Freedom

13 09 2009

Freedom, is the word on everyone’s lips.  It’s what we all demand, statist or Anarchist alike.  People like freedom, they need it to live to be happy.  We, acting as Anarchists demand freedom, freedom from Government, its creations and the consequences that these things produce throughout our existence.  But then, do we demand Absolute Freedom?

You’ll here it in conversation, in debate and passionate pleas against injustice by Anarchists seeking Absolute Freedom.  We want liberty, to be free and the statist is our opposition, actively seeking out rulership and working to justify injustice in the name of their particular ideology.  But then, doesn’t ‘Absolute Freedom’, in the purest form of the terms, logically mean that anything is to be allowed and that, after all, there is no value in human existence?  Absolute Freedom inherently implies a world without limits, a world of ‘might makes right’ which permits murder and all the other great crimes.  In fact, this is a point often raised by statists when confronted with Anarchist concepts, although it is usually poor expressed as, ‘But doesn’t no government mean everyone will kill each other?’  The very fact that this statement continues to exist implies that people do, in fact, believe that life holds value, even though the statement immediately conjures up imagery of the most brutal atrocities.  It is a cliché, this much cannot be denied, but it retains a certain truth.  The problem with the statement is not that it exists, but that it is direct at the Anarchists, instead of Government and the State.

Naturally, the Anarchist must respond and usually does with some variation upon, “We are not for the freedom to kill, rape or pillage.  We are for all freedom that does not trample upon the freedom of others, such as rape or murder which are intrinsically coercive.”  We have, therefore, arrived at a limit.  Absolute Freedom has been tempered to become something akin to freedom from Absolute Freedom which would allow rape, murder and death.  We contradict ourselves.  On the one hand we demand freedom and demand it totally, damning statists of all extremes, from outright Fascist to Minarchists who propose the ‘smallest possible state’.  Our response is unanimous.  We reply, ‘No, we reject your right to rule over me and your status quo.  Your state may very well be less evil, but it is still evil.  We cannot accept it.’  We impose a limit upon what actions a person may rightfully undertake and what they may not, whereas a statist will not impose that limit.

Even statists who ardently impose into the state a Constitution in the hopes of restricting the actions of that snarling, furious, destructive beast that is Government, fail to impose limits.  Instead they tolerate injustice, permitting the state to rob, kill and rape as necessary for its survival and the protection of the masses.  The only real restriction placed on the state is that it must continue the theatrics which provide an air of ‘legality’ to its actions.

So what are Anarchists for?  We demand Absolute Freedom and simultaneously impose limits that allow us to make a judgement call, allow us to discern injustice from justice and to slay the last sacred cow by refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the State and the Government it enables.  It is a dualism.  ‘Total freedom must be afforded to everyone, but no one can be afforded total freedom.’

It might be worth pointing out that when we call for ‘Absolute Freedom’, we are simply making a rhetorical statement, designed to garnish as much support for our ideas as possible.  However, this not only implies that we do not mean what we say, but is impossible.  Point me out an Anarchist who, in the very bottom of his or her stomach, does not want to be totally free from the state and its effects upon his life and I’ll point you out a fraud.  So we arrive at a paradox by simultaneously demanding Absolute Freedom while rejecting it on the basis that life has value, that it is wrong to murder and that when all is said and done, the crimes that would be allowed with Absolute Freedom are, in fact, what we wish to be free from.

Is it not the freedom of Government to inflict crimes upon us our communities that we wish to extricate ourselves from and which form the foundation for mutuality, reciprocity and even basic solidarity?  The freedom’s afforded to Government and its allies are of a greater priority, scope and strength than the freedom’s attributed to the people.  The people are afforded a degree of freedom, enough to keep them happy and content.  But even these are being eroded over time, as it is becoming the case in the eyes of statists everywhere that an individual does not have the capacity to decide how to treat his own body.

Legal Positivism is what justifies injustice and allows a Government to impose its will upon its people.  There is no limit that can restrict the actions, force through the barrel of the gun is used to impose the Government’s wish in the modern democratic state and we must all obey or be broken.  A Constitution then becomes nothing but a piece of paper, mere words, that illustrate how this process is to come about.  Checks and Balances do nothing to prevent a Government from committing acts of robbery, theft, murder and creating privilege where none should exist because these are intrinsic to the institutions functions.  The Constitution becomes not a limit upon the powers of the state, but, if anything, a guide by which evil is to be done to give it the appearance of fairness and legality.

So then, what can be said of the Anarchist position and the demand for freedom?  The Anarchist demands Freedom, with limits.  We demand what can be described as ‘Moderation.’  We do not seek Absolute Freedom, the kind afforded Government by the state and to Nihilists intent on the negation of everything that isn’t themselves.  Instead, we seek limits and the consistent application of those limits upon all, equally.  The limits we seek to enforce are those that give us the type of Freedom we demand, the Freedom to do as we wish with ourselves, our bodies and the fruits of our labour, except where that Freedom would violate the Freedom of another or another’s Freedom conflicts with our own.  We then rule out murder and other actual crimes as unjustifiable under any circumstance as interferences upon our own Freedom, reaffirm that there is value in life and simultaneously deny the legitimacy of the type of Freedom normally afforded to the State and Government as a body of theory and practice that actively engage in robbery, murder and other forms of coercion on a daily basis as a fundamental aspect of its operation.

The criticism normally levied again Anarchism, that it would result in ‘Everybody killing or raping each other,’ cannot be applied to Anarchism, because Anarchism in itself is a reaction against this.  Instead, it is a far greater criticism of the modern state, one which affords Absolute Freedom to a few, fallible, individuals and entrusts them with the care for the fate of all others.  This has resulted in an absurd world where people kill and rob one another on a daily basis, without pause or thought to their actions simply because it is given the veneer of legality.

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