Anarchism and Radical Decentralization Are the Same Thing, by Ryan McMaken
McMaken has written a post that must be read more than once to be properly appreciated. While I find one or two sticking points (which may be more definitional than anything), he paints a wonderful portrait of the intersection of anarchy, decentralization, governance, and culture.
Let me get the sticking points out of the way. One nit I will pick, which I believe McMaken does not clarify: given today’s technology, a “territorial unit” could be as small as a household (I won’t go smaller).
The closer we reach a libertarian society the more possibilities for further decentralization will be developed (which is why I favor every attempt at decentralization). We just don’t know because we cannot know – we aren’t central planners, after all.
With that out of the way…it is easy to label the post as being a swipe at the possibility of anarchy as a political model; this seems to me a short-sighted read. Instead, McMaken offers nuanced considerations – nuance that is necessary if one is to consider how anarchy might be achieved and maintained in a world populated by humans.
McMaken offers several examples from the European Middle Ages; regular readers know my view on this period and time – not anarchy, but quite decentralized. There was a strong common culture, both across principalities and from king to serf. There was plenty of governance – driven by sacred oath.
I was initially going to comment on several sections of the post. I have decided against this. It is worth a read on its own. If you believe he has turned into some sort of statist, you might want to read it a second time.
When you do, consider voluntary associations and what these entail. Consider homeowner’s associations, private insurance and security services. Consider anarchy in a world populated by humans. How might this be achieved? How might it be maintained?