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In Defense of Anarchism, Part III: A Recap

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In parts I and II, I highlighted some of the theoretical and practical limitations of the State, by far the most dominant political institution to date, defining the overall context for the entire gamut of political relations, foreign and domestic, as well as the limits of what’s politically feasible. On the theoretical side, the concept is flawed on account of its sovereignty component, the necessary condition of statehood, or so it seems, and the source of all its ailments (but more on that later). In practice, those ailments are only exacerbated in the sphere of foreign relations where every state is required to stand its own ground and hold on to its sovereignty as if for dear life.

The predictable result is that nation-states tend to act like bullies, loose cannons if you will, irrational to the core, and that’s regardless of whether they’re able to back up their threats or not. In their dealings with one another, the repercussions may be said to be more or less tolerable because controllable by other, more powerful states: open warfare is the worst case scenario, the state of tension and general unrest the usual one. It’s in its domestic affairs, however, that a state, any state, I contend, gravitates toward despotism; and the lesser its status in the realm of international relations, the more tyrannical it’s likely to become when dealing with its own subjects.

Again, sovereignty is the key, and if it can’t be secured one way, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll resurface elsewhere (which is why the least prestigious states – Liberia, Somalia, Sudan – have the worst record of human rights violations). Even the good ole US exhibits the same trend: its recent, albeit relative decline as a superpower – due to terrorism, public opinion, inconclusive wars, what have you – is accompanied by ever-tightening restrictions on the rights of its own citizens. (The People’s Republic is an exception: for all the emphasis on the newly-found economic freedoms, presumably guaranteed for having adopted a hybrid capitalist system, it’s a totalitarian regime through-and-through, a state with an agenda.)

Lest you think these limitations are of little practical importance and that nation-states the world over will continue on their merry ole way and conduct their business as usual, think again.

The institution has been under virtual siege since 9/11, both from within and without, and the strains are beginning to show. Terrorism and acts of terrorism still represent the most direct and frontal attack against the State, be it US or Saudi Arabia; but we’ve also seen more subtle examples of subversive action of late – Julian Assange and WikiLeaks come to mind – actions which are no less effective if judging by the range of responses.

One way or another, nation-states, especially Western states, are on the defensive. As regards terrorism, just consider: the thrust of US foreign and domestic policy for the past ten years or so has been defined, indeed driven, by the anti-terrorist agenda. (“Counter-insurgency” is the term in vogue.) The two wars still in progress, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security, TSA’s recent tactics and NSA’s surveillance powers – each in its own way testifies to the extent a state is willing to go in order to protect its sovereignty, its integrity as an institution. The sense of outrage evoked by WikiLeaks disclosures signifies the same mindset.

Some may want to argue that terrorism and all likeminded actions of subversive kind are crude and ineffective; that loss of civilian life is inexcusable; that more reasonable, “gentler” methods and tactics would be far more desirable since ends never justify the means. To which is say, I’m not here to pronounce on the morality of such acts, only on the fact: people tend to do what they think they must. As to the efficiency aspect, however, I beg to disagree. The inordinate amount of time, energy and resources (over $14 billion a month is one estimate) expanded by the State to repel all real or imaginary threats to its legitimacy as an institution is proof au contraire. If not de facto then at least de jure, the State is forever committed to protecting its perpetual legacy: if and when push comes to shove, it’ll stop at nothing.

There is a well-founded precedent, indeed, a quasi-legal justification for this course of action, the so-called “state of exception.” In American political tradition and parlance, the concept translates (roughly) to a state of emergency – Martial Law being the most familiar application – but in European politics and history the ramifications are far more extensive. According to Carl Schmitt, one of the founders, every government capable of decisive action must include a dictatorial element within its constitution, and that element is captured by the “state of exception” proviso – a tacit one, to be sure, but no less real for the fact because again, according to Schmitt, the state of exception, and the powers implicit therein, form an integral part of the core-concept of sovereignty. (Schmitt defines sovereignty as the power to decide the instauration of state of exception, for the greater public good, naturally.)

“Der Führer schützt das Recht” – the leader defends the law – is Schmitt’s most radical statement of the principle involved. But as Giorgio Agamben pointed out,

this kind of violence [by the State], which necessarily bears a juridical value, is another example of the fusion of right to “bare life” (It. vita nuda, Grk. zoe) that transforms the juridical system into a “death machine,” able to perform acts of pure violence as needed for self-legitimation, creating Homo sacer, a being that cannot be “murdered” or “sacrificed” but only killed

Consequently, Agamben argues that as a result of the state-of-exception proviso serving as the proverbial ace in the hole, ever-ready to be played whenever the chips are down, the difference between dictatorship and democracy is thin indeed, as rule by decree became more and more common, starting from World War I and the reorganization of constitutional balance.

For an overview of the concept and its many applications in recent European and American histories, the reader is referred to Mr. Agamben’s “A Brief History of the State of Exception,” an excerpt from the featured reading selection. It’s not our past, however, but the unfolding present which ought to be cause for concern, because the state of exception promises to become a regular feature of modern political reality. In particular, and I’m citing here from the Wikipedia entry on Giorgio Agamben (see the link above):

Agamben’s State of Exception investigates how the suspension of laws within a state of emergency or crisis can become a prolonged state of being. More specifically, Agamben addresses how this prolonged state of exception operates to remove individuals of their citizenship. When speaking about the military order issued by President George W. Bush on 13 November 2001, Agamben writes, “What is new about President Bush’s order is that it radically erases any legal status of the individual, thus producing a legally unnamable and unclassifiable being. Not only do the Taliban captured in Afghanistan not enjoy the status of POW’s as defined by the Geneva Convention, they do not even have the status of people charged with a crime according to American laws” (Agamben, pg 3). Many of the individuals captured in Afghanistan were taken to be held at Guantánamo Bay without trial. These individuals were termed as “enemy combatants.” Until 7 July 2006, these individuals had been treated outside of the Geneva Conventions by the United States administration.

As to the usual suspects, draw up your own list, but such notables as Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo et al., all the President’s men, for short, whose legal opinions invoked the unitary executive theory to justify highly controversial policies in the war on terror – such as introducing unlawful combatant status which purportedly would eliminate protection by the Geneva Convention, enhanced interrogation techniques, NSA electronic surveillance program – will do for starters; it’s arguable they all mimic Schmitt’s writings (see Wikipedia, “Carl Schmitt” entry). Lest you imagine, however, it’s all behind us, like a bad dream perhaps or a nasty hangover from the evil Bush era, you have another think coming: the war on terror under Obama is no less intense and it shows no signs of dissipating. Let’s face it, we’re in it for the long haul, and the state of exception is about to become a permanent one. Some prospects!

Once again, the notion of sovereignty, surely an integral part of the modern conception of statehood, proves to be the latter’s undoing; it’s therefore fitting that selfsame notion should serve as a convenient point of departure. To that end, in the long-belated conclusion, I propose to examine emergent geopolitical configurations which, however minimally or imperceptibly, are beginning to make inroads into, and seriously undermine, the institution of statehood traditionally understood. Thereafter, I’ll take off from these, what I regards as, promising developments to arrive at a model of an ideal political community operating under some such geopolitical configuration – a community with a measure of autonomy and self-determination that’s not predicated on conditions of sovereignty and statehood, a community that is structured, organized and self-managed, too, in the absence of anything we’ve come to associate with the proper role and function of what we call government, lastly, a community that’s not tyrannical but tolerant of the dissenting views and which in fact celebrates the difference if for no other reason that every single voice counts as input toward communal decision-making. Let’s call it “anarchistic community” for short.

Granted, much of what’s to follow, especially the projection part extrapolating from the present into the not-too-distant future, – a blueprint, if you like – may well fall under the rubric of utopian literature, but so what? In my summary dismissal of this objection, I’m guided by the main thrust of R. G. Collingwood’s seminal work, The Idea of History, another reading selection. Simply put, the underlying idea is that solutions, human solutions, develop on the ground and are nothing but particular and concrete responses to equally particular and concrete contemporary problems. And this is to say not only that such solutions are highly contextualized – meaning, historically-conditioned and geared to specific sets of conditions and circumstances – but also that, for the very same reasons and in their initial stages at least, they’re far from being ideal or perfect in any way. A representative citation follows:

The Republic of Plato is an account not of the unchanging ideal of political life, but the Greek ideal as Plato received it and re-interpreted it. The Ethics of Aristotle describes not an eternal morality but the morality of the Greek gentleman. Hobbes’s Leviathan expounds the political ideas of seventeenth-century absolutism in their English form… [and so on] (p. 229).

