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Part VI - Summary (Ruth Kinna) Quick Summary from RK

by   Ruth Kinna


Acknowledgements !

introduction 1

Chapter One:

         What is Anarchism? 6
         Anarchy: Origins of the word: 21
         Anarchist Thought: Key personalities: 37
         Anarchist Thought: Schools of Anarchism: 48
         Anarchist Thought: History: 92

         End of chapter one: 133
         Summary: 133

         Conclusion: 134 (Lone Cypress Workshop
         Summary Conclusion: 148 (Lone Cypress Workshop)

Anarchist Thought:   Summary and End of Chapter One

(RK) This chapter has examined three different approaches to the analysis of anarchist ideas, the first focusing on core concepts abstracted from the writings of ‘classical’ anarchists, the second based on the division of anarchists into schools and the third examining the history of anarchist ideas. Through these analyses I have argued that anarchism should be considered as an ideology defined by the rejection of the state.

This core idea should not be treated in the abstract, but as a principle, first articulated in the course of a particular historical debate between socialists, that can be filled in a variety of different ways. The next chapter considers in more detail some of the ways in which anarchists have conceptualized their rejection of the state and the ideas of freedom that they have drawn from their critiques.

(LCW) I am more than willing to accept the idea of the ‘rejection of state’ even though there seems to be more than enough information to make a reasoned argument that it was not the state, per se, that was in contention, but the manifestations made by the state that impacted the ability of the individual (anarchist) to direct their own paradigm, with the state being oppressive in the manner in which it governed individuals. It seems obvious that many of the originalists in the anarchy development would be more than willing to tolerate some necessary form of state or government if it were minimal and without the power to arbitrarily enact and demand obedience and compliance with restrictive and illegitimate pseudo-mandates.

I find that position to be much more reasonable than a complete dismemberment of the only structure and authority that exists in socio-political alternatives. I have yet to see something more than a ‘wanting’ to delete the state, with no credible or legitimate argument as to why it is necessary and exactly, in great detail, what that would require from the individual citizens and the ramifications of said actions, and in specific and expansive detail why.

End chapter one

Lone Cypress Workshop: Conclusion - The State

(Lone Cypress workshop) What an intriguing and fascinating journey. Challenging and enjoyable at its best and frustrating, confusing, and disturbing at its worst. Nowhere did I see a competent command of the ideology and by the author's own words, nothing to give a legitimate and comprehensive definition of what anarchy is, in essence, and no structured objectives except, perhaps, some communal distaste for the state, although many of the originalists and traditionalists did not seem to have any particular hate for the concept of state or authority, but rather the current existing paradigm that is, was and presumably will continue to be lacking in the attributes that we all would like to see exemplified by their actions (the state) in the future.

The usurpation and destruction of the current forms of government will in no way fix the problems that the anarchist interprets in the very existence of the state. Rather, they will find, with their own paradigm if it ever becomes prominent, that the same fundamental shortcomings, challenges, and obstacles will resurface at some point and once again have to be dealt with in a reasoned and focused manner, something that no one seems to be prepared to do within the context of the book, or demonstrably within the anarchy paradigm as it exists today.

All of the logistics that are imperative in the undertaking of managing a social environment for ‘all’ the people is something that is a bit more complicated than the overthrow of some arbitrary government that gained prominence through the manipulation and oppression of the populace as did all of the governments before them, often overthrowing some other form of government that was decidedly not what the people had expected or envisioned. There are hundreds if not thousands of minutiae that need to be addressed to create and develop a new form of self-government and I see no hint or mention of the answers to those questions. With no structure, no authority, no hierarchy, and no state I find it impossible to be able to control the desires and expectations of a hundred individuals much less the magnitude of 330 million who now reside in a country such as America.

But having said that, the insight gained from focusing on the concepts presented was in many cases refreshing, seeing the perspective on many of those originalists and traditionalists I mentioned, those mutualists, individualists, capitalists, pacifists, and reasoned thinkers that imagined a paradigm where no revolution was necessary, no manipulation or intimidation or violence of any kind was a prerequisite to forming an ideology and philosophy that truly allowed for the individual to determine their own path into the future, free from oppression and diktats to do those things that ‘they’ alone decided was the right thing to do.

