“Filled with college students in suits, turtle necks and bowties”

1 05 2011

There are a lot of responses to Anarcho-Capitalism around the place, but very few hit all the right notes.

While the ideology itself is generally considered a footnote in wider Anarchist theory, it is not going to go away just because it has been ignored or marginalised.  Even where critical analysis exists, it is often sensationalist and doesn’t strike a death blow.  But with increasing numbers of former Anarcho-Capitalists reflecting on the theory and drifting Leftward over time, the critical response has become far more precise and far more threatening.

Though this is not intended to stand as a comprehensive, or even substantial, critical analysis of the ideology, it is hoped that providing more information will lead to better attempts.  For the record, Brainpolice, who blogs at Polycentric Order, has offered a scathing critical analysis of the behaviour and culture among Anarcho-Capitalists.  It is an experience that I share.

I don’t see a problem with going on a polemical, personally motivated critique and psychologizing[sic] of the culture that surrounds ancap. When obvious aristocrats are at the helm of its major institutions and when its major intellectuals all have ties to wishy washy neo-liberal public policy organizations, I think this is worth pointing out. Sure, one can bringing up the youth who subscribe to it that represent its more populist face, but it really seems like the most charitable thing to say is that such people are being manipulated by aristocrats – when they aren’t the children of aristocrats or virtual aristocrats themselves. I also have too much personal experience to avoid noting the degree to which ancap is a magnet for near-sociopathic personalities, but [I] don’t want to go on that tangent.

I’ve recently gotten familiar with the Australian libertarian and ancap scene, and it provides lots of fodder for the thesis about the younger generation of ancaps really are dominantly spoiled, rich college students who can’t see past their own privilege and pretty much are pawns for generally neo-liberal organizations. That pretty much defines the Melbourne libertarian scene, and the ancaps are virtually indistinguishable from the minarchists in practise. It’s alarmingly filled with college students in suits, turtle necks and bowties[sic] giving lectures at university and going to expensive cocktail parties to gossip, with numerous inheritors of legacy wealth with connections to actual governmental organizations being popular figures. Some of these people are virtually conservative career politicians in training (see David Nolan and Tim Andrews).

I don’t think stuff like this is irrelevant at all. Ideologies do have a connection to the social context surrounding the people who invent and subscribe to them. Libertarian ideology all to often does function as a justification for people’s already existing social positions and personalities. Ancap debate with other groups all too often does devolve into what is blatantly a highly personal defensive lashing out by an individual in which they feel that what they own (or their power in general) is threatened, and in which their idiosyncratic immoralities can be justified ideologically. This is all too telling to ignore. The truth of an ideology really can’t be completely disconnected from its use when we are dealing with rationalizations. We aren’t always dealing with an innocent truth claim, we’re dealing with positions handpicked[sic] to rationalize[sic] deeper, unanalyzed beliefs and behavioral[sic] patterns.

The “arguments” too often are underpinned by implicit premises that can’t be justified and are connected to the person’s desires. This includes the (often unargued for) belief in their own legitimacy and oppression in a certain social context. The ideology can’t be properly addressed without this being looked at. That legitmacy[sic] and claim to oppression can end up falling apart when seriously analyzed[sic]. There are too many false victimhood mentalities and dubious feelings of entitlement going around to ignore. It’s a little too convenient to present your personal prejudices in the form of an argument construeing[sic] it as a law of nature or economics or the one true ethical code or whatever. If one really wants to talk about appeals to emotion, you’ll find one underlying many ancap arguments.

Understanding the ideology is not entirely difficult.  It begins by asserting that the Self is property and then asserts property as an extension of this fact.  As a result, all actions against property are a direct action against the Self.  From this, a series of axiomatic principles are extrapolated, such as the Non-Aggression Principle, Property as a Natural Right, Property as an Absolute.

