Don't ask me how, but I've fallen in with anarchists. No, I'm not switching to anarchy. I've just gotten into a discussion with them. And as with any time I'm in a discussion, I discuss to win. And that means I need to know more about their belief system than they do. That's what makes me so great.
And one thing I've found is that I'm really not that different from anarchists. Well, some anarchists. In fact, one of the ironic things about anarchy is that there are about as many different visions of anarchy as there are anarchists, if not more. And while some anarchists hate capitalism, others embrace it. And you never know which type you're dealing with until you assume it's the other type and get corrected. And I'm not sure, but I think in my discussion, I've gotten involved with the two different types and now I'm totally confused.
But one anarchist tried to help me out by sending me to An Introduction to Anarchism. But for god's sake, don't click on that link! You'll most assuredly regret it. It's long. Ungodly long. You can read it if you really want, but don't say I didn't warn you. And while I appreciate the thoroughness, most of it was meaningless for what I was wanting to know, and it takes so long to get to the actual intro of what anarchy is that you'll probably have stopped reading long before you get there. Because most of it is about what anarchy isn't.
Anarchy isn't lawlessness. Anarchy isn't utopianism. Anarchy isn't equality. And of course, anarchy isn't the current system, which involves government taking advantage of you to oppress you, yadda yadda yadda. Ok, I get it. But what is it? I'm not exactly sure. I read all that stuff, and can only conclude that anarchy is whatever you want it to be. It seems to be more of a feeling than an actual form of government. And you can bet it's a good feeling.
And you'd think it meant no government, but you'd be wrong. It basically comes down to anarchy being a free-form democracy run by the people. That's it. And they'll have rules that can be enforced, but it just won't be powerful, and I think they won't tax you. Oh, and while they can enforce laws, they still don't have power over you. Again, anarchy seems to be more of a feeling than an actual form of government.
Here, try this, from the intro:
Perhaps the best way to describe anarchism is as the rejection of all forms of domination of one person over another.
Oookaaaaaay. Yeah. The rejection of all forms of domination of one person over another. Right. That's going to form the basis of a real government. Of course. But notice, this still isn't a description of what it is. It's just more attack on the current system. And I'm not shitting you, according to the intro, anarchy will protect "a worker who is declared useless to society and thrown out of the business he’s been working at for 30 years." Oh, and apparently, the president can currently order airstrikes on civilian populations, something that anarchy will also put a stop to.
And that's the thing: These people aren't actually railing against our government. They're railing against some fictional government in which we're stuck with a "few" leaders who have unlimited power and can't be stopped. In their universe, our laws don't apply to our politicians. Or our police. As was explained to me, liberals believe in hiring wolves to protect the sheep and nothing can protect us from the wolves, as the laws only apply to us and not them. Oh, and while the government is all-powerful, it's actually controlled by capitalists; who I guess are also above the law.
And when you really get down to it, you'll find that these anarchists want government. They just don't want our government, or any government that's ever existed. They want a government that they can control. And they think that if you get together with all your neighbors, you can solve the problems that arise and people can work for themselves and won't need to worry about being fired. In other words, they want democracy, mixed with a strong dash of fairy dust.
Government of the Neighbors
And it's like these people have never been to any meeting with people who disagreed before. I've seen PTA meetings that got quite heated. A neighborhood association where I once lived had a meeting that erupted in anger and shouting and almost fighting (thank god I never attend these stupid things) over some stupid issue that I can't even remember. I once saw an actual coup d'etat at a Knights of Columbus meeting, because the guys who did most of the cooking were never being picked for leadership positions, and so they stacked the election meeting with new members who elected them to all the top positions. My dad was on the nomination committee and was LIVID over what these jerks did. It took years for that brauhaw to settle down.
And yet we're to imagine that neighbors will get together and settle real issues? Property disputes, and rape accusations, and murder? Really?? I'm going to trust my neighbors to handle this stuff? Hell, I like my neighbors and live in a cool area with highly educated people who all vote the same way I vote, yet I'd prefer to let the professional police handle my burglary, thank you very much. And by the time they catch on to my Ponzi Scheme, I'll be in the next county, pulling it again.
Oh, but did I say burglary? There will be no need for crime, once we get anarchy. You see, once we get all the money and property away from the "few" who possess it, then we'll all be living in the land of plenty and work will be easier than crime. And kids will educate themselves and electricity will generate itself and iPod's will rain down like manna from the skies; while no one is ever fired. Huzzah huzzah!
And apparently, hunger is created by "the few," because they're all sitting on a giant stack of cheeseburgers that's just waiting to be eaten, if only we could use our anarchy to free the burgers for our own consumption. And honestly, is it possible for a realist to debate someone with such fantasy expectations?
And I'm not even going to get into the problems of how we handle healthcare or the elderly or education or any of that. What's the point? I read a long ass essay as an "intro" and still lack any sort of real world understanding of how their government is supposed to work. I'm an accountant, dammit! Not some pansy-assed philosophy grad. I need real answers, like how long fixed assets depreciate in anarchy. I'm a guy who's actually seen the faces of the faceless bureaucrats at the IRS. Stop telling me about how all-powerful they supposedly are and start telling me how we replace them.
And honestly, I'm not going to keep going with this. Because I really don't feel confident enough in my knowledge of anarchy to truly snark it properly. But that's just because every damn person who's trying to explain it to me keeps explaining it in la-la magical fairy terms. I'm told endlessly about how unfair the government treats me (unbeknownst to me), yet very little as to how this really will work. Yeah, great, we all live in harmony, but who's going to protect my daughter from rape? Sounds to me like a tribal justice system or vigilantes, or...something that involves one group having dominance over another, yet I was assured that this wouldn't happen. But maybe there's no reason to rape once we get anarchy. Maybe the rapists can rape themselves. I don't know.
And overall, I think their main problem is that they're stealing rhetoric from the original anarchists, who were describing a different world than the one we live in. This stuff was created back when governments really were mysterious organizations with almost unlimited powers. But these days, Cheney can't disappear someone like Jose Padilla without everyone and his brother knowing he was on a navy ship. And it really IS possible for a black kid from a broken home to end up in the Whitehouse.
One of my favorite books is In the Days of the Comet by HG Wells, in which he describes to a future person how horrible things were in his age, due to lack of zoning laws, employment laws, environmental laws, and the ownership of much by the few. And while not all of these problems have been solved, it's funny looking back at this as we really have solved many of the problems he's describing. We're so far removed from his world that it's hard to believe it was written in a century I've lived in.
Yet, these anarchists are still describing that world, the one where we're all powerless and even educated people are completely at the mercy of a corrupt system.. Because the rhetoric they're using is still caught in the past. These are anachronistic anarchists. And these days, you really can be your own boss and be treated as an equal if you have a boss and be paid for what your time is worth. And if there's a group trying to make this easier and bring about more protection and accountability for citizens, it's liberals and we're using the government to do it.
And their solution, far from getting the laws that helped remedy the situations the original anarchists were railing against, is to blame the govenrment and imagine that we can solve it all if only the government went away and let us solve them. Somehow, we'll be able to boycott businesses that are bad in ways that our current boycotts fail. I guess the government is blocking those too.