Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The problem of power

The fundamental issue with government is power. That is, some people have it, and they use this power to dictate unto others who do not have power. Government codifies this and turns the whole process of meeting common needs into an adversarial process of "us" vs. "them", where "us" is the group currently possessing more power, and "them" is the group currently possessing less power. Truth, justice, and the common good become lost in the fray. It becomes survival of the most powerful, by any means, without any consideration of what is best for America and Americans.

One solution that has been proposed is to abolish government altogether -- anarchism. There are two main branches of anarchism. Left-anarchists believe that private property itself is the basis of power, and simply eliminating government is not enough to deal with the problem of power, private property must also be abolished. Right-anarchists(called "capito-anarchists" by the left-anarchists and "radical Libertarians" by most others) believe that private property is a fundamental right of human beings and thus cannot be abolished, but, rather, would be regulated by the fact that the majority of people would be well armed and thus capable of eliminating via "lead poisoning" those who would use the power granted by their property to rule over other people.

And both are wrong, because both forget the one and only method by which power is enforced: Violence.

Chairman Mao once stated that "power grows from the barrel of a gun". In that much, he was correct. The reason wealthy people have more power than poor people is not because of money, which, after all, is only toilet paper with funny drawings on it. Rather, the reason wealthy people have more power than poor people is because of the guns they can buy with that money. Especially, in our current United States of America, the guns of the government, which allows them to, e.g., have a government grant of limited liability when they form businesses, suppress competition using government power, etc., all enforced at gunpoint by government goons.

But what he did not state, because it would have been self-evident to him, is that the power growing from the barrel of a gun only works if you are willing to use the gun. Most people are horrified by violence and killing. There are, however, those who are physically more powerful, or who are more aggressive, or more ready to kill or harm others. The latter, people who enjoy killing and harming other people, we call "sociopaths". Eliminating the only currently-known external controls upon these people -- government -- therefore does not eliminate the problem of power. It simply means that those who are not horrified by violence and killing, i.e., sociopaths, will be those who have power. You are, in effect, moving the power from the unelected elites who currently control the majority of the goons, to the goons themselves.

And the results are not likely to be good.

Take East L.A... please. This is basically a lawless area. The only "law" is the street gangs. Ordinary people, rather than coming together and taking out the gangsters, instead huddle in fear within their homes. This is because for most people, violence is nerve-shattering. The very thought of violence makes them start trembling. This isn't a matter of cowardice or not. This is a matter of basic personality makeup. Most people are not sociopaths. They like other people. They like helping other people. The thought of hurting other people makes them physically ill. They could do it if properly conditioned (such as, say, by the military) or if necessary in the heat of the moment to protect their children or spouse from harm, but when it comes to violence, they are not going to be the ones to instigate the violence.

The result is that when there is no government, no rule of law, sociopaths who like violence rule over them. That, in the end, is why anarchy as a viable system of (non) government cannot exist. As with the anarchist syndics of pre-Franco Spain, the (non) system cannot survive the advent of evil people willing to do anything for power. Franco's fascist goons destroyed the anarchist syndics and the fledgling true democracy that they had established (true democracy = system where all the members, not just a priviliged elite, make decisions for the community). The same has happened to all other attempts to create an anarchist utopia. By disregarding the fundamental fact that there are evil people on this planet, anarchy fails.

So if our government as currently existing is evil, and if no government would be equally evil, what next? That, I'm afraid, is a topic for another posting...

-- Badtux the non-anarchist Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 1/09/2006 10:12:00 AM  


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