The next step is to appeal to policy, where that policy is usually a particular strain of economics or, in the case of the so-labelled “social issues”, usually all the standard conservative talking points that reaffirm the prejudice and privilege of the adherent.  Mention that property, as constructed under Anarcho-Capitalism, works to legitimise and protect a racist in their discriminatory action against a particular minority, and the response is usually an accusation of “Marxism”, “political correctness” and a statement that, “who cares!?!” because “the market will sort it out”.  The fact that issues such as racism or, say, discrimination based on sexuality threaten the lives and well-being of millions of people around the planet, daily, is ignored entirely.  But if the government declares a tax hike on the rich, well the shit has really hit the fan.

Analysis of an issue or problem, from an Anarcho-Capitalist perspective, becomes little more than a repetitive, almost robotic, application of the Non-Aggression Principle and Absolute property rights to a set of facts in order to derive a conclusion on what makes for good economic efficiency.  It is a tried and true formula.

But then the biggest challenge to the wider Anarcho-Capitalist framework comes in that it relies, almost entirely, on appeals to the universalism of Natural Law on account of the basis assertion that the Self is something which can be considered property.  Something that can be owned and with ownership comes the right of use and abuse — and anyone that knows anything about property is generally well aware that property can be traded, transferred or given away.  This is called ‘alienation‘ — the right to give something away or sell it.

So if the idea of a person selling themselves into slavery does not appeal to you, then the idea of “Self-Ownership” is nothing more than an abstract metaphor for some basic sense of Individual Autonomy or the Self as independent, free and un-governed.


“Self-Ownership” is phrased in terms of property for a reason.  Entirely decoupled from property, the axiomatic principles extrapolated from this concept fall down.  They simply become assertions and are not connected to some greater, higher, universal Natural Law.  They are constructed by of the various thinkers associated with Anarcho-Capitalism.

While the “Non-Aggression Principle” may be a great principle and can find its theoretical and practical support elsewhere, others which derive their existence directly from Self-Ownership, do not.  Property then, is not a Natural Right, but a social construct and the rights, obligations and basis on which property operates, can be questioned, reformulated and reapplied or rejected where problems arise.  At this point, the point of application, Brainpolice’s critical analysis applies and we are forced to deal with people who’s only response to a serious attack on their system is blind faith.  “The market will take care of it!” and if this doesn’t work, you can always look to the linguistic lingo and peculiar use of language to confuse the situation a little more.

Anarcho-Capitalism is simplistic in theory and application.  With time, there is a notable tendency of Anarcho-Capitalists to drift Left.  If nothing else can be taken from this, the biggest question will still remain:


Drifting left with every step

25 04 2011

An essay has appeared by a self-described Libertarian offering some constructive criticism of “Libertarianism” as a movement.  It seems the message that Anarcho-Capitalism/Paleo-Libertarianism/Right-Libertarian and similar offshoots exist largely to defend the interests of the privileged is getting through.  Although the author does not go to such an extreme, the issues highlighted lay out a signficant part of the reason why I repudiate my past association with Anarcho-Capitalism and the broader American “Libertarianism” without excuse.  As far as I am concerned, I was wrong and naive.

I just spent a couple days at a libertarian conference. It is an experience that I find increasingly dismaying and disappointing because there has been a clear rightward shift in the libertarian movement toward some clearly anti-libertarian viewpoints, if not toward some pure nonsense from the fringe right. It is as if no libertarian today can critique the Federal Reserve without appealing to the pseudo-history conspiracy theories of G. Edward Griffin of the John Birch Society.

But what is interesting is listening to libertarians dismiss issues that are important to people who aren’t like them. Let us be truthful: the typical libertarian, and certainly the typical attendee at this conference, is a middle-aged, white, straight male. And they seem utterly incapable of seeing freedom through the lenses of anyone who isn’t the same.

Mention equal marriage rights for gay people and they simply dismiss it as unimportant. If they aren’t actively opposed—and some were—they see it as inconsequential. If you talk about guns they often are interested since so many of them own firearms. If you talk about pornography they are interested. But when it comes to the barriers to immigration they don’t give a damn since they aren’t immigrants. They hate tax laws but then they pay taxes.

Unfortunately for the author, rejecting “Me libertarianism” also leads to questioning other dogmas that get passed around with the Libertarian doctrine, and if a person follows their anti-authoritarian instincts, they are likely to find themselves heading further Left then they ever imagined.

