My shift from minarchism to anarchism was not completely, or even substantially, motivated by a distaste for government (I already had that). Rather, anarchism is a way of looking at the human condition that does not presuppose the power relationships we take for granted. I grew to view state politics as but one manifestation of these underlying relationships.
Written almost a quarter century ago but still penetratingly relevant, Calculated Chaos tries to strip down our modern managerial society into its basic organizing ethics. Shaffer’s thesis may seem awkward at first, but through careful examination of society the weight of this argument is established throughout the book:
Briefly stated, the basic theme of this book is that institutions are the principal means by which conflict is produced and managed in society. Peace is incompatible with institutional activity. Stated another way, the success of institutions depends upon the creation of those conditions in which personal and social conflict will flourish .. We have allowed our lives to be taken over and monopolized by a variety of political, religious, educational, economic, and social agencies over which we have little, if any, influence. These entities have helped us construct the barriers that not only restrain us, but keep us separated from one another and serve as the boundary lines for the intergroup struggles of which we are part. Through these groupings, we have helped to institutionalize conflict, to make it a seemingly permanent and necessary feature of human society. Such conflict has not resulted from mere accident of inadvertence, nor has it been the product of vicious or depraved minds. Rather, for reasons to be developed herein, conflict is a condition upon which the health and well-being of institutions is absolutely dependent.