#45 – Anarchy in the UK (US), or ism-ism





Ok, ok settle down.  Let me explain.  I’m not an anarchist per se, at least not in the ways you think of the word anarchy, or at least not in all the ways it is defined.  Here’s a definition:


Anarchy is the condition of a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. It originally meant leaderlessness, but in 1840, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy, anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations.
I like the part about rejecting hierarchy.
Here’s a more detailed definition from Merriam-Webster.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anarchy
Here’s a part of the definition I like:
c :  a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government
But also of anarchism:

Definition of anarchism
:  a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups

With complete Merriam-Webster definition:  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anarchism


I don’t think I’m a believer in anarchism, at least not in a leaderless, lawless, chaotic society.  I think there are parts of it that I see as useful.

I think there are a lot of definitions of a lot of systems of belief, political or otherwise, that are labeled with “-ism” at the end.  I think there are parts of a lot of them that can be useful, and there are a lot of parts of them that get us into trouble.

I think we use these “-isms” too freely – so much so that we forget or don’t fully understand what they may mean.  They’ve become buzzwords and more ways to categorize and differentiae us.

We’re divided enough right now in the world.  The world is going to crap in a craptacular fashion.  More and more we’re splintered into groups and sub-groups.  We’re on sides, and the “-isms” have created a schism in our commonality.

We need a schism from the “-isms”!

We all like to think we’re individuals and believe in individualism.

But we yearn to be part of something.

I guess here I’m speaking more towards political systems of belief and how one side uses the “isms” as a dirty word against the other side.

I’m not going to list all the definitions of all the “-isms” below.  I think if you are interested you could do that on your own.  Yet some of these “isms” are absolutely bad words to people that may prescribe or believe in some of the other “isms”.  Think of all the positive and negative associations with these, depending on your viewpoint:

  • Capitalism
  • Socialism
  • Communism
  • Anarchism
  • Liberalism
  • Conservatism

And other ways we pigeonhole each other through “isms”:

  • Feminism
  • Radicalism
  • Atheism
  • Religionism

And on.  Here’s a list I found.  It’s not comprehensive but you get the idea.  http://phrontistery.info/isms.html

These “isms”, I think, can have merit or not on their own.  We use them to divide us like we seem to use everything to divide ourselves.

Labels are not inherently bad.  I’m from an a certain ethnic background, and I have an age demographic, I have a color of eyes and hair and a height and a weight and so on.  These are facts.  These are labels.

But these -“isms”.  We should be trying to understand them better, them as they are defined and not how we’re using them against each other.

Why?  Why would that matter?

I’m not an anarchist, not even in the ways I’ve defined it.  Having smaller stateless societies, everyone responsible and everyone accountable within the society seems nice but it wouldn’t work.  Societies would form alliances with each other.  Different societies would not be content with working hard.  We’d steal from each other.  We’d bicker, and fight, and shoot and kill.  It’s what we do.

But there is merit in this “-ism”.  There are ideas that are good and can be used.

Not ever “ism” has merit.  I don’t think anyone would say Nazism, for example, is a good way to run a society.

Many of these “-isms” that we adhere to militantly don’t work for everyone.  Like anarchism, thought, maybe there are parts of each we can use.

I’m not sure any of them alone will work, at least not if we’re trying to have a society.

The better we understand them, the more we can learn from them and from each other.

If we stop with the negative connotations, stop with the need to label and define huge swaths of people by a single “-ism” maybe we can find some commonality.

To have these two political parties to define so many of us is ridiculous.  If we look at the “-isms”, in politics and in life, and maybe try and take a bit of the good parts and make a better whole maybe we’d be better off.

But we should knock it off with the labels.  There just one more thing that’s coming between us.

Words have meaning, but if we assume the meaning and don’t really understand or misuse the meaning then they are meaningless.

I’m guilty.  I believe what I believe and use my and other “isms” against people who  do not agree with meO.  I’m not great at it, but I’m trying.  I’m trying to take people at face value and not make assumptions about them because of what “-isms” I think they prescribe to.

That’s not easy, for me or for anyone.

If you didn’t know what anyone’s “ism” was and just listened to their ideas, how would you vote?  What would you think of people?  Maybe nothing would change.  Maybe it would.

I’d like to think I’m a humanist if I have to be labeled, and believe in some kind of humanism, at least as how the author Kurt Vonnegut describes his humanism.  But even then I’d be leaving someone out. humanism

The world is crap.  The world is awesome.  Maybe there are no good answers.  I think we need to keep swinging at it though.  Division isn’t working.  Labels aren’t working.

Or maybe I am an anarchist, as you think of it.  Maybe chaos is the answer!  Maybe Anarchy in the UK (US) is the answer!!  Maybe I am anarchy!!


Or maybe not.




1 thought on “#45 – Anarchy in the UK (US), or ism-ism”

  1. Hey I like this – ‘We need a schism from the “-isms”!’ And I agree that the “isms” contribute to conflict and lack of understanding among people.
    I’m enough of a nerd that I actually read through (quickly) the whole list of isms for which you gave us the link.
    I was surprised at the definitions given for “agnosticism” and “idealism” – not my understanding of them. Even “humanism” in the list was defined differently from Vonnegut’s but I like his interpretation (and yours) better. But my favorite new ones were “ignorantism” and “laxism” (laughed my head off – would have trouble being “open” to these)!
    In general, tho, it was eye-opening, weird, (and a little scary and sometimes hysterically funny) to realize the diversity and contradictions inherent in the beliefs included in the list.
    Yes, let’s “keep swinging at it”. (I’m no writer so I’m borrowing from you.)


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