Of all the many terms used in today’s political discourse few are as misused as the word anarchy.
In many readers’ minds this conjures up images of masked angry people smashing widows and blowing things up.
Yet such a vision could not be further from the truth.
Unfortunately in today’s culture, anarchy has such a stigma attached to it that most people have no idea what it entails, yet are filled with a sense of dread and fear when it is mentioned.
This idea of anarchy being inherently bad is promoted by the media all the time.
The only time the idea of anarchy is given any mention is when alleged “anarchists” threaten to blow up a bridge or smash things at a demonstration.
If the producers of such news segments would simply look into anarchy in the slightest bit they would find that it is not as simple as the media portrays anarchists to be by saying they want to smash the system by smashing windows and overturning cars.
Rather, there are various schools of thought within anarchy and unfortunately too often the fringe crazy people are seen as the image of an ideal anarchist.
There most certainly are people who claim to be anarchists who are all about breaking things and causing unnecessary trouble.
A few years ago when the G-20 summit was held in Pittsburgh, it brought the vast swarms of crazy people of all stripes who blocked traffic and were generally just a giant nuisance as they protested the summit.
Yet such radical brands of anarchism (if they can even be called that) are only seen because they are loud and obnoxious, not because they are the majority of anarchists. Rather the true anarchists have been experiencing huge growth in the last few years largely under the radar of the media.
Don’t worry it is not some insidious secret conspiracy to destroy everything and thus has not been heard of.
Rather it has not been heard of simply because it is comprised of ordinary, everyday people who do not fit the stereo-type of an angry violent people who want to blow things up.
Being a true anarchist simply means you want to live in a society where the non-aggression principle (which means it is wrong to initiate coercive force or fraud against a person or their property) is respected.
Anarchy is not a state of chaos but rather a state of voluntary interaction.
The reason anarchists are opposed to the government is because the government is nothing but institutionalized violent coercion.
It’s not that anarchists are opposed to cooperation or leaders or organization as some think. Anarchists simply want to let everyone live in peace and believe that this is the only way to have a moral society.
As said before true anarchists (sometimes called anarcho-capitalists or voluntaryists) are not crazy radicals living in a commune but rather everyday people.
The anarchist movement has many intellectuals within it, many of whom have contributed greatly in economics, philosophy and history.
It is likely to surprise many people that even renowned author J.R.R, Tolkien identified himself as an anarchist. In a letter to his son in which he said he identifies as an anarchist he defined it as “(philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)”.
Anarchism has a glorious history that can even be traced back to the beginnings of Taoism and Chuang-tzu in the 4th century B.C. all the way to today where anarchists can be found everywhere from running large multi-national business’s to holding chairs of economic departments in colleges and universities and even everyday people who just have a regular job.
For too long the glorious philosophy of anarchism has suffered under a false and ignorant stigma.
It is time to shed such ignorant and backward thinking ways and realize that anarchy is not violence, destruction, and chaos as it is portrayed to be but is simply the idea that people should not use coercive force against one another and that all humans should live in peace.