Government v. Anarchism

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Government v. Anarchism

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:33 am

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prepare yourselves for the next Debate in ILP's Official Chamber of Debate. This Debate will be between Pezermeregild, who represents that, "My proposition is to pit the idea that a society would benefit more by having no government against the idea that it would benefit more by having government," vs. MathisaCircle who will be positing, "I would challenge lack of government on the grounds that anarchy is not sustainable unless depending entirely upon a perfect human race adhering flawlessly to a universal moral code, and even then, whether or not it would be, by definition, anarchy is plagued by dubiousness. In short, I would challenge that anarchy, in its conceptual foundations, is not feasible."

This is directly similar to an ILP v. ILO (Debate 1) in the ILP v. ILO series of Debates. Those who wish to read that Debate may click here:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=166818

This is also remotely similar to an Endtimes Debate (Also ILP v. ILO) in which the same question was posed under the assumption that we (humanity) only had one week to live. The Debate is here:

viewtopic.php?f=31&t=167443

And, the results:

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=167444

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

However, the definitions that must initially be posited are different as concerns this Debate, and are as follows:

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Definitions (by pezermeregild, parentheses/brackets are my (MathisaCircle's) interpretations where noted)
Governing Structure/Government: where orders and/or rules are given and compulsory (the presence of a system to ensure cooperation/subordination [my interpretation of pezermeregild's definition of compulsory]) to anybody residing in a specific geographical location, minus any exceptions explicitly stated, however the orders/rules are arrived at.*

Anarchy: Absence of governing structure/government as defined above.

*Also, the purpose of a governing structure is to govern, so rule/order drafting must be its principal aim.
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Though I find the sentence noted with an asterisk to be dubious, as I find such drafting to be a means rather than an end (the end being an ideal society and/or social structure, whether in a utilitarian or egoist sense), but I nonetheless feel I could present a convincing argument with the definitions as you've presented them.
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Rules/Format

This Debate will be conducted pursuant to Starchild Rules:

Round 1: Opening speeches.

Round 2 to 4: "Pitch - Bat" style rebuttal, starting with whoever posted first. (A post from each advocate for each round).

Round 5: Closing speeches.

Rules: 400 words per post, 72 hours between posts (rules relaxed)

ADDENDUM ONE: This is obvious, of course, but there is to be no Editing of posts for any reason.

ADDENDUM TWO: Given that the posts are so short, per the Rules of the Debate, there is to be no direct quoting for any reason.

I was the sole Judge in Starchild and am the sole Judge at this time. However, interest has been expressed in Tab being a Judge in this Debate, so I will contact him concerning availability. In the event that Tab is available to Judge this Debate, both Tab and myself will decide on a third Judge.

I see no reason that having a Judge commit to this Debate after the Debate has started would compromise this Debate, so:

MathisaCircle has won the toss and will decide who posts first.
"Love is the gravity of the Soul" - Abstract -/-/1988 - 3/11/2013 R.I.P

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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:10 am

I posted in the other thread, but to confirm, Pezermeregild may post first.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:05 pm

Cool! let's get started. Many thanks to pavlov for being on top of this and to my opponent, cheers.

I will post my first statement later today.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:04 pm

For this debate I have posted definitions for government, suggesting that it is a theoretical idea. And it is that. But more so, it is a historical tradition.

Throughout the years, many theories have been proposed and sketched out on the ideal government. Absolutist monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, direct democracy, representative democracy, and many others. But the begginings of government where empirical instead of theoretical. Tribal rule happened because it was an evolutionarily stable strategy, because one man or group of men forcing others to obey them was a model that helped in the evolutionary battle for resources, propped up by insntinctive behaviour. As concious thougth progressed, some of these leaders where able to figure out ways to subjugate other groups, and the model grew in scale. But this new model was dependant on concious thought, it went beyond instinct.

More conquering went on.

Eventually, the groups-with-leaders became so large that those leaders were able to depend less and less on a direct appeal to basic instinct for obedience and some rationalization had to be engaged in to arrive at the instinctive mind. And so, the tradition of political science began, not as the search for an ideal way of life, but as a justification for a pre-existing condition of obedience.

Government serves no real purpose beyond its own continuance, and the burden of proof is on my opponent to show that it also, or exclusively, serves some other purpose or purposes in benefit of societies.

If he argues that government covers necessities, the burden of proof will be on me to show that those necessities could be adressed just as well or better without it.

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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:35 am

When confronting the concept of anarchy, one must ponder pragmatism divorced from ambiguous ideologies. How does an anarchic society administer public works to the general benefit of society (over regulated government) and how does such a society contend to do so devoid of regulation? In the event of dissolution of the governing structure, what happens to schools, hospitals, transit systems (especially traffic signals and road maintenance), communications systems, the electricity grid (specifically nuclear power plants), sewer systems (waste lines, treatment plants, etc.), public sanitation (garbage collection and facilities, recycling collection and facilities), production facilities (electronics, automotive, etc.), warning systems for natural disasters (including satellite monitoring and maintenance), organizations like FEMA, the existing military and associated armaments, foodstuff distribution, criminal acts like murder, rape and theft (or are these no longer a concern as they are merely terms pertaining to a preexisting regulatory system?)…the list goes on.

While I hold these concerns to be pertinent, I do realize that in some schools of anarchist thought even the basic human rights are not guaranteed. So perhaps a more universally applicable question would be: By the definition agreed upon, does anarchy not violate its own terms? Anarchy (as absence of a governing body with rules compulsory to inhabitants of a designated territory) has at least one rule itself: the governing body must be absent. In transition, anarchy does indeed enforce its cardinal rule upon the present system, though it may champion only the one. As a result of this conceptual predicament, we find that preventing a despot from taking power requires enforcement…and presumably a well trained militia to do so. Enforcement becomes a necessity, even if an emerging government is not hostile, lest anarchy face a debacle. What resolution can be had for this fundamental aporia?

