A Final Retort to the Anarchist SetSubmitted by Molusk on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 03:47
O, my intrepid friends, brave pioneers and adventurers of uncharted political seas!
Allow me an observation, perhaps a little embarrassing.
You all choose, voluntarily, to continue to live under the protection of society and its laws, despite all the chest thumping and tough talk about your wish to dispense with all government and the tyranny of law by force.
Seems to me that all of you, despite your philosophical musings, continue by your free choice to live under the legal protection of a coercive society without much second thought. Or in your words, the political machinery of slavery.
So please, dispense with the histrionics. "Give up the act."
The market you worship and hold up as the essence of anarchy is a product of the law that protects property and makes economic activity possible.
The regularity and predictability of law, the recourse to the courts to uphold private agreements, the protection from antisocial elements and organized violence, this is what allows economic planning, activity and exchange to occur.
The selective process of competition has elevated societies with states and markets to the place they hold in the world today. It did not elevate societies with stateless arrangements to that place, because, if they ever existed at all for long, they failed.
You will claim "true anarchism was never tried" just like the communists lament "true communism was never tried." Without explaining why. Why isn't this most natural, true and just order of things pre-eminent? Why has it never been tried? Why has it not spread and succeeded?
You think that pointing to voluntary activity that occurs within the framework of coercive legal order is somehow an example of anarchy. That is as fallacious as socialists who point to economic activity within a system of capitalism, like the military or medicare, as the "success" of socialism.
The closest thing you will find to the anarchy you advocate, are communities and individuals who migrated outward from civilization into the wilderness, as settlers, and existed temporarily without written laws or courts. They did so on the basis of the civilized manners and habits of behavior they had learned and been trained in as scions of a civilization predicated on coercive legal order.
Much of the time they used violence to maintain the arrangements they made in these efforts -- they upheld voluntary contracts, indissoluble once signed, with free use of violence. Wagon trains headed westward, commercial ships bound into the lawless oceans. Individuals bound by voluntary contracts with violence as a last means of keeping them to their signatures.
Once settled in a stable society with property, with commerce, women, children, etc. -- and conflicts in need of adjudication -- they created a legal order and at least a minimal system of justice: written laws, courts, police, and some way of provisioning the costs thereof. In other words, a system that involved some level of coercion upon participants.
That doesn't mean they were prisoners, or couldn't up and leave. Anymore than any of you can't. Just that if they chose to stay they accepted the legal order and its protections, and did not free ride by violating its conditions or by refusing to fund its operations, while still remaining within its protection.
That does not mean every state act is just or should not be challenged. Just that laws are a legitimate expression of the interests of a community of people in defending themselves and the conditions that make their life possible.
All the private activities of life still exist, all the non-coercive institutions of civil society, both economic and non economic. But all exist within a framework and architecture that permits legal standards to be imposed on all with a final recourse to force on those who violate those standards.
All who participate in it or benefit from it also are expected to adhere to its terms and conditions, whether on the large or small scale. From a family unit, up through a community, to a national state, even if the state is limited strictly to a few functions like national defense.
But come on, we you already know this.
All of you live within society and enjoy the material advantages and physical protections it provides. You might talk about anarchy on the internet, but none of you have any practical interest in it. Its for you to talk about. Maybe you think its edgy and titillating. Maybe its the same impulse that inspired earlier generations of young intellectuals to want to remake the world in the image of socialism.
Ater all, there are plenty of empty spaces left on the planet. There are places with minimal or no government, open to the bold and adventurous.
In the words of Nietzche, is the sea not full of green isles?
What is your objection? That if you go it alone the state or some gang will stop you, steal your property, extort income from you?
Well no sh1t, that's the whole point.
Guess you'll need to bring your "protection agency" along with you.
Just hope that once you're outside the legal order of contracts and courts, your "protection agency" - body guard, mercenary - doesn't just make you its b1tch.
And why should it not? It is no longer within a market order, bound to any contracts by law. It is now outside the economic order enforced by the coercive legal structure of the state. There is no final arbiter of law.
The protection agency (gang) you hire is just a group of people with more power than you in a lawless environment, and has no reason not to make itself your master, rather than be your servant.
This is not exactly new. It has been tried before. It is called feudalism.
This is why men institute governments and laws. To avoid the law of the stronger. To establish their rights against the arbitrary power of larger groups.
Notice that no serious thinker from the Classical Greek and Roman civilization, to the Anglo and American heirs of two thousand years of political thought, up to our founding fathers, ever advocated anarchism. Because they were thoughtful, well educated people, participating in society and government, and close enough on a human level to real people and conditions of political behavior to know better.
They were not so isolated from social contact and reality, or so emotionally alienated from those around them, to adopt intellectual fantasies as outlets for their emotional disorders.
As serious thinkers, well adjusted to social life, they tried as much as possible to practice, or put into practice, what they believed and preached.
You guys preach things you would never adopt or live.
You sit in the comfort and safety of coercive legal society and pretend you want anarchy.
You're full of it.
In future I shall just nod and smile politely when this stuff comes up. You know even better than I do that you're full of it.