T Nation

Defeating the System With Democracy


Can anarchists use democracy to legitimately disassemble government?

For example, can we play by the rules of democratic government to legitimately bring about free society by voting away government and thus essentially the democratic system?

Or is this impossible just because it is inconsistent with the principles of anarchy?

Does pragmatism have a place in any political philosophy?


Pragmatism should have a place in reality.


Especially since about the only other way to get what you want would be to do some fight club secret society shit with the aims of taking down the government and other power players who grip humanity and bend them to thier will. And even then, you would be involved in an organized group, with a single goal in mind, wouldn't be much different than say the libertarian party, only your methods would be illegal according to the current legal structure, though your methods might be swifter and more effective.



Absolutely - and it should be a breeze growing Anarchy party into a majority of voters in America. After all, you only need 49.9999999999999% more of the vote the break the all-important 50% mark.


And for pragmatic reasons conservatives who want a smaller government should be on our team -- at least at first.


Of course they wouldn't - nothing would derail the movement for limited government faster than aligning with ideological flakes and radicals. That would ruin all credibility of the movement.

Nothing makes "big government" look better to the undecided than does an Anarchist's idiotic diatribes.


Which is why for pragmatic reasons such a movement must remain very obscure -- for example, we can use rhetorical tricks like all politicians do -- we are not the Anarchy party but rather the Liberty Party.

I'd even go as far as calling us the Secessionist Party. Now that would be a truly heroic movement.


Liberty isn't the same as Anarchy, and never has been, so the "rhetorical trick" wouldn't work. Besides, who cares if the Limited Government Movement has the Anarchists in or out? Their numbers are negligible at best, and there is zero upside to having them be brethren-in-arms.

In plainer terms, there would be no return on the investment of having these clowns in the "party".

Truly foolish is what you meant to say.


Yes it is.


You always confuse Liberty with License.

We've read your unoriginal cut-and-pastes till we nearly bored ourselves to death. Get some new material, or, in the alternative, I guess we can just wait for you to discover your next "latest, greatest" ideology and have our time wasted all over again on crypto-communism vegan astrobiological communitarianism, or whatever next gets imprinted on your Silly Putty brain.


Come on lifty, it's easy, just list all the historically successful anarchies you can think of. What could be more convincing?


Burger King. MacDonalds. Microsoft.....

Do I need to keep going.


Anarchy is not a system. It is just a natural state of existence without coercive authority. Historically, this must have been the case before government ever came into existence so therefore it must have been a very successful existence because here we are. Besides, all animals live in this state. It is successful by its very nature.

In fact, there are millions of successful "anarchies" that exist in the market -- these are organizations that exist outside of coercive authority.

Government on the other hand cannot exist naturally because it requires coercion to come into existence. For example, what sane person with knowledge of the natural order would give authority to someone else over his own life? I just don't see government happening any other way.


No, you need to define what "anarchy" means in lifty's world so we stop wasting time.

Corporations are not anarchies, they are rigidly governed and are probably closer to dictatorships (even if benevolent ones) than they are to anything else.

Next time you clock in at McDonald's; tell the manager you'll know be making Big Macs in your own very special way. See how long your "anarchistic freedom" to do so lasts.


Even on that point you are wrong. Most pack animals defer to a leader or an alpha member who has authority over the pack. Some insects are organized - unwittingly, no doubt - into rigid hierarchies where survival of the colony or the hive takes precedence over their own lives.

Coercive authority exists within almost all organizations. That's how they remain organized.

Find a job. Then go in one morning and announce to your boss that you're now doing some other job of your choosing. Then experience coercive authority first hand.

Governments don't spontaneously appear out of thin air. At some point, groups of people, even the dumbest ones, realize that it is inefficient for each individual to try and address each and every situation. So delegation of power happens and governments eventually follow as organized systems of power delegation.


And most of us have a boss or some other authority figure we answer to -- this is still compatible with anarchism. There are natural leaders that do not gain leadership through coercion. They become leaders because they have been recognized as being elite in one way or another.


I agree with the first sentence. The rest of your argument does not necessarily follow from it.

The very first governments were formed as a collusion between the spiritual order and the power elite. The only way people will give up power is if they believe it to be in their best interests -- ie, they can be scared into it. No government in the history of government came about voluntarily and that is all we need to know about it as a antisocial structure.


You need to give us your own special version of the meaning of "anarchy."

Having a boss is still coercive. While the coercion is not in the form of physical violence, reprisals and punishments can be effected through withholding wages, suspensions or outright dismissals. The boss decides, you implement. He may be amenable to discussions or might treat you more as a collaborator than a servant, but in the end, his way will prevail.


There is nothing coercive about it if you choose your boss and can walk away from him whenever you wish.


Depending on your skills and job availability and on whether you have a family to feed or others that depend on your income, that choice can become vanishingly small.