Anarchy / Anarchist / Anarchism

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Anarchy / Anarchist / Anarchism

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There are no occurrences of the words anarchy or anarchist in the KJV or other translations I checked. Here are some comments from a biblical perspective.

Anti-Thought Control Dictionary, Ben Williams

CONTROLLED MEANING: Rejection of established government. Rejection of police law enforcement. Rebellion toward authority.

CORRECT MEANING: Rejection of ALL government, including God. ANARCHY (AN [no]—ARCH [ruler]) = "NO RULER." To reject human rulers does not make one an anarchist. One must reject ALL rule, including God's rule, to be a true anarchist.

Because Christians refuse to accept men (or groups of men) as rulers and law makers, they may be called "anarchists" by the established rulers and those brainwashed into accepting the concepts of "the state" and "central government." However, by definition, no one who accepts God's laws, or the laws of nature, could be an "anarchist."
Letters to Jessica, the Lessons
Lesson 1

Does anarchy reign when human government is abolished? There is a real life example in our own history. Here is what was said in A Proclamation of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, January 23rd, 1776, after the Colonist found out it was just fine not to have wizards ruling them:

No effectual resistance to the system of tyranny prepared for us could be made without either instant recourse to arms, or a temporary suspension of the ordinary powers of government, and tribunals of justice: To the last of which evils, in hopes of a speedy reconciliation with Great-Britain, upon equitable terms, the Congress advised us to submit: And mankind has seen a phenomenon, without example in the political world, a large and populous colony, subsisting in great decency and order, for more than a year, under such suspension of government.

What they're telling us is that they were very happy to discover policemen, lawyers, judges, and law-makers were not needed at all to keep peace and good order in society.
Lesson 7

There has never been an actual example of anarchy in all of recorded history. The nature of man is such that anarchy is impossible. Men have always been ruled by one government or another. True, there are brief transition periods between human governments, but even these are never referred to as anarchy. These are revolutions or coup d'etats. From Lesson 1 you remember that even when all human government is deliberately abolished we are not left with anarchy. Then, God's government becomes evident and the laws of reason, morality and religion bind us together. Adherence to the will of the majority is just another rejection of God's will that results in the loss of freedom just like monarchy, aristocracy and any other kind of human government.

Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1828
AN'ARCHY, noun [Gr. rule.]
Want of government; a state of society, when there is no law or supreme power, or when the laws are not efficient, and individuals do what they please with impunity; political confusion.

An anarch; one who excites revolt, or promotes disorder in a state.
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, 1856

The absence of all political government; by extension, it signifies confusion in government.
Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, vol. 1 Abdication-Duty by John Joseph Lalor, 1881
ANARCHY. According to the etymology of the word, anarchy would mean absence of all government, of all political authority; but in evil as well as in good, the mind may conceive an extreme limit which can scarcely be ever attained in reality. Therefore history does not present, perhaps, a single complete example of anarchy, in which each individual was found in full and entire independence of all external authority.

—Since sociableness is one of the essential characteristics of man, we find in every movement tending to disintegrate society, elements of one or more new associations; and from the moment that through one cause or another a government is overthrown, if it is not replaced by a new one, the citizens group themselves in fractions more or less numerous around an authority which springs up because of the situation. Instability of public power is the peculiar mark of anarchy, whether governments embracing the whole of the country but representing different ideas rapidly succeed one another, or whether the nation is divided into several fragments hostile to one another. This state of things may appear all at once and sometimes when it is least expected, but the causes of the evil are almost always of remote origin, and should be carefully distinguished from the accidents which determine the outbreak.

—The existence of a political society implies a common object, and as soon as the members of such a society have ceased to agree on the object or the means of attaining it, we may say that the germ or commencement of anarchy is present. Anarchy, then, exists long in the minds of men before it reveals itself in facts, and it may be referred to two principal causes: disagreement in beliefs or opinions and antagonism of interests.

