Wednesday, March 25, 2009

LeFevre on Rejecting the "Anarchist" Label


As I saw it then, and as I still see it, the anarchist philosophy is internally contradictory. It professes a sparkling and shining individualism, at which point I warm to the arguments. Then it advocates some kind of procedure to interfere with the processes of a free market, e.g., elimination of interest and rents; denial of the right of a man to own land, or to own land beyond some stated amount; abolition of profits; placement of management control in the hands of workers through democratic processes conducted within factories, and so on.

I myself went through an extended period of interest in social anarchism at one point. There's no denying the "let's all cooperate together" thing has a sort aesthetic appeal.

The more I looked into it, the more disgusted I became. They believe literally all capitalists and entrepreneurs are pure evil, the greatest evil on the entire planet, and that none of them do anything productive at all. Ever. Every last capitalist and entrepreneur is simply a worthless exploiter parasite who harms the workers. The market is useless too, without a single redeeming quality, and every nook and cranny of it is to be immediately abolished. All businesses are equally evil and exploitative, just by being businesses. In addition, being an employee is far, far worse than being tortured or executed by Mao or Stalin. State-socialism (and perhaps even Naziism) is a lesser evil than commercialism. Social anarchists devote most of their time to these ideas.

In my view, all of these arguments are fanatically dogmatic and one-sided, and there are more than a couple babies being cavalierly thrown out with the bathwater. Needless to say, social anarchists don't have much of an alternative to the market--they're more interested in demonizing anyone who defends it. The best they've come up with so far is some vague "workers' councils will plan the economy through a bunch of meetings" bullshit that has little historical or economic reasoning behind it.

Like it or not, this is anarchism. And it's why I'm now rejecting the label. All this "anti-capitalist" stuff is just too much. Maybe I'm just a moron for not seeing the (apparently self-evident) brilliance in all this simplistic twaddle. Or maybe, just maybe, war, slavery, genocide, nuclear weapons, racism and totalitarianism are slightly worse than Starbucks selling me a Frappucino. I dunno.

Update: I decided to make that last sentence into a motivational poster. Great stuff!

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