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Anarchic Order
Spintech Magazine ^ | January 4, 2002 | Paul Hein, M.D.

Posted on 01/14/2002 6:38:35 AM PST by SteamshipTime


I believe it was Chesterton who remarked that Christianity had not failed; it had not been tried. And Ayn Rand described capitalism as the unknown ideal. I would like to suggest, in a similar vein, that anarchy has been tried, is being tried and is a universal success, but remains an unknown ideal. I’ll explain.

Anarchy, I must point out, is not synonymous, at least in my mind, with bomb-throwing lunatics, or rioting in the streets. It is as placid as a pond, as peaceful as a park. There is nothing chaotic about it. It is certainly not the absence of government, but only of government imposed by strangers. The anarchist governs himself, based upon principles found to be enduring and valuable: the Ten Commandments, for example. Anarchy has been the basis of society, long prior to the existence of government.

Does your family have bylaws? Are there regular elections, or meetings for the sake of writing new laws to cope with new problems? Do family members regularly charge one another with violations of the law, and demand justice, as meted out by strangers? Not in my family.

Family members may disagree, of course, but these disagreements are worked out and eventually settled without recourse to written statutes or judges. No lawyers are necessary. God’s law, we have been taught, is written on our hearts. We don’t need to quibble about the precise meaning of words in laws because we all know, instinctively, what is right and fair, and what isn’t. It is only when we leave the family that we encounter the world of legalisms.

As a physician, I am on the staff of several hospitals. All have staff bylaws. These are bulky multi-page documents, intended to deal with any and every circumstance surrounding a physician’s staff privileges. Before being accepted on the staff, you must sign the bylaws and agree to abide by them. Indeed, one hospital even affixes to its signature-line the jurat that the signer will be bound not only by these bylaws, but by any additions that may be made in the future.

Astonishingly, this absurdity seems to provoke little reaction from the doctors. Perhaps that is because they realize that the bylaws don’t mean anything anyway, but exist mainly to provide the hospital with justification for acting against a particular physician if his actions might be considered dangerous to the hospital. Strangers from hospital-accreditation, who, ultimately, control the purse strings, require them.

The laws of your local community, not to mention state and federal governments, are sufficiently numerous and complex that you cannot possibly know them, although ignorance of the law – an excellent excuse for any alleged lawbreaker—is considered no excuse by the lawmakers, who may profit from infractions. You manage your day to day activities quite nicely without reference to these countless regulations. Indeed, were you to consider them prior to acting, you would be reduced to inactivity; they would overwhelm you.

In fact, the innumerable laws which are said to apply to all of us are out of our thoughts. That undeniable fact is, in itself, an excellent argument for anarchy. We have government, with its innumerable laws, but we function as though we didn’t, because otherwise we’d spend more time pouring over the statute-books, and haggling over definitions, than doing our work.

Moreover, the government itself, though passing new laws with alacrity, pays little attention to them, at least where its self-interest is concerned. It does what it thinks it must do, and if its actions are prohibited by the laws, it ignores them. The proof of this is all around us. To wit: "No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender for debt."

That constitutional provision would virtually eradicate our economic problems; the government not only ignores it, but violates it. Actions not specifically permitted to government by the constitution are denied it. Nearly all of the government’s actions are, by this constitutional standard, unconstitutional. Does anyone in Washington care? Do most Americans?

The written laws are tools to be used, when it is considered desirable to do so, against individuals and corporations, except the federal corporation, which ignores any laws it finds oppressive.

What keeps society together are not the myriad laws imposed by government, to be applied as needed; it is the law written on our hearts. The shootings at schools around the country have undoubtedly stimulated a new outpouring of laws, but there are already numerous laws prohibiting shootings at schools, or anywhere else. "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is the relevant law, and it’s already written, though not taught. Indeed, it is forbidden to be taught in many schools. Therein lies the problem!

There is freedom in the law, we are told, but that is only true if it is God’s law, not that of some strangers who call themselves government. Those laws bring slavery. Indeed, that may be their purpose.


