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Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity

Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"


Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds





July, 2009
Vol. 8, Number 7

This Month's Article

The New “Anarchy”

an·ar·chy (n.) [New Latin anarchia, from Greek anarkhi, from anarkhos, without a ruler: an-, without; + arkhos, ruler]

1. Absence of any form of political authority.
2. Political disorder and confusion.
3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.
4. A theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society. [4]

In my idealism during early teaching days I told my students that my rules were simple: common sense, responsibility and respect. Later, as needs presented themselves, I created rules because my three starting principles seemed not always to apply to normal teenage behavior. (Who would have thought, NO TEXTING IN CLASS would have to become a rule?) Nevertheless, I always emphasized that although we could not control the world, in our classroom we could create the ideal society — a society where people respect each other, where everyone works cooperatively for the benefit of all, where people could speak their minds without fear, and where we would recycle and not waste — in short, a peaceful utopia.

At heart I am an anarchist. Realistically, I understand that the conditions for anarchy are where all members of a society are responsible and voluntarily committed to common goals. I do believe in the unwritten laws of nature that all creatures obey through the programming of their genetic code, guiding them instinctively to survive and fulfill their purpose. Rules, on the other hand, are written largely for rule breakers, those not guided by conscience, responsibility or common sense. In reality, except for tax laws and driving codes, most people I know could live very well without any laws, and actually do so in the sense that they rarely consider them as guides for their day-to-day behavior. In the mean time, society devotes whole libraries to volumes and volumes of laws, and most of our government spends the majority of its energy writing, debating and rewriting them.

Authoritarian people who live to control and exploit others are very uncomfortable with people who can live free, happy, and productive lives with a minimum of rules. As the events in Iran unfold, I imagine how threatened the religious patriarchs feel when suddenly they see that the people are not fearful children or rebellious teens, but courageous and free adults. How must they feel when even women, who they tried to marginalize by dictating how they should uniformly look, behave and think, stand heroically for truth and justice! It is tragically fitting that a martyred young woman, the beautiful, creative Neda Soltan, has become the face of the Iranian revolt. 

The great challenge for authoritarians is that, while the events such as are unfolding in Iran seem like chaos, they are a great example of the new world that we are entering. The spontaneity, freedom and unwritten norms of the internet are a great example of the ultimate morality of anarchy when it is used for freedom and the common good. There is a great order in the world community collaborating voluntarily to communicate and create a sense of a powerful, responsible human network. The powers of good use voluntarism and a benevolent presence to galvanize public opinion and allies for their various causes. We see this unfolding in greater numbers and dynamism for the causes of justice, human welfare, and environmental preservation.  Laws and dogmatic rules, ethnic, racial and cultural differences dissolve when people join to support basic human rights.

Creative problem solving is stimulated when people are able to try new approaches and to find others of like mind to support them without the limits of culture or geography. To be an anarchist one must have great optimism and faith in the human spirit. People who don’t have that mentality are fearful and take shelter behind laws, dogmas and forceful repression — protections they think are invincible. Those unwilling to change will become irrelevant in the current of contemporary events, because those protections erode when confronted by the tide of courageous, independent people. When anarchy is peaceful and focused it demonstrates a large measure of self-discipline. Such self-discipline is the mark of people dedicated to a great cause and is beyond human-made laws.

When people join together in harmony with the movement of historical necessity natural laws assists them in reaching their goals. The present generation and those who share their aspirations, have so many new communication tools to help them break the barriers of repressive forces and isolation. The new mentality is in tune with higher forces that govern human destiny and leaders who have stood throughout history as examples of the future. Today the leaders are so many individuals, that we can accurately say that we are entering an era where the “leader” is the general public. People can now share each other’s lives in order to fulfill a common purpose beyond national or self-interest. Perhaps we have an opportunity to create that “ideal society” that is governed by the principles of common sense, responsibility and respect rather than by authorities with their many laws.


1-3 "anarchy." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 29 Jun. 2009. <>.

4 "anarchy." Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 29 Jun. 2009. <>.

Post Script: Towards a new definition

The new an·ar·chy (n.)

  1. Actions independent of an external, coercive authority or law
  2. Actions that are voluntary, benevolent, and communal
  3. Actions guided by conscience, common sense and natural law

Cite this source—Modern Language Association (MLA Style)
“anarchy.” The New Anarchy, Richard V. Sidy, SNS July 2009.
< Vol08_no7.htm>.



