Are You Confused by the Word "Anarchy"?

in #anarchy2 years ago

A lot of people are confused by the words anarchy and anarchism. From “without Archons” it literally means without rulers. Some think it means “without rules” which is not the case. Rules can be implemented in many ways and still have no rulers. For example, smart contracts can be voluntarily agreed to which enforce payments, proposal approvals, custodian selection, and more. One of the reasons people substitute the word “voluntaryism” for anarchy is because of this confusion and because it highlights the key principle (the non-aggression principle or NAP) which separates being ruled by a ruler vs. owning yourself and the consequences of your actions. All human interactions should be voluntary and you can not delegate a right to someone else which you yourself do not have.

The “should” here assumes a commonly shared goal of increasing human well-being. There are nuances to this and requirements for long-term, adult rational thinking. Children, for example, might be okay with actions that eventually destroy their home if it makes them feel good in the moment. Adults, in contrast, consider their long-term well-being which includes protecting the environment they live in. This is just one example for illustration.

To understand these principles does not require utopian thinking. They are also not in conflict with what some call “human nature” (a purposefully vague term). Some humans can act a bit destructive, narcissistic, and sociopathic. That’s why social structures based on anarchy are so important. Removing a system of rulership means removing the opportunity for these bad actors to violently dominate others (as they do now in the current system which celebrates being ruled).

My comments above were inspired by @larkenrose's facebook post recently, which I reshared:

Anarchism means...

I don't want ANYONE dominating and controlling me.

I don't respect ANY supposed "authority" above my own conscience.

I don't want to rule you, and I don't want you to rule me.

I am personally responsible for my own actions; I don't pretend that obeying someone else absolves me from responsibility.

I realize that at the end of the day, I have to use MY OWN judgment and conscience to determine what is right.

Is it therefore hysterically ironic when statists--people who WANT to be subjugated and controlled by someone else--try to paint anarchism as a "cult." Anarchism is literally the exact OPPOSITE of a cult.

Luke Stokes is a father, husband, programmer, STEEM witness, DAC launcher, consultant, and voluntaryist who wants to help create a world we all want to live in. Learn about cryptocurrency at

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anarchy means growing up

Means means what I mean :)

Rule by fore is the disease, who and how are symptoms.

No confusion here, my friend. I could really go without a "Big Brother" regulating my activities. That was the only thing that brought down our happiness while homeless. The prospect that any given moment, the "fuzz" would show up to give us tickets, kick our asses, and put us behind bars for merely trying to survive by sleeping in a desert inhabited by snakes and scorpions. Thanks for having the "cajones" for touching up on the subject. Upvoted with my pissant vote that is worth less than a cent and resteemed!

In political philosophy, there is a theory called `social contract` which clearly explains why total anarchism will never function as a basis for human advancement.

Are you forgetting that we are "educated" to be dependent on "Big Brother", aka, the Industrial/Military Complex, aka, the "System"? (systema=sewer) That is why your aforementioned "social contract" theory seems to hold water. Imagine if we weren't educated by authorities who want ignorant, retard slaves who are woefully dependent on "dad" for everything? That is why our "education" system must be the first thing to go. School actually prevented me from learning. I regret everyday of it and wish I had dropped out in the 4th Grade like Jacque Fresco, who is easily one of the top 5 smartest humans ever.

"authorities who want ignorant" this is true. Here is a bonus for you if you love George Carlin.


Thanks, George Carlin was most certainly "woke" to the current human condition. Though, sometimes I am not sure if he was awake because he was smart, or "awake" because he is "one of them" and he was merely fulfilling his role for his powerful brotherhood. If you don't know what I mean, there was a good reason the Court Jesters of old could say whatever they wanted about the Crown but, peasantry could not. ;) Much love all around!!!

I've never understood why people think social contract theory makes any sense. It's not a contract at all so the very name is misleading. From wikipedia:

According to the will theory of contract, a contract is not presumed valid unless all parties voluntarily agree to it, either tacitly or explicitly, without coercion. Lysander Spooner, a 19th-century lawyer and staunch supporter of a right of contract between individuals, argued in his essay No Treason that a supposed social contract cannot be used to justify governmental actions such as taxation because government will initiate force against anyone who does not wish to enter into such a contract. As a result, he maintains that such an agreement is not voluntary and therefore cannot be considered a legitimate contract at all.

The belief in authority is a myth.

I think the answer to your question is quite simple, Hans Morgenthau describes it as “the animus dominandi, a lust for power without limits that exists universally as an inner force, an element of the human soul”. John Mearsheimer tried to explain why there are conflicts in international relations by focusing on the structure/architecture (Structural Realism) of it, that there is no higher power that can police the world (theoretically speaking), hence all countries are in a constant fear that other countries may attack them at any given time (The main reason why the League of Nations was a failure). I think Thomas Hobbes describes it very well when he speaks about the stats of nature, and I quote:

Hobbes argued that natural inequalities between humans are not so great as to give anyone clear superiority; and thus all must live in constant fear of loss or violence; so that "during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called warre; and such a warre as is of every man against every man". In this state, every person has a natural right to do anything one thinks necessary for preserving one's own life, and life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Within the state of nature, there is neither personal property nor injustice since there is no law, except for certain natural precepts discovered by reason ("laws of nature"): the first of which is "that every man ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it"; and the second is "that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth as for peace and defense of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself" . From here, Hobbes develops the way out of the state of nature into political society and government by mutual contracts.   I invite to watch this video of John Mearsheimer speaking about Realism and anarchic system.  

