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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Panarchy in the UK!

My political philosophy has made it onto Wikipedia. Now, when someone asks, "Are you a Democrat or Republican," and I say, "No, I'm a panarchist," and I get a blank look, "I'll say, 'Look it up on Wikipedia.'"

By the way, this is one of my two great re-inventions. When I first arrived at panarchism, I had no idea others had done so before me. My other great re-invention was to come up with the Sieve of Eratosthenes one afternoon at work.

5 comments:

  1. Strike the twos
    and strike the threes,
    The Sieve of Eratosthenes:
    When the multiples sublime,
    The numbers that are left
    are prime.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gene, this is great; this is exactly what I am too, but never knew the term! I used to argue with non-libertarian friends and relatives that government should be much smaller, or even abolished. After years of resistance, it finally sunk in to me that these people want to live under their current governments (local, state and federal), and viewed my proposals as attempts to force them to live in a different way. They view government as a entity with great value (although imperfect), and reacted to my suggestion as you or I would if someone proposed to dismantle Amazon.com or Google (assuming you like those companies). Besides the "minimal state" functions, they also like the insurance (e.g. FEMA), charity (food stamps), and consumer protection (FTC) functions, even the ones they don't benefit from directly.

    So for the last year or so, I have been saying, fine, have your government "your way;" I have no intent or desire to stop you -- but at least extend the reciprocal courtesy of letting those of us who feel differently to opt out in peace. Without having to physically move. Make it voluntary, that's all we ask. (I make an analogy to being able to switch cell phone service without moving.) Yes, I would give up my right to vote, but I'll survive somehow.

    I then mention the corollary that people should also have the right to join together and set up their own similar institutions (competing governments).

    It is amazing how sympathetic people are to this idea, compared to the previous one (restrict or abolish the their government). Some raise practical objections (such as the free-rider problem), but I usually overcome them using the moral argument (everyone has the right to not join an organization), and some practical arguments too.

    You might say these people are panarchists who would choose to continue their association with the current government. Which is good enough for me!

    One thing I don't emphasize (or usually even mention) is that in a competitive environment such as this, governments would, over time, probably tend to cut way back on the extra services (especially welfare), due to competitive pressures. But that wouldn't be for me to decide (since I would not subscribe to such a government).

    Try this with your friends some time. I bet you will get good results too.

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  3. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Wabulon - your poem is very impressive

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Larry. I agree -- most people *like* big government. But they also hold that everyone has the right to self-government. So, instead of trying to persuade them to give up something they like, just get them to act consistently on the principles they alreay have!

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  5. Gene, Larry, I'm so glad that I found this post and the comments left by you two.

    I'm a panarchist, as well, and searched long and hard for a philosophy that fit my stance. It took awhile but I eventually came across the same Wiki article that Gene did and was ecstatic to find that others thought as I did.

    I still become excited when I see others, such as you two, due to the fact that we seem far and few between. A search on the Internet turns up very little. A Microsoft Word spellcheck doesn't even recognize the word panarchist and thinks I am trying to write the word "anarchist".

    Still, I say "seem" far and few between because I think there are a lot more people out there that think as we do, without even knowing it. I see evidence of this by experiencing the exact same thing that Larry has experienced: I found that people are generally in agreement when the concept of one perspective being forced over another is removed from the conversation and replaced with the acceptance of any perspective simply existing at the same time, without forcing any on either.

    Although, I have come across a lot of people that are hostile to this idea and only want their way and their way only to be forced on everyone. Usually, I am able to expose that desire as being fascist and against freedom, even from the likes of anarchists and libertarians. No one has successfully been able to counter this fact...probably because it is a fact.

    I think panarchism is already currently embodied in the U.S. without many of us realizing it. Think about the phrase "It's a free country" that people sometimes blurt out under scrutiny of any personal preference (although that phrase is dying away). That phrase indicates that any preference is possible and should be accepted with all others. Think about the federalist system we have in place that allows state governments to run their own way (though federal power has reached massive levels), potentially allowing multiple styles of government to exist simultaneously.

    Running on one of those concepts, I have a new blog that you can find by clicking my user name called "It's a Free Country". I just started it and I'm still feeling it out but I can already tell I plan to lean it toward panarchism (rare to see a blog that is). I’m currently mixing in my own libertarian preference, but I might one day go as far as to wipe that away and make it a completely panarchist blog. As I said, however, I'm still feeling it out.

    Anyway, it’s nice to meet you guys and I hope to see you and hear from you again.

    ReplyDelete