Anarchy: Should we care what the ancient Greeks meant by it?

October 28, 2013
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Those who like to deploy the word anarchy often tell me that it merely means “no ruler.” This is indeed what the ancient Greeks meant by the word. But…

  • I’ve never had a conversation with an ancient Greek
  • I’ve only conversed with modern Americans
  • And to them the word anarchy means something very different

It means lawlessness, chaos, disorder, criminality, and an absence of institutions.
Words are defined by their current usage, not by their ancient origins. No person who adheres to the Zero Aggression Principle should ever describe him or herself as an anarchist. The current meaning contradicts the principle.
For those of us who want true governments, and therefore advocate a stateless society, labels like voluntaryist, anti-statist and post-statist should be preferred.
Copyright SymbolCopyright (c) 2013 by Perry Willis. Permission to distribute this article for educational purposes is granted, if done with attribution to the author and the Zero Aggression Project. Permission to use for commercial purposes is denied. You can find a full explanation of our copyright policy here.


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