I found these people to be closely aligned with my own investigations over the last 50 years, coming to the conclusion that something reminiscent of that original anarchism, in cooperation with an objectivist perspective and a true capitalist philosophy, with an absolute minimum of authoritative intervention could actually construct and drive a paradigm of strength, peace, voluntary cooperation, and personal responsibility along with personal compassion, empathy, and understanding that benefits the greatest number without the taking advantage of those that for whatever reason have not been able to achieve success in the past. If that is possible, I fail to see where the conflict lies, where the reluctance comes from, and why the resistance exists at all. Without an ability to discuss and debate, within a reasoned and moral sphere, all of these issues, then the vision the anarchist suggests will remain an irrational Utopian fantasy.

I came to this venue to ask questions and to contemplate the genesis of the anarchist mindset. It was not to condemn or to demean the anarchist ideology but to question exactly what that reality encompasses so as to be able to make my own personal decisions and come to what I believe to be reasoned conclusions as to the viability and legitimacy of the ideology and the philosophy. I wanted to do this in the context of when it was first created and developed as well as the contemporary paradigm that we will have to endure if it achieves any degree of credibility and chance of becoming a reality.

I was not particularly impressed with the contemporary perspectives, they seem to have been overpowered by those who really don’t have any practical or productive alternatives. This obsession with collectivism and liberalism is simply misguided and self-destructive. I think it is a dead end, always has been, and will only result in even more frustration and a defeatist feeling of impotence and hopelessness. This will inevitably end up with an environment where violence and oppression will be acceptable because they were unable to come up with a legitimate and ‘workable’ template for success.

The fact is that I was impressed however with the insight and vision of those thinkers who, through philosophical and reasoned thought were able to create and begin the development of an ideology that was markedly unique and innovative for their time. I believe there was a direct intent to fashion an exceptional and extraordinary context where concepts such as freedom and liberty would be something more than simple rhetoric.

If nothing else, I was able to gain some degree of understanding and commonality of intent and expectation. I found many references to the originalists to deeply resonate with my existing thoughts on the concepts covered and I think sharing a number of them may help to create a context within which I can illustrate my solidarity with their thinking.

(RK) ‘. . . decentralized federalism as the principle of anarchist planning . . .’

(LCW) The fact is that decentralized federalism, as defined by the Center for the Study of Federalism says: “Generally, decentralization refers to the transfer of specific types of decision-making or administrative authority from a central or higher-level entity to a subordinate field, regional, and/or local entities.” The point being that it is simply a de-escalation from a higher level of authority or ‘state’, such as federal or national or even state or province to a more local government or authority. It still remains the very thing that the anarchist rejects, a state or authority, without which there can be no decision-making. Consensus is not something that can dictate to a community, since it has no authority or mandate. What happens when a substantial percentage of the community disagrees, and even more importantly when they change their minds due to the failure of the initial intent or expectation? It is a foregone conclusion that there can never be unanimity, for that is an unrealistic and irrational likelihood.

(RK) What do we anarchists believe? ... we believe that human beings can achieve their maximum development and fulfillment as individuals in a community of individuals only when they have free access to the means of life and are equals among equals, we maintain that to achieve a society in which these conditions are possible it is necessary to destroy all that is authoritarian in existing society. (p 06)

(Vernon Richards, Protest Without Illusions)

(LCW) While I agree and admire anyone that wishes ‘human beings’ to achieve their maximum development and fulfillment as individuals within a community of other human beings he immediately falls back on collectivist indoctrination dogma. Yes, everyone deserves ‘free access’ to the means of life for ‘equals among equals’ but there is no explanation or clarification of what that equality depicts. Is that equality of opportunity and choice, or equality among individuals that are obviously and inarguably not equal in any real sense, whether we speak of intelligence, physical ability, education, creativity, ability to reason and so many other uncountable attributes that constitute what we call a ‘human being’? Who defines what is meant by ‘free access’ or the ‘means of life’? I expect there will probably be a vast amount of conflict in the determination of these things.

To speak of ‘destroying’ all that is authoritarian is the epitome of ignorance and is a contradiction of choice, liberty, and freedom in their most fundamental definitions. One man’s freedom is another man’s authority. Everyone is not equal in the ability to understand the differences and distinctions between them, and if you are the only one that has the ‘authority’ to ‘determine’ that, I would suggest the intent of the endeavor fails before it even starts.

