Random Musings
July 3rd, 2005 by Lucas

Why I am not an Anarchist

In this article, esr describes the only solution to the problem of instability of a consitiutional democracy (as they exist today here in Australia, the US, and elsewhere) is a complete anarchy (or as he puts it “no government”).

I agree with the statement that the question of good government reduces to “who can be trusted to wield the first use of force wisely and morally?”, but my opinion diverges from that point on.

Monachies, Theocracies, Autocracies have passed and failed this test, depending on who had been selected (or inherited). Leaders with a “for all the people” interest in governance seem to pass, where leaders that have a self- or some-small-select-group- intest seem to fail.

All anarchies (typified of the social structure after revolutions) fail this test. But he doesn’t go onto link the post-revolution state with anarchy.

Anarchies are inheritly instable, as there are no agreed rules on which society can funcition. Not that a constituional democracy is fully stable, either, but it is still a huge improvement on an anarchy.

For his view of anarchy to be stable, all citizens would have to be educated, well adjusted, and contented people. This doesn’t appear to be the case in any society at the moment. Any other would result more likely degenerate into a mob-rule style, with mar and par kettle on the veranda, defending their property with a shotgun <insert sound of duelling bangoes here>.

Even open source, which esr posits as an example of anarchy, is only a instable form of benign dictatorship (or olgarchies).

What would be most stable form of government is a minimalistic constitutional democracy.. One that has more in common with a standards body, rather than a huge bureaucracy. It wouldn’t solve the problem of saving the society from it’s citizens, but it would be a good start at limiting the abuses that a government could wield.

So how do we protect society from the “folly of its citizens”? These seem to be pre-conditions to good society, regardless of the particular -ism the government is organised under.

  • The citizens have to be educated.
  • Not only the three “R”s, but on political sciences – how society has organised itself, and how power is wielded. (And for those paying attention to current events – how the politics of fear work).

  • The citizens have to be content with their lives – which mean that the gap between the haves and have nots mustn’t be so great that it can’t be overcome with a bit of work
  • But that also means that if they are happy with their lives, then they don’t have to do that extra bit of work.

  • The citizens should be in control of their own circumstance
  • And the citizens must know how to run their own enterprizes (or small businesses). To few people have the knowledge to go beyond being a good corporate lemming. Being a corporate lemming can have its advantages in learning the ropes. As well as keeping the peasants “in line” both financially and “their place” in society.

  • The citizens should be able to question *everything* the government does
  • Which means that information that governments like to withhold from their citizens must be made available.

    That includes all deals done by the government .. no more commercial-in-confidance deals where we can’t see what we’re paying for.

  • There must be multiple independant sources of information (or media)
  • This also goes back to being educated. At least being able to get the information needed to make an informed opinion or decision.

    I’m starting to rant abit here, so I’ll end it by saying that citizens must be given the tools (education and information) to shape their own destiny, and not be held back (either by rule or lack of tools) by their government. I fail to see how an anarchy could provide that if the citizens are busy trying to defend themselves from the hordes.


    3 Responses to “Why I am not an Anarchist”
    1. Oh man, I read the heading as “Why I’m not the Antichrist”…thought I might have to change my name to Rosemary for a bit there

    2. Oi! I’m not Lucas…

    3. Hrm…it appears I’m still Lucas. May have to start drinking beer & scratching my nether regions.

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