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An Argument for Anarchism

Anarchism - the absence of government - is not utopian. As defined at Dictionary.com:

utopia - any visionary system of political or social perfection

Under anarchism violence against people and their property would still exist - just as it does under any form of statism. Anarchism is not utopian. Anarchism does not hail itself as social perfection.

Anarchism does not rest upon the ideal that man is perfectible. Anarchism rests upon the realization that man is not perfectible. History has shown that when man is given a monopoly on force, he will eventually use that monopoly for tyrannical purposes.

It is idealistic to assume that government can be perfected - that tyranny can be prevented when such an institution exists. The government should not be able to perform any action that is prohibited for the individual. Government should not be able to steal your money. Government should not be able to take your property. Government should not be able to murder you. Government should not be able to murder people in far off lands. However, as long as governments exist, they will perform these actions. It is unrealistic to think otherwise.

Where demand exists the market finds a way to supply it - given that the technological capacity exists to do so. People may ask, "who will build the roads?" Who builds the roads now? Answer: Construction companies. Would construction companies cease to exist if government ceased to exist? People may ask, "who would pay for the roads?" Who pays for the roads now? Answer: The people. Would people desiring roads refuse to pay for them if the government did not exist? All of the other possible "who would" questions could also be handled by the market.

One major "who would" question is, "who would protect us against foreign invasion?" Answer: The people - a well armed populace. It has been reported that Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII, once said:

"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."

One may rebut, "how can a well armed populace defend itself against a modernized army?" The united States military is the most technologically advanced military in the world. They have tanks, armored vehicles, advanced aircraft, superior body armor, superior weaponry, etc. How have they fared against the vastly less well trained, less well armored, and less well armed fighters in Afghanistan? At the apex of their power, the Russians failed there too.

To win a war, to take over a country, to govern a country successfully, it is not good enough to kill more of them than they kill of you. The consent (or complacency) of the people must be gained in the conqueror's favor. How hard do you suppose a free people fight? You can ask the British.

Government is not required - even for combating foreign invasion.

Why then do people allow government to rob them of 30%, 40%, 50%, ..., 99.999% of their labor? Why do people support a government that murders others at will across the globe? Answer: Complacency. People assume "this is how it always was, and this is how it always will be." What happens when "always" ends? What happens when the government collapses under its own weight? After all, history tells us that all governments eventually fall. Will the people ask for a king? Will the people ask the majority to enforce their will upon them once more? Will people forever seek to institute governments - even when it becomes known by all that tyranny will inevitably ensue?

Or, will people eventually break their chains and do away with government? Will people eventually service their needs solely through voluntary transactions in a free market?

Or, will people continue to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?

Anarchism is not utopian. However, limited government is an unachievable ideal that will always lead to tyranny.

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In what universe is a

In what universe is a guerrilla war against an occupation force preferable to crushing and decisive victory?

Ventura 2012

A "w" is a "w"

What does a "crushing and decisive victory" have to do with the price of tea in China?

Once George Zimmerman is aquitted...

you will see anarchy in many Amerikan cities.

Silence isn't always golden....sometimes it's yellow.

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry

Your response rests upon a false definition of anarchy...

Anarchy does not mean chaos.

What you are actually saying is, "Once Zimmerman is acquitted, you may see people rebelling against a decision of the state justice system."

That has nothing to do with anarchy.

You just defined chaos out of

You just defined chaos out of anarchy. This is the equivalent of the Communist apologists' Orwellian concept that the many Communist experiments were in fact not Communist because they did not end well.

Fact: Riots pertaining to an acquittal will be riots against a JUST, LAWFUL(under common law) result. Anarchy is certainly no more well equipped to defend against that that the current system.

Ventura 2012


I can't find any real argument for anarchy within your OP.

It seems to me that you're just critiquing our current views on the role of government.

People will always organize towards common goals. Whether you call those organizations government, clubs, tribes, clans or the mafia doesn't change the fact that they exist and have always existed.

Please understand that I agree with everything you have said in your OP but I just don't see how that makes anarchy any more attainable or how it would solve any of the problems that you have highlighted.

