Dialogue with wilkox on anarchy part II
Last time I kicked off with asking wilkox some basic questions about anarchy, which he promptly answered but back to that later. He also asked me a fairly straightforward question, with unfortunately a litany of potential answers.
what do you associate the word “anarchy” with? Why?
Like most people, the first thing that pops up into my head when I think anarchy is this:
And to be honest, why shouldn’t I? Whether it’s playing games like the Civilization series, to watching the Sex Pistols, anarchy in the media I am exposed to is associated with non-production, mess, destruction, nihilism and most importantly, chaos. It also has this weird group of sub-conventions occasionally that I would say would be on par with Kuhn’s idea about a moment or two of chaos when shifting paradigms. Sort of like a transitional period Dark Ages.
It’s fair to see that our civilization for awhile has its own best interests at heart (as wilkox rightly points out) and have refined anarchy to represent such things, and civilization and authority as its antithesis. And, with varying degrees of applicability, it’s been correct in taking that position. From the Hyskos of Ancient Egypt to the Dark Ages of Europe, chaos and anarchy has followed invasion and plunged that area into un-production and slaughter. It’s good that wilkox appreciates there would be difficulties to switching to anarchism, even if it could occur.
I think it would be best to focus on difficulties of implementation and then get to the point of why anarchy would be a good thing later on, as the implementation is what wilkox determined as the general main problems with anarchy. I read wilkox’s first three problems regarding anarchy as “we don’t want to, we probably can’t, and we’re too lazy”. As a proposed method of introducing anarchy (which would ameliorate the three problems) , could it be possible to dissolve government intervention slowly over time, conferring ‘power’ to individuals? So there would be an announcement, followed by the removal of, say, a university from government ownership and left it to be organised by someone else. The slow introduction of more responsibility would probably be damaging at first (free oil everybody! wahey!) but I’m guessing it would lead to responsibility as realization dawns on everyone that everyone else needs oil in order to have the economy run so they themselves could live a productive life. Would this be the kind of mechanism required for anarchy to move along as smoothly as possible?
Ok now for some questions regarding a removal of government completely.
How would currency work out?
As wilkox and myself talked about some years ago, a hunter-gatherer trading population peaks at the low thousands. How does an anarchist see currency behaving if there is no national mint to preside over it? Do we downgrade to trading only within small cells of operation (which I would not think wilkox would appreciate as he feels anarchy would improve matters), or does a mint exist that groups sign an agreement over to recognise. Of course a potential problem with that is who presides over the agreement?
Do you think there are any government institutions that, by their nature, would be difficult to implement in an anarchy?
Wilkox’s part II is here.