Why I am not an Anarchist
A lot of articles in support of Anarchism, Anarchy, Voluntaryism and etc. have been gracing Steemit’s front page recently. These ideas and articles offer a similar type of critique of past and present society. This article, however, and ones to follow, offer a critique of this critique.
The following quote is taken from larkenrose's article "All I am asking"
Most of us were taught that controlling our neighbors by way of “legal” means (elections, petitions, legislation, regulation, etc.) is a perfectly civilized, acceptable, and even virtuous thing to do. But it is not. Disguising theft and thuggery as something else by calling it “the will of the people” or “representative government” does not make it righteous. Calling the thugs “law enforcers,” calling the thieves “tax collectors,” and calling the mob boss “congressman” or “president,” does not change evil into good. A crook who speaks in euphemisms and dishonest rhetoric, wears a suit and tie, and has a fancy title, is still a crook.
Let’s break this down a bit. I really like the first sentence here. I think it’s a great place to start questioning and investigating. Are some laws “controlling our neighbors by way of “legal” means”? Absolutely! There are many laws that start and stop with that sentence. Laws about sexuality, laws about gambling, basically laws about individual or consensual behavior that don’t, in any meaningful way, impact anyone other than the individual or consenting individuals fall under this category. And we really should do all we can to stop these laws, because, from a 50,000 ft perspective, it’s more wrong to allow these types of laws to exist than to allow the behaviors they try to prevent, even if you disapprove of the behavior.
Conflict of interest
After those two sentences, to me, the thinking goes awry. If a behavior, in any meaningful way, impacts others beyond the individual or consenting individuals, then we have conflict of interest, and we need a method to sort out our interests. What method we should use is an entirely different question than whether we should use a method at all. But, if we decide not to use a method, some party will use one anyway and that method just might be force of arms.
To turn the above quote around, Equivocating The will of the People or Representative Government with theft and thuggery does not make it accurate. Calling Law Enforcers thugs, calling Tax collectors thieves, calling a Congressman or President a mob boss does not magically make them such. A crook is a crook is a crook, but using euphemisms and dishonest rhetoric, does not simply transform every member of legal society into crooks, thugs and thieves. What it actually does is undermine the very argument it’s trying to make by stopping right at the beginning of honest thought and engagement.
Even the most petty and asinine groups of enforcement, that’s right, the neighborhood association ( or historical society depending on where you live), serve to sort out people’s conflicting interests. If you’re the one douchebag who doesn’t mow his lawn, paint his house or put his shit in his garage, even though you're not directly harming anyone else's things, you are messing with other people’s interests, and they have a right to make a stink out of it. If you’re the one douchebag who objects to this behavior in a neighborhood where no one keeps their shit up, people have a right to be annoyed with you.
This is a big world. There are many abuses of power. I believe we should all regularly devote time to stopping these abuses and recognizing where we are complicit. It’s tough; Catchiness draws our attention more than honest problems. The old political power structure has a very hard time attracting intelligent, talented and/or honest people when placed next to technology, finance and Steemit. Maybe we would be better off erasing the entire thing and starting from scratch. But good luck making that happen.
An inevitable other Way
Call me a techno-optimist, but I honestly think that the direction we’re heading in is towards more and more of our choices being mutually beneficial and opt-in. Not because of a moral imperative, but because choices in this format are more optimal and push those making the decisions further along than other types of choices. I think the power of decentralized win-win & opt-in will slowly grow and expand to all but crowd out conflicts of interest. And in the spaces where we can’t get rid of them, the shrinking spaces where governments occupy, we will find a way to fit them into the decentralized win-win & opt-in infrastructure that we created, and not the other way around. Just like we fit newspapers into our larger media consumption and stonewalls into our landscaping tastes, government will fit into our lives in a small small way that is quaint, difficult to totally remove and welcome when we pass it.
But for the time being, we have conflicts of interest everywhere. Even here on Steemit. We may want to criticize how our conflicts are resolved, but just calling everyone involved a thug, crook or thief, is not thinking big, it’s small thinking. To wrap up, the pertinent question when it comes to things like obeying laws and paying taxes is not "is the law moral?" It is What makes you special? If your answer comes down to "My morality is right" then you're just fooling yourself in the context of the method that handles the conflicts of interest for 350 million people. If your answer is more like "I'm using another method that handles conflicts of interest better than the one telling me I can't, it's opt-in and it's spreading across the globe" now we've got something to talk about.