"The threat of people acting in their own enlightened and rational self-interest strikes bureaucrats, politicians and social workers as ominous and dangerous." ~ W.G. Hill
The Advantage of Panarchy
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
The crucial advantage of Panarchy is that it converts aggressive violence into defense.
Most people on the Internet tend to “stick with their own kind”; for example, liberals read only sites like Daily Kos. However, when they venture out and run into those of different persuasions, you always see a battle of competing arguments, and the participants are quite earnest about it. There is a reason for this.
Persuasion is the preferred tool, but behind every utterance is the implied threat: “If I can’t persuade you of the validity of my preferred worldview, I will impose it on you, or help others impose it on you.” They all grab for the cudgel of political power. Every persuasion hides--but not very well--the threat of plunder and oppression.
Needless to say, everyone perceives this latent threat, at least subliminally. That is why such conversations go nowhere. The participants are not about to seriously entertain the arguments of their opponents when aggressive violence is in the offing.
The above applies even to advocates of Liberty, who have not yet deduced that they must also be proponents of Panarchy. Yes, they will say things like, “Liberty is not an imposition, but the removal of impositions,” trying to make the case that they should not be threatening to others. But I can assure you, visions of Libertopia where everybody must conform to the Non-Agression Principle certainly can be threatening to others. How else to explain the concerns about anarchy, or the unwillingness to let anarchists give it a try?
The advantage of Panarchy, again, is that it converts aggressive violence into defense. That is, anyone who argues from a position of Panarchy cannot be taken as someone trying to grab that cudgel of power. There is no latent threat behind the argument, especially when an advocate of Panarchy states (and should state if he has any sense) that liberals should get what liberals want, conservative should get what they want, and so forth. How can anyone be threatened by the statement, that they should get what they want?
No one else says such things.
Of course, liberals and others may immediately realize that with Panarchy, some may escape the plunder they intend (e.g., “Who will feed the poor if the non-poor can’t be plundered?”). But there are two important things about that: 1) They may also, themselves, escape the plunder and oppression that their opponents intend for them, and 2) That the position of Panarchy is a defensive one, and people naturally take the side of defenders over aggressors--not consistently of course; but it takes a lot of propaganda to swerve them from their natural tendency.
Defense is a much better position to, well, defend. It turns everyone against it, into obvious aggressors. Now, looting and oppression must be justified; and that is difficult to do.
Panarchy is good for everyone, not just for anarchists. It makes you a defender rather than an aggressor, and puts you on the side of the angels--in everyone’s eyes, not just your own.