The entire argument that chaos will erupt from a lack or absence of authority rests on blind faith.
No one yet has conducted intelligent, controlled, well-performed studies to find out what happens when people manage their affairs under non-authoritarian conditions — so what actual, non-speculative, reliable data does the argument rest on?
Further, people who put the argument forward typically have no clue what non-authoritarian conditions might even look like. So, how can they intelligently claim that chaos will erupt from anarchy when they can’t even describe anarchistic conditions that would supposedly result in the eruption?
They can’t. They’re just making that shit up.
Or, maybe more accurately, they’re just regurgitating authoritarian propaganda they uncritically swallowed whole like worms shoved down the gullets of nestlings, beaks wide and begging for it.
The closest these knowlittles come to real examples, supposedly of chaos-breeding anarchy, are societies where people trained/conditioned/brainwashed their whole lives to live under authoritarian regimes — so they’re quite ignorant of viable anarchistic methods — suddenly and violently get their authoritarian props ripped out from under them. I think the archist advocates, too, would freak out in a situation like that; despite their latent insinuation that those chaos-prone people stripped of rules and rulers are not nearly like us more educated, intelligent, moral and advanced people who love law and order. (sic)
No, my poor, deluded (and racist?) archist, they really aren’t so different from you.
Or maybe that’s the rub — maybe archists secretly realize that there, but for grace of the legal system and law enforcement, go them. Something must account for their desperate attachment to systems and institutions designed solely for the purpose of repressing individual freedoms they construe as threats to safety, order, and the general good prior to — notice this — prior to any reference to facts or any intention to ascertain whether facts actually warrant the repression.
Authority is always invoked against hypothetical dangers and is deemed justified regardless whether the dangers ever materialize or not.
So, authority is a function of superstition, or even of hysteria. Apart from inordinate concern for the hypothetical, the potential, the unproven, people would not sacrifice very actual freedoms and take very real pains in order to secure a safety that they aren’t even sure was in fact threatened.
This is worse than blindness — it’s delusion.
Authority and authoritarian programs and institutions are always propositions of preventing potential terrors, not managing real ones. Nothing could be clearer. No cost-benefit analysis is ever the basis for a decision to invoke authoritarian measures. Once decided, the measures might be subjected to cost-benefit analysis, but very often they are not. The shock and awe of graphic incidents hypothetically generalized over entire populations do the trick instead. When someone actually estimates the cost-benefit ratios of authoritarian measures, since the data that might support robust analysis is rarely collected although there is no reason it couldn’t be, what do they find? Like John Mueller explained in a 2012 CBC interview:
JOHN MUELLER: “Unless they can demonstrate that they have deterred, protected against, or foiled thousands of plots per year, the money simply is not justified by using conventional cost-benefit analysis.”
ADRIENNE ARSENAULT: “How many Times Square-type attacks a day would they have had to have foiled to make the trillion-dollar spending worth it?”
MUELLER: “Yeah, four a day.”
See the interview at http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/video-9-11-and-the-price-of-protection-1.980364
It’s not just that authoritarian measures fail cost-benefit justification, it’s that they fail miserably by orders of magnitude. This is the equivalent not of blind leading blind, but of leaders disregarding the obvious and leveraging blindness to create stampedes of sightless sheeple who trust the direction their shepherds give them, unwitting that their supposed protectors are duping them for the sake of profit without any regard for their welfare, as they sometimes gleefully drive their flocks right off precipices of financial ruin, wartime havoc, and now, environmental collapse.
Blindness is rife on multiple levels in the Land of Law and Order.
To be fair, no amount of archist inanity could prove that every claim they make is wrong. Even drunks and simpletons and fools get it right sometimes, if only incidentally. Are there really no examples of failed anarchy?
Let’s look at a couple of candidates commonly cited by archists.
Despite how some claim it is, Syria is not an example of what happens in a void of authority. Syria exemplifies the horrors of warring authorities — not a lack of authority but the furthest, most opposite extreme: excessive exercise of authority. What is the single most important structure without which wars simply could not be waged? The Alexandrite of authoritarian gems: chain of command. Apart from authority and authoritarian methods, organized conflicts up to and including war would be flatly impossible; while at the same time non-authoritarian methods like trust, peer-to-peer communication, and cooperation would continue to enable constructive, nonviolent pursuits. Confusing authority on steroids in Syria and similar conflicts with authority deprivation isn’t just absurd, it’s bizarre and can only be accounted for by the effects of brainwashing that archists suffer under powerfully enough to take up for down, black for white, and polar opposites for synonyms.
Somalia might be an example of what happens when authority suddenly implodes, though. In that case, is it any wonder that a population lacking the mental, emotional, and social means to conduct their affairs anarchistically failed to do so when calamity fell on them, leaving a void with no clue how to proceed? Was it really surprising that local authorities there claimed supremacy and began infighting? We call them “warlords” for a reason.
Both Syria and Somalia are are really, really bad examples if you want to argue that anarchy results in chaos.
For that matter, what are violence and conflict and the destruction they leave in their wakes, if not chaos? And where are violence, conflict and destruction most prevalent in the big picture? In abusive homes, on urban streets where gangs and crime bosses rule, in the financial cross-fires between corporate board rooms that leave employees and customers bleeding hard-earned income and savings, on foreign battlefields where innocent men, women and children lie dead and bleeding in cross-fires between government war rooms — all of which occur within and between authoritarian societies — or in anarchistic societies? The correct answer might surprise you: None of the above. The decimation by authoritarian regimes of their own citizens far exceeds all the others combined, and always has — even considering only confiscation and destruction of property, health, and lives, but especially so when overt slavery and wage slavery are taken into account as violent, destructive, humanity-obliterating practices. In contrast, any “chaos” you can find evidence of in anarchistic societies will amount to a puny dribble lost in oceans of authoritarian atrocities.
