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The word anarchy comes from the ancient Greek ἀναρχία (anarchia), or αναρχικός (anarchikós) which combines ἀ (a), "not, without" and ἀρχή (arkhi), "ruler". Thus, the term anarchy refers to a system or society "without rulers" who rule over others.

Modern dictionaries may attempt to define anarchy as "a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority." But that is not accurate. A more specific definition would refer to "a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. ... Anarchy is primarily advocated by individual anarchists who propose replacing government with voluntary institutions."

On the other hand, the term government is presently defined as "the governing body of a nation, state, or community." If there is a form of government where a nation, state, or community did not require rulers to function that government would be an anarchy.

The word anarchism has been hijacked by numerous authors who attempt to redefine its original meaning. There were Ancient Anarchists who sought a form of voluntary government that did not require rulers who might be corrupted by the power to exercise authority one over the other, oppressing the people.

By the "mid 17th century: from Greek anarkhos ‘without a chief’ + -ist was coined as those who believed in no rulers exercising authority one over the other; later influenced by French anarchiste." The word originally meant rulerlessness, but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property?.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used the term to refer to his political philosophy called anarchism, which advocates societies without a ruling class and based on voluntary associations with legitimate property as the result of possession, labor and occupation. The idea that "property is theft" begins to fall short of both common since and a free society.

Proudhon defended the right to inherit "as one of the foundations of the family and society"[1] but he refused to allow that right to extend beyond personal possessions. He limited, by his own desire to rule people of society, the right of inheritance to the instruments of labor. But this arbitrary limitation on the accumulation of wealth is neither natural nor just. A herd, a cultivated and preserved pasture, timberland, as well as an orchard or buildings like apartments or warehouse are all inheritable tools.

A true anarchist would want to see equality through the individual choices concerning the weightier matters of justice and mercy not through the arbitrary ruler-ship of men, including Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

Ron Paul: To be an Anarchist is a great idea! ~ 3 min
  • Anarchy does not mean a violent opposition to government.
  • It does not even mean without government.
  • It does not honestly mean without a leader.
  • Anarchy is from the Greek, meaning no ruler.

It means without rulers who exercises authority one over the other.

It also does not mean "without laws".

The law of gravity existed before government.

The laws of physics were not made up by a legislature of physicists.

Nor were the laws of chemistry voted on by Chemists.

These laws of physics and chemistry were discovered and recognized.

The same is true of Natural Law.

The anarchist may debate what the Natural Law is but its existence must be accepted just like the laws of physics and chemistry etc..

The word "anarchy" in its original sense is about governing ourselves and coming together in some form of mutually connected society by voluntarism. Anarchy is government without Archists, without people who may call themselves Benefactors but exercises authority one over the other. It is about choosing for ourselves and providing for the needs of society without the dominion and control of others over the private lives and choices of its citizens. Anarchy is not about ruling over others and forcing our neighbors to do what we want, or to give us what we want.

True meaning of anarchy explained ~ 2 min
Continue to Part 2

Anarchy, in order to work, must become a voluntary system of self-government of the people, for the people and by the people living and working together under the Perfect law of liberty. Rather than coveting our neighbor's goods through men who desire to "rule over" others, the people of society are bound together only because they learn to care for and about one another and their neighbor's rights as much as their own. In the governments of the world people often stop caring about their neighbor as much as themselves. Because they are coveting their neighbor's goods they elect men who call themselves Benefactors to be the conscripted fathers of society. These "fathers of the earth" become the despots and tyrants, corrupted by the power to rule.

Doug Casey provides a good explanation of the true meaning of the term "anarchist." ~ 1 hr
"An" is a prefix meaning "without" and "archy" means "a ruler that exercises authority". You will never be without the threat of tyrants and despots until you give up the idea that it is okay to use force to rule over your neighbor to get benefits. Expect such threats until you stop coveting what belongs to your neighbor for your personal benefit, which was the message of Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and, yes, even Jesus Christ.
  1. Steward Edwards, Introduction to Selected Writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.