Dimensions of Anarchy

First understand that anarchism is a position on how influence should be exerted, favouring persuasion over compulsion. As a political doctrine this entails abolition of the state if the state is conceived as essentially engaged in securing social order through compulsion (in the sense that if the same effects were achieved exclusively by persuasion then we would call the institutions involved charities rather than considering them part of goverment). We are concerned here to generalise this political anarchist doctrine:
  • first, to encompass relations between more diverse groupings than those between the state and the individual (spreading along the P-P axis), and
  • second, to consider more subtle nuances in modes of exerting influence (moving up the E-L axis).

The Personal-Political Axis

Relations between States
Harmonious and cooperative relations are to be preferred to conflict and war.

Government and the Individual
At its crudest anarchism advocates simply the abolition of the apparatus of the state in the belief that all those essential benefits which the state brings can be better achieved through voluntary cooperation.

Person to Person
At this level supportive rather than oppressive interpersonal relationships are advocated.

Relations with Self
Self-castigation is abjured.
Know thyself and be at one.

The Emotional-Logical Axis

This mode of influence is purely intellectual. It involves a philosophic detachment which makes it the least oppressive form of persuasion, but is strictly applicable only to logic and mathematics. It does not suffice where values are at issue.

With rhetoric (which I am here using to mean any well presented case which goes beyond logical deduction) we can address issues beyond the scope of logic, while still presenting a case on its merits.

At this level we exploit empathy and bonding to communicate a sense of importance which dispassionate discussion omits. Like all forms of magic, emotional influence is powerful and can be abused.

Though physical preventive measure are sometimes desirable, physical coercion is almost always undesirable.

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