Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Utopianism of Anarchists

One of the more irritating disparaging remarks that gets levelled at me as an anarchist is that my views are "utopian" and "impractical".

Yet it seems to me that when you discuss the failings of every system of government that exists, each will be supported by its own group of political anoraks that will say that "if the government just did this and that, why then everything would be perfect!"

Even in the frankly appalling cesspit that is social democracy, there are people who say that "if we just got government employees to care a little bit more and focus a little bit more on making things more efficient (and maybe one or two other things) then it would be perfect".

But this is considerably more utopian than the ideals of anarchy. Every form of government involves balancing objectives that are often diametrically imposed. Yet somehow, if we just fiddle a bit here and tweak a bit there, then current government can be made absolutely spot on.

Well, fuck that. I don't believe that shit for a fucking moment. People have been honing and shaving and fiddling and twiddling and generally buggering around with government since it was first shat into being. Some brilliant minds used to be involved in it (although those days are long gone now!) and yet it's always been a fucking shambles and it always will be a fucking shambles.

And what about impractical? Well, it's true that some things might be more difficult to do in an anarchic society. But I think people would be amazed at how few those things were. But even if there are some things that are difficult to do, do we as people not deserve the other benefits that come from a regulation- and government-free society?

I don't think that an anarchic society would necessarily look much different from what we have now, but at least costs would be transparent and fairly borne by people who need services and our money wouldn't be wasted on crap like jingoistic wars and we wouldn't have the behemoth state sucking the life out us all.


Anonymous said...

As it happens, I was trying to figure out the definition of 'anarchist' for this piece overnight:
The media definition and yours is at variance. I think I prefer yours.....

John James said...

Every political philosophy is based on a set of assumptions. Between Anarchism and Statism it is the latter that has the fewer and the former has the greater. We can much easier assume that, in a state-oriented system the vast majority of people will simply do as their told - whether they like it or not is neither here nor there.

With Anarchism however you're faced with making the greatest number of assumptions ie that people will, when left completely to their own devices somehow 'do the right thing' and everything will just somehow turn out Jim Dandy. I'd say that's why most of us have the gravest doubts about the Anarchist idea.

Yes, Anarchism is a fantastic idea. Whether you embrace it or not ultimately boils down to your faith in the Human species. Are we inherently good, bad, mad or otherwise? The choice is yours to make.

Just Woke Up said...

Just a thought...

Why is it one or the other? Why can't we have choice whether to live on these Isles having contracted out of 'the State', or as a fully paid up corporate slave? UK PLC is a business after all. I'd like to contract out to try life on my own. If it doesn't work, contract back in.

I just don't like that only one system can exist to the exclusion of all others. Therein lies conflict and war.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

John James, in your daily life, do you spend all your time plotting doing harm to others, only to be stopped by the idea that the state will be angry with you?

Michael Fowke said...

Of course, there are some people who believe that anarchism can't work AND that all forms of government are crap and evil.

John James said...

Assuming that's not a trick question Obo I'd say the answer's no but then I couldn't plot myself out of a cardboard box - that's just me. There's plenty of folks out there who'd answer in the affirmative.

kitler said...

There will always be conmen, thugs and perverts regardless of the laws set up to prevent them, but it is likely there will be a lot less of them in a world where anyone can do anything they please to make money free from taxation, prohibition and beurocracy and all desires and pleasures are catered for.

The vast majority of people are very hostile to thieves, thugs and sex offenders, and in a society where everyone is the police and guns are freely availiable it is unlikely that such people would be allowed to prosper for long.

Not that a society without a national standardised police force would be perfect. Lynch mobs and feuds would most likely be such a society's biggest problem. I have no idea how such things would be prevented.

Mitch said...

@ kitler

"Not that a society without a national standardised police force would be perfect. Lynch mobs and feuds would most likely be such a society's biggest problem. I have no idea how such things would be prevented."

hire a Local "sheriff" like the wild west if any good he keeps his job.

Nightwatchstate said...

Man is fallen, so we need a state made of men. My logic is irrefutable

SumoKing said...

I don't know if this is of any interest to you

broadly litigation via the courts is a reserved activity (reserved for us who shell out to be in the guild of solicitors and them what pays to be in the guild of barristers) however because mediation is not (yet) a regulated activty some enterprising folk have set up what is in effect a private court for disputes to be resolved, it appears to be a not for profit and I see no reason (other than the law society having a fit and lobbying for a ban) that it should not work.

The concept would appear to support your anarchism.