The Peace of Westphalia and all the wars that lead to it is one of the great examples why the social contract is an important thing since people must learn to cohabit (different religions, different needs ...), and cohabitation can't happen if there are no contracts between people to sustain peace and safety.

The Peace of Westphalia established the precedent of peace established by diplomatic congress. A new system of political order arose in central Europe, based upon peaceful coexistence among sovereign states. Inter-state aggression was to be held in check by a balance of power, and a norm was established against interference in another state's domestic affairs. As European influence spread across the globe, these Westphalian principles, especially the concept of sovereign states, became central to international law and to the prevailing world order.

I think that nor total anarchism or control is something to be proud of. But if I had to choose, I will probably choose the social contract approach. Because at least, people will have the power (theoretically) to alter the nature of the contract by voting on the ideas they deem favorable for them or even make the system they are living under less authoritarian. Anarchic systems open doors to the "state of nature" Hobbes and Hans spoke about, which will eventually lead to a primitive form of conflicts that will naturally arise because of human nature.

I invite you to watch this video of John Mearsheimer speaking about Realism and anarchic systems. He explains the concept better than me.

At the end of the day, I feel it’s more like choosing the lesser of two evils. Far from being a belief.

Social contract is meaningless and up to the dictates of authorities if you cant govern and choose yourself.

I see a couple assumptions here:

cohabitation can't happen if there are no contracts between people to sustain peace and safety.

Depending on where people are on Maslow's Hierarchy, I think they can live together. I do agree that contracts actually help people do that better. I do not think the social "contract" is a contract, for the reasons I outlined above. I prefer actual, voluntary contracts.

that will naturally arise because of human nature.

This is a big assumption I see often. People take their personal experience of the dataset they prefer and project it into something vague and collective known as "human nature." What if I perceive human nature as wanting to meet the needs of others as NVC describes? What if humans are actually good to each other and only a select few (who we keep giving authoritarian power to) want to harm others?

All that said, I did very much appreciate the video. Thanks for sharing. I think fear and other negative modes of emotional thinking drive a lot of this and as humans have less to fear from each other, these drives and concerns go away related to power and domination. Previous systems rewarded the powerful. There is no guarantee the systems of the future will do the same.

To be more precise, autarchism is more consistent as it means "self-rule" rather than "no rulers" based on the Greek prefix. You control and own yourself.


Greek: prefix; no, absence of, without, lack of; not


(Greek: ἄρχων, romanized: árchōn, plural: ἄρχοντες, árchontes) is a Greek word that means "ruler", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem αρχ-, meaning "to be first, to rule".

Seems like without rulers to me.

Self-rule is maybe implied within the non-aggression principle and the philosophy of liberty.

ruler /ˈruːlə/ a person exercising government or dominion source

The group cannot exist without social rules. Wolfs, lions, and humans live governed by rules. Even flocks of birds and fish are governed by rules.

Where the rules come from? If not the King, democratic majority? Even Socrates 24 centuries ago had a negative opinion on democracy. Take US democracy. US citizen can choose a person to be the next president as long as (s)he's one of the two pre-chosen people in the country...
Steem whales? Who has money, has power? But no, no rulers.

But whoever sets the rules and executes them is seen as a ruler by those who disagree. But who sets the rules and how, such that everybody is happy?

Or at least - how to make rules without a ruler?

(says hotbit still confused what anarchy is)

Rules can be set in any number of ways, including voluntary blockchain protocols. DACs can play a role as well (see ). They key being that the participants voluntarily agree to the rules they themselves participate in creating. Via smart contract bonds, etc, they can lock of value to ensure the rules are followed or when not followed, other participants are made whole.

Blockchain-based solution?

  • Initial ruler chooses voting rules
  • Influencers push the public to vote solutions they desire or they are paid to market (like US democracy being a democracy)
  • Will electronic chips under the skin of each participant be implanted to ensure each one has one voice only?
  • rules or law will not be enforced; (say you live in a village and travel to another village 150 miles away; due to human nature, if any problem occurs, in 99% cases you will be found guilty by their local authority)

I don't think anarchy is any better in general. See tribes in Amazonia, some remnants of state-less regions. They murder members of other tribes without blinking an eye. Another remnant, Zomia. While partly forced by China, they themselves want to join the state, and live easier lives within advanced civilization.

I don't think stateless countries can exist in the XXI century, as civilization advances. There are simply too many people on Earth and density plays a vital role. Systems undergo self-organization and states win against stateless regions.

Law enforcement example in the state-less society.

This is what law enforcement looks like in a voluntary society:

You can also check out Detroit Threat Management:

I agree density is a problem, but I don't agree "human nature" demands only one approach. Often that term is just a catch all for an individual's lived experiences. If the be good, it be good. If they be bad, it be bad. We can build hyper-local systems which take into account density.

Comparing primitive cultures low on Maslow's Hierarchy without technology isn't a fair comparison.

Calling someone who sets up the initial rules a "ruler" isn't accurate. In a DAC, the rules can be changed at any time by the elected custodians. The initial rule set (the constitution) defines the community. This is open source, so anyone can create a different community if they want to change the rules but can't get support of the community that actually likes the rules as they are.

Enforcement can be done with code and smart contracts, not guns and violence. That's the key which changes everything.

 2 years ago Reveal Comment