Local author writes first novel examining an anarchist society
Hopedale resident Joe Jarvis, 26, has written his first novel, a futuristic account of a peaceful anarchist society and those who attempt to seize power through lies, intimidation and murder.
The novel, published by Free Press Publications, is entitled Anarchy in New England. It is the culmination of years of research and writing on politics, which led Jarvis to the conclusion that the best government is actually no government at all.
“Anarchy in New England introduces people to a radical shift from standard political thought. I want to change the debate from, ‘How much government do we need?’ to ‘Do we need government?’” Jarvis said.
Jarvis, who grew up in Hopedale was always interested in politics and has volunteered on several local campaigns. Jarvis earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Framingham State University and has written a daily political blog, JoeJarvis.me, since 2012. During that time, however, his political philosophy shifted from conservative to anarchist, and he searched for an engaging medium to share his views.
“I remember thinking that I wanted someone to make an anarchist TV show, just to showcase how society would function without government, without having to explain it in confusing or boring terms,” Jarvis said.
“I couldn’t really produce a TV show, but I could write, so I decided it was better to start writing a book to showcase how that sort of society would function. The conflict in the book naturally grew out of people’s first reaction to hearing about an anarchist society: what if someone tries to take over?”
Set in New England in the year 2115, Anarchy in New England introduces the reader to a thriving society that has rebuilt itself a century after economic and societal collapse. Two corrupt businessmen, whose companies are failing, are looking to return that society to an earlier form that benefits them: one in which there is a government and in which they are in charge. They employ hitmen and drug addicts, shut down communications systems and storm security companies to seize control. But a team of freedom-minded individuals, led by an investigative reporter, seek to expose the pair and stop their coup before it is too late.
While Anarchy in New England is a fictitious thriller meant for entertainment, Jarvis said he hopes it will expose people to the idea of anarchy as a viable option for society and expose the downsides of the current system.
“I want people to start seeing the difference between economic and political power,” he said. “Economic power comes from agreement, from mutual benefit, and from serving your fellow man. You can’t get his money without offering something valuable in exchange for his money. Political power comes from force. You take what you want.”
In a free market, he continued, “no one can force you to buy their product. You can disassociate with whomever you like. That is crucial, the freedom of association. Let people organize themselves, and the elements in society that you don’t like, you don’t have to deal with.”
For someone who was originally a registered Republican, Jarvis said it took him some time for his viewpoints to transition first to a libertarian mindset and then complete anarchist. The stunning, war-zone-like security he experienced trying to get near the Republican National Convention in 2012 helped add to his disillusionment about the Republican Party.
Later, a week at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire put him in touch with like-minded people who espoused the non-aggression principle, which Jarvis sums up as not initiating force against another person. Anarchy is the logical position when subscribing to this principle, Jarvis said.
“I am proud that I have made a transition across a political spectrum, because that is more than a lot of people can say. It isn’t changing just for change’s sake though, it is adopting what can be objectively classified as truth, and rejecting lies, errors and fallacies,” Jarvis said.