Tom Lane

Noam Chomsky on Anarchism

What sort of conception of human nature is anarchism predicated on? Would people have less incentive to work in an egalitarian society? Would an absence of government allow the strong to dominate the weak? Would democratic decision-making result in excessive conflict, indecision and 'mob rule'?

As I understand the term 'anarchism,' it is based on the hope (in our state of ignorance, we cannot go beyond that) that core elements of human nature include sentiments of solidarity, mutual support, sympathy, concern for others, and so on.

Would people work less in an egalitarian society? Yes, insofar as they are driven to work by the need for survival; or by material reward, a kind of pathology, I believe, like the kind of pathology that leads some to take pleasure from torturing others. Those who find reasonable the classical liberal doctrine that the impulse to engage in creative work is at the core of human nature - something we see constantly, I think, from children to the elderly, when circumstances allow - will be very suspicious of these doctrines, which are highly serviceable to power and authority, but seem to have no other merits.');