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Libertarianism, Anarchism, and Society with Voluntary Self Governance

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  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    Anarchist here. Used to lurk and sometimes even post around here a few years back. Gradually stopped coming...

    I visit tonight, see this thread, can't resist. Though I know it's bad for me.

    Obviously I didn't dig through the whole thread, or I'd be too sick of it by now. So I'll just start with some thoughts off the cuff. First of all, I'm an anarchist communist (among other things, but we'll go with that). So all the cargo-cult capital-fetishism that calls itself Libertarianism but shows itself as Pinochetique thuggery ain't even close to where I am. Second, the parts of the thread I did trundle through have all demonstrated a woeful lack of any actual historical narrative, something that I've always found crucial to ever getting points across... Nothing, you see, is ever defensible in the impractical and foggy realm of hypothetical situations, for while we may well read the same words, our minds immediately depart to make their favored associations-- at which point the majority association rules, and around here that's anarchy=terrible. Third, I can't swallow polemical/adversarial "thinking", that is when the dialectic is bucked for the sake of a wittiest put-down contest. I'm eager to actually impart and receive ideas, not best you in argument. This approach is more pleasant. Those among you who are truly familiar with the philosophers of antiquity will understand that it can also be pretty effective in exactly that agonistic aim which it disavows in the beginning. That and/or winning a State-enforced execution, lollerskates.

    So, come at me, please. I'll give a broad-brush picture of what has come to be my point of view over the years to start.

    Humans by nature enjoy and often demand freedom. Freedom is not opposed to equality (as per the ideological divide of the Cold War), but is inseparable from it.
    Humans have lived in an incredibly diverse array of societies with an incredible diversity of mores. Huntering/gathering peoples are not thuggish "cavemen," they all lived communally, and how they treated the Other (tribes, strangers, etc.) varies greatly; some were extremely vicious and warlike, some were literally total pacifists keen on escaping any trouble, most were somewhere in between. Among agricultural societies, there is not so much diversity. These have been class societies with nominal but sometimes serious differences, but all, fundamentally, class societies: power has been concentrated in the hands of a very few. Class societies are, broadly speaking, characterized by militarism. The military and the State have the same origin: the latter is an entity with a monopoly on the use of force, as guaranteed by the strength of the former. For the overwhelming majority of recorded history, right up to just over two centuries ago, the actions of the state/military complex were intimately bound up with and legitimized by the priesthood-- the mystifying class, which utilized an imagined (or pretended) special status with the vast and terrifying forces (gods) of the then very unknown universe, in order to justify their supremacy and that of the rulers (the ones they favored, anyway). I'm sure many of you take yourselves to be discerning atheists. So I hope you will recognize the significance of the intimacy of organized religion and the State, which (nominally) ceased only two centuries ago, having begun a *hundred* centuries before that. Before you naturalize the State, in other words-- could it not just be the empty shell of an ancient theocratic impulse, which we are attempting to "secularize" ? Those words are perhaps too strong, but as far as I'm concerned the fact that the roles of the state/military and religious authority were utterly bound together through most of their history is something atheist defenders of the State never really address... They at least should recognize that those critics who first spoke out against organized religion, in antiquity through the renaissance and even into the industrial age, were met with the very same total incredulity that you all seem to reserve for anarchists. For them, disbelief/distrust in God (and His representatives) was impossible or the surest road to monstrosity and evil; for us, disbelief/distrust in the State (and its representatives) is apparently the same.

    Anyway, speaking of about two centuries ago-- when the State supposedly began to secularize-- that's when the movement I identify with started to come into being. The political revolutions of the Enlightenment in Europe and the Americas were preliminary showings, I think, of the spirit of iconoclasm and resistance that came with the surging humanistic and anti-clerical perspective. But they ended in a Rome-wannabe slave-republic here and a so-called "revolutionary" Empire there, and generally replaced the old aristocracy with a new plutocracy. An entire class was deposed and an entire new one (the bourgeoisie) seized the levers of State power, but they used it to consolidate the rule of their own class: so the game hasn't really changed. (In fact, while at the time I believe bourgeois rule at least meant a greater proportion of the population participated in government, today it seems that this is no longer the case, thanks to the enormous world population and the domination of the market by a very few powerful multinationals and banks, i.e. the concentration of wealth/power *within* the bourgeois class. But that's all beside the point).

    The bourgeois class has seen a number of challenges, though. I'm sure yall remember Communism. Well, before authoritarian communism took hold in Russia, it was actually struggling with the libertarian (meaning anti-authoritarian, not Libertarian) version of communism for dominance in the world struggle of the classless against class rule. Plenty of revolts prior to Russia, e.g. the Paris Commune of 1871, were of a more libertarian bent than that shitty "dictatorship of the proletariat" idea Marx cooked up. They got drowned in their own blood by the mercenary footsoldiers of liberal-republicanism. Ain't that nice? Yeah, it doesn't get through much in our public schools, but it turns out the only reason republics are still around in a lot of places is because of the willingness of the State to outright slaughter its own citizens. That these same States offer us voting rights and that we're supposed to take them as a duty and privilege disgusts me to no end... eh.

    And then of course there's the Spanish revolution and all that, which George fucking Orwell himself saw firsthand and greatly praised. But I'm getting damn tired of typing.

    tl; dr: Anarchist communism is the world-historical movement to gradually realize the principles of organic communism and solidarity which are intrinsic and instinctive our species by our very nature in the context of the modern world and all it entails. Our enemy is the three-fold State/military/organized-religion behemoth -- which is essentially one thing, beginning at the same time in history, and all because there was a considerable surplus of food for the first time.

    whew.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Squidget0Squidget0 Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    So what kind of governmental system would you propose in place of the state-sponsored capitalism most of the developed world currently enjoys? How would you change that system to make it work better?

    I think a lot of people here agree with the fundamentals of wanting a free society, we simply don't agree that removing the state gives you a more free society. It's similar to how removing all traffic lights doesn't make people more free to drive. The state fills an important role in a society that society itself does not otherwise fill. Whenever humanity has existed without meaningful government on anything larger than a tribal level, it has caused incredible suffering for the vast majority of those people. What's different this time?

    Squidget0 on
    Arch wrote: »
    the lynch mob is a feature, not a bug in the democratic system
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular

    ...organic communism and solidarity which are intrinsic and instinctive our species by our very nature in the context of the modern world and all it entails.

    I have seen no indication in human history or modern behavior to suggest this is instinctual, and what is or is not instinctual is not inherently valuable. It's like trying to apply Biblical stuff to the modern age.

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  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    I'm always skeptical of theories that view institutions as monolithic and having definitive plans and conspiracies. To hear you tell it, the State is some alien thing that has been unjustly ruling over humanity for thousands of years. That it's some insidious thing trying to stay in power against everyone's wishes, and if we were truly free we would all really be communists.

