About twelve days ago, I was chatting with Tadashi about a possible Latin motto, a translation of “in the bountiful freedom of chaos, I will create my own order”. Along the way, he mentions that he saw glimpses of such “anarchy” and said that, while he’s all for bending the rules, there’s nothing good that can come from shattering them all. For a long time I thought about that and eventually I finally started to drift away from political anarchism.
I used to identify as an anarchist when I was around 16 years old, though I would also identify as a libertarian. Over the past 4 or so years I began to be much more vague about the term anarchist, perhaps from various ideas and revelations from various places, though I still held anarchistic sentiments. But after my conversation with Tadashi, I finally decided three things:
- That anarchism is naive
- That anarchy is incapable of preserving liberty and justice
- I’ve been overlooking history
Just imagine a place where there is nothing protecting those who can’t protect themselves or are just concerned with going on with their lives, where the people cause the most violent mayhem are allowed to go unchecked, where families can abuse their own kind, where people can get into mobs and beat up or kill people for smoking joints or being gay or being a different race, where theft and rape may go unpunished, and where there is nothing to stop corporations from going too far and getting away with all kinds of crap. Of course eye for an eye may apply, but there’s no guarantee of justice since you never know when it will end. Even if anarchy and the absence of a criminal justice system doesn’t automatically mean an eruption of violent mayhem, there’s nothing stopping anything from escalating into that, or preventing thugs from effectively establishing a rule of fear. And even if none of this is true, people would want to create organization anyway, and people would accept it out of the natural desire for it. The only difference is what that organization is based on. And then there’s the forms of anarchism that wind up being either communism or a land where there’s no stopping corporations from going too far, and like communism they fundamentally underestimate human nature (which is capable of exploitation and savagery just as much as it is capable kindness or reasonable conduct, not to mean everything in between). Even if an anarchist society might start out just fine, I can imagine something sooner or later going wrong and then it’s all undone.
Let’s face it, in the natural state of things you may technically have freedom in the sense everyone may be free to do whatever they want, but that freedom is constantly vulnerable because there’s nothing guaranteeing you protection of your freedom or your rights, nothing protecting the individual from coercion, nothing that would guarantee justice, let alone no forms of organization. Since none of these things are guaranteed, all of these things have to be created by people.
I personally would want a social organization that is based on freedom, individualism, and justice, and I still strongly support absolute freedom of speech, religion, lifestyle, and belief, the right of responsible individuals to bear arms, and in general the freedom to anything that does not infringe on other people’s rights or constitute abuse, harm, or crime. I still heavily believe freedom, justice, and individualism, but now I am finally convinced that anarchy will not facilitate these effectively. So the answer would be any kind of government that creates laws based on freedom and justice, any form of social organization that protects civil liberty and delivers justice.
I don’t care how it might be done, though I still have my doubts regarding democracy. One the one hand, democracy (or at least democracy on its own) is weak and easily corruptible, open to tyranny of the majority, can suffer from a collectivist vibe, and it feels like it won’t make a difference who you vote for, but on the other hand I feel a democracy might actually be fine if the rights of the minority were still protected, and it might be worth noting that a real democracy would depend on people. Overall, I just don;t care so long as we have a society based on liberty and justice.
I still feel you should fight for your freedom too. Let’s face it, politicians can be corrupt, and so can the government. It happens. This is why we need people aware enough to keep their government on their toes, to remind them of its purpose.: not to enslave, but to protect and serve. To be honest though, I would still want a government that consists solely of people disciplined enough to do their job, that way there would be less corruption.
Finally, I still feel that you shouldn’t have any blind faith in the government, for you as an individual would risk giving in to the same slave mentality on which authoritarian governments sustain themselves. Don’t obey the laws out of a blind sheep mentality, but rather observe them as long as they are reasonable, and protest anything that threatens liberty and justice, or is just plain nonsense. And don’t serve the army out of any sense of duty, service, or obedience, but rather out of an individual sense that you are fighting and risking your life for something you believe.
All in all, what I believe is the same as it’s always been, except that I feel anarchy is not the answer, not any more for me.