Humans lived in societies without formal hierarchies long before the establishment of formal states, realms, or empires. With the rise of organised hierarchical bodies, scepticism toward authority also rose. Although traces of anarchist thought are found throughout history, modern anarchism emerged from the Enlightenment. During the latter half of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, the anarchist movement flourished in most parts of the world and had a significant role in workers' struggles for emancipation. Various anarchist schools of thought formed during this period. Anarchists have taken part in several revolutions, most notably in the Paris Commune, the Russian Civil War and the Spanish Civil War, whose end marked the end of the classical era of anarchism. In the last decades of the 20th and into the 21st century, the anarchist movement has been resurgent once more. (Full article...)
Here, within the ring of hills, Bors had constructed an accurate and detailed reproduction of a society two centuries gone. The world as it had been in the old days. The time of governments. The time that had been pulled down by the Anarchist League.
"The Last of the Masters" depicts a society 200 years after a global anarchist revolution has toppled the national governments of the world (the exact year is unstated). Civilization has stagnated due to the loss of scientific knowledge and industry during the now-legendary revolt. Elsewhere, the last state, governing a highly centralized and efficient society, conceals itself from the Anarchist League, a global militia preventing the recreation of any government. When three agents of the League are sent to investigate rumors of the microstate's existence, the government arranges for them to be killed, leading to the death of one and the capture of another. Tensions rapidly escalate after the agents of the state realize that the third has escaped. Assuming he will report the state's existence, the government mobilizes for total war. In actuality, the surviving anarchist elects to attempt his comrades' rescue and assassinate the head of state: the last surviving "government robot".
The primary theme of the story is the conflict between anarchism and statism, the political and ethical dimensions of which are explored through the characters' dialogue. Though the attention the story received was limited prior to the author's death in 1982, it has since seen greater circulation in Philip K. Dick story collections, and has been reviewed and analyzed for its postmodern critique of technology and its political implications. (read more...)
I heartily accept the motto,—"That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men and women are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.
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