Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Anarchy in our time

Been listening to a podcast called “In our time”, which is hosted by Melvyn Bragg. I used to listen to this show on radio 4 quite some years ago in the mornings. Maybe I should start again, because I have just finished listening to a show on anarchism shown on the site here, I certainly enjoyed it. I must state though that “In our Time” does not break you into the subject gently. I have a feeling you might need to know the basics about the subject criteria before you listen in.

I will not go into the findings of the show too deeply because there are is a lot mentioned about the show on the BBC’s podcast archive. Still I was fascinated by the subject content. Here, we go through what many famous thinkers thought about this style of government. That’s if you could even call anarchism a government, because anarchism is basically rule without a ruler.

Anarchism did start off in milder terms where absolutism and despotism was rife and it was easy to see why people rebelled and wanted rule without a government. We had famous names like John Locke stating that there are some laws which anarchists should disobey, although it is noted that John Locke is more of a rational anarchist. “In Our Time” also mentions other famous names like Peter Kropotkin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Godwin and Karl Marx.

Anarchy now seems to have gotten itself a bad name now days since it is usually associated with lawlessness, riots and the all for all mentality. Why has this been the case?

The show briefly runs through great events where types of anarchy have appeared. We have the French revolution plus Spanish and English civil wars. We also have serious arguments for and against anarchy. Some of the questions against anarchy are quite easy to spot by the following questions.
  • If there is no ruler, then after a while there will be modes of conflicts for who will be the central authority or who is to state whose idea is right or whose is wrong.

  • The problem of virtue, as there is no overall universal moral law

  • The problem where Hobbes mentioned why there is a need for a social contract.