One would be remiss at this point not to draw attention to the hidden assumption underpinning Collingwood’s master thesis, namely, that perfecting the response takes place over time, an assumption to which I’d like to append one of Martin Luther King’s own – that “the moral arch of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.” To translate, just as feudalism was an improvement over the system of outright slavery, so it was with capitalism when compared to feudalism proper. Likewise with our political systems and institutions: as we’ve seen them evolve time and again throughout history, we’ve also seen a progression of sorts, an upward movement always for the better, never for the worse.

Question my logic or chain of reasoning if you like, even my assumptions if you must: at least we’ll know where we disagree. My contention though is that in some such manner, and for no different reasons than those we’ve found to have been operating in the past, our thus-far venerable institution of statehood will soon give way to more enlightened, anarchistic forms of political organization. It’s only a matter of time, and the key – again, I can’t help being overemphatic here – is the notion of sovereignty. Do away with that notion, I say, and you’ll have effectively obliterated the very raison d’être of statehood.

As far as I am concerned, this upward movement is already afoot.

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About Roger Nowosielski

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    This…anarchistic state to which you refer – how exactly would it accomplish what our current first-world governments already accomplish? In other words, how would an anarchistic state bring about technological improvements that the West’s governments have made happen? Such as:

    – the internet, compliments of DARPA
    – our interstate highway system
    – the public school system in any first-world country
    – the Panama Canal
    – nuclear power plants
    – anything orbiting the earth (GPS satellites, comms satellites, etc)…and everything they enable
    – radar, thanks to our (and England’s) efforts in WWII
    – and Europe’s pride, CERN

    Get the picture? Perhaps your idea of an anarchistic state is different from mine, but there is NO WAY that anything less than a strong central government can exert the political will (and collect and manage the tax revenue necessary) to accomplish any of the above.

  • M

    What do you speculate to be possible motive forces behind this movement?

    I refer for example to Freire’s notion that (while a major thrust of his work is a critique of action based on mysticism) ‘intense emotionality’ might influence the course of history.

    As far as I can tell, the defense that you’ve offered thus far is that anarchism is in some sense the next historically necessary step because ‘you can hear her breathing’. Well, I smell totalitarian reaction in that morning breath and wonder about the extent to which biopolitical power (organized as the State) has just begun to stretch its muscles.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The State, both as concept and in practice, is riddled with contradictions; and if that’s the case, since the concept is flawed, eventually it will become dismantled. Anarchism is the next historically logical step not just because “I hear her breathing” but simply because it’s the next logical step.

    As to the “biopolitical power” just having begun stretching its muscles,” it’s a matter of interpretetion. I see the State and the governments the world over as being on the defensive, though I will add we haven’t seen the worst yet.

    Anyway, I do see the Eurozone as a precedent whereby the condition of sovereignty which comes with statehood is being undermined or at least loosened. Again, I’m not concerned here with intentions, only with effect. And if the experiment succeeds, I see in it a pattern for the future.

  • M

    …eventually can be a very long time

    just sayn’

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Egypt – Revolution. A video I thought was expressive.

    (p.s. Roger, I am about to read your article…)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Your or my lifetime, no. By the end of the century, most likely.

    As to the “forces” you’re alluding to, it’ll suffice to identify but one: globalization, and there’s no stopping it.

    Therein lies the failure of political philosophers, ancient or modern, thus far: not thinking through all the ramifications of statehood in the full-blown context of economic and political competition. Neither Greece nor Rome – at their peak, I mean – were ever seriously challenged as regards their political and economic hegemonies. Even until the end of the Cold War, there were only two superpowers and the international situation was relatively stable. No longer today and the age of superpowers is over. So my argument is, it is essentially modern-day conditions, unanticipated prior to now, which bring into sharp relief the inherent weakness of the State concept on both theoretical and practical grounds. In short, something’s got to give.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #1

    the public school system in any first-world country

    This very short video about the public school system was made by the young, composer pianist Lennon Aldort. This is a video of Lennon Aldort called, Lennon Aldort at age 3, playing Purcell by ear. He looks like a happy little fellow and seems to have used his learning capacity in a fruitful, self-fulfilling way. He apparently knows something about doing that.

    I have not yet checked all of Lennon Aldort’s facts about the history of public schooling; but I think his view about what the public school system does is correct.

    My nephew has decided he hates learning, school, and reading anything that has to do with learning. That is pretty much what he learned in school.

    Here is another 1 minute video. It is perfect in its wisdom about reading (which pretty much applies to other subjects, as well). It is really just about all children need, along with someone to help them to see what is available and access it.

    So, to answer your question about the replication of first world schooling systems — I hope not.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Yes, isn’t it encouraging, Cindy, that the wretched of the Earth – the Sudanese, the Egyptians, (“the dumb Arabs,” to some)- in short, Mark’s so-called “fluff” are the ones who are rising in revolt while the American fat cat just sits on his butt simply because it’s been spoiled rotten and expects more of the same – as though he or she were the only rightful heir? I have no sympathy for people like that.

    BTW, didn’t you mean to post your #7 on another thread?

  • Clavos

    Much to my astonishment (and I DO NOT mean that as slam, Roger), I find myself agreeing with your analysis in #6.

    “My astonishment” because, until a few years ago, I would never have seen myself agreeing to the concept that the state (especially ours) is becoming outmoded as a means of governing, but you posit a compelling thesis.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    9 – Nope, I didn’t post that anywhere else. It was in response to Glenn’s #1.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I see, well, Glenn surely exemplifies the mindset. BTW, I may be wrong but I think Clavos would agree with parts of your #8, Cindy.

    Thanks, Clavos. It is a novel idea to me – I stumbled upon it in the course of writing this series – but it seems to make perfect sense.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    That “state-of-exception” point is food for thought. Good article.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    12 Yes, Glenn’s points are almost always perfect examples of how liberals are supporting the problems they purport to oppose. He favors replicating the causes of the very problems he complains about.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I’m going to order Agamben’s book, Cindy. As far as I’m concerned, his represents the cutting edge of political thought. As I’m going to argue in the conclusion, the overthrowing of “the State,” as institution I mean must precede any radical changes with respect to economic system. As of now, capitalism is one of the most formidable weapons available to nation-states to help them enforce and perpetuate their hegemony. Do away with the State, and the usual relations between the economic and the political will undergo a radical shift, the former no longer being essential to statehood. In this respect, I surmise, Marx was wrong. He hadn’t given sufficient thought to politics. Of course, he was equally handicapped in this respect, just as all the political philosophers prior to him.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn, here is a tip: The USA is what it is because people do what they do. People do what they do because that is what they have been conditioned to do. people think what they think because that is what they have been conditioned to think. Included in that conditioning is the idea that they arrived at their ideas independently of their conditioning.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh, and Glenn…liberals are the people who do what they are conditioned to do as much as conservatives are.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @12 excellently put

    Re my #15, the People’s Republic is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Embracing a hybrid capitalist system, by State’s control, served and continues to serve as a launching pad for China’s recent rise to power. In the absence of that, such a development would be unthinkable.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Except that liberals are kinder and gentler, Glenn would retort.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    “Good article”?

    Shoot, Cindy. I happen to think it’s one of the best I’ve ever written.

    But you do know, of course, I’m not looking for compliments. I’m far too self-conceited to ever need that.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Having had to read this article several times whilst making some requested corrections earlier today, I would have to agree with Roger that it is one of his best. Not only that but it was far less verbose and more focussed than certain of his output!

    And “self-conceited” ? Is there any other kind?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Chris. As to my verbosity in the comments section, I beg your indulgence. Point well taken, though, and I shall try to live up to a newly-set standard in everyday discourse.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol, Roger!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yes, I agree it is one of your best.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Who said we couldn’t get along under anarchy?

    :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Just got to be less impulsive, Cindy. I think faster than I can speak (or write). Still in the top form however, though for a while I had doubts. Writing for BC has definitely sharpened my skills, no question about it.

    I just hope I shall be able to maintain the level. Gotta move to move back to California. Conditions in KY are hazardous to both physical and mental health.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The Liberal Gov’t: “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” Hillary Clinton, January 25, Washington

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy
  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    What else can you expect from a political hack? But consider, the response is dictated by the paradigm in place. None other is possible, which is why I argue in the opening paragraph that statehood defines the limits of what’s (commonly regarded as) politically feasible. Step outside the box, and a whole new world of possibilities comes to the fore.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Yes, it is spreading like a wildfire, reminiscent of the European mass/people movements/uprisings of 1830s and 1860s.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am watching AnonOps in IRC they are repeatedly keeping this Egyptian gov’t site down.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Considering this article’s subject matter, not its treatment, the air of self-congratulation on this thread is unseemly. Let us remember that the true anarchist man of action would find this and other such articles useful only as toilet paper.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Mark (and Roger),

    I am thinking about what you said, above. I am thinking about that elusive butterfly that is the zeitgeist. It appears that perhaps we won’t understand it logically in the same way the zeitgeist is not logical.

