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There is not enough evidence to dismiss Anarchism

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 428 times Debate No: 96706
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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If you have ever had the pleasure of attempting to, or watching another attempt to, have a conversation on Anarchism, you have probably become aware of how quick people are to dismiss it with no more than an: "Anarchism doesn't work!!!"

Very little evidence tends to be put forward to give weight to this claim, and indeed it is generally held by the claimant that people are just inherently bad people if left to their own devices, and as such require some authority to guide them and ensure the best outcome.

Whilst there are plenty of examples of a lack of authority leading to chaos, violence in the streets, and so forth, it is worth clarifying that none of these situations or rioting or chaotic revolt arose from a politically anarchist system. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that large-scale communities such as the modern autonomous Rojava and the Spanish Civil War era Catalonia, which both followed somewhat anarchist principles, have and had a distinct lack of chaos aside from the civil wars raging around them.

Lastly, the foundation of an Anarchist society: education.
Almost all anarchists understand as a base necessity of an ideal society that people should be able to think, reason, and learn for themselves. This idea of education, not to be confused with supposed "miseducation" through propaganda, is not actually something that we have been able to observe and make conclusions about empirically. Although we have many examples, through the wonder that is the internet, of many people doing amazing things with programming, music, art, mathematics, and more, it is still left unclear whether these people are truly genius or simply have managed to educate themselves.

And here lies my main point: although we think that people in general are just stupid, and this may be the case, it is clear that we are not giving everyone the chance to prove us wrong, whatwith schools that teach Victorian curricula that enforce memory over critical thinking.


I accept the challenge.

a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority.
"he must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy"
synonyms:lawlessness, nihilism, mobocracy, revolution, insurrection, disorder, chaos, mayhem, tumult, turmoil
"conditions are dangerously ripe for anarchy"
absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

Anarchism is a lack of government. It is also disorder. I will let you continue from here.
Debate Round No. 1


Okay, since we appear to be going down the definitions route I must state that the definition of anarchism you have provided is simply incorrect.

First off, the lack of government is only true with regards to government as a hierarchical structure, with rulers. This does not suggest that anarchists are proponents of destroying all social order. Many anarchists indeed suggest that we organise into communes that democratically debate and decide on topics through consensus, i.e. a sort of self-governance as opposed to a president or other official deciding things for us.

Secondly, whilst the definition of anarchy you have used may refer to a specific case of disorder that can arise from the absence of authority, it is clearly not the proposed situation put forward by the vast majority of flavours of anarchism. Indeed, the very symbols of anarchism that are the A encircled by an O represent "anarchism" and "order" respectively, suggesting at least some form of mutual cooperation and a distinct lack of disorder. As such, we should not take your definition of anarchy to be related to the ideology that is anarchism, or as my argument stands: we do not have enough evidence to suggest that a lack of authority indeed cause disorder.

Amusingly, your very response to my challenge is actually an example of how people are generally quick to dismiss anarchism with illogical points such as: "but anarchism means no order", when there is much literature on the subject discussing myriad processes through which order might be kept without the use of inherently unfair hierarchies. The very fact that few of these detailed theories have had the opportunity to be tested suggests that we do not have enough empirical evidence to reject them.


I feel like my definition is correct. It came from the Merriam Webster Dictionary.
As for me dismissing Anarchy, one of the founders himself said it would not work and he merely got it from a dream.

government of a country by its own people, especially after having been a colony.
synonyms:independence, self-rule, home rule, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, nonalignment, freedom
"the self-government of our island nation"
another term for self-control.

Self governments were created by the pilgrims as a form of government. Self governments was a form of democracy, a form of government that is controlled by a ruler.

Do you know the downside to everyone voting for a change or bill? The reason why in our country our votes don't really matter, is because of the electoral college. The electoral college was a compromise between state leaders, national polls, and Congress.

The problems with the parties are:

1) State leaders.
a) They might feel indebted to their states and promote Anti Federalism, which was proven to be a horrible government.