    But, frankly, I don't believe it. People like living under states not because they worship them as some relic of a theocratic class. As you said, they came into being at the same time. States are simply a natural way that people come together to manage being around so many other people. The State didn't spring from behind a rock to enslave the first farmer 10 minutes after he sowed the first field. Laws are not the enemy, and I don't think you've come up with a good explanation for why they are beyond "humans like freedom." But humans also like security. They like rules. Even egalitarian tribal societies have to have rules. Modern families have rules. Small, casual groups of friends have rules. Laws imposed by states are simply rules placed over larger groups of people because otherwise they simply can't get along. They have to back it up with force or else it has no force. If the person telling you a rule is your parent, or a good friend whose opinion you trust, they probably won't need a threat. But if there's great temptation, and the person handing down the rule is distant, then there does need to be something to make sure people actually follow it. And people want to know that everyone else is following the rules, not only because it legitimizes their own following of the rules, but because it creates an even playing field. If I know that I can't murder/beat up/steal from that guy I really hate, then I know he can't do those things to me either.

    This is not to defend all states everywhere forever for their abuses of power, of course. But I simply think that decrying the State in such a broad fashion is reductive and unrealistic. If states are doing things that are bad, try to change them so they don't. Just saying "oh well obviously this isn't working, let's throw the whole thing out" is silly. People don't think "anarchism = bad" in this thread, they think "anarchism = naive". And you've done nothing to disabuse me of that notion.

    You back up your arguments with a lot of historical trends, and then just say "I'm right because it's obviously going in this direction" without any evidence or a real vision of what that direction even is. This has been a constant problem in this thread. What will organic communism on a global scale look like? How will it come about? What makes you think that will happen? And so on.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    1) Just because x is bad does not mean everything created from x is bad or everything x does is bad. Religions had state power, Hitler was a vegetarian. Etc etc etc.

    2) Do you even know what bourgeois means? Protip: You're probably bourgeois

    3) We know its all hip to declare yourself above the fray and then engage in the activity you claim to detest. But we really don't care how much you want to snipe. We care about arguments and the lack of them is why we've been dismissive of people like you.

    If you cant, or wont, make an argument then get out. And if you're wondering what an argument is, you can refer to your antiquity philosophers who will inform you and remind you that if you cannot best us in an argument then your thought is flawed. Argument is logic, not rhetoric.

    4) We know what "imagined" means thank you very much

    How about this, you lay out your premise, argument, and conclusion and we will do the same. This is slightly simplified

    Premise:
    1:People prefer to be better off materially than worse off
    2:People prefer people they know to be better off materially than worse off
    3:People care less about the wellbeing of people they do not know than people they do
    4:There exists some correctness in having control over those things you produce and those things that make up your own self
    5: force has costs
    6: There exist and will continue to exist many hundreds of millions of people in close proximity to each other. | Close proximity being defined as the range of economic interaction.

    Argument:
    1:From Premises 1-4: There exists a break point where some people will engage in activities which violate the ideal of premise 4*
    2:From Argument 1: Therefore people will harm others in the absence of a force to prevent this
    3:From Argument 2 and Premise 5: Therefore there exists a level of force which will minimize the harm done to others and the costs of that force
    4:From Argument 3 and Premises 1-3: Therefore people prefer the level of force from 3 over none

    Conclusion:
    Therefore there must exist a government which can enact said preferred force.

    Corollary:
    Premise: Government must exist

    Argument: Government needs authority. Authority requires hierarchy

    Conclusion: Society must be hierarchical.

    *expanding on this we note many and varied situations in which free interaction, even without explicit purposeful harm, create situations in which peoples prefer intervention to none.

    Goumindong on
  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    @Squidget,

    I think the teleological approach of having an end-state in mind is to a great extent what fucked up the cause of achieving a classless society. So I'm not exactly going to spell out a program. But there are all kinds of things to talk about here, and I want to get to them.

    First, it's not really my goal to destroy the current world-system. That might sound crazy given all I've said (and perfectly sane otherwise). Well let me make it sound more crazy: I don't feel the need to abolish this system because it's certainly going to abolish itself. The societal ideology championed by the bourgeois class ever since they gained control has been, essentially, unlimited economic growth. Makes sense; they like it, it's what made them bourgeois instead of peasant in the first place and gave them the wealth to have the power they now enjoy. Plus it's their habit. Anyway, unlimited economic growth is coming to an end due to the finite nature of the raw materials necessary. But the system itself is predicated on growth: we have fractional-reserve banking producing the majority of the money in our economy by giving out loans, and the interest expected on those loans is what the record of growth has hitherto paid back. Ever since the recession started, you may have noticed, it hasn't really "recovered" like the recessions of previous decades. There are of course many many things going on here, but I think the killer is the cost of transportation, understandably crucial to a globalized economy, and at about five times what it was just ten or fifteen years ago. I do my best to keep up with energy-related news, crude oil in particular, and it's extremely doubtful that nonconventional crude sources are going to get anywhere close to the rates we are used to with these moribund conventional fields. Anyway, that's the deal with liquid fuels, which is pretty much all we use to transport anything anywhere-- but it's far from the only finite resource that is going to have its limits tested, either.

    So, point is: anarchy -- that is, community, mutual aid, and solidarity, and meeting any attempt at domination with a fierceness -- should just grow up through the cracks once this thing keels over. At the rate we're going, barring some unlikely way being engineered to keep market capitalism going, I think we may see some dramatic changes like this in our very own lifetimes.

    It's not without precedent either. There's an anecdote I should relate. Consider the early Christians, in antiquity-- they were making enormous gains as Rome was floundering. And *because* Rome was floundering-- it was a grinding mess and people genuinely enjoyed the advantages the early Church offered in terms of hospitality and communal affection. But, and this is the crucial thing, when Rome converted to Christianity and set up public houses and institutions to shelter the poor and do all those good works Christ commended, the Christians gradually stopped feeling personally responsible for the unfortunate, since there was somewhere they could be referred.

    This is important because you're asking what kind of systems we should replace these modern systems with. I think that answer is really obvious enough-- a common enough answer among anarchists, in practice as well as theory, is that whatever we create will be managed directly and democratically, and with a larger federated system if necessary (eg some large scale project), the point is it's voluntary and directly, democratically run (there is plenty of anarchist lit on this already which you could easily find on the intertubes, esp. regarding the spanish revolution and anarcho-syndicalism within it). But I want to go a bit further and ask: is there a way to avoid shifting our responsibility toward each other onto institutions, to keep it alive personally? I don't think one needs to be mystified by belief in Jeezo to feel joy in helping others, but how do we, essentially, avoid doing what the ancient Christians did, and keep the idea alive in practice rather than words?

    Oh man, sorry for two crazy tangents. Must be cause it's 4am. Anyway, yeah: point 1 is, what an anarchist proposes is only ever totally context dependent and our context here in 2012 is kind of... unique, to say the least. Point 2 was that proposing things is fine and dandy, except that by proposing something as a separate sphere where some issue (x) will be addressed or thing (y) produced, you might necessarily be abdicating a personal ethic that would have sufficed in the first place, if that makes sense.