If all other arguments fail, I feel obliged to raise the issue of the ‘laws of physics’. Seeing as the drafter(s) of the rules and regulations is not specified (in fact the method by which these laws are arrived at is designated as irrelevant), I feel I am within the context of the debate to suggest that the laws identified by physics are not only universally present but that they are inescapable. I trust upon reviewing the definition agreed upon, physics will be confirmed as an applicable government. If nothing else, this illustrates the inevitability and necessity of the emergence of complex, regulated governing bodies.

Thank you.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:17 am

First, I will address the issue of the laws of physics, for I consider it a question of semantics and not of substance. In fact, the laws of physics are not actual laws, so much as observed patterns of behavior. They are called laws for matters of convenience and are not the same thing as societal rules. I do hope we don't get stuck on this...

As far as human rights go, they are a metaphysical concept that I don't put too much stock on. They are easily replaced in my book by those of morality and justice. The right to citizenship, for example, is something that anarchism does without, because anarchism doesn't envision the existence of a country to be the citizen of. But I don't think this is a main point, so I will move on...

In addressing the practical issues of an anarchic (and doesn't the word sound aesthetically lovely?) society, my opponent points out three basic needs that are currently met by governments: infrastructure, safety regulations, and moral policeman-ship.

The first two are related, so I will deal with them in a single paragraph.

In an anarchic society, there being no government, each individual is responsible for his own life. If an individual has the need for, or an interest in, a constant electrical feed, the individual would probably arrive at the conclusion that getting together with a group of people that live in the same area to maintain the nuclear power plant left over by the defunct government, or get a new one built (it could be any kind of plant, but for the purposes of this argument I will use nuclear as an example), is the most efficient way of achieving that goal. Not wanting to die from a nuclear melt-down, the group of people would probably set up the plant with safety regulations. Notice that, even though there are compulsory rules involved, they are not the aim of the organization and are based on a specific piece of infrastructure rather than the geographic area, so they do not qualify in this debate as governing. It would also be in the interest of the group of people to maintain the workers of the plant. Any infrastructure that any meaningful group of people have a need for or interest in could thus be set up and maintained, following an Adam Smith-ish assumption that people will cooperate on the sole basis of having to take care of themselves.

The third is a little more complicated, and it involves the threat that all groups of people face of being exploited in some way. In practice, many ways.

First of all, without a government to interfere, some percentage of crimes such as stealing would cease to exist. But there is still the threat of some groups raiding or for any reason attacking others, and of individuals infringing on other individuals' peace. In this case, I must say, some "bad stuff" would continue (as opposed to begin) to happen. War would cease on the scales we now see, but would probably continue to exist on a smaller scale; when some group of people's interest enters in conflict with another's. Rapings would continue to happen. Here I will appeal to on of the tenets of this debate: that anarchism must prove to be as or more beneficial than government.

But there are anarchist approaches to these problems as well. A group of people could decide that, in order to prevent rapes and such things, they would acquire weapons for every single person in the group. If you know that every single person is a potential gun-carrier, you would think twice before trying to rape some girl. Some crime would still happen, but I would find my opponent hard-pressed to argue that it would happen on any different scale than the one existing now in most governed countries. In the end, violence depends more on the specific culture involved than the amount of police force applied.

There is also the interesting question of how anarchism would be achieved/maintained. It would be an experiment. Who knows? a group of people might decide in its majority to do without government, and voluntarily form a militia to make sure that happens. In this case, an armed force that follows strict rules would still not constitute government, because compliance would be voluntary (either do as we say or don't join/leave the militia), the rules would not be constrained by geographic location but by association to the militia, and the aim would not be to apply or enforce rules but to eliminate certain relations of power/prevent certain relations of power from existing. Militias like this have existed before, for instance in the Spanish civil war. This means, of course, that for anarchism to work there would have to be enough people willing to fight for it, as was not the case in Spain. This whole point, however, is moot to the debate at hand because it in no way gets closer to the issue of whether anarchism benefits a society more, the same or less than government.

So if anarchism is a practical possibility, what marks it as inferior to government?

PS. Does my opponent and/or the judges take issue with the length of this post? If so, I will be more strict about the 400-word limit in my next posts. Personally, I think we can do without that (obviously).
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:16 pm

I would be more than happy to put the word cap into disuse.

I’m not sure what Pezermeregild’s pitch is, so I’ll take a swing at his post as a whole.

Bat 1:

P1. Infrastructure/Safety

I would like to begin with the example of nuclear power, which I feel Pezermeregild is gravely underestimating. He purports that “a group of people that live in the same area” could unite to maintain such a facility (which I will note is merely acquired from the “defunct” government). Even if the preexisting plant operators are “maintained” by the locals, how are proper regulations ensured, disasters averted or deescalated?

There is no margin for error in the construction of nuclear power facilities and training of its engineers, technicians and other personnel, as was seen in the Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island[1] disasters—and even then, it is not failsafe as was seen with the Fukushima-Daiichi incident[2]. Simply addressing the complexity of operation alone, to say nothing the of hazardous materials involved[3], raises serious doubts as to whether a rag tag group of anarchists could maintain the facilities, even given ample volunteers.

The vast resources, man power, heavy industries, engineering, architecture, etc. that go into building a nuclear facility make such an attempt under a true anarchist society a quixotic endeavor, so I do not feel the need to address this aspect in great detail. For a quick illustration, however, I will note that Three Mile Island Unit 1 required $400 million ($1.78-2.06 billion by today’s standards[4]) in initial construction.

While I cannot find a figure for the number of personnel required for design and construction, I can relate from personal experience[5] that a relatively simple waste water treatment plant requires (conservative estimate of average):
-at least one architect;
-at least one project manager;
-clerical staff;
-a survey team (a small team would be 3 surveyors and a CAD tech to draft the survey/site plan);
-three additional CAD techs (drafting foundation, floor, framing and roof plans, building sections, wall sections, exterior and interior elevations, details, schedules, etc.);
-six-eight engineers;
-regulatory commission (building inspector, fire marshall, etc.);
-60-100 general construction personnel on the site at any one point in time;
-roughly $112,284,323 in initial construction costs (average);

To close this section, I would like to address the “Adam Smith-ish assumption”, for it is just that: an assumption. I prefer claims based on evidence--over 3,000 years of recorded history points more towards James Madison: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”--and angels, men are certainly not.

