Friday, December 19, 2008

"What Kind Of Anarchist Are You?"

I don't have ask how serious a question that might be -- people are fighting flamewars over it right now. Out on the Left, people have bled and died answering it, after framin' some of the most preposterous definitions I've yet to read.

But geesh, what a stupid question. Either you're the kind of anarchist who will leave other people be, or you're some kinda archist and it doesn't make any diffo how jet-black is your flag.

--If you followed the first link above, it describes all manner of expropriation and non-consensual pushing-around bein' done by self-styled "anarchists." It's the sort of thing that makes a limited government look like one heckuva good idea. The problem is, they don't stay limited. Which is how come I call myself an anarchist -- and why I'm willin' to go along, reluctantly, with a certain small amount of government. Would 1% of what we've got now be enough for you? Could we significantly reduce sovereign immunity and occasionally hang the bastards when they get outta line? Pleeeeze?

Me, I wouldn't like even that much government. But I'd like bein' herded into a Workers Syndicate a lot less. Surprise, it turns out the purpose of the world is not to make me happy -- or you, either. That, we've got to work out for ourselves.

22 comments:

GeorgeH said...

At some point over a century ago radical syndicalists got lumped in with the anarchists because they were both scruffy bomb throwers. They are in fact Marxist terrorists using a black flag for a beard.

og said...

I'm still not buying it. Nonagression means you're a gentle, decent human being, not an anarchist. You don't realize that if you are truly wholly nonagressive, you are the only one in existence.

Agression is a necesary component of civilization. It is vital to our very humanity- it was agression that got us out of the trees.

There have always been nonagressive types. Gandhi. Mother Theresa. It's a long and impressive list of decent people. They managed to avoid agression- to some extent- in their own lives, but nonagression is impossible among a race, or a nation, or a county, or even a couple. Don't ever forget Churchill:"We sleep soundly in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf" You may not like what the rough men do, but without them, you're hosed. And the restrictions that universal nonagression (or anarchy) would impose on them would make it impossible for them to protect you- or anyone- anymore.

Roberta X remotely said...

Don't confuse the non-initiation of force with the non-use of force. I don't start fights -- I finish tem.

alan said...

I always liked the concept of the rational anarchist from Heinlein's Moon.

And Neil Smith's non-initiation of force.

og said...

Tell me the world would not be a far better place right now, if someone had initiated force against Mohammed Atta, instead of "reacting" to it. Sometimes it is not only good but a moral impsrative to initiate force.

BobG said...

I regard myself as a minarchist.

TJP said...

History has taught me that the definition of a constitutional republic is the gap between two tyrannies. Anarchy is the smaller gap between those two disparate forms of government.

Tam said...

Og,

"Tell me the world would not be a far better place right now, if someone had initiated force against Mohammed Atta, instead of "reacting" to it. Sometimes it is not only good but a moral impsrative to initiate force."

That represents a misunderstanding of the principle. The Non-Aggressive Principle does not mean you need to let the other guy throw the firs punch or get off the first shot or whatever. Like any judge in a courtroom will explain about self-defense you just have to show ability, opportunity, and jeopardy.

Only Marshal Dillon waits for the other guy to shoot first.

jon said...

og, you can play semantic games all you like, but you're only confusing yourself. it is meaningless to talk about responding with force as the "initiation" of force.

it's an "initiation," sure. the initiation of the responder's forceful response.

tautological enough for you?

you can't get around that without being disingenuous or ignorant.

pick one.

jack said...

Og,

"Tell me the world would not be a far better place right now, if someone had initiated force against Mohammed Atta, instead of "reacting" to it."

So, how does it work? Do you have some kind of "attameter" or do yopu just go around wasting dudes with dark skin and funny accent...?

Roberta X said...

Hey, dammit, it isn't getting-hit-on-the-head lessons in here, okay?

--It all depends on how you define "aggression." I'd say makin' a credible threat counts as an initiation of force or "aggression," and slappin' down the aggressor is not, therefore, initiating force.

This is not so much a spirited exchange of widely differing views as it is a group of people without a scared dictionary. Yeah, when we work out what we're meanin', we're still going to find some disagreement, but as none of us has become Ruler Of The Earth, I don't see that as any too big a deal.

og said...

None of this is meant as disrespect towards Roberta, and is in fact all about trying to understand her specific and unique worldview, because it interests me.
Tam: The non agression principle in and of itself is impossible to apply in every case, and the specific I was referring to is the way non agression is practiced, not the way it is intended, which is (in my opinion) flatly goofy.

Jon: I am not confused, and I am not playing semantic games with anyone, so you choose. Which one am I, disingenuous, or ignorant? And you had better By God be smiling when you choose. Don't insult a man from the safety of your keyboard unless you are man enough to do it to his face.

Jack: Atta was known to be up to something. My "attameter" goes off when someone takes very expensive pilots lessons and doesn't bother learning how to land. This was preventable, but for the asinine intervention of Jamie Gorelick and her ilk. it's not a difficuilt thing to see when someone needs to be smacked down. I can name a hundred enemies of common sense, decency, and freedom, and never stray out of the fifth floor of Chicago's City Hall. The principles of nonagression aren't doing a damned thing to keep them from screwing up our lives.

