Swedish anarchist Per Bylund opines:
“Lawlessness” is sometimes used to define anarchism. Even though it
is true, at least in the sense that anarchism does not allow for
government-enforced laws, there is nothing in the concept of
lawlessness that without a doubt makes it chaotic, destructive, and
war-like. Why would the lack of rules set and enforced by a centralized
power entity mean chaos and destruction?
To draw such a conclusion one will have to embrace the thesis that
man is inherently bad, and would willingly kill, rape, and plunder were
it not for a superior power forcing him not to. Yet, the champions of
this strange philosophy fail to show how a society of such bad people
become a peaceful and orderly society when all are subdued by a single,
centralist power – and how that power, run by men, does not degenerate
into terror and destruction. After all, if man is inherently evil,
there is nothing we can do about it – and it certainly rules out making
some of those inherently evil folks the rulers of others.
All objections to lawlessness (anarchy) essentially amount to what Mr. Bylund is talking about here, in one fashion or another. In fact, anarchy has (falsely) come to be synonymous with the chaos and destruction that’s nihilism, not anarchism.
When finding myself in such discussions I some time ago just began responding with a question: assuming there
were no laws whatsoever, who are you going to steal from, rape, and/or
murder? Huh? Who? When? This of course compels people to confront (yea, I’ll be
bringing it up, explicitly) the real reason they long for the violence inherent in the state: to keep other
people in line; and the whole political objective is to try to get that
line other people are forced to toe as much in accordance with their own individual
values as possible.
In large part, it’s out of fear that people are so willing to sanction violence against others — to kill, imprison, and financially destroy others — so that they may feel safe & sound. But, of course, safety is an illusion. Nowadays, you’re far more likely to have an encounter with a cop than with a real thug intent on doing you real physical harm (and you know how those encounters can be). The fear is foolish; and so the justification for the state largely rests on being played the fool.
But really; what’s stopping you? What is stopping you from raping, killing someone, pillaging a home or business?
Is it only the fear of being caught? That’s all?
Well; that would be sad if you had to realize that you lack a conscience. But let’s suppose it’s true. Let’s suppose that the only thing standing in your way is that you fear being caught and you fear the ensuing consequences. So who would you fear more, police, prosecutors, and the courts, or people with a personal interest in your victim?
It seems to me that the case for the state is not a case for the state at all, but a case against anarchy. And what is the case against anarchy? Well, it seems to begin with the premise that all people are inherently evil, and so we must put a small group of these inherently evil people in charge of everyone else (we’ll erect "checks & balances" — to be checked & balanced by other inherently evil people). Since everyone is evil, we can’t count on conscience or good will and must assume the worst. We must therefore establish institutions to deliver justice, such that people — out of their own carnal self-interest — will fear the repercussions of breaking the rules we establish (and we’ll keep expanding rules, so there will always be rule breakers to set examples). But…but…in order to maintain an effective fear mechanism in this regard (fear of state reprisal for breaking its rules), we must also oppose and put down all other deterrents (that we’ll smear as "vigilantism"), as such a thing amounts to effective competition by rendering the chief component of the state (fear) as ineffective in comparison to the repercussions likely to be dealt by those with personal interests in victims.
But yea, you’re right. Injustice is likely to happen, sometimes; unlike anything we have any experience with.