P2. “Moral Policemanship”

I find this section of Pezermeregild’s argument to be predominantly speculative. Claims such as the cessation of crimes like theft (or at least “a percentage”) and that “war would cease on the scales we now see”, both supposedly resulting from anarchy, seem to me entirely unfounded. I will address these two before moving on to the “anarchist approaches” towards the deterrence of crime.

There are two circumstances (aside from humanity becoming perfectly “moral” or ceasing to exist altogether) in which crimes such as theft would be diminished or absent:
I: With no system of laws to define a crime, crime, by definition, ceases to exist.
II: Anarcho-communism is in effect, thus personal possession is not applicable.

With the former, the action previously constituting crime continues to exist but is not referred to as “crime”. With the latter, theft still exists in an outside party taking objects of some nature from the collective pool of possessions. This presents a predicament since enforcing the collective possession (i.e. combating the “raiders”) stands dangerously close to territorial rule; it implies authority over the “geographical location” and the collected possessions of the community therein.

On to the war front, I must point first and foremost to the Free Territory and its supposed anarcho-communist community of peasants turned militant under the command of “Batko” Nestor Makhno. If they were indeed an anarchy (which will be addressed in my pitch), they were at war for the entire three years of their existence, fighting both the Red and White armies. All large scale instances of anarchy have been similarly related to wars, be it civil or revolutionary[6].

I question how, if only in these two aspects, does anarchism offer more benefit than government?

Further, when addressing the issue of rape, although Pezermeregild has evidence to his advantage[7], implementing increased personal firearm use is not only contraindicative (one would assume increased presence of firearms would signify a decayed level of safety) but significantly escalates the potential for personal injury, manslaughter, murder, etc.

An interesting point Pezermeregild makes is on the correlation between violence and culture. I would agree that this may be the case for types of violence (i.e. racial, sexual, religious). However, I hold violence in general to be universal. Every demographic has violent individuals. Homosexuals have Alexander, women have Mary I, monks have Sohei, Christians have the Crusades, Muslims have jihad bil Saif…the list goes on.

In conclusion, if I am indeed “hard pressed” to indicate anarchy’s inferiority in terms of crime prevention, it is from a lack of non-violent, large scale sustained anarchic communitites.

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Pitch 1: Anarchy cannot exist as the sole social structure and is transient in nature.

The Free Territory in Ukraine provides us with a splendid model to analyze in terms of real world application. It operated more or less to the design implied by Pezermeregild, including a military to protect it, and consisted of a remarkable seven million people. Sadly, the issue I raised in my opening statement (longevity, defense) bared its fangs and the Makhnovists were eventually defeated.

The first issue here I would like to address, though briefly, is of total cooperation. To abet the survival of a society, one must implement a system of exhaustive cooperation between a significant majority of the extant population. Anarchy has simply not demonstrated this capability. And how could it? Even among anarchists, the interpretations and methodology are variable excepting the war cry of “remove the state”[8].

Nestor Makhno’s influence on anarchism is indisputable, but was the Free Territory, protected by the Black Army, true anarchism? Makhno was, first and foremost, a “supreme” commander, a leader, a “father”[9]. While the army was indeed voluntary, the simple fact of having a commander violates the most fundamental tenets of anarchy[10]: it creates a hierarchy.

Even with the Black Army, Makhno’s “anarchy” lasted only 3 years. “Makhno continued to fight on, but the peasants of Ukraine, dispirited by three years of war, food seizures, reprisals, and outright genocide, no longer flocked to join the Black Army in numbers”[11]. Perhaps longevity is too much to ask of a stateless system, denying hierarchy and dependent on voluntary association.

Anarchy has always hinged on the use of existing knowledge and technologies—compiled under an existing government—for survival, with the possible exception of the initial stone tools in the Paleolithic. Anarchists are, in essence, the squatters of political philosophy.

Anarchy is a volatile system catering to peasant life, which is fine for low-tech communes with populations in accordance with Dunbar’s number, but is not suitable for humanity as a whole unless we are to make the entire world nomadic. Anarchy, in whatever hyphenated form, has historically created decadence or stagnation and has eventually fallen to ruin.

Is throwing a wrench in the gears of productivity, leaching off existing governments and making no significant progress--indeed taking backward leaps simply to chase an illusive impractical ideology--not good reason to deny anarchy’s overall benefit to society?

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References
[1] “The reactors themselves were enormously complex machines with an incalculable number of things that could go wrong. When that happened at Three Mile Island in 1979, another fault line in the nuclear world was exposed. One malfunction led to another, and then to a series of others, until the core of the reactor itself began to melt, and even the world's most highly trained nuclear engineers did not know how to respond.” Stephanie Cooke, In Moral Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age

[2] Francois Diaz Maurin, “Fukushima: Consequences of Systemic Problems in Nuclear Plant Design”

[3] “Operating nuclear reactors contain large amounts of radioactive fission products which, if dispersed, can pose a direct radiation hazard, contaminate soil and vegetation, and be ingested by humans and animals. Human exposure at high enough levels can cause both short-term illness and death and longer-term death by cancer and other diseases.” (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/crs/rs21131.pdf, under “Nuclear Plant Vulnerability”)

[4] Wikipedia lists the initial construction cost as $1,781,448,883 in today’s standards. Using an inflation calculator (http://www.dollartimes.com/calculators/inflation.htm) I arrived at $1,897,653,679.65 for 1974 (which is when the first reactor became operational) and $2,062,861,176.47 for 1973 to provide a reasonable range, as I am skeptical as to whether the plant, from start to finish, took only four months (I could not find a date of initialization of construction).

