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Without a democracy, how would you make rules?

0 votes
...And without rules, how would you prevent chaos?

 

And by oppressing the rule of the majority, aren't you essentially creating a rule of the minority? In the instance where either the majority is pleased or the minority is, wouldn't you rather it be the majority?

 

I see force as the only means of preventing chaos, and whenever there is force there will be oppression. It's an inevitability.
asked Jul 6, 2015 by anonymous
consensus :)
as an anarchist, WHY would you make rules?
(i offer this comment somewhat light-heartedly - it may not read that way at first glance.)

"In the instance where either the majority is pleased, or the minority is, wouldn't you rather it be the majority?"

:)  well... that depends...  If the Majority would be pleased to see the minority (that is to say - Me!) nailed to a plank and gutted open; then in that case i would say 'No', not so much.  If the Majority would be pleased to see an orchard bulldozed to make way for a stripmine, or an aquifer drained to frack a coal seam for gas, or...;  and the orchard and the aquifer are in the care of the minority, not the Majority (funny how that works out);  then i would again say 'No'.  It is instructive how often the concept of 'Majority Rule' is used as an expedient to impose some harm on a recalcitrant minority.  It is equally instructive how often those who speak of 'Majority Rule' implicitly presume they will be seated in the choir of angels, er.. Majority, and not as part of the Oppressed minority.

 

Rules.  =>  Rulers.  ruled by, ruled over, over-ruled.

Rules.  Oppression.  Force.  Violence.  The State reserves to itself a monopoly of Violence;  and reserves to itself a monopoly of making the Rules.

 

Without democracy*, we do not make rules;  without democracy, we are free to make relations - with our neighbours, our friends, and with our enemies.

*(or, we may hope, civilisation as it is now known.)
yep, majority rule sucks and easily leads to 'voluntary slavery', but most people still see an inherently good value in majority rule in day-to-day relations. However, when you say democracy clodbuster do you mean current 'democracies'? I'd say that direct democracy is quite good overall
cyborg:  to be honest, i was just mirroring the phrasing of the original post.

i don't use the term 'democracy' anymore, in any context; i find it damaged beyond repair.  Conventional 'democracy' i think of as partisan politics;  'direct democracy' may have merit in some contexts, but i have a deep suspicion of any structure that wraps itself in the cloak of the term (like a scoundrell wrapping itself in the flag of patriotism), and tend more to informal gatherings without such rigid rules of conduct.  But thats just me.
I'm curious. How do you assure that relations are voluntary and just? Again, how to you expect to make rules without a democracy?
nothing in the world can "assure that relations are voluntary and just". there is no system that can make that happen. not rules, not democracy, not anything.
How do you opt to get the closest?

i expect there has to be a dramatic cultural shift, towards people being willing and able to take responsibility for decisions.

and probably some people will continue to not want to do that, and will want  (what i would call non-anarchic) structures to let them be comfortable, and those might be democratic, or dictatorial, or religious, or something else.

which is why i frequently refer to my desired future being a pluralistic one, like the one described in the book bolo'bolo,

And how will you stop these people?

 

Without any form of recognized authority, what's to stop the people in power from enslaving everyone else?

 

Power is always in the hands of whichever willing conglomerate has the most expansive access to territorial violence; if not democracy, which institution do you opt to put in this place?

 

You whine endlessly about democracy, but you have not provided an alternative. Democracy may be oppression of the non-majority, but anarchy would be oppression of the weak. Rules may be oppressive, but letting humans roam unconstrained (especially if you don't have enough faith in human nature to put authority in the hands of the majority) would would be far more.

 

Let's model a hypothetical scenario. A minority, 49%, of people have installed new engines into cars that make them faster and more efficient. These engines, however, also cause mass pollution. The majority vote to ban them, and then you come along with your anti-majority rag.

 

A common response is "why can't this happen the other way around"? Well, there are two clarifications I'd like to make.

 

Firstly, I actually don't support democracy, or at least what most people imagine when they think "democracy". I support what I call the Jury Democracy, in which disputes are resolved directly through a random selection of unaffiliated participants.

 

Of course, there's still the question of what to do when an unbiased sample is not available. But whatever.

 

Secondly, decisions by the majority are far more frequently correct than decisions of the minority. If majority-rules is disregarded, how will we know which position to opt for? Which minority (or majority) is correct?

 

Without a democracy, how will you determine the measure of which one's freedom must be hindered in order to optimize environmental conditions and the likes?

 

I'm all for discussing your beliefs before you enforce them on other people, but at the end of the day (assuming a consensus will not be met on every occasion) there must be some form of a democratic ultimatum.

