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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Wed May 05, 2004 4:54 am
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Christian Anarchism

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Having been asked to discuss my beliefs as an anarchist and a Christian, I think it most prudent to begin this topic by first establishing what anarchism is.

Most people think of anarchists as a group of bomb-throwing hooligans who just want to destroy all constructs of order and bring society to a crashing halt. That, however, is not an anarchist, people could easily be forgiven this belief however, because that is what most statists would like them to believe, and thus have furthered the idea that anarchism is wholly for the unintellectual looking to stir-up mischief. Anarchism, however, is very much a tradition of intellectuals, it's rather uncertain how the notion came to be, however most point to Bakunin as the Anarchist parallel to Marx. In the later portions of the 19th century and early 20th century anarchism was wide-spread, even so much as to build international institutions such as the anarchist black cross, an organization to support political prisoners, and the anarchist international. However, anarchists became an easy scapegoat in many instances for those wishing to discredit them, and anytime a bomb was put to ill-use, or any action was seen that might serve to undermine the word of the industrialist bosses a cry of "anarchists!" could be heard, much as communists would be later blamed for any disruption in the divine capitalist order.

It would be far to exhaustive to explain anarchism, here, in its entirety, in brief however it would be easiest to say that anarchism is a belief in community and equality amongst men and the end of hierarchical statism. Anarchy is witnessed everyday between friends, family, and neighbors. When one helps his neighbor it is not because of governmental compulsion, but his own volition. Anarchism is often wrongly portrayed as desiring no rules, which is not what anarchism is about; anarchists understand that a community has potential for bad elements and thus must be policed, but those rules would not be imposed upon the community by some patriarchal overlord or a few oligarchs in a senate building half-way across the world. Anarchism is about the people truly governing themselves.

Christian anarchism is derived from the notion that because man is fallible, and because his laws can often contradict the word of god, no government of man can be right for a Christian. While one king maybe good the next will likely not be. As I interpret the bible there is a clear message to the faithful that they should be beholden to no lord but God. Christ said, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other." Matthew 6:24

As I said that many anarchists look to Bakunin as their progenitor he, like Marx, maintained a dogma of atheism, which is why many Christians despise anarchists and communists. However it is his contemporary Tolstoy who many Christian anarchists feel to have been a major influence in their politics. Though never using the term anarchism himself his ideas were certainly parallel, however they were inclusive of God. Many non-Christian anarchists feel his works are of great value to their cause as well. You would probably be surprised to find that the history of anarchism is actually populated with quite a few Christians.

For my part, since I understand my views, I would like to understand why any Christian would be pro-state, since this is a forum for debate, if anyone holds such views I think it would make for an enriching discourse if they would care to post about them.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Wed May 05, 2004 7:03 am
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Thank you for starting this topic.

Per the rules, all topics should have something to debate, so I'll throw some debate questions out:

Is (Christian) anarchism a viable social system?
Why would a Christian be pro-state?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Wed May 05, 2004 9:31 pm
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Is (Christian) anarchism a viable social system?


I really do not see any 'system' as being completely viable in the long run. I think individuals free of the state, choosing their own destiny, constitutes the best path.

I personally am somewhat of a christian (whatever that means Laughing) and a libertarian (classical liberal). According to my worldview, the state should be cut down as much as absolutely possible, allowing for maximum freedom from control. Anarchism is a good idea, but I do not see it happening anytime soon.

Why would a Christian be pro-state?

This would be a hard one for me too answer. Simply because for as long as I have been politically aware, I have at most seen the state as a neccessary evil.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Wed May 05, 2004 9:37 pm
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Isn't anarchism where terror reigns free? What would stop large families from banding together and pillaging everyone? And who would care if you were getting pillaged, since no one is unified and so if they came onto your soil no one would come to your aid. Anarchism is interesting however. It will truly help with finding the most fit of our species.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed May 05, 2004 9:55 pm
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adherent wrote:
Isn't anarchism where terror reigns free?


We do not have a single standard to judge by. (Using this definition.)


adherent wrote:
What would stop large families from banding together and pillaging everyone?


Fences, assault rifles, slingshots, anything will do really... Very Happy

adherent wrote:
And who would care if you were getting pillaged, since no one is unified and so if they came onto your soil no one would come to your aid. Anarchism is interesting however. It will truly help with finding the most fit of our species.


In response...

Crixus wrote:
Anarchy is witnessed everyday between friends, family, and neighbors. When one helps his neighbor it is not because of governmental compulsion, but his own volition. Anarchism is often wrongly portrayed as desiring no rules, which is not what anarchism is about; anarchists understand that a community has potential for bad elements and thus must be policed, but those rules would not be imposed upon the community by some patriarchal overlord or a few oligarchs in a senate building half-way across the world. Anarchism is about the people truly governing themselves.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed May 05, 2004 9:57 pm
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I think anarchism itself will never come to pass, well, maybe for very short periods of time. There will always be some egotistical maniac who will try to take control. If your friends and allies band together to help and protect each other, wouldn't that not be anarchism.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed May 05, 2004 10:12 pm
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adherent wrote:
I think anarchism itself will never come to pass, well, maybe for very short periods of time. There will always be some egotistical maniac who will try to take control. If your friends and allies band together to help and protect each other, wouldn't that not be anarchism.