    What do you think?

    (I promise to be trustworthy and kind to you if you talk to me :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    ‘It’ being a change in the status quo to the recognition that we need a more horizontal distribution of power.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Alan; I still don’t understand why you always link anarchist with man of action. Are the two inherently conjoined in some way?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Protecting Roger Nowosielski is all well and good. I’m glad that he, unlike me, has loyal friends in the BC community who spring to his defense at a moment’s notice.

    Shielding him from dissent, however, is something altogether different. Had he been here to witness it in real time, I doubt that even Mr. Nowosielski would condone what’s lately transpired.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Nobody is being protected, Alan, or possibly everybody is.

    What I’ve seen was two people who ought to know better being spiteful, that’s all.

    Now, I asked you about the conjunction of anarchist and man of action and not found your first stab at an answer at all informative. Perhaps you’d do me the decency of a response, rather than answering a question with a question…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    After deleting my “first stab at an answer” because it was not “at all informative,” you have a lot of cheek to demand that I now do you a “decency.”

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I wouldn’t have deleted it if you hadn’t been rude about someone and you didn’t respond, you evaded, so let’s get into it.

    Anyway, if you knew me you’d know I’m known for having a lot of cheek ;-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Alan, today was the first time that Mr. Rose had responded in a positive way to me. I’ve had much longer history of spats with him than you, so you’re way off in your assessment of the situation. Neither do I have many “friends,” as you call, among the BC community, nor do I need anyone to step up to the plate in my defense. Anyway, the kind of things you’re suggesting are really embarrassing, so unless you’re doing this for effect, I’d appreciate if you were to stop. Anyway, I’m not on trial here, the ideas are, and that’s the bottom line. The ideas are either sound or they are not, and that’s the crux of the matter. It’s no reflection on me either way, other than for the fact that’s I’ve done my damnedest to present them in the best way I could.

    So if you want to equate anarchism with terrorism? Be my guest. However, all tried to do is to carve out a different meaning for anarchism than the vulgar one, a credible undertaking, I should say. If you don’t like my calling it anarchism, fine with me too, but then again, we’re only quibbling over words rather than meanings.

    Anyway, I’m not going to respond tonight to whatever other questions or queries you might have, but feel free to post whatever comes to mind and I’ll make certain to give it my utmost attention tomorrow. You ought to know by now I never shy from a potentially fruitful discussion since it’s always a win-win situation. Take care.

  • M

    Nobody is being protected, Alan, or possibly everybody is.

    …a “protected democracy” is not a democracy at all…the paradigm of constitutional dictatorship functions instead as a transitional phase that leads inevitably to the establishment of a totalitarian regime. Agamben State of Exception

    (Cindy, let me think on that for a bit.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Right, Mark, I was looking for this particular quote but wasn’t able to find it.

  • M

    Note how ‘protection’ becomes one of Agamben’s ‘fuzzy zones’ in Chris’ statement.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    All of which is exactly what Irvin F. Cohen, in his clumsy bull-in-a-china-shop style, has been arguing strenuously for the past several weeks on various BC threads, to no avail.

    Perhaps now that Irv’s thesis has acquired a fancy philosophical patina, it will receive a more considered reception.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Interesting relationships come to mind. If state’s sovereignty is grounded in “eminent domain,” likewise with sovereignty/authority of lesser units – private property, in this instance. It’s also interesting that cooperative ventures manage to bypass the sovereignty problem – because the notion of property, especially private property, comes short of being well-defined.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I am the king of my castle; but once there is no castle, there goes the king.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy and Roger –

    Neither of you attempted to answer the question I posed – exactly how would an anarchistic state bring about accomplishments like those I listed?

    I’d really like to see your answers on that!

    Please take no offense, but IMO both of you are being rather Pollyannish, and it does not matter how logical or how sensible you feel your points may be, you are both apparently choosing to ignore the fact that nothing short of national will guided by a functioning government can bring about anything like the achievements I listed above. Achievements of such scale require money, organization, and national will.

    Of course, if either of you can show me examples of like achievements made by anarchistic societies, then you might have a point…but until then, your suppositions about the benefits and apparent eventuality of an anarchistic state are simply that – suppositions.

    I look forward to your answers.

    P.S. One wonders how well the Allies would have fared in WWII if America, the Soviet Union, and England had all been ‘anarchistic states’….

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Roger Nowosielski (#47), that’s true. But you needn’t destroy the castle to get rid of the king. There are plenty of castles still standing throughout Europe where kings once reigned but are now musty museums, tramped through several times a week by picture-snapping American and Japanese tourists.

    Extending the metaphor to Blogcritics, neither Mr. Cohen nor I have advocated destroying the castle. We’ve merely contested the power behind the throne.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    My use of “castle” was symbolic, Alan.

    Glenn, #3 may be of help with your questions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I understand where you’re trying to go with all this – I really do. I could even point out factors that support your contention, such as the growing number of people who own properties in multiple countries (and so may be less ‘patriotic’ for one country over all), and there are uncounted thousands of multinational corporations who may have to deal with laws of disparate countries, but truly owe their allegiance to NO country.

    Add to these the rampant individualism enabled by the ‘liberalizing’ of the world…for when in human history has there been in a time when most of the world’s nations have been so tolerant of LGBT’s, different races, different religions? And on the macrosocialogical and macropolitical scale, where will all this lead?

    So, yeah – I feel I do understand what you’re trying to say. But on the other hand, I try to bear in mind that while times change and technologies change, people as a whole don’t change. The need for organization will be ever greater…and the greater the population of a society, the greater the number of regulations needed to keep that society functioning. That last one, unsavory though it may be, I feel to be an immutable law of human society…and I think I can back it up.

    So where are we all going? The individual has more of a voice now than ever before…but the requirement for political and social organization in order to effect lasting change is as strong now as it ever was. Human nature being what it is, the idea of a functioning anarchistic state is no more achievable than the communist paradise or its polar opposite, the libertarian paradise.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    I wasn’t speaking of any anarchistic state, only of anarchistic communities, Glenn. The entire article is an argument against statehood of any kind. Talk to you tomorrow.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Glenn Contrarian (#1, 48, 51), I share your frustration. You’re asking for practical answers from a man who is unconcerned with the material world. His domain is one of ideas. If his notions please him, as this thread shows is the case, then real-life follow-through can best be left to others. Presumably his disciples.

    I guess there’s ample precedent for this. Marx and Engels did not lead the Russian Revolution; Lenin and Trotsky did. Jesus did not establish Christianity; Peter did. Sometimes these two mindsets are embodied in one man, as with Muhammad. But often the prophet and the entrepreneur are separate and distinct, perhaps occupying entirely different timeframes.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Aye, but there’s the rub – how exactly can even a local society function without statehood? An anarchistic community can’t be ‘anarchistic’ if it is subject to federal law…and if you get rid of federal law, then you run into all the myriad problems I mentioned earlier.

    Again, the greater the population of a society, the greater the number of regulations needed to keep that society functioning. The ONLY way you could have a functioning anarchistic ‘community’ is to have it cut off from the rest of the world – no TV, no internet, no phone, no roads…and nothing that requires taxes or even ‘industry standards’. Perhaps if you move to the Amazon….

    Otherwise, your search for a truly anarchistic community is every bit as hopeful as a search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…and that’s where you’d also find the communist and libertarian paradises.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Alan –

    Well said – I couldn’t have said it any better!

  • Ruvy

    I’ll make this brief and simple. The article was almost readable – out of Roger, that is an accomplishment.

    As for the general thrust of much thought that seems to have been expressed here, and in other articles, the thrust is going in the same direction. – things are going to hell in a handbasket. That seems to be the zeitgeist. What seems to be under discussion are the details of the handbasket – while everyone is ignoring the hell to come.

    Shabbat shalom! I’m outta here!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Ruvy, I haven’t seen any expression of the sentiment that “things are going to hell in a handbasket”. Perhaps your preconceptions and prejudices are leading you astray, again…

    My take is that we are certainly living in interesting times but any suggestion that we are doomed is simply hysterical nonsense by the superstitious, the gullible, the ill-informed or in some cases the sheerly malevolent.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    I don’t know what this country’s coming to. In my opinion, things are going to hell in a handbasket.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I guess it comes down to pessimism and fear versus optimism and hope. I am naturally inclined towards the latter which is both more productive and more fun.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    exactly how would an anarchistic state bring about accomplishments like those I listed?

    1) Perhaps your idea of an anarchistic state is different from mine

    Perhaps it is. Let’s start by you describing what your idea looks like.

    My idea precludes a state. You might have organizations that are created and tasked with the fulfillment of the jobs you described, were they desirable to people.

