Letter from an anarchist!
May 23, 2020Posted by on
This week on Facebook: There was a UK General Election in 2017, in which I posted Plus c’est la même chose and found myself with a real justification¹ for seriously declaring myself to be an Anarchist. In 2013 I posted Hooray for Anarchism opening with an article that I had read from a libertarian in the USA, “Reading the views of a libertarian I couldn’t believe that the writer held the views of an anarchist, which was the inference I drew on reading the piece“. That is, a libertarian shared the view of an anarchist when it came to political philosophy. Well, mostly², but Robert Nozick has something to say about this as did H. L. Mencken (The Sage of Baltimore).
Today, those who self-identify as anarchists are likely to see the modern libertarian movement—which, as an ideological phenomenon, is closely associated with the United States—as inattentive to the realities of these social and economic forms of domination. For them, the freedom free-market libertarians advocate is the freedom of the capitalist to exploit. Genuine economic freedom means, to the anarchist, socialism, not capitalism. Anarchism and Libertarianism: Two Sides of the Same Coin (4)
Is Aaron Powell right when he refers to the immorality of collectivism and nationalism? In the following video he states that libertarians could coexist with a socialist state if that state were entered into voluntarily, only applying its norms to those who volunteered to live by them and, presumably, allowed people to voluntarily leave such a society. I have to wonder, “Who or what determines the limit and application of a voluntary boundary?” History would indicate that it is entirely a political decision of the State, taken without regard to an electorate and their liberty to limit its application³.
I concluded ‘Hooray for Anarchism’ by saying that: “My initial thought is to suggest the greatest enemy of anarchism is the State. The State as the enemy would be a view that anarchists held in common with the libertarians. However, while libertarianism may advocate ‘small government’, with minimal or no interference in the unalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this does not mean no government. Anarchism would support these unalienable rights, but completely oppose the need for any form of government being required to achieve them. However, any ‘ism‘ is only tolerated when controlled by The State, especially any freedoms in exercising personal judgement in a creative or moral capacity — freedoms that are curtailed by any form of statism.”
All government, of course, is against liberty. H. L. Mencken
1. What is anarchism all about? Based on these principles and values, anarchism rejects both a capitalist economy and a nation state that is governed by means of a representative democracy. It is a utopian project that aspires to combine the best parts of liberalism with the best parts of communism. At its heart is a mix of the liberal emphasis on individual freedom and the communist emphasis on an equal society.
4. Anarchism and Libertarianism — Two Sides of the Same Coin: While libertarians ground their robust commitment to individual liberty in several different philosophical traditions, they generally subscribe to some form of this law of equal freedom, satisfied that, in general, the only legitimate limit on the individual’s freedom to act is the identical freedom of everyone else. Anarchism is the philosophical opposition to authority — social, political, and economic — together with the correspondent belief that the state ought to be abolished, that is, that society could and should function without it.
5. Politics as we know it should die and loving anarchy should prosper: The current way of doing politics and our economic life on this Earth is coming to an end. The climate emergency will require dramatic changes to the wasteful way we consume resources. The grotesquery of the 0.1% cruising in private jets while the rest struggle with rent and debt cannot last. A peaceful, harmonious society requires that people are fairly treated.
Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:
- A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
- Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
- A link (url) includes the title references and source, a long read url* is often indicated as shown.
- The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
- Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
- JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.
¹Do not vote, it only encourages them (url): Cartoonist and longtime Freedom contributor Donald Rooum has seen more “radical” governments than today’s offerings come and go, and has a little reminder for people who get too excited by Statist “democracy.”
²Who Decides (url)? Who has a right to decide anything? No doubt, the constitutional answer is that in a democracy the decision rests with the majority; yet, particularly where deep and highly personal convictions are concerned, the democracy must do its best to respect minorities.
³Aasof on Democracy (url*/edited)! Is the key element of a truly democratic society in most countries the will of the demos and if so what proportion of it? Is freedom of expression, especially the freedom to criticise (in whatever form) the practices of any State democracy?