[5] This is my personal experience as a CAD tech for an independent architectural firm. The figures were arrived at by the head architect (my boss). Obviously, a nuclear power plant’s figures cannot be arrived at by a simple multiplication (of all personnel excepting the project manager by roughly 15.8 [1,781,448,883/112,284,323=15.865]), as the regulatory personnel involved alone is much greater in such a project. These estimates do not account for the heavy machinery involved, workers of facilities producing components off site (i.e. the manufacturing of the reactor, etc.) and only reflect initial construction (as opposed to regular employees, maintenance, etc.). However, citing the Chernobyl disaster:
“The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles ($588,744,000), crippling the Soviet economy.”

[6] I cite the English Civil War, the French Revolution, the Russian Civil War, the Spanish Civil War and the Somali Civil War.

[7] Rape statistics can only be acquired through reports. Many sub-Saharan African countries (such as Zambia and Zimbabwe) are relatively low in official rape rates simply from lack of reporting the incidents. For instance: “In eastern Congo, the prevalence and intensity of rape and other sexual violence is described as the worst in the world” yet on the statistics chart provided by Wikipedia, the Democratic Republic of Congo is not even listed.

[8] “Proponents of anarchism (known as "anarchists") advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical, voluntary associations.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism)

[9] Though he did indeed have a daughter, he was dubbed “Batko” by his comrades and subordinates after a particularly harrowing skirmish.

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism (under the “overview” section)

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Insurrectionary_Army_of_Ukraine (under the “Second Repudiation” section)

I apologize if this was too long.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:23 am

Not too long at all! We agree on the removal of the word cap. Unless the judges, who, after all, have to read all of this, object.

And my bad with the pitch/bat thing.

Bat 1

My opponent raises a great many points, and I will attempt to adress them all. So forgive the length of this Bat.

First, the infamous nuclear facility. Tell me, how many politicians have ever managed or been involved in the building of a nuclear plant? How many where responsible for scientific theories that led to the inception of nuclear power? How many politicians have the first-hand knowledge to determine what are safe and unsafe practices in the running of a nuclear plant?

Ah! you say, but the politicians aren't there to really do anything! They are there to tell the right people to do them.

Enter Adam Smith. Actually, forget Adam Smith. Enter the much cooler Piotr Kropotkin.

When you mention that a "rag-tag group of anarchists" is unlikely to be able to produce something as complicated and delicate as a nuclear power plant, you forget that the very scientists, engeneers, workers, managers, safety inspectors, cleaning ladies, etc. that were subjects of the state before are now anarchists! The required work-force is still there. But how do they organize themselves? There is any number of ways that don't include a government. Forming a co-op occurs to me, perhaps started online or advertised on radio frequencies. Guilds could serve as more general bases of research, education, and co-operation. Or does MathisaCircle propose that people study crafts only because the government tells them to?

If so, I will direct his attention, as Kropotkin has in The State: Its Historic Role, to a certain style of medieval organization: village comunes and free cities.

"But not all its needs: there were still others that had to be satisfied. Now, the spirit of the times was not to appeal to a government as soon as a new need was making itself felt. On the contrary the individuals themselves would take the initiative to come together, to join forces, and to federate; to create an entente, large or small, numerous or restricted, which was in keeping with the new need. And society then was literally covered, as if by a network, of sworn brotherhoods; of guilds for mutual aid, of 'conjurations', in the village as well as outside it, in the federation."

Ah! not just a limited Dunbarian comunity; a whole federation!

I guess James Madison didn't read Kropotkin.

This style of organization was, of course, eventually destroyed by an alliance of invading nobles, monarchs and mercenaries (an alliance that continues to this day, but in the form of the legislative and executive branches of government and the armies). However, it lasted not tens, not dozens, but hundreds of years. If not for invading forces, anarchy is a self-maintaining system with the capacity for growth and progress.The only thing that it is admittetly very bad at is organizing violence. In this way, it benefits society.

Is anarchy transient and hard to maintain when in near proximity of the power-hungry? Maybe, but that is not the subject of this debate. The subject of this debate is the comparative benefits of each system once established.

Why do I say,for example, that the act of stealing would decrease or even cease (ok, so decrease is more likely... but again, anarchy must prove to be the same or better)? Because ownership would not be a forced, artificial institution concocted by senators. It would be a more naturaly ocurring thing. When created by government, it has a large amount of inherent flaws that cannot be adressed by the affected individual unless he resorts to robbery. Or sits down and dies. Or, fuckin', i dunno, multiplies fish.

As I said, there is nothing that government does that couldnt be done just as well or better without it. We are maybe led to believe otherwise because every time some people try to go it without government, government fucking bombs their houses and shoots them in the face. Lets call this the it-works-because-if-not-we'll-beat-the-shit-out-of-you fallacy.

Also, of course violence is universal. If you look hard enough you can probably find an amish gang-banger. But the incidence of violence is not, because the mores and codes of each culture have varying effects on the expression of violence.

Whether the armament of every single individual would decrease or increasee violence is up for debate, but it is an alternative to police that has logical foundations.

The rape reference was sneaky, by the way. Still, you proved nothing by it beyond how demolished many African cultures are as a result of European government intervention. I mean, the Zulus fought a lot, but they were not known for their rape.

Pitch 2

I hinted to this above, but my pitch is, in a more general sense, that government imposes artificial constraints on society that create distortions; benefitting only a small percentage in the societies it supposedly benefits in a world where those disortions would not exist otherwise. It creates a system where the different elements depend on eachother, but again, an artificial system. Artificial as in planned and written down, to be followed or else.

But what is anarchism then, a lack of all systems? Perhaps. Some anarchists would undoubtetly say that. Whether that is possible or not, I don't really know. What I do know is that there is an anarchism that doesn't disallow systems. While not a system in itself, this anarchism demands that only a certain, very specific system not be used: government, the state. Why? Well I guess that each anarchist has his or her reasons, but as concerns me, I'm bothered by these distortions. Distortions that, advanced as it has gotten, government is able to admit and include this awareness in its system. "Sure, its not perfect, but its better than living like a savage". I am an Anarchist sir, and I am no savage!

