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Anarchism

Harper
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5/13/2015 11:39:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Evil actions will exist with or without government, but government (power) will only amplify evil. That was my argument against government from the end of my sophomore year of high school when I became an anarchist to the beginning of senior year when I matured enough to realize the impracticality and impossibility of such a system (or lack thereof).

The thing that shames me the most about having been an anarchist is how intellectually bereft the position was-- the entire political ideology could have been taken down with a simple thought experiment, and it is as follows:

Let's say that the sophomore year version of me got what he wanted: anarchy. There are no courts, no police, no military force or any sort of executive power. No one can be forced to do anything and nothing is illegal. What do you think is bound to happen? People are not angels by nature and many will steal and kill to get what they want. As an individual, you do not want someone to kill you, steal your property, or exploit you (breach of agreements, fraud, etc.). However, you cannot always be there to watch over your property while you're away or protect your life while you are asleep, so the only logical way to ensure maximum protection is to make a convenant with other people to watch your property while you're away and to protect your life. As is the nature of contracts, you too are expected to do the same for them and to make sure the contatract is not breached, if either party breaks this agreement, they will be punished (exile, death, etc.) and/or will no longer have protection.

So already, you have established rules and punishments (backed by force) in place for those in your band who break the rules. This is essentially a government. A primitive government, but a government still. This thought experiment illustrates the impossibility of anarchy since humans, as a social species, are bound to stick together to protect eachother, create rules to keep things fair and punishments to prevent the breaking of the rules. It is simply logical to do so. This is why anarchy has only ever existed as a transitional period between governments and never as a sustained state for a society-- people want some protection to get on with their lives, they don't want to be chained to constantly watching over their houses and constantly limiting their life choices in fear of dying.

What I do not understand is how a grown adult can ever support an ideology so poorly thought out and so immature. I say this because there have been entire movements of adult human beings supporting the impossible and logic-defying political goal that is anarchy.

So, what say you?
hatshepsut
Posts: 72
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5/13/2015 11:50:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Generally agreed, assuming you can call the political allocation among members of a hunter-gatherer band a "government." We certainly aren't going to have a modern, technically sophisticated society with no government. Despite the evils government brings, the ancient world that lacked police was probably a more dangerous place to live. That remains true even for repressive dictatorships, which after all leave most people alone as long as they aren't opposing the rulers.

There are exceptions, though: Pogroms and wars. Hitler's Germany was far worse than lawlessness would have been, if you were a Jew. Governments make everyday life safer, but they also lead to mass slaughter events, including nuclear war, far more destructive than any of the raiding between bands might have been.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/13/2015 12:08:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 11:50:02 AM, hatshepsut wrote:
Generally agreed, assuming you can call the political allocation among members of a hunter-gatherer band a "government." We certainly aren't going to have a modern, technically sophisticated society with no government.
Yes, anarchists fail to take into account the necessity of government to coordinate and protect scientific research and other forms of intellectual property.

Despite the evils government brings, the ancient world that lacked police was probably a more dangerous place to live. That remains true even for repressive dictatorships, which after all leave most people alone as long as they aren't opposing the rulers.
Government ceases to be a government once it violates its essential purpose, which is to protect life and property. Dictatorships do just that and therefore are not even proper governments in the first place.

There are exceptions, though: Pogroms and wars. Hitler's Germany was far worse than lawlessness would have been, if you were a Jew. Governments make everyday life safer, but they also lead to mass slaughter events, including nuclear war, far more destructive than any of the raiding between bands might have been.
Of course, but it really is more of a balance of pros and cons. Would you rather chaos and killing everyday without government or chaos and killing only every once in a while with government.

Evil things happen on a mass scale not because of government, but because of the nature of group psycology in humans. Since groups are inevitable in human populations, atrocities like the ones you mentioned are inevitable as well. Anarchists fail to see that government is not an externally imposed structure, but an inherent and emergent property of being human. It is simply part of our nature.
hatshepsut
Posts: 72
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5/13/2015 5:46:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 12:08:16 PM, Harper wrote:
Government ceases to be a government once it violates its essential purpose, which is to protect life and property...

I think history shows the main purpose of government is to keep a social elite in power, with extra privileges and wealth it commandeers from the population at large through its fiscal system, or more recently through concentration of wealth in the hands of private individuals having connections. An elite will stop at nothing once it perceives its hold on power is insecure. The idea of the private property state goes back only to John Locke ca. 1690 and true limitation of any kind against a central authority only back to the Magna Carta of 1215.

The U.S. government is no exception. It's there mainly to keep the rich on top. We have been fortunate to have won many significant concessions to popular rights in this country and no doubt our ideals and traditions help keep it that way. But the Uncle Sam that refused to let the Confederate states leave is no more willing to brook serious challenges to its authority and jurisdiction today. I don't see libertarianism as inoculating a society against either the excesses of government or the social problems that follow when governments adopt a hands-off policy.

But you're right about anarchists: Their position is unrealistic and their platform will never mount the throne. Complex government is here to stay. And it is necessary, if you want a coherent society much bigger than a couple thousand people.

Evil things happen on a mass scale not because of government, but because of the nature of group psycology in humans. Since groups are inevitable in human populations, atrocities like the ones you mentioned are inevitable as well...

