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What Does
Authority Do
For People?

By Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Terrorism" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: September 22, 2009
Finish Date: September 22, 2009

"...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."
          --Errico Malatesta, 1897
          "Anarchism and Organization"

     What is it that authority does for people? If a group of people decide to cooperate, how do they differ from a group of people who have an authority? The first argument is that it provides them with order. It provides a system where the violence of the state can protect the individual rights of its citizens. This was Thomas Hobbes' ideal of the state; and it is the same reasoning of Nationalists who seek a "strong, centralized" government to protect their people.

     Consider a group of three individuals. If one of them decides to be the authority of the others, does this really improve their security? Does it magically provide them with weapons, immediately give them training, or does it fortify their dwellings? None of these things. It simply makes one the master of the others -- whether this mastery is reformed or absolute, elected or inherited, whether it is a Capitalist barking orders or a senator signing a bill.

     Authority's argument is that leaders are more capable of making these decisions. But, the people themselves must live with the decisions. They must suffer invasion if fortifications are not made, and they must endure grinding labor to build fifty-foot, marble walls. In these decisions, as well as in all other social decisions, the masters effect the lives of each individual. It is the common person who must suffer for it, whether the social order does too much or too little; whether it risks invasion or whether they are being abused in a violent, security culture.

     The common individual, having every interest in the decision-making, is the only social unit that can be trusted with it. They must suffer the order of society, and must explain the world they have created to their children. Only the common laborers, masters of productivity, can be the ones trusted to preserve and cherish society. It is certain that this group of people can decide the level of weapons they need, the training required, and how much each should provide to sustain the militia.

     Consider the approach of governments in the past. They have thrown their people into meaningless wars, they have choked the earth with toxins; tortured millions, burned libraries, and stolen land. In fulfilling their obligation of "serving the people," these governments naturally offend the human conscience.

"We should then see the multitude oppressed from within, in consequence of the very precautions it had taken to guard against foreign tyranny. We should see oppression continually gain ground without it being possible for the oppressed to know where it would stop, or what legitimate means was left them of checking its progress. We should see the rights of citizens, and the freedom of nations slowly extinguished, and the complaints, protests and appeals of the weak treated as seditious murmurings. We should see the honour of defending the common cause confined by statecraft to a mercenary part of the people. We should see taxes made necessary by such means, and the disheartened husbandman deserting his fields even in the midst of peace, and leaving the plough to gird on the sword. We should see fatal and capricious codes of honour established; and the champions of their country sooner or later becoming its enemies, and for ever holding their daggers to the breasts of their fellow-citizens."
          --Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1754
          "A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Among Men," Second Part

     A nation may have a culture that is historically racist and Xenophobic. Its people my express their irrational hate by discrimination at their place of employment, by hurtful and ignorant language, and even vicious attacks. But all of this does not compare at all to what the government of these people would do.

     The slavery of the South, the genocide of the Jews, the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine, the forced removals of Native Americans -- the massacring of Nanking in China and Novgorod in Russia and My Lai in Vietnam and Guernica in Spain and Rwanda in Africa. Everywhere across the world, there are racial and cultural tensions, of every degree. But only where these people wield a strong government does this hate explode into genocide.

     Governments naturally offend the people. Prison, death squads, torture, laws, exploitation, and censorship. There are still places on the planet where religion is governed, where conscience is barred. If the government is trying to stop something, is this stopping it, or does it only worsen the situation?

     Where the state has gone after prostitutes, the prostitutes have found a way to evade persecution. Where it has gone after Mormons, Jesuits, Baptists, Hindus, or Buddhists, it has only irritated the group -- it has only worsened the situation, and deepened the tensions. Instead of actually censoring the group, the government makes the people hide, it makes them turn within -- it makes them less trustworthy, it makes them more suspicious. In a way, it does a perversion to their character, softening their sharp points and dirtying the reflection.

     This is the effect of government, whether it has gone after prostitutes, Mormons, immigrants, drug users, or writers. The state does not have the effect of eradicating its target; it only worsens the situation. The people have always provided the material and blood for civil defense, and all that is necessary for order. Ambitious politicians just deepen and exploit the worst prejudices of the people, creating discrimination in one era and genocide in another. All people are far more improved in their happiness, their security, their liberty, and their personal development, where they choose cooperation instead of authority.

"...the triumph of humanity can be realized only through the destruction of the States."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~1870's
          "The Immorality of the State"


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