    2) I did answer your question about education (did you notice that?). And now I have answered your other question. Pretty simply.

    I am not sure why your vision is impeding the action of the human race. We’ll likely have a better idea why when you given your description of your ‘anarchistic state’

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Alan,

    How can you expect me, or anyone else for that matter, to be able to come up with any significant detail at this stage? I never claimed to be a prophet or seer of the future. All one can possibly do is to analyze the geopolitical situation as best they can and carry the analysis to a logical if not probable conclusion(s). Have I promised more than I delivered>

    It would seem one of the sub-themes of the article is that solutions develop on the ground, on a piecemeal basis, and that they crystallize over time as well. So forgive me, but the kinds of things you’re looking for are beyond my ken.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Interesting, though, how Glenn – I suppose when intellectually pressed – falls back on two seemingly irrefutable but all-so-worn- out answers:

    (1) In a complex world, we need more, not less, regulations (a liberal response)

    (2) Human nature is what it is and it’s not going change (a conservative response)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Cindy, thanks for introducing zeitgeist into the mix. My hunch is, it’s precisely because any radical shift in human consciousness and the resulting actions aren’t always accountable by recourse to neatly-packaged, logical steps, that terms such as “zeitgeist” acquire their meaning and weight – in order to explain the unexplainable, as it were.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy
  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Protesters tell Yemeni President to quit

    “Pink revolution … Yemeni protesters say they have adopted the colour pink to show they do not want violence.” Photo

    (very cool)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nice job on this, Roger. Finally got around to giving it the reading it deserves.

    Totally agree with the notion of true progression and dearly hope that society’s organic evolution breaks through some of the obvious walls. As you touch on, the details as to what some sort of “future world” could look like are beyond the realm of possibility and explanation.

    I think there are encouraging signs in the workers’ movements, in the Yemeni protests (thanks for the updates, Cindy), in the Egyptian protests against Mubarak, in Latin American uprisings, and so on. Perhaps some of the specifics lie in these regions.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Another interesting aside. Regimes the world over, when challenged, resort to uniform if not identical means of handling dissent: tear gas, crow control, etcetera. One would think that in a world teeming with cultural and ethnic diversity and difference, some of it would rub off on the character and shape of the particular regimes, but no – the institution of the State (and its respective government) appears independent of cultural/ethnic influences and exhibits the same uniform pattern.

    This is good news, for we know that we’re dealing with one and the same thing in essence – the uniformly political shape of the modern world and thus far the predominant influence.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Revolution is in the air but US sticks to same old script

    Washington appears addicted to propping up tyrants, writes Paul McGeough.

    “Clinton uttered the ”stability” line early in the week…Consider how it might be interpreted by ordinary Egyptians – the human rights of 80 million people have been trampled for 30 years but what the US Secretary of State is most concerned about is the stability of the state.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Jordan.

    BTW, I appreciated your comments the other day re: Irv’s poetry. Shows you to be a fair person.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    These tyrants are US allies. Now the state must look like it supports freedom of the people whilst trying to maintain diplomatic relationships with dictators.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Also well worth keeping an eye on is the Tunisian revolt. This article is an interview with Kevin Ovenden and describes the “the first removal of an Arab autocrat by a popular mobilization or revolution, as opposed to a palace coup or an army coup, in more than half a century.”

    Incredible stuff. The world is changing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    My idea precludes a state. You might have organizations that are created and tasked with the fulfillment of the jobs you described, were they desirable to people.

    And where does the money come from to make these happen, Cindy? And who manages that money? Do you really suppose that people would simply voluntarily give money towards these ‘goals’ like giving offerings at a church?

    And what about the funding needed for a social safety net? Given what we’ve seen from the Right, do you REALLY suppose they would give enough money voluntarily to pay for the health care for other people, and pensions for the elderly and disabled?

    2) I did answer your question about education (did you notice that?). And now I have answered your other question. Pretty simply.

    Where?

    I am not sure why your vision is impeding the action of the human race. We’ll likely have a better idea why when you given your description of your ‘anarchistic state’

    Huh? I thought you and Roger were the ones declaring the coming ‘anarchistic state’ – or ‘anarchistic communities’ in his words. I’m simply saying that, given human nature, such is every bit as impossible as the communist and libertarian paradises.

    And until either of you show me how your ideas would work in the PRACTICAL sense – how money would be collected and managed and used for purposes that many would oppose e.g. a social safety net – then your ideas are nothing more than wishful thinking.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    BTE, Hillary is slowly changing her tune. She started to punctuate her communiques with occasional references to abuses and oppression by the governments in the region.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thousands protest in Jordan

    Protesters gather across the country, demanding the prime minister step down.

  • Jordan Richardson

    An interview with Laila Lalami on the “thirst for freedom” in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    My comments 7 & 8 were to you regarding compulsory education.

    And where does the money come from to make these happen, Cindy? And who manages that money? Do you really suppose that people would simply voluntarily give money towards these ‘goals’ like giving offerings at a church?

    Glenn, I don’t see that people need leaders to get them to pay for what they want and need. People could be elected to manage projects.

    Really, I do wish you’d just get to describing what your anarchistic society looks like. It seems to be a disorganized mess to me. I think if you talk to more actual anarchists, you’ll find your vision changed.

    And what about the funding needed for a social safety net? Given what we’ve seen from the Right, do you REALLY suppose they would give enough money voluntarily to pay for the health care for other people, and pensions for the elderly and disabled?

    You really don’t have any idea about what you are talking about, do you. Every anarchist I know believes that all people should have food, housing, medical care…without charge.

    These are generally principles shared by anarchists. At least all the ones I’ve spoken to.

    It is also human nature to be principled (as well as it is to be a selfish brute) if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be the possibility of freedom–at all.

    Your view of human nature, Glenn, is indoctrinated into you by the system you support–so that you will support it. You believe that it’s the only way because you have been trained to believe that. That is how the system replicates itself generation after generation. School insures that replication.

    Human nature is flexible and changes based on the social reality. So when you start out basing your community on the idea that people are selfish–you create selfish people.

    This society is sick, Glenn. You are complicit in keeping it that way. I recommend waking up.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Interesting, though, how Glenn – I suppose when intellectually pressed – falls back on two seemingly irrefutable but all-so-worn- out answers:

    I’m not at all ‘intellectually pressed’. I’m simply pointing out the painfully-obvious shortcomings of your idea and asking (repeatedly) how you’d get around those shortcomings…and you’re refusing to give a straight answer.

    For instance, I’ll pose you the same question I asked Cindy: “And what about the funding needed for a social safety net? Given what we’ve seen from the Right, do you REALLY suppose they would give enough money voluntarily to pay for the health care for other people, and pensions for the elderly and disabled?”

    Or do you somehow think there would be no more partisanship, no more liberals and no more conservatives as there have always been in one form or another since the beginning of human civilization?

    And exactly how would we fund and maintain a strong military? Or do you somehow think that the need for such would somehow vanish like a vapor in a breeze?

    As Alan pointed out, I’m asking for PRACTICAL answers, and you’re not giving them.

    (1) In a complex world, we need more, not less, regulations (a liberal response)

    Roger, you CHANGED what I said, which was as a population grows, there will always be a need for greater regulation.

    With a growing population comes new ideas, new concepts, new inventions, new technologies. This is a sociological FACT (and it’s why urban areas are almost ALWAYS more liberal than rural areas). I defy you to name even ONE major improvement to sociological infrastructure – highways, railroads, phones, radio, television, internet, mercantile distribution, mass-market advertising and the like – that did not require concomitant regulation. Even ONE, Roger.

    In order for your ‘anarchistic community’ to work, you need to make ALL of these work without enforced regulation…and you won’t show how. You know why you won’t show how? Because you cannot, and you’re unwilling to admit error.

    Sorry, Roger, but your line of argument is simply untenable when you are pressed for PRACTICAL solutions.

    (2) Human nature is what it is and it’s not going change (a conservative response)

    In the bell-curve distribution of human psychologies, I largely stand by that statement. Times change, technologies change, societies change…but you will ALWAYS have conservatives and liberals in one form or another.

    This is a biological FACT as I recently pointed out in this article.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And about ‘the right’. You are fighting the wrong battle. There is plenty of space for ‘the right’ to go do whatever it is they think they should do. And there is also enough space for those who want to be a part of a change to do that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    Then how can all of the societies that do not have conservatives vs liberals exist?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You are starting from what you believe, Glenn, and then you are finding evidence to justify it as fact. I can find you evidence to demonstrate it is your imagination.

  • Clavos

    Cindy,

    Well put in #60 — kudos.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    71 Also well worth keeping an eye on is the Tunisian revolt.

