James on Anarchy

Cross-cultural chatter at BJOL

.

Nathan brought up the question of anarchy.  (Red Robin, my second-fave comic book character, by the way.)

...............

It's interesting; James freely mixes his website's material, 80/20 or 90/10, with most of it on baseball but some decent fraction of it on life and philosophy in general.  It mixes amazingly well.  

John Wooden, they say, would do that, spend 10% or 20% of his time speaking about life in general.  James keeps it to about 10% or 20%; he keeps it fair; he keeps it surgically-cool, and the result is that your grasp of baseball acquires a 3rd (or 4th?) dimension.

I forget where the below came from, though.  Maybe it came out of the discussion of NBA teams changing cities, and what the right checks-and-balances (the right government!) would be for the situation.

.

 

Anarchy is a tough one. I thought about it for a long time. I won't convince you. You'll convince yourself, or you won't.

 

During the 20th Century 170 million people were killed by they're own government and 231 million were killed during wars. During our time the number killed during the Vietnam War was 4 to 6 million. For what?

 

If you approve of the American Empire, you approve torture, imprisonment without trial, killing without trial and now Americans are getting the same benefits. The mass slaughter of civilians is also OK. The President has a weekly kill list and he can make war, whenever. I think those things are evil. I wonder about people who believe in the Christian value system. No killing. No stealing etc. Yet if we get a group of men together and call it a government, all bets are off, all the bad stuff is allowed. Why?

 

I don't believe that I have the right to tell anyone else how to live. If you don't harm me, do as you will. Its how I chose to live.

Asked by: mauimike

Answered: 1/16/2013

 

 

That no one has the right to tell you how to live your life is central to my philosophy, and I'm entirely with you.    I also agree with you that, over history, governments have done a great deal more harm than good, and that, over the next 500 years, it is likely that they will continue to do a great deal more harm than good.   Governments throughout history have killed more people than murderers.   Giving governments more power and expecting them to use their power wisely is like wandering around handing out handguns to random strangers, expecting them to use them wisely.  

 

That you focus this on the 20th century and on the American government is, in my opinion, a manifestation of your own myopia and self-loathing, and not really relevant to the discussion. 

 

The entire center of your paragraph, in my view, is just a lot of mindless, undisciplined ranting.  There IS no "American empire"; any child can see the differences between American foreign policy and the empires of Rome or Britain, or any other "empire".  The number of people killed in Vietnam was 1.5 to 2 million, not 4 to 6, and some number of those were killed before America got involved.    No modern democracy approves of the mass slaughter of civilians as an instrument of war, although this practice WAS widely accepted throughout history up until the mid-20th century. 

 

There were. .what, 14 billion people who lived during the 20th century?   Something like that.    History is very large.   When you aggregate the crimes of history, exaggerate them and and charge them to a single entity, whether you call that entity "government" or "religion" or "aggression" or "selfishness" or "sin", obviously there are a great many offenses to be answered for.   This is not instructive. 

 

The real problem is not that government is evil, but that aggressive, selfish and sinful PEOPLE use governments to do wrong.    Without government there would still be aggressive, selfish and sinful people, and they would still do wrong.   You could still aggregate their wrongs to make a very large number.  Governments form as a natural and necessary social process that has existed throughout recorded history and long before recorded history.    Trying to wish them out of existence is like trying to wish there would be wasps, no vipers and no poisons.   The realistic goal is not that government can be eliminated, but that it can be disciplined and contained.  

.

.

 
That'll do for us too.  
 
I think I could prove that the 3rd-worst government possible is Democracy, and that tied for 2nd-worst are all the other governments.  Worst would be no government at all -- anarchy.
 
You don't believe that, move to some area of Los Angeles in which you are assured that you will receive no government response -- to injury or crime -- for at least 60 minutes.
 
Imagine -- imagine! -- living in a gangbanged area on a continent possessing no government in any form (and how much of the continent would be gang'ed up?).  
 
You're only an anarchist if you haven't seriously thought it through.  Guys talk about wanting total "freedom" with no authority and then the first time somebody hoses them, they're calling for the cops or lawyers or, in some extreme circumstances, even the blog moderators.
 
Funny how an anarchy blog will have its comments section authoritatively censored :- )
.
.
Klat Categories: 

Comments

and a good point.

Funny my comment about military aggression in the Felix post almost seems more at home here. Anarchy sounded great when I was a teenager, but what did I know then? I think that's about the limit for most people is thinking the world should run the way they feel inside. Anarchy is a very teenaged idea in my opinion.