My current heading

8 09 2009

Totality, self-sacrifice and demand that the individual conform to the stereotype associated with the arbitrary concept of the nation has been, and will remain the rallying call of politicians who wield the power granted to them by the state.  They seek a freedom to remake society in their vision, one which respects no individual and one which is to be obtained upon theft, murder and a illusion of dependency.  This is the state and this is what I oppose.

The words of Mussolini are the words of the authoritarian and sum up, in their entirety, the philosophy that surrounds the state and all authoritarian ideologies;

Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal, will of man as a historic entity. It is opposed to classical liberalism which arose as a reaction to absolutism and exhausted its historical function when the State became the expression of the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts[sic]

The rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual. And if liberty is to he the attribute of living men and not of abstract dummies invented by individualistic liberalism, then Fascism stands for liberty, and for the only liberty worth having, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. The Fascist conception of the State is all embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism, is totalitarian, and the Fascist State a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values – interprets, develops, and potentates the whole life of a people.

No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State. Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State.”

In the words of Mussolini himself, the state demands the power, the freedom to coerce which manifests itself in such actions as murder and theft.  They demand total obedience, total subjugation and total unity.  My Anarchism, is a reaction against this, against the absurdity of the modern state in its desire to achieve totality, where value is recognised but then denied as the modern state pursues its utopia.

The state envisions a formation of society where each of us diligently obeys the law as made by parliament, where there is no crime as a result of our diligence, no aggression and where we each accept our place in our society.  It is the dream of the statist to remake society under their particular vision, and for this reason every so often groups and organisations get together in an attempt to take control of the power granted by the state; to become a government.  They wish to play God and the pillars of the state provide these people with a platform from where they can propel their particular vision onto the rest of society.  If they win, them and their strongest supporters are awarded with privilege, while the holy land promised to the rest of us as a trade off is always just out of sight.  More hospitals, safer streets, better healthcare, lower taxes, a cleaner environment, greener economy — it never arrives and instead we are greeted with further problems.

Absolutes are the domain of the statist, and the pursuit of them, their domain which defines the statist and sets them apart.  Their authority, once they attain it, is unquestionable — divine.  The institution that grants them their authority is the will of the people and we are told that our will which supports their authority has only one choice and that one choice is never to be question.  But it is never our will that puts these others into office.  We are never consulted.  We are given a form that may or may not influence the outcome in order to placate us.  The vision of the statist is equally set in stone, entirely because they are correct.  They have power; they must be right.  They are the way, the truth and the light.

Nationalism, statism, corporatism, hierarchy, wage, war and welfare slavery all produce the most devastating results upon each of us, every day.  This is because they are used to justify the very existence of the state, its supporters and the utopian vision that drives them.  We tell ourselves fibs and tall tales to convince ourselves that this man or group of men shall bring the moon to the earth and give us that utopia that we are promised.  But it never happens.  These people seek to create this utopian world through destruction, as their concepts recognise, fundamentally, no value in human life because they can’t.  The state bombs and maims, the state creates dependencies where none has to be, the state robs and plunders and the state pollutes.  We exist to assist, and to sacrifice ourselves if necessary.  We are a cog in the machine, a means to an end that are only valuable so long as we are supporting their vision.  Any ideology that ceases to recognise value in human life can no longer justify itself.  This is what we know from thousands of years of experimentation.  This is what we know to be nihilism.

How then, must we oppose this state of affairs?  Revolution and rebellion provide us with the avenue for change; to recognise that the status quo is not static, but subject to change just as society is fluid and dynamic.  The pursuit of power, of rulership, cannot be justified because it refuses to acknowledge value in human existence.  Legislation may outlaw murder, but murder itself is not evil when employed in the service of the state, when it is organised, legalised and projected in the service of the state under the term we know as ‘war’.  However, if we are to assert that there is value in human life then the freedom to murder claimed by the state cannot exist.  There is a limit; murder is impossible.  If an individual, conscious that value exists, commits murder, they must in turn accept that their own lives are forfeit.  To refuse the sacrifice is to asser that the murders actions were justified, that they should be free to murder.  It asserts that there is no value in life.  An Anarchist revolution cannot be based on the premise that murder — aggression — is justifiable or we make a transition from rebellious revolutionary, to the oppressor — the very thing we are attempting to resist.  Of course there is self-defence, but even self defence is proportionate to the level of aggression we are confronted with or we in turn become murders and are guilty of aggression; we do not respond to a harmless drunk throwing punches by shooting him dead with a shotgun.  Likewise, in the context of revolutionary action, the state is in a constant state of aggression against its people in one manner or another — the different schools of Anarchism recognise different elements off this aggression and expound its effects among society.