And how will you stop these people?

i wouldn't stop them. they'd be doing their own thing away from me.

Without any form of recognized authority, what's to stop the people in power from enslaving everyone else?

"everyone else" (ie those who are impacted by the harm, possibly including me) is to stop them. and since when has recognized authority stopped anyone from enslaving anyone?

You whine endlessly about democracy, but you have not provided an alternative.

the fact that you don't see what i suggest as a valid option doesn't mean i haven't provided one, just that you find it unlikely.

ps: what a big and effortless leap i've taken from a calm and patient ranter to an endless whiner.

" but at the end of the day (...) there must be some form of a democratic ultimatum."

No.

the mime pretends walls exist...
those afflicted by 'consensus reality' actual _believe_ those fictional walls exist.  And then spend the rest of their lives banging their heads against figments of their shared delusions.

"disputes are resolved directly through a random selection of unaffiliated participants"

that right there demonstrates how you (@-d) and i have very little in common in terms of the worlds we would choose to live in. first of all, you use the term "directly" when you are actually referring to a completely representative approach. clearly we have very different ideas of what "direct" means. 

i could not think of a less desirable (or useful) way to resolve conflicts in my world. random selection of unrelated individuals to resolve my conflict??!?!  not a fucking chance. that is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the horribly disfunctional legal system instituted in the united states today.

i reject institutions at every opportunity. you seem to desire them.

 

dot: Yes, you've turned in to a whiner, as you continually fail to answer my question.

 You're to stop them? So everyone will punish other people how they see fit? What the fuck?

Let's create a hypothetical example here. Man A tries to murder Man B. Man B stops Man A with force. Man A complains that Man B is suppressing his freedom by stopping him with force. Man B claims that he is simply defending his freedom.

This analogy may be a bit extreme (in the eyes of a moralist, at least) but you get the point. Where must the line be drawn? How are you going to distinguish between "defense" and "force" without some sort of democratic ultimatum?

f@: How the hell are you going to stop people from murdering one another without some sort of institutionalized violence? Does everyone just decide for themselves? What's to stop me from killing my neighbor because he is "suppressing my freedom"? Who decides who has a right to kill who, defend from who, and suppress in order to keep from being oppressed?

 cloudbuster: How are you going to make rules without some form of suppression? How would you come to a consensus when there are billions of people on the planet with completely different opinions? What's to stop a murderer from simply not conforming to the consensus of those around him, and keeping a "murder law" from being passed because if it was, it would be "oppressing" him? Oh, it doesn't matter, because he's just a murderer? Who's to decide? Where must the line be drawn? Through consensus? Well too bad, because the murderer just won't agree.

 Democracy is integral to maintaining peace, freedom and happiness. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's a helluva lot better than any alternative.

"Democracy is integral to maintaining peace, freedom and happiness. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's a helluva lot better than any alternative."

according to some people.

there doesn't have to be a  world-wide system. in fact creating and maintaining world wide systems causes far more problems then it even attempts to alleviate.

who are these abstract "men"? who do they live around? why does one want to kill the other? who do they care about? who cares about them? your examples take isolated abstractions and attempt to make laws to control them. you're playing a game based on rules that you got from the world around you, which has taught us all not to look at certain things.

ps: your name-calling is random and funny. you could just say that you're frustrated. it would be clearer.

"Does everyone just decide for themselves?"

lol! imagine that!  almost... anarchic!


"Democracy is integral to maintaining peace, freedom and happiness. Is it perfect? Far from it. But it's a helluva lot better than any alternative."

to you, maybe. but NOT to me. can you even comprehend that? you obviously want to live in a world of "democratic" rules and order. well guess what - you already do. how's it working out for ya?

i don't even know what the basis for your statement is. whatever version of democracy is in place, it is an undeniable failure. any other version would be pure speculation on your part, best i can tell. so you are really just regurgitating the party line of ideological (social? liberal?) democrats, which - like capitalists and communists who say that the "real" (or pure) version of their ideology has never been implemented, but is of course the one right way (to peace, freedom and happiness) - seems to be based on abstractions, dogma and mental masterbation.

but of course, those of us that disagree with you will eventually evolve to accept your worldview as the correct one, or die from natural selection. (i get the "darwinist" part of your handle, but i can't quite figure out the "anarcho" part).

 

bornagain@: Emotional language. Make an argument or leave.

 

dot: So you're just assuming that conflicts will never arise? Please answer my question. How will conflicts be resolved without some form of governance?

 

I'm "calling people" exactly what they are.

 

funky@: Answer the question. Does everyone decide how they are going to punish the other people? If so, what is to stop the strong from enslaving the weak?

