Posts Tagged: anarchy

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A free society would encourage better behavior by opening numerous opportunities for self-improvement and social cooperation. Sure there will always be people who appear irredeemable, but how many would there really be? More importantly, how can they be treated and possibly re-integrated into society while they are kept from harming the rest of us? Anarchy offers numerous options for experimentation, in contrast to the state which offers a politically-entrenched machine which profits from suffering. Anarchy allows different arrangements to compete for popular support without the benefit of entrenched power or the political limiting of options. Government compels acquiescence. …

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“There are many ideas to navigate on the course to liberty. Examining the relations between several sets of seemingly unrelated or contradictory concepts can provide a clearer picture of the way forward to a libertarian society. The following ten explorations are both philosophical and action-oriented. They will hopefully help establish a stronger foundation to the pursuit of liberty.” —Darian Worden

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The earliest form of government everywhere appears as that of the strong man, or best warrior. … His wealth, acquired by superior strength and skill, enables him to have a fortified house, a chariot, an armed retinue, while his people have nothing of the sort. Under him they sally out to a neighboring state, destroy the men, and carry off the chattels and the women; and when similar calamities threaten them, he only can protect them. He rules with absolute power, gives a friend a few cities as a compliment, disdains to reason with the populace except with blows. All forms of government are modifications of this primitive tyranny. 

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In fact, I am a die-hard anarchist. (This, even, from a person who refuses even to describe herself as “feminist” because she has too many disagreements with what most people consider feminism.) The one label, other than mother, that I use with comfort is “anarchist.” I fucking love the ideology of anarchism. Even if I find it hard to connect with the theory of crusty old Russians — possibly more relevant to male industrial revolution-era workers than to poor mothers of the 21st century — I will always be passionately convinced that each person deserves access to all the necessary tools to make her life what she wants it to be; that we don’t have to go knocking on some rich, educated person’s door, or tug on our congressman’s coat to ask politely for some solutions; that everyone on earth deserves justice, and to experience the richness of human life, now, not later; and that people should be held accountable for the messes we’ve created. That is my anarchism.

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Typically, the media definition of “anarchy” and “anarchists” are far detatched from their true meanings. The former is commonly associated with chaos, destruction, mob rule, and the idea that “do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” The latter are usually depicted as terrorists, thugs and rioters, or at best idealists detatched from reality.

This is, of course, not true. Rather, it is a perception deliberately put about by the media and governments since the advent of the movement to disuade people from following it. Today, I am guessing that it may even have resulted in people holding anarchic views without knowing that they are that or shying away from using the term because of the attached social stigma. Thus, the question I pose to my readers – those who do not already consider themselves to be anarchists, of course – is this;

Are you an anarchist?

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There is a lesson about anarchism that seems extraordinarily hard to learn, even though we are constantly confronted with it: As a tradition and as an idea, anarchism is essentially ungovernable. As an idea, it is too basic and logical a response to the statist status quo to remain the exclusive domain of any particular class or faction of dissenters. As a tradition, it emerged alongside many of the categories we presently use to distinguish those classes and factions, positing itself, at its origins, as much as an alternative to those classificatory schemes as fodder for their work.

When it is a question of a choice between more-or-less anarchist approaches, we should certainly expect everyone to proclaim the overwhelming advantages of their particular theory or strategy—and if there are certain rhetorical advantages to “no true Scotsman” sorts of arguments, they will be used, and their use may help us to focus on what the real essence of anarchism might be. But let’s be clear when we’re being rhetorically clever or expedient, and acknowledge that there is no question of forcing any fraction of the thought that has a legitimate claim to the title of “anarchism” into the little ideological boxes that most of us favor. That ship has sailed. Anarchism hardly had a name before it had an internal diversity that no amount of spinning is ever going to reduce to a single orthodoxy.

And the more of our history that we uncover, the more irrevocably irreducible it will appear.

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In Defense of Anarchism

By Robert Paul Wolff

A crystal clear, classic argument by an esteemed analytic philosopher against the moral legitimacy of governmental authority.

"The dilemma which we have posed can be succinctly expressed in terms of the concept of a de jure state. If all men have a continuing obligation to achieve the highest degree of autonomy possible, then there would appear to be no state whose subjects have a moral obligation to obey its commands. Hence, the concept of a de jure legitimate state would appear to be vacuous, and philosophical anarchism would seem to be the only reasonable political belief for an enlightened man."

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By Kevin Carson

… As Ivan Illich put it, bureaucracies solve problems by escalation.  For example, government builds subsidized freeways and provides subsidized water and sewer infrastructure to outlying developments — and then deals with the increased sprawl by proposing new subsidized roads to “relieve congestion,” or a sales tax on the public at large to pay for expanding sewer capacity.  Before long, the local Growth Machine wonders why the new roads are filling up with new congestion from the strip malls and subdivisions that sprang up at every single exit. …

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