Logically, it may be said that the existence of this aggression may justify an Anarchist to self defence, but it does not justify any action as it is subject to the principle of proportionality as well as other considerations which must be taken into account.  If a government by an act of state declares war on a area populated with Anarchist communities; they have every right to resist.  If a government declares war on Anarchists within its cities such as what has occurred in Athens, it is reasonable that they have a right to resist.  And in the past they have.  But what about the mundane, daily operations of government and state that, though undoubtedly work to coerce each and every one of us in our own lives?  This is aggression and wouldn’t it justify violence?

Assuming for a moment that such a problem is not subject to tactical necessity, a violent uprising, tilts upon the edge of the nihilism as it rests upon its own aggression to ‘push back’ against that which occurs in every day lives.  People are fallible, introducing an element of violence to seek change is no different to trusting a small group of fallible people with managing the affairs and achieving a utopian vision for all the other equally fallible people — absurd.  Violent revolutionary action in response to nothing more than the daily aggression we experience from the state cannot be a workable option for change and is the same motivation that lead the early Anarchists to terrorism.  Violence, inevitably invalidates everything the revolution stands to protect, it is forced to negate its core principles in order to successfully achieves its goals.  Whereas violence in response to a positive act by the government of the day may be just, violence in response to the everyday aggression can not be legitimatised as an equilibrium is upset and means are subjugated to ends in a utilitarian measure that will work to ensure a final victory.  But then given the nature of time and society, ends are not absolutes in themselves; there will always been new, unforeseen agitations that arise after a revolution simply because we can not know what world will be created once a revolution has run its course.  Violence will in turn be employed against these agitations because it is convenient and we will spiral into ever increasing amounts of violence.  We have slipped and fallen well beyond the point where violence is employed in self defence to where violence as a means for change that recognises no value.  Violent revolutions therefore sacrifice everything for expediency on nothing but faith.  We would take up the nihilism of our masters, inevitably becoming what we despise.

Then we approach a second consideration that must be made and while it is considerably weaker, it is still relevant.  This considerations concerns whether those who constitute the ranks of the political class are all guilty of the same crime.  True enough, they are all equally evil for parasitically profiting from the systematic violence and coercion permitted by the state at the expense of everyone who is productive in society, but many oppressors are simply going through the motions of a life they were prepared for by centuries of tradition.  Intent must play a role.  The crime of many statists is being born into a methodology that does not recognise the liberty to be found in value.  Not every statist in the world is a Cheney or Rumsfield who sought to bring death to thousands of people outside America’s borders and even, some may argue, domestically.  Many, I would assert, are like Obama, whose own actions betray a certain level hypocrisy, who set out with the best intentions and instead arrive at the gates of hell.  All too often it is in their official capacity that these people are criminal — even those who outright lobby for government issued subsidies to their industries are guilty.  As a person, they are empathetic, have concerns that probably mirror those of most people and who recycle.  Yet this does not alleviate the fact that Obama is a politician, seeks out rulership over others and will inevitably commit atrocities in his time as president, as all those at the helm of the state do.  But doesn’t the difference between motive and intent renders his crimes distinct from those of Cheney and Rumsfield?

