General Question

eupatorium's avatar

Anarchy, anyone?

Asked by eupatorium (338 points ) May 15th, 2009

I started reading Thoreau in my sophomore year in high school, and I found that I completely agreed with his ideas about man’s independence from government and freedom to act of his own free will. Then I read 1984, and then I started reading Chomsky. And then I looked around me, surprised at all the ills in this world that have been caused by government.

The more and more I look at it, the more and more it seems that government does more harm than good.

What do you think? Do we need government to function as a species? Is anarchy even possible? Am I going to be hauled off to questioning just for asking this? :)

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55 Answers

Crusader's avatar

As long as individuals are Accountable, Honest, and Charitable, Free Will without governmentintervention can exist in this form as we would be collectively guided by our conscience-there have been some ‘Utopian’ experiments in America, with varying degrees of success embraces anarchic policies, but with Christian, (Protestant,)principles.. However, the Holy Spirit is necessary to discern Truth, thus we would all need to be Beleivers.

westy81585's avatar

Do we need government?.... For now, yes. For all it’s faults, it does a lot of good things too.

Besides, even if we did away with government, someone would form one and just take us over.

oratio's avatar

No, it’s a good question. One that should be asked, continually. It’s good to be skeptic.

We need government, we need organization, and we need to interact with this government in a functioning way. The government is not your enemy. It has many important functions. It is the only thing that stands between you and the corporations. The market is not interested in making your life better. It wants to make money and grow. The government needs to be there to make sure your rights are respected while the companies can prosper as well.

True anarchy and pure communism can’t be achieved in our point in history. Maybe it will. Quite possibly sometime in the future.

Ivan's avatar

The government is only our enemy when we tell ourselves that it should be. If we continually tell ourselves that we should fear and distrust the government, we will continue to do so. If we keep separating ourselves from the government, the government will move in a direction that we disagree with. We have to be involved in the government, we have to be the government.

Blondesjon's avatar

Anarchy is only a means to an end.

When the fires go out and the guns are silenced you will see society turn it’s hungry, frightened, collective head to and fro, in search of a new shepherd to lead it.

Remember, most people want to be told what to do. Oh, they may bitch and moan about it, but, if that guiding hand wasn’t there they would be bawling for it, like a newborn calf cries for it’s mama’s teat.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Anarchy does more harm than government.

Allie's avatar

Government is kind of inevitable in a way.
So we start out with a group of people and no form of government. Some individuals get greedy as is their nature to do so. (Just using greed as an example.) Talks spark about what to do with said individuals. Informal rules and expectations form. What is this if not the beginnings of a form of government? Who is going to enforce those rules? Everyone? What if you have better things you need to do than sit around and make sure Timmy doesn’t take more oranges than he’s allowed? So you delegate people to do the job for you. You pick the people who are most qualified and who you have the most faith in. Hello, baby government.
And even the most tribal groups have a hierarchical system. Chiefs of Native American tribes, for example.
As good as anarchism may seem in theory, in action it rarely ever works (in my opinion anyway). Someone will always ruin it for the rest.
I’d also like to say that I don’t think the government is perfect by any means. There are definitely things I would change, but I don’t think anarchism would work for long at all. At least having a form of government provides some stability. I think the best thing to do is to try to make government work for you.

Edit::
This answer ending up being longer than I expected. I think I got sidetracked a bit. Oh well, you get my point.. I hope.
This could have been written a lot more clearly. Sorry for jumping from idea to idea.

ubersiren's avatar

So… tempted… to join… thread… **dies**

Crusader's avatar

@ubersiren,

**resussitation** Feeling better?

ubersiren's avatar

Thanks, @Crusader. In short, I think many people “need” a government, but some would be fine without it. Anarchy would only work if it’s participants were willing and understood the meaning (i.e. not just punks with red shoelaces throwing a brick through a shop window and looting). I just think it’s a shame that nobody is allowed to attempt it in the US.

P.S. Everything “works.” Things work, until they don’t work anymore. Everyone should read Ishmael and its sequel My Ishmael.

filmfann's avatar

When I retire, it would be great to somehow live off the grid. Somehow live where I wouldn’t have contact with governments. No taxes, no county building regulations. Be able to write incomplete sentences.

Crusader's avatar

@ubersiren,

I agree, anarchic principles have been co-opted by corporate and the ‘establishment’ definition of such. The ‘punk’ anachist is actually a ‘nihilist’ they just do not realize it because they have been indoctrinated with messeges that conflict with true anarchy. Yet without some ethical code, (chivalry,) it is not better than pure Darwinism, and only the most cruel and vicious survive. That said, under current governments, the cruel and vicious often are the ones who Prosper the most…Accountability, Honesty, and Charity, there is no other way…

@filmfann,

Yes, good luck with your aspirations, I hear there are some islands for sale in the carribean…Also, see Mark Twain, (widely recognized as the foremost writer in Americas 20th century,)Or Keats, (student of the father of modern poetry,) for literary devices and style, respectively…Including incomplete sentences for effect, you might learn something…

cheebdragon's avatar

“Fuck the police.”

AstroChuck's avatar

I used to date an Ann Arky in high school.

filmfann's avatar

Mark Twain is the foremost American writer of the 20th century? I prefer Hunter S. Thompson.

oratio's avatar

@AstroChuck I actually googled Ann Arky to check who you were talking about. When It said “Did you mean: anne arky?” I googled “Why am I so stupid?” and got 20,600,000 hits

filmfann's avatar

@oratio You mention 20,600,000 hits, and petethepothead shows up. Connection?

oratio's avatar

@filmfann Oh no, I rattled the cage!

arnbev959's avatar

I don’t think anarchy can work on a large scale. Masses of people need some governing body to keep society running and healthy and balanced. But I don’t think government needs to be much. A very limited government would suffice for the purpose of maintaining order.

