Eric the .5b wrote:
fyodor wrote:Look, there are some real differences between what's going on in Somalia and the, um, state of things in North America and Europe, and I don't see how you're racist for noticing them.
There are lots of differences in the world.
To say that the people in charge who are backed by guys with guns are only "governments" if they look, dress, and act sufficiently like Western officials
Aw geez, that's so presumptuous, Eric. Of course no one has said that, so you're playing the game of "the reasons they give for their position don't make sense to me
, so I'll take the liberty of attributing reasons to their position that they haven't given and never would." Such inner-workings-of-their-minds speculation can be interesting at times when you think you've hit on something worth pondering, but you should admit it's speculation, not a proven fact. And FYI (yes, I'm being sarcastic because you obviously know this but your language would seem to belie that), states that statists recognize as states do not only exist in the West. In fact, they pretty much exist everywhere on six continents except
in Somalia. It's just a little overboard to say people call Somalia anarchic because "the people in charge who are backed by guys with guns" don't "look, dress, and act sufficiently like Western officials"! Why don't they say that about all of Africa, then?
Eric the .5b wrote: strikes me as much more about style than substance, if noting the colors of the people involved seems too on-the-nose. Even in the case of open conflict, people usually acknowledge who's leading which governments, instead of just saying, "Nobody's in charge of this war!"
So now the comparison is not to mult-stated continents at peace but to other wars? Besides the all important state-run internal security issue, it's rare to see multi-fronted wars. That the area we call Somalia represents a rare multi-fronted war within a territory that was once unified under an effective (and viciously so) central government. Again, I'm not saying "anarchy" is necessarily the best description for this situation. I am
saying there are
some good reasons for saying that, and...
Eric the .5b wrote:
fyodor wrote:I doubt I could find it now, but I remember reading an article written by an anarcho-capitalist (linked to either by Stevo or an anarchist at Hit & Run, I think) that claimed that economic conditions have improved in Somalia since the collapse of the central government! The view that Somalia represents anarchy is not just for statists!
An-caps say a lot of things. I like some an-cap points and I like them better than most brands of anarchy, but some can still fall into the general anarchist trap of rejoicing in the smashing of "the state" even when that leaves an organization backed by armed men telling you what to do - something they conspicuously refuse to admit is a government.
...that it's not just statists who say so.
Eric the .5b wrote: There's a point at which some people with guns can become a government. Many statists like to pretend this is sometime around when a constitution is written, some nice, marble buildings are built, and the US gives diplomatic recognition. I say it's a lot closer to (or pretty much the same as) the time those people announce, "We're in charge, here."
Yes, YOU SEZ. But that's what I call begging the question. Y'know, there's not always bright lines between what is and what isn't. Yes, the fact that there are men with guns saying they're in charge contributes to state-like attributes to what's going on in Somalia. The facts that these "states" are fleeting and borderless and perform very few if any of the functions that all the other states around the world outside of Somalia perform other than maintaing being in charge*, well, you say that's all irrelevant. I'm just saying that's far from implicitly true or accurate and it's begging the question to assert it.
And to return to my primary point, which I don't believe you've addressed at all, it's the lack of state-run internal security
that most alarms people (not just the libertarian-hating bozos on PZ Meyers's blog threads) about Somalia and which they most associate with what they (not entirely without good reason) call anarchy.
*ETA: And add to that the fact that this situation came about as a result of the dissolution of a former state that ruled over the entire territory. This is very important because those who hold up Somalia as an example of "anarchy" (like me, to the degree that I am) are at least partly pointing to the genesis of the situation as opposed to the exact nature of the current situation itself. Put another way, maybe Somalia represents "anarchy" the way the Soviet Union represented Marxian Communism. IOW, perhaps "anarchy" as drawn up on paper cannot exist (in today's world) and what you get when you dissolve "the state" is a bunch of quasi-states fighting to become the new state!
Now, I'm open to the possibility that if "the state" is dissolved in a peaceful manner by anarchist adherents in different circumstances, that a different and better outcome is possible. Add to that the fact that Somalia was a horrible place under its last central government, and that's why I'm open to the possibility that dissolving "the state" could be a good thing. But what's happening in Somalia, which is exactly
what many of us would fear would happen, is evidence (if not proof positive) to the contrary.
Your optimism just confuses and enrages me. - Timothy