Anarchy, noun: "The absence or denial of governmental authority or established order"
That's what most of us think of when the term is mentioned. Total chaos. There is, however, an alternate definition that is also found in the dictionary:
"A Utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government".
This is the definition favored by the Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street types. The problem is, it's false. Not the dictionary definition, but the reality behind it. I got sent on this train of thought after a couple of interactions on Twitter this past week (yes, I know, the Bundy Ranch is bigger news right now. I'll write about that after I've had time to digest some of the facts involved. It's still pretty murky right now.) One young lady despaired that "you conservatives" can't leave people alone. "Why can't you let people do what they want to? Who cares what other's do?", while a young(?) man had posted a couple Tweets extolling the virtues of anarchy and those tweets had garnered some few retweets and favs, indicating at least some agreement with his ideals. Disturbed by this, I decided to work on this post and cross-post it to Twitter. Maybe someone will read this and actually look into the reality behind the Utopian illusion.
The very idea of a Utopia goes all the way back to Plato's Republic, although I doubt many have even heard of the philosophy, much less actually read the work. Instead, they take to heart what they assume to be the ideals: equal rights for all (men, women, either or neither), everyone shares equally in the bounty produced by the society, everyone's needs are provided for and no one faces the insecurity of the future. It makes a very pretty picture, indeed.
There is a very great shock waiting for most who actually read Plato's words and see just how "fair" and "just" his Utopian society really would be.
To dramatize the difference, I've crafted the following conversation between an advocate of anarchy and an advocate of a system of rule by law (For those of you who know the reference, it may help to imagine the dialog in the voices of Mr. Hand, and Jeff Spicoli, from Fast Times at Ridgemont High):
Come on, man! All your rules and stuff are keeping us down. Isn't this supposed to be a free country? We can do what we want!
What is it that you find so appealing about anarchy, Mr. Spicoli? Don't you think we need rules? Don't we need society?
Oh, no way, man! Society is just a way for the man to keep the little guys down. Everyone is equal! Nobody has the right to tell someone else what to do.
Well, what would happen if everyone just stopped doing what they were supposed to do and just did whatever they wanted?
That would be sooo cool! Everyone would be free to do what they wanted and they'd be happy. If they wanted to spend the day surfing and partying at night? Hey, bud, let's party!
Where would you get the things for the party? You know, the beer and munchies? Someone has to make that stuff.
Aww, there's plenty of that stuff! The stores are full of it. You're just letting yourself stay boxed in to the old ways, man. You've got to get out and live a little!
Well, wait a minute. If you don't work at a job, how are you going to buy what you want? You're not just going to take it, are you?
Why not? Those rich guys made all their money from me in the first place! They've got plenty of money. They can afford to give that stuff away now. I have the right to the same stuff they've got! They're no better than anyone else. If they're too selfish to share, I have a right to take what I need.
Don't they have the right to keep what they earn?
They have more than they need. They're just greedy pigs trying to keep the rest of us from having a decent life.
How are you going to get them to give it to you? You don't think you can just walk up to their front door and demand they give you their stuff, do you? What will you do when they refuse?
Have you looked around, man? There are a lot more of us than there are them. We have the power to take whatever we want.
And how are you going to stop someone else from taking what they want away from you? Wait a minute! "We"? I thought you were an anarchist? Why do you now say that "we" can take whatever "we" want?
<whispering>The man has no idea what's waiting for them. We are an army! An invisible army just waiting to sweep aside the old and bring in the New Order.
An army, huh? Congratulations! You've just created society. Isn't your "army" going to have a leader? Isn't he going to be "telling you what to do"?
You don't understand, man. You'll never get it. That's just until all you rich guys that have been hogging all the good stuff get yours and we finally get our fair share! After that, we'll all be free to live as equals. Everyone will finally have the good life they deserve. Maybe we'll make the rich guys work for us! Yeah! It's only fair that they find out what it's like to work for nothing.
And so it goes. In the movie, Mr. Hand and Spicoli do end up coming to a meeting of the minds over, of all things, the words of the founding fathers. There is no such meeting of the minds possible with the advocates of anarchy. They refuse to see the reality that Utopian society not only doesn't exist, but is impossible as they claim to envision it. For those who haven't read it, in a nutshell, Plato's Republic is a society in which every function is mandated and controlled by a small group of elites who have the power to segregate society as they see fit. The people are placed in a class structure more absolute than anything coming out of the caste system in India or the system or aristocracy in old Europe. ALL aspects of life are predetermined for you by these elites. From where you will live, to what you will eat, to what your life's work will be......even the choice of who, and whether, you will marry and procreate with are solely at the discretion of your overlords. Not sounding so much like the "society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government" now, is it?
The only one's who advocate for anarchy are the useful idiots who don't truly understand it and those who desire to become their future masters.