Roberta, my apologies again. It is not my desire to be contentious here, I just think that you are a good deal more than you let on to be, and the definitions that you use for yourself seem to me to be coarse and ill fitting.

Roberta X said...

"Scared dictionary" above should be shared dictionary. Geh.

Og: "Coarse and ill fitting terms?" Maybe it's noblesse oblige on my part! ;)

I am deeply suspicious of and hostile to the non-consensual exercise of power. Like Lord Acton, I think it's bad for the morals.

Johnny said...

Anarchy doesn't mean there is no collective social organisation. What it should mean is that it isn't based on coercion but on mutual self-interest. A "limited government" based on coercion and that claims rights/entitlements for the collective that the individual doesn't have will not remain "limited" whatever that is supposed to mean. Only individuals can be moral actors that are responsible for their actions. Sadly there are plenty of individuals that aren't even that - but I can't see how, as a matter of objective fact, that it's anything other than counter-productive to construct hierarchical social structures that (as a matter of observed fact) give power and authority to such people.

Billy Beck said...

"Nonagression means you're a gentle, decent human being, not an anarchist. "

You are not accounting for the aggression of the state.

Why not?

Billy Beck said...

"I always liked the concept of the rational anarchist from Heinlein's Moon."

Forget Heinlein. Go to the source: Professor Bernardo de la Paz was modeled on Heinlein's friend Robert LeFevre, who is a disgracefully neglected modern American libertarian. If you want to know what Heinlein had in mind, read LeFevre.

og said...

"You are not accounting for the aggression of the state."

I'm speaking specifically to Roberta in this case. Not making a generalization.

perlhaqr said...

Og: The principles of nonagression aren't doing a damned thing to keep them from screwing up our lives.

The fifth floor of Chicago's City Hall isn't playing by the rules of the non-aggression principle. Neither, in general, does the FedGov, and they know which team they're on. So, if one of us anarchists gets out of line and actually steps up for the return play, you get the whole apparatus crashing down on your head. The reason "you can't fight city hall" is true is because city hall has a lot more players than you do, generally, and the average citizen will back up city hall instead of the individual.

The reason anarchism is so impractical is because in order for it to be, it requires a supermajority of the members to want it and be willing to defend it.

An anarchistic society where 95% of the populace wanted that liberty, and was willing to make a stand for it, could fight off a 5% that truly desires coercive power. One where that anarchistic liberty was thrust upon them, but they had no stake in defending it would easily be re-enslaved by the 5%.

The NAP is an ethical choice. "I will not aggress against others unless they aggress against me first." It leads to a set of rules I think most people will agree are pretty damned normal and reasonable. Don't rape, don't murder, don't steal. Punish those who do. If enough of the population of the planet will live by the simple rules, and actually punish those who trangress them, how much more of the complicated shit do you really need?

You're complaining that the NAP doesn't work because the group of thugs that needs to be smacked for violating it is big enough to smash anyone who tries to call them on the carpet for it, and has twisted the rules of the game to make it near impossible to remove them from power any other way. But the logical argument doesn't stand. The fact that it's being violated doesn't mean it's not an ethical way to live, it means that the people who live by it need to enforce it.

og said...

Please tell me where I said it wasn't ethical. Oh, wait, you can't, because I did NOT say that. I have tried to make clear that it is incapable of functioning in the real world. if i haven't that's my fault, for not being clear enough. but if you READ what i have written you will find no denegration of the idea of being moral- just a clear reference to the FACT that most are not. Prove that wrong. No, wait, you can't.

"An anarchistic society where 95% of the populace wanted that liberty"

Will NEVER EVER HAPPEN.

Ninth Stage said...

Capital "A" Anarchism is to anarchism what capital "L" Liberalism is to liberalism.

perlhaqr said...

Please tell me where I said it wasn't ethical. Oh, wait, you can't, because I did NOT say that.

I was not saying that you claimed anarchism was unethical. I was using that word to signify that philosophical anarchism is a system of ethics; I was not making a value judgement on it, nor implying a value judgement on your part.

Will NEVER EVER HAPPEN.

Did you miss the part where I said anarchism was impractical?

Here, I'll be real clear about it.

Anarchism is flatly impossible because the vast majority of humans are unenlightened barbarians who have far too great an interest in forcing their neighbors to act as they do, and in stealing rather than working.

Nonetheless, I think it's an excellent end goal, and thus worth advocating.

WV: "alkeders" Al-Keder's not a very ethical group, and that is a value judgement on my part.

og said...

"Nonetheless, I think it's an excellent end goal, and thus worth advocating."

I think having everone have their own green plaid house elf to wipe their asses with faerie dust is an excellent goal, and it's a lot more likely to happen than a functional large scale anarchy. And it's saner, as well, because attempting to implement the faerie dust scenario harms nobody, it's confined to the ravings of individual lunatics. Espousing anarchy in any form and working toward it is as dangerous as commuism or socialism. It is doomed to do more harm than good.

If you want to improve the way thisngs are, you are already living in the only system that gives you even the slightest chance. It's horrendously flawed, and I really hate it. But its what we got. Everything else is worse. Everything.