A mostly left, feminist perspective of current events.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Reluctant Anarchist

Eh, that's just a cute title. I'm not even a little anarchist. Humans need government. Is our current system clunky and ineffectual at times? Definitely. Is it better than any alternative out there? Absolutely. Just look at Somalia:

Check out the recent news concerning the pollution and over-fishing of the oceans that's predicted to wipe out all marine life within one generation. How did this happen? Because without regulation, humans will wipe every species off the planet. It's Manifest Destiny run amuck.

And to those who would say that their faith gives them the right to claim all earth's creatures for their use (Genesis 1:26-28), I would say that any divine power that "created" all of the earth and its creatures surely did not intend for us to act like 3 yr old boys, destroying everything in our path just because we can.

My anarchist friends are quick to point out that because any government is inherently corrupt, society is better off governing ourselves. Do they remember history? Remember the frontier? This is what happens when we govern ourselves: we steal; we lie and cheat; we murder; the strong inherit the earth on the backs of the weak. Like any teenager, society needs boundaries with clearly delineated guidelines and consequences. Those consequences though should be a whole other blog post on how the current system of criminal justice is anything but, and I will save that for another time.

My fervent republican or crunchy hippie friends who seek autonomy and a return to a simpler existence of barter and living off the land also need government, though they would deny this tooth and nail. Maybe if we had no history, if we didn't have minorities who have been robbed from and made effectively into slaves or indentured servants for so long, then perhaps no one would just kill you for asserting that this tract of land is "yours." But you won't make people forget, nor should we wish anyone to forget history. Change cannot come from without, it must come from within. I'm recalling the words of Malcolm Reynolds in Serenity: "Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that."

Communism/Socialism also inherently do not work because of human nature. The people at the top always become tyrants and redistribute wealth unfairly. Wealth is also inherently unfair. Some who work for it have it while some don't; some who do not work for it have it and do not share. Society will never "fix" this. Government is the only thing that can.

It is this author's opinion that no single person should ever have an income exceeding $100,000. It's a sign of our incessant waste, price inflation, and greedy corporations who charge so much for food and housing that we think we need to earn so much money. We do not. I would propose that Government limit businesses to only paying their employees a capped salary. Any excess salary would be donated to charities approved by the Government, but not run by them. Businesses profiting now from these salary caps would be made to hire more employees and solve our unemployment crisis, or also donate to charities. Think of all the good we could do for curing diseases, homelessness, hunger, medical care.

It would have to be a clearly open and apparent system. There could be no secrets; no confidential files. But it also wouldn't work. The wealthy would simply move away. And we as a species are too self-serving to see the benefit of a global form of government. America, such as it is, is still our best hope as a species for one day attaining a balance of governors and citizens. Like the quote from Michael Douglas in The American President: "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.' Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the 'land of the free.'"

Alas I fear that the future will not look much different that today. Unless some divine power or environmental disaster comes along to wipe us out like the parasites we are to this planet, we will continue to cause species to go extinct, continue to deforest the rainforests, continue to abuse each other & let the sick, hungry, and poor die, because we think we earned the right to live. I have news for you. Winning isn't about who lives the longest. Cockroaches will always have you beat 10:1.

I want to close with a quote from Battlestar Galatica when Cylon Sharon Boomer speaks to Admiral Adama, the man charged with saving humanity from the robots and from themselves: "You said, 'Man never asked itself why it should survive.' Maybe you don't."

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