Groups, and group-organized aggression, are inevitable but mass slaughter isn't. It takes a government to raise an army and sustain a military campaign over time. The larger the government and the more sophisticated technology and bureaucracy become, the bigger the slaughter can be. The most brutal wars of conquest under the Roman state probably claimed no more than 5000 lives. Hand-to-hand killing limits death tolls, most of which anyway came from the famines that followed. We can probably wipe out a quarter of the Earth's population in a few hours with nuclear weapons today, and the longer we keep such weapons in reserve the more likely it is that some crisis will precipitate their use.

The U.S. government under an ideal of liberty has been responsible for dispossessing the Native Americans of their lands, toppling regimes in foreign lands to further its own interests, and conducting the only nuclear strikes on a civilian population to date. It could be worse. Stalin's USSR killed a lot more of its own people than we ever did. Humanism has penetrated here. But I don't see any guarantee our government will always remain magnanimous. It may be getting less so right now.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/13/2015 7:59:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 5:46:48 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/13/2015 12:08:16 PM, Harper wrote:
I think history shows the main purpose of government is to keep a social elite in power, with extra privileges and wealth it commandeers from the population at large through its fiscal system, or more recently through concentration of wealth in the hands of private individuals having connections. An elite will stop at nothing once it perceives its hold on power is insecure. The idea of the private property state goes back only to John Locke ca. 1690 and true limitation of any kind against a central authority only back to the Magna Carta of 1215.
What humans in power use government for is irrelevant. We are talkimg about the reason why governments crop up and why they are inevitable. Your complaints about people in power will not go away no matter what, these kinds of people will always find some way to take advantage of others.

The U.S. government is no exception. It's there mainly to keep the rich on top. We have been fortunate to have won many significant concessions to popular rights in this country and no doubt our ideals and traditions help keep it that way. But the Uncle Sam that refused to let the Confederate states leave is no more willing to brook serious challenges to its authority and jurisdiction today. I don't see libertarianism as inoculating a society against either the excesses of government or the social problems that follow when governments adopt a hands-off policy.

But you're right about anarchists: Their position is unrealistic and their platform will never mount the throne. Complex government is here to stay. And it is necessary, if you want a coherent society much bigger than a couple thousand people.
Yup. I don't even know why they still exist.

Groups, and group-organized aggression, are inevitable but mass slaughter isn't.
Mass slaughter is only a type of group organized aggression. A government and its people are nothing more than a group.

It takes a government to raise an army and sustain a military campaign over time. The larger the government and the more sophisticated technology and bureaucracy become, the bigger the slaughter can be. The most brutal wars of conquest under the Roman state probably claimed no more than 5000 lives. Hand-to-hand killing limits death tolls, most of which anyway came from the famines that followed. We can probably wipe out a quarter of the Earth's population in a few hours with nuclear weapons today, and the longer we keep such weapons in reserve the more likely it is that some crisis will precipitate their use.
Right, but governments are again nothing more than a type of group that are just as natural to the human race as having friends. As in, the actions of government cannot be divorced from regular human action.

The U.S. government under an ideal of liberty has been responsible for dispossessing the Native Americans of their lands, toppling regimes in foreign lands to further its own interests, and conducting the only nuclear strikes on a civilian population to date. It could be worse. Stalin's USSR killed a lot more of its own people than we ever did. Humanism has penetrated here. But I don't see any guarantee our government will always remain magnanimous. It may be getting less so right now.
No matter what, it seems that we cannot run away from our own evils-- without government, there is chaos and the eventual reformation of a government. With it, there is exploitation. Humans are the issue here, millions of years of evolution and we cannot even refrain from killing each other.
hatshepsut
Posts: 72
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5/13/2015 8:51:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 7:59:00 PM, Harper wrote:
What humans in power use government for is irrelevant. We are talkimg about the reason why governments crop up and why they are inevitable. Your complaints about people in power will not go away no matter what, these kinds of people will always find some way to take advantage of others...

No matter what, it seems that we cannot run away from our own evils-- without government, there is chaos and the eventual reformation of a government. With it, there is exploitation. Humans are the issue here, millions of years of evolution and we cannot even refrain from killing each other.

I tend to think what humans in power do with their governments is very relevant. It affects me in many ways, including how long I might live. I generally try not to complain too much since you and I both realize we're stuck with it regardless. But I do think we are going to have to solve the problem of violence management if we don't want to blow our civilization up. We don't need a perfect, love-dove world with no conflicts, but we do need to find effective mechanisms to curb it within bounds. Getting rid of the dangerous nukes under a verifiable ban would be a first step.

If we're going to have a global civilization, we're actually going to have to invent a world government and start running our globe like the planet it is. The current situation where 15% of the planet's people hog 85% of its resources is unstable and must end lest a disaster result.

I don't know that it would be shaped exactly like current national government is, directly taxing people and so on, though it might be, to some degree. At minimum it will need real power to overrule any individual nation, even a big one like the USA, on issues of global reach. It will have to be granted a permanent independent military power under safeguards against abuse, with individual nations perhaps keeping "self-defense" forces similar to Japan's.

That's about the polar opposite of anarchy.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/14/2015 1:43:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 8:51:15 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/13/2015 7:59:00 PM, Harper wrote:
What humans in power use government for is irrelevant. We are talkimg about the reason why governments crop up and why they are inevitable. Your complaints about people in power will not go away no matter what, these kinds of people will always find some way to take advantage of others...

