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Exam Model Answers: Anarchism and Conservatism 

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  • Created on: 11-06-12 15:26
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Explain the link between anarchism and utopianism.
Utopianism is a belief in the unlimited possibilities of human self-development expressed in a
belief in the possibility of establishing a perfect or ideal society. Anarchism is positively linked to
utopianism; by it supporters because they believe that political authority in all shapes and forms
can be abolished and replaced by a society in which individuals are absolutely free.
This utopian faith is rooted in highly optimistic assumptions about human nature and the
capacity for unregulated social harmony. Godwin argues that human beings are essentially
rational creatures with educated mind and tolerant judgement. Therefore, people have a natural
propensity to organise their own lives in a harmonious and peaceful fashion.
From this perspective, social order can arises naturally and spontaneously, not through law and
order. Collectivist anarchists stressed the human capacity for sociable and cooperative
behaviour while Individualist anarchists highlight the importance of enlightened human reason.
This potential for spontaneous harmony within human nature is linked to the belief that nature
itself and indeed the universe are biased in favour of natural order.
Social institutions also promote spontaneous harmony, respect and cooperation. This is why
anarcho-collectivists endorse common ownership and anarcho-individualists supported the
market. However, a negative connotation is often attached to utopianism. Critics argue that
utopian doctrines are unachievable because they set out an ideal, perfect social and political
ends. Although this may sound inspiring, in reality it is argued that if selfish and negative
impulses are basic to human nature then the prospect of natural order is nothing more than a
utopian dream.

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How has anarchism been linked to `free market' capitalism?
'Free market' capitalism refers to a capitalist system that is free from government interference,
usually based on the principle of laissez-faire which opposed all forms of factory regulations and
restrictions.
Anarchism has been linked to free market capitalism through the individualist tradition within
anarchism. Thinkers such as Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard and David Friedman pushed free
market ideas to the limit and developed a form of anarcho-capitalism.…read more

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How does the anarchist view of human nature differ from the conservative view?
Anarchists subscribe to a highly optimistic and utopian view of human nature. Godwin argues
that human beings are essentially rational creatures with educated mind and tolerant
judgement. Therefore, people have a natural propensity to organise their own lives in a
harmonious and peaceful fashion. In his view, government and unnatural laws creates justice,
greed and aggression making government the cause of the problem not the solution.…read more

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