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The Anarchist Specturm

In the anarchist community there are several different “flavors” of anarchism discussed. Though it seems like some have seemingly irreconcilable differences, for instance the varying views on property rights by anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists. Generally it seems most of the differences are not so much differences in substance, but differences in approach. It was pointed out well by Karl Hess that there really is only one kind of anarchist and he is a voluntarist, one broadly opposed to the use of the coercive means.

There is something to be said here for the traditional right-left paradigm as it applies to anarchism. Broadly I would categorize those who use as their main justification for anarchism equality, self-sufficiency, peace, or respect for diversity on the left. I would then categorize those who favor anarchism as the most economically efficient system, or that most respectful of property rights and the non-aggression principle on the right. One of the best ways to see the distinction is to attempt to categorize the thinking of certain people.

Some might justly argue that we shouldn’t be trying to divide ourselves further. That talking about differences we have as anarchists, even if they are only in approach and not in result, does more harm than good. They might be right! However, there is a strong counterpoint, that being a strengthening of our arguments by debating with each other. Personally, I started out on the right side of the anarchist spectrum, but have come to have a great appreciation for the arguments and methodologies of leftward anarchists (Karl Hess, SEK III etc.), and I probably prefer that style now.

I have heard it said by Stefan Molyneux and others that anarcho-capitalism would allow for anarcho-communism, while the reverse would not work. I think that in a truly voluntary society people would enter into the kind of arrangements that are suitable for them. If a group finds more satisfaction or productivity in a commune they would of course be allowed to form one, if still others found it more useful to have and enforce universal property rights that would also be allowed. I think that great diversity of anarchy is something that we should celebrate rather than bicker over. Also broadly I think any conflict between these two different styles of voluntary association would be attempted to be resolved in as peaceful a manner as possible, adhering to some form of the non-aggression principle.

Here is my sampling of where I place certain anarchists in the ideological spectrum:

Left:

Centrist:

Right:

There are many individuals and groups who remain uncatagorized above, but I think I have given a descent sampling across the community. Of course there are some specific elements of the thinking of certain people which falls in one category while another part falls on the opposite side, so it is hard to really come up with an accurate picture. I would love to work toward getting together resource pages on this site for the great thinkers above, and many others.

An essay by Murray Rothbard interesting look at the political spectrum especially how it relates to libertarian and anarchist thought. Roderick Long has given some presentations attempting to look at Rothbard’s paradigm in a more modern context.

I do think that it will be the easiest to reach the non-academic left, which as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement, is very concerned with government granted privilege to business. A convincing argument could be developed that in order for the OWS protesters to be consistent in their ideology they would have to oppose state action more broadly.

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Why the media doesn’t want to call attention to Ron Paul’s anarchist associations

The media at large seems to be missing a huge story. Ron Paul has affiliations with many anarchists! and on occasion has made comments that could be construed as anarchist leaning. Probably best known of his anarchist affiliations is to Lew Rockwell, of the Mises Institute. When any of the other candidates have an affiliation with someone of radical views they are hounded to no end  (Obama in 2008 comes to mind). There can only be one good reason for the media not to put attention on this story, that being they want to suppress the anarchist message.
I think it is fully possible that high ups in the media are fully aware of Ron Paul’s affiliations but are not willing to run stories on it because they want to suppress the rise of such thinking in Americans. An anarchist society would be detrimental to the large media monopolies, they would no longer be able to get special government privilege by lobbying congress. Also the media wouldn’t be able to use the copy protection laws to prevent rebroadcasting of their shows. The real problem they are going to have though is the Internet, where there are a whole host of websites (such as this one) that espouse the anarchist alternative.
Ron Paul has even expressed on occasion that he would approve of a small libertarian society splitting off from the US if they would simply receive and accept no government assistance, and desire peaceful trade. See the following interview:
Ron Paul gave a huge bump to our movement with his 2008 campaign. The free state project now has over 1000 early movers. I can only imagine how much the message of our peaceful solution to the problem of social cooperation will be spread by his current campaign. There is a large debate among anarchists, “to vote or not to vote”, really it doesn’t matter that much, one individual’s vote isn’t going to change anything. What will have an effect is our attempt to spread a real understanding of what freedom is and how we can only achieve it in a stateless society.
It both confuses me and brings me great joy to see Lew Rockwell on national television on the (cancelled) show of Andrew Napolitano (who also at times has said some things that could be construed as anarchist leaning). There is an avowed anarchist on TV! I mean this is great! The media was quick to close down the show, as I think it began to get more radical. Napolitano, while not an outright anarchist, hinted at a Mises institute event that he at least thought the idea of a voluntary society was something to be explored. Also a recent tweet from him quotes Lysander Spooner, the great american individualist anarchist. It could bring the movement a lot of credibility to have someone like Judge Napolitano outwardly express his views, and bring some of the many strict constitutionalist viewers of his show over to the voluntarist side.

New Website!

Hello everyone!

This is a new website that I am making to try and promote the idea of a voluntary society. The movement is at a critical juncture now, especially with the current Ron Paul presidential campaign, we are about to get a lot of people looking into our ideas and philosophy. We want to be welcoming, but at the same time uncompromising. I hope that this site can serve as a resource for those looking to learn more about what a voluntary society would entail, and for those who are already in the movement.

I intend to move the site onto a different server in the event that it gets some traffic (not ready quite to sign up for that domain hosting). Also if there is enough interest I will start making some videos discussing these ideas, and hopefully that will help to bring more people into “this little movement of ours”.

Personally, I came to regard the state as an unnecessary evil mainly from the economic side of things. Like many the economic crisis in 2008 sparked my interest in wanting to know what the heck happened. It took a bit more time before I was able to shrug off my (neoconservitave) views on war, civil liberties etc. I also found the vast online media resources of the Mises Institute quite useful in my personal development. Their youtube channel did wonders for my growth. I would broadly categorize my views now as voluntarist anarchist, individualist, market anarchist, or agorist, something along those lines it is sometimes hard to get a term which is consistently applied enough to want to attach oneself to it.

On the coloration of the website. You might think it a silly topic for the opening statement, but I think it is important. Generally yellow and black are the colors associated with Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism. While on almost all points I agree with this position, I find the motive, tone, and style of more leftward thinkers like Karl Hess, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Roderick Long, and Gary Charier to be more my current taste. As I said though it is more a difference in style than in substance, and while approach is important we shouldn’t let it divide us. As Karl Hess said in Anarchy Without Hyphens, “There is only one kind of Anarchist… An anarchist is a voluntarist.”  To respect this the title banner has been left white and black, but the background left yellow to reflect the use of yellow in voluntarist circles, not necessarily limiting to anarcho-capitalism.

First Poll! (more to come)

I think polls are a great way for us to get a feel of what others are thinking about in the community. So I will be regularly posting polls on the blog. Suggestions welcome.


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