No matter what, it seems that we cannot run away from our own evils-- without government, there is chaos and the eventual reformation of a government. With it, there is exploitation. Humans are the issue here, millions of years of evolution and we cannot even refrain from killing each other.

I tend to think what humans in power do with their governments is very relevant. It affects me in many ways, including how long I might live.
Of course, I didn't mean that people in power are categorically irrelevant, I just didn't think it was relevant in the discussion of government's essential purpose. For example, just because I use a toothbrush to comb my hair, doesn't mean that the purpose of the toothbrush is to comb hair. What people do with governmental power (which is, as you said, to keep themselves in power) and what governmental power was intended to do are two very different things.

I generally try not to complain too much since you and I both realize we're stuck with it regardless. But I do think we are going to have to solve the problem of violence management if we don't want to blow our civilization up.
Of course. Personally, I think the best way is via genetic alteration of human beings. There are several genetic reasons for mass violence and herd mentality, and I think if we eliminate them (which, especially in the near future, is definitely a possibility) we'll end up with more tolerable world to live in. Now, of course, you have the ethical and governmental issues of who would be trusted to be put in charge of such a thing and how to convince the masses of people that genetic engineering of humans is ethical...

We don't need a perfect, love-dove world with no conflicts, but we do need to find effective mechanisms to curb it within bounds. Getting rid of the dangerous nukes under a verifiable ban would be a first step.
Which is why we also need small, limited government. Government is necessary, but it is a necessary evil.

If we're going to have a global civilization, we're actually going to have to invent a world government and start running our globe like the planet it is. The current situation where 15% of the planet's people hog 85% of its resources is unstable and must end lest a disaster result.
World government? I think that would concentrate too much power in too little percentage of the population. People and cultures are different and can't necessarily live under a government that only partially represents them.

I don't know that it would be shaped exactly like current national government is, directly taxing people and so on, though it might be, to some degree. At minimum it will need real power to overrule any individual nation, even a big one like the USA, on issues of global reach. It will have to be granted a permanent independent military power under safeguards against abuse, with individual nations perhaps keeping "self-defense" forces similar to Japan's.
If it reigns supreme over national governments, what exactly is going to check its power? A majority vote of other countries? (how is this not going to devolve into mob rule or totalitarianism)
State governments are powerful enough, but I think a world government would be even more risky, no?

That's about the polar opposite of anarchy.
Oh it is!
Wocambs
Posts: 1,505
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5/15/2015 2:58:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/13/2015 11:39:58 AM, Harper wrote:
Evil actions will exist with or without government, but government (power) will only amplify evil. That was my argument against government from the end of my sophomore year of high school when I became an anarchist to the beginning of senior year when I matured enough to realize the impracticality and impossibility of such a system (or lack thereof).

The thing that shames me the most about having been an anarchist is how intellectually bereft the position was-- the entire political ideology could have been taken down with a simple thought experiment, and it is as follows:

Let's say that the sophomore year version of me got what he wanted: anarchy. There are no courts, no police, no military force or any sort of executive power. No one can be forced to do anything and nothing is illegal. What do you think is bound to happen? People are not angels by nature and many will steal and kill to get what they want. As an individual, you do not want someone to kill you, steal your property, or exploit you (breach of agreements, fraud, etc.). However, you cannot always be there to watch over your property while you're away or protect your life while you are asleep, so the only logical way to ensure maximum protection is to make a convenant with other people to watch your property while you're away and to protect your life. As is the nature of contracts, you too are expected to do the same for them and to make sure the contatract is not breached, if either party breaks this agreement, they will be punished (exile, death, etc.) and/or will no longer have protection.

So already, you have established rules and punishments (backed by force) in place for those in your band who break the rules. This is essentially a government. A primitive government, but a government still. This thought experiment illustrates the impossibility of anarchy since humans, as a social species, are bound to stick together to protect eachother, create rules to keep things fair and punishments to prevent the breaking of the rules. It is simply logical to do so. This is why anarchy has only ever existed as a transitional period between governments and never as a sustained state for a society-- people want some protection to get on with their lives, they don't want to be chained to constantly watching over their houses and constantly limiting their life choices in fear of dying.

What I do not understand is how a grown adult can ever support an ideology so poorly thought out and so immature. I say this because there have been entire movements of adult human beings supporting the impossible and logic-defying political goal that is anarchy.

So, what say you?

You conflate society with government. 'Government' is when there is a governing party and a party which is governed. Saying that there is a group of people with a common understanding does not entail any government.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 2:58:33 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/13/2015 11:39:58 AM, Harper wrote:
Evil actions will exist with or without government, but government (power) will only amplify evil. That was my argument against government from the end of my sophomore year of high school when I became an anarchist to the beginning of senior year when I matured enough to realize the impracticality and impossibility of such a system (or lack thereof).

The thing that shames me the most about having been an anarchist is how intellectually bereft the position was-- the entire political ideology could have been taken down with a simple thought experiment, and it is as follows:

Let's say that the sophomore year version of me got what he wanted: anarchy. There are no courts, no police, no military force or any sort of executive power. No one can be forced to do anything and nothing is illegal. What do you think is bound to happen? People are not angels by nature and many will steal and kill to get what they want. As an individual, you do not want someone to kill you, steal your property, or exploit you (breach of agreements, fraud, etc.). However, you cannot always be there to watch over your property while you're away or protect your life while you are asleep, so the only logical way to ensure maximum protection is to make a convenant with other people to watch your property while you're away and to protect your life. As is the nature of contracts, you too are expected to do the same for them and to make sure the contatract is not breached, if either party breaks this agreement, they will be punished (exile, death, etc.) and/or will no longer have protection.