I don't think any form of government has yet proven superiority. There are cases to be made for and against all that I know of. I'm willing to hear any too. Maybe we should have some form of government run by something other than humans so that flaws won't tend to be so inherent...

If Red Robin is your second favorite who's your first? My top 2 are Jessie Custer of "Preacher" (the title the author, Garth Ennis, started after the successful story arc of "Hellblazer" that he wrote. This all long before they butchered the story for the "Constantine" film, but he wrote the original) and Spider Jerusalem of "Transmetropolitan".

1

ghost's picture

ghost

America may be possessing of many faults, but this form of republican democracy has, IMHO, proven to be far superior to a number of other governmental structures - not the least of which include theocracies (think countries run by Sharia Law), Communism (which killed more people than all western nations combined), socialism (which is now proving to be completely unsustainable in Europe), and the monarchy. I think the human experimentalist has demonstrated that America's biggest faults are with centralized control (Japanese Internment Camps, unsustainable debts, wars without declaration, etc), and not with the initial conception of said government.

Just my 0.02

2

For and against all of those including democracy. Keep in kind this is not the only democracy, Richard III was not the only king. Communism has no actual possibility of implementation by one definition and by another is much more socialism than anything else so its not a very clear government type. Islam was a successful theocracy for much longer than democracy has even existed and there are many other examples, just none that are successful presently.

3

ghost's picture

ghost

And yes...the US is the only government of its kind that exists today or has ever existed.

Democracy is another form of government to which the US has proven itself superior by the weights of history. There have, of course, been good kings. The existence of successful kingships is irrelevant to the question of whether that form of government works. It does not work because all it takes is one bad king to ruin a country and the people have little to no recourse. State-run communism is a monolithic disaster that a singularly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions, and local communism is not a government, and not relevant to the discussion. Socialism is burning all over the world today and has never actually worked (in the sense of providing long-term sustainable economy) whenever it's been tried. And the Islamic regime was "successful" in that things got done to an extent and human accomplishments from within were impressive, but be careful with words like "successful"...if you were dropped into that Islamic state...you would find it horrific and repressive, and you would not have the sorts of human rights that we now deem prerequisites for a successful nation. Even while it was flourishing, the Islamic world was crumbling under the natural drives of people toward desiring freedom.

4

Nathan H's picture

Nathan H

Not opposed to the idea that anarchy is ultimately a dead-end, but the argument that "government is inevitable so why bother?" doesn't sway me. If you've ever waited at a bus stop with a group of people, you've participated in anarchy. No one told you where to stand, who gets on the bus first, etc.

Do people need a medium for dispute resolution? Emphatically yes. But can this come from the free market as opposed to coming from a government? I think I may not have a light bulb on here that many others do. What might I be missing here? Thanks!

5

let me see if i have the cycles to talk about it today... maybe

i'll do terse bullet points instead of paragraphs

* i more or less agree with james' response also

* one exception being that i think it makes sense to talk about america as an empire, with the stipulation that it's obviously a modern, art deco empire with quite a few differences in technique from the old school empires, which are no doubt mostly improvements; still does not mean there is nothing to talk about, no further changes to be made, wrongs to be righted, etc. as we go on forward. we have not yet perfected the thing, life; perhaps one day

* i find it interesting to dwell on the word anarchy as just being the opposite of hierarchy

* i was in occupy and it burned me out on pure anarchism. you just can't get anything done. people tend to follow leaders because they know instinctively that cooperation is powerful and in order to harness that power actions need to be coordinated and coherent.

* i'm still sympathetic to the concept and aims of anarchy and think there is plenty to be learned from the impulse and concept, even if we don't Commit Ourselves to the Purity

* i'm from los angeles and i think it's worth considering that gangs are not necessarily the natural state of ungoverned humanity, or don't have to be. perhaps they are! but at least in LA, there are a lot of other variables going into that - the existence of a black market due to drug prohibition, racial segregation and its after-effects. gangs are the most visible thing about south central to the outside world, but if you actually go there and walk down the street, you can meet a lot of very nice people and possibly even purchase and eat a delicious hamburger. if those people and hamburgers were better connected, with each other and with the rest of the city, i think they could become empowered and make great changes for the good in those areas. (i'm not necessarily saying anarchism or anything related to it is the thing needed to accomplish this.)

