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Totalitarian Anarchy Story

garymrssn

There are only 5 elements I would like to see used in the story. Interpretation of the 5 elements is up to the author.
1.There are no laws.
2.There is a system to settle disputes.
3.Any person or group can submit any dispute to the system as long as they wish to be a party to the dispute.
4.Disputes brought before the system are decided at random,( coin toss, drawn straws, dice, etc.) and the loosing party (individual or group) is executed immediately.
5.Everyone gets along with everyone else or they eventually in up judged the system.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

Subject to abuse by persons of advanced age or ill and likely to die soon. Someone young and with a lot to lose will need to have some way to prevent those who do not have much to lose challenging them. I suspect the powerful will prevent the less powerful from having access to the system, or more likely it will be abandoned quickly if the powerful appear to be likely to be involved in disputes where they run a 50% chance of death.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@richardshagrin

I suspect that such a system would devolve almost immediately, as people who can convince people to follow them will become, first, gang leaders, then warlords, and then, after a generation or two, kings. That, or corporations will become de facto governments.

madnige
Updated:

This isn't anarchy, it's rule by the system (with funky rules).

Niven explored anarchy in an SF short (Cloak of anarchy, in the dead-tree collection N-space) and decided that anarchy is a very unstable form of government, falling apart at a touch.

Edit: available online at

http://www.larryniven.net/stories/cloak_of_anarchy.shtml

Edit 2: Another available at that site,
http://www.larryniven.net/stories/Man_of_Steel_Woman_of_Kleenex.shtml

Ernest Bywater

@garymrssn

The dispute system won't work for long. People being people, some will be worried about losing and thus bypass the dispute system and just arrange a quiet little murder or four of those they have issues with. When people can't work out who's doing the killings they'll gather together and seek to change the rules to minimise the risks of being murdered.

Another aspect is that raised by tppm where a few people will gather supporters they can dominate and establish gangs etc and defy the group rules while they set about taking over.

garymrssn
Updated:

A stable anarchy is implausible science fiction.

Anarchy maintained by a totalitarian entity is also science fiction, though slightly less implausible.

That's why I kept the elements simplistic and left them open to interpretation.

I know why this system shouldn't work. I'm looking for some one to write a story that convinces me to suspend disbelief long enough to think it might work; until his group of heroes bring it crashing down and establish their own brand of utopia, if that's how he wants the story to end.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@garymrssn

A stable anarchy is impossible, not just improbable.

An anarchy maintained by a totalitarian entity isn't an anarchy, it's a totalitarian dictatorship

Replies:   jimh67
richardshagrin
Updated:

"A stable anarchy is impossible, not just improbable."

For many values of "anarchy" a stable system (just typing that sounds wrong, stable anarchy?) is possible. I suggest a very low population density so that most people have very few neighbors, and weapons with very short ranges, maybe just spears and sharp objects or maybe rocks so that killing people is very close and personal, and a considerable risk for the person trying to do the killing. It would also help if there were no particularly valuable resources that someone might "own" that would give incentive to other people to steal.

A possible example would be Eskimos (Inuit is probably the preferred title) or pre-European Australian Aborigines, who live in family groups with minimal social structure between the groups. If your definition of anarchy requires people living alone in single bliss without families, that is highly unlikely. In very small groups still there will be some specialization, if only men are hunters and women are cooks and gatherers. If there are only groups of one man and one or more women and children, likely the social structure of the group will have the man as dominant as stronger and more likely to have a weapon.

How big a group can a society have before it is not an anarchy?

Replies:   tppm
tppm
Updated:

@richardshagrin


How big a group can a society have before it is not an anarchy?


I think I read of a psychological study to determine the optimal size of a human social group, and the finding was about 12 individuals. less than that and they can't survive against the environment, more than that and the get on each others nerves too much.

Coincidentally I think that's about the size of a typical standard chimp tribe.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

I think I read of a psychological study to determine the optimal size of a human social group, and the finding was about 12 individuals. less than that and they can't survive against the environment, more than that and the get on each others nerves too much.

Coincidentally I think that's about the size of a typical standard chimp tribe.

The research extends beyond minimal group size for survival, 12 is the typical size of 'close friends'. The human brain doesn't seem to handle more than 12 people at a time.