Then there is the question about reformism; if murder cannot be justified and so violent revolution therefore off the table, then what about the prospects for the overtaking of the government by a party seeking to destroy the state from the inside? Figures that advocated this approach come to immediately, particularly Marx.  Marx rightly spoke out with ferocity against privilege and reminded elites that their privilege was not divine yet his proposition of revolution failed because it relied on faith and the state.  As it is impossible to know what will eventuate after a revolution runs its course, Marxism had nothing left but to take a leap of faith and incorporated the belief that government will merely disappear when a classless society has been achieved.  Government and the state, then became a tool to wrestle from the hands of the upper class and instead be employed towards the interests of the working class.  It is authoritarian in concept and recognises no value as the oppression that arrives with the state is then employed against the enemies of the revolution and so the whole venture hinges upon the existence of the state.  The Libertarian Party of America comes to mind as another group that has hinged on the same belief and while it is philosophically dissimilar to Marxism, advocates of either share the goal to reform away the state.  Legislation is supposedly to defeat legislation.  Again, a third philosophy whose proponents are often attracted to such thinking are the Anarcho-Capitalists which a strange overlap for two philosophies whose proponents loathe each other.  Rothbard, after all, did call for a militant party to take over the government and bring about the change desired. But nevertheless, the whole strategy falls prey to the inevitable fact that the state is of such bureaucratic girth that by the time one law has been fought against or introduced to limit the state, a number of others which strengthen the institution of the state have already been enacted.  And then, the whole attempt is at risk of falling prey to the same faults as revolution characterised by violence; if it is successful, then no doubt, momentum will be coopted by the individual in control of the party and, by extension, the government who then use the coercive power of the state to crush their opposition, solidify their position and justify it all in the name of change that never arrives.

The state exists to give a government power founded upon violence, in turn used to make and mould society to their vision, benefiting their friends and leaving the rest at a disadvantage.  Yet the perfect society they seek is an impossible ends.  The result is nothing short of absurd and we are left with no other option but to rebel.  However, our options are limited; we do not wish to become our masters who are reprehensible to us because of their lust for power and their profit at our expense.  Therefore the strategy of revolution as attempted in the past can no longer be accepted.  We cannot condone coercive violence to achieve our aims and neither can we tolerate reformism which wastes our time and resources.  Our only option is then the process of building our society within the shell of the old, an aged Anarchist concept that has sat, quietly, in the background while pragmatic violence and mundane reformism fall in an out of favour.  Such a concept is motivated, primarily, by creation.  The creation of infrastructure nurtures us and wrests control away from the state without violence, but through the simple act of existence.  We go about our daily lives, we trade, we organise according to our politics and understanding of the world and each day we live, we deprive the state of support and income because we show ourselves, our neighbours and the world that we can do it ourselves.  This infrastructure exists as everything from practices such as tax dodging and producing goods in a direct violation of every regulatory scheme invented, to community gardens, trade unions and antifa actions.  They serve purposes of each providing goods or services from security to repair work.  Each betters the world, but more importantly, they all in some way better our own lives.  After all, it is inevitable that any subsequent change, any revolution that topples the state and allows each of us to live out our lives free from another’s freedom to rob and murder us, will fail to do away with injustice.  Children will still be abused, people will still murder and thieve and we will still grapple with the questions on how to protect against these infringements upon our lives, even if overall injustice is reduced.  But the goal of seeking a just world, free of these evils, free of the inherent oppression that comes with the state and the inherent authoritarianism in such things as racism, nationalism and corporatism is what defines us as Anarchists.

We may not succeed, any alternative infrastructure we create may fail to drive support away from the state and authoritarian groups bent on obtaining power from themselves, but in our attempts we create lasting benefits in our communities.  We create a network founded upon mutuality and reciprocity, a counter-economy which provides a safety net, something which we and our friends can rely upon.  By doing so, we reject the freedom of the political class to kill and thieve and we recognise value in the world.  We cement the values of individualism and the passion for life that comes with existence in spite of the attempts by statist to impose themselves and their utopian visions upon us.  We laugh, we learn, we love and we rebel, for we are not them and should not permit ourselves to become the oppressors.  We do not seek absolutes, but we seek moderation, an equilibrium where each individual self is respected without molestation.  We are Anarchists.

Drawing Lines in the Sand?

22 05 2009

I realise that I haven’t been posting much lately, but I’m looking to change that over the next few weeks.  So to kick it off I thought I’d respond to waves my by Soviet Onion on the Alliance of the Libertarian Left forums regarding a essay by Keith Preston.