By attempting to argue for anarchy, I think you are practically arguing for a more local approach to limited government.

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.

There is a big difference...

Government enforces an involuntary organization on a population using a monopoly on force and involuntarily extracted funds from said population.

Voluntary organization through market solutions is a completely different thing.

Anarchism doesn't mean a lack of organization. Anarchism simply means a lack of government - a lack of involuntary organization through force.


I think people sometimes assume that there will be no organization or structure to society without rulers, but I believe that the contrary would be true. I believe there would be unbelievable networks/organizations that would efficiently and effectively provide for common needs of society.

Anarchy does not exist. The

Anarchy does not exist. The political structure will only become more localized. The lowest form of "anarchy" would be a family unit. The head of family would thus make and enforce the rules. If multiple families join together a natural leader will emerge and possibly with help of others,make rules and enforce them.

I think when most people dream of anarchy they really are looking for an objectivist society: a society that protects your God given rights of life liberty and pursuit of happiness. This means taxation is illegal. Laws are only necessary to set the boundaries of ones natural rights only because they collide with anothers rights.

In this type of government no one is ruling over you. But how to maintain this state...well you need an even better constitution than what the founding fathers created.

With all due respect...

"a family unit" can hardly be defined as a government.

Government, as I would define it, is a group of people maintaining a monopoly of force over a population that may or may not agree to its rule that operates by way of forcefully extracting revenue from said population.

That is a poor definition.

That is a poor definition. Governance is governance, regardless of whether it comes from the head of a house, or the head of a nation. Governance will always be.

Governance is governance, but not government

But a family is not a government. A family is typically a group of people who voluntarily come together to live. A government uses physical violence or the threat of said violence to coerce a population into compliance with its laws.

If your family is anything like government I feel bad for you, but that's certainly not the way *my* family treats me, and if they did they would no longer be my family.

*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

A Government is that which

A Government is that which governs, nothing more, nothing less. Don't tack on additional meaning to a definition which doesn't carry it.

Even a single man, inside his own mind, has a constitution, a government of sorts between the different factions of his psyche.

In order to have a meaningful debate...

both sides must first agree upon the definition of key terms. In the case of the OP, I think it is clear that the popular definition of government is implied.

Changing the definition of government to suit the purpose of your argument is implicitly advocating the NSA's redefinition of "collect" to suit their purposes.

It is obvious that in the popularly accepted definition of government that government is not meant as "a constitution, a government of sorts between the different factions" of a person's psyche.

I'm not sure about your claim that the OP's definition ...

... is the "popular" definition. The definition I have in my dictionary reads as follows:

1 [treated as sing. or pl. ] the governing body of a nation, state, or community ...
- the system by which a nation, state, or community is governed
- the action or manner of controlling or regulating a nation, organization, or people
- the group of persons in office at a particular time; administration
- another term for political science
- (governments) all bonds issued by the U.S. Treasury or other federal agencies
2 Grammar - the relation between a governed and a governing word

I have always been taught that families are the most basic, fundamental unit of society. It is in the family where we first learn about rules, authority, justice, working with others, and so on. Even though I never thought of the family unit as a mini-government, I can see how others would include it in the definition.

I do understand that most people in our culture today have a strong negative connotation with the word "government", so much so that they believe their connotation is a genuine part of the definition proper.

So what is the proper definition of an anarchy? The same definition I have gives two basic definitions; "a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority," and "absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal." Two very different connotations in those two definitions.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." -- Thomas Paine

The definition of anarchism in question was expressly

stated in the first sentence - the absence of government.

Using the definition you've provided:

1. The absence of a governing body of a nation, state, or community

Much the opposite, it is your

Much the opposite, it is your side that is attempting to twist the definition. You're trying to add all sorts of negative things to "government", as if they are an intrinsic part of the idea.

"A government uses physical violence or the threat of said violence to coerce a population into compliance with its laws."

Government is simply that which governs, and nothing more.

