Before I grew up, I was an anarchist.
And then I grew up and wasn’t an anarchist anymore.
I became a dirtbag conservative centrist instead.
Anarchism – What is it?
For those that aren’t familiar, Anarchism is a philosophy that claims governments have no legitimate right to exist. Anarchists believe that hierarchies are unnatural and oppressive.
They claim that to abolish all forms of discrimination and hardships, we need to eliminate top-down structures. We need to institute co-ops in the workplace and communes in our communities.
Doing this will allow everyone to make their own decisions and live their lives without external intervention.
Though anarchists are typically thought to be window-smashing, graffiti-spraying arsonists, they don’t actually believe in violence.
No, anarchism is a genuine philosophy in the same manner that fascism, socialism, and democracy are legitimate schools of thought.
The question, of course, is “are these philosophies objectively doable?” Do they comport with reality?
Are human beings capable of living in a society without a hierarchy?
I’ll save you the suspense: The answer is no, absolutely not.
Anarchism, like socialism and democracy, is a fuzzy-wuzzy idea. It’s a dream for idealists and nothing more.
Something I’ve learned, since leaving college and working real jobs, is that in workplaces and social circles, some people are simply more assertive and dominant.
In turn, most are simply more submissive. They’re more comfortable being a follower.
I, myself, have found that I’m a follower. And that’s totally okay.
Importance of Following
I don’t see being a follower as an inferiority or a weakness. A big part of growing up and gaining confidence is knowing who you are and what role you’re meant to play in the grand scheme of things.
Whether you’re a follower or leader, society has an equal need for someone like you.
A machine cannot operate unless all of its cogs are in the right places.
Followers in the Animal Kingdom
The leader/follower dynamic exists across species, such as apes and wolves. It’s ironic how we point to the so-called “pack mentality” among wolves when preaching the importance of looking out for others.
Why, you ask? Because wolf packs are extremely cutthroat and individualistic.
When the pack finds a dead animal, guess who gets dibs on the meat? Yup, the Alpha!
If all the wolves were Alphas, there would be constant discord and infighting. Ultimately, the pack would not survive.
Strength in Weakness
Being weak in the hierarchy isn’t a weakness in itself. It means you have a different role that society needs you to play. It’s your way of providing balance to the scales of civilization.
Anarchism in Practice? Try as You May…
Back to humankind. Let’s discuss the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, or (its eventual moniker) the Capital Hill Organized Protest. (they actually surrendered half of their territory to the City in exchange for concrete road barriers, go figure).
Let’s go, CHOP, CHOP
CHOP was a piece of the city that was taken over by anarchists. They attempted to turn it into a worker’s commune straight from the writings of Karl Marx and Piotr Kropotkin.
They sought to fertilize their own farmland and produce crops to feed their community. Because of the limited land space, they had to ration everything they grew when they started distributing.
Thing is, there needs to be a form of authority to dictate the amount that everyone gets (majority vote or otherwise). But what if I’m a bodybuilder and want more carbs?
What if I’m a fat sack of crap and want to stay that way? Hey! It’s my right to be a glutton! You don’t get to dicate how I live!
Therein lies the problem.
Anarchists claim to be for freedom, liberty, and abolishing the concept of power, but society needs a degree of centralized power in order to keep the proverbial ship afloat. Otherwise, there will be, dare I say it? Anarchy.
Futility of Anarchism
Some people are naturally stronger mentally and physically, making them more suited for leadership roles.
If you were to abolish the titles they get through military force or democratic elections, congratulations! These people will still rise to power through unofficial means!
Why? Because most people have the intrinsic need to be led. Most people have no interest in holding an equal stake in the workplace or politics, as some do.
That’s just the way it is. Anarchism is a pipe dream that ignores the human condition.
More on CHOP
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and President Trump both played good cop/bad cop with the group of radicals. The Mayor said the Zone/Protest was as dangerous as a “block party” (which it probably was) and the President threatened them with Military action.
It’s possible Trump was only using his bark to force the anarchists to capitulate. Whatever the case may be, every side wanted to minimize the loss of life while using the least amount of resources necessary.
I mean, not a single shot was fired when they surrendered half of their occupied territory! They started calling themselves the “Organized Protest.”
Whatever happened to “Autonomous Zone?”
Not so edgy anymore, eh?
Put Power Where it Belongs
Our society doesn’t have to be 100% equal in terms of political/economic power among the populace. In fact, it can’t be 100% equal. Most people are simply apathetic and concerned with themselves only.
We don’t need to be as strong as the leaders near our home or the ones in our Nation’s capital.
In fact, it’s likely we can’t be as strong or influential as they are. Our deeply-rooted personalities would prevent us from becoming a leader in the first place. Some of us aren’t meant to be in power or gain authority.
And that’s okay.
UPDATE: The Zone has been cleared out by the Seattle Police Department after a reported murder. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-police-clearing-chop-protest-zone/
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