The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Anarchy is practical and effective.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/16/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,500 times Debate No: 36747
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Apparently there is a troll problem on this site, which has lead to restrictions. I understand that, but I will not accept someone who has no record and joined six days before me to limit my entrance into their debate. So I have created my own (in true anarchist spirit).

I am waiting Valar. First round accepts.


Excellent I gladly accept your challenge.

May the best man win.
Debate Round No. 1


Since the title of the debate is a little convoluted, my argument is that anarchy is practical and effective when compared to other forms of human organization.

I argue that anarchy is practical in the sense that it can be used by anybody to address any number of issues. It is quick to set up, non-hierarchical, and reflective of the available resources in a community. It is effective given its disregard for state authority and the belief that people know what is best for them, they just need t be involved in the conversation. Especially when compared to capitalism (or fascism, which I will return to), anarchist principles are the most effective strategies for reducing capitalist waste, often generated by the employment of economic rents.

Now since neither of us specified a particular flavor of anarchy, let's just say they are all up for grabs. I will start with anarcho-syndicalism, or anarchist organization of labor within a capitalist society. Anarcho-syndicalism advocates for worker self-control of the means of production. Using Marx's Theory of Alienated Labor, workers sell their labor to others for subsistence to their capitalist employers. Since capitalism is based on the exploitation of many by a few, the best that workers can do is control the means of production, but not own it, theoretically. While syndicalists believe in worker controlled enterprises, achieving their goal by use of unions, anarcho-syndicalists believe that no state-controlled labor board is better for dealing with the problems in a workplace. The anarchist believes in Direct Action, or directly taking care of your own problems. This is surely more practical and effective than using the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for workers, though capitalists complain about fairness. But there are more workers than owners, and their collective utility is greater than the single owner's. However, when calculated mathematically, neither a fully unionized economy nor a fully non-unionized economy is preferred to a mixture of the two. Currently, the capitalists have the upper hand through their economic rent powers. Anarchists are uniquely positioned to shift the balance of power, through their empowerment of many.

But unions are not perfect, far from it. They are a business like anyone else. So the type of union I am speaking about is similar to the IWW, where there is no union staff, everyone participates in decisions, making everyone leaders since they all have the same voting weight, and the union is only as strong as the people that compose it. While I may not touch on the abolishment of private property much, it is of course a core belief of the anarchist, which in today's capitalism, seems more important than making sure the bankers' rights are protected when they sold homes to people who couldn't afford them. Why does the bank get the house back? Can JP Morgan live in it? Where are the rights of an individual, or a community?

So now a few real-world examples of where anarchist principles outperformed capitalist methods; we can look to Occupy, specifically Occupy the Farm (OTF), Occupy Sandy (OS), and Debt Strike (DS). OTF was a group of people who decided to appropriate a piece of land for use in gardening from the University of California. The land track had been unused for decades, overgrown with brush, which was unsightly and a fire hazard according to the neighbors. This group took it upon themselves to use the land the UC left idle. They didn't take a building that was in use, but they did violate capitalist law, which protects private property, and they were removed by the state police. Another example was the quick response to Superstorm Sandy by community organizers and anarchists. While the state was still trying to figure out what to do, people self-organized under participatory principles that the community knows what is best. Food lines were set up, donations collected and distributed in a timely manner, and people were rescued quicker. There is a great photo of two National Guard soldiers listening to community organizers for details and directions. If more anarchists like OS live in New Orleans during Katrina, the situation probably would have turned out better. Lastly is Debt Strike, a project with the sole intention of destroying the crippling debt mounted on the working class. DS purchases debt for pennies on the dollar, and then forgives it, while capitalists purchase the same debt for pennies and somehow think they are entitled to the full amount (again through economic rents). How is the current system better than an anarchist alternative? Surely OTF, OS, and DS are better for society in the long run.

I guess I can make this argument more now than previous decades since the form of capitalism the US has now is closer to the formal definition of fascism, that is the joining of corporate and state power. Since bribery is legal (lobbying), people are commodities (for-profit prisons), and the police state is becoming hyper-militarized, I see no reason to justify any part of the fascist system. Anarchy, today, is more practical and effective for more people since they can't compete against corporations' money and media control. So we invalidate your system, from passive non-violence to property destruction, or "within the shell of the old" we build our new society. If capitalism today was more like Adam Smith's capitalism, where the real wealth of nations was the wealth of its people, I might have a harder time making this argument.

