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One of my arguments for anarchy is that power abuse can only be eliminated by eliminating power "on paper" itself.

But maybe I am wrong and there exist other ways to prevent power abuse without getting rid of power "on paper". If it's the case then what are them? I assume realistic answers, not based upon ideal politicians, who never abusing the power due to their characters.

What are the most notable ways of preventing power abuse without eliminating power "on paper" among philosophers? What philosophers have already said on this topic?


Power "on paper" - power established via laws and documents.

Power abuse - usage of power (given by others/society) to act in the way one is not supposed (in theory, by others/society) to.

Anarchy - the social system that rejects power "on paper".

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This is a rather difficult question to answer.

If you get rid of "power on paper", as you put it, this won't really put a stop to the abuse of power. This is a question more about human nature than political structure. Even if you get rid of governmental power through an anarchic system, that doesn't mean you are eliminating "power". Even if it's not on paper, that won't mean that some people won't have more power over another person, and that people won't "abuse" that power. It's not so much as anarchy removes power systems, it just changes the way by which these power systems are formed.

In short, it is impossible to eliminate the abuse of power even with anarchy due to human inclination to abuse power.

  • Well, I agree. However, as I said (not here, so, I say again), it's much harder to oppose the government (parliamemt, president, police and lawyers) abusing their powers than to oppose average person (who, at most, can has a gun or a bomb and not thousands of people subordinate). – rus9384 May 11 '18 at 6:33
  • @rus9384 That is true. But would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses? – An Individual May 11 '18 at 6:55
  • Well, that's hard question, but I would prefer no to have a government my coutry has. Completely unscrupulous people are in power. – rus9384 May 11 '18 at 8:07
  • What country do you live in if you don't mind my asking? – An Individual May 11 '18 at 8:31
  • Russia. Democratic in structure, it's not democratic in fact. Therefore, I don't see democracy as something promoting freedom, because it allows oppresion of freedom. – rus9384 May 11 '18 at 8:34
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I think that anarchy has several flaws, including this: who will make sure that the system remains anarchy? ...and how is that different from government?

The American (USA) system, captured in the US Constitution, is a pretty good start. Essentially, power in government is "by the people, of the people, and for the people". If we don't like the people in power, we take the power away.

I think that the biggest criticisms of our electoral system (primarily having to do with money, social media, and special interests) are due to our country's large size and not a flaw with the system.

By the way, I have a lot of respect for the Electoral College and I think it's a nice defeater for the possibility of hacked elections.

  • "who will make sure that the system remains anarchy?" I think this is really a psychological question. That is if someone claims "Now I am the ruler", anarchists would deny it. "and how is that different from government?" I would refer to psychology again. That is if you don't feel yourself constrainted by government, but only by others, who are equal in rights, you feel yourself differently. – rus9384 May 11 '18 at 23:55
  • It doesn't seem practical. The anarchists would not succeed against a "king" who raised an army with promises of booty and power. – elliot svensson May 12 '18 at 0:17
  • 1) Raising army requires time and effort. It cannot be unnoticed by society and should be prevented. 2) The reason why people go after those who promises them power is social dissatisfaction. The major source of it are bad rulers themselves. – rus9384 May 12 '18 at 0:21
  • The Nazis came to power while representing only around 10% of the German population in the 1930s (citing Germany Jekyll and Hyde by Sebastian Haffner). – elliot svensson May 12 '18 at 5:51
  • And the most interesting part of it: they did it using democratic mechanisms, not by raising an army, as you propose for your "king". – rus9384 May 12 '18 at 9:52

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