    But yeah, for more information generally about what kinds of organizations anarchists tend to create/tolerate (and even then, not all of us, there are some anti-organizational anarchists out there... to each his own, I say), the googles is your friend, as is the nice anarchist library (http://theanarchistlibrary.org). And there's an anarchist FAQ which is pretty sex as far as I can remember: http://infoshop.org/page/AnAnarchistFAQ , check out section I with regards to your question. Sorry to just refer you to some links, but to be fair the question was pretty broad, which is my weakness as I am a creature of tangents, so I'm kind of trying to make up for it by serving you something solid and closer to what you were expecting. I just didn't write it myself.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    tl;dr: 1. I apparently love to hear myself speak about half-relevant issues out of nowhere, and 2. workers should own their workplaces and self-manage. for coordination with other workplaces, federation: each place sends a delegate (immediately revocable, in case they aren't saying what the group agreed on) to come to whatever agreement is necessary.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    But what's to keep states from rising again? The problem is that you assume that these feelings of solidarity and community will necessarily eventually outweigh greed, alienation, anger, fear and other nasty human emotions. We were kind of starting to discuss this on the last page, but humans have trouble relating to large groups of other humans. Have you ever heard the saying "a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic"? It's a real thing. This is why charities are perennially underfunded. It's difficult to relate to people who are distant. And not just physically! Distant emotionally. People you don't know well. Even your neighbors if they keep to themselves too much. People have trouble thinking of them as truly human. This is also what causes racism, sexism, genocide, etc etc. Unless we are suddenly going to develop larger brains to realize that everyone is really like us, or telepathy, or something, I don't understand why the current systems are ever going to disappear.

    Well, scratch that, I understand fully that they could disappear, but I don't understand why they would be replaced by something so fundamentally different.

    EDIT: To be clear, I'm not trying to be hostile, I'm honestly curious. No anarchist in this thread has been able to answer questions about the darker side of human nature with anything but "well something that acts like a state but is not a state would handle that" or "it just wouldn't happen".

    Behemoth on
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  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    For your first question: What, you mean, ever? I'm sorry, I didn't think I was responsible for making some guarantee that all of the rest of human history must turn out exactly how I want it! lol... I just thought we were concerned with having a better world here, now, and for the future we have any need to worry about. If the state rises again, our grandchildren will surely try to put it down again... they may well succeed, even. Better yet, they can prevent it. There are actually some societies that are totally suspicious of hierarchical power, *because* they hate States and don't want to form one. Consider the Mapuche of (so-called) "Chile"/"Argentina"... They had been fighting off the Inca long before Columbus ever set foot on a ship. They organize themselves horizontally, with local chiefs (lonkos) having little formal power-- these would elect a toki, a military leader, when necessary to lead a war, but it was absolutely understood that such an office would dissolve when no longer necessary, because they didn't want to end up being a society of "slaves" like the Inca up north.

    (Fun fact: they called the european conquerors and settlers winka ("new Inca"), because they understood the imperialism/land-lust as being the same phenomenon for both societies, and one they were glad to lack... plus: they're also pretty badass in general. their struggle for independence is actually ongoing: the spanish never subjugated them, the chileans only nominally did and not until the late 19th century via genocide, and they're currently fighting chilean occupation and being targeted by the anti-terror laws of the Pinochet regime. Support them 'cause they kick ass).

    As for the second thing, I mean, I don't really get it. Yeah, there are tons of people around. But you still only interact with those pretty close to you. How you treat the ones who you interact with that aren't close to you depends on a lot of things. I think we have a tendency to think of strangers as fucking us over because we live in an individualistic (the the point of narcissism) society predicated on the logic of market competition, winners and losers-- and a desperate struggle too, since we need money just to get food and survive. If the survival thing were just assumed instead and competition was more status-oriented than life-and-death oriented I think things would be much nicer.

    Yes, it'd be pretty different, but if there's anything humans can do, it's be different from the way they are. If I dropped you off in Stalinist Russia, 1948 CE or aboriginal Australia, 8491 BCE you would also have serious culture shock and would be dealing with some fundamental fuckin differences, to say the least. Like, the former would be miserable and Communist, and the latter would be naked, communal and with didgeridoos.

    (the point is the communal thing is possible)

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    The communal thing is not possible on a large scale with actual human beings. People as a whole do not work that way. A minority of people can get along with a minority of people that way.

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  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Goumindong wrote: »
    yadda

    See, you're a total dick for no discernible reason. So I'm gonna ignore you til you ain't. I've said plenty of substantive things, you could address them. If I'm not being a dick, being a dick in return can only hurt your argument in the eyes of others, I hope.

    But for the bourgeois thing -- of course I know what it means. And yes, I am bourgeois. Shit, son, I'm SO bourgeois. What difference does that make? I'm not the section of the bourgeoisie with political power, fo sure. And anyway, like Hegel says: "There are plebes in all classes."

    Edit: Actually, I'll bite your "argument." What's better than deduction is empiricism: QED, empiricism gave us modern science; logical deduction gave us (in spite of its usefulness) copious pedantry. So from an empirical angle, what does your argument say about the horizontally-organized, State-hating Mapuche society*? Because they probably wouldn't listen to your argument. Hell, Chile has to send in armed thugs and imprison them, but they still won't bend over and accept hierarchical society, capitalism, the destruction of their ecosystem, all that shit that really seems to come in one package...

    * Which has been, btw, agricultural from earliest memory, so we're not talking a tiny population. Hundreds of thousands.

    Chaos Theory on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    As for the second thing, I mean, I don't really get it. Yeah, there are tons of people around. But you still only interact with those pretty close to you

    Says the man on the internet using a computer made in China, India, and the United States, with software written written by people all over the globe, which is powered by electricity that is a result of national megaprojects to construct nuclear powerplants, dams, and other forms of electricity generation.
    Goumindong wrote: »
    yadda

    See, you're a total dick for no discernible reason. So I'm gonna ignore you til you ain't. I've said plenty of substantive things, you could address them. If I'm not being a dick, being a dick in return can only hurt your argument in the eyes of others, I hope.

    But for the bourgeois thing -- of course I know what it means. And yes, I am bourgeois. Shit, son, I'm SO bourgeois. What difference does that make? I'm not the section of the bourgeoisie with political power, fo sure. And anyway, like Hegel says: "There are plebes in all classes."

    There is a discernible reason that I am being a dick. And no you've not said anything substantive. Good job ignoring the clean formal argument though. That is sure to buy you points round these parts.

    Goumindong on
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    Eh, whatever, it's getting so speculative now there's really no argument to have.

    People are individualistic and competitive because there are limited resources. Limited food, limited clothes, limited luxury goods, limited time in the day! Markets are an efficient way of organizing scarce goods. It could work much better than it currently does, obviously, but it's better than any of the alternatives. Markets came to be as a result of people trying to distribute excess resources, they weren't created in some scheme to get people to hate each others.

    And the problem is that you don't only interact with people who are close to you. Not in modern society. And you're not guaranteed to like everyone you're close to. If a society is less good at dealing with/preventing murder and genocide, I tend to think less of it. If only for my own safety. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, we have states that use coercion to discourage murder and rape now and it still happens. And I somehow doubt the State and markets are the font of all human evil.

    But yeah. If "the survival thing were just assumed" everyone would probably be much nicer. That would be awesome.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    There is always some limited resource. When it's not material it will be emotional. Power and prestige are things which will always be sought in some manner. I mean look at the horrible stuff people to do their kids in those beauty pageants.

