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In an anarchist world, how would selfish people be 'converted'?

+1 vote
In an anarchist environment how would people who are only concerned with their own interests, even though this reduces the welfare of others, be accommodated? What about people simply unwilling to change? I have met people who simply cannot understand the concept of being concerned with anyone other than themselves. How do they fit in?
Doesn't anarchism just have a 'smiley' interpretation of the world where the selfish can and are willing to change?
Also, isn't it so that people who are concerned with changing the world for the better are in a small minority and most people really couldn't give a damn/shit/fuck (delete whichever least appropriate).

edited by dot to add tags
asked Apr 19, 2013 by anonymous
edited Jul 13, 2014 by dot
Check out Peter Gelderloos - Anarchy Works. There's a section on human nature and greed. Also try searching here.
If people act only in their own direct individual self-interest doesn't that also mean no one should have power over another? A lot of "skeptical" questions are often just double standards.

1 Answer

+4 votes
last first - i think there are a ton of people who want to change the world for the better, but so many interpretations of "better" that it doesn't matter. especially when the interpretation means basically leaving the world as it is -- which it frequently does. i'm not sure if that body of people outnumbers the uncaring or not, but i doubt it matters. the bottom line i think is correct, which is that we (whatever that means) are a tiny minority.

i am not interested in changing anyone's perspective vis-a-vis selfishness, i just want the option to not engage with people like that if i don't want to. i don't want to have to rely on them to give me a loan, or not arrest me, or evaluate my work performance, or feed me, or determine the safety of various things i work with, or determine how much power other people should have over me, etc etc etc.

as for the smiley interpretation - there are anarchists who believe in and count on the perfectability of humans. but anarchy doesn't rely on that. perhaps you'd like to read some stirner or nietzsche or novatore or some other more egoist/individualist anarchists.
answered Apr 21, 2013 by dot (49,970 points)
Great answer. I actually couldn't have said it better myself, and I like to think I say things good.