TWO CHEERS FOR ANARCHISM:
Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play.
By James C. Scott.
Princeton Univ. Press. 169 pp. $24.95
For those of us who remember the 1970s as a time of lifestyle liberation and economic malaise, the word “anarchy” was nothing less than a punk cry of affirmation and an existential call to action. “I am an anti-Christ/I am an anarchist,” snarled Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols in 1976, in one of the great forced rhyme schemes of all time. Yet the band’s song “Anarchy in the U.K.”—and punk more generally—presaged not a collapse of British or American or even Western civilization, but a do-it-yourself revolution in cultural production and consumption that rejected top-down, centralized authority and hidebound tradition. Not coincidentally, economic decentralization took place too—President Jimmy Carter deregulated airline pricing and interstate trucking rates, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher loosened government controls on business, and even French president François Mitterrand, a Socialist, ultimately sold off state-owned industries. The Iron Curtain, rusted out for decades, finally collapsed by the early 1990s, literally incapable of keeping its repressive, soul-killing act together.
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Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of Reason.com and a coauthor of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America (2011).more from this author >>