Paul Hein, an ophthalmologist, is author of All Work and No Pay. His column, "Hein-sight," usually runs on alternate Fridays in Spintech.


TOPICS: Editorial; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: libertarians
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To: cdwright
How about this one: Purposeful inaction.

C'mon cdwright. Make us proud.

51 posted on 01/14/2002 10:38:17 AM PST by SteamshipTime
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To: Architect
No, I am not. But mystery murders almost always involved public property to one degree or another.

ONLY if you consider the Police Department to be "public property". DoJ stats say that 73% of violent crime occurs in the home with 86% associated with the family or families that reside there. Get some REAL facts witll you, not something that is a mixture of the "legalize pot" and the Harry Browne Libratarian diatribe.

Semper Fi

52 posted on 01/14/2002 10:40:08 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: ctdonath2
I might be for anarchy if I though people would follow the Golden Rule. The problem is they don't.

Government is, by definition, monopoly power. Why do you think government would live by the Golden Rule when you think individual people would not?

Since government is founded on the idea that theft (AKA taxes) is acceptable, government is far less likely to obey the Golden Rule than individuals are.

53 posted on 01/14/2002 10:43:06 AM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
I would also assume that mall owners would have insurance against this kind of thing, as a matter of course. Which would spread the cost around among all mall owners

Whoa hoss, you can't have it both ways. Insurance, in an "outside the box" anarchic society???? Perish and forbid. You should carefully frame your utopia, p[ublish it then come back and frame your arguements against your baseline, you are WAYYYYY out there in this comparison to anarchy.

Semper Reality

54 posted on 01/14/2002 10:43:09 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: Trident/Delta
DoJ stats say that 73% of violent crime occurs in the home with 86% associated with the family or families that reside there.

And what percentage of these are mysteries with the victim unidentified, do you think? I would say that it is approximately zero. Learn to read instead insulting me and quoting statistics which have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

55 posted on 01/14/2002 10:46:20 AM PST by Architect
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To: Trident/Delta
Insurance, in an "outside the box" anarchic society????

Wow, you really do live inside the box, if you think that it is impossible to have insurance without government.

57 posted on 01/14/2002 10:49:32 AM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
Well bunkie, you are the one that started that particular reference. If you have no realistic anecdotal references to substantiate your stand, then perhaps your stand is in error?

After reading your and BlackbirdSST's posting, all I see is a camoflauged effort to play the same old libratarian saw but with a prettier wrapper. If this is so right, so pure, and so easy, why havn't the masses latched on to it and voted the "bums" out of office? Its because it isn't an answer.

Until you can eradicate the base instincts of man, those selfsame evils I listed previously, then you are stuck with the 80-20 rule. Societies cannot simply make mid-course corrections. It takes a LOT of time and energy to affect change in society. Simply declaring "anarchy rules" is NOT a solution. Give me a structured solution to move society to an anarchic base and I will stand beside you and defend it. But, don't destroy the existing system unless you have something or someway to accomodate the aftermath.

Semper Fi

58 posted on 01/14/2002 10:54:57 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: ctdonath2
Thomas Jefferson said the perfect govt is one that is as close to anarchy as possible, with just enough control to keep the peace. All the govt we need is local, and a constitutional one that is followed by the feds.
59 posted on 01/14/2002 10:57:01 AM PST by jeremiah
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To: Architect
No, it is you that are out of touch with the "Anarchic society definition. Financial institutions (and like it or not an insurance company is a financial instituion) are the bane of the anarchic society. Soooo... it stand to reason that they would be desolved in a true anarchic society.

Semper Reality

60 posted on 01/14/2002 10:57:12 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: jeremiah
I agree with you whole heartedly. And I honestly wish that we could easily achieve that goal. But, until the "masses" wake up and begin to take responsible actions for their governance, we are going to be struck with what we have, perhaps with further erosion.

Semper Fi

61 posted on 01/14/2002 10:58:56 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: cdwright
Anarchic Order

All sufficiently-complex systems are self-ordering. Think of an ecology. The conifers grow on the hills and the cactii in the deserts. Nobody orders them to. It just happens. The same thing happens in an economy. We use the term "marketplace" to refer to this particular self-ordering mechanism.

