Sunday, January 25, 2009

"No True Scotsman..."

(It's a logical fallacy, look it up if you didn't already know).

Every so often, I receive e-mail or a submitted comment accusing me of "not being a true anarchist." The most recent is over my delving into the minutiae of government here in the States. Why, how dare I an' still call myself a pure and perfect soul?

Lookee here, palsy, this country is where I keep all my stuff and it's got a gummit, one with the power to mess me all manner of up. It is as safe to ignore 'em as it is to ignore your neighbor's aggressive dog, the one that frequently gets off its chain and jumps the fence. I don't think that dog's got a right to bite me, either -- but there it is.

Next item: no true what? There are rules for bein' an anarchist? There's a governing body? Then I shall swear eternal hostility against this form of tyranny over the mind of man,* 'cos such a thing would be, oh dearie, dear me, a government and one unchosen by the individuals it governs, therefore no anarchy at all. It otta vanish in a puff of flaming contradiction the minute the idea springs forth in the mind (or field-expedient replacement) of a man and, were the universe only faaaaaiiiir, it'd take the thinker with it.

It doesn't. The universe isn't. And "anarchy" remains a "run what you brung" proposition, with nobody dictating rules to anyone else unless they've consented. Government is pretty much the same thing, only with various degrees of mod to the "consent" part. Even then, if you fake playin' along and/or don't make too much noise, you can be middlin' free.

Or you can go whup on those filthy bastids what ain't as anarch as you, just to make 'em start thinkin' right. Yeah, that'd be right clever. Then can we work up to a religious pogrom or a race riot next? Scuse me, I gotta go brush my teeth -- somethin' doesn't taste right.
* Apologies to Mr. Jefferson.


alan said...

That's why anarchists have such PR problems. Can't get everyone together to decide on the talking points, let alone toe the party line. :)

Arcadia Iris said...

I'd say it's a bit like having a severe illness. You have to work with what you've got, address both the symptoms and the causes as best you are able to while still ill, and gain more ground as you gain more strength. A person fighting and recovering from cancer has to do it while still having cancer and being affected by it every day. One does not simply hear the diagnosis and then say, "Oh, I don't believe having cancer is right. I won't be having it anymore," and then ignore everything related to it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but are you a "true Scotsman" heck whatever's "correct" these days.

Inquiring minds want to know {;>)

Roberta X said...

Well, m'dear Anon, first I would be havin' to wear a kilt and I shan't do that, as they are too butch for me. And I gave up wearin' tartan skirts after Junior High.

Kelly: Zackly!

Alan: A bit like Steve Martin's mass recitations of the Individualist's Creed -- along about the time he reaches "...I will not blindly repeat what others say..." the crowd starts dropping out.

John B said...

Ignore the gubbemint and it will go away...

Tell that to Louie and Kimberley Katona.....

BATFE: We kill the unborn!

on a lighter note, a Scottish Steam Punk.... Ah How would you know?

Joanna said...

Harold Crick: Miss Pascal, what you're describing is anarchy. Are you an anarchist?

Ana Pascal: You mean, am I a member of...

Harold Crick: An anarchist group, yes.

Ana Pascal: Anarchists have a group?

Harold Crick: I believe so, sure.

Ana Pascal: They assemble?

Harold Crick: I don't know.

Ana Pascal: Wouldn't that completely defeat the purpose?

perlhaqr said...

There are rules for bein' an anarchist?

Sure. There's just one, and in fact, it's you I've been quoting when I give it to other people.

"Either you're the sort of anarchist who believes in leaving other people alone, or you're some kind of archist."

But yes, your point is excellent and one I keep trying to make to others of this philosophical stripe. The FedGov (and StateGov, and CityGov) exist. Ignoring them at this point is like ignoring gravity. They are part of the canvas. I'm happy to work to reduce their effect on my life, and their power overall, but they can be ignored only at extreme peril.

Joanna: Common misperception. Anarchism only requires rejecting involuntary association. Anarchists are as free to collaborate as any other individuals.

WV: "plaing" Are you just plaing at this? ;)

Mark said...


What she said. I don't really cleave to any archy, including anarchy. I've yet to find any system that's actually acceptable - including no system at all. This would appear to make me MarkHB of the MarkHB party, which is probably BYOB but feel free to raid the liquor cabinet as long as I'm left with two drinks' worth come bedtime.

A lot of the shit that's come down over the last few decades seems to be from too many people ignoring government, or sanctioning it's actions through silence, inaction or whatever. The more I study, the more this seems so. The nasty dog simile really does work for me.

Anyway, yes. Woo, yay.