Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In defence of anarchy

Let me tell you a story today - the story of a totally immoral, debauched, greedy and sectarian person. This is an opportunist, who breaks his promises at will, who changes the rules of the game unilaterally - to suit himself, and while he pretends to be a modern day Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to pay the poor, in actuality the poor never see the money that he collects on their behalf.

Before I proceed any further let me tell you some characteristics of this guy.

*He extorts money from people.
*He does this claiming that he's going to help the poor and then he goes and spends all the money for himself.
*He spreads rumours about people of one religion/race/ethnicity in front of other religions/ races/ ethnicities and creates infighting between them.
*He incites people against one another, to such an extent that they even get ready to kill each other.
*He claims his right to everything you own.
*He doesn't let you live your own life your way, instead keeps telling you what to do and what not to do. In the words of George Orwell he often functions as the "thought police" and uses his goons to preach his version of moral behavior and enforce his "morality" on everyone.
*He forces people to pay him for favours they don't want and which, in the end, he doesn't grant
*Everyone hates him, but he's so powerful and his promise of doling out largesse, so potent that most people who hate him, invest in his evil company of thugs.
*He's such a swine, that he legally attacks unarmed victims and people who oppose him are incarcerated or handed out other similar punishment.
*His company, guarded by thugs and looters, doesn't allow respectable & hard-working people to operate in his area and forces people to buy essential commodities from him, since he's the sole supplier. He in effect creates a monopoly and artificially decreases supply and inflates prices solely for benefitting his thuggish supporters who run such enterprises.
*This guy and his friends have killed, looted, raped, burnt, molested, threatened, murdered, conspired and connived people for years and yet, no one dares to rise against him.

NO friends I am not alluding to Dawood Ibrahim and his gang. I am talking about what most of us know as, "The Government". The Government which in Lincoln's words is "by the people, for the people, of the people"; but which in today's terms does so much harm all the time, without fail that people are inured to it. If two or more alternatives are available, we can count on the Government to choose the most unsavory one, ostensibly in "the larger interests of the people" , but actually for the sole purpose of creating vote banks. And where such considerations do not apply, government action is characterised by ad hocism, meanness or plain indifference.

Governments are supposed to collect taxes from the citizenry (depending on certain criteria) and use those taxes for general welfare. A story comes to mind regarding the government's collection of taxes and its usage.

"Once a passer-by sees two people working in a field. One person digs a hole and the other fills it up. He is surprised at the strange nature of their enterprise, and unable to hide his astonishment, he approaches the workers and asks them about task. One of the workers' says " Three of us had been hired to plant trees on this land. To save time we divided our work in the following way. One person would dig the hole. The second person would place the sapling in the hole, and the third person would fill up the hole with dirt. Today the second person is absent. But we see no reason why we should stop working.""

Government's tax collection works in the same way. Their tax collection department is quite efficient, and the finance ministry burns the midnight oil nightly to come up with new and innovative taxes every year. However, not even a fraction of the thought or the effort goes into spending that tax amount for citizen welfare. Way back in 1986, the then Prime Minister had said in the Lok Sabha, to protests of righteous indignation, that only 15 paise of every rupee spent by the Government reaches its target audience. We can safely assume that that figure of 15 paise per rupee has further declined. Ad yet the Government steadfastly refuses to relax its stranglehold on public life which can reduce corruption and introduce some probity in public life.

Most people (mistakenly) think that an absence of government would lead to rampant lawlessness, social disorder and (horror of horrors) anarchy. Why is anarchy such a bad word? Will anarchy lead to more or less social disorder than is now present? Are the enormous amount of resources that are currently invested in the government, and which lead to an artificial order being imposed from the top, justified for the sole prupose of preventing the society from slipping into anarchy? Is the social cost of anarchy greater than the cost of maintaining a dysfunctional government, which in any case leads to oppression of the poor, and results in creation of a society based on flawed principles? Bankuin
spoke of this when he attacked "official" authority, but defended "natural influence", and also when he said:

"Do you want to make it impossible for anyone to oppress his fellow-man? Then make sure that no one shall possess power." [The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, p. 271]

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was famous for his quips (such as "property is theft") and took to himself the word anarchy. As if his purpose were to shock as much as possible, in 1840 he engaged in the following dialogue with the "Philistine".

"You are a republican."
"Republican, yes; but that means nothing. Res publica is 'the State.' Kings, too, are republicans."
"Ah well! You are a democrat?"
"What! Perhaps you are a monarchist?"
"Constitutionalist then?"
"God forbid."
"Then you are an aristocrat?"
"Not at all!"
"You want a mixed form of government?"
"Even less."
"Then what are you?"
"An Anarchist."
Considering the obvious failure of all forms of governance at all levels of human society, and the obviously human and flawed nature of those who govern us (elected or unelected), I think its time we did away with all forms of governance. Consider, that democracy is by another name "tyranny of the majority", and as Ayn Rand had said "The smallest minority on the Earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities".


oracle said...

Shall we privatise government .
Say put a tender and folow the due process?

Fawkes said...

Must say your idea has merit! Start with privatising the police, which is at the root of all atrocities in the country

Oracle said...

No not again. Why do people corner the Police everytime. Maybe it is the most visible arm of the Government. I guess the Rot is evenly spread and equally shared by each wing of Indian democracy and yes the mighty(??) voter is implicated to

Fawkes said...

Its the police not because police is the most visible arm of the Government, but rather because its the most potent symbol of State led repression of the marginal sections of society. We can hope for no respite unless and until the police is sanitised (for lack of a better term) and purged of pro government forces.

The government uses police to lathicharge students of AIIMS who are holding a peaceful protest march against reservations. Police is again used to beat up Tibetan protesters against Chinese atrocities. Police is used to file spurious cases against the opposition, and slow pedal the existing cases against stakeholders in government. But the same police does not lift a finger to stop Leftist and Islamist excesses while protesting against George Bush's India visit.

The surest way to break the power of the State is to make the police neutral. It should not remain in the stranglehold of the Home Ministry. And when I say police, I mean police + the CBI and maybe the IB too.

Anonymous said...

Like Blackwater in Iraq? ;)

Jace said...

Well written article.