Here we see the paradox in anarchism. Here we have the friends banding together, are they not a a government? Is government not a social contract?

I believe that human beings cannot exist in a state of disorder for long, that in our societies order arises inherently. It is where we take it from there that counts.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Wed May 05, 2004 10:16 pm
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Sorry for not stating it, but I meant that they banding together and stuff would be governments and the like. Woah, so you also think anarchism is disorder...
Travis:
I believe that human beings cannot exist in a state of disorder for long, that in our societies order arises inherently.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Thu May 06, 2004 8:23 am
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adherent wrote:
Isn't anarchism where terror reigns free?


Absolutely not. Though statists would encourage that line of thinking, anarchism is antithetical to terror, it is a belief that people should live free from such things as terror especially that brought to them by oppressive states.

adherent wrote:

What would stop large families from banding together and pillaging everyone? And who would care if you were getting pillaged, since no one is unified and so if they came onto your soil no one would come to your aid. Anarchism is interesting however. It will truly help with finding the most fit of our species.


A commonly misunderstood portion of anarchism is that anarchism is not against all institutions that means there would be rules and those to enforce them, they would simply be rules which protect society's members, not rules which afflict them.

adherent wrote:
I think anarchism itself will never come to pass, well, maybe for very short periods of time. There will always be some egotistical maniac who will try to take control.


People that were used to living under kings and autocrats once said the same about democracy; that it was fine amongst small groups but doomed to failure when practiced in government. Or that the uneducated masses would cause the system to fail because they would not understand what they were voting on. Perhaps they were right, this still remains to be seen. However because we have been taught the virtues of democracy we believe, or some of us believe, it can work, it is this perspective that magically makes it work. Without belief in any system by its adherents, that system is doomed to failure.

If you are interested in attempts at anarchism the closest that has yet existed was for about 3 years 1936-39 during the Spanish civil war, in which Francisco Franco's fascists began their assault on the republic. Though a rarely told story, the reality in Spain at the time was that the republic had utterly collapsed with most of the military being under Franco, and the civil war fought on behalf of the so-called republic was actually fought by large anarchist, socialist and communist militias. The flag that I have as my avatar is the banner under which the Spanish anarchists fought. During the war, in some of the "Republic" controlled areas, anarchism was nearly achieved, and did have some shining successes, paying workers equal wages, building infrastructure from volunteers and donations. Most amazingly however is that the militia held out as long as they did considering they were up against the fully trained military of the old regime, that was heavily supplied and financed by Hitler and Mussolini. I encourage you to read about their attempts if you are interested or skeptical about anarchism in practice.

adherent wrote:
If your friends and allies band together to help and protect each other, wouldn't that not be anarchism.


That is anarchism, so long as they do so of their own will and do not intend place themselves as superiors.

Travis wrote:
Here we see the paradox in anarchism. Here we have the friends banding together, are they not a a government? Is government not a social contract?


Well, that depends upon your definition of government, I believe that each man is his own governor, but beyond that, if these friends were not asserting control over the will of others they would not be governing them.

Travis wrote:
I believe that human beings cannot exist in a state of disorder for long, that in our societies order arises inherently. It is where we take it from there that counts.


I agree, chaos can only exist shortly if anything productive is ever to be accomplished. It must be stressed, though, that chaos is not anarchy, and those seeking to cause chaos are not anarchists.

Anarchism however is based upon the ideal of equality; it simply means no superiors, from the root of arch- as in arch-angel, arch-bishop ect. In other words though anarchists are anti-state, and anti-hierarchy, most recognize that some system must be in place in order to avoid bad social elements seeping in, and especially to make sure that equality is maintained. These systems of course would look nothing like the oppressive systems that exist today, the police would likely be made up entirely of volunteers, and of course social systems would be as hands-off as possible, but once the ball gets rolling the momentum would be much easier to maintain. As people adapt away from doing things for fear of starving, or police harassment, they would begin to see that society could function in entirely voluntary fashion, much as I imagine the West appeared to those people who fled totalitarian states. Economic systems would over time adapt as they did to the abolition of slavery, so would they to the abolition of wage slavery.

Even if, as many believe, anarchy is entirely unachievable amongst men, would it not still be folly to abandon the struggle for it. It would be like a Christian abandoning the quest for virtue because he cannot attain perfection.

In my mind however anarchism is not only viable, but inevitable. The state was a creation of man just like slavery, and like slavery the state too can be abolished.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Thu May 06, 2004 9:03 am
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My answer is similar to Travis'.

Is (Christian) anarchism a viable social system?
I do have some anarchistic tendencies in which I believe governments should be as small as possible. But, I can't see how a pure anarchy can work on a large scale (such as the US).

Why would a Christian be pro-state?
I'm not necessarily "pro" state. But I do feel that there has to be some type of government in place.

Crixus, some questions:

In an anarchy, is there be a universal set of laws over the state?
If not, how can justice be achieved when people that commit wrongs (murder, rape)?
If so, how can the laws be enforced?
How can the state protect itself from other states invading it?

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