James on Anarchy
Cross-cultural chatter at BJOL

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

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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.

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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.  

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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 :- )
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Comments

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ghost's picture

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

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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".

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Nathan H's picture

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!

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wily mo's picture

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

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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.

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ghost's picture

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.

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Chat: 8/30/15 9:20am
Interests: International Baseball (214407)
Experience, by SABR Matt

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies...Show more.

Experience, by SABR Matt

Mather has mentioned that he wants someone with GM experience. That's all fine and good, but for me I'd prefer if they had experience in a winning organization. Someone who came up through the ranks, or spent significant time in a winning culture. Not someone who worked for the Rockies / Padres / Diamondbacks for years. How would they know what it takes to win?

...Show less
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-31 20:08

agreed...no reason to change managers at this point...we're not contending...why have an interim situation now? Only reason would be if you were going to hire your long-term replacement...no one good is presently available for that job. Might as well just play out the string.

2015-08-31 20:05

I agree with Grizz, Lloyd will be around till the end of the season...Jewett would be no help at all.

2015-08-31 19:47

Grizz...SS hits considerably worse than CF historically.

2015-08-31 17:41

I'm curious why that split would be acceptable at SS but not CF. They are both defense-first positions.

2015-08-31 17:20

In 311 MLB vL PA's, Miller is a .216-.261-.293 with 2 HR's. He better be a GG-type CF glove if he's getting all the vL CF starts. You can support that type of split at SS (because he hits RHP) but it is much harder to do it in CF. He'll likely get some platoon-ish help out there. Could be Taylor with Marte moving to CF, could be Kivlehan. I'm not betting on Landry or us using Jones much. Miller's throwing error the other night may have impacted #Kingston, who I would bet had a conversation with Lloyd.

2015-08-31 16:22

Definately no upside at this point..this is true perhaps..just surprised it didn't happen already I guess. When you got a team picked by some to go all the way, and you are 10 under most all the year, its hard to stick around. Un-inspiring #Baseball, errors o plenty, keeping around a clearly ineffective Rodney, and getting 0 at the plate. Surely not all his fault, but some things are starting to unravel up top. Wonder how involved he has been in all these moves recently.

2015-08-31 15:33

Lloyd is going to last until the end of the year. What is the alternative at this point in the season? Jewett? No upgrade there.

2015-08-31 15:26

Things really really heating up since the Rodney move.. I am beginning to think Lloyd is not getting to the end of the year.

2015-08-31 15:20

#Jackson to the Cubs for PTBNL, their last #International slot, and $211k

2015-08-31 15:16

That will be interesting. Maybe he has an #Austin #Jackson trade worked out.

2015-08-31 15:16

@GregJohnsMLB: #Austin #Jackson traded to Cubs for player to be named and possible #International slot.

2015-08-31 15:14

#Kingston isn't wasting time putting his stamp on things. @RyanDivish: #Kingston said that Miller will play CF for much of the rest of the season. Believes it's his best fit for the organization

2015-08-31 13:25

of the guys with GM experience who are currently unemployed, I like Cherington the best given what he was able to do in building up the Red Sox' farm system. But...even that is still not the best option

Reply - mojician - 8/31/15 1:39pm
What do you think about fried chicken gate and other Red Sox scandals during the Cherington regime? If they fired Z for "lack of leadership" whatever that means. Cherington might have the same rep.
Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:23pm
I think they are more interested in who is going to make current roster work out plus additions. Farm certainly needs help, but window for Felix cano etc is shutting.
2015-08-31 13:23

Yeah, there is a glimmer of hope for a Girsch, a Forst, a Coppolella or a McLeod...but only a glimmer. I'm not sure that those organizations will grant permission to interview before the end of the season and Mather seems to want the hire to be made ASAP. We can hope.

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 3:24pm
Yes, I think Mather said he wanted whomever in office by oct
2015-08-31 13:01

Really enjoying the increase of seahawks coverage

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
I love jemanji's style of commentary.
2015-08-31 12:34

Heck, I'd take an intern from the Cards over Ken Williams... Kidding. Mostly.

