In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a lot of anarchy going around these days. Don’t take my word for it: The Wall Street Journal reports, “Four months on, antigovernment demonstrations have swept more than a dozen countries. From Chile and Bolivia to Lebanon and Spain, millions have taken to the streets—sometimes peacefully, often not.”
Hong Kong unrest is clearly at the top of this list. The New York Times featured a photo essay of those who protest and those who strive to stop them.
America, the U.K., and now Israel, also find themselves in the throes of dissent against their governments and those who head those institutions: Trump, Johnson, Netanyahu. Around the world we see powerful messaging that people want to be free, and that their governments and officials are constricting that.
I believe there are two factors driving this dissidence. One is that governments no longer serve their original intended purpose very well, and have turned into instruments manipulated for the benefit and profit of their leaders. The whole notion of governance is out of step with modern thought leadership. The best and the brightest who might serve their people have declined to participate; in their place we get martinets and the self-serving greedy.
The second is a bit more theoretical and is, indeed, a universal constant: the second law of thermodynamics. All things that were once orderly tend toward chaos. All things. Try as hard as we pitiful little earthlings might, what we attempt to keep neat and tidy will eventually become disordered and messy, from our desktop (actual or virtual) to our systems (internet or government).
As the poet William Butler Yeats wrote:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
I believe anarchy and entropy are good things. They are change agents which stimulate us to grow, evolve, progress. Without them, we as individuals and as institutions stagnate and are drowned by the status quo. Instead of fighting against the change inherent in anarchy and entropy, we ought to embrace them and give them their head. Because they’re inevitable anyway.
As Bob Dylan sang, the old ways are aging, more and more rapidly. This is certainly true of government, which in its organic, Frankenstein-like metamorphosis, has become a life-force of its own that will protect itself by any means it can. In this process, it has misplaced its mission to serve “of, by, and for” the people.
We, the people, need to take an anarchist perspective and look for a better system of governance. If we—you and I—don’t do it, who will? Bob Marley said it, simply and clearly: get up, stand up for your right. Your right to be a free, freedom-loving human being.
Jack is the author of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers literary trilogy. The third book in entitled Anarchy and is the story of Tim Rosencrantz, an anarchist, and his involvement with Weatherman in 1970.