Anarchy: An Overview Essay, Research Paper
Anarchy—the overthrow or abolition of a government or ruling power, to be replaced by the peoples or nations previously subject under this power.
“Anarchy is not chaos – but order without control”
“I love my country; I hate my government.”
“There’s no government like no government!”
‘Leave the people to their own devices, and they will blossom.”
Anarchy, or the potential for anarchy, was essentially created during the era of the French Enlightenment, a time when radical French writers and philosophers gave birth to original ideas which would instigate well-rounded thinking by the common masses of society. The philosopher Ren? Descartes, for example, affirmed the values of individuality and psychological freedom when he stated, “I think, therefore I am.”
The most popular (and thought-provoking) conflict during the period of the Enlightenment centered around the composition of the basic core of humanity and human nature versus that of society. The two most common ideologies, pitted against each other in polar opposition, were as follows:
1.) Man is basically evil, and needs society to keep him good (civilization, government and the strict enforcement of laws keep man in check, preventing him from acting out on the malicious and sadistic desires of his given nature. This theory places man at the every bottom of the chart in terms of being capable to make decisions and act out on impulses while still maintaining a self-governing and fully functional existence).
2.) Man is basically good, and is corrupted by society (Locke’s concept of “tabula rasa”: each man is born essentially good, with his mind a “blank slate” [literally, “clear table”] to be filled and shaped by the ideas with which he is presented in infancy. During the fundamental and developmental stage of childhood, man is, of course, encompassed by the corrupted ways and mores of society, and the vicious cycles of capitalism, pressure to conform and mindlessly thrive on soulless consumerism warp his ideals, leading him to the consideration, and sometimes even the execution, of heinous crimes prompted by modern decrees, values and restrictions).
Anarchy is, of course, an idea founded on belief in the second theory. Before even examining the evidence, one must consider this: a huge question often raised in discussions of the merits of anarchy is, “But what about the criminals? Who will control the jails and institutions where we keep the rapists, the murderers, the insane, and the child molesters? Are these people simply going to be let loose into society?”
The response to this concern is very simple, yet amazingly difficult for many people to comprehend. These people will not exist. The men and women who fill our prisons now are victims, just as are those who have suffered under their attacks. The children in these prisons and detention centers are victims. These humans have been led to betray their fellow people, to behave in a way which will attract notice in society. These people have been told that in order to exist, they must behave as they have. They want a free ride in the comfort and luxury of our nation’s prisons; they want a closer relationship with their daughters, their sons, or strangers on the street; they want their spouse to show them the respect the feel that they, as the superiors in their respective relationships, deserve; they want to get revenge, to lash out at those who have hurt them. Repressed anger, harbored, fostered and encouraged by society, is at the root of an amazingly large number of criminal actions committed by confused, victimized individuals in our midst. Anarchy is not going to release them back among us as savage, dangerous criminals bent on the utter destruction and desecration of the human race. Anarchy is going to release these people, yes, but their freedom will be much more symbolic than literal; back among “people”, or “their kind”, they will find that the reasons they were motivated to commit their crimes are no longer present in the world. Under the system of anarchy, the world will be unified by the common class and financial standing and language of every people. Nations will be united. Borders will become more porous as nationality becomes less important; after a time these borders will not serve any practical function at all, and so will be abolished. As in the past, where throughout history people have “given according to ability and taken according to need”, the society in which the entire world will live will be run by those who desire to help and build upon the achievements of humans; with the amassing of capital no longer the goal of every citizen everywhere in the world, station will no longer be an issue. Each man will do as he desires, simply because he desires it.
Education will experience similar reforms. From the taxpayer-bolstered sheepherding school systems of today’s world, the system of instruction will revert to its former benevolent simplicity: mentoring will replace the bovine treatment of thousands upon thousands of repressed, angry youths in the world today. Each person will be measured individually and valued for what he or she can do on his/her own, rather than being graded as to how he or she stands up against the masses.
Primitive cultures were led in a very similar way. Were not these early-modern-era (and prior) civilizations not absolute successes compared to the havoc and mayhem that is today’s world? These simplistic village settlements across the earth were led, in symbolism, by a “leader” or “chief” who was supposed to have been responsible for ensuring that his group ran smoothly under his watchful discretion. Only in times of war did this individual’s powers every truly reveal themselves; amongst their own people, the members of his idyllic young society governed themselves smoothly, fairly and without mandating a chieftain to regulate their dealings. Some hunted, some sewed, some watched children. As Paleolithic as this system may sound, it is exactly whet we need to focus on returning to today—for has any succeeding system ever had as much logic, and made more sense, than this instinctually-developed one of our earliest ancestors? Our predecessors had achieved, to some localized degree, the level of moderately absolute communism which is necessary for a state like anarchy to take root and successfully abolish the last vestments of the people’s enslavement to their “rulers”. People in these cultures made sense of things themselves; before the advent of forced missionary religions, they formulated their own explanations and lived in accordance with them, not by following every word of their huge scriptures but by attuning themselves with their own minds and desires.
Anarchy in the present time can be achieved, and if the abolition of our governments may be more difficult today, the rewards to be reaped are much greater than they have ever been. Anarchy is, in essence, the result of communism: one people unite and share their belongings. Technology has been the main focus of past years; anarchy can enable the spread of this technology to all the corners of the globe. Every man, woman and child on this earth can have access to a computer, a television, a telephone, an email account, and an automobile. So many people in wealthy cultures such as America take all of these luxuries for granted; the rest of the world, meanwhile, looks on and learns to revere capitalism.
With the overthrow and subsequent dissolution of missionary religions, the largest and most well-known being Catholicism, the world population will stabilize. Production of technological devices will be severely decreased; natural resources will receive far-extended lifespans; supply and demand will harmonize, rather than fluctuate as they do now with every outbreak of contagious disease or every new convert to the anti-abortion propaganda of militant pro-life religions. Modern practices such as abortion will, of course, increase in availability while at the same time decreasing in necessity, which makes for a very comfortable global economy. This is so because, once freed from jobs they dislike due to the abolition of need for money, many thousands of people will being to explore the diverse fields that have always held their interest; the economy will round out and therefore stabilize, making it much more likely to withstand the onset of any chance famine, disease or other natural force which could otherwise devastate and possibly destroy the trade relations of every country with every other.
Another common objection raised by the doubtful is, “In order to achieve a perfect anarchical state of society, there must be a mediative stage during which a temporary government will assume power to ‘govern the transition’. Won’t this mediation appeal to the governors? Power corrupts—these people are going to become heady with their new duties, and refuse to relinquish their power once the time comes.”
Communism, a very close friend of anarchy, tried out the system of intermediary government, and the results, as we all know, were heinous. A “middle phase” is not going to be needed this time. What is called for now is a nonviolent, non-pacifist reform; rather than a years-long revolution which will form a legacy in blood in the hearts of radical war-hungry reactionaries, what is needed is a swift and decisive abolition, without replacement, of the existing governments of the world. A mediative stage would cause the world to undergo more stress than is necessary.
Entering into anarchy, as into any other system of government, will undoubtedly cause stress on the minds of the people. This is to be expected; rather than a reaction to the “chaos” of anarchy, this is a reaction to the freedom which has just been returned to them. With the exit of the notion of “original sin” and the subsequent entrance of “original freedom”—with the return of old ways of life which have proven themselves, time and again, to be worthy and useful, the people will suffer under the benefits they have now been laden with. While learning to distribute and manage their freedoms, as once every human being knew how to do, the pressures of freedom will lessen and their scope will broaden infinitely. Anarchy will have proven, then, to be the door by which a beneficial and productive life will have been made possible.