In my heart, I’m an anarchist. I don’t like people who try to control others or tell them what to do. I have no desire to impose my will on anyone, and I don’t want anyone attempting to impose their will on me. However, I’m realistic enough to recognize anarchy would not work in our current society. Left to their own devices, I’m sad to acknowledge many people would take the opportunity to exploit others in every imaginable way. That’s where the human race stands at the moment. Without the threat of consequences, there are plenty of people who would harm others. For some, only the fear of punishment prevents them from committing terrible atrocities.
But I wonder: Can we change?
We have all seen enough movies and read enough dystopian futuristic novels to have a good idea of what would happen if our central governing body dissolved. Most recently, we have television series such as Revolution and The Walking Dead. The reason for the collapse might be different, but the consequences are the same. People congregate in factions, often under the sway of a charismatic leader. Often, they react violently toward those who don’t flock to their banners. They use superior numbers or firepower to subdue those who don’t agree with their ideology. Outside fiction, we can find too many examples of those who use a temporary lapse in enforced government for personal gain. Riots and natural disasters are prime opportunities for those inclined to loot, rape, and intimidate others.
Not every example is so extreme, either. Without laws and regulations, we would still have eight-year-old coal miners working sixteen-hour days while wrapped in asbestos. Because there are humans who are so concerned with amassing wealth, they’ll exploit anyone they can unless threatened with repercussions.
The question, for me, is: Do human beings need to be governed? Are we so greedy and selfish at our cores that we need someone to force us not to be assholes? And why? Is it a biologically programmed imperative to gather more territory, more resources, more mates, and more offspring? For the sake of this discussion, I am not addressing those who are hungry or desperate enough to turn to violence. That’s another post. I’m talking about a person with adequate food, water, and shelter, who can’t help but look across the field at a neighbor’s farm and think, Hey, I could kill them and have those apple trees for myself. Why not?
Will we ever reach a point, as a species, where we will say instead, “Hey. I’m doing fine. I have enough to eat. I don’t need to bother with those apple farmers across the street”?
Or is our genetic programming against us? Maybe we, as a race, cannot overcome our baser desires to accumulate more, to prove how superior we are to others. Is it Darwinism–the stronger eliminating the weaker (or less aggressive) members of the species before they can reproduce?
Or will we, and evolution, eventually recognize that our best bet for survival as a species is to stand together? That one person poisoning the air and the water for financial gain isn’t conducive to our longevity.
Is that asking humans to go against their nature? Are we so violent and greedy that we cannot change, that only the enforcement of laws prevents some of us from killing and exploiting others?
Will we evolve? Can we change? Is a society where people are decent because of an internal moral compass, rather than the threat of outside intervention, possible? Will humans be happy to have their needs met, or will there always be those who want more?
Will a society without a governing body to force people not to harm and exploit one another ever be possible, or are we biologically programmed to compete?
I am fascinated by anarchist societies. In my Blessed Epoch series, I created a race of people–the Emiri–who recognize no governing body. But then, they’re not human, and they cannot comprehend the desire to control other people’s lives. They don’t interfere with their neighbors, or have a care who others sleep with or worship. Those concepts are alien to them. But it could be that’s how they’re wired, along with socialization. Much likes it’s far harder to control cats than dogs, because of biology. Innately, dogs are followers while cats are independent. It’s their nature, and it isn’t likely to change.
What about us?
Is a future where human beings can live together without being regulated into being fair to each other possible? Clearly, this would have a huge influence on LGBT individuals. In a society without the need to force others to be decent and treat others equitably, no one would care who someone else was sleeping with. What would be the incentive to try to control their behavior? Personally, I cannot see the advantage in regulating it now–aside from the simple fact that some people can control others.
Can that change? Can we respect and be good to one another without being forced? If not, anarchy will never be viable; we’ll always need someone to step in and stop the strong from exploiting the weak. Can we grow and change as a species, or is it useless to try to fight our biological instincts?
About the Author: Gus’s Books are available at Dreamspinner Press, Silver Publishing, Yaoi Press, and Storm Moon Press. Gus has much love for readers and book enthusiasts. Communication and friendship is encouraged! http://ww.BooksByEonandGus.com