So already, you have established rules and punishments (backed by force) in place for those in your band who break the rules. This is essentially a government. A primitive government, but a government still. This thought experiment illustrates the impossibility of anarchy since humans, as a social species, are bound to stick together to protect eachother, create rules to keep things fair and punishments to prevent the breaking of the rules. It is simply logical to do so. This is why anarchy has only ever existed as a transitional period between governments and never as a sustained state for a society-- people want some protection to get on with their lives, they don't want to be chained to constantly watching over their houses and constantly limiting their life choices in fear of dying.

What I do not understand is how a grown adult can ever support an ideology so poorly thought out and so immature. I say this because there have been entire movements of adult human beings supporting the impossible and logic-defying political goal that is anarchy.

So, what say you?

You conflate society with government. 'Government' is when there is a governing party and a party which is governed. Saying that there is a group of people with a common understanding does not entail any government.

You obviously misunderstand me. There are rules in this group and force to back up those rules-- how is this not a government? In this thought experiment, the government is close to what one would consider a pure democracy-- there is no separate ruling class, but it still is a form of government (unless you're really willing to sit here and argue that democracy is not a government).

In fact, one of the purposes of the thought experiment was to prove how inevitable and inherent to humanity goverent is, so much so that governments naturally emerge in the form of families, cultures, states, etc. Even a society is a governing power since it always has a set of rules and power to back those rules up, you cannot succesfully run a society without them.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
You obviously misunderstand me. There are rules in this group and force to back up those rules-- how is this not a government? In this thought experiment, the government is close to what one would consider a pure democracy-- there is no separate ruling class, but it still is a form of government (unless you're really willing to sit here and argue that democracy is not a government).

The definition of government is clearly that there is a governing party, i.e. a group with authority over the others. An-archy is a society without hierarchy, not a society without rules.

In fact, one of the purposes of the thought experiment was to prove how inevitable and inherent to humanity goverent is, so much so that governments naturally emerge in the form of families, cultures, states, etc. Even a society is a governing power since it always has a set of rules and power to back those rules up, you cannot succesfully run a society without them.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/15/2015 7:41:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
You obviously misunderstand me. There are rules in this group and force to back up those rules-- how is this not a government? In this thought experiment, the government is close to what one would consider a pure democracy-- there is no separate ruling class, but it still is a form of government (unless you're really willing to sit here and argue that democracy is not a government).

The definition of government is clearly that there is a governing party, i.e. a group with authority over the others. An-archy is a society without hierarchy, not a society without rules.
Again, direct democracy is a type of government by its very definition, and it doesn't have a distinct ruling class or hierarchy. I do not think anyone would call a direct democracy "anarchy". Anarchy is a state of literal lawlessness, as there is no executive power to enforce rules (if there was, it wouldn't be much of an anarchy, now would it?).

In fact, one of the purposes of the thought experiment was to prove how inevitable and inherent to humanity goverent is, so much so that governments naturally emerge in the form of families, cultures, states, etc. Even a society is a governing power since it always has a set of rules and power to back those rules up, you cannot succesfully run a society without them.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 7:41:12 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
You obviously misunderstand me. There are rules in this group and force to back up those rules-- how is this not a government? In this thought experiment, the government is close to what one would consider a pure democracy-- there is no separate ruling class, but it still is a form of government (unless you're really willing to sit here and argue that democracy is not a government).

The definition of government is clearly that there is a governing party, i.e. a group with authority over the others. An-archy is a society without hierarchy, not a society without rules.
Again, direct democracy is a type of government by its very definition, and it doesn't have a distinct ruling class or hierarchy. I do not think anyone would call a direct democracy "anarchy". Anarchy is a state of literal lawlessness, as there is no executive power to enforce rules (if there was, it wouldn't be much of an anarchy, now would it?).

Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time. There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions. It is simply bizarre to suggest that a society in which there is no hierarchy is not anarchy, on the grounds that these anarchist-pretenders have decided to schedule the collection of recycling.


In fact, one of the purposes of the thought experiment was to prove how inevitable and inherent to humanity goverent is, so much so that governments naturally emerge in the form of families, cultures, states, etc. Even a society is a governing power since it always has a set of rules and power to back those rules up, you cannot succesfully run a society without them.
hatshepsut
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5/15/2015 9:01:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/14/2015 1:43:20 PM, Harper wrote:
Of course. Personally, I think the best way is via genetic alteration of human beings. There are several genetic reasons for mass violence and herd mentality, ...

An interesting idea, if it weren't so closely associated with eugenics past. Plus I'm not sure the genetic factors can be identified or eliminated easily; genes tend to have multiple functions and the same gene that causes violence may be needed to make a pancreatic enzyme or something. The environment seems to have more effect on violence than genes do as well; countries can have murder rates that diverge by 1000% even though their gene pools are virtually identical.

We don't need a perfect, love-dove world with no conflicts, but we do need to find effective mechanisms to curb it within bounds. Getting rid of the dangerous nukes under a verifiable ban would be a first step.
Which is why we also need small, limited government. Government is necessary, but it is a necessary evil.

I'll admit a true world government is quite speculative, and not likely in near future. But a truce system is the only alternative, and those parts of the world that are getting shafted right now won't be willing to cement the status quo. I would suggest building on the UN and other international institutions in the interim. The U.S. won't even join the international criminal court.