So where to begin.

In his essay Preston lists of his Anarchist CV to establish that he is anti-state, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-facist, not anti-semitic and a whole other list of other anti-somethings which culminates on arguing about immigration and, ‘pro-immigration propaganda.’ After citing some statistics concerning themselves with Americans and their views regarding immigration, we get down to the point;

“So it seems that we have the interesting spectacle of anarchists aligning themselves with the political class against “the people” when it comes to immigration. It is not that “the people” are overcome with xenophobia and racist “hate.””

Now I am one of those Anarchists who have, in the past, defended illegal migration as a natural act that should not suffer restriction.  Despite the statistics, Preston’s generalisation is sweeping and I am apparently an Anarchist who aligns themselves with the political class against ‘the people’.  After questioning whether these people are ‘true’ Anarchists, the illegal immigrant bashing begins;

“In a purely legal sense, I don’t think illegal immigrants should be dealt with any more harshly than ordinary trespassers, shoplifters, traffic offenders, or vagrants camped out on someone else’s property…

Yet the propaganda of pro-immigration leftists-anarchists-libertarians would have us all believe that opening the borders to any terrorist, criminal or welfare colonist who wants to jump a fence somewhere would be just fine. Why bother screening for communicable diseases immigrants from countries where public health standards are just about zero? What’s the big deal about tuberculosis, anyway? Why not allow a few hundred million Asian, African, Latin American or Eastern European immigrants to come on over and sign up for public assistance? Why not allow foreign states to empty their prisons of violent criminals and send them to America as Fidel Castro did during the boatlift of 1980? If al-Qaeda wants to open a branch office on Main Street, USA, then who are the rest of us to say otherwise?”

Which then, amazingly, transfers itself into an attack on homosexuals, beginning with;

“So what of the homosexuals?”

Emphasis added.  And it should be noted that once again I’ve cut out the part where Preston details his history of experiences with homosexuals, for the sake of brevity.

“…The source of the hostility seems to come down to two things: My advocacy of political decentralization ordered on the principal of individual liberty, freedom of association, private property and community sovereignty, and my advocacy of political alliances against statism, state-capitalism, and imperialism that transcend cultural boundaries and divisive social issues and, yes, alliances that might sometimes include people who disagree with homosexuality for religious, cultural, moral or philosophical reasons.”

Which all sounds hunky-dory, until, after expanding on his views of homo-totalitarianism we get to the point;

“This hypersensitivity to criticisms of homosexuality found in many anarchist and libertarian circles helps, I think, to explain the otherwise inexplicable “anti-racism” hysteria and enthusiasm for the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism, not to mention the most ridiculous renditions of feminism, found among these people, virtually all of whom are white, overwhelmingly male, and mostly from middle class backgrounds. Anti-racism, anti-xenophobia and feminazism are simply surrogates for homosexualism. The wider “gay rights” movement has gone out of its way to attach itself to the legacy of the black civil rights movement. They do this because they know that most Americans recognize the treatment given to black Americans prior to civil rights was unfair, and thereby proclaim themselves to be a comparable victim group.”

And then he goes on;

“Therefore, they promote the most extreme and lunatical forms of “anti-racism” and immigrationism, and loudly proclaim any kind differentiation of persons or groups along racial, ethnic, national or gender lines to be the ultimate in human evil, no matter what its purpose, and then subsequently proclaim themselves to the equivalent of an oppressed ethnic group deserving similar favoritism. Apparently, their rallying cry is to paraphrase Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of sodomy is no vice.”

And back to racism;

“…the origins of racism are no mystery. Conflict of this type has existed as long as there have been human beings. The mystery is those rare instances where peace between races has been achieved.”

And back to homosexuality;

“To my enemies, I would respond by citing the immortal words of Jim Goad:

It isn’t what you do, it’s the way you do it. Not the meat, but rather the motion. It’s not what you’re saying, it’s your lousy voice. It isn’t your private cock-slurping, it’s your public megaphone-mouth. It ain’t how you move beneath the sheets, it’s the way you wave the picket signs around. The problem isn’t your self-consciously “decadent” personal lifestyle, it’s your warped social instincts…”

The solution?;

“As for the rest of us in the anarchist milieu, I say it’s time for a purge, if not an outright pogrom.

