Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Found My Political Position: Antiarchy.

I'm not saying I'm against anarchy? But it's a horrible system.

Stop laughing. It really is. An anarchist is - look, I'm not going into Greek and Latin roots, here. I'm no scholar, and it shouldn't be necessary. We know how these words are used. Whatever the antecedents and etymologies, today at least it's clear (clear enough, to me at least) that -archy is rule. And it's a pretty good bet that -ocracy is some kind of system of government. I mean to be clear here: I couldn't give a shit what the etymologies were. These are amusing, not educational. Etymology is trivial and of no real utility to meaning! We've seen meaning often enough flip a bitch 180 degrees, right in the middle of a word's history. Etymology doesn't even pretend to aid meaning! All it does is give one a certain appreciation of how little the past meaning of many words pertains to their present common and accepted usage.

Fun stuff, though! For sure. It enriches the appreciation of language, much as a VH1 behind-the-artist profile may - in the view of people who have an appalling idea of the permanent and transcendent value and importance of a masterwork - enhance the appreciation of some work or body of music, for instance, produced by that profiled artist. As if the artist can possibly be anything like as important as the permanent and enduring masterwork! We know what a "masterwork" is. Masterwork status is strictly contingent upon said work's proved and continuing permanence. Status reviewed indefinitely, status revocable instantly upon irrelevance. I hope you people do know what art is. It ain't that shit made out of sticks and scraps they dig out of archaelogical sites. That's "folk art," but I digress.

Which brings us back to history. History is sheer trivia, nothing more. Empty of value, save for its much-bruited and threatened-of-repetition "lessons" - every trite and rote fucking one of which exists abundantly apart from and are fully seperate from it. History is trivia. And trivia is fun. But let's focus on meaning, huh? Meaning lives now, and these usages are apt. We were talking about anarchy; please focus.

We come near the crux.

Anarchy pretty much opposes rule and systems of government alike: "An-" meaning: none, or the absence of; make no bones these people want none of governance. They want the absence of it. They want to end it. Abolish it! Whether it may come in the form of an -archy or an -ocracy (and I'd be interested in talking to an anocracist! I suspect he or she would be fun to talk to, and confused on key points), the anarchist is going to tear down the system or the ruler, whichever is attempting governance.

Now an -archy, pretty clearly, need not involve a system at all. Witness monarchy - in its classic formulation, monarchy is a rule by one supreme potentate, and while perhaps descent by right line to the potentate's heirs, in order, is not inherent in the concept, it's damn sure inherent in the concept of Darwinism. Supreme power is a supremely powerful adaptive trait, after all! It will certainly increase that bastard king's competitive advantage and opportunities to breed, should the king so choose. Supreme power is heavily selected for, in Darwinian terms. The king's genes are going to benefit! At least, assuming the king doesn't bollix up the inherent power benefit by mucking around in his own gene pool. But even that is a direct result of attempts to consolidate power and consolidate conferred benefit onto one's own genes - whether present in one's own genome, or one's kin and/or mate's genome.

With these kinds of suspect practices going around, it's no wonder these anarchists can't stand oligarchs, potentates, hegemonies, tyrannies, hell. I bet some anarchists are even against paradigms. Almost all of models-of-rule are subject to a lot of the same kinds of temptations and power perversions, albeit each in altered form. What's not clear is that the anarchist's solution is going to work at all, let alone create improved conditions. The anarchist seeks to abolish rule entirely, and substitute some kind of voluntary commonhood of man or (hopefully, one hopes) man and woman, or better put men, women and whoever else, all together now with solidarity in common cause, for common weal and against the demagogues! Vigilant for and ruthless towards the tyrants that may arise, who seek to appeal to, put fear to and otherwise subvert and convert the power base (which of course shifts at the whim of the consent of the governed). Seduce the body politic to the support of the tyrant's and demagogue's aims. Their goals. Their programs. Their power.

The anarchist wants to destroy that power.