 

I'm an anarchist because I want to reduce government as much as possible. You, on the other hand, are living in a pipe dream world where everyone lives completely and totally unconstrained and somehow doesn't cause complete and total misery for those around them because of their awful decisions.

 

I'd like to hear your response to my question for dot:

 

Let's create a hypothetical example here. Man A tries to murder Man B. Man B stops Man A with force. Man A complains that Man B is suppressing his freedom by stopping him with force. Man B claims that he is simply defending his freedom.

This analogy may be a bit extreme (in the eyes of a moralist, at least) but you get the point. Where must the line be drawn? How are you going to distinguish between "defense" and "force" without some sort of democratic ultimatum?

 

Never said you would die.

 

And by the way, what happens to a rapist that wants to "opt out" of your form of governance (i.e. I will kill you if you rape me.) Does he get to? No. Of course not.

 

Compulsory governance will always exist, whether you like it or not. Stop ignoring simple facts.

dude, you're not an anarchist. that's fine. that doesn't mean we won't keep trying to address your concerns/questions, however much you don't understand/agree with our responses. but you are NOT an anarchist. anarchists are not for "less government", we're for NO government, with all the implications.

thanks for clarifying where you're coming from.

and perhaps you can now stop being pissy with people, and just understand that there is no way we're going to agree, so whatever responses you get are about people coming from a very different understanding of the world than the one you have? (forlorn hope...)

"How will conflicts be resolved without some form of governance?"

by the individuals involved in the conflict, using whatever means they deem necessary. not by some external force imposing some universal set of laws or morality. think of tribal societies. it has happened that way for most of human existence.

(oops, that question was for dot, and i hope dot will answer as well.)

 

"Does everyone decide how they are going to punish the other people? "

absolutely. unless they choose to take a different approach. their choice, not yours, mr government.

 

"I'm an anarchist because I want to reduce government as much as possible."

no, actually that makes you specifically not an anarchist. that is the party line of Libertarians(tm) and conservatives, not anarchists.

 

your hypothetical is boring and repetitive (with every critic of anarchy). you obviously have not read all the questions and answers on this site related to "crime" and "punishment". give it a try.

but to speak to it anyway: that scenario happens every day, in your governed world as well as in smaller anarchist spaces/circles. and to this: "How are you going to distinguish between "defense" and "force" without some sort of democratic ultimatum?"

that will be determined by the individuals involved, just like i said above. not by some mass of governed/governing sheep morally driven by your anti-anarchist laws.

the fact that you cannot perceive of a world where individuals interact freely, and deal with the issues that inevitably arise in their own way, is yet further evidence of your inability to embrace anarchist thought. you cannot even imagine a world that is not structured as mass society, where everyone must obey the same laws, follow the same morality, etc.

you have now become officially boring.

 

edited to add:  dot slipped in with a response before i posted. yay!

"bornagain@: Emotional language. Make an argument or leave."

what emotion? if anything, i think my response lacked emotion.

i simply pointed out that all of your "is's" (for example: democracy IS integral to maintaining peace....) amount to nothing more than your opinion, which i disagree with.

and i'll leave when i want to, not when you tell me, whether i write with emotion or not.

dot: Actually answering the question would go great lengths in alleviating my "pissy" mood. You haven't made any effort at a rebuttal this entire time.

funky@: Firstly I'd like to thank you for actually making an argument.

"by the individuals involved in the conflict, using whatever means they deem necessary. not by some external force imposing some universal set of laws or morality. think of tribal societies. it has happened that way for most of human existence."

 

What if they can't? Are you meaning to say that a rapist and his victim are going to come to some sort of unanimous conclusion?

How about pollution, or any other problem regarding massive amounts of people? How are we going to deal with those? How about, say, me eating a pear? Starving people could need that pear more than I do. How will we properly allocate resources through consensus? Everyone will have a vastly different opinion as to how different things should be put to use.

 

I'm all for consensus when it's possible, but that isn't always the case. In a world of scarcity, almost anything we do will impact the lives of those around us. Who is there to distinguish between a form of just external impact (e.g. my consumption of a pear) and unjust impact (e.g. covering my naked body with peanut butter and battery acid before taking a swim in the Atlantic Ocean)? Where do we draw the line?

"absolutely. unless they choose to take a different approach. their choice, not yours, mr government."

So I can punish my neighbor for existing? Can I murder orphans for being parentless?

"no, actually that makes you specifically not an anarchist. that is the party line of Libertarians(tm) and conservatives, not anarchists."

Libertarians look to increase government. Otherwise, who is there to maintain private regimes?