The definition

from dictionary.com:

government - the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states

[emphasis added]

The control that is mentioned in the definition is through the use of a monopoly on force. The above definition is what was meant in the OP.

Your tactics are what is called "moving the goal posts."

Understanding that the use of the word government was meant as an institution ruling over a population - which is in accordance with the listed definition - what is your argument against the abolition of such an institution?

1 : the act or process of

1 : the act or process of governing; specifically : authoritative direction or control


This definition, from Merriam Webster, would seem to support my argument, as it is more general.

Note that neither definition goes so far as to imply violence, theft or any other ill, which was your original contention.

Your tactics are what is called "moving the goal posts."

Governance is not the same as government....

Governance can exist in the absence of involuntary organization through force. For instance, self-governance exists with or without a government - whereby individuals restrain themselves from performing certain actions. Household governance would exist with or without government - whereby those living under the same roof agree to some set of rules. These are natural forms of governance that do not require a formal government - where the absence of a formal government is necessarily anarchism.

Same as my response to

Same as my response to MarcMadness.

In a way, we are in a

In a way, we are in a free-market society. Government is part of that market.

If person A can "beat" person B without government, so then person B goes about setting up government rules so now B can "beat" A, how is what B doing any more against the market than A? B is using every tool at his disposal to beat A.

Basically, what I mean is that government exists. It may not be fair, but life isn't fair. Deal with it.

Plan for eliminating the national debt in 10-20 years:

Overview: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/my-plan-for-reducin...

Specific cuts; defense spending: http://rolexian.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/more-detailed-look-a

you're right in that person B

you're right in that person B has beaten person A but thats only because person A was outsmarted. if anarchy catches on and government is defeated, then person A will have defeated person B and everyone will be much happier. govt doesnt necessarily have to exist just like slavery or religion doesnt necessarily have to exist. it just has to do with the consciousness level of the people living in the area.

f___ all forms of govt.

I am perfectly okay with government.

Just as long as it is not obligatory and I can opt out. Anyone who loves a master with the authority to legally steal, murder, and imprison can make that choice. But if there was an option we would have to come up with a new word because modern day governments by definition have a monopoly on the creation, enforcement, interpretation and application of the law. It also granted itself the authority to randomly charge its subjects an ever increasing amount for the monopolistic services it so inefficiently offers. It cannot allow itself to be optional because no rational person would sign up.

Thanks dw! Another good piece.

Thank you dducks...

I'll keep my fingers crossed that one day we can opt out!

You will never have

You will never have anarchism. People will always organize; we are social creatures. Remove government, and it will form again anew.

Perhaps there is a goal anarchists can work towards; keeping those organizations as small as possible. Work towards strengthening local governments, and weakening the power of the federal and state governments. Perhaps way off in the future, city states will be the norm, and the oppressive power of larger collectives will be nothing more than a memory.

Anarchy is not the absence of

Anarchy is not the absence of organization. It is merely the removal of the mandatory participation, in a particular geographic area, in a system that grants certain people the legal authority to steal, murder, and imprison the inhabitants of that area.

You are going to replace one

You are going to replace one mandatory association with another. Communities will form with their own "consent forms" necessary for entry into any geographic location, if they are serious about avoiding "coercion" at any cost.

Ventura 2012

A community can be defined as you and I than.

And if we sign a contract than it is not coercive or mandatory. It is completely voluntary. Communities can be libertarian or geographic or city-states or communist or tyrannical.

Ebay is great example of an anarchistic market. No police, no rulers, just some rules and a rating system. If you rip people off, no one will use you.

Yes, its voluntary, but the

Yes, its voluntary, but the reality is that its a distinction without a difference. Government operates by implied consent, if you dont like it you can leave. Presumably the anarchist community will be soooo much more just because you get to sign a form or are thrown out. Of course we all know that as the anarchist community grows it will adopt implied consent doctrine quite quickly.

EBay is backed up by government courts for expensive products. No one is going to buy a car or house on ebay and then rely on the ratings system alone. Having said that, I do not underestimate the power of reputation costs for merchants but they are not always sufficient.

Ventura 2012