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Anarchy and Chaos

Have you ever wondered why, in the English speaking world, the word anarchy is synonymous with chaos? Anarchism, the idea people can live their lives without rulers, not without rules, has a much wider acceptance in the non-English speaking world. To a large degree this is due to the fact anarchist ideas have never captured the public imagination in the English speaking world and no large scale political, social and cultural movements that promote anarchism have ever been a significant political force in an English speaking community.

The idea human beings need rulers (whether elected or self-appointed) to rule them is derived from the idea that all human beings are tainted with original sin. When Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden she unleashed a Pandora’s Box of evil. It’s assumed human beings are so fragile and base they would automatically rape and kill each other if some central authority did not stop them doing so.

The idea of original sin metamorphosed into the Divine Right of Kings as the more successful mass murderers, rapists and thieves were able to impose their will on people by exercising their monopoly on the use of force in their community. As little kingdoms were absorbed into bigger and stronger kingdoms, the nation state evolved as the dominant force across the globe.

Anarchism is about creating a society without rulers, not without rules. Such a society is dependent on creating institutional structures that devolve power and hold wealth in common. Inequalities in power and wealth are the primary cudgels that are used to beat those that are ruled into submission. Societies that are based on inequalities are normally chaotic societies. Centralised institutions and nation states need to hold a monopoly on the use of force in order to maintain order. Once this centralised authority breaks down, society rapidly degenerates into lawlessness as the only thing maintaining order was fear of those who exercised power.

An anarchist society – an equal society – is created when hierarchical structures are replaced by horizontal structures that give the people involved in a decision the ability to make that decision. This change in the decision making processes needs to be accompanied by a change in the way wealth is both created and distributed. The greater the equality in wealth and opportunity, the more harmonious a society becomes. Order is maintained by devolving power and sharing wealth. It is not maintained by those exercising a monopoly on the use of force, using that monopoly to impose their will on the people they rule.

Dr. Joseph Toscano