"All very nice, all very pretty, but what do you suggest?" I hear you say, "All you've done so far is wreck government... including Democracy!" You are right, say I, and so I continue.

I have already cited the example of certain medieval anarchist federations. They of course did not call or understand themselves as "anarchists". They simply went about their daily business, inmersed in a system, organizing and getting shit done.

To close, this is anarchism. Not Makhnovia, not Civil War period Barcelona, not the post dictatorship anarchist state in communist theory. It is the idea that, of the many ways that exist of organizing, government is one that has been tried long enough. The armies held it up, the thinkers held it up, the coherence of its functioning held it up. But it has never truly been set side to side with an alternate form of organization, a form where people aren't all dependent on their leaders and what they tell them to do. One, perhaps, that follows the natural course that humans will take in this very enlightened era they have reached.

"No gods, no masters!"

Your floor.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:04 pm

Per a private discussion, the pitch/bat format has been abandoned from here on. That said, I’ll jump right into it.

I) Politicians are by no means my chums, but I have to point out that they do make or break the implementation of certain technologies: case in point, Al Gore. The man is a scientist before a politician and yet the impact he has made is that much more effective because of it. However, what he inherently paved the way for was a race for “green” technology, a new brand—a fashion.

The “green” product may indeed be more environmentally friendly, but it’s not going to reverse climate change—AGW made us conscious of our impact, but what we are witnessing is not necessarily caused exclusively by us. Does this mean being environmentally conscious is merely so much corporate propaganda? Certainly not! The political campaign seems to have helped a country obsessed with Monster Trucks look into alternatives more seriously.

You say “that government imposes artificial constraints on society that create distortions” but I ask you: Is anarchy intrinsically atheist? You cite Kropotkin’s fondness for the medieval communes, but make no mistake—they were city-states and the “federation” in question was unified by Christian morality, the citizens imitating the lifestyle of the monks.

But this Christian influence went only so far, and where it cut off, violence ensued. They asserted themselves as a city-state by a foreign policy of “eye for an eye”, often killing the noble’s serfs or burning the crops in lieu of the initial attacker(s) themselves. Social insinuations of surrogate violence aside, this was more Plato’s Republic with an inflated sense of vendetta than anarchism.

More importantly, these communes were generally formed to protect their commerce from the various lawless Princes and “nobility” as a result of no central government—they were compensatory.

The examples you present are restricted to times and locales where the significant majority are peasants—and in times where society was much less complex. Are we to believe nuclear power can be maintained with as much facility as a crop of rye, coop of fowl, a few oxen? Likewise for The Large Hadron Collider? NASA? Again, not only the personnel but the organization of industry and funding (or lack thereof) raises substantial doubts.

No doubt co-ops provide a system for agriculture: in fact, they already do! But could a guild subsidize and sponsor research more prolifically than perhaps a local community college? For example, development of the Bussard Polywell, a promising nuclear fusion reactor, would not be were it not for a Navy contract. Technology is a multiplicity, not merely a sum of its parts.

II) You ask if I believe “people study crafts only because the government tells them to.”
I do not--for the most part. However, I doubt the trash collector wakes up every morning thanking whatever deity he so chooses for the incredible opportunity to endure the rude effluvium of society’s collective refuse.

III) “If not for invading forces, anarchy is a self-maintaining system with the capacity for growth and progress.”

But of course! Is this peculiar to anarchy? I doubt any government would need many of its protocols or restrictions in the event of world peace—the advantage government presents is that it can attempt to recover from such disasters. I doubt being enslaved by an invading army constitutes a benefit to that society; the capacity for violence is not necessarily the use of it.

IV) You suggest anarchy’s vulnerability when situated in the vicinity of the “power-hungry” is outside the premise. I disagree—the ability to repel would-be conquerors is pivotal to maintain the system after its establishment. To reiterate from the previous paragraph, living in fear of being dominated by an invading army, subject to the oppression of a sizeable group of bandits or some similar situation is in no way beneficial to society.

V) You posit that the “artificial institution” of ownership is a catalyst for theft, but it seems to me to be a system to discourage it. I don’t see how possession negates sharing or mutual ownership—in fact, is communism not ownership in itself? To quote my last post:

“With the latter, theft still exists in an outside party taking objects of some nature from the collective pool of possessions. This presents a predicament since enforcing the collective possession (i.e. combating the “raiders”) stands dangerously close to territorial rule; it implies authority over the “geographical location” and the collected possessions of the community therein.”

To briefly address your “IWBINWBTSOOY fallacy”, I see this as largely erroneous—in fact, my relation of anarchists to “squatters” was partially in regards to this concern. What is being missed here is the extant state’s legal ownership of the territory—or perhaps you say “well that’s just it! Legality is a farce—they don’t own it!”

If this is the case then your communes do not own the walled cities they inhabit, your proposed anarchist societies do not own the land they live on and this leads unequivocally to the above labyrinthine ambivalence.

VI) The armament of every man, woman and child has logical foundations where? Let’s use the analogy of C-4: without a blasting cap, it is harmless—as seen on Myth Busters, you can set it on fire, cook with it (to a certain degree) and shoot it with an incendiary round (while still burning) without activating its explosive properties—but once you put that blasting cap in, it becomes an exceptionally high power explosive.

Unless your intent is widespread destruction, why would you find it logical to equip every block of C-4 (in a community of perhaps seven million blocks i.e. people) with a blasting cap, just hoping someone doesn’t press the button?

Man is indeed volatile and a utopian anarcho-communist society will negate neither that nor the extensive psychological quirks that are intrinsic to the animals that we are. As an interesting intersection: “I am not a man, I am dynamite!” Is Nietzsche fundamentally wrong with this assertion?

