Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 1 decade ago

Why does anarchism have such a bad reputation?

In your view. Please don't answer if you think that anarchism means chaos. Thanks.


I'm talking about the POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. Jeez.

20 Answers

  • Joe S
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is typically equated with chaos. Granting that no system will entirely eliminate chaos (human caused or nature caused), the people who condemn political anarchy have a poor grasp (or more likely are in denial) of the chaos fomented by political institutions.

    As an example, the answer by blissdds may be turned around:

    (Relying upon political institutions) ignores human nature. If the world was a perfect place filled with perfect people then (perfect people would be put in political offices).

    Since there is a lack of perfect people, one must consider carefully what kind of people are attracted to politics. Noting that the level of corruption increases in positions of more power and influence ought to give more people pause.

    To Bigsky_52:

    This article [1] directly challenges your warlords scenario (even using the same word). It even tackles the matter of Somalia. For the benefit of people unwilling to follow links, here is a pertinent quote:

    "When dealing with the warlord objection, we need to keep our comparisons fair. It won’t do to compare society A, which is filled with evil, ignorant savages who live under anarchy, with society B, which is populated by enlightened, law-abiding citizens who live under limited government. The anarchist doesn’t deny that life might be better in society B. What the anarchist does claim is that, for any given population, the imposition of a coercive government will make things worse. The absence of a State is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to achieve the free society."

  • Josh
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It has such a bad reputation for at least two reasons, one even though the majority of the movement is non violent the ocassional acts of violence get us all a undeserved bad reputation. Which I find fairly strange because I have a hard time imagining that people of the world enjoy handing over their power to these "elected" officials, I believe that there are a great deal more anarchists than you think, it's just that most would not call themselves one.

    Second, and I don't mean to sound like a paranoid nut case here but, I think that the government attemps to get us all discredited as being everything that people think when they hear the word anarchy. I think that they try and do everything that tehy can so that we will be seen as unreliable and to perpetuate the sterotypical image of an anarchist. This is done so that our movement will not be able to gain widespread acceptance among the average person on the street, and for those of you who think I'm just being paranoid on this point I would direct you to look at all of the underhanded and down right evil things that the united states government has done in the name of "freedom".

    (A) (E)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because the notion of being truly free is terrifying to people who have been bred and conditioned to slavery.

    "It seems at first glance that authority could not exist at all if all men were cowards or if no men were cowards, but flourishes as it does because most men are cowards and some men are thieves. Actually, the inner dynamics of cowardice and submission on the one hand and of heroism and rebellion on the other are seldom consciously realized either by the ruling class or the servile class. Submission is identified not with cowardice but with virtue, rebellion not with heroism but with evil. To the Roman slave-owners, Spartacus was not a hero and the obedient slaves were not cowards; Spartacus was a villain and the obedient slaves were virtuous. The obedient slaves believed this also. The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly. "--Hagbard Celine

    People who decry a life devoid of oppressive authority are slaves. That being the case, you will find no shortage of slaves on either side of the fence in American mainstream political culture and society.

    Democrats are slaves. Republicans are slaves. The rich are slaves, the poor are slaves. Blacks are slaves, whites are slaves, latinos and asians are slaves. They are this way because they are crippled by an essential cowardice and hamstrung by a slavish moral system devised by an enslaved people (Judeo-Christianity).

    Obedient slaves always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly.


    As a political program, Anarchism represents the belief that people are able to cooperatively develop social systems that are not predicated on force and coercion.

    Anarchy is not the absence of organization, Anarchy is the dismantling of the apparatus of state repression.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, the bad rep comes from the fact that most people do equate anarchy with chaos. And while there would be a period of chaos before society rights itself, in the end it just means that people rule themselves without the need for a government. Unfortunately, human nature, especially selfishness and greed, would make it unworkable. It would be a great system if not for humanity.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i've wondered the same thing seeing as the gov. is making american's lives miserable and the economy is falling. I see moderate anarchism as a good alternative. Laws about killing people and hard drugs are good. People like Pres bush...BAD

  • Jim S
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Because of the people that promote it tend to be crazy and it also doesnt make sense. There has never been a successful anarchy society. Every anarchy society we've ever had has either been filled with violence, or taken over by facists or both.

    In anarchy, you are responsible for securing your own rights, and nobody else. In a free society, you can ask the government to help secure your rights, there is nothing wrong this. Having a small and limited governments makes it easier to defend your rights and it increases your freedom.

    Anarchy leads to violence, the loss of wealth and freedom. It doesnt work

  • reinke
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    It has such a bad reputation because it is as unworkable a system as pure communism. Both, actually, have nonexistence of the state as an end goal. Where communism breaks down is that human nature will never allow dissolution of the dictatorship of the proletariat. You can call it socialism if you like, but it's really a dictatorship where the centralized power is held by a select few. You start with a revolution, transition to a dictatorship of the proletariat, and stop. Human nature takes over. Anarchy is the same way. You have a revolution followed by a transition to chaos, out of which will form a spontaneous order of free individuals in autonomous communities, operating on principles of mutual aid, voluntary association, and direct action. In reality what you would get is a dictatorship of the strong, see Somalia for an example. Warlords imposing their will upon others with nobody to challenge them except other warlords.