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  • Squidget0Squidget0 Registered User regular
    So, point is: anarchy -- that is, community, mutual aid, and solidarity, and meeting any attempt at domination with a fierceness -- should just grow up through the cracks once this thing keels over. At the rate we're going, barring some unlikely way being engineered to keep market capitalism going, I think we may see some dramatic changes like this in our very own lifetimes.

    To my knowledge, no society on anything larger than a tribal level has ever developed into a stable form of anarchy. To my knowledge, there is not a single example of any civilization able to consistently ensure the rights and protections of its citizens without some form of strong centralized government.

    We have many many examples of government collapse on the local and state level throughout history. Somalia, with its nearly non-existent government, is consistently ranked as one of the worst places in the world to become educated, to raise a family, to start a business, or to do anything other than sit in a corner and suck your thumb. We've also seen this played out with the rise of the mafia in the 1920s, where a lack of local law enforcement led to incredible corruption of entire communities. Throughout history, it's the same story - the state loses power, and the warlords take over. Left untended, community solidarity gives way almost immediately to control and corruption. We've seen this experiment done time after time after time.

    So again I ask, what's different this time? How would something that has never been seen in recorded history "naturally grow through the cracks"? This isn't something where we have to speculate on the likely outcome, we have dozens of historical examples of states collapsing, and none at all of states collapsing into a stable form of anarchy where citizens can rely on basic human rights. I see no reason why a feudal overlord under anarchy would treat his serfs any better than he did in the 8th century.

    Arch wrote: »
    the lynch mob is a feature, not a bug in the democratic system
  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Behemoth wrote: »
    I'm always skeptical of theories that view institutions as monolithic and having definitive plans and conspiracies. To hear you tell it, the State is some alien thing that has been unjustly ruling over humanity for thousands of years. That it's some insidious thing trying to stay in power against everyone's wishes, and if we were truly free we would all really be communists.

    snip
    Apologies, didn't notice this before.

    Of course it doesn't have agency and it's not monolithic. Try to notice when you read things into my opinion that aren't there... Some people have been able to wield a lot of power over many, many others. And they've enjoyed it. How the hell is *that* hard to believe?

    Second, States are hardly some "natural" response to living in crowded conditions. What is "natural" about the Epic of Gilgamesh? THAT is the formation of states. Don't try to dance around what people actually believed and did back then. I'm talking sky-gods, slaying primordial earth-monsters, chopping down sacred cedars, lots of bullshit. And conquest. CONQUEST. You keep talking about the state like it's some utilitarian thing that we all happily acknowledged would dispense justice. No! They were slave-drivers bent on conquering all the lands they could for their own personal glory! Jesus, like, that part should be fuckin obvious... (But I spent all the past summer curating a museum of ancient near eastern artifacts, so maybe it's just me?) You're talking like Sargon the Great was just intent on making everyone feel safe out of their common decision that it'd be better that way. LOL.

    That doesn't even scratch the surface of it, cause modern policing is also only about two hundred years old. Before that there was just some guards, and a night watch. They cared about dispensing some "justice," but mostly about keeping the ruling elite safe, and fending off the nomad horde of course. You seem to think of the modern policing function as like, inherent in the state project from the beginning. Yeah, that's not where the Sumerians were going with it. More had to do with the conquest-for-personal-glory thing, I promise. We are talking about class rule here, not whatever enlightened thing you're suggesting. Consider the different treatment the classes of mesopotamian society received under the law. How is that justified by this fable of the State being a for-the-best decision cause "it's crowded?"

    And on top of all this you call -me- naive. Hahahahah! Come on! Listen to what you just said yourself...

    And don't assume you know what I'm thinking. Did I ever say the path to anarchy would be easy and was certain to happen? Hell no. I don't know that. I just know it's right. I never agreed to any government no matter how many times you keep acting like we all agreed, at some point in the distant past, that States would be best for us for the rest of human history.

    I escaped their schooling and even found some fascinating histories on my own. Now I care more about them than this precious "republic," which can go on rotting for all I care...

    Chaos Theory on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • BehemothBehemoth Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    States are the most natural thing in the world. Just like every other human institution. They weren't created by aliens. Of course I know about slavery and conquest and all that stuff. Modern states have largely gotten beyond it, or are trying to. That's what we're talking about, the modern world. Which you are talking about dissolving and replacing with... something. All of these things you're talking about occurred naturally with humans living in a world with no rules. This is what I meant. What is special about anarchist-world that will prevent all that from happening again? Why would you believe in something like that? Do you think having principles is more important than preventing massive amounts of human suffering?

    If so, I laud your stoicism, I suppose.

    EDIT: Oh, and thanks for being super condescending and acting like a crazy person. It helps your case a lot!

    Behemoth on
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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad. The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Anyone who is in here trying to argue that the formation of states wasn't a natural evolution of our idea of society is, frankly, a moron. The entirety of recorded history is the history of states.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    If the anarchist ideal was so natural and instinctual, then why aren't there modern anarchist enclaves all over the first-world? An anti-slum or reverse-ghetto if you will. The people who think the state are a good thing (even the libertarians who will only tolerate the minimum level of power for that state) don't think the answer is something "not the state". Poor people are sometimes forced on the edge of society, so why aren't the smart, intelligent, ready and able anarchists willingly flocking to re-take space in either urban, suburban, or rural areas. And why are the ones who do, doing it within, with, and in some cases with the help of the state instead of as a matter of course?

    The Christians play a waiting game with the Coming of Christ. "He'll be here Someday. We just have to wait and be good and live the Christian way, amongst all the unbelievers." And it seems that the Anarchists are doing the same, just with the breakdown of society and its replacement with 'X', or the anarchy symbol and a big question-mark. Anarchists don't agree that their contract with society and government applies to them, but it seems like the majority are content to enjoy the benefits of it even while they're clamoring for its downfall.

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  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    The level of organization inherent in an hierarchial society is always going to allow it to roll all the fuck over anarchist societies, whether it's in scientific advancement, economic development or military might.

    This isn't to say that it's perfect, morally superior (though that depends on your axiomatic morals) or the natural destiny of human evolution. But it doesn't have to be. It just needs to be better than hunter-gatherer non-hierarchial socities; Better at providing food, better at providing shelter, better at providing protection.

    If you disagree with those statements, throw of the trappings of organized society, do something about your belief and enjoy the rest of your life.

    But don't expect anything but jeers when you hide behind the warmth of the herd as you decry the rest of the sheep for their ignorance, claiming to have found a better way but being to afraid of your own opinions to act on them.

    -This message was deviously brought to you by:
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Behemoth wrote: »
    EDIT: Oh, and thanks for being super condescending and acting like a crazy person. It helps your case a lot!

    I especially like the crazy laughter he took the effort to type out. :)

    Kind of missing Rayofash now, he was a lot easier to comprehend.

  • OctoparrotOctoparrot Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Some notes:
    Anarchist here. Used to lurk and sometimes even post around here a few years back. Gradually stopped coming...

    I visit tonight, see this thread, can't resist. Though I know it's bad for me.