(RK) Anarchy was the natural counterpart to equality: it promised an end to social division and civil strife.

(LCW) Who says this? Where is it articulated in some reasoned way? It is nothing more than an arbitrary and thoughtless statement. Where is the logic in this? While I can understand the relationship between equality and no visible means of authority how does this translate into an end to social division and civil strife? With no authority for security and to keep the peace who determines when an individual is transgressing against another? Who concludes how to react and respond to said transgression and to what degree they can act in their own defense or the defense of another? I would suggest that this would cause an ‘increase’ in social division as the disagreements have no reasonable expectation of being arbitrated in any way. There is no authority and no rules so what determines legitimacy? Civil strife would be rampant since no one could rationally or logically dictate what is acceptable and what is not. The most simple concepts of right and wrong would be arbitrary and subjective at every turn.

I am sorry, but without boundaries and some set of rules, there can be no equality, no freedom, and no hope for peace and social harmony. It is completely irrational.

(RK) The Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin famously described the disordered order of anarchy in the revolutionary principle: ‘the passion for destruction is a creative passion, too’.

(LCW) Even if I accept some ‘passion’ for destruction as legitimate, how does one prevent an individual from infringing on another’s freedom and liberty to the point of physical harm or exploitation and certainly intimidation if we accept destruction as a credible form of behaviour? Who bears responsibility when that passion ‘destroys’ another human being or something of value to them? Where is the compassion and intent for ‘all’ people to have autonomy and the freedom to make their own choices and direct their own path into the future? This is a question that demands an answer before speaking of such ridiculous concepts.

(RK) Eltzbacher pinpointed – law, property, political change and statelessness – anarchists were divided.

(LCW) I think it is evident that many anarchists are averse to this irrational expectation of an environment completely devoid of any authority or state whatsoever. The more vocal and aggressive originalists talk of the ‘state’ in absolutist terms, where the state can only be oppressive to the point of society being made up exclusively of ‘slaves’. They call for the complete destruction of the concept with no discussion or debate. This presents itself as dictatorial in its essence and a contradiction to the fundamental concept of anarchism itself, where each individual has autonomy as to thought, word, and deed.

I think it is much more likely that the majority of anarchist thought, while extremely skeptical of the existence of the state, based on historical information, would like to see something quite different. For the most part, I abhor the contemporary state as undeniably corrupt, incompetent, and self-serving when not doing the bidding of the powers that be, all with an interminable lack of character and integrity. They have no intention of doing all the things that they ‘swore’ to do, that they are ‘obligated’ to do, such as attend to the needs of the population as a whole, irrespective of the constituency that voted for them, but most disturbing is the inability or reluctance to defend and uphold the laws and the constitution of the United States, which ironically is the ‘only’ thing that they were mandated to do.

The only logical and rational thing to do is to revisit the concept of state, which of course would be inconsequential without the support and participation of the anarchist and collective segments of society, and re-establish a minimalist state that only directs itself to follow that very specific mandate of security, arbitration, and infrastructure. Anything else should be done by this ‘consensus’ that the anarchist incessantly speaks of, with the state inserting itself into the paradigm when no reasonable resolution can be found, and if the will does not exist, then the action, intent, and expectations will not be made and the result will be inaction and frustration but is that not what the anarchist envision within their own private paradigm?

The bloated bureaucracy has long since passed the point of being a destructive burden to the health and well-being of the system, leaving it vulnerable to abuse and theft on a scale that is truly not sustainable. The ‘state’ should be as small as is humanly possible and involved with only ‘essential’ aspects of society leaving the rest to the abilities and resources of the society at large to determine, define, and resolve.

(RK) . . . Eltzbacher himself admitted that his defining principle – the rejection of the state – was filled with ‘totally different meanings’.

(LCW) The diversity and multiplicity of the various perspectives that exist within the anarchist reality creates a challenging imperative when trying to determine certain aspects of the ideology. This only goes to confirm the fact that within this anarchistic paradigm based primarily on independent and individualistic entities it is going to be more than a little difficult to find unanimity or some semblance of consensus. There are simply too many variables and obstacles to this concept of a stateless society that it is irrational to think that they will all conform to some unsubstantiated claim of viability and legitimacy from a single writer or self-appointed group that speaks for the presumed majority. It is disingenuous at best to make such a claim.

