I think one of the biggest misconceptions about anarchy as a replacement for statism is that it requires rational agency; that the people have to be capable of making right choices at all times, and because this is unreliable, we must structure our societies under law instead.
This misconception about rational agency is shared by many who preach anarchism as well as called out as a problem by those who correctly understand that rational autonomous self governance isn’t reliably possible for humans.
A lot of economic market theory has this same problem. Where an anarcho-capitalist theory of rational agency tends to be the basis of why they think free markets should work. This assumption of rationality is delusional at best, and as we’ve seen, wrecks entire markets and ruins people’s lives. Because humans are not rational, and reliance on rationality or the belief that we can eventually become rational is likely never going to happen.
Anarchy as a functioning system can only ever work through the elimination of alienation through connection, and ultimately privacy itself (also its elimination. yes I said that.). There is no reason to depend on rationality when you have collective social interdependence. The fundamental social theory to understand is that all of the choices that benefit the whole and the individual are built-in when everyone is connected. The feedback loops that are automatically established create as a fundamental aspect all of the accountability and checks and balances that a system of law must impose externally and through oppression instead of natural choice. It also naturally removes or makes irrelevant, the need for property ownership. When power is created collectively, centralizing it (property) is antithetical to connection.
One caveat that does exist though is that the social collectives are unlikely to function well if they exceed something like Dunbar’s number. Fully interdependent social cohesion requires that you actively know and interact with everyone in your group.
The takeaway here is that any dependence on rationality is a fool’s errand, and any post-emergent rule system or moral system will effectively act against social cohesion. Culture cannot be codified and still maintain full robustness, as the imposition of conservatism acts against the capacity for adaptation necessary for social evolution. It’s a form of power centralization and division, and nature always seeks to break any attempts at keeping things the same.
This is fundamental to all complex systems, social or physical… Their fundamental robustness is a function of not trying to control them. Control reduces complexity, which increases vulnerability. Rationality cannot be an answer to social connection as it is based on ideas of control, and this universe does not offer real control as an option.
As the simple logic goes… if control worked it would have already. No, it isn’t because we haven’t found the right kind of control, it’s because there isn’t one.
Fundamentally, the world is already anarchic. We’ve just deluded ourselves into believing we are controlling it. By doing so we create the conditions of sorrow we think we are trying to solve. The real revolution is a change of perspective, not a change of rules. No matter how many times we try to create the right moral framework, the right law, the most equality, the least oppression, it will always fail.
It cannot be controlled, and it has proved that to us every time we’ve tried. Anarchy is not a radical shift away from what we are, it’s removing the delusions of control from our vision and allowing life to happen without fighting it constantly to try to make it what we’d prefer it to be. It’s what we already are, but refuse to see.
About the author:
Glen Allan is a ridiculous person with thoughts and ideas which fly in the face of normal convention and challenge many assumptions about what people generally think of as reality.
He recognizes that many people will either disagree or claim the ideas to be founded in delusion, and only has to say that he'd like it if you could try to realize the world might not be what you think it is.