Social disorder is a problem which now, as throughout history, has erupted on a very broad basis throughout every (affected) community. Many anarchists would like to downplay the magnitude of such problems, because they feel as though they cannot be solved as simply as eliminating the government control and law which they actively profess against. Most anarchists are not about to support grassroots faith-based efforts, increase of law enforcement, or any of the other supposed “solutions” to the causes of crime and mass-unethical conditions. It is the common notion among mostly everyone that law is the only neutralizer against the force which drives people to immoral behavior, theft, murder, rape, and any other disorderly conduct. Even many anarchists fail to offer some non-governmental solution to these problems which are obviously intensifying.
So to begin, exactly what “disorder” am I speaking of? Robbery, violence, sexual abuse, child neglect, residential burglaries, muggings, petty and larger thefts, murder, gang warring, serial killing, senseless brawls, common and serial rape, child molestation, child abandonment, child abuse resulting in death, etc. Any actions to satisfy immediate desires of money, power, image or perversion, are increasingly committed without any sort of regard to the boundaries of those around. Impulsion is steadily dominating the way of life for everyone on a widespread scale. These things are becoming more and more popular among youths, occurring more and more frequently in schools. They often occur as combinations of many violations at the same time. They’re not small problems, increase in law isn’t helping at all, and this isn’t the first time in history that such disorder has been such a big trend.
This condition was fairly new the United States up until about the last half-century, after which time it steadily grew. What has changed? What strand in the fabric of our behavioral structure has unraveled?
We must look at what factors involve the outcomes. The spark of greed for whatever object have you, and the possibility of some restrictive element against a violation of someone’s rights. In an increasingly money-obsessed society (which is only some driving factor, not the enabling factor which I will speak of), motives to violate people's rights are becoming more and more enticing. But, everyone knows that to force something onto another against their will is wrong. Yet they are not restrained by this. The only restrictive element which tries to restrain it is law. But law is failing its purpose, people have no respect for it' and often feel they can elude it. They often succeed.
Law contains disorder. Or does it really? Right now we have more laws on the books than ever in history, but somehow the disorder rages rampantly onward. People feel as though the police will protect them, but how often do the cops arrive before the damage is already done? People often argue that coercion through punishment at least discourages criminals to some extent. But how far is that extent these days?
Moral function is a natural feature of the human psyche, which exists by default. As a person grows, their interactions with other people shape the ways in which they develop and act upon this morality. In our society, laws present themselves as established rules; external representations of people's own general morality. Consequences for overstepping boundaries are enforced only by uninterested entities of the established hierarchies. People’s sense of respect for one another has been replaced by a respect for an outside force. Law becomes like a mental virus, domineering a person's conceptions of right and wrong. In the minds of the naturally weaker, law eventually replaces morality altogether. As a result, the very instant the “hand of justice” cannot restrain a prospecting perpetrator, then all restriction is unbound. The perpetrator carries on with whatever violation he/she feels he/she can get away with. Law destroys self-control.
What of the natural safeguard, self-defense? This is exactly where the problem lies. People have been conditioned to feel like law will protect them, so they’ve lost self-dependence, they fail to protect their own rights, and as a result, the perpetrator may exploit their lack of protection. Law has not only disintegrated morality, but has disintegrated every possible restraint or immediate protection from intrusions on peoples rights. Thus, the problem compounds on itself: the immoral are more willing to violate other’s rights; and others are significantly more vulnerable to that violation. This general lack of self-protection also teaches criminals that they need not worry about anyone’s rights, because those people themselves will do nothing about it. Law has opened up a gaping loophole through which the excessively greedy have many opportunities to reap what they want without any resistance. Law is a double edged sword in empowering disorder.
Most people who have never questioned what law has done to “order” will look at the world and see a level of disorder restrained only by law. This leads them to believe more law and government control is good. The existence of government depends on their harboring this misconception. Law is the one single function of all government which makes it permanently necessary everywhere. Every other institution is secondary, expendable, except for law. In the end, our dependency on law is what ensures that some government will reign over us. The people, terrified by the fear of disorder resulting from lawlessness, will always opt away from anarchy, from freedom. Perhaps the very first engineers of enslavement crafted law for this very purpose: to create some institution to make people irreversibly dependent on government. Use an institution to instill disorder, while convincing the people that this institution is actually containing disorder. Ironic, no?
I look at the world and see a level of disorder that’s been cultivated by law. Removing dependence on law will force people to fend for their own rights, police themselves individually, reverse the destruction of our natural ethical functionality. If what I’m saying is true, that law has in fact created or enabled this social disorder, wouldn’t you be just a little bit pissed off about that? I think one of the most important things we could accomplish for the anarchist movement is to promote the use of self-defense and non-reliance on law enforcement. The less we need their laws to “uphold the order”, the less we will need their state as a whole. Law is only a secondary replacement for something we (mostly) all naturally have. What we need to do is shed this skin of ours and free ourselves from these socially damaging shackles which tie us inescapably to government.