Reading Comprehension – The word ‘anarchy’ comes from the Greek anarkhia, meaning contrary


Slot – 1 – RC



The word ‘anarchy’ comes from the Greek anarkhia, meaning contrary to authority or without a ruler, and was used in a derogatory sense until 1840, when it was adopted by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon to describe his political and social ideology. Proudhon argued that organization without government was both possible and desirable. In the evolution of political ideas, anarchism can be seen as an ultimate projection of both liberalism and socialism, and the differing strands of anarchist thought can be related to their emphasis on one or the other of these.

Historically, anarchism arose not only as an explanation of the gulf between the rich and the poor in any community, and of the reason why the poor have been obliged to fight for their share of a common inheritance, but as a radical answer to the question ‘What went wrong?’ that followed the ultimate outcome of the French Revolution. It had ended not only with a reign of terror and the emergence of a newly rich ruling caste, but with a new adored emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, strutting through his conquered territories.

The anarchists and their precursors were unique on the political Left in affirming that workers and peasants, grasping the chance that arose to bring an end to centuries of exploitation and tyranny, were inevitably betrayed by the new class of politicians, whose first priority was to re- establish a centralized state power. After every revolutionary uprising, usually won at a heavy cost for ordinary populations, the new rulers had no hesitation in applying violence and terror, a secret police, and a professional army to maintain their control.

For anarchists the state itself is the enemy, and they have applied the same interpretation to the outcome of every revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is not merely because every state keeps a watchful and sometimes punitive eye on its dissidents, but because every state protects the privileges of the powerful.

The mainstream of anarchist propaganda for more than a century has been anarchist- communism, which argues that property in land, natural resources, and the means of production should be held in mutual control by local communities, federating for innumerable joint purposes with other communes. It differs from state socialism in opposing the concept of any central authority. Some anarchists prefer to distinguish between anarchist-communism and collectivist anarchism in order to stress the obviously desirable freedom of an individual or family to possess the resources needed for living, while not implying the right to own the resources needed by others. . . .

There are, unsurprisingly, several traditions of individualist anarchism, one of them deriving from the ‘conscious egoism’ of the German writer Max Stirner (1806–56), and another from a remarkable series of 19th-century American figures who argued that in protecting our own autonomy and associating with others for common advantages, we are promoting the good of all. These thinkers differed from free-market liberals in their absolute mistrust of American capitalism, and in their emphasis on mutualism.

Q.1 The author believes that the new ruling class of politicians betrayed the principles of the French Revolution, but does not specify in what way. In the context of the passage, which statement below is the likeliest explanation of that betrayal?
  1. The new ruling class rode to power on the strength of the workers’ revolutionary anger, but then turned to oppress that very class.
  2. The anarchists did not want a new ruling class, but were not politically strong enough to stop them.
  3. The new ruling class struck a deal with the old ruling class to share power between them.
  4. The new ruling class was constituted mainly of anarchists who were against the destructive impact of the Revolution on the market.
Answer: 1

Q.2 The author makes all of the following arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:?
  1. The popular perception of anarchism as espousing lawlessness and violence comes from a mainstream mistrust of collectivism.
  2. For anarchists, the state is the enemy because all states apply violence and terror to maintain their control.
  3. The failure of the French Revolution was because of its betrayal by the new class of politicians who emerged from it.
  4. . Individualist anarchism is actually constituted of many streams, all of which focus on the autonomy of the individual.
Answer: 1

Q.3 Which one of the following best expresses the similarity between American individualist anarchists and free-market liberals as well as the difference between the former and the latter?
  1. Both prioritise individual autonomy; but the former also emphasise mutual dependence, while the latter do not do so
  2. Both are founded on the moral principles of altruism; but the latter conceive of the market as a force too mystical for the former to comprehend.
  3. Both reject the regulatory power of the state; but the former favour a people’s state, while the latter favour state intervention in markets
  4. Both are sophisticated arguments for capitalism; but the former argue for a morally upright capitalism, while the latter argue that the market is the only morality.
Answer: 1

Q.4 According to the passage, what is the one idea that is common to all forms of anarchism?
  1. They all derive from the work of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
  2. There is no idea common to all forms of anarchism; that is why it is anarchic.
  3. They all focus on the primacy of the power of the individual.
  4. They are all opposed to the centralisation of power in the state.
Answer: 4

Q.5 Of the following sets of concepts, identify the set that is conceptually closest to the concerns of the passage.?
  1. Anarchism, Betrayal, Power, State.
  2. Anarchism, State, Individual, Freedom.
  3. Revolution, State, Strike, Egoism.
  4. Revolution, State, Protection, Liberals
Answer: 2

