Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anarchism For Beginners

Anarchism is probably the most misunderstood of all philosophical ideas, among those related to law and politics anyway.

The worst misconception is that anarchy is disorder and anarchism is the love of chaos. People who are slightly more clued think anarchism is believing that there should be no rules or laws. Strictly, anarchism has to do with the belief that people should live free of government coercion. Of course, the most direct route to no government coercion is the elimination of government.

As Jacques Ellul writes, the virtue of anarchism lies not in the absence of law but in persons having no power over one another.

Other things many people don’t know about anarchism is that it played a major role in both the abolition of slavery in the US and the Spanish civil war. There is also a much longer and richer tradition of Christian anarchism than a lot of American right-wing Christians would like to admit.

For me, the attraction of anarchism is not so much that rules or laws are bad as that people should not have rules and laws forced upon them.

Check out these Wikidedia articles and other links.




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