I just don't think we're going to be able to have small government ever again even if most people end up wanting it. The world of 1790 when that was feasible is long gone. It's true there is some concern the U.S. will spend itself into oblivion and that some discipline is needed. But a lot of complicated stuff with industry and so on has to be regulated; it won't police itself.
hatshepsut
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5/15/2015 9:10:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time. There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions...

I'm aware there's lots of different "brands" of anarchism though I'm not knowledgeable regarding all the details & etc. But "practical anarchism" (as a viable political force) will be a lot different from the anarchist's ideal model just as liberarianism will be if it ever gets seated in Congress.

It's those rules, you see. They have to be enforceable. Social pressure can suffice to enforce informal conventions in a small tribe but it has problems trying to police a larger society. If we lose our government, the USA would end up as 3000 independent counties each trying to hold its own border and keep itself safe in a climate of rampant insecurity and scheming by empire-builders.
Harper
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5/15/2015 9:19:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 7:41:12 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time.
So direct democracy, in your opinion, is anarchy? Is that what you are saying or am I misunderstanding you?

There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions.
Then these rules are worthless. If there is no force to back them up, they are simply empty words, open for anyone to break.

It is simply bizarre to suggest that a society in which there is no hierarchy is not anarchy, on the grounds that these anarchist-pretenders have decided to schedule the collection of recycling.
What? "Collection of recycling"?

Answer me this: if anarchy is a legitimate solution, why has it never succeeded? It was tried many times in history and it was always replaced by an official governing power.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 9:23:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:10:47 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time. There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions...

I'm aware there's lots of different "brands" of anarchism though I'm not knowledgeable regarding all the details & etc. But "practical anarchism" (as a viable political force) will be a lot different from the anarchist's ideal model just as liberarianism will be if it ever gets seated in Congress.

It's those rules, you see. They have to be enforceable. Social pressure can suffice to enforce informal conventions in a small tribe but it has problems trying to police a larger society. If we lose our government, the USA would end up as 3000 independent counties each trying to hold its own border and keep itself safe in a climate of rampant insecurity and scheming by empire-builders.

You can make them informal conventions, you can make them gravely serious rules - they remain anarchists so long as they don't propose that certain anarchists should rule over the others. I have no idea what this 'rampant insecurity' is, or who these 'scheming empire-builders are', but I don't see how refusing to be ruled by a man in a white house entails that you are incapable of making sensible alliances.
Harper
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5/15/2015 9:31:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:01:07 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/14/2015 1:43:20 PM, Harper wrote:
Of course. Personally, I think the best way is via genetic alteration of human beings. There are several genetic reasons for mass violence and herd mentality, ...

An interesting idea, if it weren't so closely associated with eugenics past. Plus I'm not sure the genetic factors can be identified or eliminated easily; genes tend to have multiple functions and the same gene that causes violence may be needed to make a pancreatic enzyme or something. The environment seems to have more effect on violence than genes do as well; countries can have murder rates that diverge by 1000% even though their gene pools are virtually identical.
All good points.

I'll admit a true world government is quite speculative, and not likely in near future. But a truce system is the only alternative, and those parts of the world that are getting shafted right now won't be willing to cement the status quo. I would suggest building on the UN and other international institutions in the interim. The U.S. won't even join the international criminal court.
I see where you're coming from, though I still am weary of foreign entanglements. After all, it was these kinds of global entanglements that led to WW1 and 2 to become so devastatingly huge. It might also eliminate national sovereignty.

I just don't think we're going to be able to have small government ever again even if most people end up wanting it. The world of 1790 when that was feasible is long gone.
True, the technology of today has made the Jeffersonian ideal of small government and agrarian life near impossible.

It's true there is some concern the U.S. will spend itself into oblivion and that some discipline is needed. But a lot of complicated stuff with industry and so on has to be regulated; it won't police itself.
Discipline is needed, definitely can agree with you there.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 9:32:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:19:11 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 7:41:12 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time.
So direct democracy, in your opinion, is anarchy? Is that what you are saying or am I misunderstanding you?

The way I understand direct democracy, sure, because it means making decisions as a group. It isn't anarchistic, of course, if you say that 51% of the group gets to rule the other 49%.

There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions.
Then these rules are worthless. If there is no force to back them up, they are simply empty words, open for anyone to break.

Maybe there is force? Who knows. The force just isn't directed by a ruler.

It is simply bizarre to suggest that a society in which there is no hierarchy is not anarchy, on the grounds that these anarchist-pretenders have decided to schedule the collection of recycling.
What? "Collection of recycling"?

Yes. That is an example of societal organisation.

Answer me this: if anarchy is a legitimate solution, why has it never succeeded? It was tried many times in history and it was always replaced by an official governing power.

For the same reason that our democracies are elite-dominated, presumably. When your mission is to abolish power, you're really going against the odds.
Harper
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5/15/2015 9:45:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:32:23 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 9:19:11 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 8:31:29 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 7:41:12 PM, Harper wrote:
At 5/15/2015 4:43:15 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 3:09:28 PM, Harper wrote:
Plenty of anarchists talk about direct democracy all the time.
So direct democracy, in your opinion, is anarchy? Is that what you are saying or am I misunderstanding you?