On a small scale, if the people in a community are reasonable human beings, who generally have the same values, I think anarchy could work beautifully.

Maybe I will go take a few hits.

DarkScribe's avatar

@filmfann Gonzo? He was great until his ego strangled him. His last few years were spent coasting on the reputation earned in his early years.

filmfann's avatar

We should all be so lucky.
I read his column in the Examiner, and on ESPN.com when he was well past his productive years. I met him once. He was more a Godzilla than a God.

AstroChuck's avatar

@oratio- Nah. I’m full of sh*t.
But you knew that.

eponymoushipster's avatar

sorry, i couldn’t. i just had a big plate of common sense.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Anarchy is about as feasible as a utopia. There will always be law (whether written or not) and there will always be leadership (whether labeled government or not). Anarchy is nothing but a plaything.. about as useful as a bag of catnip to a kitten.

DarkScribe's avatar

@filmfann How paranoid was he when you met him? In full flight? It was sad to see him on a bad day.

filmfann's avatar

He was on his game, and very funny. That was around ‘83, so it was long before he started to crater.

lillycoyote's avatar

Other than the fact that anarchy is completely impractical and unworkable in the real world it’s a really great idea.

Jiminez's avatar

Yes, please!

Anarchism and government are not mutually exclusive. This is exemplified in the apparent contradiction that is libertarian socialism. I’ll come back when I have time and explain how they’re not mutually exclusive.

I’m an anarchist.
I’m a statist.

I see no contradiction.

YARNLADY's avatar

If, by anarchy you mean a society of free individuals in autonomous communities, operating on principles of mutual aid, voluntary association, and direct action, it could be a good thing. However, the human beings of our day and age do not fit that mold. As I mentioned in another answer, there is way too much ignorance, greed, corruption, and lack of self control for such a system to work.

augustlan's avatar

Human nature will always screw it up. Even when we try to (as @Ivan said) be the government. I think the best we can reasonable hope for at present is a democratic government. One that we can change with enough will and time.

SeventhSense's avatar

Organized Anarchy is an oxymoron. Government, even if it be local is necessary for society to function

augustlan's avatar

Oops. Reasonably.

Randy's avatar

There’s NO government like NO government! =)

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

anarchy is a pipe dream. and even though no one wants to admit it, you need a governmental structure with the technology age. maybe 400 years ago, but today, anarchy would never work.

Jiminez's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 – How much do you actually know about anarchism?

ubersiren's avatar

@Jiminez : I think he’s assuming that the whole world would be in on it. But anarchy does work currently in smaller communities of willing participants. Google “anarchist communities.” You’ll find several alive and well. Never is a very strong and incorrect word.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

yeah I was speaking on a world wide scale. perhaps never was too strong, “highly unlikely to ever occur” may have been better suited.

filmfann's avatar

@Randy Like no government I know.

ru2bz46's avatar

At Burning Man, there are no rules, but a sense of order forms from the apparent chaos.

As long as everybody is of a like mind, this can work. As soon as someone gets the ambition to rule them all, all Hell breaks loose, and rules need to be put in place. Hopefully, this never happens to Burning Man.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ru2bz46 There’s police at burning man. It’s not anarchy.

ru2bz46's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Yeah, well, it’s pretty close. You can’t get away with killing someone, but that about it.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ru2bz46 They get really upset when someone burns the effigy before the appointed time. The whole thing is more disorder and confusion. There are a few cohesive groups of friends and like minded people thrown in with a huge crowd of thugs and scofflaws. I have seen a lot more people intent on breaking the laws of society than in living an Anarchist lifestyle.

There is a strong police presence to maintain a semblance of safety, and still people end up dead.

ru2bz46's avatar

Apparently, it’s getting too big.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ru2bz46 50,000 people in 2008
* An imposed curved grid street structure * A speed limit of 5 mph (8 km/h) * A ban on driving, except for approved “mutant vehicles” and service vehicles * Restrictions and imposing of safety standards on mutant vehicles * A ban on camp fires and Tiki torches * Burning your own art must be done on an approved burn platform * A ban on fireworks * A ban on firearms * A ban on dogs

Crusader's avatar

Government vs anarchy can be expressed in the following terms.

Live long and prosper vs. WTF?!

Perhaps a code of conduct coupled with conditional autonomy is the most favorable option? That is to say, with more accountablilty, there is more autonomy and more access to self-govenment-see social conservative principles.

Those who want to Say and Do anything for self-gratification and/or simply contrarian purposes prefer massive government, as it equalizes the un-accountable with the accountable.

justus2's avatar

I hate the government

eponymoushipster's avatar

im not a big fan of firemen, garbage collection or stop lights.

hey government, screw you!~

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@justus2 you hate parts of the government, I’m sure the paved roads and the police force are fine and dandy in your book.

SeventhSense's avatar

@eponymoushipster
ya who needs that stuff.. ~_~

DarkScribe's avatar

@justus2 I hate the government

How long did it take you to build your fort and stock it?

YARNLADY's avatar

I wonder why the “anarchists” don’t just go ahead and do what ever they want anyway? Why do they need my permission?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@YARNLADY not your permission, the permission of those people with guns and uniforms, that’s where their quarrel is.

YARNLADY's avatar

And that is the answer to the question of why there is no such thing. If people with guns and uniforms want to rule why shouldn’t they be allowed to do “their own thing”? The only true Anarchist is the last one standing.

DarkScribe's avatar

@YARNLADY The only true Anarchist is the last one standing.

That is what so many of them fail to recognise.

Blondesjon's avatar

Try Libertarianism. It’s socialized anarchy. :)

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