So in conclusion, anarchist principles are practical and effective, sometimes, and definitely today. A fully anarchist society is probably not practical or effective, but neither is a fascist one. Anarchy, however, remains a plausible model of organization in our modern "capitalist" economy, who's time has come and inefficiencies are perverse.

Looking forward to your response.


The Pro has posted a great introduction so I will start with my three main points.

1. Anarchism Denies Human Nature

One of the most intrinsic aspects of human interaction and involvement is empowerment. Humans beings from the dawn of history have always sought to empower themselves over others regardless of beliefs, creeds, cultures and or rationality. It is a fundamental evolutionary trait that has kept the human race going for much longer then it may have been otherwise.

Any aspect of society you place yourself in will be filled with people attempting to empower themselves over others with or without consent. Whether it is a religious, political, or any social institution you are bound to encounter the same problem. With this in mind even in mutual anarchistic cooperatives, competition will always be present.

"A popular evolutionary explanation of aggression is the "beast within" view. According to this view, "survival of the fittest" has bred aggression in human beings. It is thus "human nature" to be aggressive. Modern evolutionary psychology has a more sophisticated view. This view states that "human nature" includes a lot of psychological mechanisms and motives. Men are generally more physically and verbally aggressive than women. Aggression is just one technique among many others that humans use as they strive for mastery of material resources, as well as for respect from and connectedness to others." [S1]

2. The State has no Intrinsic Moral Value

The very premise of anarchism is flawed. It states the state/government is inherently immoral and depending on your flavor of anarchism the reason for this varied. Regardless all anarchistic viewpoints tie to this singular flawed premise.

The problem with this premise is that the state can infact act in a morally responsible and ethical way. The most influential civilizations in history have for the majority existed in strict hierarchical societies governed by a rule of law (and with great success). It is unreasonable to assume that simply because the state is empowered to make decisions on it's behalf that it is therefore always immoral.

3. Who rules?

Anarchism dances around the question of who rules. All systems in any institution always end up in the power of one or few. Whether it is capitalism, socialism or communism eventually power always ends up in the hands of a few. From the Roman Republic to the corporate oligarchy of the United States it is entirely reasonable to assume that any mutual anarchistic cooperative will eventually end up consolidated in the power of one or few individuals whos only desire is to maintain the status quo in presevation of their power.

4. Pro's Fallacies

The pro has stated several fallacious arguments within this round that I will attempt to address.

1. "A fully anarchist society is probably not practical or effective, but neither is a fascist one."

This is a false dichotomy. It is illogical and unreasonable to assume that the lack of an anarchistic cooperative inevitability leads towards fascism.

2. "Since capitalism is based on the exploitation of many by a few"

This is a questionable cause fallacy.

A and B are associated on a regular basis.
Therefore A is the cause of B.

While it is reasonable to assume that capitalism can be associated with exploitation it is not true that capitalism is the cause of exploitation (or that it is intrinsic). Communist and socialist regimes are more then capable of exploiting their populations just as ruthlessly as any capitalist model. Correlation does not equal causation.


Debate Round No. 2


capital_priest forfeited this round.


It is dissapointing to see a forfeit in such a short debate.

Regardless my points still stand and the Pro has not addressed the two fallacious claims he listed in the previous round.

My thanks goes out to the Pro regardless for his worthwile initial post.

Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Valar_Morghulis 5 years ago
Sure can always do another. :)
Posted by capital_priest 5 years ago
Hi Valar,

Congratulations on winning the debate. This was poor form and I apologize. I have been trying to fit time in but this week was abnormally busy. Maybe we could try again sometime?

Congrats again, the better man won.

Posted by Kiroen 5 years ago
Con should have get his facts right. He has little information on anarchist theory and how do anarchist organisations work. If Pro is as well informed as I think he is, most of Con's round 2 will be rebutted next.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF