Term Paper: Anarchy the Debate That Summarizes

Pages: 10 (2940 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Government  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Yes, while free will controls almost all of our daily decisions and lifetime decisions such as where to attend school, who to marry, what to do for a career or even what to have for breakfast is somehow missed his the ultimate requirement of succumbing to something greater than oneself as seen in natural law and all except a generalized ideals which govern society truly, in my opinion.


If politics is the art of human coexistence then anarchy stands in a very particular light to the art form. The political world often seems as if it is a true and honest representation of the anarchist model of discourse. Individual and special interests dominate the visions of the greater common good seen in today's political landscape. Representation through democratic processes has brought us this form of compromise. To me this seems completely and utterly lacking of what is necessary to ultimately reach the potential that humanity has in store for itself. War is often the result of democratic methods. Despotism and dictatorship stand as true defenders of order and government mandates. How does anarchy relate to such behavior? Is it better? I will explore how anarchy is not better than even our poor forms of government and political communication and discourse.

Yarborough (1995) highlighted important and relevant facts of this argument in Henry David Thoreau's inciting essay "Resistance to Civil Government." Thoreau's emotional manifesto demanding alternative courses of action to government appealed to many because of its nonviolent nature and its anti-slavery stance. The author discredited Thoreau as he proclaimed his words as not having contextual basis for today's world, and I tend to agree. It is easy for one to be critical of slavery after the fact of its benefits to one's stance in life. I agree with Rand in this case where domination over fellow humans provides a certain gamesmanship to the backgrounds of our lives. Compromising on political issues such as slavery, or in today's world of globalization and anti-capitalistic stature, are not always artistically or emotionally pleasing, almost in all cases will reveal the truth of a political issue, and therefore demanding more respect for its words to learning and understanding these specific ways of academic investigation.

Epstein (2001) injected interesting comments about this discussion as she conflated the radical traditional liberal viewpoints with anarchy in general. She is right in some ways by equating the major radical political stance of today's world in an anti-global, anti-corporate types where communal and individual freedoms are respected. The World Trade Organization is not a fine example of a successful or moral or even ethical or political organization, and Epstein's anger is somewhat justified when she desperately clings to the anarchic viewpoint as a solution to these problems. Anarchy is not the solution to the coercion and detrimental treatment by organizations such as the WTO and World Bank, creating a positive example, a positive control system where individual freedoms in the microcosmic sense are completely and utterly aligned with the macrocosmic sense.

Wolf (1970) presented the most reasonable, yet still invalid, argument for the inclusion of anarchy as an acceptable form of political discourse. Wolf defined politics as "the exercise of the power of the state, or the attempt to influence the exercise." He further defined the state as "a group of persons who have and exercise supreme authority within a given territory or over a certain population." Authority and the right to command over someone else stands opposed to the individual autonomy and, as Wolf proclaimed abstract thoughts from our ideal human conquests. While these comments are inspiring, they are also inadequate. Supreme authority resonates like a dogmatic phrase. I do not believe anyone actually believes their own supreme authority and this argument is therefore based upon a false premise. Furthermore, influence is much too relative of a concept to adequately include into any suitable or practical definition.

Anarchy is not the right answer, history has taught us this in Spain, pre and post-revolutionary times in almost all countries, and even today. It is my understanding that today's political structure is very much based upon anarchy and is therefore invalid. There is no order in today's world where justice and fairness are often, if not mostly ignored by those we have chosen to lead us into our ultimate destination. Wolf's classic dialectic of authority vs. autonomy is nothing new and does not create a new practical way of dealing with the political problems of today. Self-realization and self-consciousness appears to be more productive in these types of situations.

Political power is imagined and not real, and it is only imposed upon one because those who choose to impose it upon themselves desire it and need it. Anarchy does not escape this problem. Anarchy still does not solve the age-old problem of authority and the economy that is at the heart of all of these political discussions. Finding your own true path and not relying on other systems for so much of your development seems to be a better approach to this unfortunate issue of society's problems. Anarchy merely misplaces the individual duty to act responsibly onto a system that is not entirely real. The illusion of government control and political power is strong and needs to be addressed in this discussion as well.

As Wolf interjected Rousseau's "Social Contract" into his writing, it becomes evident that his pleas for anarchy are merely a call for another form of authority. Escaping authority in my opinion, can only be done when one becomes an authority and releases the potential in those close and near to the heart. Wolf relied on chance and probabilities to summarize his argument succinctly. I disagree with this approach . Ignoring what humanity is potentially capable of and placing these concepts in the hands of blind faith and choice describes a desperate and hopeless situation, not an inspiring and optimistic outlook. Majority ruling over the minority seems to be removed from any type of anarchical political system, but this is not true. Majority and minorities are not relevant to the argument when discussing and identifying individual and relative problems, the source of all political discourse.


To me, it is quite obvious that anarchy does not resolve many problems our society faces today. It is politically infeasible and stands as pessimistically-based jargon. Individual freedom and the economy are very important however, so important that no such political or social construct does adequate justice to the term. The problem truly lies in the social and political ideas of the community in themselves and the unsolvable nature of human existence. The paradoxical understanding of the situations helps bring about relevant and useful solutions to modern problems that seem otherwise unsolvable with our current tools and approaches.

History has also taught us that anarchy does not work. Today, anarchy in the form of democracy has failed in many ways completing a cycle of failed civilizations that is most likely inescapable. Conscious effort to develop new and relevant techniques of exploring empathetic behavior towards one another will contribute more to solving these problems that political systems that have failed at in the past. Individual reliance upon skills and knowledge is what is most important. Relying upon others to decide what's best for the individual does not serve the individual or society appropriately. This attitude is often hard to maintain due to the human nature of inclusion and acceptance. Breaking free of this weakness will help those to explore and ultimately reach new levels of understanding and potential that could help eradicate ignorance and allow for sustainable and profitable means of existence for up-and-coming generations and for all those in the future.

Works Cited

Epstein, Barbara 2001. "Anarchism and the Anti-Globalization Movement." Monthly Review,104, 1-6.

Grossman Herschel I., Minsong, Kim and Mendoza, Juan 2000. " Decisivenness and the Viability of Anarchy."

Herbst, Jeffery, 2001. "Let Them Fail: State Failure in Theory and Practice."


Marshall, Peter H. 1991. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. New York: Harper Collins.

Rand, Ayn 1963. "The Nature of Government." The Virtue of Selfishness USA: Penguin.

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_the_nature_of_gov ment.

Watner, Carl 2010. "Civil Disobedience: An Overview of Nonviolent Resistance." Strike the Root. Accessed April, 18, 2011. http://www.strike-the-root.com/cd.html

Wolf, Robert P. 1970. In Defense of Anarchism. University of California Press.

Yarborough, Wynn 1995. " Readings of Thoreau's 'Resistance to Civil Government.'" American Trancendentalism Web. Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/authors/thoreau/critonrcg.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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