Editor's Note: Many (not all) of our authors at Clarion would self-identify with the Canadian Red Tory tradition. Others, especially among the Anabaptists, lean toward Christian anarchism (a la Jacques Ellul). In this essay, guest writer, Wayne John Sturgeon brings his unique voice to the table.
The Impossible Dream: An Introduction to Christian Anarchism
I find myself in complete rupture with my epoch.
I sing freedom, which my epoch hates.
I do not love government and am religio-anarchist tendency, while the epoch deifies government.
I am an extreme personalist, while the epoch is collectivist and rejects the dignity and worth of personality.
I do not love war and the military while the epoch lives in the pathos of war, I love the philosophic mind while the epoch is indifferent to it.
I value aristocratic culture while the epoch degrades it, and finally, I profess eschatological Christianity while the epoch recognises only traditional-contemporary Christianity.
Introduction: Demythologisation of the word ‘anarchy’
What do we mean by the word ‘anarchy’? Most dictionaries define it to mean lawlessness, chaos, disorder, confusion. Politicians and the media use the word in this negative sense; thus, it is a word that needs much demythologising, so as to distinguish it from this semantic subversion of meaning.
The word in Greek simply means ‘without a ruler, or leader’. In Latin during the Middle Ages, the word was used to describe God as being without a beginning. In the New Testament, ‘arky’ is usually interpreted as ‘beginning’. Milton used it in this respect, and the early Christians believed Jesus to be ‘the beginning’, ‘the Arky of God’ (1) who holds primacy and sovereignty over all the powers that be.
The prefix ‘an’ is the equivalent of the word ‘un’, meaning ‘not’ – it does not then have to mean ‘anti’ or ‘against’, but speaks of that which is more ‘not’ something than ‘opposed to’ or ‘against’.
It would be misleading nevertheless to offer a neat definition of anarchism, since most anarchist theory is in essence anti-dogmatic and anti-ideological, offering no manifesto, no party line, no economic blueprint and no pre-packaged description of how a new society would operate. Unlike the definitive and authoritarian manner of statist socialism or Marxist communism, anarchy rather proclaims that ‘where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Prov 29:18). They therefore must build and incarnate their own vision to become themselves ‘ends in the means’ of a world free from the centralised state, political violence and all economic domination and exploitation. (Micah 4, 3-4, Isaiah 2, 4-5 and 11-1-9).