Philosophically, the anarchist view of government is that which is presented as a false dilemma. The logic goes as thus:
- Force is Evil
- Government Uses Force
- Therefore, All Governments Are Evil
- Thus, There Should Be No Government
This is a pure and very simple philosophical standing that gives the anarchist thinker this logical leg to stand on. Historically, governments have often been the initiators of force, or totalitarian in some way. The Anarchist has this proof in history and it is undeniable in terms of reality, especially in today’s world. The truth is: the initiation of force is an evil. This is a true statement regarding the logic used.
It is also true that governments use force. They have a long history of initiating force and violating the rights of individuals. This is also historically accurate. Even within the United States the amount of rights violations by the U.S. Government almost feels infinite. Add upon that the rest of the world’s governments currently and historically and the amount of rights violations is the main trend among all governments.
This leads to the idea that all governments are evil, by the nature of a government. If history is accurate and since reality shows us this is true, it is not a leap at all to see that the existence of government is evil. It has created a wide swath of death, mayhem, and destruction on almost every level. It has brutalized billions in the name of some self-righteous justification, whether that is religion, money, or race. These violations and use of force are more than enough evidence to show that the existence of government at any point anywhere is an evil, and thus government should not exist and that people can govern themselves peacefully.
However, the Anarchist’s point of view is that of a false dilemma. It offers up not only black-and-white thinking, but also a false choice. The main reasons are these:
- Since government is an institution, and not a living entity, it has no specific nature morally. It is as moral as what is put into it, i.e. the foundation, the leaders, and the people. Anarchists view government has only an initiate of force and not as the other various roles that it plays within a society, such as an objective mediator, the controllers of retaliatory force to protect citizens, and the law to create a standard for judgments to be made. Whether or not a government initiate force does play a role in its moral standing, but a government can also be delimited to where it has no such ability. The practical means in a constitution, the means to implement such changes are philosophical.
- There are various ways to delimit government power and abuse through peaceful means and through intellectual means while maintaining order among society which allows that society to grow and expand. Civilization grew thanks to a order and the construction of laws and rights. Foragers, who are the real anarchists, existed peacefully, but only in small bands or groups. Just as communism fails on a mass scale because it was meant for smaller forms of societies, anarchism fails as well for the exact same reasons: Reality cannot bend to your desires for human nature. Civilization grows when order is established and men understand the standards. It cripples itself when it descends to anything less than order.
- There are also different types of force and there is a failure among anarchists to identity this fact. To many, the fact that any force exists at all is evil and, therefore, are drawn to pacifism. Some seem to indicate they see retaliatory force, but that it should be put in the hands of several different competing agencies of who has possession of that force (thus putting people in a position where the initiation of force is more possible through viable threats from other agencies who are not all, at once, bound to the same ideas). However, there is a coercive force and retaliatory force among human relations. The former is the evil in which someone or some institution will initiate force against you for no reason whatsoever; the latter is the use of force to retaliate against your initiation of force through threats, fraud, violence, etc.
The false dilemma anarchists give us is that government is evil, force is evil, and there is no other choice; it is either government and no freedom, or anarchy and abundance of freedom. Yet this is entirely untrue, even historically. The United States has had its period of having a government and having an abundance of freedom which enabled it to prosper more than any other nation in existence. Whether or not it is any longer is a different discussion, but such false dilemmas tend to ignore history. Because something does one thing, does not mean that it does it naturally. Because the United States ran away from freedom does not mean that government is evil. It is one thing to argue for Anarchism on the grounds that you simply believe people can govern without government. It’s another when you create a situation where the ideas are not bound to reality.
This problem not only plagues Anarchists, but it also plagued Communists. Reality suggests that both systems work on small scales, but when there is a mixture of ideas, beliefs, and philosophies on the scale of millions upon millions, the systems either work through coercion (such as communism or socialism has existed in practice), or through unyielding chaos (as it has been when anarchy or lawlessness has existed). Because you attach a idea in front or behind of a system’s name does not make it any more right or practical. It means that you cannot escape the reality that your political system requires a system to make it function.
Am I saying that Anarchism cannot work? No. What I am saying is that Anarchism is a floating abstraction (such as Communism was). There is some indication that in smaller tribes these forms of governance function, but in terms of civilization, they remain unfounded.