jpk wrote:You've been hanging around with different anarchists than I have. Typical anarchist views as I've understood them hold that social pressures, sociological pressures, even personal authority devolving from charisma are hierarchical in nature and should be avoided by arranging the terms of our association to prevent them from becoming power. For example, in an organization roles should be rotated and distributed to prevent a "secretary" from becoming the General Secretary, or to prevent the acting treasurer from holding the role by default, allowing them to exercise undue control over a treasury. These are actual concerns of actual anarchists.
These cases are not aggressive dominance, but they are hierarchy, and they are governance, and anarchists in my experience object to them as much as they object to state dominance.
I'm sure that most anarchists would agree that discouraging those kinds of arrangements is laudable, to prevent aggressive dominance from arising. But would they consider such arrangements morally impermissible the same way that they would aggressive dominance? In other words, what would anarchists have done about such arrangements, if people are voluntarily (i.e. without violent coercion) entering into them? Violently coerce them not to? Somehow I don't think so.
A perfect totalitarian government would be the one that never needs to use force, but is obeyed anyway. For example, a government which controlled education so perfectly that its citizenry believed that it was their duty to obey without question any order coming down the hierarchy would be a perfect totalitarian state, and no violence or aggression would be required within the state. It could easily apply violent force to curtail the initiation of force against it, because its citizens would take up arms to defend the [Home | Mother | Father]land with all the zeal of the true believer, and feel honored by the privilege of dying in the service of the Leader.
This is totalitarianism, reworked and refined to meet your definition. It is not anarchy. It is certainly not a perfectly liberal government.
This actually raises a very interesting question, one to which an answer doesn't immediately spring to mind. How can you tell the different between legitimate teaching, and propaganda? Between a perfectly well-raised and well-mannered populace, and a brainwashed populace?
You come upon a foreign country. The people of that country do not inflict any violence upon each other. Their government has asked them not to inflict any violence upon each other, but the causal relationship there is unclear. Their government asks nonviolent things of them, and they comply without resistance; but the people all insist that they're all good ideas and they're glad they've got such wise leadership to suggest such things. You ask them whether, if their government told them to do something that was not a good idea, would they disobey; and they insist that yes of course they would, but their government thus far never leads them astray. They insist that they are not brainwashed; they insist that they have correctly assessed that they had good leadership and that they voluntarily follow it.
How can you tell whether this is a country of rational people with an impossibly utopian benevolent government leading them, or a country of evil despots with an impossible dystopian obedient population? For that matter, how can you really call them "evil despots" when they're not asking anyone to do anything violent and not threatening violence upon anyone? Does it come down to who is asking whom to do what? Maybe if the leaders are running the country into the ground for their own short-term gain, and the people are suffering but don't blame the leaders for it and continue to believe that the leaders will wisely lead them out of their suffering? What if the leaders believe that they are doing so as well, leading the people through a dark time into salvation that is? Then you've just got a country of morons, the blind following the blind. What if the leaders know that they are leading the people to their doom? Ah, then it's pretty clear that this is something dystopian.
So the question then becomes, if you find yourself living in such a country and discover such a thing, what is warranted in response? You've got self-serving liars and hordes of idiots following them. Sounds familiar already. But nobody is threatening anybody with violence -- and that's where it becomes really different. It's all just words. So guess what -- you can counter their words with your words. If the leaders are really being as non-aggressive as we stipulated, then nobody is doing to disappear you or break your kneecaps for speaking out against the leaders. So really, the people are still free -- anyone can disobey if they like -- they've just been mislead. You might be able to construe some of that misleading as a fraudulent trade, which fleshes out to theft and thus violence... but we've stipulated that there is no violence here, so really, all you've got is people knowingly giving bad advice for free, and suckers falling for it. My sympathy for the suckers, really, but since you don't even need to lift a finger to avoid becoming one, and you can help others likewise just by speaking and no harm will come to you for it, it's hard to say that these people aren't completely free, even if they are mislead.
I'll grant you that one way people gain freedom from truly brutal repression is to rise up against it. However, most people will not rise up against a government unless their conditions are truly intolerable - literally so, since they know they are likely to die or lose whatever it is they have in the effort. So mass uprisings can get you from intolerable to other-than-awful. Now, how do you get from tolerably awful to something better? Do the people of Venezuela deserve Chavez? Do the ones who stay in Venezuela deserve him more than those who leave for the US or other countries in the region?
Resistance doesn't only come in the form of violent uprising. If the government is sufficiently non-aggressive already that peaceful regime change is possible, if the government will step down and let another one take the reigns if enough people demand it, i.e. it's a democracy, then if enough people demand a completely non-aggressive government, they will get one. If a majority, even a simple majority, of Americans refused to accept anyone to any elected office they have a vote on who did not believe in non-aggression, then we could have a non-aggressive government.