A few years back, I used to be big on anarchy. I would get into debates with my dad about it. He would show stuff like Doctor Zhivago as “examples” of what anarchy looked like. Actually though, this is not anarchy. I’ll explain what is, and why it isn’t.
First, right, Doctor Zhivago. The scene in question was when the tsar’s regime was brought down. We see people doing whatever. Raiding and looting, and so on. Anarchy right? No. It was a lapse in power, what we call “chaos”. The word “chaos” does not mean “random” despite what we’d think. It comes from a word meaning “void” and is essentially that. It’s a gap in power, an emptiness, while the ruling power is out of power, and the rebels are trying to make the case why they should be the ruling power (they usually do, making some claim of how they are worth it to rule). The disorder and lawlessness you see is not an example of anarchy, so much as people taking advantage of the gap to get what they want. As in, not so much disorder, as people knowing very much what to do, and doing it, because they are opportunists.
So then, what is anarchy? Well, it’s “no rule” but first, let me explain what it isn’t.
We see movies every year, that have so called anarchists blowing stuff up. It’s almost like Hollywood is either projecting from their own idiocy or “paid for by the the US voting system”TM. In fact, the only film that actually got it right what anarchy is, was V for Vendetta, and this was mainly over most of the audience’s head (and he still blew up some major British buildings). In this film however, between despotic neo-fascism and anarchy, the audience usually preferred anarchy to despotism. Typically in movies, however, in an effort for “patriotism” anarchists blowing up things is a bad thing because of our wonderful democratic-republic. I’ll get to later how it isn’t, but for now, let’s start with the fact that most anarchists, who aren’t certifiably insane, see terrorism as a type of force, and thus part of a rulership mechanism, to say nothing of the fact that most of them are pacifists.
Second, I was on OkCupid looking for matches. Almost without exception, under Anarchist, all of them tended to men, with heavy beard stubble, and very conservative views. In other words, alot of men, who are tired of women ruling them, maybe? That sounds less like legitimate anarchy, and more like guys that were extraordinarily sexist, and didn’t like the idea that they had to be forced to work or maintain an image, or be decent people. Personal responsibility, however, is at the heart of anarchy. Not it either.
Third, I saw a number of links about anarchy that appeared to be tying it together with something else. Anarcho-communism. Anarcho-capitalism. Nice try. Anarcho-capitalism is a business government. Anarcho-communism is still communism, just without a leader. Neither of these are actually anarchy.
What then, is anarchy? Well, picture this. A school’s 5th grade has money and resources to show a film in class, or go to a water park. The water park involves a great deal of coordination, more money, and is more risky but is more fun. The class film requires bags of popcorn, and some pizza, is fun in its own way, but saves money for the school. A monarchy would be the teacher deciding this without input of the students, an oligarchy would be the school board deciding (they’d probably decide to stay in). You’ll notice that neither of these actually ask the students. Which brings us to the idea of voting, what formed the basis for our society (because of this article, we are going to call this democracy rather than republic). You’ll notice too, that from the outset, this system is worlds better. You’ll note that in parentheses, I mentioned this as a democracy vs republic. A democracy is a rule based on the group, republic is based on the individual. Our society, likes to call itself a democratic-republic, but it really isn’t, except that we vote for a single individual, who may or may not serve our interests. It also, as I pointed out in movies, likes to paint anarchy as much worse than democracy. But is it? What is anarchy?
Back to the example. Suppose the class is big, like 100 (just for percent). A democracy would take a vote, and we assume 49 of those people are introverts/like the movie, and so 51 outvote them. This means 49 pissed off kids. Anarchy is saving whatever money you can, and as a teacher, allowing a substitute for the kids staying in, and supervising the kids that vote to go. Anarchy is the concept of a republic to its logical end. So actually, even this wouldn’t be a good example, but it would be a start. A better example would be teaching the kids math and reading, and the basics, then in middle school onward, the kids choose which classes to pursue. They can apprentice themselves to prospective companies if they know what they want, can get a broader liberal arts education, or whatever. The kids can screw themselves over, but it’s understood that they make their own choices.
Btw, I actually had some of this happen, in college. They put it to a vote, test Friday or Monday, with the other day off. I wanted to get it out of the way, and not have tension all weekend, so I chose Friday. Everyone else was choosing Monday, so I abstained. The teacher was like “we need everyone to vote.” I’m like, I don’t care, I don’t want to be bullied into a decision. So I alone took the test (it was horticulture, and I was getting C’s) and with just me, I had the peace and quiet to think (small classroom meant I could hear coughing, tapping with the pencil, etc. and I was having trouble with ADD at the time) and aced the test. This is how society should be run, with nobody imposing their will on another.
The question is, how do we do this? Well, we have a few models.
The first is Switzerland, which is very much into small state. They arm their own citizens by selling them guns, and seem to be very (pardon the expression) anarcho-capitalist. The model works, I suppose, it’s just not what I’d call true anarchy. More like a commercial government. That said, the people appear free and happy. They appear to be good neutral territory for world leaders to come up with theories of how to improve the world, while at the same time, able to maintain their sovereignty by being well armed and good in business.
The second, is a more true version to the concept that I want. Both during early (pre-tsar) Russia, and during the Holy Roman Empire, the essential model was city states. So long as the city state has the same currency as nearby areas, and the ability to protect itself from outside attack, it is both connected to the whole, and sovereign, without needing a president. You can have an elected mayor, you can have a town council, you can have companies that run roads/water/electricity. Regardless of how you do it, that’s your Sim City, so to speak. In a true anarchy, this also means weirdness like Culpeper attacking Warsaw in Virginia. But yes, that’s part of the deal. If we have free government, towns are self-governed, versus having people decide for others. And people are also self-governed. If the place turns into a bad place to live, take responsibility. Ideally, in a true anarchy, you have an unelected town council, made entirely of volunteers. Their term lasts as long or short as they want, or even random people can show up and make suggestions. Of course, if nobody else likes your idea, it’s up to you to implement it.