* i'm really one of those idiots who is always saying that the best form of government would probably be an enlightened monarchy / dictatorship run by a Truly Good Person with the fatal flaw there being that there is no known effective method for guaranteeing that the Person you are getting is Truly Good and so over the long run (and probably not so long) your stalins will inevitably worm their way into the chair and fire up the gulags

* i still don't know what the answer is, maybe there isn't one

* i like lizards

6

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <ul> <ol> <li> <i> <b> <img> <table> <tr> <td> <th> <div> <strong> <p> <br> <u>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Shoutbox

Please log in or create an account to post shouts.
rick82Orcs are a really deep team right now. Felix vs. Lester tomorrow. Will be a tough game. Hope we're up for it.1 hour 34 min ago
rick82Boy our infield looked good tonight.1 hour 37 min ago
DaddyOThat would have been a tough game to let slip away. What in the world was Romero doing trying to steal third with two outs, then getting picked off trying again?! Bonehead play that prevented a chance at a run that was nearly needed in the 9th.1 hour 41 min ago
Gordon GrossLefty Kevin Brown would be amazing. The As announcers referenced Andy Pettite, as is apparently the normal reference for Paxton, about 43 times, and then talked up his first-round pedigree and killer stuff. Talked about the Paxton/Gray duels we should be seeing for years, like they wanted us to step up to the plate and get back to the Early 2000s when the division was insanely fun. Here's hoping.2 hours 23 min ago
IcebreakerXThe lack of K's is reminding me of how Verlander started off. Verlander had meh K/9 and ERAs for a bit before he became VERLANDER. The good thing is that we're getting the meh K's but good results!2 hours 41 min ago
GrumpySo I guess Paxton is turning out to be a LH Kevin Brown (dominant ground baller + dominant Ks)? I'll take that every 5 days...3 hours 13 min ago
mojicianWas Sonny Gray born through selective breeding, hatched or just pieced together in a lab? How do you breed for a curve ball trait anyway? Whatever the case, Paxton takes on the Orc-Child in a battle of phenom-eminence. Vegas has the odds at -140 Oakland. The Vegas oddsmakers may be guilty of over thinking this matter. All they had to do was ask: Whose ERA is half of whose, and then set odds accordingly.7 hours 18 min ago
SABR MattIf we don't fall out of contention, it will be because Corey Hart and Michael Saunders helped us. Saunders in particular could be a HUGE boost.15 hours 41 min ago
moethedogWe were always going to have a 0-3 or 1-3 stretch. They can't be avoided. Let's hope ours is behind us.16 hours 34 sec ago
rick82It does feel that way, but let's see what happens in the next two days. If we steal a game tomorrow, and Felix dominates, we may be feeling different.1 day 3 hours ago
Gordon GrossWe'll see. It's a bad week to have a bad week, but nobody's running away with the 2nd wildcard. We have offensive and pitching reinforcements. We'll see if and how we deploy them, but this is where a manager has to pull the right strings and get a lil lucky. We haven't been lucky the last week. Give it a minute to see if that continues.1 day 3 hours ago
SABR Mattwe are about to swoon out of the race IMHO1 day 3 hours ago
GLSLove to see the M's go after Hammel in the offseason.1 day 7 hours ago
DaddyOThe starting pitching seems to have hit a wall, and except for Ackley's resuscitating 3-run bomb in the final game vs. Washington this offense is again on life support. We are hanging in the Wild Card 2 chase only because our nearest competitors are also struggling. But we are letting more teams creep into the competition. Hope our current struggles are like they've been all year, temporary. What's worrisome is this is the first time the pitching has contributed to the struggles.1 day 7 hours ago
IcebreakerXThe good ship is on fire...1 day 8 hours ago
rick82Grand Slam Quintero should be activated immediately to put fear in the hearts of the Orcs!1 day 11 hours ago
moethedogThe Mariners have placed first baseman Jesus Montero on the suspended list for the remainder of the 2014 season, the team announced. The move comes as no surprise given that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik recently said that Montero wouldn’t play again this year in order to focus on off-the-field issues. Montero’s suspension and Willie Bloomquist being moved to the 60-day DL creates two spots on the team’s 40-man roster that have been filled by catcher Humberto Quintero and right-hander Carson Smith, who had their contracts selected in corresponding moves.1 day 11 hours ago
rick82So nice to see our consolation prize draft pick salvage the weekend of Stasburg, Harper and Rendon.1 day 14 hours ago
MtGrizzly‬"I just think he's turned a corner," manager Lloyd McClendon said after Ackley finished 2-for-4 to lift his batting average to .260. "He believes in what he's doing and he's very confident in the type of player he is, and it's showing up in the field."‬2 days 5 hours ago
MtGrizzlyAckley is in a nice zone right now. He's very calm looking in the batter's box, which is nice to see.2 days 6 hours ago