Liberty Commentary

Troubling Trends In Anarchism

from Daily Anarchist

SpreadAnarchyWhen I share critiques of anarchist/voluntarist philosophy nearly every reply I get from its adherents is the same parroted, “that’s a sweeping generalization!” almost as if they are reading from the same script. To clarify, I have been chatting with anarchists for over two years now. I have fought alongside of them, argued with them, and heard their arguments. I didn’t talk to three anarchists, and then start making generalizations. I have interacted with hundreds of anarchists, representing a pretty good cross section of what they think and how they behave. I side very heavily with anarchist/voluntarist philosophy, but I see some pretty big chinks in their armor that they refuse to even acknowledge.

I see just as much echo chamber confirmation bias among them as I do exhibited by Marxists.

I almost never see an anarchist say, “you have a good point,” to the other side, or “I have no idea how,” or “that is something we haven’t solved yet.” Nope, just “the free market will do it,” which is about like saying, “God did it.” Ever seen an anarchist admit that government did anything good ever? Nope. Won’t happen, because their belief system won’t allow it.

Yeah, yeah, funded by robbery, we all know that, but a water treatment plant is still something good. Is it run in a shitty way? Could it be done better/cheaper/whatever? Yeah, maybe. The point is, you lose a lot of credibility when you dismiss obvious weaknesses in your theory. Covering reasonable critiques with bullshit appeals to the imaginary, the untried, the untested and the fantastic only drives people away. They can see you are appealing to what is nothing more than an, “In God’s Kingdom” claim.

There is a very strong utopian coloring to many of the arguments anarchists make.

I see far too much appeal to “in a free society,” as if this answer is any better than “in a Resource Based Economy.” This amounts to little more than saying, “When everyone starts respecting property.” It isn’t going to happen, and after 5000 years of tribal warfare I am amazed that arguments about Dispute Resolution Organizations are seen as acceptable answers to these problems.

There is a very heavy tendency to dismiss culture, and group association outside of an abstract philosophizing about it. Over and over I have been told that any sort of group identification is “collectivism,” or “groupthink.”

I see a massive tendency toward a rootless, hyper-individualistic, suicidal tendency that is only made possible by high technology. Culture is routinely dismissed as unimportant, while logic is held as the final arbitrator in all matters (even though the most interesting and important things about the human experience are “irrational” experiences). The Globalist agenda requires a person with no ties to any history, culture or ethnicity. Far too many anarchists are lapping up this leftism without a second thought. It doesn’t seem to bother them, since they haven’t even noticed that they are in line with many of the State’s agendas.

I see a lot of strawmanning, dismissal of biology, and rejection of human nature, in favor of some imaginary, objective, Vulcanesque human with a phD in logic and philosophy. Basically, if you can’t provide an irrefutable “logical” reason then it is just “subjective” nonsense, and therefore has no meaning in Voluntopia. The goal seems to be to sit around talking about “freedom” rather than living free.

I hear, “I hate the State” as their answer to everything, their complete and total identity, their meaning of life. If the State were gone tomorrow, most anarchists wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. They are completely emotionally invested in this crusade that they cannot win, and will never see the other side of.

There is also a very strong “permission to be free” mentality among anarchists. They say, “Well, we would be doing blah blah blah, but government won’t let us.” So, when is this ever going to change? Either fight back or try to set something up in the forest where they won’t find you for decades. And no, this isn’t the “move to Somalia” argument. It is simply the recognition that government isn’t going to stop bothering you unless they can’t find you. So, either fight back somehow, or hide. You are never going to convince most people to let go of everything they grew up believing. You might be able to slowly change the opinions of people over several generations, but you are talking about 100 years or more to accomplish this.

Getting here didn’t happen overnight. Getting out won’t be any different. If you want to get rid of Statism you have to give people something equally powerful to replace it with, not because of some imaginary “power vacuum,” but because of a very real “structural/belief vacuum.” People need to be able to see the world in a structured way, and chanting “voluntary interaction” isn’t going to cut it for most people. This is why tribes and societies developed customs and traditions, to ground the people, and bind them together to survive. Humans are emotional and cultural beings. They are not “economic beings”. Reducing everything to a market discussion is the same approach corporations use when they view people through the lens of “human resources” rather than through the lens of “personnel.” You become a number, a rootless, replaceable number, just like the Globalists desire.

An obvious criticism of traditional culture is some of the brutality that was experienced. Were many of those traditions and customs brutal and stupid? Absolutely. However, humans are wired for this kind of thing. Humans are cultural creatures and must have a cultural context in which to function. Anarchy is not going to gain any headway as long as it is promoted as a sort of floating abstraction, existing only in the neo-Platonic realms. Nor will it gain ground as a constant appeal to the unknown future. We don’t have the luxury of running a 200 year experiment in what might workout. After all, the details are fill in later, after we are long gone.

Anarchists need to stop rejecting traditions that worked, and start understanding that people require a context in which to function. This is true whether we are living in an anarchist society or a Statist society. Take what works, and build from there. There is no need to start from scratch. We have plenty of models to help guide us, such as Asatru Paganism and other ways of reconnecting with nature.

In the pursuit of supreme rationality we have forgotten that we are biological entities, and biology comes with consequences, some of which we cannot get around in the foreseeable future. If anarchists insist on promoting their philosophy in a sterile, hyperlogical, rootless fashion, they will never succeed in gaining enough support to change the world in any appreciable way.