When government imposes its will on society, this has the effect, not of imposing order on disorder, but rather of freezing motion. In other words, it does not impose order. It imposes stasis.

62 posted on 01/14/2002 11:02:03 AM PST by Architect
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To: jeremiah
Being close to anarchy is one thing.
Being at anarchy is something very different.

The former is what made this country great.
The latter is what made others "third world".

63 posted on 01/14/2002 11:04:04 AM PST by ctdonath2
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To: Trident/Delta
Financial institutions (and like it or not an insurance company is a financial instituion) are the bane of the anarchic society.

Why? Historically, insurance societies have been cooperative institutions set up by small groups like residents of a particular neighborhood or workers in a particular industry. The "institutionalization" of insurance is a recent phenomenon, dating back to the 1920s.

Not that institutionalized insurance requires government either.

As the article points out, people tend generally to ignore the law and work out their problems without it. Consider, for example, how credit cards now give you the option of resolving disputes through arbitration, not lawsuit. A good step in the direction of the de-legalization of business.

64 posted on 01/14/2002 11:08:52 AM PST by Architect
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To: cdwright
"Affirming a contradiction is insanity."

Dictionary definitions of anarchy include things like: chaos; lawlessness and disorder. But these have nothing to do with the meaning of "anarchy". They are at best an inference, and a possibly faulty one at that, of the consequence of anarchy.

It makes me wonder if there is a government conspiracy to, through the dictionary makers, corrupt the language to their advantage. For example, since the passage of Amendment XVI, wages are defined as income and of course they are taxed as income.

65 posted on 01/14/2002 11:09:15 AM PST by Aurelius
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To: Trident/Delta
Your points are well-taken, and the problem of guaranteeing property rights seems insoluble without raising an entity which has more guns than anybody else. Historically though, no such governing entity has ever contented itself with protecting property rights and in fact, begins actively working to destroy property rights. Further, nothing--not democratic elections, a written constitution, separation of governing powers--seems to have worked to limit government to date.

The answer to this conundrum may be a complete decentralization of security, rather than its centralization. This is merely an extension of the argument made by Second Amendment proponents.

I do think you are wrong in arguing that an anarchic system must be wrong because it hasn't been voted in. The majority of the electorate consists of net tax consumers who benefit greatly from the current social democratic system.

66 posted on 01/14/2002 11:10:27 AM PST by SteamshipTime
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To: ctdonath2
I think if you visit the third world, you'll find that government and written laws can be found in abundance. In fact, the government purports to assure fair distribution of resources by keeping them out of private hands. The results have been "chaotic" (or anarchic, if you prefer).

Don't get me wrong; I agree anarchy is problematic, to say the least. Historically though, the inevitable consequence of government appears to be more government since government, with its taxing power and monopoly on offensive force, is able to win more converts to its cause than, say, FreeRepublic.com.

Solutions, anyone?

70 posted on 01/14/2002 11:20:24 AM PST by SteamshipTime
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To: cdwright
"if anarchy doesn't mean anarchy, what does?"

Anarchy does indeed mean anarchy (in affirming a tautology, you can hardly go wrong.)

The meaning of anarchy is simply: without a ruler or government.

72 posted on 01/14/2002 11:27:32 AM PST by Aurelius
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To: SteamshipTime
I do think you are wrong in arguing that an anarchic system must be wrong because it hasn't been voted in. The majority of the electorate consists of net tax consumers who benefit greatly from the current social democratic system.

Thank you for your agreement, it is a pleasure to discourse with an intelligent person. Ref above. My intimation is not that a new system be voted in, but, rather, what form of control would be deployed to keep things on a level keel until a anarchic utopia could be legitimately achieved? I, for one, favor the near elimination of the FED and transfer to power to the inedividual states, but, that plan is rife with problems. Architect seems wrapped up in semantics with little attention to mechanics. What are your views.

