Peace Requires Anarchy

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Alfred G. Cuzan’s “Do We Ever Really Get Out Of Anarchy?”

Do We Ever Really Get Out Of Anarchy? is a seven page essay by Alfred G. Cuzan.

I had encountered the idea that there is anarchy within government and between governments before and even thought that I had managed to understand what this meant quite well. Nevertheless, after a single quick reading of Alfred Cuzan’s essay my understanding of what it means to say that we never get out of anarchy has been clarified substantially.

The essay also suggests that anarchy (“natural anarchy”) would be less violent than all forms of governments (“political anarchy”):

But if society with a pluralist political anarchy experiences less violence than societies with a hierarchical or “governed” government, isn’t it logical to inquire whether natural anarchy is less violent than political anarchy? Why should the relation between government and violence be curvilinear? Isn’t it possible that it is upward sloping all the way, so that government always produces more violence than the market?

That is my view, yes.

Of course, even if we are incorrect aggressive governments are still not justified. The ends don’t justify the means. “A consistent peace activist must be an anarchist.” A consistent libertarian must be an anarchist. Supporting aggressive violence is wrong, even if it is true that your support of aggressive violence results in a world with less aggressive violence than the world that would have resulted had you opposed all aggressive violence and embraced peace absolutely. I don’t see how anyone could possibly be able to prove that this is the case, but the point is that even if they could aggression still would not be justified. Support peace. Supporting aggression in the name of peace is nonsensical. As A. J. Muste put it, “There is no way to peace; peace is the way.”

Special thanks to Conza for recommending this essay.