"that will be determined by the individuals involved, just like i said above. not by some mass of governed/governing sheep morally driven by your anti-anarchist laws."

And if they can reach a mutual conclusion, that's great. But what if they can't?

"the fact that you cannot perceive of a world where individuals interact freely, and deal with the issues that inevitably arise in their own way, is yet further evidence of your inability to embrace anarchist thought. you cannot even imagine a world that is not structured as mass society, where everyone must obey the same laws, follow the same morality, etc."

I never advocated for any of this.

EDIT:

"no, actually that makes you specifically not an anarchist. that is the party line of Libertarians(tm) and conservatives, not anarchists."

If I look to reduce government, and there is potential to have zero government, why wouldn't I do that? Remember, I look to reduce it by as much as possible. And do me a favor and don't make some loaded "of course it is possible, you just have to wake up you statist Mr. Government bla bla bla" sophist bullshit. Thank you.

bornagain@: I also happened to make a few arguments, none of which you refuted.

I'd appreciate it if you'd stop deferring to me as "boring" and "repetitive", as I likely have been studying political philosophy for longer than you have been alive.
AD, i chose what i thought of as your most definitive stance - "democracy is...", and refuted that things "are" a certain way by saying that you gave your opinion (which i don't agree with).

either you choose to engage with me, or not. but i'd like to take that one "argument" of yours to task. i don't have the inclination to refute anything else you wrote at this point.

if you don't agree that the statement of yours amounts to your opinion,  as opposed to some sort of absolute truth, then i don't find any reason to start responding to the rest of your comments.
f@ is not "deferring," they're "referring" to you as boring and repetitive. and indeed you are.

as you would know yourself if you'd read ANY of the MYRIAD of other comments on this site about crime and punishment.

dot: lol!

democratic darwinist:

"I likely have been studying political philosophy for longer than you have been alive."

1. i couldn't care less how long you've been feeding your ideology.

2. if you have actually been "studying political philosophy" for over 55 years, and you still can't wrap your head around a truly anarchist perspective (or even think for a moment outside your ideological box), then you are even less interesting than i accused you of being. (and "Libertarians look to increase government" - where do you get your information? )

i would appreciate it if you would not be so boring and repetitive. i do not mean to be name-calling, i am simply describing what i have been observing.

 

sorry old chap, but i just don't have any interest in continuing this particular discussion with you. see ya.

GG. Look forward to shooting you for eating a pear I could have eaten: how dare you govern me?

1 Answer

0 votes

Has there ever been an anarchist society that worked?

Yes, many thousands of them. For their first million years or more, all humans lived as hunter-gatherers in small bands of equals, without hierarchy or authority. These are our ancestors. Anarchist societies must have been successful, otherwise none of us would be here. The state is only a few thousand years old, and it has taken that long for it to subdue the last anarchist societies, such as the San (Bushmen), the Pygmies and the Australian aborigines.

But we can’t go back to that way of life.

Nearly all anarchists would agree. But it’s still an eye-opener, even for anarchists, to study these societies, and perhaps to pick up some ideas on how a completely voluntary, highly individualistic, yet cooperative society might work. To take just one example, anarchist foragers and tribesmen often have highly effective methods of conflict resolution including mediation and nonbinding arbitration. Their methods work better than our legal system because family, friends and neighbors of the disputants encourage disputants to agree, helped by sympathetic and trustworthy go-betweens, to find some reasonable resolution of the problem. In the 1970s and 1980s, academic supposed experts tried to transplant some of these methods into the American legal system. Naturally the transplants withered and died, because they only live in a free society.

Anarchists are naïve: they think human nature is essentially good.

Not so. It’s true that anarchists reject ideas of innate depravity or Original Sin. Those are religious ideas which most people no longer believe in. But anarchists don’t usually believe that human nature is essentially good either. They take people as they are. Human beings aren’t “essentially” anything. We who live under capitalism and its ally, the state, are just people who have never had a chance to be everything we can be.

Although anarchists often make moral appeals to the best in people, just as often they appeal to enlightened self-interest. Anarchism is not a doctrine of self-sacrifice, although anarchists have fought and died for what they believe in. Anarchists believe that the carrying-out of their basic idea would mean a better life for almost everyone.

How can you trust people not to victimize each other without the state to control crime?

If you can’t trust ordinary people not to victimize each other, how can you trust the state not to victimize us all? Are the people who get into power so unselfish, so dedicated, so superior to the ones they rule? The more you distrust your fellows, the more reason there is for you to become an anarchist. Under anarchy, power is reduced and spread around. Everybody has some, but nobody has very much. Under the state, power is concentrated, and most people have none, really. Which kind of power would you like to go up against?