It is not unreasonable to expect large numbers of individuals to question the credibility of the states we see controlling the world’s population, but it is irrational to think that the concept of state is to be specifically blamed for the failures of these countries. Is it not possible that it is the specific leaders and representatives that create this environment of oppression and exploitation? Are there absolutely no other alternatives except revolution and the destruction of existing philosophies? To release individuals from culpability and responsibility is ignorant and incomprehensible. Instead of the substitution of one existing state with something undefined and unproven is the epitome of self-destructive behaviour.

(RK) Individual anarchists will of course continue to centre their anarchism on a range of different concepts – usually more positive than the state’s rejection.

(LCW) The philosophical and intellectual trap that exists here is the proclamation that the destruction of the state is the ultimate objective of anarchism when there is simply no way of confirming this, only the protestations of a very small unrepresentative few that make the claim, albeit extremely vocal and loud. There has been no polling since that would indicate hierarchy and anarchy frowns upon that. There can be no mandate because there is no authority for pretty much the same reason. On what particular basis has this conclusion come about?

From what this narrative tells me, it is the additional writings of a small group of authors that have put together lists of less than a hundred significant individuals, also writers, that the whole of anarchism is being based upon, with the determinations being made by yet another even smaller group of writers who claim that anarchy, as an ideology, is so complacent that they can, with confidence, say what they are thinking. I think that the anarchist being represented on the street is being undervalued, misunderstood, and overlooked. Isn’t this conflict of diversity the reason that the book specifically tells us that anarchy has a distinct problem with even theorizing on an exact definition of its own anarchistic philosophy?

(RK) Philosophical anarchism described a partial commitment to anarchy, the idea that ‘society without government was attractive ... but not really possible ... anarchism in the head but not in the heart’.

(LCW) What an interesting and reasonable comment. ‘Society without government was attractive . . . but not really possible’ is a thoughtful and insightful conclusion that appears when just a little bit of objective investigation is brought to bear. Why can the position not be ‘adjusted’ to be a minimalist version consisting of only 20% or so compared to the out-of-control governments we see today in virtually every single country in the world, almost exclusively run by those who can only be characterized as incompetent, ideological and virulently selfish?

(RK) Though there is some commonality in the table, what emerges from this matrix is a picture of confusion. The tendency of each new generation of writers is to have expanded the number of anarchist schools and to have redefined their membership, making the boundaries between schools increasingly diffuse.

(LCW) It seems quite obvious that the greatest threat to anarchist thought is the burdensome number of anarchist paradigms, with none willing to change, assimilate or develop some community of reason and direction. There seems to be a new schism with each passing day but why are there no examples of true cooperation and unity by fusing multiple perspectives into a more comprehensive and unique paradigm? Is it because they don’t want to or that they simply are incapable of making concessions and adjustments to their own views? A rather disturbing question if you ask me.

Confusion is what the rest of us see when we attempt to comprehend what they are saying. The anarchist never seems to be confused because they know that they are confident in their own reality (unfortunately similar in nature to the Marxist and collectivist), which takes on a version of unreality because of their hubris and lack of all those things that anarchists claim to have in common, tolerance, equality, cooperation, good-will, freedom, liberty, etc., ad nauseam. If these concepts are indeed the bedrock of anarchism, then why is it so difficult for true cooperation which would necessitate listening more than speaking, and including negotiation and compromise within a framework of discussion and debate? Why is it so insufferably frustrating to resolve their differences? If they are to do this ‘sans’ state, why can’t they do it within their own communities? It is a troublesome and challenging question.

(RK) . . . but that in a socialist society, when private property were to be abolished, and ... class distinctions would disappear, then the State would represent everybody and become the impartial organ representing the social interests of all members of society.

(LCW) I won’t argue the desirability of this happening but where is the evidence that something like this is even possible? First of all, class distinctions are not made or granted but produced by those very same people that think themselves superior to others. Do you have some magic recipe for accomplishing this without violence? If you do ‘use’ violence does this not make you a part of some ‘class’ that has the ‘authority’ to do so? This just doesn’t make any rational sense whatsoever.

What is the answer for those that worked all their lives to realize ownership of land when you arbitrarily confiscate that land and proclaim some kind of new paradigm that hurts them greatly? Is this the compassion and cooperation that you promote in your ideology? Everyone that owns a piece of land is not a monster or an exploiter or even a capitalist, they are just trying to do the best they can for themselves and their families and their community. What is the justification for those actions? I hear talk of the ‘greater good’ but this certainly does not sound like an appropriate example.