    That's the practical opposition to anarchism, namely that it assumes, in the absence of law, that people won't riot or take things by force. On a more basic level it negates the theory of the rule of law as being unnecessary, and the rule of law is the backbone of our civilization. When people join together to form societies disputes are inevitable, both in physical terms and contractural terms. People will fight. And people will lie, cheat, and steal. Governments are put into place with the purpose of peacefully settling these disputes. Whether it's arresting and imprisoning the man who shot your brother or forcing a company to deliver the services you've paid them for, a system of settling disputes peacefully is required. And part of implementing such a system is that the citizens RECOGNIZE the authority of those who maintain the laws. Anarchism, depending on the flavor, does not recognize anything beyond a nebulous social authority enacted at the lowest community level. Hence there is no real rule of law, but rather a frontier justice mentality that cannot truly protect the rights we consider our birthrights. And the protection of those rights is the main reason we have a government in the first place. Hence an anarchist state is one where our rights are not protected, and most people have a negative view on such a society.

    I myself am a Libertarian, and probably closer to an anarchist than most. But I realize that the world is not perfect, human nature does exist, and that governments are necessary. Their actions should be minimized and closely controlled, but within the scope of the authority we grant them they do need to be able to exercise that authority. I know there are subclasses of anarchy, but as a general discussion this is how I see it.

    Edit (for Joe)-

    That article has numerous flaws with its logic. I'll spell them out.

    1) Tu Quoque Fallacy

    "It is not enough to demonstrate that a state of private-property anarchy could degenerate into ceaseless war, where no single group is strong enough to subjugate all challengers, and hence no one can establish “order.” After all, communities living under a State degenerate into civil war all the time.

    Ahh, the old "you too" fallacy. That communities living under a state CAN degenerate into civil war does not impact the LIKELIHOOD of the aforementioned degeneration happening. It simply points out that it is POSSIBLE with a state. This does not impact the premises or the core conclusion, namely that it is more likely to happen in the absence of the state, and hence must be discarded.

    2) Ad Hominem attack

    "For the warlord objection to work, the statist..."

    If you look at and understand the Nolan chart you can classify anarchists as extreme libertarians, occupying the absolute pinnacle. Even if you throw in some of the other flavors, such as anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-socialists you're still only covering between 3-5%. Whereas statists would comprise maybe 20% on the top end. Calling everyone who disagrees with you on this point a statist isn't just offensive, it also shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms being used.

    3) Straw man fallacy

    "For the warlord objection to work, the statist would need to argue that a given community would remain lawful under a government, but that the same community would break down into continuous warfare if all legal and military services were privatized."

    Be very, very careful when you let the opposing side try to frame the argument you wish to make. If they tell us what "statists" must do to make their argument then chances are that argument will be subtly altered and easily brushed aside. Which is the case here. What we can argue is NOT that a given community would remain lawful, but rather that the unlawful elements would be ABLE and LIKELY to take over. I do not need to look far for examples here, Cabrini Green in Chicago, The Marcy Projects in New York, or pretty much the entire county of Los Angeles. Here we have a situation where even though 90% of the population is law abiding the lack of law enforcement results in a dictatorship of the strong. The gangs take over, not because the community doesn't respect the law but because a small criminal element of the community doesn't respect the law and there is no recourse for the law abiding other than to form gangs of their own. Which basically degenerates into the competing warlord scenario.

    4) Appeal to ignorance

    "The popular case of Somalia, therefore, helps neither side.[i] It is true that Rothbardians should be somewhat disturbed that the respect for non-aggression is apparently too rare in Somalia to foster the spontaneous emergence of a totally free market community. But by the same token, the respect for “the law” was also too weak to allow the original Somali government to maintain order."

    Respect for "The Law" is not what keeps those who disrespect the law from taking over, it is respect for the ENFORCEMENT of the law. Which was non-existent in Somalia. That a law exists means nothing if it is not enforced. The situation in Somalia is analagous to the gang situations in the inner cities. A state incapable of enforcing its own laws is the same as no state at all. The attempt to equate both the positive and negative premise, and then conclude that no conclusion is possible, is an appeal to ignorance since the positive premise has not been disproven.

    I would be interested in hearing how a warlord would not actually be considered a privatized provider of legal and military services. They seem to be closely related. A warlord dispenses justice, as he sees fit. He also wages war for the benefit of himself and his "community". How is that not a private army or justice system, as called for in this article?

  • 1 decade ago

    Hehe, Anarchism leads to chaos whether you like or not. That is a fact of the ideology.

    No one wants to live in a lawless society with no infrastructure, economic or otherwise.

    If you think Anarchism is great, move to Somalia. Somalis is a real world example of Anarchism in action.

    Of course you won't move there, because its one thing to support it on the Internet when you're free from the consequences, but it's a whole different ball game to actually have the conviction to live under it.

    You like so many people who talk about it, have no conviction whatsoever. It just words so you can pretend to be a rebel.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because it doesn't last. The minute you have someone or a group of people who are stronger than another group. I mean, as soon as another person threatens violence over another or overpowers them in some way is the minute it stops being anarchy.

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