This section is from the book "Principles Of Sociology With Educational Applications", by Frederick R. Clow. Also available from Amazon: Principles of sociology with educational applications.
The people who live under coercion, being in constant antagonism to their government, naturally get into the habit of thinking that government of any kind is an evil and so there is a school of social philosophers who carry this movement toward freedom to the limit and look for the complete elimination of the coercive element in society. They call themselves anarchists (Greek, a, without, and archein, to govern). They do not believe in the rule of the majority, but would require unanimous consent. History gives numerous examples of the drift toward real anarchy that sets in when a revolution suddenly overthrows an undemocratic government, as witness England in 1642, France in 1789, and Russia in 1917. And then at any time the diffusion of anarchistic principles encourages persons who are non-conformists by temperament to oppose even a democratic government. If such a person chances to be not well balanced mentally, perhaps having also a longing for martyrdom, he may become the most dangerous type of criminal.
The philosophical anarchist, however, cannot be condemned merely because his teachings mislead the weak-minded, though he certainly has a responsibility there; he must be met on his own ground, and there is no better place to do this than in the school with its subsidiary organizations. Let the pupils discover in their own self-governing organizations that neither large undertakings nor quick action can wait for unanimous consent; also that there must be discipline to bring the slackers and the wayward into line.
There are some educational philosophers who might be classed as anarchists. They would have the teacher abolish all discipline in school and control the child through his interests. This is a splendid ideal to set before a teacher, especially when control through interests means, not superficial inducement, but rather incitement, the development of an inner motivation which will carry him in the right direction even through difficulties and by dint of strenuous effort. We may even confess that education is a failure except in so far as it accomplishes just this result. But suppose a teacher has forty pupils and fails to accomplish this with one of the forty. Suppose she has tried sending him for the box of chalk, or giving him extra construction work, or making him monitor of the class; he is still the persistent disturber. Suppose even that other teachers have been able to control the boy, but that she, having her limitations, has failed. Should she let the work of the thirty-nine be broken up by the one? A teacher of experience who subscribes to such a doctrine would be hard to find. No officer of a student organization applies it consistently when it becomes a question of enforcing on others the rules which he has helped to make. Anarchism may be an attractive theory when we reason á priori about things at a distance. As applied to school, it appeals frequently to parents, and sometimes to school boards. But in practice it breaks down in school, as in any other organization.
In the theory of government the opposite pole from anarchy is socialism. If the one would have no coercion, the other would have coercion everywhere. The readiest person to answer an anarchist is a socialist. They are alike only in that both are radical reformers who are offering a panacea. The socialist's panacea is one big organization which is to take charge of all cooperative work. State socialism is the plan of making the state that one big organization in order to get rid of the evils connected with the control of industry by capitalists. This organization must be coercive in order to bring every person within it and keep out competition. Socialism, too, is an attractive theory to speculate about. Anyone can write offhand a long list of needs now met by individual or competitive effort which, it would seem, could be met better and at less cost by a single organization.
. . . Anarchism and Socialism, in spite of the fact that they are so often confused, both intentionally and unintentionally, have only one thing in common, namely, that both are forms of idolatry, though they have different idols; both are religions and not sciences, dogmas and not speculations. Each of them is a kind of honestly meant social mysticism, which, partly anticipating the possible and perhaps even probable results of yet unborn centuries, urges upon mankind the establishment of a terrestrial Eden, of a land of the absolute Ideal, whether it be Freedom or Equality. ... - Gettell, Readings in Political Science, p. 482.
. . . The age at which efficient judicial and legislative power appears differs in different groups. One thing, however, is clear; so soon as these faculties do appear, they should be exercised, the children being let alone enough to feel the pinch of anarchy and the pressing need of overcoming it. A baseball game, for instance, should seldom be umpired from the outside. The baseball microbe is strong enough to survive the spirit of anarchy in almost any group, and the practice it enforces of maintaining social order from within contains the most valuable lesson of the game. On the other hand, they ought not to be left to themselves when the consequences will merely be the triumph of anarchy with its results of loafing, bullying, and desultory mischief. It is a question of fact in each case. ... - Lee, Play in Education, pp. 331,332.
(See again the selection from Ritchie on p. 142.)
So under socialism, more slowly and perhaps after the lapse of a generation, the directors of labor and the distributors of food, peaceful Janissaries of the new order, would form themselves into a caste, very close, very coherent, . . . and would close their ranks round a chief who would give them unity and the strength of unity. - Faguet, The Cult of Incompetence, pp. 64, 65, published by E. P. Dutton & Co., New York.