For those that abhor the state, how does one then come to the conclusion that the new ‘state’ will somehow be transformed into an ‘impartial organ representing the social interests of the members of society’? I again ask for clarification as to why this cannot be done now, with the existing paradigm, if it will be a ‘given’ in your new version. There is no unanimity in the anarchist camp, so therefore there will be none in any new state that is created or in some communal ‘consensus’. This is all theoretical fantasy with no examples of where it has ever worked even marginally so why should anyone believe that it remains a possibility?

(RK) A final set of criticisms focused on the class bias of Marx’s state theory. Here, the focus of the anarchist critique was Marx’s preoccupation with proletarian liberation and his disregard of rural workers and the underclass – the unemployed, the outcast, and the dispossessed – as subjects for liberation. Bakunin’s worry was that Marx’s scientific theory was exclusively focused on the liberation of the urban working class and that the communist revolution would lead to the oppression of all other workers in the name of economic progress.

(LCW) Marx’s revolutionary ‘state’ has always been a point of contention over the decades. I have questioned the underclass mentioned here with no real response. That underclass is a terrible economic burden and until (if) a legitimate resolution is formed, the rest is somewhat moot. The potential of the revolutionary state is arguable and of more concern than the existing evil we have today. The only difference with Marx is that he (and his peers) will be the ones with the power, wielding it to their own idealistic and ideological ends. History has shown this to be true almost without restriction or exception.

(RK) It meant ‘destruction of the State and capitalism at the same time, and the birth of a new society based on another form of social organization’.

(LCW) The rhetoric is compelling except for the fact that what is the actuality of ‘social organization’ if not just another label for the ‘state’? Once again, there is no explanation or clarity on exactly what is meant by ‘another form of social organization’. Something with a master/slave relationship perhaps? What will exist to stop it?

(RK) Whilst many modern anarchists – from anarcho-syndicalists to postmodernists – classify themselves as anticapitalists rather than anti-statists, the experience of the revolution and the subsequent creation of the Soviet State have added weight to the view that anarchism revolves around the rejection of the state since this is the point on which anarchism and Marxism divide.

(LCW) This is representative of my own perspective that the negation of the state even in the eyes of many, many anarchists is arguably ‘not’ the focal point of anarchism and I think this comment only confirms that suspicion. All of this talk of the ‘state’ is an anachronism and almost archaic in its irrelevance. It exists as a remnant left over from the dying embers of a failed ideology that history contends never worked, and I suggest never will. It is a philosophy built on power, coercion, oppression and violence which, ironically, is what I thought the anarchist was insinuating was the essence of today’s contemporary states. I am in a perpetual ‘state’ of confusion over why this ideology (Marxist communism) was ever able to find a place at the anarchist table. It is anathema to the anarchism that I interpret.

(RK) Bakunin, too, celebrated the idea of reason and identified in liberalism a principle of rationality and of scientific thought that he linked with emancipation and progress. Though he complained that the benefits of scientific knowledge extended to ‘only ... a very small portion of society’, he believed that liberal science would provide the foundation for integral or all-round education in anarchy.

(LCW) I would have to disagree that the benefits of scientific knowledge extend only to a specific and small portion of society. I think that the statement is superficial at best as well as narrow-minded and lacking a certain insight into what ‘science’ actually does. Scientific exploration and discovery have brought a level of convenience, security and a degree of ‘wealth’ to every citizen albeit there remain those that have received less benefit than others, and yet I would argue that without the existence of science, those without benefits would be a thousandfold more.

Not to enter into a contentious argument, knowing that so many think that our capitalistic paradigm is so ‘exploitive’ and ‘oppressive’. It is irrefutable from my perspective that the opposite is true, even though there exist shortcomings and inequities in the system. The fact remains that almost everyone has a telephone, and most a pseudo-smart one. They have televisions, often more than one, a refrigerator and possibly a freezer as well, a washing machine, a dryer and even a dishwasher, a stove and an air-conditioner, not to mention the microwave. Not all, by any means, but a vast majority. Did they have to work hard for these things? For some, yes, but without science, innovation, creativity, and insight, most of these things would never have been available or as inexpensive as they actually are.