    Obviously I didn't dig through the whole thread, or I'd be too sick of it by now. So I'll just start with some thoughts off the cuff. First of all, I'm an anarchist communist (among other things, but we'll go with that). So all the cargo-cult capital-fetishism that calls itself Libertarianism but shows itself as Pinochetique thuggery ain't even close to where I am. Second, the parts of the thread I did trundle through have all demonstrated a woeful lack of any actual historical narrative, something that I've always found crucial to ever getting points across... Nothing, you see, is ever defensible in the impractical and foggy realm of hypothetical situations, for while we may well read the same words, our minds immediately depart to make their favored associations-- at which point the majority association rules, and around here that's anarchy=terrible.

    You sound like you've got your buttons polished, you seem pretty cool, hang around and debate more!
    Third, I can't swallow polemical/adversarial "thinking", that is when the dialectic is bucked for the sake of a wittiest put-down contest. I'm eager to actually impart and receive ideas, not best you in argument.

    While the former can be fun we do want the latter. We want you to prove us wrong. But prove is the keyword.

    The Disagreement Hierarchy!
    Spoiler:
    Humans by nature enjoy and often demand freedom. Freedom is not opposed to equality (as per the ideological divide of the Cold War), but is inseparable from it.
    Humans have lived in an incredibly diverse array of societies with an incredible diversity of mores. Huntering/gathering peoples are not thuggish "cavemen," they all lived communally, and how they treated the Other (tribes, strangers, etc.) varies greatly; some were extremely vicious and warlike, some were literally total pacifists keen on escaping any trouble, most were somewhere in between.

    [You acknowledge the diversity of human society and government, and I don't think it's possible to deny we're all slogging our way to representative democracies that give its inhabitants the capitalistic drive. China's middle class wants caddies. Egypt wants a parliament, not twinkles.]

    If we're talking prerecorded history (since even proto-writing came with permanent settlements) I'd appreciate some cites, because I don't know much about mesolithic tribal psychology.
    tl; dr: Anarchist communism is the world-historical movement to gradually realize the principles of organic communism and solidarity which are intrinsic and instinctive our species by our very nature in the context of the modern world and all it entails. Our enemy is the three-fold State/military/organized-religion behemoth -- which is essentially one thing, beginning at the same time in history, and all because there was a considerable surplus of food for the first time.

    The issue isn't extra food -> State
    To be argumentative I'd say State-> extra food
    (State would be just one fuckin' dude dictating the day's labor, eg. villiage elder)
    But as someone else said, chicken and egg. Really they came the same time.
    First, it's not really my goal to destroy the current world-system. That might sound crazy given all I've said (and perfectly sane otherwise). Well let me make it sound more crazy: I don't feel the need to abolish this system because it's certainly going to abolish itself. The societal ideology championed by the bourgeois class ever since they gained control has been, essentially, unlimited economic growth. Makes sense; they like it, it's what made them bourgeois instead of peasant in the first place and gave them the wealth to have the power they now enjoy. Plus it's their habit. Anyway, unlimited economic growth is coming to an end due to the finite nature of the raw materials necessary. But the system itself is predicated on growth...

    Check the use of terms finite/infine vs. limited/unlimited(bounded/unbounded).

    And Guom will probably correct me on this but it's always possible to "add value". In fact I'm going to refresh myself on theories of value right now...

    Octoparrot on
    the GOP shouldn't give a rats ass about them since they won't vote for them. If someone won't vote for you they might as well not exist.
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    It's hard for me to believe that anarchism is instinctive when humans almost never follow it, and it's hard for me to believe that republics and states are 'rotting' when we keep creating new ones. Revolutions do happen, and they keep resulting in new states. Across the globe, everywhere humans live, in all cultures, governments form through various methods. To say that anarchy is better, more natural, or more instinctive, will require some extraordinary evidence.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    Having waded through this thread, I feel it's worthwhile to provide an example of the benefits of organized society/government over tribalism/anarchy.

    Prior to 1200 AD, the peoples living in the region we now call mongolia were an extremely crude people that subsisted largely as hunter gatherers in the harsh region. It wasn't until the leader of a lesser tribe abandoned fascination with blood lines, addopted a meritocracy and organized his people into units and formations and crushed the other tribes that they became a legitimate power. Once united under a central government, the Mongols were able to take on one of the great chinese nations and other major powers of the day.

    In doing so, the mongol empire was able to create a stable path from the middle east all the way to the sea of japan and spread the various sciences from one region to the other as well as provide stability and wealth to there people.

    Spoiler:
  • JurgJurg In a TeacupRegistered User regular
    Yeah, it'd be pretty nice if we didn't have to worry about survival. I hear there are institutions that actually make sure people have a lot of the resources they need! They're called "states".

    Maybe not the American government, but a lot of European ones. And those that do are heavily, heavily legalistic- even further from anarchy. The thing is, they also need to be compete for limited resources, or they will not be able to provide resources to their citizens. The state is not putting a gun to people's heads and telling them, "Work, or you shall starve to death." The fact that resources are limited is.

    Also, if there is no way to put anarchy into practice, it is useless as a political philosophy.

    sig.gif
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Jurg wrote: »
    Yeah, it'd be pretty nice if we didn't have to worry about survival. I hear there are institutions that actually make sure people have a lot of the resources they need! They're called "states".

    Maybe not the American government, but a lot of European ones. And those that do are heavily, heavily legalistic- even further from anarchy. The thing is, they also need to be compete for limited resources, or they will not be able to provide resources to their citizens. The state is not putting a gun to people's heads and telling them, "Work, or you shall starve to death." The fact that resources are limited is.

    Also, if there is no way to put anarchy into practice, it is useless as a political philosophy.

    The American government absolutely does provide survival support services. Don't be hyperbolic. People argue about whether it provides enough of them, to a great enough extent, or in a balanced way to the correct people. I believe you probably have some sort of septic system, electrical service, transportation infrastructure and a complicated system of defenses that prevent people from raping you and taking everything you own whenever they want, though.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • VanguardVanguard Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I would counter that people are naturally selfish. Show me the valleys of kindness dotting history and I will show you mountains of greed, avarice, and general fuck-wadery. That's not to say we don't have both; I think we do, in equal measure. However, the second something is threatened, we most certainly become the worst. Often, when we want something, the same thing happens, too.


    Deebaser wrote: »
    Vanguard is the Cool English Teacher that wears sneakers, drives a convertible, and teaches at risk youth the magic of learning. He's the motherfuckin' Mary Poppins of Iambic Pentameter

    MY RPG Blog: The Earthlight Academy
  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Anarchist here. Used to lurk and sometimes even post around here a few years back. Gradually stopped coming...

    I visit tonight, see this thread, can't resist. Though I know it's bad for me.

    Obviously I didn't dig through the whole thread, or I'd be too sick of it by now. So I'll just start with some thoughts off the cuff. First of all, I'm an anarchist communist (among other things, but we'll go with that). So all the cargo-cult capital-fetishism that calls itself Libertarianism but shows itself as Pinochetique thuggery ain't even close to where I am. Second, the parts of the thread I did trundle through have all demonstrated a woeful lack of any actual historical narrative, something that I've always found crucial to ever getting points across... Nothing, you see, is ever defensible in the impractical and foggy realm of hypothetical situations, for while we may well read the same words, our minds immediately depart to make their favored associations-- at which point the majority association rules, and around here that's anarchy=terrible. Third, I can't swallow polemical/adversarial "thinking", that is when the dialectic is bucked for the sake of a wittiest put-down contest. I'm eager to actually impart and receive ideas, not best you in argument. This approach is more pleasant. Those among you who are truly familiar with the philosophers of antiquity will understand that it can also be pretty effective in exactly that agonistic aim which it disavows in the beginning. That and/or winning a State-enforced execution, lollerskates.