The way I understand direct democracy, sure, because it means making decisions as a group. It isn't anarchistic, of course, if you say that 51% of the group gets to rule the other 49%.
But even making decisions as a group will always mean that others are imposing rules onto you, since not everyone is going to agree and compromise must be made.

There is no 'executive power', but this does not mean that there are no rules. The rules are simply very different to laws, presumably being more like conventions.
Then these rules are worthless. If there is no force to back them up, they are simply empty words, open for anyone to break.

Maybe there is force? Who knows. The force just isn't directed by a ruler.
So then who would direct it?

It is simply bizarre to suggest that a society in which there is no hierarchy is not anarchy, on the grounds that these anarchist-pretenders have decided to schedule the collection of recycling.
What? "Collection of recycling"?

Yes. That is an example of societal organisation.
Looked up the phrase, did not find anything. What does it mean?

Answer me this: if anarchy is a legitimate solution, why has it never succeeded? It was tried many times in history and it was always replaced by an official governing power.

For the same reason that our democracies are elite-dominated, presumably. When your mission is to abolish power, you're really going against the odds.
You are not only going against the odds, you are going against the reality of our species. There is always a corrupt class that try to rise to power because that is simply the nature of our species, the best we can do is limit the damage. Anarchy certainly won't get rid of them, in fact the power vacuum will only make it easier for them to form dictarorships. Anarchy, since there is no executive power, cannot limit a person from rising to power unless it is to allow the masses to control these kinds of people (which wouldn't even be an anarchy anymore).
Harper
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5/15/2015 9:53:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:48:15 PM, MechVarg wrote:
Anarchy means "no rulers". I've recently become an anarchist myself
Then define a ruler. I think a ruler is anyone with direct political power. In a direct democracy, everyone is a ruler, thus making the kind of system I detailed in my thought experiment a government.
hatshepsut
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5/15/2015 10:07:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:23:16 PM, Wocambs wrote:
You can make them informal conventions, you can make them gravely serious rules - they remain anarchists so long as they don't propose that certain anarchists should rule over the others. I have no idea what this 'rampant insecurity' is, or who these 'scheming empire-builders are',...

Informal conventions in stone age tribes were deadly serious. If you ignored them, the tribe all turned their backs on you, leaving you to face the wild and the hostile tribes next door by yourself. A death sentence, in other words.

When populations get big and settle down to farming, they have land to protect. People don't know everyone else any more. This leads to militaries and states. Like ancient Egypt. Hierarchy develops and rulers emerge.

Without federal & state governments, the USA would have to break up into units with about 2000 people each, roughly the biggest size that can govern itself without a ruling class. Freshman anthropology textbooks have more details. But we would be so crowded that each of these units would be intensely competing with its neighbors to get resources. They can trade, but they can war, and you'll have little Pompeys running around with ideas of welding 100 units into a bigger state. Why go through that all over again? We already have a fairly comfortable life with the state we have.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 11:17:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 9:45:27 PM, Harper wrote:
But even making decisions as a group will always mean that others are imposing rules onto you, since not everyone is going to agree and compromise must be made.

A compromise isn't an imposition. If our ideas are so radically different that a compromise can't be made, then it doesn't seem like we should really be part of the same group when discussing this.

So then who would direct it?

I don't understand the question. We all made an agreement, didn't we? Try raping someone in a club - I don't think you'd have to wait for the bouncers to arrive before anyone did anything. Unless you were two and a half metres tall and covered in Spetsnaz tattoos, but that's just a matter of finding someone who can actually deal with the situation...

Looked up the phrase, did not find anything. What does it mean?

Throwing away bottles and cans is wasteful, so where I live, the council collects these items from a blue bin, every fortnight, I think.
https://www.gov.uk...

You are not only going against the odds, you are going against the reality of our species. There is always a corrupt class that try to rise to power because that is simply the nature of our species, the best we can do is limit the damage. Anarchy certainly won't get rid of them, in fact the power vacuum will only make it easier for them to form dictarorships. Anarchy, since there is no executive power, cannot limit a person from rising to power unless it is to allow the masses to control these kinds of people (which wouldn't even be an anarchy anymore).

As far as I'm aware, you're trying to make an argument for anarchism here, before misunderstanding it as an argument against anarchism. Hierarchy is bad... oh, but only hierarchy can limit hierarchy. This is not legitimate. I think if you were in an anarchist society and attempted to become a dictator you would have even less success than someone who tried demanding to become the King of America.
Wocambs
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5/15/2015 11:29:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 10:07:26 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/15/2015 9:23:16 PM, Wocambs wrote:
You can make them informal conventions, you can make them gravely serious rules - they remain anarchists so long as they don't propose that certain anarchists should rule over the others. I have no idea what this 'rampant insecurity' is, or who these 'scheming empire-builders are',...

Informal conventions in stone age tribes were deadly serious. If you ignored them, the tribe all turned their backs on you, leaving you to face the wild and the hostile tribes next door by yourself. A death sentence, in other words.

That's very interesting.

When populations get big and settle down to farming, they have land to protect. People don't know everyone else any more. This leads to militaries and states. Like ancient Egypt. Hierarchy develops and rulers emerge.

Without federal & state governments, the USA would have to break up into units with about 2000 people each, roughly the biggest size that can govern itself without a ruling class. Freshman anthropology textbooks have more details. But we would be so crowded that each of these units would be intensely competing with its neighbors to get resources. They can trade, but they can war, and you'll have little Pompeys running around with ideas of welding 100 units into a bigger state. Why go through that all over again? We already have a fairly comfortable life with the state we have.