I understand “the new anarchy” to be actions independent of an external, coercive authority or laws that force people to behave a certain way. In psychological terms, it is the opposite of behavioral conditioning where people act a certain way to either receive pleasure or avoid pain (i.e. the bases of our legal and political social contracts).

Volunteerism is basically anarchical even thought there may be individual personal incentives or rewards. However, the authority is internal and personal. The “new anarchy” is NOT devoid of ethics or transcendent moral purpose, or common, unwritten codes of respectful behavior. The Golden Rule specifically is an anarchical statement and not really a “rule.” It is simply a statement recognizing the natural law of cause and effect, or reciprocity. Attitudes and behaviors that are natural may be essentially anarchical — above and beyond political or religious doctrines, dogmas, and legal codes. If one looks beneath these latter “authorities,” one will find the desire for power and control of the few over the many, or else a pessimistic and fearful concept of the individual.

The new anarchy is essentially benevolent, voluntary and communal. In answer to those who fear that people would be selfish and aggressive in the absence of laws and government, I would answer that all evidence is to the contrary. In the case of major disasters where law and government are largely absent or impotent, most people voluntarily and in an orderly way help each other (often with personal risk and sacrifice). They realize that we all share a common fate. Further, the vast majority of humanity live their lives in pursuit of their basic needs, of their personal sense of fulfillment, of their desire for happiness, and of their desire to belong and contribute to a group or to a community.

© 2009 Richard V. Sidy



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Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future

Living Without an Enemy

Intelligent Design or Evolution?

Malice or Neglect? - Lessons of Katrina


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Archives 2005
Volumn 4
January: "Standing up for Humanity"
February: "The Wake of Disaster" – a poem
March: "Unity in Diversity
April: "Life is Calling"
May: "Entertainment" – a poem
June: "Thought and Imagination" part 1
July: "Thought and Imagination" part 2
August: "Imagination and Healing"
September: "Malice or Neglect? – Lessons of Katrina"
October: "Protecting Children"
November: "Intelligent Design or Evolution?"
December: "Building with one hand, destroying with the other"
Archives 2006
Volumn 5

January: "Conflict, Harmony, and Integrity"
February: "Satyagraha or Soul-force and Political Change"
March: "I Know I'm Not Alone - Wisdom of Michael Franti"
April: "Human Programming and Conflict Part I"
May: "Human Programming and Conflict Part II"
June: "Soccer Diplomacy"
July: "Sustainable Development is Nature's Way
August: "Parallel Universes"
September: "The News is not New"
October: "Legalizing Torture"
November: "Living Without an Enemy"
December: "Fast Food is really Slow Food"

Archives 2007
Volumn 6

January: "State of Fear"
February: Criminal Justice - "The Powerful Over the Weak"
March: "Culture Shock: The Good Life and Survival"
April: "March Madness"
May: "No Child Left Behind" Leaves Many Teachers Behind
June: "Personal Ecology"
July: Criminal Justice - "The Ethic of Custodianship"
August: "Exploring the Mind - part 1"
September: "Exploring the Mind - part 2: The Poetic Mind
October: "How Much Pain Can We Stand?"
November: "When Languages Disappear"
December: "Is it Enough to be Tolerant?"

Archives 2008
Volumn 7

January: "Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future "
February: "Beyond the Bush Years"
March: "The Imaginary Economy - Part I
April: "The Imaginary Economy - Part II
May: Questions from Prison
June: "iGods and Connectivity"
July: "Energy Independence"
August: "Tribalism and the 2008 Elections
September: "Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice"
October: "Have We Been Willing Slaves?"
November: "Are We Ready for the Future?"
December: "Are we done learning from pain?"

Archives 2009
Volumn 8

January: "Awakening"
February: "When Sacrifice is no Sacrifice"
March: "The Good New Days"
April: "The Power of Metaphor"
May: "The Conflict of Mythologies"
June: "The Time is Right"
July: "The New Anarchy"
August: "The Art of Living"
September: "Outrage"
October: "Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?

November: "Effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche"
December: Who are the Real Game Changers?

Archives 2010
Volumn 9

January: The Music of Place
February: Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
March: Sense of Place, Sense of Self, Sense of Humanity
April: Why Do People Serve?
May: Decentralizing Food and Energy
June: Beyond Reading and Writing — Ecological literacy
July: Organization or Organism?
August: Fear and Cynicism = “Inter-fear-ance”
September: Are we afraid of our "Better Angels?"
October: Choosing Our Battles
November: Meeting the Need
December: A Living Canvas

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