One of the most common misconceptions about anarchism is that it's all about lawlessness. The truth is that laws aren't the source of tyranny, the hierarchical machinery of the state is, and statelessness does not inherently equal lawlessness. With that being said, when it comes to law and order, most anarchists tend to air on the safe side with a less is more approach and I count myself among them. The common libertarian dictum is 'don't hurt anybody and don't steal anybodies shit'. I would take it a step further and argue that the core philosophy on what constitutes criminality is the concept of consent.
If a man takes another man's property with his permission it's a gift but when he takes said property against his neighbor's will it becomes theft. The lack of consent makes this act a crime. The same should be applied equally across the board. When a government, stateless or not, taxes its populace upon the threat of imprisonment, this violates that population's consent and thus, in my eyes, constitutes a crime. Some call this philosophy voluntaryism, a philosophy that preaches that in a just society all human interaction should be completely voluntary. In spite of my Bolshevik roots, I've come to embrace this philosophy, at least in spirit. But I prefer to call it the Consistent Consent Ethic.
Under this ethic, laws should not be based on morals, taboos or even right and wrong. These values are a private matter that is only cheapened when they're forced upon others. Thus you don't have to love hard drugs, prostitution and gambling to believe that the government or any other body has no right policing consensual behavior. And this isn't as easy for even me as it sounds. I happen to think junk, whores and craps are fine as wine (pun intended), but I am strongly pro-life. My Consistent Consent Ethic is a spin on the Consistent Life Ethic, a Catholic philosophy that preaches against the taking of human life, whether it be taken through capital punishment, war or abortion. The first two are clear violations of both Ethics. Abortion is where things get a bit more tricky. While I personally disagree with abortion, forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term is a clear violation of their consent and thus I cannot justify the prohibition of abortion even though I find it to be morally repugnant.
Another tricky moral playing ground for my philosophy is the age of consent. While I abhor the idea of an adult taking unfair advantage of a child, the uncomfortable reality remains that, biologically and psychologically speaking, the age of consent is not a fixed age. It varies from individual to individual. One person's age of being capable of making informed and mature decisions may come a decade before another's. While it is undeniable that pre-pubescent children are not equipped in any way, shape or form to handle adult sexuality, many young adults as young 14 or 15 make informed decisions to be sexually active and policing these actions, even with the best of intentions is a violation of their rights to express their own biological agency. Of coarse there are always exceptions. Authority figures, be they parents, teachers, law enforcement or legal guardians hold an undo degree of influence over young people that often coerces them into making decisions against their will. This, along with such predicaments as relations between correctional officers and prisoners, is the one place where the notion of statutory rape is not offensively absurd.
This doesn't mean that I advocate relationships between forty-something scuzzballs and teeny-boppers anymore than I advocate terminating a fetus out of a selfish sense of inconvenience. I just don't believe that the law is the proper place to enforce my own personal morals. I prefer education, which offers far less tyrannical and far more empowering solutions to the problems of fetal manslaughter and sexual exploitation. Children need to be taught from a young age about their bodies, about their developing sexuality and about the fact that only they have the right to them. Schools often avoid this kind of education, not just because of outdated taboos and puritanical morals but because it enforces the dangerous idea that even children have rights and the most important among them is the right to defy authority, the right to say 'NO!'. We go out of our way in this country to infantilize children because infantilized children grow up to be obedient and compliant adults. They also make for easy targets. Predators don't target young adults for their bodies. They target young adults because of their perceived naivete. Statutory rape laws only enforce this naivete and create generations of malleable victims ready to be violated by the ultimate perverts in the state.
Education has also been proven to be a sound way to prevent abortion and with advances in birth control and contraception like the morning after pill, an age in which abortion is rendered nearly irrelevant is not too far in the future to be described as Utopian any longer. My fellow self-proclaimed pro-lifers show their true colors when they reject such common sense miracle drugs out of hand. When your alleged opposition to abortion prevents you from supporting sound strategies to defeat it, it becomes painfully clear that your true concern is not abortion but policing other peoples lifestyles by manipulating their biology. I don't know if this is sexist but it's definitely immoral, disrespectful and above all else counter productive.
People need to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what kind of a society they want to live in. Do they want their children to be controlled and sterilized and "safe" or do they want them to be educated, empowered and self-sufficient. Do they want all human life to be valued regardless of gender or age or do they want human life to be cheapened by arbitrary violations of privacy and self determination. Most of all, people need to ask themselves whether they want freedom or safety. Through education and social responsibility, the free can be safe. But through the strong arm of the state, the safe can never truly be free. And that is what voluntaryism, the Consistent Consent Ethic and anarchy are really all about.
Peace, Love & Empathy- CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post.
* If You Want to Sing Out By Cat Stevens
* Loaded By Primal Scream
* Under the Wire By Haim
* Asking For It By Hole
* Mistake By Middle Kids
* Surrender By Cheap Trick
* Hey By the Pixies
* Waitress By Hop Along
* Venus as a Boy By Bjork
* Laid By James
* In the Street By Big Star