Semper Fi

74 posted on 01/14/2002 11:29:06 AM PST by Trident/Delta
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To: cdwright
"It rather seems to me that words are being redefined in the ivory tower."

I have given you the original meaning f the word, the redefing being done is by the addition of terms not part of the original meaning, and which have the appearance, at least, of being politically motivated.

75 posted on 01/14/2002 11:32:51 AM PST by Aurelius
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To: cdwright
"Without order, in other words."

I would disagree, since the absence of order is not a necessary consequence of the absence of government.

76 posted on 01/14/2002 11:36:47 AM PST by Aurelius
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New relevant question:
Assuming a government can be replaced with utopian anarchy, what's to prevent the re-formation of government?

Given a pure anarchy, some people will seek power, some will seek a leader, some will seek protection from attackers/robbers...causing formation of a government. Those who oppose the government being formed will have to similarly organize to create a viable opposition.

Government happens.

78 posted on 01/14/2002 11:39:00 AM PST by ctdonath2
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To: BlackbirdSST
How much would it cost them to hire their own private investigator to do the job? Probably less than the taxpayers put out for the bogus 100,000 more cops on the streets. The point would be, private industry does everything more efficiently than gubmint. So, it would stand to reason private industry would be more efficient at catching bad guy's.

"Probably less"? You could be right that it would cost less for private investigators to catch criminals, but that misses my point: Why should the private property owner spend anything at all to catch a murderer? (Especially if the owner can more easily avoid bad publicity by quietly dumping the body.)

If the concern is to allay customers' fears about crime, it would make more sense for a business owner to spend money on better security than to pursue a criminal who might be long gone.

The one thing that grates at me more than any other single issue, is when election time roles around and they start screaming about, The American People want "fill in the blank". If they had any clue as to what the people want, or even cared, we wouldn't have this bloated power hungry beastly gubmint we have today. I liken an Anarchist to Lover of Freedom, always have and always will. Blackbird.

I share your frustration with the current state of affairs. But don't you see? The problem is that the people of the United State have accepted bigger government -- and in some cases welcomed it. If the same people found themselves in an anarchist utopia, how long would it be before they invited big government back?

80 posted on 01/14/2002 11:41:39 AM PST by Logophile
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To: Logophile
If that is not what you mean -- and you want people to listen to what you have to say -- I would suggest you find a different label for your cause

Anarchy has two traditions present in this country. The older one, American anarchy, is based on sufficient self-discipline that civil government is not necessary. The European model which came out of Russia and Eastern Europe is based on overthrowing civil government by force.

81 posted on 01/14/2002 11:43:29 AM PST by Ada Coddington
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To: SteamshipTime
Great article, ST. I always wonder why people can't understand concept of spontaneous ordering when we see it every day in aa free market, or why 90 percent of our ills happen because of, in tribute to, or on the tragic commons.

If, as statists content, all men are fallible and thus incapable of self-governance, then why would a group of them be any more capable?

Rational anarchist bump.

82 posted on 01/14/2002 11:47:39 AM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: cdwright
. In my book, order is government

Good. You have admitted your illness.

That's the first step on the road to recovery.

83 posted on 01/14/2002 11:49:09 AM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: cdwright
To paraphrase George Washington, government is not reason or eloquence or order - it is force, pure and simple.

Force is no order.

85 posted on 01/14/2002 11:54:36 AM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: Doctor Doom
why people can't understand concept of spontaneous ordering when we see it every day in aa free market

It works in the free market because there's a force ready to beat the crap out of anyone who steals, murders, destroys or otherwise does something centrally detrimental to the free market. You can't participate in a free market well if someone just waltzes off with whatever you're marketing, or just shoots you and dumps your remains behind a grocery store dumpster.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
- George Orwell
(Shall the "rough men" be hired only by those who can afford their services, or hired for all by general taxation?)

87 posted on 01/14/2002 12:01:09 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: cdwright
Semantics are in order now:

Anarchy only refers to an absence of government, not an absence of order. The word specifically refers to government, not order, which is why there is a different word for the absence of order, known as "disorder."