    Yes, the inspiration… Some interesting stuff on that: The Tunisian Spark and Tunisia Inspires The Arab World To Protest.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Personally I think that we need fewer but better written laws and I take it as a given that human nature is evolving rapidly and therefore neither what it was nor yet what it is going to be, if we survive as a species.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Glenn, I don’t see that people need leaders to get them to pay for what they want and need. People could be elected to manage projects.

    And you are NOT answering my question – where do they get the MONEY to make these projects happen? Or do you somehow think that the CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE of, say, highways and sewage collection/treatment are somehow all free of charge, that those who build them would somehow do so simply out of the goodness of their hearts?

    Really, I do wish you’d just get to describing what your anarchistic society looks like. It seems to be a disorganized mess to me. I think if you talk to more actual anarchists, you’ll find your vision changed.

    Cindy, I’m NOT the one supporting the idea – YOU and Roger are! I’m saying that – given human nature – an anarchistic society or community is flatly IMPOSSIBLE. You think I’m wrong…and I’m asking you to prove I’m wrong by giving practical details on how to make such a society or community work.

    You really don’t have any idea about what you are talking about, do you. Every anarchist I know believes that all people should have food, housing, medical care…without charge.

    So…let me get this straight – you think that loggers would go out and cut trees down, transport them to logging mills, distribute them to construction companies, and GIVE the lumber to people for free so they could build their own houses?

    And you think that miners would dig the copper (or iron or whatever) out of the ground, process it in smelters, and distribute it to construction companies who would GIVE it away to people so they could have electricity in their homes for free?

    And you think that farmers in, say, Chile would plant, grow, and pick their crops, and ship them to America, and Safeway would distribute the crops to the stores and GIVE them to the people for FREE?

    And when – not if, but WHEN we are attacked by somebody for whatever reason, the weaponry is all developed and provided for free…and the soldiers and sailors who go to fight the battles also do it for free?

    And when it comes to education, so, if a child doesn’t want to learn history or math – or reading, for that matter – they shouldn’t be made to do so? Just let them learn what they want to learn in a “fruitful, self-fulfilling way” and they’ll do just fine? Is that really what you think?

    Cindy, all I ask for are PRACTICAL answers…and you’re not giving them.

  • Clavos

    #76 as well, Cindy.

    That said, I still don’t buy the viability of anarchism in light of human nature — too many people (a substantial minority at least) have no good, no redeeming qualities at all, about them.

    And most of those are ruling countries all over the world, including this one.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I don’t think your criticism of Glenn is fair. The only way to not start from what you believe is to believe as little as possible, which very few people do. Personally I love waking up in the morning wondering what will be happening that day and not believing in very much at all.

    Given that, you – and Clavos – are just as guilty of that as Glenn, possibly worse as he does at least try to figure things out sometimes but you are far more ideologically loaded as far as I can tell.

    Believing too much stuff is generally bad for people…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Then how can all of the societies that do not have conservatives vs liberals exist?

    Show me a single society (above, say, the tribal level) where there are not locals who are – within the bounds of their societal structure – conservative or liberal?

    You can’t.

    Sometimes one side has power (usually the conservative), sometimes the other side has power. But EVERY human society above the tribal level has liberals and conservatives. Show me one that doesn’t!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Okay Glenn, here is one example of how things could work.

    Show me a single society (above, say, the tribal level)

    You can’t see the problem with your statement right there? Does human nature not apply to people at a tribal level?

    Now considering that there is a difference that you notice among tribal people, how do you explain it in terms of human nature?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Big C,

    Agreed, we all start with what we think and then defend it. We don’t all, always, fool ourselves by calling this ‘fact’. And some of us try to see beyond what we already believe (instead of believing we already know all there is to know).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    #85 Clav,

    “…the basics of anarchist theory — cooperation stimulates (species) change…” –Mark Eden

    (How I see it is that it works sort of the same way that a loving family works…and the new understanding can always start with every single new infant.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    84 – Your beliefs are getting in your way. You should have a look at the FACTS.

    How much time have you spent looking at the facts regarding compulsory and alternative views on education?

    And when it comes to education, so, if a child doesn’t want to learn history or math – or reading, for that matter – they shouldn’t be made to do so? Just let them learn what they want to learn in a “fruitful, self-fulfilling way” and they’ll do just fine? Is that really what you think?

    Yep, that is not only roughly what I think, that is what I have seen works best in practice. I have never, ever met a child who does not want to learn things–until they go to school.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    Do you still live on your boat?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I disagree with your notion that we “all start with what we think and then defend it”. You clearly do, and so do many others, but it is always a mistaken approach.

    I don’t accept that you “try to see beyond what we already believe”, nor do most other participants here…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    You should read your reference more closely:

    Money in a parecon (participatory economy) would be more akin to a bookkeeping system than a traditional capitalist currency. Money would be non-transferable between consumers, and would be only usable at a store to purchase goods.

    Electronic “credits” would be awarded to workers for their work, as a means of saying that this worker benefited society with their work. The more effort and sacrifice, the more credits are awarded. Credits would then be used to buy goods and services. Once used to purchase something, a credit would be deducted from the consumer’s total; it “disappears” and does not go into a till or bank, it is simply deducted from the consumer’s total. There would be no banks in the capitalist sense. Workers would have to work more to get more credits. In this way, there would be no flow of money. Workers would be able to borrow money if approved by an appropriate board, but no interest would be charged. The non-transferability of parecon credits would make it impossible to bribe or even beg for money.[4] People would still be free to barter their individual goods with each other, e.g. exchange a couch for a stereo, but any attempt to create an exchangeable currency would be discouraged, as this might lead to attempts to reinstate capitalism. Credits might be shareable amongst family members, depending on how the parecon is set up. A lost or stolen “credit” card would not be usable by another person, as presumably there would be means to verify the identity of a citizen at shopping centers.

    Okay, that’s all well and fine…because what it describes is a hybrid communist/libertarian paradise without hard currency…and it makes no allowance whatsoever for corruption and mismanagement in the credit allocation system. We are all human, Cindy – and because of that, there will always be those who are evil and/or corrupt.

    But what followed in the very same article was the obvious downfall of such an economy: Albert and Hahnel did not clarify how a currency of this form would be used in international trading with non-parecon countries. If a capitalist country refuses to be paid for their bought goods in this way, it is likely that a parecon nation would use a normal currency for international trading, but keep its unique currency for internal purposes.

    And WHERE would that ‘normal’ currency come from? Would it come out of thin air, or grown on trees? Especially if it runs a trade deficit?

    Cindy, your idea sounds nice in theory – but so does the classical description of communism. Anarchism as described by you cannot succeed for the same reason that communism and libertarianism cannot succeed…because such systems will ONLY succeed if everyone is of the same political/economic/philosophical mind.

    And we aren’t.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    “Or do you somehow think there would be no more partisanship, no more liberals and no more conservatives as there have always been in one form or another since the beginning of human civilization?

    And exactly how would we fund and maintain a strong military? Or do you somehow think that the need for such would somehow vanish like a vapor in a breeze? #77, Glenn

    You’re displaying failure of the imagination, Glenn. “Partisanship,” “liberals,” “conservatives” – all these are have currency but only in the context of statehood and the correlative concept of “governments” – even the best, parliamentary type of governments. The same with “maintaining a strong military.” But surely each of these terms will have become relics once statehood and governments are no longer. (Which isn’t to say the individual differences concerning temperament or general mindset will disappear. There’ll always be some who are more “conservative” and close-minded than others, but these descriptions will no longer carry the usual political taint.)

    I don’t want to be getting ahead of myself, but think of the original Star Trek scenario, in particular, the United Federation of Planets. Sure, there was an administrative body, duly elected and representative, I suppose, charged with maintaining a semblance of order and brokering inter-communal disputes. But it wasn’t a state in any traditional sense, just a federation of individual and autonomic communities. Simplify the scenario further and imagine no external threat (unless you believe in aliens), and you have no need for standing armies.

    Getting the picture?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    There’s too many empty theories and fairly pointless philosophising and posturing going on in this “debate” for it to have any meaning.

    Any new politics isn’t going to draw upon much of this sterile debate, it will find much more new fertile ground all by itself, just as evolution always does.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    Another paradigm.

    As you consider why human nature seems to change in your view, you may recognize that one pov has been dominating the world. That pov comes from a history of power and acquisition–colonialism, slavery, etc.

    We will not be free until we go beyond that paradigm. Anarchism is the key to ending that view that relationships require hierarchy or that this state of affairs is somehow ‘natural’.

    If you take a wider view, you can look beyond the belief that what we are doing is what is ‘natural’ to do. What we do, we do because a long, long time ago choices were made that took us in a particular direction. Other directions are just as ‘natural’ to us. Love is just as much a part of human nature as greed. If it was not, we could not exist.

