Extracted from the pre-released book Creating Peace and Abundance Through Stateless Economics by John G. Vibes.
It just might be the most feared and bastardized term in the English language. People have some extremely vivid imagery in their heads associated with the word “anarchy”, but at the same time become overwhelmed with confusion once getting two sentences deep into a conversation about abolishing government. In fact it is actually extremely rare for serious discussions on this topic to take form, due to the knee jerk reactions that are provoked in people when they are faced with the possibility of a world without authority.
However, once one is able to find the courage to step beyond social convention and question the control systems that they were born into, they will find that real anarchy is actually nothing like the doomsday fiction that is presented by mainstream culture.
When looking deep enough into this situation it is not too difficult to see that the serious problems facing our species such as war, poverty and environmental destruction are all exacerbated by the legalized monopoly on force made possible by government. Ironically, these problems are always cited as reasons to keep the state intact, when in reality it is the state that is preventing them from being solved in the first place.
For centuries those who reap benefits from the concept of authority have desperately worked to keep this idea alive, against the rising tide of human ingenuity which has been progressively tearing away at the destructive traditions which allow people to act in irrational ways.
Unfortunately, every time that humanity has managed to overcome some sort of oppressive tradition, the ruling class has been able to modify their propaganda to form a more convincing case for their authority.
There was once a time where small groups of people could own the lives of millions by claimingto be given that right by a supernatural being, but those days have come to an end. When this excuse fell out of favor, the people who were born into power were forced to create new justifications for their authority, otherwise they could risk losing the only way of life that they had ever known, and could probably ever imagine. This need for justified rule over geographical areas and those that happened to live there is what gave rise to our current political paradigm.
There is this popular myth that “the people” created things like governments, churches and militaries as a ways of getting along in the world and interacting with others. In reality these organizations were all created by sophists and aristocrats, specifically intending to enslave entire populations without those populations even realizing it. Although, as the general public has become more intelligent, increasingly complex rationalizations for authoritarian powers have become necessary to keep the herds in line.
Ideas like the social contract, the national interest, common good, majority rule and
representative government have replaced the divine right of kings and the privilege of the aristocracy. In today’s more sophisticated culture it is necessary to make people think that they rule themselves in order to effectively rule over them. This is why the rhetoric of the social control systems that we live under is riddled with euphemisms that hide the oppressive and violent nature of their existence. The mass murder of innocent people by heavy machinery is called defense, strong arm robbery is called taxation, kidnap and extortion is called justice and gangs of people who claim dominion over specific geographic locations are called governments.
“Government” is another one of those words that mean a million different things to a million different people, but when examined objectively it becomes apparent that organizations of this name always maintain a monopoly on the use of force over a given territory. This common characteristic is shared by all organizations claiming to be government, regardless of social structure or cultural customs. With that being said, to define governments as anything other than violent gangs that claim ownership over other human beings, is euphemistic and dishonest.
Most of us grew up surrounded by a false definition of the word “government” just as we were surrounded by a false definition of the word “anarchy”. We have been told that the word “government” is simply the structural form that a society takes, and the system of organization that groups of people establish for themselves. This may be one of the most deceptive linguistic tricks to be used since the dark ages, as it implies that structure and organization will cease to exist in the absence of institutionalized violence and central planners. Since all governments share the common characteristic of establishing and promoting institutionalized violence, we can safely say that when organization and structure is present in a peaceful atmosphere, “government” should be nowhere to be found. In other words, when there is peaceful structure and organization in a society, there is anarchy, but when a society is organized on a basis of threats and acts of violence, there is government.
One of the most pervasive misconceptions in our culture is the idea that “government” has anything to do with the structure or organization that we see in our society. This is one of the primary reasons why people have such a difficult time considering the very real possibility of a world without the organization known as “government.” When someone suggests that we simply do away with this unjust and unnecessary organization, they are typically met with some very negative reactions from whoever they may be talking to. This kind of conversation typically ends very quickly because both sides have completely different ideas of what the word “government” actually means, making it very difficult to find common ground.
If we attempt to examine government from an outsider’s perspective, we would see a world where people are grouped into two different categories, those in government and those not. At face value, we can see that these two groups of people have completely different standards and expectations, even though they are the same species and have the same basic needs. Looking closer, we can see that these different standards and laws are not neutral, they are very much benefiting those in government at the expense of those who are not. The most important discrepancy to mention here is the fact that those in government have a license to kill anyone who happens to disobey them.
