A functioning anarchy

Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.  

– Edward Abbey, American author

It has been said that a concept is a brick. It can be used to build a courthouse of reason, or thrown through the window of governmental deception that shatters it even before the brick finds its mark.

It should not be unusual in any robust mass participatory democracy for the public to be engaged in questioning authority. Sadly, it is reflected as a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority because that very authority has not earned its respect.

The discerning folks engaged in political discourse would agree that using the word “anarchy” is an overkill when the public questions the conduct of elections where there is evidence of foul play fortified by the evidence of psephologists.

The four rallies initiated by the Bersih Movement, for instance, can be identified as a functioning anarchy when the question of fair play versus foul play was debated in public. The complainant is usually targeted for police investigations under a plethora of questionable laws.

Angry voters have every right to question the privilege, proclivity and power of politicians to steal government funds or accept bribes. This easily fits into the category of orderly anarchy by those who believe politicians are willy-nilly above the law.

A functioning anarchy is exemplified when a pro-government judiciary claims to uphold the constitution as guardians of the rule of law. Logic, common sense, common law and written law insist on an inevitable collision course.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it,” warned Frederic Bastiat. Sadly, it has sprouted insidious roots.

A functioning anarchy keeps the trouble-shooters and troublemakers in each other’s crosshairs which has the potential of creating a society of transparency, responsibility and accountability where liability, ability and disability are merely musical chairs in the game of thorns.

“That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met,” observed Noam Chomsky.

Authority for the lawmakers is assured to them by the act of pushing a button in support of a law conceptualised, drafted, debated and passed in the legislature. This is another portrayal of a functioning anarchy.

And then you have people who wail about nationalism which “does nothing but teach you to hate people you never met and to take pride in accomplishments you had no part in”, surmised Doug Stanhope. Now and then the need for national unity is echoed for good measure.

When a functioning anarchy operates beyond tradition and prejudice, course corrections become necessary whether or not the government agrees and approves. The hustings hold the key in serious democracies. The ballot not the bullet is a nice political mantra.

Ownership creates theft. Laws create crimes. Primitive societies never aspired for this state of affairs. A functioning anarchy does not pretend to cure the ills of society. It thrives on challenges on a regular diehard basis regardless of the issues.

“It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle,” cautioned Alexis de Tocqueville.

Voters need a functioning anarchy to strike the right balance between unwilling bondage and willing umbrage as a measure of adjusting attitudes and reaping the benefits of providence in human societies with limited government.

The west is passionate about sensationalism in their news reporting. They pride themselves as part of the anarchist movement to keep the government within the bounds of checks and balances. In the course of such zeal, it is said that they create the news.

When the public is subjected to a responsible news-creating press enjoying constitutional guarantees and freedoms, we see a counter-revolution in values where the truth or falsity of facts are spun out of control. The ignorant get lost in the chaos while the arrogant become stronger.

The governed are becoming aware that patriotism, as Teddy Roosevelt observed, means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the Executive or any other public official.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.