And that's just absurd. It's impossible to destroy the actual power, and futile to attempt to destroy its structures. There must needs be effective mechanisms to channel and wield said power, or else the power is rendered impotent, wasted, dormant - but not neutralized, no! It is made more dangerous. That power remains coiled, ready to lash and buckle like an earthquake the moment it is finally marshalled and aroused! Power lying around without structure or restraint or check or balance or system to direct and use it is as deadly as an unfallen avalanche. So easy to touch off - so ready and waiting to be whipped up, and sent roaring in any direction, for a talented demagogue. For a tyrant. Why can not power be destroyed?

Power consists entirely in the consent of the governed. Didn't you know?

In practice, anarchy seems to devote its energies to railing against rule, against power structures, calling for it all to be torn down, so that only then can anarchy be tried. This seems like a bit much to ask. I don't know; you tell me. Maybe I'm missing a stitch, but the anarchist's seeming real target, the anarchist's real object of vitriol seems - not power, so much as the perversion of power; not rule, so much as systemic misrule. To combat these evils seems a slam-dunk great good, doesn't it? And I'll add this: to go beyond such combat of abuse, and exposure of and opposition to error, to seek to destroy innocent structures - innocent if used well, I mean! And in any case, surely open to improvement? This call to needless excess bereft of benefit and chock-full of evident cost and risk seems not only dangerous, but childish in a person with any education. To which nearly all anarchists seem to pretend - or do they not? Anarchists are dipshits, plain and simple. Either that, or the given anarchist defines their aims or stance in a way that does not seek to abolish rule, or to abolish all power structures - as if the high call of Anarchy could be satisfied by "Let's abolish only some power structures!" It's true some anarchists do call for this sort of thing...and they call themselves anarchists. For shame. Such anarchists are merely pussies, rather than dipshits. They should rather find a new word to describe this much softer stance, instead of undermining so shining and idealistic a badge as anarchy. Wot?

That's why I'm an Antiarchist. Or if the governed prefer, an Antiarch. Rule must be opposed, cut at its path every turn, not hampering it so much as slashing it where it hurts. I mean where it hurts progress. Where it hurts weal. Where it harms human dignity. Cut it there - and cut that part off, be it finger, hand, eye or head, yet - recognize it will grow back instantly! And you must expect the next replacement finger, hand, eye, head on the way may be worse or it may be better. And you may therefore need to direct the next in your neverending series of swift strikes to a different spot! As the electorate pulses and continues to spew new parts into the towering golem of Government Embodied, whom you've just more or less, well, cut down to size, or cut in to shape, or cut to suit, you may suddenly start, and stop. And recognize. You may suddenly see something in it that is worth not merely a pause in the attack, but a wary respect. You may lower your blade, snap a stance and salute - with upraised fist. For the thing now fits its purpose: and its purpose was always worthy.

To paraphrase The Tick, I don't want to stop rule. I want to fight it.



Mel said...

I saw this today and was intrigued...

Record Number Of Americans Now Think The Government Is Too Powerful

We've just had a federal election here and the Liberals (often inaccurately described as our version of your Republicans) romped it in so I reckon if you surveyed Australians we'd be pretty content with the power our Fed Govt has, however, having said that, we are notoriously anti-authoritarian - which is understandable, we're convict stock.

Stupidosaur said...

I don't know man. Antiarchy seems a lot like that missing word you said the softer anarchists have not invented yet. Not sure that would help much either. Lets abolish only *some* power structures, the softer anarchists say. You said the same for antiarchy - cut a part off - and as you rightly said, watch another grow right back!

Well, what is the point of having something that you constantly need to fight? That seems like a poorly designed power plant or such machinery. As soon as you turn it on, some shit start leaking some place. Oh damn! Close that valve! Oh wait heck! Shitdamn! That made this pressure rise so much here! Release this cork! Or shit damn the electric potential is way off here! ADJUST THE CAPACITOR DAMMIT!

