Butler Shaffer writes:
I am often asked if anarchy has ever existed in our world, to which I answer: almost all of your daily behavior is an anarchistic expression. How you deal with your neighbors, coworkers, fellow customers in shopping malls or grocery stores, is often determined by subtle processes of negotiation and cooperation. Social pressures, unrelated to statutory enactments, influence our behavior on crowded freeways or grocery checkout lines. If we dealt with our colleagues at work in the same coercive and threatening manner by which the state insists on dealing with us, our employment would be immediately terminated. We would soon be without friends were we to demand that they adhere to specific behavioral standards that we had mandated for their lives.
Should you come over to our home for a visit, you will not be taxed, searched, required to show a passport or driver’s license, fined, jailed, threatened, handcuffed, or prohibited from leaving. I suspect that your relationships with your friends are conducted on the same basis of mutual respect. In short, virtually all of our dealings with friends and strangers alike are grounded in practices that are peaceful, voluntary, and devoid of coercion.
Shaffer also points out:
Those who condemn anarchy should engage in some quantitative analysis. In the twentieth century alone, governments managed to kill – through wars, genocides, and other deadly practices – some 200,000,000 men, women, and children. How many people were killed by anarchists during this period? Governments, not anarchists, have been the deadly “bomb-throwers” of human history!
Yet society places a negative connotation on the word “anarchy”, or “anarchist”, when it is government that is truly evil.