Reply - crackerjack - 8/31/15 1:15pm
Who said that? haha
2015-08-31 10:48

agreed...if I thought we'd have a shot at him...I'd be all for it...he would be able to tell the Mariners what they're doing wrong in player development

2015-08-31 10:45

I'll say this for the Cards (and anybody significant in that system), they are likely the best run sports franchise in America. I know notheng in particular about Girsch, but I'm not opposed to some of that Cardinal stuff rubbing off here.

Reply - jemanji - 8/31/15 3:10pm
As you say that, now we know why other NFL teams help themselves to the Seahawks' staff with both hands :- )
2015-08-31 09:46

Hm...perhaps not quite as cut and dried as the requotes I've seen...gives me a glimmer of hope...but just a glimmer...I'm 99% sure it's going to be someone like Ben Cherrington, Ken Williams, DiPoto...

alas.

2015-08-31 09:22

Mather's exact quote:

“I would lean toward an experienced general manager or an assistant general manager that’s had a heavy hand in the operation,” he said. “I don’t want to hire someone that’s going to learn on the job for the next two or three years. That is a candidate that I’m not interested.”

2015-08-31 09:22

Wow, never heard of Girsch before. I'm sold! One thing I'd like to see the Mariners talk about - they are located in the best tech market outside of Silicon Valley. It'd be great to hire someone who could pitch the city's software engineers on creating a world class statical analysis department.

2015-08-31 09:09

Zero chance for Girsch...they point-blank said they want a guy with GM experience.

2015-08-31 08:57

This is why I am hoping for Girsch. http://www.fangraphs...

2015-08-31 08:45

Wanting a GM in place before the end of the regular season certainly takes some guys off the table. The hot assistant GM's will need club permission to interview in-season. If the only guys Mather can get are those currently unemployed, I'm not enthused.

2015-08-31 07:11

Yeah can't imagine McCleod leaves Chi-town before the Cubs make the playoffs...

2015-08-31 05:07

I'd love to get McLeod...the question, though, is whether he's available immediately. The Mariners have said they want to hire someone before the post-season.

2015-08-31 03:37

There's a lot of confusing things about the layout and general design of this site.

2015-08-30 19:57

Why does the snippet above say "Experience, by GLS"? I didn't write that.

2015-08-30 19:04

From what I've read, Jason McLeod seems like the best choice. But what do I know?

2015-08-30 17:22

Doesn't DiPoto have a reputation for being good at identifying and developing pitchers but poor at identifying and developing hitters?

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:27pm
That's why we got The Edgar for.. :)
2015-08-30 16:41

I'm in favor of Jerry DiPoto as the new GM. He switches his teams up until it works. He does not let rookies flounder for months while they figure it out. Also, he has been micromanaged worse than they do in #Seattle.

2015-08-30 15:15

Hamstring, Moe.

2015-08-30 15:14

23 games lost on the opposition's last at bat. Craziness.

2015-08-30 13:46

What is the Marte injury report?

2015-08-30 11:13

@shannondrayer: #Montgomery down, Guaipe up. #Montgomery close to innings limit and M's need another RHR today. Wilhelmsen & Kensing most likely not available

Reply - Browns8625 - 8/31/15 4:26pm
Starting to give the edge to pitching in the overall worst luck this season. Hitting has been awful, but between injuries and awful pen..
2015-08-30 10:46

I'm a little confused. Why would we start a conversation, pushing the previous conversation off the main page, if we had nothing ot substance to post other than saying we're starting a (new) conversation?

This is not really aimed at you, okdan. I've noticed the admins do this as well. I'm just curious about the perceived purpose in doing it.

Reply - anonymous - 8/30/15 12:06pm
Hey DaddyO - I'm not sure what happened here. I thought I was just posting a couple of regular shouts. The normal interface was gone, and I just typed into the box that popped up... I was hoping the weirdness that I saw was just for me, but it appears that's not the case! Didn't mean to push everything out. No idea what happened...
Reply - DaddyO - 8/30/15 5:43pm
Ah, got it. Thanks for the explanation. Like I said, my comments were directed not so much to you as to the phenomenon. At least now we know it happens sometimes when the poster does not intend it.
2015-08-30 09:20

Starting a conversation...

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