Been a while since I got back to responding, hope that doesn't make things too out of date.
Additionally, there is no pre-requisite that the whole of society or the community be involved. It could merely be a matter of arbitration between the affected parties, where both the man who killed and the family/interests of the person who was killed resolve the dispute with a mutually agreed arbitrator/judge/jury. They agree to accept whatever decision is made at the end of the process. Under a system with no/less hierarchy, and since both parties mutually agreed to the arbitrators, there is no/less worry of unfairness. Possibly, built into this agreement there is also an appeals process, where somebody has special protections. Ultimately, what is just and what is fair is decided by those involved and nobody else.
I think this just kicks the issue back to a previous step, good luck getting people to agree to who is and isn't a fair mediator. Perhaps this can best be illustrated through Arizona's attempts to help put a stop to gerrymandering, where an independent, bipartisan commission was assigned to redraw districts as fairly as possible. Within a couple of months, both parties were accusing that commission of being biased towards the other side. Unless there are authorities that both sides are required to submit to, you're just going to end up in a cycle where no one will concede on who is fair and even less gets accomplished.
Both the girl and her mother asked the judge for leniency, nobody felt harmed, yet he still was punished. Such a large misappropriation of justice, where nobody felt to be the victim wouldn't happen in an anarchic society. This is a perfect example of how fixed laws can (and I'd argue often do) fail to achieve justice out of an aim toward expediency. Expediency seems to be the main argument you are making throughout your response, that it would be too difficult or costly to have flexible rules and flexible justice systems. But isn't the point to have an accurate justice system which proportions the costs to those whom have been inter-subjectively evaluated to have induced costs upon others? Where the focus is on helping those in conflict resolve the dispute, rather than impose moral mandates passed down by fixed laws? This can only happen in the absence of rulers, rulers whose will is just as arbitrary as any of ours, but is imposed on us from above.
I don't really think I've said much about expediency, it's more a question of whether justice is ever delivered at all, and again, with an anarchic system you're simply substituting one failing of justice for another...except in the latter system, the failings are far more frequent. I would prefer a system with fixed rules that admittedly have failings to a system that is based on the cooperation of accused parties. Perhaps this reflects the split in our thinking more than anything; I don't view humanity (or at least, a significant portion of it) as ever being capable of developing the restraint necessary to participate in a society like that, whereas it appears you do.
Fixed rules are there to provide consistent rulings, not to promote expediency (as someone who's worked for both a law firm and a judge before, I can tell you that the US justice system isn't particularly concerned with expediency). There's already accusations made towards the justice system about judges applying the law unfairly to certain demographics, and those complaints would only increase if judges decided not only how to apply rules, but also what the rules themselves were.
Assaults and other forms of violent crime are things which I'd largely think wouldn't be in the business of the public, unless they are exceptionally brutal or the assaulter is a serial assaulter. These are things which would be resolved through arbitration or immediate social peers. One does not have to mobilize the whole city to judge every crime, but maybe the immediate neighborhood would be involved, or maybe merely the two private parties would resolve the dispute themselves. It depends entirely on the case and whether or not it affects many people.
A thought process like this concerns me immensely, especially in the case of serial assault from family members. Many victims who are beaten by parents, spouses, etc. become so afraid of their assaulter that many of them are either extremely nervous about reporting their circumstances to law enforcement, and some never do at all. Law enforcement in general has worked to make it easier for victims to ask for help and find safety, but it's still extremely difficult because of the inherent fear of the assaulter. I'm trying to imagine a situation where victims now have no law enforcement to go to, but instead have to rely on the public for help. Who would you even go to for protection, especially in cities that aren't large enough to form their own, citizen-organized relief house? Hope that you've got a friend who will let you stay over permanently? And who, then, resolves a crime like this? The victim is probably too terrified to go public on their own without the backing of the law, and the neighborhood could just as easily be even worse if the assaulter is well established.
I'm not as familiar with circumstances surrounding rape and other forms of sexual assault, but every report I've read leads me to believe that there's a similar fear factor that plays in, so tack that on as well.
So in the United States most communities already have such authority, gun laws and castle doctrines can be determined at the local level. Many other laws like zoning laws, laws regulating police, tax laws, etc are determined by communities and it works fine (some would argue better than having a unitary state do these things.) What I am suggesting is that communities not have fixed, discrete borders, but rather gradient ones. The community is bound to its members rather than a geographical area, and these members can leverage the community's common resources to seek justice. There is no need to keep track of laws, because the law is whatever comes about through the arbitrated dispute resolution. So this discussion is really about the pros and cons of dispute resolution via arbitration vs. dispute resolution via fixed laws determined by an external authority.
As a public administration student and someone who's worked in local governments in multiple cities, I think you're vastly overestimating the control that local governments have, at least in respect to gun laws/regulations. Local governments are very limited in what they can do in regards to guns; these laws are by and large decided at the state level, and attempts to subvert those are usually blocked when offended parties either report or even file lawsuits alleging their rights being infringed upon. In fact, I did a quick search through my home city of Chattanooga to see how many gun laws had been put in place over the past five years and found absolutely nothing beyond one ordinance specifically applied to parks. A quick google search found at least five from the state alone.