—These two causes operate almost simultaneously; but even when it is the principal motive of the fomenters of anarchy, interest, if not altogether concealed, is generally relegated to an inferior place, for men when acting collectively make it a point to rise, at least in appearance, above the level of vulgar interests, for which they are willing to sacrifice so much individually, and to connect the cause for which they are struggling with some great principle in politics, morality, or religion.

—In republics, the ambition of citizens who wish to get possession of supreme power, and in monarchies the ambition of princes who can come to the throne only through change in the regular order of succession, have more than once been the apparent cause of anarchy; but if a close examination is made, it will be seen that these ambitious persons merely profited by the disagreements of people, or by an antagonism of interests, and that there was in the condition of the country a greater cause of anarchy, the effects of which were merely rendered more speedy and intense by the personal action of these ambitious men. It is the same, to a certain
extent, with the weaknesses inherent in every political constitution; they do not become stumbling blocks until men cease to understand each other.

—Nevertheless there are some of these weaknesses which may be considered as a sure cause of anarchy, for the reason that, at a given moment, they are certain to lead to serious differences among the citizens of a state. Very large states contain in themselves the germs of anarchy, on account of the almost absolute impossibility of keeping so many diverse interests in harmony for any great length of time, and of establishing between the inhabitants of countries long strangers to one another the community of ideas necessary to preserve a sufficient force of cohesion between all the different parts of such an empire.

—In case anarchy arises from the abnormal territorial extension of a state, it is often the prelude to a social dissolution, but there are other cases in which it comes solely from a too rapid transformation of the conditions of existence of a political society. Then instead of coming peacefully, progress is made amid profound convulsions caused by the struggle between old and new ideas.

—No matter what the conditions of its appearance, anarchy is always a great evil. Not only does it decrease the security of person and property, if it does not annihilate them altogether, it also destroys confidence, dries up the sources of labor; and the misery it produces renders men the victims of evil passions and more accessible to the influences of faction; but the many sufferings it causes individuals and the trouble which it introduces into the economy of society, are generally of less significance than the disturbances which it produces in the moral order. Men are thus subjected to trials from which they rarely come forth with any advantage to themselves. In times of anarchy we witness some rare examples of political virtue, of civil courage and moral force, but at the same time a multitude of facts calculated to injure the public conscience. In the fever which seizes on all minds, notions of good and evil, of the just and the unjust, become obscured. Everything is judged and decided with the blindness and rage of passion. Lassitude and disgust are certain to follow this state of violence, and the necessity of calm, order and repose becomes so imperative that it almost always leads to revolutions fatal to public liberty. Happy the people whose liberties do not totally perish in these fatal crises, and who look for safety to a power intelligent enough to know how properly to limit the dictatorial authority with which general confidence has invested it.

—The means of preventing or putting an end to anarchy necessarily vary according to an infinity of circumstances, and it is the great art of the statesman to discern those best adapted to the time and to the character of the nation; but in many cases it is with anarchy as with acute diseases, where nature and time do more to cure the patient than the skill of the physician.

—May not anarchy which is a very great evil, become a very great good? Such is the question raised by a celebrated writer, M. Proudhon, and he did not hesitate to answer it in the affirmative. If we understand him aright, the an-archy of M. Proudhon is nothing but self-government carried to its extremist limits, and the last step in the progress of human reason. According to him, men will at last acknowledge that, instead of disputing and fighting over questions of which, in the majority of cases, they know nothing, and instead of seeking to enslave each other, they would do better to accept the law of labor frankly and join hands to triumph over the numerous obstacles which nature opposes to their well-being. In this new order of things nations would be nothing more than groups of producers bound together by close ties of common interest. Politics, as hitherto understood, would have no further raison d'être, and an-archy, that is to say, the disappearance of all political authority, would be the result of this transformation of human society in which all questions to be solved would have a purely economic character. Long ago J. B. Say advanced the opinion that the functions of the state should be reduced to the performance of police duties. If so reduced there would be but one step needed to reach the an-archy of M. Proudhon—suppression of the police power.
Black’s Law Dictionary, 1st Edition, 1891
The destruction of government: lawlessness: the absence of all political government: by extension, confusion in government. See 122 Ill. 253.
The Century Dictionary, an Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language, 1895
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Black’s Law Dictionary, abridged 6th Edition, 1991

One who professes and advocates the doctrines of anarchy. In the immigration statutes, it includes, not only persons who advocate the overthrow of organized government by force, but also those who believe in the absence of government as a political ideal, and seek the same end through propaganda. See 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384.


