Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

How do we determine the legitimacy of governance?

0 votes
E.g. eating a pear that someone else could have eaten is most likely "legitimate", whereas pouring battery acid in a lake is most likely not.

If someone is committing a murder, stopping him or her is essentially a form of governance. Now (obviously?) most will agree that murder is an illegitimate form of governance, and stopping a murder would not be a form of governance but rather a form of "defense". But where do we draw the line?

If Man A has done something to "govern" Man B, how do we determine whether this form of "governance" is legitimate (e.g. eating a pear) or illegitimate (e.g. murdering him)? If the latter, we are "oppressing" man B. If the latter, we are oppressing A. Either way, one man will complain that we are "governing" him, or letting him be "governed". Sorry.

This is the main problem I have with "full anarchy", and many "full anarchists" will shoo it under the table as if it's no big deal.

It's a big deal. Fucking seriously. If the involved are unable to come to a consensual conclusion on an ambiguity (we don't want to go an eternity without eating food that "others could have eaten") there will need to be some "statist intervention".

How do you plan to mediate these conflicts without some form of "compulsory governance"?

P.S. I'm aware I've used a lot of loaded terms in this essay, but seeing as the responses I get when I ask this are almost always loaded, I've given up trying.
asked Aug 31, 2015 by AnarchoDarwinist (400 points)
i have no interest in legitimacy.
i appreciate that you want to understand, but i'm not sure any of us know how to be more clear.

first, why are you using the word "governance"? it seems to be a way to make abstract the relations between the people you're using in your examples.

second, stopping someone from committing a murder would be desirable in some instances and not in others. it would depend.

third, YOU introduce the word/concept governance, and then say that people, when kept from doing what they want to do (who keeps them from doing these things?) will complain about being governed. mostly when i try to keep someone from doing something, they argue with me, ignore me, or laugh at me. not a lot of complaining about governance. not trying to be simplistic, just sayin'.

fourth, no one but you is talking about keeping people from eating food. i have no idea what you're even talking about in that example.
@Darwi::  you have obviously put some effort into trying to phrase your question with 'neutral language';  i acknowledge that effort.
Unfortunately, the english language seems to be rooted in some ugly predispositions;  those of us who have violently rejected those predispositions find it necessary at times to reverse-engineer language to translate ideas.

So.  If i read your post sorta-correct, your question deals with the resolution of the inevitable conflicts that will arise between autonomous individuals with conflicting interests.
And the response, that i have had to accept thru argument and reflection, is 'they'll have to sort it out as best they can'.
Yeah, that doesn't fit on a flowsheet very well;  but any formal rules only provide an opportunity for the more-powerful to leverage that power further.  [That's not an opinion:  get an anthropologist drunk, wind them up and get out of the road...]
Various cultures have had different customs to temper (but not eliminate) conflicts between individuals;  these usually could be summarised as their neighbors politely asking them to 'put up with each other'.  At the extreme, we have the feuding families of 'Romeo & Juliet', in reality the two clans made such a nuisance of themselves that the rest of the town threatened to throw them both out at pike-point if they didn't pull their shit together (remember that these two were the most powerful and influential of all the families, yet the rest of their society was prepared to band together and cast them out, imagine americans threatening to cast out both the Republicans* and Democrats*).
This is a good question, and it comes up (in one form or another) again and again.  But no simple answer will pass even passing scrutiny; and the only honest answer isn't very satisfying to those seeking some divine 'Truth!'.

Right.
Now a few words on foul language:
'legitimate'  - my latin sucks (and shall remain so), but i think this means 'in accordance with the Law';  hence the violent reaction of those (me et al) who reject that as a good thing (without critical scrutiny of why it would be desirable, by us or anyone else).
'governance'  - now this could go either of two ways:  a) trying to hold shit together, as the fly-weight governor tries to hold the steam engine from destroying itself;  b) Those that command those beneath them, by virtue of their violence or threat thereof, also known as 'Arbitrary Authority';  Whether the existence of either of these is desirable is an entirely different discussion.  

 

I welcome your effort to speak in something like common terms;  i hope i have made some effort in return.
(On phone, sorry in advance for any typos.)

Firstly, thanks for the answers, guys! I knew I could count on this site to give me an actual argument in return.

bornagain@: In that case, you have no argument against the law; if legitimacy is to be unconcerned, then statist intervention remains valid on all grounds. Keep in mind that I am using the word "legitimacy" interchangeably with "permissibility"; i.e., what would be allowed in an anarchic society and what would not be. You could argue that there would be no standards or laws in an anarchic society, but in that case I could counter that my ideal would also be anarchic; if there is no law that forbids governance, collectivism and democracy in an anarchic ideal, there lies no argument against any non-anarchic ideal.

If I have to concern myself with some kind of standard on permissibility, you should, too.

dot &cloud, I'll get to you soon after. I just don't want to accidentally hit "Cancel" or the likes.
AD,

i should also mention i have no interest in pursuing anything called "validity". i don't need a "valid argument" against the law. i reject it, i say fuck it, i say it sucks, break it, go around it, hide from it, ignore it, conspire against it, expose it, laugh at it, deal with it in whatever way i think i need to when confronted with it.

but i have no desire to legitimize it or not legitimize it. i don't want to make it permissible or not permissible, valid or not valid, "allowed" or not allowed.

if you have to concern yourself with something, i also should?  i don't think so. you can concern yourself with validity and legitimacy....i have more fun things in mind.

my only interest in legitimacy, validity, etc.... lies in the rejection of the concepts.
I like the answer baa gave. I'm bummed out that I can't give it a +1 :)
ba@, you nailed it.
thanks, human, AF. having someone relate to what you say feels good, even in cyberspace. it doesn't happen enough in the flesh for me these days. :)
bingo, baa!  +1

1 Answer

0 votes

"It's a big deal. Fucking seriously."

it's also a big deal that we are all using computers, that rely on widescale destruction of the planet.....i.e., ourselves.

i meant to make this a comment, but to elaborate on my point, there's a huge problem with the word "should", as far as killing is concerned, you've got to do it to survive! Primitive cultures didn't deal with murder in the same way we do, which just compounds the problem and makes life worse for everybody. You can always just kill someone if they kill someone you love, but there are also other possibilities.....it's also possible for people to work things out among each other, i personally like the (supposed) eskimo system, if you kill someone, you apologize the the closest relatives, but the second time you die yourself!

answered Sep 3, 2015 by anonymous
edited Sep 3, 2015 by anonymous
...