Comment: chime

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chime

I have refrained from posting much on this thread because the original poster framed it as a question from anarchists to non-anarchists, and I wanted to give the non-anarchists the floor, more or less, uninterrupted.

I see now that the original poster, in response to my own post (maybe mistakenly) declares the point of the thread to be a different question: What is the basis of law in an anarchist society? Since that seems to be an odd question for non-anarchists, I will attempt to offer an answer.

We have seen Bill3's answer below that the legitimacy for law in a non-anarchist society comes from the fact that the legislators simply happen to be there legislating and have no adequate opposition.

In contrast, the legitimacy of law in an anarchist society is based on the condition that any legitimate law must be *necessary* for society to exist and be sustainably perpetuated. We have to discern these laws from nature. But we have some experience. It's probably required for a society that people don't go around killing others without a good reason. When you have a society where that starts to happen, things begin to unravel. (No knock warrants for using drugs provides a current example.) In any case, I hope we can agree that the law "Do not murder people" is a legitimate law in society. That's how you get laws in an anarchist society. Aggression is not necessary for society to exist and perpetuate, so arbitrary laws involving aggression are excluded.

There are some related topics (which are also related to other threads floating around at the moment---Stonewall Jackson's thread on justice for example). So what of justice and due process and such things?

First of all, this difference between arbitrary laws and natural laws (the ones in an anarchist society) must be emphasized. The arbitrary laws in a society with rulers require "enforcement." The rulers can enforce these laws against the ruled, but not the other way around. That means the rulers need a special class of people who can attack people who aren't following the arbitrary rules without having to face the consequences of their aggression. Natural laws don't need enforcement, or enforcement doesn't apply to natural laws. It's not about stopping people from violating natural laws or forcing them to obey natural laws, it's simply a question of what do you do with people who violate them. I hope it's very clear that those are quite different. Enforcement: Forcing people to do arbitrary things that are not necessary to have society but are for the convenience of the rulers. In an anarchist society, enforcement doesn't make sense. You don't "enforce" a law against murder in any kind of society. There simply is a law against murder, and the only quesiton is how you deal with murderers.

I think that, somewhat in the same way, "due process" is irrelevant in an anarchist society. That sounds bad, of course, but due process, properly understood, is a collection of rules and rituals put forward to be followed by enforcers to give the ruled livestock some (false) sense of security. Without enforcement (of arbitrary laws), there is no need for due process.

Justice, does mean something to me as an anarchist. I have a definition for it. That definition is tied to property. Of course, one can start with self-ownership is a baseline for property. Since self-ownership is, by definition, only possible in an anarchist society, it follows that any notion of justice in a non-anarchist society/framework is purely rhetorical and fundamentally arbitrary. And we have many examples of that.

But still, it's a difficult problem to justify property beyond self-ownership, and I don't see that the mainstream of anarchist thought has embraced the natural and correct definition/basis for property in society. As I've stated elsewhere, I think that basis is the following:

An individual (in an anarchist society) has a right to property to which he is connected, i.e., is responsible for, and from which he sustainably derives his life.

I think that is the fundamental (natural) basis for legitimate property rights. And there is not much beyond that.

And justice is the ability to take whatever measures are necessary to maintain legitimate personal property rights.

A basic example is that of the American Indians. They had legitimate rights to property in America. They did not have the ability to maintain those property rights. This is the core of what it means that they suffered "injustice" at the hands of the European invaders.

Having said all that, I can also offer an answer to the question from Stonewall's justice thread, we have a right to justice by the above definition. We have a fundamental right to do whatever is necessary to secure that justice. But we do not have a guarantee of justice. If we admit rulers, we have a guarantee of injustice, because we are seen to not own ourselves.