Absence of government; state of society where there is no law or supreme power; lawlessness or political disorder; destructive of and confusion in government. At its best it pertains to a society made orderly by good manners rather than law, in which each person produces according to his powers and receives according to his needs, and at its worst, the word pertains to a terroristic resistance of all present government and social order.

Criminal Anarchy

The doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force and violence or other unlawful means. The advocacy of such doctrine has been made a felony. 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384
[Note: As of 1994 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 states: “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.” The Black’s 6th definition (from 1991) contradicts this code in that an anarchist can be “one” therefore need not be a conspirator.]

Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th Edition, 1999

One who advocates the overthrow of organized government by force or who believes in the absence of government as a political ideal.


Absence of government; lawlessness


Coleman v. Balkcom, 451 U.S. 949, 961 (1981) (Rehnquist, J., dissenting)
"When people begin to believe that organized society is unwilling or unable to impose upon criminal offenders the punishment they deserve then there are sown the seeds of anarchy - of self-help, vigilante justice, and lynch law. San Francisco experienced vigilante justice during the Gold Rush in the middle part of the last century; the mining towns of Montana experienced it a short time later; and it is still with us as a result of the series of unsolved slayings . . . ."
Gitlow v. People, 268 U.S. 652, (1925)
Benjamin Gitlow was indicted in the Supreme Court of New York, with three others, for the statutory crime of criminal anarchy. New York Penal Laws, §§ 160, 161. [n1] He was separately tried, convicted, and sentenced to imprisonment. The judgment was affirmed by the Appellate Division and by the Court of Appeals. 195 App.Div. 773; 234 N.Y. 132 and 539. The case is here on writ of error to the Supreme Court, to which the record was remitted. 260 U.S. 703.
The contention here is that the statute, by its terms and as applied in this case, is repugnant to the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Its material provisions are:

§ 160. Criminal anarchy defined. Criminal anarchy is the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force or violence, or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by any unlawful means. The advocacy of such doctrine either by word of mouth or writing is a felony.

§ 161. Advocacy of criminal anarchy. Any person who:

1. By word of mouth or writing advocates, advises or teaches the duty, necessity or propriety of overthrowing or overturning organized government by force or violence, or by assassination of the executive head or of any of the executive officials of government, or by any unlawful means; or,

2. Prints, publishes, edits, issues or knowingly circulates, sells, distributes or publicly displays any book, paper, document, or written or printed matter in any [p655] form, containing or advocating, advising or teaching the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force, violence or any unlawful means Is guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment or fine, or both.

The indictment was in two counts. The first charged that the defendant had advocated, advised and taught the duty, necessity and propriety of overthrowing and overturning organized government by force, violence and unlawful means, by certain writings therein set forth entitled "The Left Wing Manifesto"; the second, that he had printed, published and knowingly circulated and distributed a certain paper called "The Revolutionary Age," containing the writings set forth in the first count advocating, advising and teaching the doctrine that organized government should be overthrown by force, violence and unlawful means.
Stanislaw NOWAK, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America, 356 U.S. 660, (1958).
…The finding of fraud here was based on Nowak's answer to Question 28 in the above-mentioned preliminary naturalization form, which read:

'28. Are you a believer in anarchy? * * * Do you belong to or are you associated with any organization which teaches or advocates anarchy or the overthrow of existing government in this country? * * *'

