Anarchism: threat or menace? (Scott Graves, this means you)

Okay, forgive me the attention-getting headline. 

Scott Graves has proclaimed himself an anarchist. I went through this phase for about a year when I was in my late teens. Since then, I think I've come to my senses. But I'm willing to give it a second look.

So, Scott, you have a lonely task ahead of you explaining...

that anarchism is a viable, workable, and sustainable political system

how an anarchistic country can participate in international relations 

whether anarchy is compatible with anarchism

indeed, in what sense and how can a country be a country under anarchism? well as any other questions TA'ers may pose.

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Before he gives it a go...I have to admit that for some things Anarchy can be great. Technological anarchy brought about boundless change in telecommunication and an open creative user controlled internet. The outside control of it has led to proprietary software and clickbait and government spying. Artistic anarchy brought about a total revolution in every kind of art. Without it we wouldn't have the creepy sound track to scary movies or Magritte's this is not a pipe painting or cartoons where no one speaks. Architectural anarchy is still turning out buildings that break every rule except safety standards. Economic anarchy (with some limits) is essential for economic growth and prosperity (there are many sociopaths who claim these limits should dissapear). Political/social anarchy though...dangerous toxic stuff. I'm looking forward to Scotts reply.

So, Scott, you have a lonely task ahead of you explaining...

No.... explanations aren't good enough. I can explain loads of things but when it comes to the real world, anyone's explanations can be wrong for a multitude of reasons.

For me, it's the assumption that people will be nice to each other and follow rational, logical, thoughts about how to behave. Sounds lovely, and if it were true, an anarchistic society would indeed work well... On the other hand, if it were true, why don't we see it today?

Looking forward to hearing from Scott and responding as appropriate.

Noam Chomsky (there, I said it) talks about it here.

Since proclaiming his anarchist manifesto, Scott seems to have gone on hiatus.

Yeah, if human nature could be counted on to have no need of laws, etc, because everyone treated everyone else fairly, etc, it could probably work...but, only in as much as not needing armies or enforcing agencies, etc.

The would still be people who get sick or injured, are not skilled, be in floods fires and tsunamis, etc, and, sometimes they would fall by the wayside.

If the "fair" part included charity, that would be a mitigating factor...but would an anarchy, technically, ALLOW a group effort, say to save victims in a tsunami on the other side of a continent, if everyone on the impacted side needed help?

Infrastructure would be a giant missing link.

Water, electricity, gas, etc...these things require a lot of work/$..., with no government, we'd be in the stone age.

If we started with what we have now, considering the condition of many bridges, etc, WITH governments, it would all fall apart in a while, and THEN we'd be back in the stone age.

As humans are varied, even if most ARE going to be decent even if there's no laws...SOME will be opportunists, and, knowing its anarchy, take advantage of the other decent people.

These decent people would gather their resources, pool their forces, and defeat the barbarian hordes, and evolve governments such as we have now, give or take.

They would not forge an anarchy, as that's what mankind started with, and we all know how THAT worked out.


I don't remember if it was Scott, but someone recently wrote that our current isms aren't compatible with human nature, implying that anarchism is the most compatible with human nature. I'd like to point out that in no period of primate or human evolution was anarchy a trait with positive selection value. In fact, we're a very social species.


Even Bonobo's are not anarchists.

They have a top bannana for example.

So if you just count laws/taboos/rules, etc...we dropped anarchy before we could write.

Even the barbarian hordes had laws and rules, etc.

If the laws were bad, or the enforcement was bad, etc...we could revolt, and start over with a better system, or at least a new system to see if it might work better, etc.

Its anarchy that doesn't fit human nature...not the other way around.

We'd all have to be perfect little angels who worked like ants for the common good, w/o concern for our personnal welfare relative to our concern for the common good, etc.

If pure socialism worked, it would also require that for example.

I'm JUST hearing about Democratic Socialism (Bernie...), and, it sounds like the word socialism is going to kill him for those old enough to think of communism when we hear it...but its possible that college age kids, or those too young for the communist association of the word, would be ok with it.

From what I understand, he wants free college, free medical care, and other social programs, but not gov ownership of business or other "socialist" concepts.

I'd go with that over anarchy at least.


I was at a talk given by Camille Paglia (long before she went crazy) and during discussion time someone disputed something she wrote in her tome Sexual Personae about how we'd be better off with a matriarchy and she replied in much the same way: if matriarchy gave a society survival value why aren't we living in one?

I don't know how broad you want your topic to be (even before Scott has had a day to respond), but I wish the whole world could go matriarchal asap, before testosterone-driven posturing causes global damage. I know, it's unlikely, but really, the stakes keep going up. I would even grant the possibility that world-wide anarchy could corrupt civilization so much that we wouldn't be able to wreak such global damage on each other.

Meanwhile, anarchy is bound to be crushed any time there's an organized power nearby. Even if it's just ISIS.

Like Camille said...

You put your finger on one of anarchy's main problems: disorganization can't fight organization.

I often find that would-be anarchists espouse this viewpoint from within the comfort of a stable, democratic establishment.

Ask a villager in a war-torn country how much she values anarchy after her husband and children have been slaughtered by the local warlord because he has a big gun and no-one to stop him. Whilst you're at it, ask her how much she would give to live in a country with a stable, boring infrastructure.

Anarchism is an understandable teenage rebellion but it is ultimately a classic case of not appreciating what you have until it is gone.

Simon, I agree.

I don't necessarily feel that proof of something not working is that we're not doing if I lived in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, the question would have different answers as to WHY we were not doing it differently, etc.

Might makes right, and historically, power was seized not voted on.

Males historically dominated society, and, made the rules (Read the bible for example...holy crap), so, if you're an elephant, etc, there might be a woman in charge....of running things....but, when the bull male is in must, she still is subservient to him.

So, would a female run government be better, as a government?  Possibly, woman are typically better socially and so forth because in modern society at least, they have to be better than men to compensate for the physical and cultural advantages men have had.

Men, raised to be more reasonable and less "testosterone driven" would also work, being more like woman.

The problems would, as always, arise when there is a conflict.  The side that went to war w/o hesitation historically has more leverage in negotions for peace.  IE: The side that is most afraid of losing is willing to give up more to avoid it...and the side not afraid of losing can take a harder line on their demands.

Why won't a bear attack a wolverine, even though the bear would "win"?  Same concept...there's a ROI/Cost benefit ratio that means one side will fight to the death/be unreasonable about accepting their weaker position...making negotiation not work well.

The bear knows it can win, but its just not worth it to do so.

Machismo is the equivalent can't back down, as you lose face, etc.  

The 300 Spartans LOST, but, you remember them as costing the enemy so dearly that we remember them heroically.

THAT is the male dominated world's advantage.

If the "female nations" were going to be an improvement, the stereotype is that they would give up a lot in concessions to avoid war....because they'd be less drivn to not back down.

That prevents some from wanting a female leader.

It doesn't prevent all nations though, and there are several with female leaders.

It would take a while for the stereotypes to be overthrown based upon historical evidence.  IE: A generation of people who saw Ms Honey Badger/Wolverine in action too.



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