Wherever you find the chaos of violence and conflict being justified, there you’ll find authority — because authority is none other than the go-to justification for violence and conflict. Whether it’s a street gang, organized crime, or the organized super-crime we euhpemize as “government”, authority is indispensable to programs of violence and conflict at any level, because normal people are naturally averse to violence and tend to be conflict-avoidant. In order to engage in violence and conflict, especially as deliberate, planned, ongoing, coordinated efforts, most people need significant justification. This is why propaganda exists: Authority and the violence it justifies are unnatural.
The converse also holds: Not only do violence and conflict need authority to justify them, but apart from violence and conflict and the need to justify them in order to secure compliance and support for their perpetuation, authority would be absurd. Without violence to back up its threats, authority wouldn’t just be toothless and clawless, it would be a nonsensical farce. Imposing authority on people who know how to share, get along, and take care of each other could only make sense to psychopaths who enjoy ruling others even when there is no need for it.
So the chaos of violence, conflict and destruction is inextricably and doubly connected to authority — not the lack thereof.
A fair test of anarchy would be to see what happens when people who have a good grasp (not a non-existent one, LOL!) on non-authoritarian methods of conducting their affairs are left to their own devices. Show me a population of any such people where their efforts failed on their own — not because some horde of authority-crazed idiots swept in and wiped them out (like what happened to Native Americans or Aboriginal Australians or the Albigensians and Catharism, as just three examples).
Please note that I didn’t claim there are no examples of failed anarchy. Maybe there are some. Besides, I try not to make baseless claims. How can anyone claim there is “none” of anything, when in the next moment one might become evident? No, I made a very different claim: that, although archists argue that chaos will certainly erupt under conditions of anarchy, those who argue this cannot in fact produce examples of it, because they are ignorant of any such examples even if there might be some.
My point has nothing to do with the question whether anarchy has ever failed and resulted in chaos. The point is that when archists claim that anarchy will certainly fail and result in chaos, they literally don’t know what they’re talking about. Many of them actually know so little about anarchy that they sincerely believe it is none other than a deliberate pursuit of chaos! (OMG/WTF?!!) And the somewhat more informed ones who understand that anarchy simply means “without rulers” utterly lack factual basis for their claim that without rulers we’ll all degenerate into brutes and wreck the place. It’s actually quite a comical claim, when you think about it.
I have yet to meet an archist who had even heard of Zomia before I introduced them to it or who voluntarily admitted that the Zapatistas and Christiania are two examples of successful anarchy. On the contrary — as soon as they heard mention of them, archists I only just informed immediately set to arguing either that these cases weren’t successful, or that they succeeded only to the extent that they involved authoritarianism, and so they are not authentic examples of successful anarchy. What a riot! From what rational, informed, evidenced basis did these archists try to invalidate examples of anarchistic success when only moments before they were ignorant of them? I see none.
There is no more biased, more circular, more obstinately ignorant or more blind kind of faith than this, and it’s particularly characteristic of authoritarianism. No wonder, since authoritarianism is the common keystone of both secular and religious forms of fundamentalism. Authority is the millennia-old, ubiquitous super-belief on which every “civilization” we have record of rested and still rests, the original and enduring One True World Religion for which both atheists and believers of all sorts will inexplicably put down their differences, unite, and impulsively and adamantly rush as one to defend.
Despite the claims of archists, there have been plenty of attempts at anarchistic societies, some of which we know of (e.g., Ireland in the “Middle Ages”, pre-Columbian North America, pre-British Australia, Zomia,) some of which continue today (e.g., Zapatistas, Christiania.) None of these failed on their own. Invariably, anarchistic societies got destroyed by authoritarian regimes precisely because they were succeeding, not because they were doomed to go down in the flames and smoke of violent chaos. The flames and smoke of chaos were wholly supplied by the authoritarians who attacked and destroyed peaceful societies, as they have done consistently to anarchistic societies in all ages all over the globe. Aboriginal cultures have virutally being eradicated from Earth by “civilized” lovers of “law and order.” What a repugnant, deplorable joke.
No: Anarchy “fails” because of destructive authoritarian intervention, not flaws inherent in anarchy.
So anarchy-brings-chaos proponents are blind in that they have no basis in fact for their claim nor any intention of finding one, little to no discernibly sound logic in their argument, and they ignore (blindness, denial, or flat-out dishonesty?) the fact that anarchy works and has worked again and again when free from interference by authoritarians. Rather than admit examples like the Zapatistas in Mexico and the roughly hundred million people who for about two thousand years lived in anarchy in Southeast Asia in a region recently dubbed Zomia by anthropologist James C. Scott, archists would love to pretend that such societies never existed.
Most archists are also blind in a much more profound and basic way: They’re oblivious to the simple, everyday fact that our best, most ideal relationships and the best parts of our less ideal relationships operate on a peer basis. Genuine friendships and partnerships are peer affairs, not authoritarian ones. Not only do we prize anarchistic relationships — the reason we prize those relationships is precisely because they are anarchistic. They are trust-based, equitable, and revolve around appreciation and honor for the preciousness and dignity of all involved, in glaring contrast to the freakish self-proclaimed superiority of those who usurp pretenses of right to extort mock deference and obligate others to their will.
Anarchy = peer-based
It’s really just as simple as that.
To argue for authoritarianism is to argue against peer-based human relations.
There truly is no middle ground on that issue.