Thursday, December 07, 2006

Arguement Against Anarchy 2

Authority, as I use the word, means violently imposed decisionmaking. Self-defense is not authority because it is not decisionmaking, it is just violence. The decisions of someone you choose to follow are not authority because they are not violently imposed. I understand that other definitions of the word exist, but this is how I will be using the word. I believe it is not terribly different from how most people use the word when debating against the assertions I'm going to try to make here.

A common objection to anyone proposing the abolition of government is the cry that "Authority is necessary!"

No it's not. Let's take a look at why it's not.

If authority is necessary, then authority is necessary for everyone. If not, it's unnecessary.

Who is the authority of the authorities? Nobody. They either do not need authority, in which case authroity is unnecessary, or they need an authority and don't have one, in which case the present system is a failure.

Or perhaps authority over the ruled rests in the ruled themselves. But that is not only impossible, but absurd. It is impossible because the nature of authority is violence, and if authority rests in the ruled, then subjection to the authority must be absolutely voluntary. It's absurd because, if authority over me is granted to George W. Bush, and authority over George W. Bush is granted to me, we own each other, but not ourselves. Why is this necessary? Why can GWB not lead himself and why can I not lead myself? It is necessary that we must be slaves to one another?

But that's avoiding the issue most people mean when they say authority is necessary. They usually are thinking in terms of "We must protect the weak against the strong." What this really means is "Protection must be provided by force." Why? It makes no sense. Maybe sometime soon I'll make a post about private police protection.

Let me second point out what a contradiction this is. Protection against what? Violence? And you violently impose this protection upon them? Doesn't that make the whole thing self-defeating?

They also frequently believe that authority is necessary to keep people in check. This is also untrue. People who want to hurt others will not be stopped by authority. People who do not want to hurt others are not being stopped by authority. Removing authority will not turn a peaceful, married father of three into a theif. And any authority short of omniscient cannot stop a dediated killer from killing.

I've also heard an arguement about liability. Supposedly, without a central authority, nobody would be held liable. This is untrue and backwards. With a central authority, nobody in the central authority is held liable. With no authority, everyone can hold anyone else liable for a tort or breech of contract or use of violence or whatever. Only under central authority do we get such bullshit as "Sovereign Immunity".

So no. Authority is not "necessary". The moment you try to apply it, it starts contradicting itself. It's not only unnecessary, it's absurd. Stop believing this stupid rhetoric.


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