Do we really attract more people into our ranks by having so many self-hating whites, bearded ladies, cock-ringed queers, or persons of one or another surgically altered “gender identity” in our midst? Is this really something the average rebellious young person wants to be associated with? Could we not actually attract more young rebels into our ranks if all of this stuff was absent?

Does the average young rebel really want to join an “anarchist” movement that is only going to tell him what a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic sinner he is?”

Okay, so you get the general idea, but also throw in a couple of plugs for National Anarchism and there you go.  If you would like to read the rest, you only need to follow the link provided above.  Needless to say that the response to the post by Preston has been overwhelming negative.  For your enjoyment, first on our list is the post made by Mike Gogulski;

“The anarchist tent may, indeed, need to be bigger in order to achieve strategic goals. But here I see one arguing for a big-tent strategy giddily pushing marginalized groups out of the tent and encouraging others to do the same.

Not only is this a contradiction of the big-tent strategy itself, but it also pushes away all those who sympathize with those marginalized, traditionally hated out-groups. I, for one, am not going to be found standing up for the rights of bigoted assholes to be bigoted assholes, let alone lending them whatever credibility might attach in a given reader’s mind to finding such linked to at my own website.

And so today Keith disappears from my blogroll, and good riddance. For the moment he remains in my RSS reader, since I recognize that there is a fine mind at work in Keith, and one often worth reading, despite what I view as a clear deficit of empathy.

Without substantial work at repentance, Keith will not be welcome at my table, nor in my tent.”

Succinctly, Mike has vocalised my view of Preston’s position as well as the view of Kevin Carson which contained this Post Script, providing context to the original essay;

“Since writing the above, it occurred to me (as Mike Gogulski put it) what a deficit of empathy is reflected in Keith’s reactions. As an outsider to the conflict, I still feel very strongly that Keith’s increasingly demeaning and strident homophobic language is a personal overreaction based on his resentment at being purged from Aster’s Salon Liberty. It’s odd, therefore, that he fails to admit the possibility that what he regards as “hyper-sensitivity” or “victim culture” among racial and sexual minorities might reflect their own subjective response to what they have experienced as a lifetime of exclusion.

In any case, this post may (or may not) evoke some reaction in the blogosphere and in my own comment thread. I doubt I’ll participate much in the debate, either way. I’ve said what I have to say on the subject. As I’ve already stated, I try to stay out of debates on cultural issues because I’ve got a limited amount of time and energy for writing about the stuff I feel personally engaged with, and dealing with personal drama or emotionalized issues sucks the life out of me.”

It’s also a good idea to read the comment section of Kevin Carson’s post.  Funnily enough, Stephen Kinsella, ‘doesn’t get it’;

“Kevin, no disrespect, but a few of us on a list are discussing this, and none of us are quite sure what either you or Preston are trying to say. It sounds like a bizarre leftist soap opera on acid.”

So where do I stand?  Well, as a person who has had no dealings with Preston, I cannot say I have the same attachment as someone like Carson.  I have a great distaste for National Anarchists and their tactics, partly due to the writings of Andy and partly due to my own nosing around the corners of the web frequented by National Anarchists.  Clearly, Preston has achieved fame among some for writings on various subjects.  However, I believe my destiny lies under the same stars sought by Mike Gogulski.

As Shawn Wilbur of LibertarianLabyrinth noted on the ALL forums;

“Probably too much “some of my best friends are…,” that turns into “…unnatural freaks who ought to be purged before they give us bad press.” Not a word about why someone might consider “national anarchism” a worry. Oh, and “racism” scare-quoted. Sheesh. Personally, I’m not making any broad coalitions with Keith, or his NA pals. I believe in separatism, to the extent that I don’t have any interest in putting people with “irreconcilable differences” in, say, camps. But my political ambitions all aim at a better world than that.”