2) National polls.
a) There are way too many uniformed voters.
b) States with more people are more likely to vote for something that they have in common, which again supports Anti Federalism.

3) Congress.
a) The president might feel indebted to the Congress, eliminating checks and balances.

The idea you propose is National polls, with the problems I stated.
Debate Round No. 2


I understand that the Merriam Webster dictionary is a reputable source of definitions, however it is quite clear that it was not written from an anarchist's perspective and that its definitions are not particularly applicable to the theory.

Self-government in this case should be taken to be people governing themselves, rather than being governed by a ruler, whether the ruler be a king, president, or parliament. Please note that this has nothing to do with the American system and that the electoral college is actually viewed with disdain by many, including several non-Americans like me.

As for states, I don't believe you understand the idea that anarchism seeks to do away with both arbitrary borders and fruitless competition so that, according to the theory, there would be no reason for people to try and screw over other states for their own states gain or some irrational sense of patriotism towards their state. Let us also not forget that anarchist societies are generally suggested to run on consensus, and that anarchism has education of all people at its core, thus eliminating the notion that "there are way too many uninformed voters".

But this is not a discussion on the theory of anarchism, even if you have shown yourself not to have even a base understanding of it. This is a debate centred on the fact that there is not enough empirical evidence to dismiss anarchism without discussion.

As of yet, you have failed to provide any actual historical and backed-up reasons to suggest that anarchism is not worth considering. The only real-world example you have provided is in relation to the modern-day USA. Not only does this mention of a flawed electoral system have nothing in relation with anarchism or its suggested practices, but it actually provides some suggestion that alternatives are worth investigating.

To end, I'd like to thank you for debating me and hope the election tomorrow goes well, even though you have failed to tackle my central point.


The only thing I have to say is how do you plan to use historical evidence when there hasn't ever been an anarchistic society?
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by mcmjuly 4 months ago
If therealspassky wants to use historical evidence to support a position, then I would point to the historical fact that governments of the world were responsible for about 300,000,000 deaths in the 20th century. To me, that is proof that governments pose the gravest danger to humanity. So much so, that I believe anarchy is something to be taken seriously and explored deeply. And, BTW, Merriam Webster is not the moral authority of the world. Here is the appropriate definition of anarchy:
anarchy (n.)
1530s, "absence of government," from French anarchie or directly from Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhia "lack of a leader, the state of people without a government" abstract noun from anarkhos "rulerless," from an- "without" (see an- (1)) + arkhos "leader" (see archon).
Posted by airmax1227 1 year ago
Vote by Spassky101 has been disqualified and removed.

Airmax1227 Moderator
Posted by Delekof 1 year ago
1. Are you even reading what I'm writing?

2. Please read up on anarchism, rather than making the bold claim the there has been no successful anarchist country when I have provided you with several examples to look at.

3.We can debate whether they have been successful in a future debate. This was not a debate on their success, but whether anarchism can be rejected outright.
Posted by TheRealSpassky101 1 year ago
My point was that there was not one successful country in the past that has lived under an anarchistic government.
Posted by Delekof 1 year ago
Dear Con,

The very point that there has never been an anarchist society (highly debatable) itself suggests that there is not enough evidence to reject anarchism.

The idea behind this debate was that you should provide evidence and examples of why anarchism should be ignored as a theory (i.e. empirical evidence), so not being able to reference examples of attempts at anarchist society inherently shows that you have lost this debate.

I would recommend reading a book or two on anarchist theory, as well as taking a look at the Kibbutz system, the various European communes that have existed in the past, the currently autonomous region of Rojava, the multiple quasi-anarchist societies during the Spanish Civil War, and any modern-day anarchist collectives throughout the world.
Posted by Robkwoods 1 year ago
Hahaha, are you going to force people to get an education? That is not anarchism. I don't think you have thought this all the way through.
Posted by Delekof 1 year ago
Hey, sorry for the wall of text and lack of finesse in writing.

This is my first attempt at a debate, and I am not a humanities student.
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