Weird, I consider my ideal world to look anarchist, but I support the idea of the state? More political quizzes with I Side With have shown me that I’m more authoritarian than I thought (not thoroughly, but a bit more than on the Political Compass) On the balance of small/big government, I keep coming up strongly for big government, which just shocks me. The most effective arena for expressing personal sovereignty is local, face-to-face, grass-roots government. What have I been doing wrong? I think I know, the quizzes present me with the “state” option, issues of politics on a national scale, and of course I give my answers in respect to that.
My philosophy here is “if it exists, make use of it”. The state exists, it has its function, might as well take advantage of its existence, right? It’s the world we live in, it’s the way most politics works. The basic sovereign unit is the nation-state, it’s how everything is organised. The highest political organisation in the world is the United Nations, not United Regions/Municipalities/Citizens. Going against this seems a tiny bit like a water pistol taking on the ocean. Just call me a defeatist anarchist, or a “biding-my-time” anarchist.
And if we abolish the state? Chaos. People are used to the idea of “the State”, take that reference away is a recipe for much confusion. I’m a sucker for stability, and replacing the current status quo with anarchy just won’t work, people aren’t ready for it, they aren’t psychologically equipped to exist in a world where they must think independently, rationally, ecologically and cooperatively. But governments will have to do this for them (in so much as they are capable of it). The government exists as a compensation for what the citizenry is not yet ready to do, but the more they do it, the more empowered they become and the more irrelevant big government becomes. I envision this as a gradual phasing out or displacement as opposed to a revolutionary abolition and replacement. Its roots lie in the education of the people, which is a looooooong process – 500 years? It also requires a more hands-on approach to local politics instead of delegating it more and more “upwards”. I voted for the UK to remain in the EU, not because I believe in the multi-national bloc, but because I see it as a better opportunity to have stability, social justice and learn cooperation.
I like the state – having lived in two – since I feel that it has given me a relative sense of security and the freedom to pursue my interests and live the life I want. Any form of government or non-government can be corrupted by anyone with a will to do so. The democratic nation-state seems to be the best way of neutralising this tendency, and giving a relative sense of freedom and security. This sort of space also gives freedom to experiment with other political forms. Whilst this status quo exists, I’ll support it because it presents us with opportunities to try something different and more direct, such as Flatpack Democracy or the Transition Movement (see also the works of Murray Bookchin). There’s no magic formula to make the world perfect, but with a bit of imagination, energy and personal drive, we can always make steps towards it.