Box 13, Item 948: Early drafts and finished papers on anarchism

Title

Box 13, Item 948: Early drafts and finished papers on anarchism

Description

Typescripts and handwritten chapters, with handwritten emendations and annotations. Title in collection finding aid: RS: Anarkism. Early Drafts + Finished Papers.

Creator

Source

The University of Queensland's Richard Sylvan Papers UQFL291, Box 13, item 948

Contributor

This item was identified for digitisation at the request of The University of Queensland's 2020 Fryer Library Fellow, Dr. N.A.J. Taylor.

Rights

For all enquiries about this work, please contact the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland Library.

Format

[41] leaves. 87.25 MB.

Type

Manuscript

Coverage

Lake George - Floor - Pile 6

Text

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The most notorious of these
(econstructions*are the social contract theories ^pf^ilg&bes, Rousseau,reccntly Rawls.
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whereby individual members of a society fictitiously enter into an enforceable contract,
inescapable for themselves and all their descendants, setting up the state, primarily as a security
arrangement. In later versions4here is much negotiating and bargaining in contrived sifuations,

where humans lose many of their distinctive features and accoutrements (in a effort to ensure
some initial fairness).
A variant on contract theories, which justify some sort of state arrangements aj y they

arose in an ideal way, is retrojustification of the state as naturally arising, as a sort of super­
insurance agency, from pre-state arrangements. For example, the minimal state evolves from a

competing set of state-like security agencies one of which somehow gains a monopoly, and is
retrojustified through insurance arguments (concerning risk and compensation).

Now modern states did not arise in any such "natural" or contractual way. Often they

we^^posed by conquest or through colonialisation, and with a few exceptions, using military
means^ra&*than Offering much sweetness and light and choic^Nor do the ideal constructions

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or histories offer much justification for these resulting state power configurations. For the states
so delivered are very different from those most people presently toil under.

In any case, the arguments involved do not succeed. They are extraordinarily gappy by

contemporary logical standards, amd (hey depend upon some utterly implausible assumptions,
for example as to how vile conditions are in extra-state situations.

No doubt some of the gaps
Could be plugged by further, further contestable, assumptions, but such analytic work remains

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to be attempted and assessed. In fact it was ea^ realised that such arguments exhibit unlikely
and even paradoxical features. For example, in consenting to a state for security purposes,

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participants to the state contract proceed to establish an institution which is far more dangerous
to them than the power of others taken distribudvely. It would seem that those smart enough to

enter into a social contract for a state would be smart enough to foresee the problems of hiring a

monster, and to avoid the steer and stated along without it.
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'the state is necessary and that

' the state is superior to its absence, 1)ut w;, argument^as are presented depend upon a false
choice. For only two opdons are considered:

H, a horrible Hobbesian "state of nature" and
S, a well ordered(contructually-rea^e^Hobbesian state.

The argument, appealing to the vices of H and the virtues of S, has little trouble in concluding
* * S is better than H (or similarly, radial agents would select S over H, etc.)

The choice conveniently leaves out other options,

as anarchist ones.

Why should

anarchists want to line up with S? They can agree with proposition * *. They might also want
to assert that anarchistic arrangements Z are superior to S. Whereupon it is evident that neither

* nor * follows. For necessity all aggeRible alternatives have to be considered (by the

That has not been done. For superiority the superiority of S to Z and

semantics of

other altemadves has to be taken into account. That has not been done.
One alternative is Carter's -Society which produces 'the kind of individuals who have

strongly internalized values and can live cooperatively and freely without the threat of force ...'

(p-25).5
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the arguments, ^even if somehow repaired, would not establish an institution with
anything approaching the power and complexity of the modem state. Arguments to the state

typically establish, only a rather minimal state, with certain protective and regulatory powers.

Such * minimal state, would not deliver many of the goods economists, still less socialists, have
come to expect of the state. The arguments certainly do not establish anything like the

oppressive paternal state with a panoply of powers that many citizens are forceably subject to,

powers states have accumulated by their own unjustified predatory activity. In this respect too,

arguments to the state resemble arguments to God. Deistic arguments characteristically establish
(insofar as they establish anything) only a quite minimal fAtzr w/hcA, a first cause, a most perfect
object, a universal designer, "clockmaker" or the like. They do nothing to establish many of the

powers or properties ascribed to God.

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^RORLEM& IN PRESENT WORLD SOCIAL AND-POLITICAL

There are great many problems, many of them getting worse rapidly. Though anarchist

arrangements played little part in producing these problems, many of them developing and
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—. getting out of central under free-enterprise capitalist and state-socialist arrangements, it is
sometimes outragously with an array of these problems, and fail/ as s...^.. Because it is unable
to do so. Why on earth should anarchism be presumed to do this?----- -,

One critic endowed with this level of 'gall' (one A. Werthei'per)
contends that anarchism is unable to successfully deal with four presently
existing world social conditions. These are: 1) that "the population of the
earth is (perhaps) too large, but increasing at a rapid rate with no prospect
for a serious reduction"; 2) that "in much of the world, basic human needs
are not being satisfied"; 3) that "the world's natural and human resources
are not evenly distributed ac%ross the globe"; and finally 4) that "the
present level of subsistence is based on a high level of social and
economic interdependence among various regions of the world and within
the regions themselves". In addition/?^., anarchism is unable to cope
with conflicts between individual self-interest and social needs,
particularly as relates to... defense (Clark p.142).
The short response is So what? Firstly, insofar as these conditions constitute problems

("condition " 3) is more a fact than a "problem"^ no political theory is coping successfully, only

bn all-conquering ideology would pretend to be able to cope. Democratic capitalism has had
(important isolated pockets excepted) little impact in limiting India's gross population; Maorist
socialism has done only a little better in China. Part of the problem in almost all such
overpopulated regions lies in getting the problem recognised as a problem. ^.Secondly,

prospects of success for anarchism are primarily regional, But a region can hardly be expected

to handle, rather than make limited contributions towards, world problems. Suppose, for
instance, Niue became (or reverted to) an anarchist society, a successful one locally. It would
be no detraction from its local success that it made no impact upon demilitarizing the USA or

halting the world's resource drain to thereto, or that its success was scarcely known aboutthere.

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Collection

Citation

Richard Sylvan, “Box 13, Item 948: Early drafts and finished papers on anarchism,” Antipodean Antinuclearism, accessed May 18, 2024, https://nuclearharm.org/items/show/62.

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