I think though, what needs to be remembered, is that no matter what happens, Preston wins.  Even if many disassociate themselves with him, or even outright condemn him, the conservative, orthodox bigot in others will inevitably lead them to follow Preston.  In fact, his ‘hardline’, confrontational approach in the essay linked to and periodically quoted above, will win him followers who will view him as their champion.  I’m not so foolish as to make the assertion, or even insinuate, that this was some great design worked within Preston’s essay.  It is merely an inevitable result of what is written as it is not a piece that will further Anarchist reasoning, but one that will polarise.

On a finishing note, I will re-publish the body of the letter posted to the ALL forums by Soviet Onion.  It’s an eloquent, passionate piece that is well worth the read.

“Proponents of feminism, LGBT rights, and sexual freedom and other filthy deviations from normality must be purged for the sake of the cause. Those serious about the revolution must drop their liberal scruples and be prepared to shoot these infantile deviationist freaks.”

Am I the only one who find’s Keith’s obsessions with graphic depictions of stereotypical gay male sex a little too much, in a Ted Haggard kind of way?

I’m very tired of this war. Everything written in the last two weeks has shown me that the vast majority left-libertarian community is willing to treat me as a human being. I would like nothing more at this point than to put away the armour, stop these unproductive flame wars, and dedicate my time to constructive writing in a community whose ideals and interests I share. But I can’t so that if that community won’t uphold standards against those who will treat me as untermenschen, who refuse the simple decency of allowing me my own name and identity and judging me by something more important than the way I was born.

Preston will never do that. Preston will never give up trying to entryist into left-libertarianism unless major voices in the movement step up and declare that, at the very least, sexists and homophobes will have to find other places to write and other people with whom to work with.

I want to write as I truly believe. My deepest fear, and the deepest experience which have taught me that ethics are suicidal in this world, has been that the only way I will ever by permitted to develop my talents are if I do under the name and authority of causes whose methods are indisputably unjust. I’ve had two wonderful statist-liberal people adopt me into their family, and a wonderful statist-liberal country give me a home I can call my own. I’ve had left-anarchists who sneer at libertarians and individuals treat me according to human expectations which libertarians have repeated flouted in display of the very essence of their ‘liberty’ Together they’ve collectively made me feel things which I didn’t know existed, made ideas like ‘love’, ‘family’, and ‘community’ mean something other to me than slogans for patriarchal abusers.

I confess that I am severely tempted to betray every libertarian principle and walk back into respectability. I swear by my goddess I would not do that just for the prestige and the money. But if there exists no radically individualist community on Earth where I can feel secure in the expectation of basic humane treatment, then I feel as if I have no other choices other than to give up on the life of the mind, or sell my mind to the liberal establishment. I wouldn’t blame any of you for hating me for doing the latter. But please- any of you- ask if you could lend your life to an idealism and promises of a better world could not grant you the happiness is given by an existing unjust world around you?

I feel within a hair’s breadth of a moral apocalypse in which my choices are to cooperate with those who would censor speech, or daily face words which hurt enough to make me want to kill and die.

Please, I implore you, make it final and clear that left-libertarianism will defend their own against national anarchists and other bigotries. I understand if you don’t feel motivated to do it for me, given my own compromises and bloody hands. But do it for Marja, for Soviet, for *Chris Sciabarra*, for everyone whom Preston wants to convince left-libertarianism to sell down the river.

You tell me you believe in virtue. I can see no sanity in an ethic not grounded in indiviudal happiness, but I do want to spiritually grow up, learn responsibility, and get beyond vulgar selfishness. But I can’t fight this. No queer person can fight the rhetoric Preston uses without being dismissed as a specially interested pervert. All I ask is that left-libertarian radicals do as good as can the corrupt institutional left. All I ask is that a politics which calls itself ‘left’ hold to the standards which define what is worthwhile within it. None of you could fight for a cause which the best part of you believes if you knew that the price would be ceaseless infliction of absolutely unmerited pain.

And as a sex worker: please, we have done good things for noble causes before. Roderick, I’m sure, knows the history. We’re not all, or not only, merely callous climbers. Respect the old alliances, and we just might create a world worth living in.

love and strife,

Jeanine Shiris Ring”