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Commentary :: International
Are anarchists crazy?
30 Aug 2004
Lack of evidentiary support is why so few of us are anarchists at all.


Are anarchists crazy?

Are anarchists crazy? I think so.  These people believe in a capitalist utopia through the complete abolition of government, including courts, police and the military. One anarcho-capitalist I met recently excitedly explained to me the virtues of a world without police, where private "defense companies" would defend our lives and our property, somehow without resulting in a "thugocracy", or "fascist dictatorship" wherein these heavily-armed defense companies become the new government. Yeah, right. In order for such an unlikely event to occur, the sum total of ALL nations with militaries and governments would have to SIMULTANEOUSLY disintegrate and re-integrate into this new utopia. 

Anarcho-capitalists are crazy.

I met a friend of a friend of a friend who was some sort of left-wing anarchist. That is, I forget whether he called himself an anarcho-syndicalist or a socialist anarchist or whatever, but he believed in a communitarian utopia wherein there is no government and, for some unspecified reason, people produce according to ability and consume according to need. Yeah, right. Such a community could (and does) exist in unindustrialized nations, but there is STILL a hierarchical "government" in place, albeit less complex and expensive, since there are fewer resources to control. There is absolutely NO reason why people would "produce according to ability". Each person potentially could produce in prodigious quantities, but would not CHOOSE to.

Socialist anarchists are also crazy.

What's remarkable, though, is this: anarcho-capitalists and socialist anarchists support exactly the same insane public policy (that is, none) and, yet, the naked eye can tell that they are very different varieties of insane. They share few values, have vastly different visions for their government-free utopias, and, I expect, each realize that the other group is insane. Their identical policy views put them at opposite ends of most crudely-drawn political spectrums.

It is common for two political philosophies to prescribe different policies toward the same end. Liberals support affirmative action and conservatives oppose it because both wish to create a society with a level racial playing field. Isn't that interesting? I am a member of a minority, and I feel that "affirmative action" is merely another way of saying REVERSE DISCRIMINATION. I am a bi-racial black/white man who sees affirmative action as justification based on "we discriminated against blacks in favor of whites, now lets discriminate against whites in favor of blacks". Not a good idea, and not in keeping with the Constitution of the United States.

What's odd about these anarchists is that they support the same policy in order to reach vastly different ends. That is (at least in the realm of policy-making) the difference between anarcho-capitalists and socialist anarchists is one of fact, not opinion: they disagree over what will happen if government is abolished. At least one of these groups is wrong about the fact of this matter. (I'd bet a lot of money that both are wrong, but we can stick with the proveable "at least one" for now.) The sticky point is, many of the arguments that anarchists make in favor of anarchy (especially on the anarcho-capitalist side) are about means, not ends. They claim not only that the government produces negative results, but that its mere existence is a fundamentally unjust imposition on people's rights. To the extent that anarchists believe this, they should be inclined to stick by anarchy as a political philosophy even if it does not produce the capitalist (or socialist) utopia which they expect.

I doubt, though, that many would. If you're an anarcho-capitalist, it's probably because you see the government as a threat to property rights; if it turns out that those rights are even less protected in the absence of government, you will probably come around to supporting some form of a state. Similarly, socialist anarchists are as such because they believe that the government reinforces nefarious property rights and inequality; if anarchy resulted in the capitalist utopia that anarcho-capitalists believe it would, the socialist anarchists would probably join a more moderate redistributivist movement, like the Democratic Party. Once again, we would have government, no matter which anarcho-foolhardiness one chooses.

Until the time when we actually get to see what result anarchy produces (which is probably never, because anarchists will never take "a new government, eventually" as the only substantiated answer) we will still have anarchists at opposite extremes of the political spectrum, separated mainly by their vastly different leaps of faith about the effects of anarchy. At least some of these anarchists are very, very wrong, but they'll never know which ones for sure.

But then, maybe this lack of evidentiary support is why so few of us are anarchists at all.

See also:

This work is in the public domain


Take a look in the mirror.
30 Aug 2004
If anarchists are crazy and have no chance of succeeding, why do you obsess about anarchists so much and spend so much of your time bashing and harassing them? If they are of no threat, then why do you not seek out and destroy a threat?

If you are sane, why do you hide behind anonymity?

If you are sane, why is your website filled with pornography and hate?

Somehow, I think your hatred of anarchists is personal. What happened, did an anarchist plan on sending you a letter bomb but found you so unimportant that he put you on the bottom of his list? Kind of a double insult, isn't it?