This is a pet peeve of mine that I am running into quite a bit of recent, particularly online. The belief that social anarchy is the way of the future, the cure all for all of humanity’s governmental issues.
Anarchy in its purest form, would (I imagine) entail total and complete freedom for all individuals. Then there are other forms, the one I am most familiar with being “Social Anarchism”. This definition meaning that every individual is free of all bondage, but they will help their fellow man if they are in need, as an unwritten and voluntarily enforced “agreement”.
The idea of anarchism is indeed, appealing to the mind. Its not surprising that it would be embraced by (in particular) young people. Its the ultimate form of rebellion for the otherwise contented first world mind to ponder.
Thats not to say that the idea is not without merit. Its a proposed solution to the problem of governmental problems. And people proposing solutions to said problems, obviously recognize they exist. Which is a good thing. Even if the solution is a bit off.
Now, why do I not like Anarchism?
Because it falls apart in similar fashion to that of the Russell Brand “change by non-participation” method of changing the world.
Brand insists that the first step to cleaning up the broken electoral systems of the world, is to stop participating. Focus on rebuilding from the outside.
My criticism of this methodology (as outlined in another piece I wrote awhile back) is that it leaves the path wide open for the bad guys, in the mean time. In the US, the republicans do not vanish just because the caring liberals do. They just get more power, and all the more chance to fuck up the biosphere we ALL depend on.
The alternative is hardly kosher to be sure. But at least they are not working to abolish the EPA, FDA and who knows what other agencies deemed to be a hemorrhoid on industries back side.
Anarchism fails because it fails to take into account the human element.
The way that anarchism is described to me (or at least me perceived description) is that of, total and absolute freedom. Most anarchists I meet seem to see this in a positive way.
They do acknowledge that the world will likely look like the purge or post Katrina New Orleans, and compensate by way of personalized “stand your ground” and Castle doctrines. Thank shows like the walking dead for planting that idea in the mind (all you need to survive post collapse is a gun).
But this whole philosophy seems to skirt around the realties of the real world. One of those realities being that not all human threats are going to be as easily neutralized as, a home invader in George Zimmerman’s bedroom.
Just as those with a desire for power can rise to the top in our current model with relative ease, so to will people in an totally “anarchist” society. Only they will not rise according to public popularity. They will rise according to how much arms there groups have access to.
Feel free to try and stop them with your own “arms”. But don’t be surprised if it turns out to be a suicide mission.
Now, Social Anarchism is vulnerable to the very same problems, so there is no need to revisit that. However, there is another big problem with it. It is vulnerable to both indifference and the bystander affect.
A society that is based around the good intentions of people would be great. In that way, I interpret Social Anarchism as meaning that others will be willing to come to ones assistance OR defence, if a situation warrants it.
Though that would make for an ideal world, it misses the reality that many humans are NOT ideal. There are those that will do almost anything for a stranger in need. But there are also many that just, don’t care.
Even now, in first world democracies, we see hundreds of examples. Both in individual situations (such as bystanders not assisting people in obvious distress) and in mass (such as the resistance to things like social assistance for the poor), its rampant everywhere.
And when it comes to individual acts of either kindness or evil/indifference, social media thrives on it.
This will not change with the social paradigm. If anything, things stand to get a lot worse.
The systems of governance world wide are not without issue. But anarchism is most certainly not the solution.