Here’s the second part of the post I put up last night about Crispin Sartwell and his book Against the State.
The main part of the book is spent in destroying the classical arguments for the State, from thinkers like Hobbs, Locke, Hume, etc. Then he takes up the discussion of why anarchy?
There are plenty of reasons, not least of which, it has worked in the past and still works right now all over the world (example: bowling leagues, ‘invisible hand’ of the market, etc). That is the argument from utility. The other argument is from morality.
Is it better to argue for anarchy from utility or from morality? I agree with him that the moral position is better.
I think its pretty basic that (non masochist) people don’t want to have violence used against them. People are naturally OK with the Golden Rule. I think that’s a pretty good starting place for society. In fact, I think that’s pretty much the ONLY rule we really need to live in any society.
Sartwell talks about Lysander Spooner as a good person to refer to. Another writer/philosopher he talks about is Josiah Warren and his book The Practical Anarchist.
I would add Ayn Rand, her writing explained the reasons to value your self very simply. Try her book The Virtue of Selfishness. It’s very short. 😉 Self ownership is the basis for how I think humans should relate towards each other. Society is made up of individuals (duh). A strong, vibrant society is impossible without strong individuals who make it up. The only other alternative to self ownership is slavery and I will never agree with any form of slavery.
I hope more people start thinking about things like this, instead of just swallowing whatever they’re told in school or on the TV. It’s pretty important. If we don’t have any kind of basis, any foundation, any principles, then how can we expect our society to last? Like a house with a damaged foundation, it will fall down sooner than one with a strong one.
Our country was based on principles very close to anarchy. We had a VERY limited government, it was a minarchy. Now, we have a bloated beast of bureaucracy and it rules every tiny little detail of our lives.
I can’t count how many times people tell me that if I don’t like the government, I can move to Somalia where they don’t have one. OK, I’m not really up on the details of Somalia but I’ll give you my take anyway…
Somalia is only fighting over WHO is going to be in charge, not that there will or won’t be somebody in charge. So it’s not a stateless society at all, it’s a society with a competition of states. State is defined as the monopoly of the use of force.
So, Somalia is not a place to go if I don’t like government, it has an overabundance of them and will have to wait for the dust to settle and somebody wins. There’s no place on Earth that I’m aware of that has NO government, if there was, I would absolutely take them up on that and go there asap!