We have cars, public transportation, trains, planes, bridges, tunnels, millions of miles of paved highways, parks, restaurants, movies, and books galore although they are quickly being replaced by something inferior in my opinion, the ubiquitous ‘internet’. All of these things, while technically being ‘luxuries’ would have been incomprehensible to an individual two hundred years ago.

Did any of the anarchist ‘originalists’ have any of these things? Has the existence of every individual not been enhanced and the labour drastically reduced by these marvels of capitalism? I think it is a subject that needs to be studied in greater detail. The labour we save is astronomical. No more cooking food over an open fire, with utensils that put us barely above the level of our animal friends. I forgot to mention indoor plumbing, toilets, showers, etc., so no more toting water from a river or lake, even in the worst days of winter, or slapping our delicate clothing (not much of a reality for most of us centuries ago) on rocks in the river to maintain a level of cleanliness that today is taken for granted.

All of these things are taken for granted, and I would venture to guess that most of these things, even if you were given a million dollars, you could not create something as durable, dependable, visually pleasing, and ‘safe’ to use. What price do you put on such a paradigm? Science, in conjunction with capitalism, has brought these things to us but no one seems to want to acknowledge the benefits that were derived from science in their existence.

All of these great anarchist thinkers present themselves as overly simplistic and woefully uninformed and with such a narrow-minded focus on their own objectives that they truly cannot see the forest for the trees. In fact, I am not sure they see the trees either. There exists a real lack of comprehension about the world around us, what is important, and what is necessary to achieve those things they talk about.

I completely concur with their desires, or most of them, but not in the irrational fashion that they fantasize they can create an environment that is substantial and legitimate without a comprehensive understanding and philosophy that deals with the realities existent in a society of millions of diverse, independent, individualistic, competent and capable individuals. Emotion and desire can be invaluable in the creation and development of a philosophy of social interaction, but it is the mind, inclusive thought, and rational and logical concepts that make the improbably or the theoretical into the possible and the practical.

(RK) The ‘post-objectivist’ George H. Smith captures the gist of the idea. Anarchism, he argues, is grounded in the belief that we are fully capable, through reason, of discerning the principles of justice; and that we are capable, through rational persuasion and voluntary agreement, of establishing whatever institutions are necessary for the preservation and enforcement of justice.

(LCW) George H. Smith is being labeled a ‘post-objectivist’ which I have trouble interpreting if this is to say he is no longer an objectivist or is simply taking the anarchist objectivist thinking to another level. He is also an atheist (perhaps not relevant or significant) although I would have to acknowledge my own sentiments are from that perspective as well. He is also a libertarian, again some confusion if objectivism is a part of his ideology since there are inarguably differences between the philosophies.

In any case, yet another ‘school of thought’ that only muddies the water even further as to some definitive position on that elusive philosophical denizen, the anarchist. As previously mentioned, I find his characterization to be more in line with my own, and representative of many who profess to embrace anarchism as a legitimate philosophy without accepting many of the more coercive and contradictory belief systems that dismiss the finer points of anarchism as valid.

I think his stated comments are more significant as fundamental principles of anarchy than those of the collective and liberal mindset. I realize that I have been using the concept of ‘liberal’ in the modern liberal-democratic sense and not the historical liberalism of John Locke and Montesquieu. Those ideals have been assimilated or swept under the rug of time with no contemporary ideology espousing what they represent except perhaps in their rhetoric and their slogans. Their concepts have evolved into something quite different today. I would venture to suggest that most people still believe in the concept but only as a part of a larger and more modern perspective. Unfortunate, but true.

(RK) The patriots of the Revolution ‘took their starting point for deriving a minimum government upon the same sociological ground that the modern Anarchist derives the no-government theory; viz., that equal liberty is the political ideal’.

(LCW) I would suggest that this reluctance by ‘mainstream’ anarchists, if there is such a thing, to acknowledge and work towards this ‘minimum’ government as a way to allow anarchy to be a more significant and legitimate alternative that is more representative of the individual at large within society to expand and grow the ideology and philosophy of anarchism.

This irrational need to be some heroic radical is misplaced and self-destructive to the movement itself. It is not a fundamental aspect for many if not most, and the inability to comprehend this is hobbling and restraining the message being disseminated to many who would be amenable if not for the coercive and elitist positions that simply do not resonate with those who reflect the common man among us.

