Anarchy In The U.S.

I’ve been known to say a nice word or two about the concept of anarchy. If applied properly, we could organize a society into small collectives, enjoy true freedom of association, and return the worker to his place of primacy in an economic system. A loose, federalized system above it could ensure everyone has the most basic protections, as in our constitution. The United States, in theory, is a somewhat anarcho-syndical concept. Our states are like collectives, our constitution is our guarantee to fairness, and our labor is held to be sacred. We work to buy in to the American dream, if you will.

That all sounds nice, but we’ve fallen short of the bar in this republic. Our experiments in “freedom” have given rise to racism, slavery, penury, bigotry and the oppression of the worker. Freedom belongs to the landed. Freedom belongs to industry and money. Opportunity is for the few. It’s a perversion of anarchy. It guarantees no shield or safety net to the working class. The very people that anarchy is supposed to relieve the common man from are the benefactors of “freedom”.  Left to their own devices, the dominant class will always work to undermine the workers’ rights. At our best, we are furiously scribbling new laws and constitutional amendments to correct the most egregious offenses to the dignity of the many.

Anarchy is not just a progressive ideal, though. There’s a healthy type of loose control, and then there’s a pernicious type in which laws don’t matter-a frontiersman’s folly. This latter type is being exemplified by today’s right wing. It doesn’t believe in government at all, unless of course you love the wrong person or are not ready for motherhood. Don’t like gay marriage? Come on down to Texas, where we don’t give a shit what the federal courts say. Don’t like the president’s foreign policy? Congress can just make its own. Don’t like the EPA? Eh, that’s just the federal government. No need to pay attention to those regulations. Gun-crazy? Hate taxes? Become a country unto yourself!

Like it or not, government exists to stop us from acting like savages. It shields one citizen from the prejudices of another. It helps level an uneven playing field. We’d have hundreds of warring fiefdoms in place of the United States were we not a union. We should be careful what we wish for when we choose “small government”. It doesn’t have to be gargantuan, but it has to have some authority for the whole mess to work. But Republicans, libertarians and the religio-capitalist right are hell-bent on making this country someplace you really wouldn’t want to live anymore were they free to make their pipe-dreams reality. These last elections were a paleolithic step backward. I hope that the confederation of left and center understands what is at stake in 2016. Stop the anarchists. They’re coming for your rights, your air, your water, your livelihood and whatever they can get their reckless greedy little hands on.

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