Nowak placed 'No' after each part of the question. The courts below ruled that he should have answered 'Yes' to the second part because in 1937, when the form was executed, (1) Nowak was a member of the Communist Party; (2) the Party taught 'the overthrow of existing government'; and (3) Nowak was aware of this Party teaching. Accordingly the charge of fraudulent procurement was sustained…
…Applying the strict standard required of the Government by Schneiderman, we rule that the charge of fraud was not proved: first, Question 28 on its face was not sufficiently clear to warrant the firm conclusion that when Nowak answered it in 1937 he should have known that it called for disclosure of membership in nonanarchistic organizations advocating violent overthrow of government and, more particularly, membership in the Communist Party; second, even if the question should have been taken as calling for disclosure of membership in such organizations, as the Government claims, the evidence, as we decide below in connection with the charge of illegal procurement, was insufficient to establish that Nowak knew that the Communist Party engaged in such illegal advocacy. We deal with the first of these grounds here.

No claim is made that Nowak's answer to the first part of Question 28 was untruthful. The issue is whether, as Nowak claims, the second part of the question could reasonably have been read by him as inquiring solely about membership in an anarchistic organization, or whether, as the Government contends, it unambiguously called for disclosure of membership in an organization which advocates either anarchy or overthrow of existing government.
We think that Nowak could reasonably have interpreted Question 28 as a two- pronged inquiry relating simply to anarchy. Its first part refers solely to anarchy. Its second part, which is in direct series with the first, begins with 'anarchy,' and then refers to 'overthrow.' It is true that the two terms are used in the disjunctive, but, having regard to the maxim ejusdem generis, we do not think that the Government's burden can be satisfied simply by parsing the second sentence of the question according to strict rules of syntax. For the two references to 'anarchy' make it not implausible to read the question in its totality as inquiring solely about anarchy. Especially is this so when it is borne in mind that Nowak answered the question in 1937, during a period when communism was much less in the public consciousness than has been the case in more recent years, and when, accordingly, there was less reason for individuals to believe that government questionnaires were seeking information relating to Communist Party membership. 3 The fact that the Nationality Act of 1906, under which this preliminary naturalization form was issued, prohibited anarchists, but not Communists, from becoming American citizens, see 34 Stat. 596, 597, 598, accentuates the highly doubtful meaning of the question. We hold the second part of Question 28 too ambiguous to sustain the fraudulent procurement charge based on petitioner's answer to it…
UNITED STATES JOHN TURNER, , v. WILLIAM WILLIAMS, United States Commissioner of Immigration for the Port of New York. 194 U.S. 279 (1904)
Appellant's contention really comes to this: that the act is unconstitutional so far as it provides for the exclusion of an alien because he is an anarchist.

The argument seems to be that, conceding that Congress has the power to shut out any alien, the power, nevertheless, does not extend to some aliens, and that if the act includes all alien anarchists, it is unconstitutional, because some anarchists are merely political philosophers, whose teachings are beneficial rather than otherwise.
Counsel give these definitions from the Century dictionary:

'ANARCHY. Absence or insufficiency of government; a state of society in which there is no capable supreme power, and in which the several functions of the state are performed badly or not at all; social and political confusion. Specifically—2. A social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all direct government of man by man as the political ideal; absolute individual liberty. 3. Confusion in general.

'ANARCHIST. 1. Properly, one who advocates anarchy or the absence of government as a political ideal; a believer in an anarchic theory of society; especially, an adherent of the social theory of Proudhon. See Anarchy, 2. 2. In popular use, one who seeks to overturn by violence all constituted forms and institutions of society and government, all law and order, and all rights of property, with no purpose of establishing any other system of order in the place of that destroyed; especially, such a person when actuated by mere lust of plunder. 3. Any person who promotes disorder or excites revolt against an established rule, law, or custom.'

And Huxley is quoted as saying: 'Anarchy, as a term of political philosophy, must be taken only in its proper sense, which has nothing to do with disorder or with crime, but denotes a state of society in which the rule of each individual by himself is the only government the legitimacy of which is recognized.'