Middle America, all of us really, are simply individuals who work hard and want a life with as little conflict as possible. They are idealists, but only the small ‘i’ version. They fail to understand the need for coercion and oppression, the violence and killing, and hatred. They have seen this in all the governments that have ever existed throughout history, and what the anarchist radical describes (as the Marxist communist always has) is nothing more to them than another version or more of the same that we have all seen before.

They look for something truly new and revolutionary, but in essence and not in physical reality. Not in rhetorical philosophy but in a practical philosophy that actually has a chance in bringing the change we are all looking forward to in our lives. Is this even possible? Perhaps it is, and that is what they desire, not more strife and division and reprehensible political campaigns and certainly not in more war, civil or otherwise, and the pain and suffering we have already seen and endured.

I fail to see a legitimate or significant distinction between a cognitive and demonstrable minimalist government that is controllable and manageable as compared to some drastic abstract and speculative alternative. Radicalism is directly proportional to the degree or possibility of a successful conclusion, as well as credible participation. Occam’s Razor (as in William of Ockham) is the assumption that in many cases, perhaps the majority, the most simple of possibilities will turn out to be the best one. Why the incessant need to make things that much more difficult by proposing the most complicated and contentious of options?

(RK) The rise to power of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution was not the only event that led anarchists to re-evaluate the significance of liberal rights. The emergence of fascism has also helped to reinforce anarchist commitments to liberal freedoms and strengthened the belief that these freedoms can only be realized in a nonexploitative stateless society.

(LCW) Why is it so difficult to envision this ‘nonexploitative’ stateless or minimalist society instead of a complete re-vamping of what already exists? In most cases, a renovation and rejuvenation of the old is more constructive and less divisive than the total destruction of the entire system, with all the aspects that are actually working properly and effectively being thrown out with those that are in need of attention. Where is the cooperation, common cause, negotiation, and compromise that I interpreted as the bedrock of the anarchist philosophy? Is there truly a mandate in the anarchist community for all this conflict? I don’t see that as true at all.


(LCW) This last section was my attempt to focus on the initial conception of the removal of the ‘state’ as the ultimate objective of anarchism. While I understand and empathize with those that detest the state I find it to be of secondary importance and something that can be controlled and directed under an appropriate and rational system. Without such a system, the dream of a ‘stateless’ society is woefully unprepared for the reality in any case.

I think the concepts of individuality, independence, competence, and confidence are much more substantial in the eventual success of the ideological expectations. It is this sense of community without coercion that will allow the liberty and freedoms so many anarchists speak of to become a reality. It is the cooperation and common goals arrived at through mutual agreement that results in a justified and legitimate mutual benefit.

There lies a deep connection and optimism that these fundamentals can be achieved by individuals of like-minded focus and intent. If there is ever to be a true ‘collective’, it will be one consisting of individuals, by choice and reason and logic, that will be able to realize this objective. If there is a ‘greater good’ it can only be achieved through the voluntary agreement of said individuals, without exception, towards the creation of an environment that allows a degree of freedom of thought, word, and action that has never been seen previously.

America, that Great American Experiment, was one such vision. It has much to teach us if we are willing to listen. It gave the opportunity, but it gave the freedom as well, and perhaps more ability to make our own decisions than we could handle. It did not fail because of some inherent weakness, unless it be that same freedom, in conjunction with the worst kind of damaged individuals who were devoid of ethics and morals and character, and especially integrity, to do as they pleased, and the corruption and the ignorance and the selfishness it invariable gave to those who wish to oppress the ‘freedom’ to do so, and so now many wish to use violence and yet more coercion and oppression to change things for the better? Do you really think that will work? Unfortunately, I would argue that is ‘exactly’ what we ‘don’t’ need to resolve our problems. If we cannot come to some conclusion together, then we will be doomed to an existence much the same as we have endured for the last ten thousand years.

I hope some of my comments gave you something to think about. Please feel free to comment through this site or through emails if you so choose. It is not about being right, but about the process of conversation, contemplation, and comprehension. It is about listening more than about arguing, about thinking more than talking, and about trying to empathize with the perspective of others rather than forcing them to endure your opinion. All important, and yet meaningless if we never agree.

I wish you nothing but peace.

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