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Author Topic: Anarchy is a misnomer. Self-government is more accurate.  (Read 942 times)


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Anarchy is a misnomer. Self-government is more accurate.
« on: October 26, 2007, 02:47 PM NHFT »

I thought this was an interesting post from another forum I belong to and worthy of repeating.


What actually is anarchy?

James Ostrowski writes:

"...'anarchy' means a situation in which, between or among private persons (A and B in Figure No. 1) or groups of persons, there is no common lawful authority to resolve their disputes and avoid resort to self-help.

Figure 1:

A – – – – – – anarchic – – – – – – B

The truth is, there is no human political system imaginable that is not anarchic!"

Anarchy means no common lawful authority.

The most important fact is this. Short of bringing in God as an authority (which you think is also man-made), every imaginable social situation is anarchic. There is never a common lawful authority.

In figure 1, there is no state above A and B. There is no common authority between A and B.

People almost invariably create a common authority that they call lawful. They create a government. There are many forms of government. The standard state (S) is above A and B. The relation between A and B is no longer anarchic, but now there is no common lawful authority between S and A, and S and B. The anarchy is still there.

Or suppose there are two states S1 and S2. There is no common authority over them. They are in anarchy just like A and B were. Or suppose S1 and S2 create a UN. Then there is anarchy between the UN and S1, and the UN and S2.

What so-called anarchists mostly want is a particular form of government that we may call self-government. They want to establish a common lawful authority, either an ethical rule such as "do no harm" or else recognition of something called "rights" or else a peace-loving commune or else a private law system. But all of these have something in common. They are all "self-government."

They want a government that is not the standard state. Its features are as follows:

"Self-government – no state with final authority; each person governs himself or herself; disputes among people are resolved by private courts and arbitrators; resort to private courts is encouraged by self-interest, social pressure, boycott, ostracism and market forces such as the denial of insurance and of access to real estate to those with a history of improper self-help."

The above applies to every single form of anarchism, from anarcho-capitalism, market anarchism, mutualism, individualist anarchism, social anarchism, communist anarchism. They may argue over what is the meaning of "private" as in private courts. Some may call them public courts or anarchist courts or directly democratic courts. They may argue over all sorts of details. Yet the above captures what is common across all anarchists of every stripe and variety.

The relationships of each person A, B, C,... to the dispute resolution system will still be anarchic because there is no common lawful authority over both the dispute resolvers and the people A, B, C.

Anarchists are using a misnomer. All political relations are anarchic. The vast majority of anarchists posting here actually favor self-government (with variations.)
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Re: Anarchy is a misnomer. Self-government is more accurate.
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2007, 12:17 AM NHFT »

Agree.  I don't want a master, or need one.  I am very careful to respect people, and when I encroach, which inevitably happens, I make quick amends once made aware of the encroachment. 

Btw, this is the remedy that Jesus preached in the sermon on the mount. 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2007, 12:19 AM NHFT by David »

John Edward Mercier

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Re: Anarchy is a misnomer. Self-government is more accurate.
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2007, 04:28 PM NHFT »

He's explaining that you don't have a master.
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