A strange anarchist argument against Hobbes

Civil War England of Hobbes time, the anarchist says, was not actually an example of anarchy. You see, he continues, the factions fighting were each trying to establish themselves as the state.

Well yes, that is what occurs under anarchy. How in the world is that supposed to be a refutation of Hobbes?

8 comments:

  1. Well, a new week has begun, so it's possible that in the next six days, 21 hours, something will displace the above as "dumbest damn thing I've read this week."

    But I doubt it.

    No, a war between forces supporting a monarch and forces supporting a parliament, each attempting to exert control of an existing state, is not "anarchy."

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    1. Tom

      Thanks for illustrating the very evasion I posted about!

      Anarchy = no ruler

      During the English Civil War, for long periods of time, England had NO RULER. That is anarchy.

      What you mean is "Gene, please be nice, and don't upset my fantasyland version of what anarchy OUGHT to be like!"

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  2. Gene, I think you're equivocating a bit with such a simple definition of anarchism. Philosophically, its more than "no rulers". Just to look at a sample, anarchist communists envision a local-communitarian system, as do mutualists. Various strategies on how we get from here to there, like syndicalism, autonomism, counter-economics, etc. also give us glimpses of how to resolve conflicts in ways that don't give rise to the power inequalities like the type we see within the state.

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    1. I know, I know, people have all sorts of visions of how having no ruler might actually work out. What I'm asking is "How DOES it actually work out?"

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  3. There are lots of definitions of "anarchy."

    A situation in which two ruling institutions of a long-existing state fight for years over which one's ultimately in charge, with at no time any significant part of their claimed jurisdictions not being under the rule of one or the other, however, doesn't seem like a very good one.

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    1. But Tom, I am not offering a definition of anarchy! I am using the standard and ancient one: no ruler. I am asking what happens when there is no ruler, and the answer, I suggest, is a fight over who gets to be ruler! (By the way, neither faction exerted very effective rule over ANY part of England during a good portion of the war: they were busy fighting each other!)

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  4. Gene, is the US an anarchy every time a president is assassinated?

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    1. Are you being serious here?!

      The president of the US is not the ruler of the country! The US is ruled by a tripartite structure consisting of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive branch.

      The death of one member of one of the branches hardly leaves the US with no sovereign power in charge! (Unlike during the English Civil War, when for periods of time no one could exercise effective rule.)

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