    When greed and competition are ingrained and rewarded and even made to be requisite to survival–they become reinforced. When generosity and empathy are the norm–they become reinforced.

    Your own personal changes which you have discussed evidence that human nature is not just one way.

  • Clavos

    @#92,

    No, Cindy, at the moment I don’t; I had to move off when my wife got sick, because her paraplegia meant she was wheelchair-bound, and the interior of the boat is multi-level, doorways and companionways (passageways)are too narrow, etc.

    However, I still have it and am planning to move back on in the very near future; I enjoyed it very much, and it enabled me to be much more independent than living ashore offers; with relatively little effort or inconvenience, I could be 80+% off the grid living aboard. That appeals to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @93 We all have to start with what we think, there is no other way. The key is always to be open and ready to revise our thinking, indeed, to expose it to all manner of challenges.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    93 – I realize that you think that Big C. You will note that I believe pretty much the same about you. Having once briefly been a part of the ‘skeptic community’ (note the quotes as I am sure you are an independent thinker, though your thinking resembles the thinking within that community), I have moved past what I see as the problem inherent in that community. basically that is scientistic and positivist thinking. I find the skeptic pov with its belief that it is in a superior position to test things ‘objectively’ to be a one that prevents actual clear thinking.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, interesting that you look to the UFP for inspiration but in terms of inter-cultural relations, it seemed just as centrally controlled as most other political groupings to me.

    The one major difference we saw in ST was that money didn’t carry the same import as it does now. I think this was due to a combination of a far smaller population than now and that the economy was far richer, so much so that money was not as important.

    Although in the here and now there is no sign of our planet’s population starting to fall, there are signs that global wealth could explode as new technologies that actually already exist reach a more mature stage.

    The debate here is essentially sterile because it is so strongly retrospective and doesn’t seem to embrace current technological trends – which are going to change everything.

    I just hope we (well, I guess on a slightly selfish note, I mean me) live long enough to see it all play out. The next 20 to 30 years are going to be critical…

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I am puzzled by your contention that anarchism will do away with hierarchies; it doesn’t necessarily follow.

    I reject your notion that I am skeptical, I am just of the opinion that a lot of things need challenging. If there is a stereotype that I would accept, it would be more akin to that of the boy in the case of the Emperor’s new clothes, refusing to go along with group think of any kind.

    In terms of challenging stuff, all this “I have moved past what I see as the problem inherent in that community. basically that is scientistic and positivist thinking. I find the skeptic pov with its belief that it is in a superior position to test things ‘objectively’ to be a one that prevents actual clear thinking” is a pretty big but unsupported leap that requires some justification on your part.

    I don’t know if objectivism is actually possible but to scrub excessive certainty and have a little humility doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me. Rejecting such a perspective simply because you found it too “scientistic” (if that is actually a word) or “positivist” seems extraordinary to me, particularly when such an approach is grounded in testing and experimentation, not the essentially pointless empty theorising and philosophising that you are currently embracing.

    As Elvis said, let’s have a little less conversation and a little more action!

  • Clavos

    20-30 years, eh? Hmm.

    I won’t see it…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    There is no way of avoiding certain assumptions – e.g., that we exist, that there is an “external world,” etcetera, as long as we shy from making unnecessary assumptions. I suppose it’s from this that skepticism derives its force. Yet, most of our cognitive discourse and understanding of the world derives from our emotions and predispositions – e.g., our stance with respect, and ability to respond, to such things as empathy, love and so on – and are therefore but an expression of such. So indeed, most of our disagreements are in effect disagreement over values. Objectivist or positivist thinking and view of the world is but an attempt to mask the underlying value debate by pretending it doesn’t exist (especially since values cannot really be debated).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @101,

    Interestingly, we don’t get much of an insight into the inner workings of the federation. If it was highly structured and centralized, I suppose the ever-present possibility of external threat must have had a lot to do with it; and yet, in matters of internal relations, Kirk was under direct order not interfere in the workings of individual communities which, within reason, were more or less allowed to carve out their destinies. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    That’s why I look to Eurozone as an experiment in that general directions. The members are still bona fide states, yet their status as states is already somewhat curtailed. The recent recipients of the UE bailout – Greece and Ireland, eg. – had to agree to certain conditions which infringed on their status as absolute sovereigns. So for one thing at least, we are beginning to see the unfolding of different kinds of relationships between the EU members than what would have normally transpired if they weren’t part of the Eurozone.

    You’re right of course in that the current technological trends – and there’s no reason to think they’ll come to a halt – will

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    cont’d

    will bring forth possibilities and vistas unimaginable at this point. Who would have thought, for instance, that the revolution in social media would have the kind of impact it is having today? So yes, retrospective thinking is a disadvantage to a point – yet, we also must look to history and our understanding of history in order to try to envision the future.

    As to the kind of geopolitical structure I envision, a structure that would hold all the pieces together, I can’t think of a model beyond the UFP, and I believe the UE experiment is a manifestation of a trend, as first step perhaps, in that direction.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    You’re displaying failure of the imagination, Glenn. “Partisanship,” “liberals,” “conservatives” – all these are have currency but only in the context of statehood and the correlative concept of “governments” – even the best, parliamentary type of governments. The same with “maintaining a strong military.” But surely each of these terms will have become relics once statehood and governments are no longer.

    I’m sure Marx felt the same way of skeptics when he described the eventual communist paradise.

    Roger, so long as there are different nations, different races, different religions, different ethnic groups, different social classes, and/or different levels of education, you WILL have partisanship. You WILL have those who say that “we’re better than them because [put excuse here]”. You WILL have those who will say, “We will go impose our religion (and/or political system) on them so that they can know how wonderful and righteous our religion (and/or religious system) is!”

    And they will have military forces…and so will your ‘anarchistic community’ unless you want to have THEIR religion or THEIR political system imposed upon you.

    As much as the ideals John Lennon expressed in his song “Imagine” resonate with those of us who love peace and harmony (as I certainly do), it simply ain’t gonna happen.

    (Which isn’t to say the individual differences concerning temperament or general mindset will disappear. There’ll always be some who are more “conservative” and close-minded than others, but these descriptions will no longer carry the usual political taint.)

    Roger, did you read my article about the amygdala? It showed that our political differences – our respective liberal and conservative leanings – have much to do with our BIOLOGY. So said differences will NOT go away until our biology changes…and evolution doesn’t work that quickly.

    That, and given the hundreds of planets we’ve already discovered, I find it unlikely in the extreme that there aren’t aliens.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    What can I say, Glenn, except happy trails? And I don’t wish it upon you to stew in your own juices, but you will.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    … not the essentially pointless empty theorising and philosophising that you are currently embracing. As Elvis said, let’s have a little less conversation and a little more action!

    Can this (#102) be the same Christopher Rose who only yesterday (#36) disputed me for linking anarchist with man of action?

    Nah, must be some other Christopher Rose.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Hi Alan, you may have the wrong end of the wrong stick.

    Calling for less lip flapping and more action in the context of a discussion about a new politics doesn’t seem to me to have any correlation to my asking you why you used what seemed a slightly unusual conjunction of words as you did. I didn’t dispute you, I was simply curious, that’s all. Maybe your conflict detector has become too sensitive?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    What happened to you, Roger? Used to be, you were very, very thoughtful, logical, and articulate – and earned my respect in the process. But now…something’s changed. You’re still quite articulate, but your logic and tolerance of others are not what they once were.

    I’m not going to pretend that you’ll seriously consider what I say here, but perhaps you should consider the possibility that the way your writing has changed over the past couple years is indicative of changes in your personal life. Perhaps this is due to belonging to a different social circle than before, or maybe a personal tragedy, or the financial hardships have taken their toll on you.

    I will not use condescending language in reference to you as you have to me in several comments today. I’d like to think that today is an aberration, that you’re simply venting some off-blog frustration…because you’re better than this – MUCH better!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Having seen the Tea Party thing going on in the USA and how little it has achieved in comparison, I wonder if the more assertive approach of people in Tunisia, Egypt and others will also blow back into the States and/or parts of Europe.

    Of course, if that happened it would probably sweep away the TP too, who would be seen as part of the failing establishment. Ironic!

    If so, I embrace and support it because our current system is creaking with age and encrusted grime.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    No, Chris, it won’t ‘blow back’ to the States. Perhaps to England or France, but I feel that the possibility of these are still remote.

    Some have already noted how the riots that unseated the government in Tunisia might easily spread to other Islamic countries…and what’s going on in Egypt gives credence to what they postulated.

    In fact, I think that in the long run, these are not new, but a continuation of the sea change that began with the unrest that rocked Iran and likely changed the outcome of an election in Lebanon two years ago. I think there’s a sea change going on in the Islamic world…and the ease of the spread of information has much to do with it.