But — let’s get real — what would happen if there were no police?

As anarchist Allen Thornton observes, “Police aren’t in the protection business; they’re in the revenge business.” Forget about Batman driving around interrupting crimes in progress. Police patrol does not prevent crime or catch criminals. When police patrol was discontinued secretly and selectively in Kansas City neighborhoods, the crime rate stayed the same. Other research likewise finds that detective work, crime labs, etc. have no effect on the crime rate. But when neighbors get together to watch over each other and warn off would-be criminals, criminals try another neighborhood which is protected only by the police. The criminals know that they are in little danger there.

But the modern state is deeply involved in the regulation of everyday life. Almost every activity has some sort of state connection.

That’s true — but when you think about it, everyday life is almost entirely anarchist. Rarely does one encounter a policeman, unless he is writing you a traffic ticket for speeding. Voluntary arrangements and understandings prevail almost everywhere. As anarchist Rudolph Rocker wrote: “The fact is that even under the worst despotism most of man’s personal relations with his fellows are arranged by free agreement and solidaric cooperation, without which social life would not be possible at all.”

Family life, buying and selling, friendship, worship, sex, and leisure are anarchist. Even in the workplace, which many anarchists consider to be as coercive as the state, workers notoriously cooperate, independent of the boss, both to minimize work and to get it done. Some people say anarchy doesn’t work. But it’s almost the only thing that does! The state rests, uneasily, on a foundation of anarchy, and so does the economy.

 

this is excerpted from
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-anarchy-101

a better text for you might be a book called Anarchy Works, but i don't think it's online.

ps: please tag your questions (for example, this question could be tagged with "chaos, democracy, minority-rule" or something.

answered Jul 6, 2015 by dot (51,530 points)

  The Peter Gelderloos "Anarchy Works" is online. http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-anarchy-works

"Family life, buying and selling, friendship, worship, sex, and leisure are anarchist. "

 

That statement is a bit naive and does not take into account the pervasive effect of the state in day to day relationships. While I think it's true that we're al much more 'anarchist' than we think, I'd argue that family life, commercial transactions, making friends and relationships are affected by the state and by the capitalist system in which we life in and which is being constantly reassured by the state. Separating the 'public' from the 'private', or 'work' from 'not work' in such a strict way does not allow to reflect on the effects that capitalism and the state have in the private realms of life.

 

What do you think?

cyborg, i totally agree. but i gauged this answer (pending more information) on  where the questioner seems to be coming from. we'll see if they stick around to get more in-depth information/conversation.

 human, thanks. search function on T@L is odd to me. :)

"Anarchists are naïve: they think human nature is essentially good."

i've always found this assertion kinda ridiculous, although i understand from whence it springs. classical anarchists seem to me to posit this kind of thinking (at least what i've read of 'em), but i see this optimistic response as situated within a tradition where 'human nature' is considered to essentially bad. the proto-liberal and liberal tradition has carried this baggage along to a tee to this day. although (becoming?) globally dominant, it is really a minority view in terms of the range and numbers of cultures/peoples who tell a much different story.

"Family life, buying and selling, friendship, worship, sex, and leisure are anarchist. "

buying and selling are anarchist?  not in my world. and i usually agree with much of bob black's perspective.

yea, it's not consistent with bob's own writings/thinking in other places. i wonder what he was thinking? he's also as critical of leisure as he is of work, in many instances.
Again, i think of what a terrible burden it must be to publish your thoughts - for everyone (for the rest of your life and beyond your death) will judge your actions, and motivations by some passage scribbled with only a passing thought.  As if every published work springs forth whole, complete and perfect.  As if no author may every stand up and exclaim "That's not what I fucking meant!",  or even "What the hell was I thinking?  Even I don't understand what I was trying to say!"

(but then, all anarchist writers are perfect in everything they do and say, and so the above does not apply to them.   Right?)

 

Reification.  Can someone explain this to me (again)?  and how it applies to the dead (published) words of authors (be they living or dead)?
sure clodbuster, absolutely (and perhaps especially today, when blogging/extemporaneous writing is SO much more common) writers can be having an off day or whatever. but a) bob is generally pretty specific and picky (and from an earlier generation of writers who didn't expect to be able to go online later and clarify any misconceptions) and b) these topics (work and by extension leisure, specifically) are the things that he's known for being thoughtful about.

i think it's more likely that because it was an introductory text, he was not trying to overload the newcomer with too many new ideas. and it's meaningful to me to be thoughtful about what people write and where they're inconsistent, because interrogating ideas includes following trajectories of thinking.
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