Monarchy - from "mono" and "archy" meaning "government with one ruler."

Aristocracy - meaning "government of and by aristocrats.

Democracy - meaning "government rule of the people."

Anarchy - meaning "absence of government."

89 posted on 01/14/2002 12:08:10 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: cdwright
"The institution of 'government' (which is what I believe you refer to) is what grows of necessity when men fail to govern themselves."

The government whose absence we refer to by the term "anarchy" is the institution of government , not individual self-government in the sense of self-discipline, which term might better be used for the latter concept to avoid confusion. Thus, anarchy need not a and in fact does not mean the absence of order.

92 posted on 01/14/2002 12:10:59 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: Logophile; BlackbirdSST; Architect
The one thing that grates at me more than any other single issue ...

on the subject of crime, is the fact that a crime committed against an individual is punished by the state for the 'good of society'. The victim of that crime is most often victimized, yet again, by the very people who are charged with protecting them.

How would anarchy better deal with individuals who couldn't/wouldn't govern themselves?

93 posted on 01/14/2002 12:14:17 PM PST by Ridin' Shotgun
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To: ctdonath2
So only those with enough money to hire a PI can expect justice? I would think, without having to pay for a bloated gubmint, we would all be wealthy. Used to be, communities took care of the sort of thing you are talking about. Back in those day's, one law officer for a territory kind of thing, the citizen did the leg work, the LEO was the stamp of approval before hanging. No one left out in the cold here. Fact is, there is no perfect solution amongst humans. America had at one time the greatest experiment going, we're blowing it big time. I've known Freedom, it'll take more than powder burns for me to give it up. I want my America back, it's non-negotiable. Republic=Anarchy. Blackbird.
94 posted on 01/14/2002 12:15:40 PM PST by BlackbirdSST
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To: cdwright
Well, of course, one of the dictionary definitions of anarchy (in fact, the most important one) is precisely that: chaos and lawlessness. As to whether this association is made by "archists" of various, who can say? Certainly it would be in their interest.

Yet, the fact remains that anarchy - in the strict sense of the word "without government" - is the natural human state of affairs. We evolved to live in circumstances in which there is no government. Despite the lack of government, there most definitely was order.

One of the more important insights of this article, something I had never considered, is how much we ignore the rules and strictures of government and legalisms. If we did not we could not survive. After all, government is not order. It is stasis.

Since we do ignore government in running our lives, this means to me that it is an expensive and intrusive irrelevance.

95 posted on 01/14/2002 12:18:34 PM PST by Architect
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To: cdwright
Absence of self government personal disorder resulting in societal disorder.

Take it up a notch: Absence of societal government is societal disorder.

Not really. This is apples and oranges. And you are again equating level of "governance of self" with good behavior.

This is the error. By way of example, I'm sure many religious terrorists have extremely well ordered, well-disciplined lives. Look what they end up doing.

By contrast, look at the disorder that is often part of the personal lives of many happpy, productive geniuses in history.

In fact, a touch of obsessive, irrational behavior can be a very productive force for an individual, or it can be detrimental to their lives. The same in government leads to, well, you know the history of the Soviet Union. They had no shortage of government, but who could call that a healthy, productive society.

But the most important difference in the comparison you make here can be summed up simply by this: If you choose to self-govern well or poorly, that is YOU making that choice and you are free to change that. When (societal) government governs, it does so whether you like it or not.

96 posted on 01/14/2002 12:22:20 PM PST by Doctor Doom
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To: tex-oma
It's a good thing we have governments and police now so such things don't happen.

Wise guy. Of course such things will happen with government...but it would happen a lot more without government.

"The only reason some people are alive is because it's illegal to kill them."

97 posted on 01/14/2002 12:26:01 PM PST by ctdonath2
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To: BlackbirdSST
Republic=Anarchy

Absolutely untrue.

0.000000000000001 may be small, but it's not zero - and there's a big difference.

98 posted on 01/14/2002 12:28:24 PM PST by ctdonath2
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