VII) I must say, perhaps one day man will live in anarchy—in the positive sense you suggest—but if so, it will not be the means but the ends. To have a system of anarchy exist in reasonable perpetuity, man, as a prerequisite, must be morally perfect (to a greater or lesser degree) and as such, imposing such a system prior to man reaching this pinnacle would be catastrophic—by no means beneficial to society.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:43 pm

MathIsACircle wrote:Politicians are by no means my chums


Yet it is they who you argue for when you argue for government. Would you honestly say tha Al Gore was anything but an exeption to the rule? Or that his movie, which was the part of his career that truly gave rise to the green movement (and on this I agree with you, a flawed but useful movement), would not have taken off had he not gone into politics? I mean, NASA was founded by a Nazi, but you wouldn't argue that this validates nazism.

MAthIsACircle vs. Kropotkin

MIAC: "But this Christian influence went only so far, and where it cut off, violence ensued. They asserted themselves as a city-state by a foreign policy of “eye for an eye”, often killing the noble’s serfs or burning the crops in lieu of the initial attacker(s) themselves. Social insinuations of surrogate violence aside, this was more Plato’s Republic with an inflated sense of vendetta than anarchism."

PK: "In these villages one finds the seeds of industrial arts and discovers a whole network of institutions for maintaining internal and external peace. In the event of murder or wounding the villagers no longer seek as in the tribe, to eliminate or to inflict an equivalent wound on the aggressor, or even one of his relatives or some of his fellow villagers. Rather is it the brigand-lords who still adhere to that principle (hence their wars without end), whereas among villagers compensation, fixed by arbiters, becomes the rule after which peace is re-established and the aggressor is often, if not always, adopted by the family who has been wronged by his aggression."

Editor's note: Christianity is precicely what killed all that was anarchist in these communes. They became city-states because of it. Hell, it was the roman law/church/noblility-royalty alliance that ended communes. And yeah, sometimes there was vilolence, but this was often because they still retained the right to fight for their causes, insted of giving up violence in exchange for imposed conditions. And these peasants could have abandonned their noble lords, but they didn't. As we said, nobles where indeed superior agressors. But we see that, at least internaly, eye-for-an-eye was not the policy.

MIAC: "The examples you present are restricted to times and locales where the significant majority are peasants . . ."

PK: "You are perhaps thinking of the civilization and progress of our century which comes in for so much boasting? But in each of its manifestations it is only the child of the civilization that grew up with the free communes. All the great discoveries made by modern science - the compass, the clock, the watch, printing, maritime discoveries, gunpowder, the laws of gravitation, atmospheric pressure of which the steam engine is a development, the rudiments of chemistry, the scientific method already outlined by Roger Bacon and applied in Italian universities - where do all these originate if not in the free cities, in the civilization which was developed under the protection of communal liberties?"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"However, I doubt the trash collector wakes up every morning thanking whatever deity he so chooses for the incredible opportunity to endure the rude effluvium of society’s collective refuse. "

Lazy point, I think. A peasant probably hates peasanting too, but he does it to survive. You do what you can in the system you are in.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MathIsACircle wrote:III) “If not for invading forces, anarchy is a self-maintaining system with the capacity for growth and progress.”

But of course! Is this peculiar to anarchy? I doubt any government would need many of its protocols or restrictions in the event of world peace—the advantage government presents is that it can attempt to recover from such disasters. I doubt being enslaved by an invading army constitutes a benefit to that society; the capacity for violence is not necessarily the use of it.


Oh Kropotkin, tell me you have thought of this too!

"Far from being the bloodthirsty beast he was made out to be in order to justify the need to dominate him, Man has always preferred peace and quiet. Quarrelsome rather than fierce, he prefers his cattle, the land, and his hut to soldiering. For this reason, no sooner had the great migrations of barbarians slowed down, no sooner had the hordes and the tribes fortified themselves more or less in their respective territories, than we see that defence of the territory against new waves of emigrants is entrusted to someone who engages a small band of adventurers - hardened warriors or brigands - to follow him, while the overwhelming majority engages in rearing cattle, in working the land."

What a guy...

It's funny that you should mention that States have protocols and things in place so that they can recover from large-scale destruction... When in all history, it is only states that have been capable (and quite willing) to carry this destruction out!

Like in parts of Italy, where some people surrender to the local gang just so that the gangs don't war among themselves.

They are responsible for the destruction they supposedly protect us from!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"You posit that the “artificial institution” of ownership is a catalyst for theft, but it seems to me to be a system to discourage it. I don’t see how possession negates sharing or mutual ownership—in fact, is communism not ownership in itself?"

You completely twisted (or misunderstood) my words. I never attributed the creation of the idea of ownership to the state! That would be preposteous! It is true, however, that each state comes up with their own specific, artificial definition of it. Ownership exists as a natural event, and regulating it by law is what creates distortions.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The armament of every man, woman and child has logical foundations where?"

In the concept of mutually assured harm.

Not children, by the way, or whatever, as each community decides. I doubt any adult would be stupid enough to agree to give a gun to a kid (unless he be a warlord, but you know that's beyond this example).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"To have a system of anarchy exist in reasonable perpetuity, man, as a prerequisite, must be morally perfect . . . "

Nonsense! Unless you mean that we must expect no man to be so morally askew as to try to impose government by force once anarchy has been achieved.

It-works-because-if-not-we'll-beat-the-shit-out-of-you

And yes, it is a fallacy, because the only argument one would need against it is "we are strong enough now that you can't". Hardly a point to win gloriously with, on either side, in the field of logical debate.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:27 pm

I) Indeed I do argue for the concept of politicians, but not that the ideal politician exists; nor do I mean to imply he/she cannot exist. Perhaps I seem to advocate the United States’ ‘Demockracy’? If so, I apologize, for this is certainly not my intent. I advocate the example (though by no means accepting complacency; progress must continue) set by Norway.

As for Al Gore, certainly his contributions would have been recognized at some level regardless of his political campaign—but said campaign at least doubled public interest.