Solutions:
Q.1 Refer to the following extract, “Historically, anarchism arose not only as an explanation of the gulf between the rich and the poor in any community, and of the reason why the poor have been obliged to fight for their share of a common inheritance, but as a radical answer to the question ‘What went wrong?’ that followed the ultimate outcome of the French Revolution. It had ended not only with a reign of terror and the emergence of a newly rich ruling caste, but with a new adored emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, strutting through his conquered territories. The anarchists and their precursors were unique on the political Left in affirming that workers and peasants, grasping the chance that arose to bring an end to centuries of exploitation and tyranny, were inevitably betrayed by the new class of politicians, whose first priority was to re-establish a centralized state power.” From this extract we can infer that the poor and oppressed succeeded in bringing about a revolution and of overthrowing the ruling class only in turn to be oppressed by a new class of politicians. This explanation is in conformity with option 1.

Options 2, 3 and 4 cannot be inferred from the passage with regard to the French revolution.

Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Q.2 Option 1 is the correct answer. The author has not made such an argument as mentioned in option 1.

Option 2 supports the author’s arguments. Refer to the following extract, “After every revolutionary uprising, usually won at a heavy cost for ordinary populations, the new rulers had no hesitation in applying violence and terror, a secret police, and a professional army to maintain their control. For anarchists the state itself is the enemy…”

Option 3 too supports the author’s argument. Refer to the following extract, “It (French revolution) had ended not only with a reign of terror and the emergence of a newly rich ruling caste, but with a new adored emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, strutting through his conquered territories. The anarchists and their precursors were unique on the political Left in affirming that workers and peasants, grasping the chance that arose to bring an end to centuries of exploitation and tyranny, were inevitably betrayed by the new class of politicians, whose first priority was to re-establish a centralized state power.”

Option 4 also supports the author’s arguments. Refer to the following extracts, “There are, unsurprisingly, several traditions of individualist anarchism,…” and “There are, unsurprisingly, several traditions of individualist anarchism, one of them deriving from the ‘conscious egoism’ of the German writer Max Stirner (1806–56), and another from a remarkable series of 19th-century American figures who argued that in protecting our own autonomy and associating with others for common advantages, we are promoting the good of all.” Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Q.3 Option 1 is the correct answer. Free-market liberals opine about looking after oneself only while individual anarchists are for both individual autonomy as well as mutualism. Refer to the following extract, “and another (type of individual anarchism) from a remarkable series of 19th-century American figures who argued that in protecting our own autonomy and associating with others for common advantages, we are promoting the good of all. These thinkers differed from free-market liberals in their absolute mistrust of American capitalism, and in their emphasis on mutualism.”

Options 2, 3 and 4 can thus be eliminated.

Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Q.4 Refer to the following extract, “For anarchists the state itself is the enemy, and they have applied the same interpretation to the outcome of every revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is not merely because every state keeps a watchful and sometimes punitive eye on its dissidents, but because every state protects the privileges of the powerful.” This points to option 4 as being the correct answer.

Option 1 is incorrect. Anarchism has many strands and many writers and originators such as the German Max Stirner and the late 19th century American figures.

Option 2 is also incorrect. It is simply a play on words.

Option 3 is also incorrect. Refer to the following extracts, “The mainstream of anarchist propaganda for more than a century has been anarchist-communism, which argues that property in land, natural resources, and the means of production should be held in mutual control by local communities, federating for innumerable joint purposes with other communes” and “These thinkers differed from free-market liberals in their absolute mistrust of American capitalism, and in their emphasis on mutualism.”

Hence, the correct answer is option 4.

Q.5 The passage begins with anarchism and its definition. It then goes on to define anarchism and its relation to the state. The last segment of the passage deals with individual anarchism and of protecting our own autonomy (or freedom) as espoused by 19th century American figures. This points to option 2 as being the correct answer.

Option 1 can be eliminated since it does not mention the characteristics of individual anarchism and of protecting one’s autonomy or freedom.

Options 3 and 4 can be easily eliminated since the passage begins with anarchism and not with revolution.

Hence, the correct answer is option 2.


Online Coaching Course for CAT 2021 + Test Series

a) 1000+ Videos covering entire CAT syllabus
b) 2 Live Classes (online) every week for doubt clarification
c) Study Material & PDFs for practice and understanding
d) 10 Mock Tests in the latest pattern
e) Previous Year Questions solved on video