Police and zoning both tend to be regulated much more at a zoning level, so I agree there, but my point was more directed at laws that passerbys would need to be aware of. Zoning regulations certainly don't fall into that category, and police regulations, for the most part, do not either.
Furthermore, militaries are by-products of nation-states, and in order for the military to exist there must first be a nation-state (with a fixed tax-base) to fund it. So under the conditions of an anarchic society where nation-states have been rejected by most people as legitimate entities, where exactly is this military going to get its initial resource allocation?
I'm not trying to state that an actual, full scale military would pop into existence, rather using the comparison of how the absence of a force dedicated to protecting people becomes problematic.
How did the gang come to exist in the first place? Gangs must start somewhere.
Option 1 would be that they move in from a country that doesn't share our hypothetical country's anarchic views. Perhaps they're a widespread gang like Mexico deals with currently, and perhaps their individuals who moved over recently, still possess a "hierarchical" mindset, and then proceed to organize into a gang when they find themselves dissatisfied with the social system here.
Option 2 would be that they are local citizens who just find themselves discontent with anarchy and believe it would be better suited under some other system, and then choose to pursue violence as a means to that end. Perhaps they themselves were discontent with what they felt was the community failing to distribute justice correctly.
Option 3 would be to meet social needs, which might sound silly at first, but it's nowhere as uncommon as it sounds. According to Mike Carlie, professor at Missouri State, many gangs form just from unfulfilled social needs. In really simplistic terms, people struggle making friends and turn to other outcasts as a means of social gratification. Their collective disdain for those they perceive as rejecting them may eventually result in violence. It's not uncommon, and it's not something that laws play a noticeable role in, either.
And there's probably plenty other options that I haven't thought of that experts could speak to.
If I lived in an anarchic community, and a bunch of people were proselytizing for people to join their gang -- a system of organization based on hierarchy -- I'd bring it up with my peers, we'd form a community militia, and then forcefully disband the gang which is acting in anti-social ways.
And how exactly do you plan on doing that? Do you know anything about dealing with gangs, or does anyone in your community? Do people in your community have experience following and giving the orders necessary to carry out raids? Do they have experience in tracking down gang members and projecting where they might appear next? Does your community have enough experience with wielding firearms to be able to defend themselves?
This might be an extreme case, but take something like the Gulf Cartel, which has come across to the US from Mexico and maintained a steady presence in Southern states. The Gulf Cartel, or CDG, is operated very efficiently, almost like a military. Many of its sect leaders have significant combat experience with Mexican police, as well as experience training recruits and hiding from law enforcement. And this isn't an isolated groups; gangs consistently cross borders into other countries.
So let's say in this anarchic nation, a gang from a hierarchical nation crosses over, with that level of danger attached. Are you really prepared to go fight groups that routinely kill trained police and likely have years of combat experience with people pulled from your community, many of whom may have never participated in a serious fight before?
So you're ignoring four things in this hypothetical: 1. the gangs need to recruit within the external society, 2. anti-gang people can associate just as easily as the gang can, and because of its hierarchical nature it only takes killing key managers in the gang to rid oneself of it whereas you can't do the same with an egalitarian organization. 3. gangs are most prolific in destitute societies with corrupted authorities already extant. 4. gangs fill a niche for people who feel they don't belong, but under socialism this sense of alienation becomes less likely as social bonds are a strong value.
I think you're underestimating how easy all of these things are. Recruiting is very easy for gangs; many of them specifically target unpopular high schoolers who feel isolated by classmates, and it develops from there. Unless you want to make the case that an anarchic society undoes the awkwardness of growing up, #1 and #4 are still present regardless.
I would argue #2 is, at best, misleading. While you can perhaps associate as easily as a gang can, that's not the major concern here. The concern is whether "anti-gang people" can organize and operate as efficiently as a gang can, and that I'm just not convinced of at all. Without the training and combat skill necessary to intercept and kill members, you're getting nowhere real fast.
Finally, #3. Gangs are most prolific in societies where a significant number of people feel alienated, and that can be entirely independent of the job authorities are doing. Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, Oakland, and Oklahoma City are the top five cities by gang violence in the United States; regions with not a lot in common. I'd argue the city itself is rarely the problem, it's just about where the gang can establish a foothold. And that foothold is largely dependent on how well they can recruit, which is mostly due to alienation.
The key word is "presently." There was a time when civil society and direct democracy were very important parts of people's lives. Think of the town meeting. It was through capitalism and the internalization of bourgeois values that this has been reduced.
Sure, it's admittedly been higher in the past, but the point is that history has demonstrated that it can fall off. And unlike the present system which at least sort of works with minimal participation, a community agreed to system completely falls apart with that level of participation. I'd also be very curious as to what you're base the claim that capitalism and bourgeois values are to blame for this on. Local government participation has fallen off more markedly since the 1950s, and you'd be hard pressed to make the argument that society has become even more favorable to capitalism since then.