No that is not how a stable machine is designed. It can never make a workable factory. A machine that works is well thought out with checks and balances. And that doesn't come by sudden effort or chance either. Each principle that went in its design was discovered/invented first, and over the years as all ideas became ripe, they were put together.

We do need rule. Heck I am able to comment this because rules were coded in Blogger beforehand that let me do so. But they need to be right rules.

Like that machine invention that I talked about, these evolve over the years. The trick is to recognize the right bits of rules and cherish them rather than throw baby with the bath water in name of 'anarchy'.

Then, we may evolve into the 'good rule' or bonarchy! Hey I think I just invented a word! I guess tjis could be used in autocratic regimes.
"Down with monarchy! Yes to bonarchy!"

dogimo said...

"Well, what is the point of having something that you constantly need to fight?"

The point of having a power structure is because the power - deriving from the consent of the governed - will always exist, and it will always be tremendous, and it will always have huge force and powerful effect if well-managed - and it will always be lethally dangerous, if not. To fight always against rule or governance where it is at its worst is in fact to provide a check. The people, or at least some of them, can do this and some would say must, if good rule is to be ever attained. Even if only occasionally attained.

But when you say "Antiarchy seems a lot like that missing word you said the softer anarchists have not invented yet." - yes! Precisely. "Call it something else, then," I said - and I did. Antiarchy is what I called it - what I advocate - antiarchist is what I am. A made-up word? Well hardly a made-up concept. And it is a far cry from anarchy, but so is most so-called anarchy. Why should cowardly non-anarchists claim the hard strong label while softening it to mush, to what anarchy isn't? "Call it something else, then." Real anarchy is childish and futile, and there is no value in it. But at least, there is value in calling a thing by its right name.

So if antiarchy is fighting rule on a worst-first basis, or in other words, fighting misrule - fighting the abuses and the corruption we can find and see - you say you're not sure it would help?

I can't imagine you don't see value or help in cutting out the corrupt human, knowing what will take its place is - a human. I have good-to-middling faith that humans incoming to positions of government may not be corrupt yet!

Anyway, minor quibbles of mine aside - it sounds like you're right on board with the revolution. I support the majority of your points. Strongly, even, most of them.

dogimo said...

"Real anarchy is childish and futile, and there is no value in it."

Unfair of me! I must retract.

There is great dramatic value in it. Anarchy strikes a threatening pose, skulks meanicingly in a corner, looks great in a cape with the best of them. The zealous anarchist throws a stance and a shadow that, done well, can be thrillingly inspirational to the common homosape, and may indeed spur a spectator to action, just from the thrilling and dynamic rush of all that flash and rhetoric.

Yet it will almost never inspire the spectator to anarchy. The anarchist is a trope, a dramatic archetype. It is not a thing to seriously be.

dogimo said...

Slight note - in my talk of cutting things off, things growing back, the digits or hands or heads were meant to be read as people. Those in office. Corrupt public servants should be vigilantly rooted out and cut out of government.

I think I see where you may have taken the cutting as chopping off elements of the government. If so, mea culpa for the ambiguity. Really, I don't see much need for chopping off systems - of course, continuos reevaluation and rebudgeting and retasking is a need. Areas grow or shrink in funding or emphasis, yet rarely is an arm cut off (so to speak.)

I believe the system is fairly well-designed, yet of course I agree with your call for good design and continued redesign, responsive to needs. Sadly, the biggest need is left unserved. We have set corruption as far too low a priority.

If investigating and charging those who bribe and those who take bribes, those who break laws meant to keep public service clean-nosed, could become a major top national priority, and a major topic of national conversation - it could very well mean something. But when My Guy gets caught, and I moan about "Well, everybody's corrupt! It doesn't matter!" - that is what makes it not matter. Our cynicism, nothing else. Our cynicism that says it's not worth prioritizing. Not worth fighting. We let off every corrupt person with this sick, cynical, blanket excuse.