    Hence the shutdown of the internet in Egypt…and how IIRC Iran even shut down Twitter during the unrest there.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Christopher Rose (#112), you comment on the thread to an article titled “In Defense of Anarchism.” You cite blowback that “would probably sweep away … the failing establishment.” You “embrace and support it because our current system is creaking with age and encrusted grime.” Now you sound like an anarchist! Ideally, once our creaky and grimy current system is swept away, it would be replaced by anarchism. Don’t you agree?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, I wouldn’t be too sure about that; there is a lot of anger and frustration blowing around US politics that is going to come out one way or another.

    Alan, you really like framing conversation don’t you?

    To answer your question, I’m not sure we have evolved enough yet for anarchism to become the norm but I do think the need for major political reform is very widespread geographically.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @112 – cool post.

    Sorry, Glenn, was just getting exacerbated with you and tried to shake you up. Won’t do it again, but had better rediscover some principles to guide your actions and thought. It’s beyond politics.

    The best.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Oh, so you’re a reformist and not a revolutionary. Too bad. For a moment there I thought you showed promise.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Are you talking to me? Taxi Driver

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Alan, perhaps if you stopped trying to define everything for a while you could actually be something for a change. I’d settle for you being attentive rather than hyper-judgemental, thoughtful rather than glib. How about it?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    No. Mr. Rose (#115) and I were dialoging.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Personally, I think Mr. Rose’s concept of social evolution as regards humans and human institutions is quite revolutionary (if I be allowed a play on words).

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Right. Revolutionary evolution. As opposed to evolutionary revolution. You’re one hell of a communicator, Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Compared to other numbnuts on this site who keep on apologizing for the status quo in name of fixed human nature, definitely so!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, don’t you know that you can count me out!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You WILL have those who say that “we’re better than them because [put excuse here]”. You WILL have those who will say, “We will go impose our religion (and/or political system) on them so that they can know how wonderful and righteous our religion (and/or religious system) is!”

    This is patriarchal indoctrination. You can eliminate it the minute you choose to do so, starting with the next new batch of infants that comes along. It is not, at all, inevitable. Unless you insist on replicating it and support its replication.

    I am convinced that that is not the way to evolve, at all.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    This is patriarchal indoctrination. You can eliminate it the minute you choose to do so, starting with the next new batch of infants that comes along. It is not, at all, inevitable. Unless you insist on replicating it and support its replication.

    Do you really think that I WANT people to perpetuate “patriarchal indoctrination”? Cindy, I even rebuke my youngest son when he says something against Bush or Palin (and you KNOW what I think of them), and I remind him that he is not old enough to know what he believes yet!

    Tell me, Cindy – do know know ANYone with strong political beliefs who does what I just described? But that’s what I do, because I refuse to force my son to believe what I do!

    Be that as it may, Cindy, there are hundreds of millions of parents in this world who WILL tell their kids that people who hold different political beliefs are either fools or traitors, that people of other religions are evil and willing tools of satan.

    And you KNOW this.

    Cindy, as long as such people exist, we will have to defend against them…and such people WILL exist as long as there are different political systems, different religions, different races, and different ethnic groups.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Do you really think that I WANT people to perpetuate “patriarchal indoctrination”?

    Of course I don’t think that is your intention. But it is not perpetuated intentionally, it is perpetuated insidiously–by supporting a system that values ‘power over’, competition, hierarchy, etc. You are part of that system and you either reject it or you accept it and make excuses for it. You have been fed the same malarkey about human nature that we all have been fed. That line serves the status quo. It makes people believe they need those in power. To change the world you must analyse the premises the world takes as truth and challenge them.

    You have to do what Lennon Aldort and George Carlin suggest–question everything. Perhaps one might try rejecting everything you take for granted and arguing for the opposite.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    126 – I know this: It is the sickness of this culture that replicates that state of affairs. Just like the sick family replicates itself and turns out more sick members. The answer is not to acquiesce to the sickness and decide that it always has to be that way, it is to recognize that healthy families and that we need to change the state of affairs to see the subsequent changes that humans are capable of making.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If we have to defend against other people, we can do that as a community without institutionalizing an authority.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Who decides which families (or individuals) are “healthy” and which ones are “sick?” Where does this information come from?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am speaking informally. This isn’t a scientific investigation. (Although if it were, it would probably conclude that healthy was whatever supported the status quo.) We decide. We all decide.

    I think we probably can imagine some scenarios that we might agree are healthy and some that are not. Some examples: a family that offers love and attention to its members and does not oppress them vs a family that molests its children.

    Of course, everyone will have heir own opinion. The sickness I see in this culture revolves around objectification of human beings and using them as objects–generally. That is my opinion. YMMV.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    So, Jordan, say you are in an alcoholic family that molests its children, my point then, is not to accept those family dynamics, but to know that their are families that operate in other ways that are conducive to supporting and promoting the human individual spirit.

    What I said then was that we should not accept a sick society and imagine that this is what has to be, but we can choose to change our society to one that is more responsive to human needs.

  • Jordan Richardson

    No, but there has to be some scientific elements to it. There has to be a way to discern and to ensure that your view, for instance, isn’t “sick.”

    We can ideally come to points of agreement, without question, but what about the obstacles that inevitably arise between our ideas and the practical implementation of those ideas?

    When somebody brings up the how, it seems to me that dismissal is in order. The person asking those questions, in this case it’s been Glenn, is dismissed or discarded as “maintaining a status quo” or whatever. If we “all” decide, it would seem to me that there ought to be room for the “status quo” in some respect.

    From what I can see, we don’t “all” decide. Some decide for us. Some say that if we believe in the “status quo,” we’ve been “indoctrinated.” How do you know we’ve been “indoctrinated?” Why are we to believe we’re being manipulated and you’re not?

    It is your opinion, as this is mine. The real meat in the matter comes in moving beyond mere expression and into practical application. Denying that this element must have a role in any meaningful future is, in my view, perilous. It’s all well and good to discuss ideas, but they only go so far in the final analysis.

    When we move past the state and past unwarranted authority, we must have something to move to. Surely you can’t blame people for desiring to know what that something is in a little more detail.

  • Jordan Richardson

    my point then, is not to accept those family dynamics, but to know that their are families that operate in other ways that are conducive to supporting and promoting the human individual spirit.

    Of course. This, at least to me, goes without saying. There are, in my view, healthy families and sick families. But it still comes down to the decision of who (or what) decides those concepts, doesn’t it?

    You may believe that someone is being oppressed in a certain dynamic, whereas I may not see oppression in that dynamic. It may be the opposite. You may see oppression in a highly religious family that raises several healthy children with weird ideas about sexuality and gender. I may not view those children as being oppressed.

    There are extreme, obvious examples and there are subtle examples, so how do you sort those out? How do you determine, beyond what ought to be perfectly clear, what isn’t…perfectly clear? The distinction between a healthy society and a sick society is what…

    A lack of oppression? Define oppression.
    An abundance of freedom? Define freedom.

    Or how about specifics? Maybe a healthy society is one with access to practical things, like clean water, democratic rights, food, shelter, clothing, civil and human rights, etc. Maybe a sick society is one without access to those things.

    If those things are human needs, I would agree that we should change our society to one that is more conducive to those needs. But when you speak of oppression, healthy, sick, and so forth in other terminology that moves beyond needs and into specific philosophies, we need to ensure that your vision (or mine, or ours, or whomever) can be trusted.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    No objection.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    You just have to watch this, Soldier Blue.

    This is how America was won!

  • M

    Cindy #34 — I have a Clavosian problem with the ‘zeitgeist’…when you go to measure it you can’t help but loose hope for humans.

    Irrational? Hegel must be spinning in his grave.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well, M, it does give me an idea though. perhaps we should set Justin Bieber or Katy Perry on fire during the next big protest.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That ought to get some attention!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Anarchism = anarchy. Some late-breaking tidbits from CNN.com on the unrest in Egypt:

    Roughly 1,000 prisoners have escaped from Prison Demu in Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, state-run Nile TV reported. The inmates are “on the streets causing chaos and families are scared.”

    CNN’s Nic Robertson tweeted that gangs of machete- and iron-bar-wielding youths are stalking the deserted streets of Alexandria despite a curfew.

    Cairo residents have given accounts of lawlessness after police withdrew from the streets. There were reports of looting and residents appealing to authorities for protection. [Emphasis added.] [Alan, you didn’t actually emphasize anything. Which bit did you intend to stress? [Assistant Comments Editor]]

    CNN photojournalist Mary Rogers saw businesses looted in a downtown Cairo mall. She saw fast-food restaurants – KFC and Hardee’s – smashed and looted. People were carrying items from the mall.