You don't have to, but why join the community in the first place then? I'm assuming that if somebody voluntarily joins a community they'd be active in it. Otherwise they could merely be an atomic person, with all of the pros and cons which come with that. Under the conditions of freedom people will only associate if there is a benefit to association. If the individual costs of being part of a community exceed the individual benefits then of course somebody will exit the community. Those whom remain will be the ones who deliberate.
Why do people move into cities if they don't want to participate in town meetings? Why do people join neighborhood societies if they have no intention of showing up to weekly meetings? People want the benefits of community without the cost. Or, in your example of an anarchic society, perhaps they'd just like there to be someone to look into their death if they get murdered since the police are gone and communities are largely looking out for themselves.
Do you think that an educated population can't have said intelligent debate in the absence of hierarchy? I don't think anarchy can be achieved without an educated population. If somebody feels they aren't qualified they can always appoint a friend to decide on their behalf. This is different from electing somebody because you directly appointed the person you know rather than elect somebody you don't know as a collective with people whose interests you might not share.
I'm a little uncertain of where that came from; my point is directed at people being willing to give up their time in order to have an intelligent discussion about every potential person who might be entered into the database. If anything, this is a point about time, not intelligence. To reference a previous point, jury duty comes to mind. It's not that you can't have intelligent jurors, it's that they just won't show up unless they're compelled to.
Without those laws there would never had been a need for the civil rights movement in the first place. Black men, women and their allies would've been able to defend themselves ( especially in counties where they were a huge majority) by associating and empowering one another. But since the Jim Crow states prohibited association and empowerment, they had to work within the system. That doesn't mean the system is valuable in itself, but it is necessary to work with in the short term.
I feel like this paints a very inaccurate picture of US history, and world history in general. Slavery was legal in the United States, and to my knowledge, all European countries that employed the practice, until a law was passed that specifically restricted it. I suppose you can make the argument that Section 9 of Article 1 of the Constitution comes close to that (preventing Congress from making slavery illegal until 1808), but slavery took place long before any US government existed. Slavery was taking place in Virginia in the early 1600s, a solid two decades before the first law regarding slavery was put in place by the existing government.
The concept of slavery itself dates back far beyond any system of government at all, people were subjugated and forced into servitude long before any laws existed. I think this gets at my larger point more than anything; despite there being no hierarchy in place to alter people's views of each other, humans still created their own hierarchies and forced others to the bottom of them. Laws became necessary to undo those hierarchies that had been formed. In the case of the United States, laws (specifically amendments 13-15) had to be passed to deal with the systems of racial oppression that had been built over the course of several hundred years, most of which were initially constructed outside of the influence of the law. These amendments weren't perfect, they still left several "voids" in authority like I've mentioned before, which Southern governments then used to exploit the intention of the law and keep oppression in place through Jim Crow, and more notably, the Black Codes. The laws had to continually be tweaked over time to address these issues, and as time has gone by, the country has moved towards a less inequal society. The US certainly isn't perfect when it comes to racial issues, but I find it notable that an issue that initially began with no interference from the government at all, i.e. people taking advantage of others and forcing them into slavery, was one that was ultimately solved with laws.
Except its not, "just left in the open." Anarchy is not merely statelessness. It is the process of actively opposing hierarchies, including the state. All of the institutions in an anarchic society are designed to prevent hierarchy from arising, which is significantly different from "just left in the open." People associate into cooperatives, communes, and syndicates to prevent capitalist exploitation. People form militia to prevent exploitation through direct violence. People accept norms of property that are mostly fair and egalitarian. People participate in civil society in order to achieve the goals which they can only achieve with the support of others. So on and so forth. They don't need an authority or ruler to do these things.
I think I've covered this before, but the issue is not one of "could this work if the society you've described was actually implemented." It's "could a society reasonably make this transition?" For the sake of debate, I'll assume that you're right and that if people were associated into various groups to prevent authority being subsumed, they would. But the issue is, for a country in the midst of a transition, people are not. And my argument is that any country attempting to make that transition will inevitably fail because the safeguards that you talk about that are supposed to stop the subsuming of authority, i.e. the people associated into cooperatives and the likes, are not in place yet. In a country that stands as a democracy today, any one segment of authority that is taken away will be "just left in the open," because the things that you've alluded to that could protect it either do not exist yet or are not well organized enough and cannot be until after the transition.
Individual protestant churches might have been abusive and exploitative, but on the macro-level Christianity became much more egalitarian with the protestant reformation. I don't think that can be contested. Religion is a useful tool for authority, so it makes sense that authoritarians will use it.
I'd argue there was actually quite a bit more abuse than you're giving it credit for, but the point about the reformation is interesting, because in countries where protestants did ultimately gain a foothold, they held virtually no authority until after a civil war. France, England, Hungary, all had wars where division of religion was at least one major factor, and resulted in more protestant control. In other words...the idea itself didn't spur change, the war itself (and the changes in authority that resulted thereafter) did. In other words, yet again, nothing changes until authority is taken from someone and actively kept from that person.Last edited by MTZehvor - on 06 February 2018