El_Sol

It requires a small group of independent powers uninterested in ruling but unwilling to submit to any other authority or allow any other authority to come to be in case it might grow powerful enough to subjugate them.

Let's say one in five million people are born mages; each with enough power to take out a standard military force, but for all intents and purpose a fight between mages would have the most likely outcome of both ending up dead.

The group would be vested in not allowing non-magical folk to unite under one banner therefore there would be no laws, but to prevent too much pressure to build in the system, they would be required to do a minimal amount of administration such as dispute settlement. Being lazy and not interested in normal people, they would toss a coin and kill the loser.

Unfortunately, there is no story because conflict can't be generated within the system.

Replies:   Dominion's Son
Dominion's Son

@El_Sol

Unfortunately, there is no story because conflict can't be generated within the system.


Hmm, yes it can.

You are basically positing a small group that posses the ultimate offense, but little to no defense beyond shooting first.

Throw in a few people with ultimate defense but no offense.

They defense group isn't a direct threat to the control (offense) group, but they can't be killed, so they are immune to the "dispute resolution system"

In your mage example, throw in an evolutionary twist where someone is born who can't use magic in the way the mages do, but has very powerful magic that is all channeled into a reflexive defense.

Replies:   garymrssn
garymrssn

@Dominion's Son

The defence group, or whatever entity is in ultimate control, will need some vulnerability that can be discovered. Without that the story will resemble the feed from a nature cam over the long term.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@garymrssn

hat can be discovered. Without that the story will resemble the feed from a nature cam over the long term.


True, but it could be done. What you could do for a story is something where the posited system is stable for centuries and then evolution / innovation introduces an element that destabilizes the system creating conflict. That conflict is resolved when the system either adapts to the new element and stabilizes or collapses.

Crumbly Writer

I think most people would see Afghanistan as being an "Archaic" government, but it's essentially a series of small warlord fiefdoms and an ineffectual central government that no one listens to. There would be constant skirmishes between the different group, a 'no-man's land'. You could have any kind of conflict, where the lack of a central government restricts the core group of characters. Throw in a number of nomadic groups (12 to 30 people), who no one likes, and you've got yourself a story.

jimh67
Updated:

@tppm

Exactly. A totalitarian anarchy is by definition impossible.

Replies:   tppm
tppm
Updated:

@jimh67


Exactly. A totalitarian anarchy is by definition impossible.


It's not just impossible, it's self contradictory, an oxymoron. "Totalitarian" implies someone or something in total control while "anarchy" says, not implies, that there is no control, "every man for himself."

It stops being an anarchy the instant anyone successfully imposes their will on anyone else. At that instant the imposer of will becomes a de facto government.

garymrssn
Updated:

@tppm

The general social condition under which this society lives would be most closely described as anarchy. Based on the Wikipedia definition of anarchy. The fact that this is imposed on them by a force with totalitarian power does not alter the fact that they live under anarchic conditions.

Crumbly Writer

@tppm

It stops being an anarchy the instant anyone successfully imposes their will on anyone else. At that instant the imposer of will becomes a de facto government.

Like GaryMrssn, I'd consider it an anarchic situation if the control is inconsistent and unreliable (works sometimes, but not others), or if the rules change from town to town (warlords in charge). Again, if the nominal government is ineffectual, you have just that situation. However, if you have a totalitarian government, then that basically breaks the anarchistic structure.

It's common in YA fiction to create a dysfunctional government, where the fight is against an inconsistent totalitarian government, but that's another case.

tppm
Updated:

BTW, I used to be a Libertarian anarchist, but I got better and now I'm a Democratic-Socialist. (But, that official party having no chance in hell of winning so much as dog catcher in the U.S. I register as Democratic.)

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@tppm

Perhaps you should move to Seattle. The Democratic Party is the conservatives, the Socialists have one member on the city council and Progressives win a lot of votes. The mayor is male and has a male partner who works for the city. Automobile driving is strongly discouraged, many streets have gone from four lane to two lane plus wide bike lanes, and many downtown on street parking spaces have vanished, converted to bus lanes only. Walk, bike, or take public transit mostly bus but some light rail.

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