“I mean, NASA was founded by a Nazi, but you wouldn’t argue that this validates Nazism.”
Nor would I dismiss NASA in light of two of the sixteen committee members initializing NASA (via NACA) who formerly produced technology for the Nazis. The basis is not their former ‘Nazism’ but their exceptional prowess in aerospace innovation.

II) Perhaps Kopotkin is not free from personal bias regarding history?
“Every town had its own commune and no two communes were alike, but at their heart, communes were sworn allegiances of mutual defense. When a commune was formed, all participating members gathered and swore an oath in a public ceremony, promising to defend each other in times of trouble, and to maintain the peace within the city proper.

What did it mean for a commune member to defend another? If a commune member was attacked outside the city, it was too late to call for help, as it was unlikely anyone would arrive in time. Instead, the commune would promise to exact revenge on the attacker, the threat of revenge being a form of defense. However, if the attacker was a noble, safely ensconced in a castle (as was often the case), the town commune could not muster the forces to attack him directly. Instead they might attack the noble's family, burn his crops, kill his serfs, or destroy his orchards in retribution.”


“Christianity is precisely what killed all that was anarchist in these communes.”
If so, my criticism regarding violence stands, as the church was, first and foremost (in this case), advocating peace between the states.

“But we see, at least internally, eye-for-an-eye was not the policy.”
I agree this may not have been the case inside the walls—my point was focused on surrogate revenge when the aggressor could not be attacked directly.

III) This next Kropotkin quote is nearly intellectual masochism: when the speculation is separated from it, we find his only real-world reference is to Roger Bacon—and that it is not accurate. Bacon lacked originality. The vast majority of what he was acclaimed for consisted of hand-me-downs from the much earlier Aristotle (among others), whose work would not have been done were it not for Alexander fawning over him. This diametrically opposes Kropotkin’s conjecture—Bacon was an exceptional scholar, not a visionary.

IV) I thought the last Kropotkin quote had completely missed my point at first, but I see what you’re getting at. However, the convolution of aggression in the social psyche will not simply dissipate if we were to institute anarchy. Competitiveness is, in this case, an inoperable tumor on the social brain. To obviate this ‘malignity’, we would need to ban violent games (video or otherwise), competitive sports, the concept of war—competition and masculinity in general—to say nothing of multitudinous works of art. To impose such an edict, an oppressive dictatorship/authoritarian government would be a must…and I don’t see that ending well.

V) “Ownership exists as a natural event, and regulating it by law is what creates distortions.”
Ownership is then limited to those who successfully defend the possession of a given object or territory?

VI) I would advise you to readdress the social/psychological impact of “mutually assured harm.” It would be wise to observe the impact of the Cold War and the global WMD situation (for two obvious examples) on society at large.

VII) “Nonsense! Unless you mean that we must expect no man to be so morally askew as to try to impose government by force once anarchy has been achieved.”
Excepting the well placed “morally askew” (personal opinion), that is precisely what I mean. Without instating a government of your own, you cannot guarantee that no one else will try (and perhaps succeed) to implement theirs.

As regards the fallacy, I feel I am addressing anarchy’s fundamental dissimulation of inherent qualities of government, namely in possession of land rights—an underlying hypocrisy.
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:28 am

MathIsACircle wrote:“I mean, NASA was founded by a Nazi, but you wouldn’t argue that this validates Nazism.”
Nor would I dismiss NASA in light of two of the sixteen committee members initializing NASA (via NACA) who formerly produced technology for the Nazis. The basis is not their former ‘Nazism’ but their exceptional prowess in aerospace innovation.


When I wrote this... Oh wait, you wrote it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For my final post, I will first list the major points that were debated and attempt to arrive at a conclusion for each. Then I will write a final statement.

Politicians: Do we need them?

Useless middlemen. With the exception of cases like Al Gore, who in any case had do adhere to party lines to get to be vice-president of the US in the first place, or to say it differently, had to go against his own principles in some cases, politicians provide no primary benefit to society. Any benefit they can be said to provide is indirect, by determining of who can benefit society and how. So far, so feeble.

But when you factor in that, to achieve the power to determine who gets to do what, politicians have to appease certain interests and, with the accumulated power they have in their hands, do un-beneficial things that would not be possible without said accumulated power. Like:

- Waging wars of immense proportions. They create false conflicts between humongous groups of people ("nations") who would otherwise not be hostile to eachother.

- Promoting the wellfare of some people over and at the expense of the wellfare of other people. Here is where all economic distortions come in. In an otherwise naturally occuring system of trade between human beings, politicians impose artificial definitions of ownership and justice. In this way, and with those names, politicians grant advantages to those who can help keep the accumulated power of government in their hands.

- Discouraging innovation by limiting the ways in which it can be approached. Laws and burocratic procedures needed to maintain the artificial system of State in place.

The principle role of a politician is to order others, not to provide benefit themselves.

Ownership: Does government maintain its rightful order or manipulate its meaning for arbitrary goals?

One of my opponent's main points has been the need of government to protect the ownership of land by those to whom the land belongs. However, there are two ways in which this is fallacious.

Firstly, government encompases all government, including monarchies, dictatorships, etc. For example, the current president of Venezuela is, undisputably, the head of government. He maintains control over all the institutions of government and is acknowledged by the entire (non-anarhist) population. Yet he has repeatedly taken land at random from people who "owned" it by means of the armed forces and given those lands to political allies. This is not a first in the history, or even current state of government. It is not even a rarity.

Secondly, and in a related note, even less chaotic re-alocations (or even re-affirmations) of land rights (like what ocurs in a more stable government like the US or Norway) signal the fat that it is not the "owners" who have the right to the land, but the govenment. Ultimately, it is the government that owns (i.e. decides what gets done in and with) all the land that it governs. The supposed "owners" are simple administrators. This is empiricaly true, because the government can (and often does) send armed forces at any time to do away with anyone who opposes it's decisions.

The morality of man: Does government enforce it? and
Does anarchism require it to be perfect?


No and no.

