Santa Monica, California, USA
Hi Ron! Re:
"why do you think that same argument is unlikely to be applied to a mother's two-year-old daughter? Nobody need be forced to killer their toddler and nobody need be forced to not kill their child?
Let's face it. Not all things come down to personal choice. Therein, after all, would lie anarchy."
I don't understand the relationship of this first reference to anything I might have or did say, but, because moonbeam also mentions the killing of two year olds, maybe there is a specific something going on I'm not aware of. Wouldn't be the first time.
On the second statement, I think the reverse might be just as reasonably argued. Everything can revolve around personal choice, and it doesn't need to lead to anarchy. Please note I am not making a statement about absolutes.
Below are all four of Websters definitions of anarchy, included so there is not suggestion that I picked out the one which best supports my thoughts.
1. a state of society without government or law.
Well, I think you, who have made your own personal choices, haven't brought us to the brink of anarchy as defined above. I don't think my personal choices, even though some have differed from yours, have brought us to the state of anarchy either. Personal choices resulted in personal consequences and often consequences beyond a given individual. As a simple example, when I chose to close my greenhouse business, one consequence for me was that I made a substantial amount of money selling off the land. A consequence for my employees was that they were out of work.
Now, in the '30's, as a germane but not all inclusive example, hundreds of thousands of businesses were closed and millions were left without work. It was an economically terrible time. Nevertheless, anarchy did not result. We still had a government. There were still laws.
ANARCHY 2. political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control: The death of the king was followed by a year of anarchy.
This definition seems to describe a concrete, identifiable social condition which has existed historically, and is the condition of some states today. It doesn't seem to address "personal choice," which is fine, being outside the scope of the definition.
ANARCHY 3. a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society.
OK, that's a political theory with three components. The advocacy of no direct government seems impractical on it's face. An anarchist may choose to advocate that notion in a free society. That doesn't mean anyone has to agree with it, or give it it much creedence. We're free to choose to dismiss it.
"coercive government" from the definition is thornier. A government, let's take an elected one, like ours -- has by collective individual decision, a right to make and enforce laws. And some of these are pretty darned coersive, like the draft when it was in effect. Not everyone chose to follow this law as we did. There were personal and social consequences stemming from either choice, but anarchy did not ensue.
The anarchist proposal espousing "cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society" from the definition" seems to a description of the society which we have. Does it sound odd or off base to say "Democracy requires cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society"
If one eliminitates emotionally charged connotations of the word "anarchy" our societ seems to work because people "choose" to work together. There is nothing to suggest that people have to agree about everything.
ANARCHY 4. confusion; chaos; disorder: Intellectual and moral anarchy followed his loss of faith.
The first part of the definition is the description of a state or states of being, not a description of nature or consequences of choice. The example of the word as it can be commonly used is no more than that.
I'm sorry that whomever the "he" is in the example of usage experienced confusion chaos disorder and intellectual and moral anarchy following his loss of faith. But the example doesn't flow from the definition, and there is no reason to accept that this anarchic state is a logical, predictable, or invetable consequence of a loss of faith.
It doesn't have much to do with the consequences of free choice either.
I'm glad we have a government. I'm glad we have rules. I'm glad we have a great latitude to make free choices within the context of those rules. I'm also glad we don't have a state religion which it thinks we should or must agree with. It lets all of us make very personal choices.
I don't mean to put words in your mouth or thoughts in your head which aren't there, but it seems that in your post describing anarchy as a likely consequence of choice, moralistic judgement is the underlying source of the argument. I wouldn't care even if it were overt source of the argument. It's a choice anyone is entitled to make.
However, the excesses of a religious based limitation of choices can get pretty scary. In Merry Olde England, there were times when one could be murdered by the state for a) happening to be a Catholic; b) choosing to remain a Catholic; or c), converting to Catholicism. Similary, in Merry Olde England under Catholic reign, one took one's life in one's hands, or had one's life taken from them, for choosing to be a Protestant. And etc for many past and present societies. Sometimes, this leads to downright anarchy.