About a month ago I went along to the meeting of an anarchy advocacy group here in Las Vegas. It was interesting, but ended up pretty much reinforcing my views. I am very, very interested in having a different system of government. Democracy is a pretty shitty solution, and it saddens me how many people blindly revere and advocate it.
Given this though, I have never given an anarchic government due consideration. Why? I don’t see there being any way it could be a viable solution. I should note I have not done a lot of reading up on Anarchy, not even the comprehensive Wikipedia article, so my views (as always) should be taken with a grain of salt.
One of the main reasons I don’t consider anarchy to be a possible solution is that it seems damned from the start. It doesn’t matter if a nice group of people figure out how to get along nicely and coexist without needing a state, as it creates a power vacuum. Whenever there is a power vacuum, some enterprising individual or group will come along to fill it, by force if necessary.
That’s the fundamental problem with Anarchy, it relies on a romanticized version of human nature. There is a reason there has never been a lasting anarchic government throughout human history. In every culture at every point in time, people have looked to leaders. There has always been some form of government, whether it were a simple chieftain and tribal leaders, or any of the current governments.
One of the examples anarchists like to use to show that an anarchic government can work is the Free Territory. Yes, it’s true that for a point in time there was a successful anarchic government in place, and then what happened? The people with power inevitable moved in and asserted themselves to fill the vacuum. It’s just how it goes.
There are numerous other problems with anarchy as a system of government in my opinion. For example, how do you have any kind of judicial system? Surely you need an objective authority to administer penalties in a consistent manner? Any alternative is close to mob rule or vigilantism, which have to be the worst solutions for judicial systems there are.
What about other things, like health care or market regulation? At the meeting I went to, there were people who didn’t see why it would be a bad thing if people were allowed to sell vegetables or raw milk out of their backyard. In theory people should have the freedom to do this. However, we need a way to ensure that people purchasing such products will not unknowingly suffer. That’s where regulation comes in…, making sure the cows or plants or whatever are healthy.
I wonder what the people who complain that they can’t do whatever they want out of their own backyards without regulation would do, when people started coming back being upset that they caught some disease or got sick or whatever. In an anarchical society, there possibly wouldn’t be decent health care, so the problem might just go away. Otherwise, they could come back, and without a system of law or justice to hold them back could take revenge in a manner they felt was fair.
When challenged on some of the issues I mentioned above, they admit there may be a need for a judicial system or regulation or such…, so is that anarchy, or a minimalistic government – a different thing entirely? That in a whole seems to be the issue with people advocating anarchy. They have not put too much thought into it. It’s is an undeveloped system of government for people who have not bothered to develop their thoughts or argument for a better system of government. Of course, I would love to hear arguments in favor of anarchy or referrals to such.