April 14, 2010

Reading this thing:

“If force be interposed in any of these three cases [monarchy, aristocracy, democracy], it must either frame the government to the foundation, or the foundation to the government; or holding the government not according to balance, it is not natural, but violent; and therefore if it be at the devotion of a prince, it is tyranny; if at the devotion of the few, oligarchy; or if in the power of the people, anarchy.”

Which made think. Nowadays, what with democracy being so ubiquitous and market failure leading to what can only be seen with great difficulty as little more than anarchy, to be an anarchist is to be astute, for sure, but no different from any other astute person, no matter their concern with the world. What we’re getting at, really, is not a form of governance, but something that can in theory be, has at times been, and is in places, common to all forms of polity. But this means that some contexts do indeed require that je-ne-sais-quoi to come from our perspective. This perspective is a sensibility to what is and what could be. And indeed, the world can be seen as a state without government, or stateless governance,  ruled by no one: not, realistically, a group of people, and hardly a large mass of people. More people than ever before are actors, mostly in their being affected and thus affecting, or vice-versa, in a shared political scene. If  anarchy it is, then so is it anarchism. Embroidery between incongruent threads makes for incoherent patterns. Much can be made sense of if the battle between forms of government are disentangled for what they are, of which one can learn a great deal about from observing encounters among ourselves.


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