Pointing out this fact is vital in understanding the true relationship between those inside of government and those outside of government, and that is the relationship between slave and master. If someone has the right to initiate the use of force on you if you disobey them, you are essentially their property. If you don’t believe me, go on over to Google and type in “slave definition,” and the first definition you will find is the following: “A person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” Now, doesn’t that sound a whole lot like the relationship between people inside government and people outside government? If you can force people to do things against their will, then you are treating them as if they were your property.
However, if you ask any random person on the street to define “government” for you, they would probably give you the story that they were taught in government school. You know, the one about how government is the backbone of civilization, and the means by which people in the community come together for mutually beneficial projects. Well this may sound good, but it isn’t at all true, because the government is comprised by a miniscule fraction of the population, and they would not be able to provide anything at all if it wasn’t for the resources that they forcibly extracted from the rest of society.
Therefore, it is safe to say that all functions that are currently being carried out by the organization known as “government” could actually be better served by individuals in the community working together for common goals. Voluntary trade, charity and other peaceful methods of interacting would create a far better society than the one that we see today, which is filled with violence and forced associations.
It is not a new thing for people to confuse government with culture and have the misconception that without a central planning structure, everything that makes a society great would vanish. This fact was recognized by some of the more radical “founding fathers” of America, including Thomas Paine. In his most famous literary effort “Common Sense,” there is a section called “Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution.” In this piece, Paine discusses the difference between government and society.
Paine writes, “Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without a government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” His statement is as true today as it was during the first American Revolution. Culture, society and security are absolutely capable of continuing in the absence of a central control system.
The most common argument against having an organized civilization without government is the notion that we are all somehow stupid, worthless savages who would not be able to figure out how to build a damn road if there wasn’t someone with a gun in our face every step of the way, telling us how, when and where to do it. But if people are stupid savages, and politicians are people, then isn’t the government made up of a bunch of stupid savages who can’t be trusted with a license to kill? Aren’t they just the same as us and even in many cases far worse than us? There is nothing that the government can do that you and a large group of likeminded people can’t do better. The government doesn’t provide services, they simply take money from everyone (except their buddies, of course!) and use a very small portion of that money to pay people in the community to do things for their neighbors that they probably would have done anyway in the natural course of human interaction. Looked at in these terms, it becomes apparent that the government is nothing more than a violent middleman, who forces his way into nearly every interaction that takes place between each of its so-called “citizens.”
Everything that the government does is an attack on people who don’t belong to that
organization. If you think about it, every single action that the government takes is some kind of punitive measure taken against people who don’t belong to that organization. Even when the government claims to be doing something nice, they are doing so with resources that they obtained by using threats and violence, which really doesn’t make much of a case for the virtuousness of government.
This organization is not here to protect our rights as it claims to. In fact, when the government steps in and gives itself the responsibility to “protect” your rights, it is simultaneously stripping you of your ability to actually defend your own rights. When you are dependent upon the whims and capabilities of another human being to protect your rights, you are literally handing your rights over to them and essentially submitting to slavery.
Sadly, there aren’t many longstanding examples of societies that we can point to for an example of anarchy and freedom. However, that says more about the primitive condition of the human race thus far, than it does about the possibility of a stateless society. As is often mentioned in debates on this subject, before slavery, arranged marriages and divine rule were proven to be primitive and inhumane practices, people saw these conventions as constant and unquestionable traits of “human nature”. Before the moon landing there was no historical precedent for human beings walking on the moon, but we are a species with infinite potential and are able to achieve things that were seen as impossible just a lifetime before.
So to say that peaceful organization in society without institutionalized violence is impossible because there is no historical precedent, is to say that our current state of affairs is the pinnacle of human achievement and that there is no possibility of creating a more worthwhile existence.
This is obviously a naive, arrogant and blatantly false worldview, which is unfortunately projected onto the entire planet from a very young age through the institutions and conventions that are established by those who claim ownership over human beings.
These institutions and conventions are the very reason why everyone has such a distorted view of words like “government” and “anarchy”. Our cultural norms have been handed down from those in power so it is only natural that these norms reflect the needs and interests of the power structure instead of accurately describing reality. Therefore, the perceptions of government and anarchy that many of us have adopted are not accurate descriptions of reality, but simply a description of the world as seen through the eyes of our rulers. In a system of government our rulers have infinite power and control, while in the absence of government they are forced to live by the same rules and standards as everyone else. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that anarchy means without rules, but what it really means is without rulers, there is a big difference.
Through the eyes of a tyrant, a world without complete dominion over the lives of others, is a life of lawlessness, chaos and disorder. This is not reality, but this is the deranged worldview that has driven the control structure to use such apocalyptic fantasies to describe a world where they are not given ultimate power. This is why a peaceful term like anarchy has such a negative.
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