    So, come at me, please. I'll give a broad-brush picture of what has come to be my point of view over the years to start.

    Humans by nature enjoy and often demand freedom. Freedom is not opposed to equality (as per the ideological divide of the Cold War), but is inseparable from it.
    Humans have lived in an incredibly diverse array of societies with an incredible diversity of mores. Huntering/gathering peoples are not thuggish "cavemen," they all lived communally, and how they treated the Other (tribes, strangers, etc.) varies greatly; some were extremely vicious and warlike, some were literally total pacifists keen on escaping any trouble, most were somewhere in between. Among agricultural societies, there is not so much diversity. These have been class societies with nominal but sometimes serious differences, but all, fundamentally, class societies: power has been concentrated in the hands of a very few. Class societies are, broadly speaking, characterized by militarism. The military and the State have the same origin: the latter is an entity with a monopoly on the use of force, as guaranteed by the strength of the former. For the overwhelming majority of recorded history, right up to just over two centuries ago, the actions of the state/military complex were intimately bound up with and legitimized by the priesthood-- the mystifying class, which utilized an imagined (or pretended) special status with the vast and terrifying forces (gods) of the then very unknown universe, in order to justify their supremacy and that of the rulers (the ones they favored, anyway). I'm sure many of you take yourselves to be discerning atheists. So I hope you will recognize the significance of the intimacy of organized religion and the State, which (nominally) ceased only two centuries ago, having begun a *hundred* centuries before that. Before you naturalize the State, in other words-- could it not just be the empty shell of an ancient theocratic impulse, which we are attempting to "secularize" ? Those words are perhaps too strong, but as far as I'm concerned the fact that the roles of the state/military and religious authority were utterly bound together through most of their history is something atheist defenders of the State never really address... They at least should recognize that those critics who first spoke out against organized religion, in antiquity through the renaissance and even into the industrial age, were met with the very same total incredulity that you all seem to reserve for anarchists. For them, disbelief/distrust in God (and His representatives) was impossible or the surest road to monstrosity and evil; for us, disbelief/distrust in the State (and its representatives) is apparently the same.

    Anyway, speaking of about two centuries ago-- when the State supposedly began to secularize-- that's when the movement I identify with started to come into being. The political revolutions of the Enlightenment in Europe and the Americas were preliminary showings, I think, of the spirit of iconoclasm and resistance that came with the surging humanistic and anti-clerical perspective. But they ended in a Rome-wannabe slave-republic here and a so-called "revolutionary" Empire there, and generally replaced the old aristocracy with a new plutocracy. An entire class was deposed and an entire new one (the bourgeoisie) seized the levers of State power, but they used it to consolidate the rule of their own class: so the game hasn't really changed. (In fact, while at the time I believe bourgeois rule at least meant a greater proportion of the population participated in government, today it seems that this is no longer the case, thanks to the enormous world population and the domination of the market by a very few powerful multinationals and banks, i.e. the concentration of wealth/power *within* the bourgeois class. But that's all beside the point).

    The bourgeois class has seen a number of challenges, though. I'm sure yall remember Communism. Well, before authoritarian communism took hold in Russia, it was actually struggling with the libertarian (meaning anti-authoritarian, not Libertarian) version of communism for dominance in the world struggle of the classless against class rule. Plenty of revolts prior to Russia, e.g. the Paris Commune of 1871, were of a more libertarian bent than that shitty "dictatorship of the proletariat" idea Marx cooked up. They got drowned in their own blood by the mercenary footsoldiers of liberal-republicanism. Ain't that nice? Yeah, it doesn't get through much in our public schools, but it turns out the only reason republics are still around in a lot of places is because of the willingness of the State to outright slaughter its own citizens. That these same States offer us voting rights and that we're supposed to take them as a duty and privilege disgusts me to no end... eh.

    And then of course there's the Spanish revolution and all that, which George fucking Orwell himself saw firsthand and greatly praised. But I'm getting damn tired of typing.

    tl; dr: Anarchist communism is the world-historical movement to gradually realize the principles of organic communism and solidarity which are intrinsic and instinctive our species by our very nature in the context of the modern world and all it entails. Our enemy is the three-fold State/military/organized-religion behemoth -- which is essentially one thing, beginning at the same time in history, and all because there was a considerable surplus of food for the first time.

    whew.

    First, welcome back. I'm also a forumer who drifts in and out of activity, and it's always good to see conversations that bring people back.

    My major issue with your argument is that it is predicated on the assumption that freedom is the dominant good. You have to prove that people value freedom more than anything else (for example, safety). If that is disproven, and I believe that much of history disproves that assumption, then the rest of your argument falls apart.

    State structures do restrict freedom in meaningful ways. However, they provide safety and security as well. What most people care about is achieving the appropriate balance between the two. They are happy to sacrifice some freedoms (such as obeying traffic laws and paying tolls) in exchange for safety and security (such as well-maintained roads and emergency services in case of an accident).

    The militarism you so abhor stems from a similar place. If one group decides to wage war, then other groups must also wage war or perish. As the history of warfare shows, hierarchical structures generally work best.

    While I would love to live in a world without war, that world does not exist (and to paraphrase, if it did, we would conquer them because they would never see it coming). People will always have to sacrifice some freedom for security or else another society that does will likely crush them. The meaningful discussion is not how we achieve unbounded freedom or absolute security; it is how we balance these two concerns.

    sanstodo on
    The headquarters for my writing:
    hummusandkimchi.blogspot.com

    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/FriedRice-1814/hero/11834264
  • The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    You also have to demonstrate that freedom for the masses can meaningfully exist outside of state structures, which I would posit does not.

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  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    See, I've always understood nature as opposed to culture. I mean, defining nature is incredibly difficult for a number of reasons. But the the notion of nature as being the opposite of culture is as old as dirt... cf. the ancient greek distinction between nomos and physis. The State, as a cultural institution and an artifice, is not natural. But if yall are using a different definition of the word I can't really argue against it, since I don't know what it is. I think there is a tendency to use the word natural as just a synonym for inevitable, or permissible, or something. But I don't think it can really be a good word for analysis unless it's part of the nature/culture opposition and that's what I was using.

    Aristotle says man is a political animal. That is, it is in our nature to form and enact cultural mores. I agree. But there's a difference between this and forming States, of course, and I dislike the latter proposal whenever and wherever enacted.