You can make the organisation as complex as you want, and it will remain an anarchist society, or a collection thereof, until there is an actual hierarchy of power. I don't know why you imagine that we have to devolve our various into tribes of 2,000 people as soon as we stop taking orders. You just use representatives, presumably, and as for the 'rules', well, the ones of any importance to our daily lives are incredibly obvious to anyone who isn't teleported here from Papua New Guinea. Somehow I don't think this is the peak of human society.
Harper
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5/16/2015 9:03:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 11:17:09 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 9:45:27 PM, Harper wrote:
But even making decisions as a group will always mean that others are imposing rules onto you, since not everyone is going to agree and compromise must be made.

A compromise isn't an imposition. If our ideas are so radically different that a compromise can't be made, then it doesn't seem like we should really be part of the same group when discussing this.
But that ignores the reality that there very well be a big difference between our opinions and someone is going to end up with their wishes not granted. That's why we have leaders-- to take all of these different interests and make decisions. Leaders are not something new, even ancient man (before formal states) had the elders of their tribes as leaders, commanding the rest.

This is just one reason why anarchy is unrealistic-- it assumes that human nature can bend to the political whims of radicals-- it cannot. Humans naturally and voluntarily have leaders (even in friend groups and voluntary organizations) because that is the way they survived best.

So then who would direct it?

I don't understand the question. We all made an agreement, didn't we? Try raping someone in a club - I don't think you'd have to wait for the bouncers to arrive before anyone did anything. Unless you were two and a half metres tall and covered in Spetsnaz tattoos, but that's just a matter of finding someone who can actually deal with the situation...
I don't understand how anyone would rape someone right in a club in front of everybody else, it is far more likely for it to happen in a secluded area. How is the girl going to get justice if he runs away? What's going to prevent other people from doing this? Who is she going to turn to if she, for whatever reason, is a social outcast and cannot voluntarily get someone to help her? Does she not deserve justice because she isn't able to find someone to voluntarily help her? And what if the other guys in the area can't fight him off? You need a legal system to run a successful society and that means that one group will have to impose rules upon another.

Looked up the phrase, did not find anything. What does it mean?

Throwing away bottles and cans is wasteful, so where I live, the council collects these items from a blue bin, every fortnight, I think.
https://www.gov.uk...

You are not only going against the odds, you are going against the reality of our species. There is always a corrupt class that try to rise to power because that is simply the nature of our species, the best we can do is limit the damage. Anarchy certainly won't get rid of them, in fact the power vacuum will only make it easier for them to form dictarorships. Anarchy, since there is no executive power, cannot limit a person from rising to power unless it is to allow the masses to control these kinds of people (which wouldn't even be an anarchy anymore).

As far as I'm aware, you're trying to make an argument for anarchism here, before misunderstanding it as an argument against anarchism. Hierarchy is bad... oh, but only hierarchy can limit hierarchy. This is not legitimate.
No, you misunderstood my points. To make it clearer:
1. A society without hierarchy is impossible, because humans naturally form hierarchies. You would actually have to force humans not to form hierarchies. Families, tribes, societies, workplaces, and even voluntary projects (movies) have hierarchy as a way of organizing itself. This is why people associate anarchy with disorder-- a society without hierarchy is a society ill ordered.
2. To limit the ill effects of a hierarchy, you need legal limits on government. That is why the least corrupt societies are also ones with a constitution, which limits what the ruling class can do. These legal limits are impossible in an anarchy.
3. Anarchy will never survive. The closest thing to an intentional anarchy lasted only 3 years. This is because government is an emergent property of human society. Even early man saw the necessity of rulers (you had chiefs of a tribe). An anarchist society by definition cannot impose its will onto anybody else and therefore cannot form a military (militaries always have commanders, and the most successful militaries always have strict hierarchies) to defend itself, cannot force people not to come into power, and so on.
4. Hierarchy is not always bad. You completely misunderstood me there-- hierarchy is actually necessary. Look at any successful structure that has stood the test of time, they are all hierarchical in nature. That is because hierarchy is the best way of organizing people. Any attempts to eliminate hierarchy totally have failed in the past, and you'd be gullible to expect it to succeed in the future.

I think if you were in an anarchist society and attempted to become a dictator you would have even less success than someone who tried demanding to become the King of America.
This is a completely unsupported claim as it ignores historical precedent. Any time there is a loss of power in a society, a dictatorship finds an opening, look at countries like Iraq. This is again because humans naturally gravitate towards strong leaders when there is chaos, you see this even in smaller instances of disaster (like a workplace fire).

And what would stop me, in an anarchist society, from becoming a dictator? In America, I cannot attempt to become a dictator because I would be violating the constitution and forced to resign or get punished.
Harper
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5/16/2015 9:11:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 11:29:02 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 10:07:26 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/15/2015 9:23:16 PM, Wocambs wrote:
You can make them informal conventions, you can make them gravely serious rules - they remain anarchists so long as they don't propose that certain anarchists should rule over the others. I have no idea what this 'rampant insecurity' is, or who these 'scheming empire-builders are',...

Informal conventions in stone age tribes were deadly serious. If you ignored them, the tribe all turned their backs on you, leaving you to face the wild and the hostile tribes next door by yourself. A death sentence, in other words.

