held belief. Conservatism is ascendant in America in large part because of this perception. But that both systems are contrary to nature and thus not viable, has yet to be widely recognized. Capitalism is in point-of-fact the worse of the two, as it is amoral, inherently tyrannical, fundamentally insatiable, with a far greater staying power, inevitably leading not just to the destruction of society, but perhaps of the entire Earth. That we are oblivious to this has mostly to do with our high standard of living, which has less to do with any virtue of Capitalism as it does with an historically brief glut of energy in the form of fossil fuel. With that glut coming to an end, standards of living will collapse, and America will be more easily recognized for what it truly is, which is another form of the ages-old struggle between those who would rule and those who are ruled.

To this point it is clear I have said more about what Anarchy is not, than I have about what it is. I will try to elaborate in a different post. For now, suffice to say, Anarchy as a political state is democracy in its fullest form, the understanding that the vast majority of men and women are capable of self-rule. That so many today seem incapable of self-rule is less a description of human nature as it is a condemnation of amoral, capitalist competition, and slavish attachment to government largess. The anarchist is the purple blending of conservative red and liberal blue, and his animal is not the donkey or the elephant but the dragon (and the dove). The anarchist is the one who has overcome the desire to rule, who will not be ruled. He knows that whatever this may mean for him in this life, whatever difficulties this may bring, his is the natural state of the free man, which will one day again be the state of humanity, as it has been the way of cultures of the past. It is no easy thing to come to such an understanding, or to sustain it, in the midst of a culture so attentive to political extremes, so dependent on government largess and capitalist ideology. But it is right, it is just, and it is invigorating.


Robin Datta said...

Anarchy is not so much a matter of capitalism, socialism, economics, politics and the like as it is a matter of ethical principle. It is the logical outcome of non-aggression, the non-initiation of the use of force. Every government promotes the non-aggression principle, but falls short of universality of this principle by one exception: themselves. All governments claim for themselves the moral rectitude in initiating the use of force against the non-compliant even if peaceful, calling it "law enforcement". If not universally moral, non-aggression is not a matter of morals at all: with such a restriction it is no more than a personal preference, like the various flavors of ice cream.

No matter which way one cuts it, a person who supports any form of government, wittingly or unwittingly abrogates the non-aggression principle.

An anarchy is a society based on the voluntary association of individuals, in conformity with the non-aggression principle - without coercion.

Everyday Anarchy

Practical Anarchy

William Hunter Duncan said...

Well said. "Voluntary" and "Coercive" being favorites of capitalist language. Which is why the capitalist flirts with anarchism with his libertarianism, and why the communist so thoroughly hates anarchism.