Obviously, human beings aren't "angels". In a planet with an expanding population and limited resources, that goes against evolution.

A very Machiavelian argument could be made that government seeks to monopolize immorality for the purpose of continued survival. That it decides who gets screwed so that Joe Voter doesn't have to, and those maintains his purity and innocence. But government doesn't even accomplish that! Because on its list of priorities, moral purity is waaaay below things like peace (but only for the people that control at least a minimal amount of wealth), capitalism (in the original Marxist sense), and the wellfare of its economic appendiges in the territory of other governments.

Anarchism wouldn't keep the child molester from molesting children, thats true... But neither does government!

Here is where this Kropotkin quote that I used before becomes relevant:

"Far from being the bloodthirsty beast he was made out to be in order to justify the need to dominate him, Man has always preferred peace and quiet. Quarrelsome rather than fierce, he prefers his cattle, the land, and his hut to soldiering. For this reason, no sooner had the great migrations of barbarians slowed down, no sooner had the hordes and the tribes fortified themselves more or less in their respective territories, than we see that defence of the territory against new waves of emigrants is entrusted to someone who engages a small band of adventurers - hardened warriors or brigands - to follow him, while the overwhelming majority engages in rearing cattle, in working the land." Emphasis is mine.

The inability of anarchism to maintain itself

Economically, I think I have already shown that anarchism is more than capable of creating complex systems of structures and institutions by the principle of free assossiation. Not only of regional communities, but of like-minded craftsmen or any other kind of individual, without geographical boundaries.

Militarily, I have to admit that I am hard pressed to defend Anarchism. Sure, there can be anarchist militias, but how can an anarchist militia stand up to a professional army with weapons of mass destruction and remote controll killer jets?

Well, fuck me, if this practical issue overrides all theoretical (and theoretically practical) benefits of Anarchism, then I lose. The judges must decide.

I still contend that the objection falls outside of the purview of the debate.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, why is Anarchy more beneficial to any society than government?

Because government is an institution that uses phisycal force to maintain its economic force to maintain its ideological force to maintain...

Order?

Justice?

Ownership rights?

....

Itself.

Anarchy is not a system. It is the abolishment of a system. Of chains that are keeping humans from doing as they please. And what they please is not to randomly kill, rape and rob eachother. At least if History has anything to teach us (and I find my opponent's idea that the Church was a peaceful institution in the middle ages to be somewhat naive).

Thank you judges,

And thank you MathIsACircle.

Check Mate(?)
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:01 pm

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

What I have attempted to demonstrate in this debate is that anarchy, in whatever form, is an incongruous mass of ambiguous ideologies, the operation of which hinges on man being intrinsically altruistic, the absolute absence of opposition (or, conversely, a sufficient militia [or other organized force] to combat the opposition) and the remains of the people’s accomplishments under the preceding government.

I elaborated on the issue of altruism being subject to the competitive nature of man, “the convolution of aggression in the social psyche”, that it “will not simply dissipate” in the event of anarchy. I detailed some measures necessary “to obviate this ‘malignity’”, most of which involve edicts handed down by dictatorships or authoritarian regimes—a scenario I do not look favorably upon.

I addressed “anarchy’s fundamental dissimulation of inherent qualities of government, namely in possession of land rights”, notably when implementing an organized military force to do so “—an underlying hypocrisy”. To wit: “This presents us with a predicament since enforcing the collective possession (i.e. combating the ‘raiders’) stands dangerously close to territorial rule; it implies authority over the ‘geographical location’ and the collected possessions of the community therein.” As a natural event, ownership is somewhat limited to those who successfully defend what they possess—the hypocrisy dissimulated in the “IWBINWBTSOOY fallacy”.

It was discussed that, to enact anarchically viable preventative measures against crime equated to “every single person”, with the noted exception of children, becoming vigilantes with guns to boot. I proposed that this was indeed contraindicative of a supposedly safer society, and in fact “significantly escalates the potential for personal injury, manslaughter, murder, etc.” I find that “mutually assured harm” is by no means profitable—socially or psychologically.

I outlined the improbable nature of (assuming a peaceful transition to anarchy via unanimous compliance) maintaining not only a sense of technological progress but the existing technologies themselves, a nuclear power facility doing well to demonstrate the interconnectivity and interdependence such facilities rely upon. While I agree co-ops work quite well for agriculture, I maintain that this system does not extrapolate to nuclear power facilities, the Large Hadron Collider, NASA, etc.

I noted how, despite Kropotkin’s wishful thinking, Aristotle had essentially founded the sciences and how Alexander’s monumental donations assuredly facilitated Aristotle’s doing so. I pointed out how the communes Kropotkin refers to may not have been quite the way his quotes would have us believe:
- that they were compensatory for a lack of central government, a necessity to defend their commerce;
- that they were city states a la Plato’s Republic (in fact, Will Durant, in The Story of Philosophy, uses these very communes as an example of Plato’s system in action, the monks serving as the Guardians/Philosopher Kings) more so than they were preempting central government with an early incarnation of pseudo anarchy;
- that “they asserted themselves as a city-state by a foreign policy of ‘eye for an eye’, often killing the noble’s serfs or burning the crops in lieu of the initial attacker(s) themselves”.

I feel my arguments speak for themselves better than I now summarize them and that I have expressed my sentiments to the best of my ability, given the context. I maintain that anarchy would be nice (“I must say, perhaps one day man will live in anarchy—in the positive since you suggest—but if so, it will not be the means but the ends.”)—but that man is not ready for it, and may never be. I will close with La Mettrie’s apt words:

“Such is my system, or rather the truth, unless I am much deceived. It is short and simple. Dispute it now who will.”
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:44 pm

Oh juuuudgeeees... O:)
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby _________ » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:17 pm

Refer to the challenges thread (it takes two weeks on average).
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby Pezerocles » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:23 pm

MathIsACircle wrote:Refer to the challenges thread (it takes two weeks on average).


Oh... :oops:
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Re: Government v. Anarchism

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:40 am

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