Today I visited a new on-line dictionary called Wordnik. As is my habit, I tested it with my favorite word, "anarchy." Here are the results:
American Heritage Dictionary (3)
noun Absence of any form of political authority.
noun Political disorder and confusion.
noun Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.
Century Dictionary (1)
Absence or insufficiency of government; a state of society in which there is no capable supreme power, and in which the several functions of the state are performed badly or not at all; social and political confusion.
Webster's Unabridged (1913) (1)
Absence of government; the state of society where there is no law or supreme power; a state of lawlessness; political confusion.
a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government)
thus is demonstrated the depths to which the English language, and popular thought, have plunged.
Anarchy, of course, means no ruler, not no rules. The confusion of anarchy with chaos came about as a result of decades of government propaganda against those who agitated against the status quo of centralized, authoritarian, coercive government. Anarchy is characterized by self-reliance, self-discipline, democracy and mutual aid, supposedly the goals of society in the united States, but in reality the antithesis of the ruling ideals of those who control government in this country, which is to keep its citizens in thrall to consumerism, debt, fear, and hierarchical authority.
Interestingly enough, recent "crises" in energy and economy are paving the way for a new resurgence of anarchy. Call it localism, sustainability, Democracy, ethnic identity, or what have you, the thrust nevertheless is to bring control of our lives back home from the central authority that has demonstrated a complete inability to plan and control the lives of the people across this vast continent.
We will, of necessity, return to a focus on local economies, local food production and distribution, local social support systems, local health care, local education, as the economics of global and even national economies crumbles in the face of rapidly increasing energy costs brought about by Peak Oil and climate change.
The politicians will keep arguing about the source of global warming and what to do about it, while the corporate toadies continue to line their pockets with filthy lucre. Meanwhile, here at home, the people are turning more and more to local gardens, farmers markets, and local economies. We are beginning to deal with the realities of transportation in a world of increasingly expensive oil, and increasing evidence of environmental damage as a result of burning that oil in our burgeoning fleets of private automobiles. The culture of the private automobile is beginning to erode, slowly of course, yet the sanctity of the private automobile is beginning to show a trace of tarnish.
I see this as a healthy step toward anarchy, self-rule, government by the people and for the people. Call it what you will, it's time to throw the authoritarian monkeys off our backs and take control of our lives.
It's Nature's Way.