Dialogue with freeze43 on anarchy, part IV
While there is somewhat of a rebranding for atheism, I would have to say that anarchy has a lot more to gain from doing so. [...] If you agree with me in saying that culturally, anarchy is related to chaos and menace, then surely rebranding a more neutral title is going to be easier to promote in the long run?
My point in comparing anarchism’s branding problem to that of atheism was to illustrate that it is possible to see a significant, positive shift in the emotional undertone of a word. I agree that anarchy is associated with chaos and menace, just as the word atheism was half a century ago. Today, in most circles at least, atheism has shed this burden and is now serving its proper role: a simple, perhaps even dry description of a position on a certain topic. My claim is that anarchism has just as much to gain as atheism from such a rebranding, and that it’s just as possible and desireable.
I would disagree that the anarchy variant of schooling would be a better option.
Your choice of words here is telling. The schooling scenario I described in my previous post was not the ‘anarchist variant of schooling’, but a personal speculation. An ‘anarchist kind of schooling’ is about as meaningful as a ‘communist kind of cake recipe’: a political system might define the context in which such a thing happens, and even the ingredients available to go into it, but it does not dictate the shape the thing will take. The only sure features of an ‘anarchist school system’ would be that nobody is being forced to do anything though the threat of violence; the rest is up to the free market.
With that in mind, let’s look at your disagreement with my predictions:
Employers are going to have a hard time differentiating between students when schools are so different, even if they are in the same subject matter; especially if there’s no national/worldwide system for controlling such a ‘system’.
In the world as it is today, education and accreditation are closely intertwined. Students attend classes in the same institution in which they sit exams. This may or may not be the best system; as you say, the free market will decide. It’s always seemed strange to me, however, that we take it for granted. There’s no obvious reason why the two must be so tightly linked. If you look at a domain in which they are not linked, for example private tutoring to prepare for exams such as the HSC or SAT, competition is fierce: education providers must compete on the basis of how well they prepare students for exams. This kind of competition can only be a good thing for the students.
I don’t see any reason why accreditation services – those who set the exams and certify students – should not likewise compete to be the best at helping employers decide between applicants. You would need some very convincing evidence to argue that a monopoly in education or accreditation would be a net benefit, knowing as we do the depressive effect of monopolies on product quality and value.
How does property, in particular land property, work? Is there a represented title-deed that can’t be exchanged unless consensual by the owner of that deed? How can you ensure in an anarchy that property lines are properly acknowledged?
The details of this are important, but probably not as important as you think. How do we ensure that property lines are acknowledged under statism? In our everyday lives, we rarely have honest disputes over the ownership of property. Under anarchy, the institutions who help us settle these rare disputes will simply be private instead of public. The basis of such judgement will, as today, probably come down to boring technicalities (although these will be contractual rather than legal). The exceedingly rare truly difficult cases will be hard to solve, but it’s not like the existence of a state makes them any easier.
Another thing is the judiciary system. How does one punish criminals? Let say that a murderer kills a member of a family- does that family have the right to kill the murderer?
As usual, there’s no “correct answer”. I’ll defer to great thinkers past and present on the different ways private justice systems can be implemented; at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the market will decide which work best.
Is there a worthwhile court system that isn’t based on a judgement by the people or nationally-held laws?
What makes those nationally-held laws worthwhile? Proponents of justice as it stands today like the fact that consistent, universally applicable laws seem to guarantee fair judgement. Lady Justice is depicted blindfolded and holding a set of scales, implying that justice is somehow free of human prejudice. What is left out of the equation is how these laws are created in the first place under a democratic state. There is nothing blind, even-handed or fair about a majority of people granting themselves the right to elect an elite with the power to make and violently enforce laws – and even then that same elite often ignores the will of those who elected them. No matter how impartially they are applied, laws which say you can be thrown in a cage for what you choose to put in your own body or do with your own property are wrong.
People won’t always agree on everything, but anarchism sets a fairly simple standard for moral decisions: don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff. Any private provider of justice should be able to implement that, and those which do so poorly will soon find themselves without customers.