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Government: Who Needs It?
Posted: 21 January 2007 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 76 ]
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Huh?

Doug said:

Where exactly are these “egalitarian anarchist” societies, then?

There have been these in various parts of our history, including those who Doug Fry examines in his book, The Human Potential for Peace.  But truly anarchist in the sense I am talking about… not very many, I suppose… Maybe not any.  But then again, there were no representitive democracies before 1776 either   :wink:

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Posted: 21 January 2007 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 77 ]
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Fry responds to Smith

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Does Fry then believe that the people involved in the Cow Creek massacre were a state-level society? Or is he just concerned with dates? And what about the Iroquois? Or the other examples and arguments I have cited?

He knows as well as I that the amount of evidence of any sort about the ways humans died is very sketchy before the last 10,000 years. To that extent, it seems to me the best epistemic course of action is to reserve judgment. But at any rate we do have good evidence that violent death was far from unknown in pre-state societies, and perhaps was even more common than today.

I repeat my claim that the distinction between warfare and murder is semantics when it comes down to the issue of whether or not one would want to live in such a society. Violent death is violent death, equally undesirable under whatever description.

But just to be clear, I am sure there are anthropologically interesting differences between these phenomena, and that they are deserving of study. It simply appears we are talking past one another. I am interested in the simple phenomenon of violent death, and claim that inhabitants in pre-modern, pre-state societies were at least as likely to die from violence as inhabitants in modern societies are.

And then there is the issue of average lifespan, which has demonstrably increased in modern state-level societies (indeed, in the 19th and 20th centuries, due to the advances of modern science) over any pre-modern society.

“One point that comes immediately to mind is the variability in levels of peacefulness and violence across societies in general, but especially in this context across the simple nomadic hunter-gatherers.  I’m sure you recall the “peacefulness-to-aggressiveness” continuum.  If we do turn to the nomadic hunter-gatherers, we find with such low levels of aggression and homicide that they certainly would be just as safe as living in a modern state (again variation among modern states, of course), if not safer.

“(There are) some examples from The Human Potential for Peace.  Recall the Paliyan with their ethos of nonviolence.  Other examples of the very peaceful nomadic hunter-gatherer would be the Semang and Batek, for instance. Other such groups could be classifed as being located a notch or two along the continuum, such as the Montagnais or the Siriono.

“Homicides are not very common, but have been recorded. And so it continues. We have the Netsilik Inuit, for instance, or the Yahgan, where homicides are periodic. Recall that the Netsilik have a lot of comptetion for women, since women are in relatively short supply due to the traditional practice of female infanticide.

“So, my point is that some nomadic foragers are very timid and nonviolent, others a bit more aggressive, and some others even more so. (We have already been over the fact that nomadic forages as a type of society are not warlike). There are probably a variety of reasons for this variation regarding homicides and other forms of physical aggression. So one’s chance of dying a violent death in the nomadic h-g type of society is variable, just as one’s chance of dying due to violence in a modern state is variable (compare homicide rates in the US and Norway, for instance).

“Clearly there are ways to augment violence in society, on the one hand, or to reduce violence, on the other hand, in society. In a book that I co-edit with Graham Kemp (Keeping the Peace, 2004), anthropologists
specifically address how societies with very low levels of violence
manage to accomplish this goal—how they “keep the peace” in other
words.” - Doug Fry

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Posted: 21 January 2007 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 78 ]
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Sorry Barry, but I believe that “egalitarian anarchy” is an oxymoron.

Anarchy means that there are no rules anyone has to live by.  As such, the basic survival drive of self-interest will govern behavior.  Since people have different capabilities and vulnerabilities some will quickly become dominant and some be driven into submission, and that’s not egalitarian.

Occam

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Posted: 22 January 2007 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 79 ]
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Re: Fry responds to Smith

[quote author=“Fry”]So one’s chance of dying a violent death in the nomadic h-g type of society is variable, just as one’s chance of dying due to violence in a modern state is variable (compare homicide rates in the US and Norway, for instance).

Exactly. It seems we are in agreement.

:wink:

And I do think that Occam’s pretty much hit the nail on the head. Well put. Particularly so when it comes to the long run, and to larger and denser populations.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 80 ]
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but….

Fry wrote:
So one’s chance of dying a violent death in the nomadic h-g type of society is variable, just as one’s chance of dying due to violence in a modern state is variable (compare homicide rates in the US and Norway, for instance). 

Doug said:
Exactly. It seems we are in agreement.

Yeah, but Fry and I were not talking about one or two violent deaths, we were talking about war.

On another note, have you given thought to why the killing rate in the US is far, far above the rate in any other Western country (or in Japan)?

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Posted: 22 January 2007 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 81 ]
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anarchism can be egalitarian

Occam said:
Sorry Barry, but I believe that “egalitarian anarchy” is an oxymoron.

Anarchy means that there are no rules anyone has to live by. As such, the basic survival drive of self-interest will govern behavior. Since people have different capabilities and vulnerabilities some will quickly become dominant and some be driven into submission, and that’s not egalitarian.


This is NOT what anarchism means.

Wikipedia:  “Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of doctrines and attitudes centered on rejection of any form of compulsory government (cf. “state”) and supporting its elimination. The term “anarchism” is derived from the Greek αναρχία (“without archons” or “without rulers”). Thus “anarchism,” in its most general meaning, is the belief that all forms of rulership (and thus also involuntary servitude) are undesirable and should be abolished.”

There are several forms of anarchism, and a few may deserve the “chaos” definition or the one you give it, but most are NOT about ‘anything goes’ or a sort of no-government free-market idea like that of some American Libertarians ... all boiling down to our self-interest, as if self-interest is humanity’s basic nature as Dawkins and Pinker argue.