    Furthermore, you all seem to set the bar ridiculously high. I never said that anarchy was some kind of invincible and omnipresent force, or that it MUST necessarily overturn States. But let me clarify something. I think that freedom and communal behavior are instinctive. People like to be free and don't like arbitrary rule. Communal sharing of resources and taking care of kin exists between family and friends. I don't know about you guys, but between myself and my friends there's a sort of mutual guarantee that we help each other out with no expected returns. This is basically how most people lived with their whole society for most of history, since our societies were pretty small roving bands. So of course these things are instinctive, any glance at the anthropological record will tell you that, as well as looking at your dealings with your closer friends, or at least family, even in this (thoroughly indoctrinated) society. One thing anarchists often point out is that your group of friends works like an anarchist collective. There isn't a leader, but you get things done via mutual aid. I mean, I don't actually know yall, but it's probably true.

    Why do states keep popping up? First off, I never said they wouldn't. This is a world that has for the last century or so in particular been thoroughly colonized by states. They seem like the only game in town. But look closer and they're not. The Mapuche (who none of you have seemed to address) are an anti-State people still struggling against colonization.

    And there are plenty of examples of working anarchy. The organization of laborers in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia/Aragon during the Spanish civil war is one obvious example. But you might as well take the whole history of the left-libertarian revolt against Capital. What about the Paris Commune, 1871? Anyway, off the top of my head there is also what happened after the Dec. '01 crash in Argentina: workers took over their factories and under the banner of horizontality started managing them collectively, making all their decisions in open meetings. Google "que se vayan todos" or something. Anyway, there are a lot of other examples, especially among indigenous societies, but also in various slums... I think one of you asked for an anarchist slum-- check out Symphony Way in Cape-town, which has been organizing itself horizontally and in opposition to the State (which had evicted them all from their rightful homes in the first place-- good job, States!). Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_Way_Pavement_Dwellers .

    Just because you may never have heard of read of this places and moments in history *does not mean* they didn't happen. Though it is very telling that none of you seem to have learned about these histories in your schools. I suggest you read up yourself. I mean, that's what makes anarchists in the first place. And there have been a fuckin TON of anarchists collaborating on anarchistic societies before. Barcelona had an enormous population when it was being collectivized. In fact, when the anarchist war hero Durruti was assassinated, HALF A MILLION PEOPLE came out in the streets for the funeral procession. So please quit with all these uneducated platitudes about anarchism only being for small groups... It's just a dumb excuse in light of the evidence.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    @Chaos Theory: I suppose you are familiar with the story The Witch's Child, insofar as your account of history seems to mirror its themes. I'm wondering if you have any criticisms to offer of its account, or if you think its tale of "everything was fine until those damn Romans showed up" is peachy keen.


    Re: Dunbar's Number

    I asked my anarchist friend if he knew of any academic articles published on this topic, and he linked me to Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber. The abstract:
    What follows are a series of thoughts, sketches of potential theories, and tiny manifestos—all meant to offer a glimpse at the outline of a body of radical theory that does not actually exist, though it might possibly exist at some point in the future. Since there are very good reasons why an anarchist anthropology really ought to exist, we might start by asking why one doesn’t—or, for that matter, why an anarchist sociology doesn’t exist, or an anarchist economics, anarchist literary theory, or anarchist political science.

    If you're interested in what an Academic Anarchist has to say, you might take a look at the article.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Chaos TheoryChaos Theory Registered User
    Anyway I've got to go to work, but for the sake of buddhist allah, could we please focus on concrete situations. I have no interest in putting down rootless abstractions because that is frankly impossible. Let this suffice for those, eg. the claims that we're all just inherently dickish to each other: whatever human nature could be said to be, it -tends to the worse- precisely when it has power, or has power as its object. Power corrupts. When opposing unjust power becomes our cause (as it has among anarchists) we can remain pretty decent.

    Anyway, yall haven't convinced me of the necessity of States. All I see is their contingency. And that apparently there is still a lot of ignorance out there about history and anthropology. I'm still waiting for a treatment of one of the multiple examples I've given of anarchistic organizing against States.

    The best argument any of you have put forward is that States roll over anarchies at times and drown them in blood. It's true, c.f. Paris 1871 and Barcelona 1937-9. But that you would therefore pick the side of the massacre-makers rather than the freedom-fighters (and that is what you are doing, don't pretend you can be be neutral)... I think that says something about your character. And it's pretty diabolical...

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    I think that freedom and communal behavior are instinctive. People like to be free and don't like arbitrary rule.

    Why do you think this is true? There are quite a few psychological studies which show quite the opposite. Humans very naturally like to follow orders and integrate into a group which provides them with hierarchy and rules.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Anyway I've got to go to work, but for the sake of buddhist allah, could we please focus on concrete situations. I have no interest in putting down rootless abstractions because that is frankly impossible. Let this suffice for those, eg. the claims that we're all just inherently dickish to each other: whatever human nature could be said to be, it -tends to the worse- precisely when it has power, or has power as its object. Power corrupts. When opposing unjust power becomes our cause (as it has among anarchists) we can remain pretty decent.

    Anyway, yall haven't convinced me of the necessity of States. All I see is their contingency. And that apparently there is still a lot of ignorance out there about history and anthropology. I'm still waiting for a treatment of one of the multiple examples I've given of anarchistic organizing against States.

    The best argument any of you have put forward is that States roll over anarchies at times and drown them in blood. It's true, c.f. Paris 1871 and Barcelona 1937-9. But that you would therefore pick the side of the massacre-makers rather than the freedom-fighters (and that is what you are doing, don't pretend you can be be neutral)... I think that says something about your character. And it's pretty diabolical...

    Your requests to argue in good faith are immediately undermined in almost every post by your insistence at adding ad hominems.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    But that you would therefore pick the side of the massacre-makers rather than the freedom-fighters (and that is what you are doing, don't pretend you can be be neutral)... I think that says something about your character. And it's pretty diabolical...

    That's as stupid as saying the Allied forces were no better than the Nazis, because they killed people with tanks and guns and bombs just the same.

    We can't get rid of states, so we need to make them better. That does not mean giving in to the worst the state is capable of.

  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    See, I've always understood nature as opposed to culture. I mean, defining nature is incredibly difficult for a number of reasons. But the the notion of nature as being the opposite of culture is as old as dirt... cf. the ancient greek distinction between nomos and physis. The State, as a cultural institution and an artifice, is not natural.

    A beaver builds a dam, that's natural.
    A human builds a dam, that's not natural.

    That seems to be your sentiment, right?

    If states result from culture, and culture results from humans, and humans are natural creatures, then why are states unnatural?

    I can understand why you would make the argument that states are not natural, cause you're all "boo states", but I don't know how you can actually argue that states are not natural.

    If you could provide a slightly more detailed argument I would be interested to read it.

    Aristotle says man is a political animal. That is, it is in our nature to form and enact cultural mores. I agree. But there's a difference between this and forming States, of course, and I dislike the latter proposal whenever and wherever enacted.

    Again, I'm not sure how you can get "political" and "The State" to be different things. As to Aristotle's though, both he and Plato took philosophy to be an enterprise that dealt, at least in part, with the question of politics and how to organize a society.

    Again, though, it seems like you want "organized society" and "The State" to be different things. And I'm not sure what the difference is. My tentative guess is that you'd claim that "The State" is some sort of independent metaphysical entity that is greater than the sum of its human parts, whereas culture is...somehow different.

