Monday, March 30, 2009
Great Guido comments on my anarchy post, 'Anarchists like spontaneous order. Not state enforced order.' I sympathise, as with farmers' markets we all long for the real thing, the local thing. But I'm not such a romantic idealist as Guido, not least because, as, again, with farmers' markets, ideals rapidly become corrupted. It shouldn't be forgotten that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century anarchists were Al Qaeda, rather more effective, in fact, in that they managed to kill quite a few prominent politicians. The 9/11 of that time was the Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago in 1886, which inspired both new adherents to the cause and intense paranoia among the Euro-American political classes.
The primary illusion of anarchists lies behind that phrase 'spontaneous order'. It implies that there is some natural human condition that is polluted by 'state enforced order'. This is very bad metaphysics. Communism and fascism sprang from human nature, as did the divine right of kings. If there is no god, no intelligent external force, then savage state oppression is as much part of human nature as a self-governing village of organic farmers. We may prefer the idea of the latter but to act on that preference is to descend into political unreality.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:40 am