Chaos in the streets. That’s what most people will think about when you say the word ‘anarchy’ to them. In their mind’s eye, scenes of riots and hooded youngsters setting cars on fire may start to play out. Of course it helps that mainstream media news anchors frequently and wrongly apply the term to such situations and that most people have never been taught or even given the opportunity to consider what anarchy really means.
But what does “anarchy” really mean? To answer that, we must first reclaim the original, literal meaning of the word itself.
Anarchy comes from the ancient Greek ἀναρχία (anarchia), combining ἀ (a), “note, without” and ἀρχή (arkhi), “ruler, leader, authority.” “Anarchy” thus means (a person or society) “without rulers” or “without leaders.”
So far from being about chaos in the streets, anarchy simply means that we desire to organize our everyday life, our neighborhoods, our cities and our societies using any and all effective means at our disposal – chiefly free market interactions between completely free human beings – but we are not going to have any ‘special’ human beings that get to lord it over other human beings. That’s it. Not very complicated, is it?
Anarchy is not about chaos or wanton destruction. In fact, what has actually caused the most horrific periods of chaos and suffering for human beings throughout history? The answer of course is: rulers! Hitler, Stalin, Mao. These rulers, while claiming to bring order and prosperity, actually killed hundreds of millions of innocent human beings. Anarchy means no more Hitlers, no more Stalins, no more Maos. Although the present rulers that most of us live under today are not as bad as that horror cabinet of historical rulers, they still stunt growth, imprison people for victimless crimes, steal money from ordinary people to bailout big corporations, and engage in out near-constant warfare.
There is another complication: some people like to call themselves anarchist and communist or socialist at the same time. This makes very little sense – in fact, you could argue this is oxymoronic. If people in an anarchist society want to share things between them freely – communally – they would of course be free to do so. But under “anarcho-communism”, you would be forced to share – which of course implies that you need some type of ruling class to wield that power and decide how to redistributed the stolen goods. Meaningful anarchy can also be called “anarcho-capitalism”, where capitalism simply means the free exchange of goods between free individuals.
‘Capitalism’ is another word who’s meaning has been hijacked and corrupted by those who do not like its original meaning. For example many people today associate capitalism with the present political system in America. In so doing, they confuse capitalism with ‘corporatism’, the system that many of us unfortunately live under today, where big corporations control most aspects of our lives through manipulation of an increasingly powerful and centralized government. These corporations make huge profits when times are good and should their risky behavior ever lead them to the brink of bankruptcy, government will tax regular citizens and ‘bail out’ the corporations, ostensibly because they are ‘too big to fail’. In fact, capitalism basically just means private property ownership, free markets and free competition – a concept far removed from the actual organization of almost all societies today, including the US.
So there you have it – anarchy simply means the absence of rulers. For society, this simple concept has the power to set people free from under the thumb of big corporations and big government and to usher in a new era of supercharged economic growth, peace and prosperity for the human race. And the love of that vision is what this site is all about – welcome to “I Love Anarchy!”