    That's just a guess, though.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • sanstodosanstodo Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    See, I've always understood nature as opposed to culture. I mean, defining nature is incredibly difficult for a number of reasons. But the the notion of nature as being the opposite of culture is as old as dirt... cf. the ancient greek distinction between nomos and physis. The State, as a cultural institution and an artifice, is not natural. But if yall are using a different definition of the word I can't really argue against it, since I don't know what it is. I think there is a tendency to use the word natural as just a synonym for inevitable, or permissible, or something. But I don't think it can really be a good word for analysis unless it's part of the nature/culture opposition and that's what I was using.

    Aristotle says man is a political animal. That is, it is in our nature to form and enact cultural mores. I agree. But there's a difference between this and forming States, of course, and I dislike the latter proposal whenever and wherever enacted.

    Furthermore, you all seem to set the bar ridiculously high. I never said that anarchy was some kind of invincible and omnipresent force, or that it MUST necessarily overturn States. But let me clarify something. I think that freedom and communal behavior are instinctive. People like to be free and don't like arbitrary rule. Communal sharing of resources and taking care of kin exists between family and friends. I don't know about you guys, but between myself and my friends there's a sort of mutual guarantee that we help each other out with no expected returns. This is basically how most people lived with their whole society for most of history, since our societies were pretty small roving bands. So of course these things are instinctive, any glance at the anthropological record will tell you that, as well as looking at your dealings with your closer friends, or at least family, even in this (thoroughly indoctrinated) society. One thing anarchists often point out is that your group of friends works like an anarchist collective. There isn't a leader, but you get things done via mutual aid. I mean, I don't actually know yall, but it's probably true.

    Why do states keep popping up? First off, I never said they wouldn't. This is a world that has for the last century or so in particular been thoroughly colonized by states. They seem like the only game in town. But look closer and they're not. The Mapuche (who none of you have seemed to address) are an anti-State people still struggling against colonization.

    And there are plenty of examples of working anarchy. The organization of laborers in Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia/Aragon during the Spanish civil war is one obvious example. But you might as well take the whole history of the left-libertarian revolt against Capital. What about the Paris Commune, 1871? Anyway, off the top of my head there is also what happened after the Dec. '01 crash in Argentina: workers took over their factories and under the banner of horizontality started managing them collectively, making all their decisions in open meetings. Google "que se vayan todos" or something. Anyway, there are a lot of other examples, especially among indigenous societies, but also in various slums... I think one of you asked for an anarchist slum-- check out Symphony Way in Cape-town, which has been organizing itself horizontally and in opposition to the State (which had evicted them all from their rightful homes in the first place-- good job, States!). Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_Way_Pavement_Dwellers .

    Just because you may never have heard of read of this places and moments in history *does not mean* they didn't happen. Though it is very telling that none of you seem to have learned about these histories in your schools. I suggest you read up yourself. I mean, that's what makes anarchists in the first place. And there have been a fuckin TON of anarchists collaborating on anarchistic societies before. Barcelona had an enormous population when it was being collectivized. In fact, when the anarchist war hero Durruti was assassinated, HALF A MILLION PEOPLE came out in the streets for the funeral procession. So please quit with all these uneducated platitudes about anarchism only being for small groups... It's just a dumb excuse in light of the evidence.

    Have you noticed a theme, though? These anarchist societies never lasted (and the Mapuche are not an independent people any more; they already lost the conflict to the Chilean government). The light of evidence shows that they have not, to this point, had the durability of states. Again, the trade-off between freedom and safety.

    Also, you keep insisting that state rule is arbitrary. That is untrue, given the rise and success of representative governments. While some rules may seem arbitrary to you, the legitimacy of, say, the American, French, German, etc. governments is not generally in dispute. Their rule is not arbitrary since it is viewed as legitimate by the majority of the populace.

    One last point, this time rhetorical and not logical: You keep insisting and insinuating that we are indoctrinated. Yeah, so what? Everyone is indoctrinated to some degree. Show us how we are blind rather than telling us that we are.

    sanstodo on
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  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Anyway I've got to go to work

    That's kind of funny, when you think about it.
    I have no interest in putting down rootless abstractions because that is frankly impossible.

    There is a difference between "impossible" and "I don't like to do it".
    Anyway, yall haven't convinced me of the necessity of States. All I see is their contingency.

    Well, how would one go about proving necessity over contingency? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for you to be convinced of something?

    That's one of the more painful aspects of arguing with anarchists and other sorts of people. No matter what happens in the conversation, they can seek refuge in the claim that "You just haven't convinced me yet" since they do not state what would be required to convince them.

    Here's a question: Are you convincible? Is there any sort of argument that could convince you of the necessity of The State, or the benefits of The State, or anything along those lines? Are you genuinely open minded to the possibility that your anarchist sentiments might be wrong, or have you decided, seemingly a priori, that The State is inherently problematic?
    The best argument any of you have put forward is that States roll over anarchies at times and drown them in blood. It's true, c.f. Paris 1871 and Barcelona 1937-9. But that you would therefore pick the side of the massacre-makers rather than the freedom-fighters (and that is what you are doing, don't pretend you can be be neutral)... I think that says something about your character. And it's pretty diabolical...

    I can't speak for others, but my argument wouldn't be "yey massacres!" Instead, it would be that anarchism is demonstrably unsustainable given the seeming ease with which organized States can "roll over" them. It's that old Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors episode: Everything is fine until someone gets a board with a nail in it. And then someone gets a bigger board, with a bigger nail.

    In the same way that some on the pro-State side haven't offered arguments that satisfy your standard for "convincing argument", it seems like you would need to offer an argument for why these anarchist groups continually get their asses kicked. It's not the case that some abstract 'The State' descends from on high and smashes anarchist people. Rather, human beings, gathered together in a particular cultural group, smash the anarchist group.

    Why is it that the people on team-state always seem to beat the people on team-anarchism?

    I get that you probably do not want to play the game in which team-state beats team-anarchism. But...how do you prevent that game from being played?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    sanstodo wrote: »
    One last point, this time rhetorical and not logical: You keep insisting and insinuating that we are indoctrinated. Yeah, so what? Everyone is indoctrinated to some degree. Show us how we are blind rather than telling us that we are.

    Yeah. It is kinda cute when one side claims that the other side is indoctrinated and unthinking. Yet while it's cute, it doesn't seem to be terribly helpful. If only because the sentiment seems to be, "if you just sat down and thought about it, you'd be an anarchist, too."

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    sanstodo wrote: »
    One last point, this time rhetorical and not logical: You keep insisting and insinuating that we are indoctrinated. Yeah, so what? Everyone is indoctrinated to some degree. Show us how we are blind rather than telling us that we are.

    Yeah. It is kinda cute when one side claims that the other side is indoctrinated and unthinking. Yet while it's cute, it doesn't seem to be terribly helpful. If only because the sentiment seems to be, "if you just sat down and thought about it, you'd be an anarchist, too."

    I told my father I'd blow up a government building if Australian soldiers were ever ordered to shoot illegal refugees. The main problem I have with the notion is whether I'm ok with killing a bunch of secretaries and public workers, because let's face it: explosives aren't that hard to make.

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