Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Faith In Anarchy Is Flawed

In response the post by PJC, just below (I recommend you read that one first, it is quite good and I hope provides some context for my rant).

The Government does not hate you. The Government does not like you. It is indifferent. The Government is not an entity with feelings, remorse, ethics or conscious.

The government isn't an entity, and I'm a little insulted you capitalized it because I don't think it really warrants the status of a proper known. Or... do you think there's a guy in Washington named Government who's running everything? :P

It is a collective of individuals working according to rigid flawed guidelines.

Quite flawed, but not rigid. The guidelines can, and do change.

I think I can address the rest of your essay in general. The state is not flawless, merely more restrained than anarchy.

There is no such thing as "Government." The concept it represents is present in all things, from the individual mind to the family to the village, on up to the largest collective body we agree to acknowledge and enforce. Decisions will always be made, and people will always be victimized. The question is: how many?

What you are actually talking about is a call to abolish the federal constitutional democracy, not government. Anarchy is government, it merely puts all the responsibilities of the state squarely on the individuals and the groups they choose to form amongst themselves. A constitutional democracy calls for limits of governmental power, selection of leaders through election, and a means of changing leadership and laws. The government doesn't make anyone in it special, on this point you are quite correct.

When a police officer kills someone and plants a gun on them, it is a crime. But last I checked, you don't need a badge to commit murder and get away with it. You can be rich and hire an amazing team of defense attorneys. The jury may take sympathy on you. You may not be caught. But even with all the cracks in the system, less innocent people are murdered per capita in our country than in any nation that practices anarchy, and trial-by-jury is far superior in every way to mob justice.

I don't pretend to give excuses for anyone who abuses their government position. On the contrary, I support greater punishment for those who take advantage of the system, because they have committed both the crime itself and have broken the trust of the public. Public officials are too often given a pass, and this should be changed. But why not do away with government all together?

Think of gun logic. Just because some people use guns for wrong does not mean we should aim to abolish them. Even if we could magically snap our fingers and make all guns disappear and their future production cease, people would still stab each other, club each other, throw each other off cliffs, burn each other alive... basically, there was no shortage of murder before guns were even invented.

The same is true for our government. There would not be less abuse of power. In fact, I would bet my life there would be more: a vast series of smaller-scale offenses, with no recourse for those unable to stand up to the abusers.

What we need is regulation. We need to regulate the government itself, and we have the ability to do this. The government is not some big, scary entity that is apart from us. The government is not the enemy. The government is us, and if we have a problem with it, perhaps we're that problem. Perhaps some of us who see problems in the system are too lazy to try to fix it, and would rather throw their hands in the air and quit.

I agree with you that a utopia is not possible, but on the spectrum of what type of society is most desireable, I would not place anarchy ahead of democracy. Anarchy is "might makes right" at the individual level, with no restrictions, no limits, and no hope for future justice.

There may be a day when the criminals leading us astray will swing from the gallows, but not if we turn to anarchy. Do you really think those who have consolidated power right now would be the ones most in danger if a revolution hit?

It is we, the angry masses who feel powerless, who have the most to gain by retaining our democratic voice, and the most to lose if we allow ourselves to bicker over the legitimacy of the only system that enfranchises the common man with the ability to stand up to the most powerful people on Earth.

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