General Question

Hobbes's avatar

Under what circumstances might anarchy work?

Asked by Hobbes (7368points) July 30th, 2008

If anarchy worked, I think it would be the ideal situation. However, as things stand, anarchy pretty much always results in a dictator arising, or in violent chaos. Can anyone think of a situation arising that would result in no more need for government?

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31 Answers

Allie's avatar

How about the extinction of people? That’s definitely a situation in which there wouldn’t be a need for government.
By the way, I don’t think anarchy would be an ideal situation. People doing pretty much anything they want? Fine and dandy if people always want to do good things, but that’s not the case so I hardly think anarchy is ideal.

marinelife's avatar

A different species than human beings?

As long as we are violent, as long as the strong would try to dominate the weak if there was nothing in place to stop them, it would not work.

cheebdragon's avatar

Have you ever seen videos of the riots after the rodney king trial? Anarchy would look similar to that…..except with more people of all different races…
Not to mention… way more violent…

Hobbes's avatar

Well, that’s the problem. I’m not advocating anarchy – it doesn’t work right now for the reasons you just said. I just think that government has a lot of flaws, and that not having to deal with them because the alternative is worse would be a good thing. Currently, if government disappeared the world would be thrown into chaos. What would have to change in our mental makeup or our social/cultural organization so that that wouldn’t happen?

chaosrob's avatar

Human beings would have to overcome their evolutionary history as predators. Good luck with that.

Lovelocke's avatar

It doesn’t work. That ‘s why it won’t work. If it did work, it would work right now. Communism has a more defined purpose and plan, but even that “balanced” system hasn’t worked very well historically since it limits many so SOME can be equal.

leb0wski's avatar

Because it’s a totally idealistic system, like communism, that would work just fine if we were all completely rational/logical beings. But we’re not, we’re emotional, predatory, opportunistic animals with higher brain functions.

btko's avatar

I’d follow the same line, I don’t see it working.

Hobbes's avatar

Hmm. I suppose you’re right. Here’s a tangent – I wonder if government would be necessary in a post-scarcity society. I realize I’m straying into the realms of idealism here, but suppose that almost any consumer good was freely and nearly instantly available. No poverty, no starvation, no rich-poor gap, no resource wars. Would government still be necessary?

btko's avatar

If everyone could have anything they want? Perhaps. I think we would need to have hunter-gatherer societies or as you say post-scarcity.

Hobbes's avatar

I know, I know. It’s far fetched, but the interesting question the scenario brings up, I think, is whether government has a role that isn’t directly or indirectly related to the allocation of scarce resources.

marinelife's avatar

@Hobbes have you seen Wall E yet?

sndfreQ's avatar

in a vacuum

AstroChuck's avatar

If everybody was benevolent then maybe it could work. It would need to be an intelligent population as well.

Poser's avatar

I’m not convinced it couldn’t work now. Has it really ever been tried? Purposely?

Hobbes's avatar

I think it has sometimes worked in very small communities when there isn’t much to fight over.

arnbev959's avatar

I think it would definitely work in very small, isolated communities, where everyone knew everyone.

It could work on a large scale if everyone was an exact copy of me.
(or anyone, I guess.)

cheebdragon's avatar

Petes the best!

augustlan's avatar

Like most other types of government, or in this case lack of government, this too is probably destined to fail for one reason: human nature. Most of these ideas have nothing but the best interests of the people in mind (in the beginning) but all are corrupted because a certain segment of any population just can’t behave! Even if there was enough of everything to go around, even for free, some jackass would decide that HE deserves MORE, and would take it, by force if necessary.

btko's avatar

One thing though, Anarchy doesn’t have to mean peaceful and passive society. Nor would it mean there are no courts or laws. Either everyone or a few people could realise the goals of that jackass and string him up or set him against a court of peers.

It could possibly be easier to get justice than it is now… ? just some thoughts.

Lovelocke's avatar

“Anarchy doesn’t have to mean peaceful and passive society. Nor would it mean there are no courts or laws. Either everyone or a few people could realise the goals of that jackass and string him up or set him against a court of peers.”

…they thought THEY knew best in matters like that too.

btko's avatar

Anarchy is synonymous with racism…

cheebdragon's avatar

btko, please tell me your not serious

btko's avatar

Oops… there should be a “not” in there.

Anarchy is not synonymous with racism.

cheebdragon's avatar

haha okay…..i was thinking wtf is this guy on…

btko's avatar

haha, yeah I would think that too! :)

Hobbes's avatar

Well, I see Lovelocke’s point, though. If the only form of justice was a lynch mob, there would be nothing in place to keep the trials fair, to make sure prisoner’s got their rights and weren’t wrongly convicted.

btko's avatar

The thing about “rights” – you need a governing body to declare and uphold said rights. Right don’t exists by themselves…

Poser's avatar

You’re right btko, but liberty does exist, no matter what any government (or lack thereof) does. Depending on a government to ensure your liberty is effectively voluntarily enslaving yourself to said government.

btko's avatar

Very true

ubersiren's avatar

One could write a book, but simply put, an anarchist community wouldn’t work if its members were forced into it. For example, if a nation’s government collapses, there would be chaos. Anyone whose “comfort zone” is stripped of him would freak out and possibly be violent. That’s where I think the misconception of anarchy comes from.

But, if a community’s members willingly took part in an anarchist lifestyle, it could be great. If the US allowed anarchist communities to live in its country, then anarchists and democracy could live side by side. Anarchists wouldn’t give or take anything from the US government- that means they wouldn’t pay taxes or vote, but they also couldn’t take part in any welfare or other government run programs. That way, American citizens could have a choice of how they wanted to live. Democracy or anarchism. Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything, so nobody can blame anyone else for his/her problems. But I hear that’s crazy talk. ;)

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