That would indeed not be egalitarian. 

Most anarchists are market abolitionists, for one, and most argue for anarchism in the libertarian-socialist sense where there is structure and order, and there are institutions (of sort) which are part of a non-hierarchal form of governence.

More from Wilipedia: “While many varieties of socialism emphasize the role of the state or political party in promoting liberty and social justice, libertarian socialists place their hopes in trade unions, workers’ councils, municipalities, citizens’ assemblies, and other non-bureaucratic, decentralized means of action.”
“Anarchy is not chaos, but order with out control.” - David Layson

“I would say anarchism is the attempt to eradicate all forms of domination.  This includes not only such obvious forms as the nation-state, with its routine use of violence and the force of law, and the corporation, with its institutionalized irresponsibility, but also such internalized forms as patriarchy, racism, homophobia.  Beyond that, anarchism is the attempt to look even into those parts of our everyday lives we accept as givens, as parts of the universe, to see how they, too, dominate us or facilitate our domination of others.

“But has a condition ever existed in which relations have not been based on domination?  That was the human condition for at least 99 percent of our existence as a species, from before the emergence of Homo sapiens, at least a couple of million years ago, until perhaps only 10,000 years ago, with the emergence of first agriculture and then civilization.

“Since that time we have worked very hard to convince ourselves that no such condition ever existed, because if no such condition ever existed, it’s futile to work toward it now. We may as well then accept the repression and subjugation that define our way of living as necessary antidotes to “evil human nature.”

“After all, according to this line of thought, our pre-civilized existence of deprivation, brutality, and ignorance made authority a benevolent gift that rescued us from savagery.” - John Zerzan (  )

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Posted: 22 January 2007 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 82 ]
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The thing that keeps getting glossed over in this discussion is: Church and State, Religion and Government have been until very recently, no more than two sides of the same coin. The god king, the president, big difference? They both use fear and dogma to control the individual, to meet the aims they have decided for the group. The very recent attempt to separate the two sides has met with a low degree of success and certainly more than a fair share of failure.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 83 ]
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Re: but….

[quote author=“Barry”]Yeah, but Fry and I were not talking about one or two violent deaths, we were talking about war.

True enough—war is hell. But the basic issue is the percentage chance for any given individual to die a violent death during their lifetime. War kills many people, but OTOH it occurs in high population societies. Murder may kill fewer, but if it happens often in low-density societies it can be more dangerous. It all depends on the statistics.

[quote author=“Barry”]On another note, have you given thought to why the killing rate in the US is far, far above the rate in any other Western country (or in Japan)?

Part of it I expect has to do with the insane gun laws in the US (which are NOT backed up by the second amendment). Part of it has to do with the unjustifiable income inequality. Part of it is probably other causes of which I am unaware ... I certainly would never claim that the US is the ‘best’ state level society to live in. European health care, to take but one example, is much more fairly distributed.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 84 ]
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Re: but….

[quote author=“dougsmith”][European health care, to take but one example, is much more fairly distributed.

On a side note I read somewhere recently a biting critique of this claim. The argument was that if Europe (and Canada) couldn’t rely on American defense spending it would not have the funds for its social programs.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 85 ]
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Right on!

cgallaga said:

The thing that keeps getting glossed over in this discussion is: Church and State, Religion and Government have been until very recently, no more than two sides of the same coin. The god king, the president, big difference?

Right on, man… Right on!  I, have not overlooked that.  We would not NEED an “establishment clause” in an inclusive democracy build on libertarain socialistic anarchism!

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Posted: 22 January 2007 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 86 ]
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Doug said:

Part of it I expect has to do with the insane gun laws in the US (which are NOT backed up by the second amendment). Part of it has to do with the unjustifiable income inequality.


Yes, but Canada has guns too.. lots of them.  The income situation IS a factor, I agree, but I think also its the fear built up in this country by our leaders and the corporations which own them (and us).  Also, if these “leaders” show us the best way to deal with conflict is to invade, kill, war upon, bomb, etc.. that will influence individuals when they come into conflict with one another or the state.  Of course, the existance of the military and the police - which imply that people are no good and have to be watched and protected from each other - in a society which screws people so much that this idea becomes somewhat true - is another reason for the violence too.

PS:  See M. Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine.

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Posted: 22 January 2007 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 87 ]
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Re: but….

[quote author=“dougsmith”]Part of it I expect has to do with the insane gun laws in the US (which are NOT backed up by the second amendment).

I agree with the statement but maybe not with your intended meaning.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

To me and many, this gives the people who keep and bear arms the right and obligation to regulate the militia. However, even if you disagree with that the last section is unequivocal in its clarity, and all federal gun laws are not only insane but directly opposed to the second amendment.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 88 ]
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Re: but….

[quote author=“cgallaga”]To me and many, this gives the people who keep and bear arms the right and obligation to regulate the militia. However, even if you disagree with that the last section is unequivocal in its clarity, and all federal gun laws are not only insane but directly opposed to the second amendment.

This is a misreading.

The second amendment clearly states that the right of the people to bear arms is done because a “well regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free State”. The intent of it was to stop the government from hiring mercenary soldiers from other countries to do their war-fighting for them.

The constitutional framers were worried about this possibility because in the past those same foreign mercenaries were then often used by centralized governments to repress the people.

So the meaning of the passage is that people have the right to bear arms in a well regulated militia. Not as citizens outside of such a militia.

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Posted: 23 January 2007 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 89 ]
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Am I supposed to accept this rendering on your authority?

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Posted: 23 January 2007 01:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 90 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]Am I supposed to accept this rendering on your authority?

Of course!

LOL  LOL  LOL

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