To what extent is a future stateless society an anarchist fantasy? 45 Marks Essay
To what extent is a future stateless society an anarchist fantasy? 45 Marks
Anarchists believe strongly in natural order, which is the idea that people can organise themselves. Godwin stated that we are rational creatures who can make their own decisions. This idea supports the fact that a stateless society isn’t a fantasy because anarchists believe that if the state were to be abolished, we can use reason to make decisions explain why we made that decision. Anarchist’s belief in economic freedom also supports the view that a stateless society isn’t a fantasy because without the state, individuals can make their own wealth.
Collectivist anarchists similarly believe in common ownership which means that it isn’t just one person that owns property or land, rather it is a group of people that own this in a collection. Individualist anarchists believe in complete laissez faire, free market and being allowed to own your own property. They believe that there is no reason for state involvement in the ownership of property because we are autonomous creatures. One sub strand of the anarchist ideology which supports the idea of state free society not being a fantasy is anti-clericalism. Anarchists regard religion as an institutionalised source of oppression. The church and state are linked with religion, preaching obedience to rulers while also preaching a set of reliable values that rob us of moral independence.
One core belief of anarchism is Anti-statism. This is the opposition to state intervention into personal, social and economic affairs. Anarchists believe that authority is an offense against the principles of liberty and equality and that we are free autonomous creatures who should treat each other with respect and sympathy. They believe that the power of one person over another enslaves, oppresses and limits human life. The anarchist idea of a utopia supports the fact that a future stateless society is not an anarchist fantasy.
The idea of a utopian society creates a model that can be compared to society. A utopian society would consist of individuals having absolute freedom, which can coexist with social harmony and natural order. There would be no war or conflict and would allow everyone to have complete freedom. Utopians criticize existing order, such as the state as they say that they restrict people’s autonomy and stop them from being able to be free to do what they want. Although critiques argue that a utopian society isn’t possible, anarchists argue that we can still achieve some it this through private healthcare, private schooling and private police (neighbourhood watch).
However, other ideologies would say that this idea is purely a fantasy and is impossible. Conservatives believe that the state upholds tradition and helps to enable social order. They believe that humans are selfish individuals and need law and order to prevent chaos. They believe that anarchist are too optimistic on human nature and a stateless society would be a threat to social order due to the fact that humans are imperfect and dependent and therefore seek security from the state. In addition, liberals would argue against the idea of a stateless society and would agree too that the anarchist idea is a fantasy because they strongly believe that the state is a necessary evil
This means that the state is able to protect individual’s human rights, however it is evil and so believe a constitution limits state power to prevent it from becoming too powerful. They would argue that a stateless society is an anarchist fantasy because the state is needed to protect human rights and by taking this away, there is a threat of individual’s freedoms affecting the freedom of others and would lead to chaos. Socialists would also argue that the state is important and therefore this idea is a fantasy because they believe that it is vital in aiding equality among individuals. The state helps to improve people’s lives through the welfare state, progressive taxes and the NHS. Without this, the gap between class divisions will increase and could impact the freedom and equality that everyone has.
However, the two strands of anarchism do have different beliefs, while some reject the state completely as well as ruler ship in general, others belief that there is a need for some state intervention. The categories of anti-statism are sometimes classed as one extreme, collectivists and the other extreme, individualists. Collectivists believe in communes, the principle of working together in being the only way for everyone to get what they want and that property should be owned by the community, whereas individualists believe in completely working by yourself to achieve your own personal goals. An unrestricted free market is the best way forward and that our ultimate goal is unlimited sovereignty.
The idea of a future stateless society is considered to be an anarchist fantasy to some extent because all ideologies construct a model to give an alternative to what we have now. This may not be realistic when comparing it to a society which has a state and government purely because we can’t imagine how we could live without any constraints from the state, however many of the anarchist ideas have been used such as having a free market. It is important to note that we haven’t always lived in a society that is run by the state and limits people’s freedoms, and so it can be argued that there is always the possibility of living in a society like this, where individuals can self-govern.