I’m still not an anarchist, but I’m still finding the literature interesting. Even outside of the extreme anti-statist stuff, it’s giving me things to think about with regard to democracy, capitalism, and the class structure of society.
Most people aren’t anarchists. Most people reckon there are worthwhile benefits to having a system of elected government representatives taking care of some things.
There’s plenty of disagreement about the role government should play, and the extent to which it should intrude on ordinary citizen’s lives. But at times some people’s ideas of what government is for get completely out of control, beyond anything that can be justified even by non-anarchists.
For example, from a news story about a town in Arkansas:
The City Council adopted an ordinance last week making it illegal to form any kind of group without its permission.
Yep. This is the kind of thing politicians start thinking they can do once you let them take charge. Just start telling everyone else that they’re not allowed to form groups for any reason.
In particular, they passed an ordinance (and overruled the mayor’s veto) which got rid of the existing Citizens Advisory Council in the town. The most damning thing to be said against the advisory council quoted in the article is that it had been “causing confusion and discourse among the citizens”.
So the few in charge decided that the people couldn’t be trusted with discourse, and outlawed the founding of any new organisations “without approval from a majority of the City Council”.
It’s really important that, if we’re going to have elected officials in roles where they get to make executive decisions that affect people’s lives, we don’t forget why they’re there, and why we put up with them making any decisions on our behalf. To think that laying down this kind of fascist and dictatorial rule, seemingly crushing people’s freedoms for the sake of maintaining their own authority, is even close to what the elected officials we deign to tolerate are for, is to have a colossally misguided mindset about the nature of government.