That's very interesting.

When populations get big and settle down to farming, they have land to protect. People don't know everyone else any more. This leads to militaries and states. Like ancient Egypt. Hierarchy develops and rulers emerge.

Without federal & state governments, the USA would have to break up into units with about 2000 people each, roughly the biggest size that can govern itself without a ruling class. Freshman anthropology textbooks have more details. But we would be so crowded that each of these units would be intensely competing with its neighbors to get resources. They can trade, but they can war, and you'll have little Pompeys running around with ideas of welding 100 units into a bigger state. Why go through that all over again? We already have a fairly comfortable life with the state we have.

You can make the organisation as complex as you want, and it will remain an anarchist society, or a collection thereof, until there is an actual hierarchy of power.
But the thing is that a society can only reach a primitive level of complexity if there is no hierarchical structure.

I don't know why you imagine that we have to devolve our various into tribes of 2,000 people as soon as we stop taking orders.
It's not imagination, it is the reality of human contact. The larger the state, the more impersonal the bond is between people and thus the more you need a cohesive force (like a state) to keep them together. Remember, even under the Articles of Confederation, the central government was still too weak to keep states from going off on their own tangents.

You just use representatives, presumably, and as for the 'rules', well, the ones of any importance to our daily lives are incredibly obvious to anyone who isn't teleported here from Papua New Guinea.
But that's the thing you get wrong. Only the odd political activist readily thinks about how water is going to get to everyone in the nation, or how to prevent workplaces from exploiting workers. Many people simply don't have the time to worry about every detail of running their daily lives. There are plenty of things that effect us everyday that we needed a central government to put together in a well-organized manner.

Somehow I don't think this is the peak of human society.
Harper
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5/16/2015 9:17:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 11:29:02 PM, Wocambs wrote:
At 5/15/2015 10:07:26 PM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/15/2015 9:23:16 PM, Wocambs wrote:
You can make them informal conventions, you can make them gravely serious rules - they remain anarchists so long as they don't propose that certain anarchists should rule over the others. I have no idea what this 'rampant insecurity' is, or who these 'scheming empire-builders are',...

Informal conventions in stone age tribes were deadly serious. If you ignored them, the tribe all turned their backs on you, leaving you to face the wild and the hostile tribes next door by yourself. A death sentence, in other words.

That's very interesting.

When populations get big and settle down to farming, they have land to protect. People don't know everyone else any more. This leads to militaries and states. Like ancient Egypt. Hierarchy develops and rulers emerge.

Without federal & state governments, the USA would have to break up into units with about 2000 people each, roughly the biggest size that can govern itself without a ruling class. Freshman anthropology textbooks have more details. But we would be so crowded that each of these units would be intensely competing with its neighbors to get resources. They can trade, but they can war, and you'll have little Pompeys running around with ideas of welding 100 units into a bigger state. Why go through that all over again? We already have a fairly comfortable life with the state we have.

You can make the organisation as complex as you want, and it will remain an anarchist society, or a collection thereof, until there is an actual hierarchy of power. I don't know why you imagine that we have to devolve our various into tribes of 2,000 people as soon as we stop taking orders. You just use representatives, presumably, and as for the 'rules', well, the ones of any importance to our daily lives are incredibly obvious to anyone who isn't teleported here from Papua New Guinea. Somehow I don't think this is the peak of human society.

I must ask you, though: what is the ideal anarchist society? How would it run? How would you organize the society? How would you deal with people that kill, steal, etc.? How would you defend yourself from an invading country, and do you think an anarchist defense system could ever out perform that of an established government? How would you prevent exploitation? How would you fund science and technology?
hatshepsut
Posts: 72
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5/16/2015 11:16:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/15/2015 11:29:02 PM, Wocambs wrote:
You can make the organisation as complex as you want, and it will remain an anarchist society, or a collection thereof, until there is an actual hierarchy of power. I don't know why you imagine that we have to devolve our various into tribes of 2,000 people as soon as we stop taking orders. You just use representatives, presumably, and as for the 'rules', well, the ones of any importance to our daily lives are incredibly obvious to anyone who isn't teleported here from Papua New Guinea. Somehow I don't think this is the peak of human society.

Hierarchy starts as soon as one mouth is louder or more eloquent than other mouths. In village societies, hierarchy is minimal because the economic surplus isn't enough to support a high social pyramid. That changes once the society grows. Conventions & persuasion work when people all know each other, as in a village or tribe. In a larger society, people no longer have personal ties to their neighbors, so an impersonal bureaucracy becomes necessary. Anthropologists think the tipping point comes at a group size of roughly 2000, although this can vary. There's often an intermediate stage of "chiefdom" between bands or tribes and a true state.

When you speak of representatives, you've got a republic of some kind. Rules won't be "obvious" to a lot of people. Anonymous cheating is possible when you don't know your neighbors; so enforcers are needed even in a republic.

No, it's not the peak of human society; it's kind of ugly, really. But it's the best we have so far. Anarchism to date has absolutely no working historical precedents. It remains to be seen whether it can be made to work, which I have major doubts about.
Harper
Posts: 374
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5/16/2015 8:39:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/16/2015 11:16:36 AM, hatshepsut wrote:
At 5/15/2015 11:29:02 PM, Wocambs wrote:
Hierarchy starts as soon as one mouth is louder or more eloquent than other mouths.
May I just tell you how well put that is? Could never have said it better myself!