I have long been dismayed at how many words in political discourse are used to confuse communication rather than to facilitate it. The word “anarchy” is one of those words often misunderstood due to the propaganda of those who worship the state.
Butler Shaffer wrote:
As long as a president continues to rationalize war against the Iraqi people as “operation freedom”; as long as the Strategic Air Command insists that “peace is our profession”; and as long as police departments advertise that they are there “to serve and protect,” intelligent minds must be prepared to look behind the superficiality and imagery of words to discover their deeper meaning. Such is the case with the word “anarchy.”
The late Robert LeFevre made one such effort to transcend the popular meaning of the word when he declared that “an anarchist is anyone who believes in less government than you do.” But an even better understanding of the concept can be derived from the Greek origins of the word (anarkhos) which meant “without a ruler.” It is this definition of the word that members of the political power structure (i.e., your “rulers”) do not want you to consider. Far better that you fear the hidden monsters and hobgoblins who are just waiting to bring terror and havoc to your lives should efforts to increase police powers or budgets fail.
The original meaning of “liberal” was a person who held to the political ideology that developed in the nineteenth century in Western Europe that was committed to the ideal of limited government and individual liberty, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and free markets. The liberal believed that the government should not be involved in the actions of men at all other than to provided protection against the invasion of our natural rights, liberties, and freedoms by someone or some group. Some liberals went even further and said that there should be no government even for that task since the free market could provide defense services better than the state and without the danger of the government itself becoming the aggressor. Obviously the word “liberal” in America at least no longer means what it once did since government-loving socialists usurped the word and pretended to be “liberals”.
Anarchism is another word that has been defiled and warped by government loving collectivists. It is a simple word really. Anarchy is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable. Anarchists find the state to be unnecessary and harmful to mankind on numerous levels and so promote the adoption of a stateless society. This stateless society is what we call “anarchy”. See, that was not so hard was it children?
It is true that anarchists argue about how a stateless society would order itself, but we all should acknowledge that the future is notoriously hard to predict. We anarchists are united by the ideology that seeks to abolish coercive authority in the conduct of human relations. We often appeal to the non-aggression axiom in our arguments against the state.
Anarchism is often considered to be a radical left-wing ideology and that is true if one uses the phrase “radical left-wing” properly, but good luck with that since the government worshipers have re-defined “left-wing” as well so as to confuse the masses. Let us just say that anarchists, especially Rothbardian freed-market anarchists, believe in the ultimate freedom and liberty of the individual. This in no way means we reject society and social cooperation among men, only that the basic unit of liberty is the individual who will cooperate with others as she sees fit to do.
Because of the disingenuous way that the word “anarchy” is used in modern English, we should be careful to define it well when we make arguments in its favor. And no, it will not do to just use other words since as soon as one gains popular usage it too will be warped by the minions of the state. Butler Shaffer has long proposed that we use the word as a verb rather than a noun. He claims it is better to say we should act in an anarchistic fashion rather than say we want to live in an anarchy. It this manner, he claims we see anarchy all around us.
I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.
Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver’s license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion.
I don’t disagree with Mr. Shaffer, but I rarely follow his advice on this issue. I lobby for the average man to see the evils of the state and to see that mankind working together in a voluntary way can do every single thing the state does now better and without the violence inherent in the parasitic state. The objective is to live in as anarchistic a fashion as we can now just as Shaffer points out, but the ultimate objective is to convince our fellow men that the state is a poison that we must ultimately overthrow. We are radical anarchists after all.