Anarchy as a Middle Class Mind Game


Apparently, Johnny Rotten's lyrics about anarchy were conscious posturing.

The bit about the roads at the end references a common sore spot whenever people discuss anarchy. While the 'who will build the roads' argument has been hammered to death by people both in favor and people against anarchism, one could rather look at it metaphorically. When viewed in this light, it's an important point.

'Roads' simply represent the part of reality that all of us inevitably share. There are certainly many very good arguments against government, but there will never be a good argument against sovereignty.

Sovereignty arises out of the social arrangement. If the social arrangement is unstable or week, you might have a combination of anarchy or tyranny, or one giving way to the other as they often do throughout history (the Spanish Revolution is an apt example here).

The simple fact is that some people are going to be more adept at organizing a harmonious society, just as some people are better businessmen or better athletes. Anarchism could work contingently, possibly on a small island or in an isolated community among people who all have the exact same standards for themselves and for one another, but it wouldn't work all that well beyond that. Eventually, leaders come to the front. This happens even in anarchistic circles, unless they fall apart due to everyone realizing that no leaders ultimately amounts to no organization in the long run. The preferable situation would be to make it easy for people who are adept at leadership as such to rise to the top, rather than just letting people who lust for power in itself, even if only in its most destructive, least harmonious forms walk all over everyone else. There is no one ideology that can lay claim to how best to do this. It could come about in any number of ways, though we certainly don't have the best way of doing it now.

The 'middle class mind game' spoken of by Lydon in the video above represents a certain feeling: one feels free when the law is not a burden - when it is there to protect them rather than dictate the way they should act.

We need not an absence of law, but a coherence, a symmetry of law which changes as seldom as possible. This is how we're able to determine how safe the streets will be in our community. Most reasonably sane parents are certainly not going to be okay with pederasts walking the streets where their children play, or going in to safe spaces for children. Most people don't want justice to be a matter of petty emotions and he-said she-said - an objective court system with an absolute function is necessary. Even if this didn't exist, people create their own security systems out of thin air. Monkeys even apply social pressure when something doesn't go right with a bad apple in the group. Anarchism is no different - it's simply another form of government, or sovereignty rather, which is simply less efficient at security and creating harmony than other kinds of social organization.

The best kind of sovereignty is not that which governs least but that which governs in accordance with what is natural to a given situation.