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Thread: Anarchy?

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHBowden View Post
    Why do people believe such strange ideas such as anarchism?
    Conceptualised as the internalisation of authority rather than the rejection of authority its easy to believe, in fact thats pretty much something that most ideologies and social functioning per se take for granted.

  2. #12
    Senior Member JHBowden's Avatar
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    Conceptualised as the internalisation of authority rather than the rejection of authority its easy to believe, in fact thats pretty much something that most ideologies and social functioning per se take for granted.
    All forms of anarchism I've read are blueprint theories. It appeals to those who get lost in bumper stickers and abstractions and can't get an imaginative hold on the particulars. It is a species of rationalism in politics, as if we can decide the details of our social configurations like an engineer.

    But our starting position isn't up to us-- our land, our language, our religion, our technological capital, our friends, our enemies. It never will be, it can't be. A nation is like a ship at sea, and, as a result, it isn't something that can be taken apart or smashed.

    Rapid technological progress over the last two hundred years has created several dangerous illusions. The prestige of science has led to the veneration of laws, which leads to a temptation to believe such laws are immanent in history. This is especially dangerous in the West, where the Christian idea of Providence is easily secularized into Progress. We think improvement is our destiny-- improvement of the race, or the working class, or the individual, etc. Failures to realize our childish fantasies and messianic Utopias now appear as moral failings to achieve Social Justice, not as tragic limitations in human beings and the world. Marx was right for the wrong reasons, for capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction, not because it fails, but because it succeeds: it spawns Marxists, socialists, anarchists, et cetera.

    It is no wonder popular culture remains permanently tribal and Dionysian-- the bourgeois citizen has been transformed into the bourgeois consumer. Too many look at the universe as Burger King; anything short of "your way right away" is oppression. While under the traditional view, no one would dream about seeking heaven on Earth-- that was folly. Diligence, prudence, family, enterprise, industry, sobriety, all matter in a world where life is hard, fortune fickle, and bad luck more probable than good luck. But the complexity of modern society creates an illusion that life is easy, and that we're entitled that it be so. This is why ancient writers such as Aristotle are superior to the moderns-- immediately in his Politics, for example, he sets aside the ornamental things in society and examines its growth and origin to obtain the clearest view.

  3. #13

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    Too many look at the universe as Burger King; anything short of "your way right away" is oppression.
    Interesting and good point, I think its a far reaching problem and much more than mere politics. On the other hand I do not consider that this mindset is restricted to or likely to feed in to anarchist sentiments per se.

    In my experience most anarchists, not the kids whoever bought the annual Chomsky or Mike Moore release or a circled A brand clothing, would and frequently do live a life of moderation and hardship in preference to a more comfortable but to their minds less principled lifestyle, for instance as a state employee.

    Then again there are the pragmatists like Colin Ward, you could check them out can I ask JHB what you've read?

  4. #14
    Senior Member JHBowden's Avatar
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    My favorite modern thinkers off the top of my head include Thomas Sowell, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Roger Scruton, Leo Strauss, Michael Oakeshott, Irving Kristol, Karl Popper, Eric Voegelin, Reinhold Niebuhr, and probably others. Burke is a great writer, I consider Herbert Spencer to be a genius wrongly maligned by those who haven't read him, and I enjoy Tocqueville. We probably have the most common ground on Spencer.

    I have not read Colin Ward, though I have read William Godwin, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Goldman, Bakunin-- if I did branch out in an anarchist direction, I'd probably explore writers like Rothbard and Albert Jay Nock. Though I am a statist and something of an authoritarian, and see anarchism in all its forms as a sort of sloppy communism. God, Mars, and Mammon are natural allies.

  5. #15
    Senior Member incubustribute's Avatar
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    Anarchy sounds great! As long as you are a well armed noncognitivist.

  6. #16

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    JHB that's a fine list of conservative and neo-classical economists, you're very well read, if you like those authors have your read Robert Nisbet? US conservative sociologist whose wrote books on the topic of conservatism, its promise and reality, very interesting stuff.

    I dont believe the list of people you mentioned are particularly good representatives of what modern anarchists think, at least besides the armchair idealists, Chomsky has written some good things about decoding foreign and economic policy, I think he's correct to insist that many intellectuals are comfortable with confirming their own views rather than challenges but those are truisms seldom stated anymore.

    My problem with much of what passes for anarchism isnt simply that its sloppy communism, its an adolescent vogue much of the time, a bunch of jokers and reflects an immature world view with schemas which are too intricate for practice. I dont think that Rothbard or Nock are anything other than the lunatic fringe of neo-classical economics.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    JHB that's a fine list of conservative and neo-classical economists, you're very well read, if you like those authors have your read Robert Nisbet? US conservative sociologist whose wrote books on the topic of conservatism, its promise and reality, very interesting stuff.
    Yes I have several of his books. Very insightful writer I tell you!

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Yes I have several of his books. Very insightful writer I tell you!
    I really like the way that he doesnt conform to a lot of the pop-political expectations there are out there, some of his responses to the books he wrote and who they wound up popular with (for instance the popularity of his books on community among sixties new left socialists who wouldnt read anything but Abbie Hoffman) are really interesting. He's one of the few guys who I think really never had blinkers in the conventional sense and that I like.

    I cant honestly say that he convinced me of the conservative world view, I just think there's too many ways that it can be corrupted and used by the ruling classes, at least as many ways as socialism has been, but he does distil what is good about it.

    The only time that I had any real problem with him is in his discussion of property versus human life, while I suspect he could be perfectly right from a logical and rational point of view it never sat with me right and was some how unconscientable.

  9. #19
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Yeah, this. I think true anarchy will eventually lead to totalitarianism in most cases.
    If that is true, then how did we end up where we are today with a plurality of systems? It all started from anarchy originally.

    To answer this we need to consider the concept of scale - political systems are of different forms when measured at different scales.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I cant honestly say that he convinced me of the conservative world view, I just think there's too many ways that it can be corrupted and used by the ruling classes, at least as many ways as socialism has been, but he does distil what is good about it.
    Indeed. That's one reason why I cannot consider myself fully a conservative; not least of which because I do have many sympathies with you can call "Leftist" arguments or impulses in regards to political policy and discourse.

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