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Persuade me that anarchy is viable in today's world
in Politics

I want to open up with saying that I deeply sympathize with the idea of anarchy. My current view is much like that of Thomas Paine's in Common Sense: "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." So, I already agree that it would be ideal to have an anarchist society, as I see all government as evil. However, like Paine, I view it as necessary.

I do not see anarchy in today's world as viable for one primar reason:
I believe an anarchist society, if begun, would just be conquered quickly. There is historical evidence that this is what happens. The free territory of Ukraine, Revolutionary Catalonia, the Paris Commune: all of these attempts were quickly crushed by a powerful state. So, to persuade me, I need to know of a logical and solid plan to prevent something like that from happening again. I legitimately do want to support anarchy, but I am concerned it is just not probable whatsoever at the moment. 

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
-Albert Camus, Notebook IV



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  • TKDBTKDB 266 Pts
    edited July 18
    @GeoLibCogScientist

    Talk to @MayCaesar

    He has said plenty about your position.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1872 Pts
    First of all, there are many different types of anarchy. While anarchy itself in general is just the lack of state, there are many ways the stateless society can self-organise. The most popular types of anarchy, as far as I know, are anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism and "absolute anarchy" - the latter being essentially a human version of animal kingdom with no rules and norms.

    Absolute anarchy obviously would be easily defeated by any organised military machine. Collectivist forms of anarchy, such as anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism, have powerful mechanisms allowing people to unite in the face of external threat - but the economical systems themselves are so inefficient, that they are likely to fall even after that.
    For anarcho-capitalism, it depends on how wealthy the society is. A society wealthy enough, in which each household can afford a lot of weaponry and automated defenses, and which funds powerful modern private security companies, can funnel their resources into a temporarily formed military machine tasked with resisting the external aggression and nothing else - and in the end it functions just like a strong military, only built on a much more powerful decentralised economical base.
    On the other hand, if the anarcho-capitalist society is only starting out and is still relatively poor, then it can be crushed by a strong foreign state military.

    I see anarchy establishing itself according to the Swiss and Singaporean economical-diplomatic models: "Make yourself so useful to everyone else that conquering you will make the conqueror worse off". An anarchist society can feature extremely investment-friendly economy, and once everyone has invested enough in it, conquering the society becomes unprofitable to them, as their investments stop giving returns. The anarchist society, in the meantime, can use the investments to boost its economical growth. At some point, the individuals become strong and prosperous enough to be able to withstand most invasions.

    Bear also in mind that the historical examples you are citing are from the past. Up until the recent few decades, conquest was seen as a legitimate political action. It is no longer the case today: attacking another state with the goal being its conquest is no longer considered acceptable, and anyone who does it without having a very strong casus belli will face international ostracision sufficient to deter everyone else from seriously considering doing the same. Modern wars are typically short and non-expansionist, having some specific goals in mind, such as demotion of the dictator or defeating a terrorist organisation. The last time anyone conquered anything was Russia 2014 taking over Crimea, and the economical sanctions it had to face halted any further expansion indefinitely.
    I do not think we have to fear being conquered out of the blue today, no matter who we are, as long as we are an integral part of the international community - and as such, the anarchist model that was not very viable in the past may be viable today.

    Finally, the emergence of the state inside the anarchist society can be of concern. To that, I can only say that it takes a very developed and enlightened society to prevent that from happening. The vast majority of individuals in the society must exhibit strong anarchist views, and be willing to fight any entity that attempts to destroy the anarchy. If enough people deeply oppose the existence of any state, then I do not see how the state can appear without strong support of the population.
    OppolzerGeoLibCogScientist
  • edited July 18
    MayCaesar said:
    "I see anarchy establishing itself according to the Swiss and Singaporean economical-diplomatic models: "Make yourself so useful to everyone else that conquering you will make the conqueror worse off". An anarchist society can feature extremely investment-friendly economy, and once everyone has invested enough in it, conquering the society becomes unprofitable to them, as their investments stop giving returns. The anarchist society, in the meantime, can use the investments to boost its economical growth. At some point, the individuals become strong and prosperous enough to be able to withstand most invasions.

    "Bear also in mind that the historical examples you are citing are from the past. Up until the recent few decades, conquest was seen as a legitimate political action. It is no longer the case today: attacking another state with the goal being its conquest is no longer considered acceptable, and anyone who does it without having a very strong casus belli will face international ostracision sufficient to deter everyone else from seriously considering doing the same. Modern wars are typically short and non-expansionist, having some specific goals in mind, such as demotion of the dictator or defeating a terrorist organisation. The last time anyone conquered anything was Russia 2014 taking over Crimea, and the economical sanctions it had to face halted any further expansion indefinitely.
    I do not think we have to fear being conquered out of the blue today, no matter who we are, as long as we are an integral part of the international community - and as such, the anarchist model that was not very viable in the past may be viable today."

    I can see where you're coming from. I would say if we were to start an anarchist society in Antarctica where no state currently exists with formal borders, it would work out. However, the issue is that's basically the only land in the world unclaimed officially by any state(technically an international treaty governs Antarctica, but should that expire and they don't recreate one, I could see anarchy happening there). Short of that happening, I'm not sure I totally agree no nation would invade.

    Keep in mind if it's done anywhere else other than antarctica, it would mean declaring independence from an already-existing state. That will be seen as a civil war. I'm not sure that today we are of the mind that, seperatists deserve independence. While yes, we generally don't just enter wars into foreign nations, I don't think that's the case for territory we consider our own. Which I imagine most nations would consider an anarchist society forming inside the borders of a state to be their own and consider it a rebellion, no doubt.

    If you can address this concern, I would say you've sufficiently helped me realize how it's more viable. Thank you for your thoughtful response so far. I just need one more and I'll be satisfied so long as it addresses this issue of a state invading an area declaring independence from it.


    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • @MayCaesar

    I see where you're coming from. There's just one issue I have however. Since just about all land on the earth is already claimed by a state, I'm not sure what you said will be applicable still. Antarctica is just about the only place on earth that isn't within the borders of a nation. So, I would say what you said would be true if people were to form an anarchist society in Antarctica. But, suppose they do it inside an already-existing state. Won't that be seen as a civil war? I think while most nations try to be international and wanting to keep peace in the world now, I'm not sure they would be willing to do the same in what they consider their own borders. We would view them as rebellious, no? Say if California decided to go anarchist and declare independence from the US. You don't think the US would invade? And this goes for all pre-existing nations of course.

    If you come up with a decent answer to that problem, I will most certainly say you've persuaded me.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
  • Ah dang, I thought for some reason my other post wasn't going to post. Sorry for repeating the same thing. If any moderator wants to delete that second comment replying to MayCaesar, feel free. I only commented the same idea again since I thought my first comment didn't go through. Still a little new to this site.
    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
    -Albert Camus, Notebook IV
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