Ever since I read 1984, I’ve been thinking about the permanence of governments. And I’ve noticed that most seem doomed to fall over time, often very soon after their inception. And that led to a whole train of thought about governments in general.
You see, all governments are doomed to eventual failure. Either they change until they have become something entirely different from what they were when they began; or they succumb to strife between their different internal parties; or corruption alienates the governed from their government, and the governed rebel; or the government is attacked and demolished by a much more powerful one, which then consumes it. But are there any sorts of government which are immune to these forces?
History teaches us that totalitarian nations have perhaps the shortest lifespan, falling to internal rebellion in short order; and if they don’t succumb to rebellion, they will, in all likelihood, be paralyzed by their own stringent organization, until the people begin to starve and die, which often fragments the nation, or causes it to collapse altogether.
Communist governments rarely fare much better, no matter how good the idea may seem on paper. But in practice, people will not be separated easily from their money and possessions, and the officials in government will rarely be able to resist the ease with which such governments can grant them more power. Thus, if they do not collapse into famine and confusion, as the USSR did in the 1990’s, they will almost certainly become a strained totalitarian state, as China — to some peoples’ reckoning — has.
Democratic governments have been in existence for such a relatively short time (only a few centuries, at the most) that it is difficult to project how (and notice that I did not use the word if) they will fall. But from examples such as Ghana, it can be seen that there are two types of democracies in the world: the type (as in Ghana) which is in turmoil from the beginning, with wild elements within the government continually overthrowing one another and changing the government from democratic to totalitarian and back again; and the type (as, one might argue, America was in the nineteenth century) which remains stable, but seems to move towards more and more government corruption and public mistrust. So perhaps this is the doom of democracies: a slow decay into corrupt bureaucracy, which can easily be usurped and controlled by totalitarian regimes; or simply a continual oscillation that demolishes the nation bit by bit.
In view of all these, it may seem impossible for any government to last which maintains the individual freedoms of its subjects. I would tend to agree with this, but I have a proposition for maintaining such freedoms indefinitely: managed Anarchy.
Managed Anarchy is not the wild chaos and confusion that plagues countries whose governments have suddenly disappeared, or abandoned ship. Managed Anarchy, as oxymoronic as it may seem, is more a type of government than the lack of a government. MA is a grassroots government in which all power is handled by the people, and all power passes from the people, to the people, without any governing middlemen. I believe that people are capable of self-managing, without the artificial constraint of a government. Now, I do not claim that even Managed Anarchy is an immortal form of government, but I believe that it could be maintained for quite a long time, by following a few guiding principles, the Principles of Managed Anarchy:
- The people who subscribe to MA must learn to resist all forms of imposed governance, and they must teach their children and grandchildren such resistance.
- Centralization should be minimized, or eliminated entirely. Centralization gives one individual or group more power than those who depend on the centralized organization. And, in the spirit of this:
- Hierarchies should be eliminated. The only way true equality can be accomplished is if all people are truly on the same organizational level. This is why centralization must be eliminated.
- The people should produce the commodities. As above, those who depend for their food, their water, et cetera, on a centralized producer can easily be subjected to the control of that producer.
- Desire to rise politically should be seen as a very bad trait, and it should be curtailed wherever possible.
- Violence must be severely controlled or limited. Those who are violent may enlist other violent people to bring their violence on a peaceful group, conquering it, and therefore forming what is, for all intents and purposes, a totalitarian state.