Human Nature: A Brief Dialogue

FASCIST: It’s human nature to conquer others. War is a biological necessity.

STATIST: It’s human nature to have rulers. Social hierarchy is necessary to prevent chaos.

CAPITALIST: It’s human nature to be self-interested. The hierarchy of capitalism is the best tool we’ve got to accumulate wealth.

ANARCHIST: It’s also human nature to freely associate and cooperate with one another in order to work for the individual and common good. No hierarchies or wars are needed.

FASCIST: Impossible! If we didn’t conquer other countries, there would be no peace!

STATIST: Ridiculous! If there were no rulers to control the people, there would be chaos!

CAPITALIST: Absurd! If humans weren’t motivated by greed and starvation, nobody would work!

ANARCHIST: But aren’t all of those predicated on the idea that people are too violent, selfish, ignorant, and lazy to rule themselves and determine how their society is run?

ALL BUT ANARCHIST: Yes!

ANARCHIST: But why are people violent, selfish, and ignorant?

FASCIST: It’s the way it’s always been. History is filled with people conquering other people.

ANARCHIST: But isn’t history also filled with cooperation among peoples? If human beings are inherently violent, selfish, and stupid, how could civil society possibly have emerged?

FASCIST: Because the stronger people destroyed the weaker, inferior ones. Look at the Romans.

STATIST: Because societies had the State to keep people in line. Machiavelli said as much.

CAPITALIST: Because people realized they needed to protect their property. Read Locke.

ANARCHIST: What about the Iroquis of North America? The Siriono and Nambikuara of South America? The Kenyan Turkana? The Philippine Kalinga? The Star Mountain peoples of New Guinea? The Commune of Paris? The syndicalist cooperatives of Spain, Russia, and Germany, and Northern Europe? The Quakers, Shakers, Mennonites, and Amish of the United States? Syrian Rojava?

FASCIST: Those societies don’t count because they are small and either wouldn’t or couldn’t compete with the armies of more powerful societies.

STATIST: It could never work on a national scale. At some point a ruler would be needed to control everyone.

CAPITALIST: Those societies could never produce as much wealth as capitalist economies. Quality of life would decrease.

ANARCHIST: Appealing to the ability of a society to be easily conquered by stronger ones isn’t an argument for why a society can’t exist; it’s a merely description of how States function. Decentralized authority can work on a national scale between cooperatives and federations that consent to rules and regulations through direct democracy and informed consent. Socialization of the means of production also combats the widespread poverty and wealth inequality under capitalism by removing concentrated wealth and the exploitation of workers by bosses.

CAPITALIST: If your version of society is so great, why has it never been successful? The fact is that free market capitalism works and socialism gave us Stalin and Mao. Is this what you want? Another bloodbath?

ANARCHIST: This model of society hasn’t been able to flourish because the State and the economic arrangement protecting State interests (capitalism) have violently worked to suppressed it. There is no free market because the hierarchal nature of corporations produces an unequal and coercive exchange of labor for goods and services. The fact that capitalism has “worked” is not an argument for capitalism any more than the fact that slavery worked is an argument for slavery. Stalinist Russia and Maoist China were socialist dictatorships. The economic model changed, but power was concentrated in the hands of the State.

CAPITALIST: What about the great innovations that happened under capitalism?

STATIST: Who will authorize the building of the roads and the police?

FASCIST: What about all the land and resources that must be obtained through war?

ANARCHIST: Research suggests that people tend to be more innovative when they aren’t incentivized by money. The people that like to build roads will build them. War will no longer be a necessity to increase State power and profit, as resources will be readily available to all.

FASCIST, CAPITALIST, and STATIST walk away from ANARCHIST and talk quietly among themselves.

STATIST: This type of thing cannot stand.

CAPITALIST: We stand to lose a lot of money.

FASCIST: I say we kill him. He’s pretty weak.

STATIST: It’s for the greater good. Authority must be established.

CAPITALIST: We need to protect our interests.

FACIST to STATIST: Do I have permission?

STATIST: Yes.

CAPITALIST: Let me get my camera so I can film it. This sort of thing is always good for business.

FASCIST walks over to ANARCHIST and pulls out a gun, pointing it straight at his head.

FASCIST: By the power of might, by the authority of the State, and in the interest of capital, you are hereby condemned to death for treason.

ANARCHIST: Liberty cannot die. It can only remain hidden.

A shot rings out.

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