The inevitable post-Christmas rant…

31 12 2008

Ah Christmas.  A holiday we all must suffer, and suffer we all generally do.  At least those of us who value and appreciate a little solitude. Whether it is dealing with the family on during Christmas itself, or the inevitable celebrations with friends or those we haven’t caught up with, in the days preceding New Years, it can be difficult.  And for me, it was no different.  In between celebrations, catching up with friends and whatnot, I had to suffer uninvited commentary from unimaginative racists (though I shan’t go into this and even bother giving it an explanation here) and the zealous praise of government or government servants by statists.  Yes, that’s right.  I did the unthinkable and snuck in Anarchist politics into casual discussion with friends and family over the last few days, though I avoided the explicitly Anarchist jargon.  It resulted in a least to violent, knee-jerk reactions.

The most common argument I was presented with was that one that all statists fall back on when presented with the idea of no government, no police and no military was the one of imagination.  That is to say, the, “Imagine if there was no x,” with x being one of the previous three labels.  And if you’ll allow me, I’d like to get on my soap box for a while and pontificate a little.  Now, to provide further context, this argument went something along the lines of, “Imagine if there were no police.  People would be killing each other in the streets, breaking down doors, raping women and chaos would ensure…” and so on and so forth.  While to many reading this blog, this may seem something trivial and easily corrected.  However, the problem was receiving the same argument from two separate individuals within the space of 72 hours, who are both relatively close to you and each taking a good 20 minutes to make their basic point while their voice steadily increased in volume.  It certainly had the effect of pissing me off.  Though I made sure to avoid dropping the “A” word and so avoided blowing my cover.  The problem was, that there was no way I could effectively take a stand on these arguments.  They were irrational.  I could have, for example, pointed out that such a line of argument is equivalent to me urging someone to “imagine an octopus, wearing stockings, a monocle and performing handstands,” so as to disprove evolution.  Sadly, I did not.  But, in my defence, I was quick witted enough to ask at least one of the individuals, “if there were no cops, who would you kill first?”  Which deserves a hat tip to Per Bylund.  But sadly the recipient was too drunk to appreciate my wit or the logic of my argument and so there was no effect.

The second time around, there was an audience and even when I could provide a counter argument, the pleas that almost appealed for a police state were directed to the audience and not to me. It was this second time that particularly boiled my blood.  Not only the arrogance of the second individual in their appeals to the audience, but their arguments were essentially circular logic.  The individual not only pointed out that corruption existed amongst the police force that he understood from first hand experience, then immediately sought to praise the police because, “could you imagine what it would be like without police?”  But he didn’t stop there.  The same individual continued on to argue that its the judicial system to blame for the failures of the law, in that the police put the “assholes” in jail, and the judge’s let them go.  Clearly he’d never been arrested or, alternatively, read of those many thousands of reports where a police committs some horrible act and only recieves a slap on the wrist because of both the court’s and the cop’s affiliation with the same criminal organisation.  Continuing, he then expanded on the obvious idea that, “innocent until proven guilty is a joke, because if the police actually treated the person as innocent, all they’d do is talk to them and nothing would happen.”  In which he concluded that it was useless and we should “abolish” it, but keep the rest of the government.  After this he cited Greece and America and, thanked God that we lived in Australia as our police force don’t run around committing atrocities.  I argued the possibility that we don’t have the population numbers for their to be incidents of police brutality that would equal the rate at which they occur over in America, and that when they do happen, it’s just never caught on camera and no one ever reports it.  But, again, he ignored me.  He then concluded on an appeal with, “could you imagine what things would be like without police?”

“On a daily basis,” I thought.

I shan’t go into responding to all these arguments, as I will likely look at them later on in another post down the track.  I should mention, however, that the two individuals mentioned above are quite intelligent people, in all honesty.  In fact not only are they relatively close to me, but in some circumstances I have quite a respect for them.  Yet they stand as clear examples into what we must deal with if we are to bring Anarchism into existence, their irrationality is clear and shared by thousands of others.  At times I wonder whether it is possible to break through this irrationality in so many people and whether we are destined to watch as politicians and their often well-intentioned employees bomb, steal, enslave and destroy the planet.  And so concludes the post-Christmas rant.

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3 responses

31 12 2008
Nick

Sounds like my vacation – there’s a smart guy I’ve been debating with and we’ve gotten to the point at which he admits that States are frauds but maintains that overthrowing them would be more dangerous than trying to “reform” them, which is iffy but at least we’ve moved beyond the cliches about anarchy. You should toss the ball into your friend’s court and ask, “How do you think people ought to prevent there from being crime?” Any reasonable answer to this will be essentially anarchist, since few people are going to feel comfortable saying we should obey those with the most guns and let them write the rules, when forced to state their views explicitly. Asking this question, or any variation thereof, could turn out to be our nuclear weapon for political debates, since it utterly demolishes just about any argument against anarchy. I’m going to have to try it. But I think the people are beginning to wake up! Anyway, happy new year!

1 01 2009
Francois Tremblay

Arguing with Normals: Don’t Do It ™

1 01 2009
Rorshak (1313)

Thankfully most of my family is apolitical or apathetic. There’s only one who I have discussions with that’s interested and he’s the worst kind of reactionary nationalist.

We did have an interesting discussion on psychology and the philosophy of the mind though.

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