The language of the act is 'anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of all government or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials.' If this should be construed as defining the word 'anarchists' by the words which follow, or as used in the popular sense above given, it would seem that when an alien arrives in this country, who avows himself to be an anarchist, without more, he accepts the definition. And we suppose counsel does not deny that this government has the power to exclude an alien who believes in or advocates the overthrow of the government or of all governments by force or the assassination of officials. To put that question is to answer it.

And if the judgment of the board and the Secretary was that Turner came within the act as thus construed, we cannot hold, as matter of law, that there was no evidence on which that conclusion could be rested. Even if Turner, though he did not so state to the board, only regarded the absence of government as a political ideal, yet when he sought to attain it by advocating, not simply for the benefit of workingmen, who are justly entitled to repel the charge of desiring the destruction of law and order, but 'at any rate, as an anarchist,' the universal strike to which he referred, and by discourses on what he called 'The Legal Murder of 1887' (Spies v. People, 122 Ill. 1, 3 Am. St. Rep. 320, 12 N. E. 865, 17 N. E. 898), and by addressing mass meetings on that subject in association with Most (Queen v. Most, L. R. 7 Q. B. Div. 244; People v. Most, 171 N. Y. 423, 58 L. R. A. 509, 64 N. E. 175), we cannot say that the inference was unjustifiable either that he contemplated the ultimate realization of his ideal by the use of force, or that his speeches were incitements to that end.

If the word 'anarchists' should be interpreted as including aliens whose anarchistic views are professed as those of political philosophers, innocent of evil intent, it would follow that Congress was of opinion that the tendency of the general exploitation of such views is so dangerous to the public weal that aliens who hold and advocate them would be undesirable additions to our population, whether permanently or temporarily, whether many or few; and, in the light of previous decisions, the act, even in this aspect, would not be unconstitutional, as applicable to any alien who is opposed to all organized government.

We are not to be understood as depreciating the vital importance of freedom of speech and of the press, or as suggesting limitations on the spirit of liberty, in itself unconquerable, but this case does not involve those considerations. The flaming brand which guards the realm where no human government is needed still bars the entrance; and as long as human governments endure they cannot be denied the power of self-preservation, as that question is presented here.

Reference was made by counsel to the alien law of June 25, 1798 (1 Stat. at L. 570, chap. 58), but we do not think that the controversy over that law (and the sedition law) and the opinions expressed at the time against its constitutionality have any bearing upon this case, which involves an act couched in entirely different terms, and embracing an entirely different purpose. As Mr. Justice Field remarked in the Chinese Exclusion Case, 130 U. S. 610, 32 L. ed. 1077, 9 Sup. Ct. Rep. 632: 'The act was passed during a period of great political excitement, and it was attacked and defended with great zeal and ability. It is enough, however, to say that it is entirely different from the act before us, and the validity of its provisions was never brought to the test of judicial decision in the courts of the United States.' Order affirmed.

John Adams:
Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.
Honore de Balzac:
Liberty begets anarchy, anarchy leads to despotism, and despotism brings about liberty once again. Millions of human beings have perished without being able to make any of these systems triumph.
Rev. Henry Ward Beecher:
The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government.
Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule.
Joseph Sobran:
By a very conservative estimate, a hundred million people have died at the hands of their own governments in this century. Given that record, how bad could anarchy be?
Justice Louis D. Brandeis:
The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means -- to declare that the government may commit crimes -- would bring terrible retribution.

William Cullen Bryant:
The right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the pen, by the press, all political questions, and to examine the animadvert upon all political institutions is a right so clear and certain, so interwoven with our other liberties, so necessary, in fact, to their existence, that without it we must fall into despotism and anarchy.
Daniel Webster:
Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.
James Madison:
In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law ... That would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
William McKinley:
We could not leave them to themselves -- they were unfit for self-government -- and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was ... there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.
Abraham Lincoln:
A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.
Ammon Hennacy:
An anarchist is anyone who doesn't need a cop to tell him what to do.
Émile Faguet:
An anarchist is an uncompromising liberal.
William Graham Sumner:
Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist.
George Orwell:
Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
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