    Journalist Ian Lee said vigilante groups in a middle-class Cairo neighborhood called Dohy were forming to protect personal property. Soldiers were in the area but did not respond to the trouble.

    CNN’s Fred Pleitgen tweeted: Illegal checkpoints popping up in Cairo. Just ran by a group of guys with guns and clubs.

    CNN’s Ben Wedeman sent these tweets:

    * Almost all police stations ransacked, arsenals looted. Suddenly weapons in the streets wielded by thugs. Where is the army?

    * In residential areas of Cairo people setting up barricades to protect their streets. Wielding clubs, knives fearing looters.

  • Ruvy

    At comment #140. Isn’t anarchy wonderful?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    I mean to emphasize appealing to authorities for protection.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Also from CNN.com:

    “There have been no police officers on the streets since this morning,” Cairo resident Sherief Abdelbaki said. “All the men are trying to protect the ladies, their wives and children.”

    “We have all become vigilantes … it’s like the Wild West,” he said. “Where is the security?”

  • Ruvy

    When you see anarchy in action, is when you get the real critique of armchair analysts like Roger and supposed “revolutionaries” like Cindy.

    One needs authority to protect people. The critique favoring anarchy is that the alleged authority does not protect people (i.e., women and children), and that critique is not too far off the mark. But something is needed to protect the women and children from the animals that humans become when there is no authority. So you get vigilante authority.

    In other words, no matter what you do, you get authority asserting itself in one form or another – lest your wife and daughter get raped. It all gets kinda simple. And when you need to keep warm, what you do is take the collected works of the armchair analysts and alleged “revolutionaries” (like the over-quoted Marx and Foucault) and burn them all in a bonfire – secure in the knowledge that it is not the Library of Alexandria you are burning – just trash.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Cf. these tidbits sown yesterday on another thread by one of BC’s reigning armchair anarchists:

    Cindy (#146): “I don’t find violence against property to be [a] terrorist threat. … Now terrorists would be people like GB, Dick Cheney, and the US military. Not someone who sets a police car on fire.”

    Cindy (#153): “I have no problem when people burn down police stations or other symbols of gov’t authority or corporate oppression (as longer [sic] as no one is physically harmed.)”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Reports such as Alan’s are typical whenever the state is put down. It is not unusual for the state to begin to cause chaos in order to make itself necessary and credible. News outlets who can sell a spectacle of violence and chaos create mass hysteria and fear.

    If you look closely at the reports you will notice that much of the reportage is speculation.

    Why wouldn’t there be armed civilians in the street after curfew, Alan? The whole uprising has been a breaking of curfew. The military has been sent out against the people. Is it surprising if people are armed?

    This reminds me most of the reports of roving gangs raping and pillaging that came from the superdome during Katrina.

    @MrWonkish
    Misdirect. Re-focus on looting (property crime). Initiate looting through the use of security forces in civilian garb (reports of this)

    @MMFlint
    Egyptian Mona Eltahawy on CNN telling CNN & media 2 stop using words “chaos” “unrest” “looting.” Call it what it is: “uprising & revolution”

    @Jnoubiyeh
    Reports have confirmed the looting is being done by the secret police of #Mubarak in an attempt to discredit the protesters. #Egypt #Jan25

    @suthichai
    RT @photo_journ: Aljazeera reporting looting in Cairo conducted by police & prisoners released from high security prison #

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    @nouvellenomade
    The situation is getting tenser, the relationship between the army and the people has changed.More claims all the looting was done by police

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    143 – Alan Kurtz
    Jan 29, 2011 at 10:37 pm
    Also from CNN.com:

    “There have been no police officers on the streets since this morning…”

    That’s because they are all busy looting. lol

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Rogue police behind looting, says Egyptian national

    Plain clothe Policemen are suspected to be behind on-going looting in major cities in Egypt, according to Germany based Egyptian journalist, Hebatallah Ismail.

    As to those men roving the streets:

    7:38pm “Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services — in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons — have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Anarchy makes governments obsolete.

    The belief that we need authority to protect us is ingrained us. This is instilled in all people who are under rule of authority. Otherwise that authority would be obsolete.

    Because of this most people are willing to believe that the disappearance of police and government will bring chaos and danger. Feed this story to reporters an news outlets and you have sensational story potential.

    Thus, the state will begin to cause the chaos that does not actually appear.

    This is a very effective tactic. As you can see Alan and Ruvy are immediately taken in by it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Isn’t it amazing, Cindy, how the MSM is so quick to pick up on the negatives while it was virtually silent in the opening stages? An attempt to discredit the uprising due to secret directives from the State Dept? No, who could have thought of that crazy idea? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, you keep making these essentially empty assertions without any apparent evidence to back up your theories.

    Why and how would anarchy actually make governments obsolete?

    How would power and conflict be managed?

    Who has a belief that we “need authority to protect us”? I’ve never encountered anybody that argues that (although there may well be some working in politics or policing that think that).

    I don’t think the disappearance of police or government would bring chaos and danger as a matter of course, but there would have to be vastly different social conditions than currently exist and people, including you, would need to conduct themselves far differently than we currently do.

    You seem to have a wonderful set of theories but precious little else to bring to the table, as your little tantrum yesterday so readily proved.

    I don’t actually see how you are part of a potential solution at all. You just seem to want to adopt some kind of illusory high ground but it isn’t convincing and fails to persuade…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Come, Christopher, you’re being somewhat unfair. You say, for example, “Who has a belief that we “need authority to protect us”? I’ve never encountered anybody that argues that (although there may well be some working in politics or policing that think that).”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Cont’d:

    Surely you must be kidding, Read some of the news tidbits by MSM posted by Alan yesterday, of people yelling and screaming: where’s the police to protect us from the looters and the vandals. Or take, for example, the “law & order” mentality, still a prominent dimension in American politics to this very day. Or the clamoring for more and more government regulations to protect us from evil corporations. All these are surely signs that belief in authority and law & order is still alive and well and not likely any time to disappear, don’t you think?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, it is very chivalrous of you to spring to Cindy’s defence – let’s hope she isn’t offended by that! ;-)

    I see a distinction between a police force and “authority”, whilst law and order is yet another matter.

    Before anarchy could in fact flourish, there would need to be a complete re-ordering of society, which doesn’t remotely appear to be on the cards, so endlessly chuffing on about it is essentially meaningless jaw flapping that isn’t going to achieve anything.

    Contrast all the years of discussion and debate that anarchy has had with the speed at which events have unfolded in Tunisia and other countries since Wikileaked.

    Powerful ideas can and do take root and flourish when it is their time; the fact that anarchy is still just a talking point after all this time is pretty eloquent proof of its ultimate impotence at this time.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Why and how would anarchy actually make governments obsolete?

    Anarchy means without rulers. It requires the elimination of government.

    How would power and conflict be managed?

    Power in anarchy is horizontal and shared.

    Conflict could be handled in any way those involved determine. You and your wife, I presume, live in an anarchistic household.

    Who has a belief that we “need authority to protect us”? I’ve never encountered anybody that argues that (although there may well be some working in politics or policing that think that).

    Most people I talk to think police, military, and government is necessary. These are authority. (Which is why they are called ‘the authorities’.)

    I don’t think the disappearance of police or government would bring chaos and danger as a matter of course, but there would have to be vastly different social conditions than currently exist and people, including you, would need to conduct themselves far differently than we currently do.

    I agree.

    You seem to have a wonderful set of theories but precious little else to bring to the table…

    Then you haven’t been paying attention for the past 3 years. I have provided the answers to the questions you ask above and other practical examples of anarchy in action as well as scads of educational information numerous times over.

    Stick around.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Christopher,

    You are welcome to define authority outside the common usage. However, if most people are calling a thing orange and you decide to call it green, it will likely cause some problems in communication.

    Authority is commonly construed to be those who enforce their power. That includes the government and all of it’s facets. That would be the laws, the courts, the police, and the military.

    In many homes, authority is construed to be the parents. In schools it is the teachers and administrators. In a place of employment the presumed authority in our society is the boss. In a building it is the property-owner. All of these relationships are enforced by the government.

    Your government wields its authority through enforcement. This enforcement includes laws, police, judges, military, etc.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Live from Egypt:

    Meanwhile, across Cairo there is not a policeman in sight and there are reports of looting and violence. People worry that Mubarak is intentionally trying to create chaos to somehow convince people that he is needed. The strategy is failing. Residents have taken matters into their own hands, helping to direct traffic and forming armed neighborhood watches, complete with checkpoints and shift changes, in districts across the city.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    158

    That is anarchy!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    @155

    It’s not out of chivalry that I’m doing this, Christopher. Besides, I don’t disagree with the import of your comment. It’s going to take a major restructure of present-day societies, political and economic, before anything like anarchistic forms of organization could begin replacing the present ones; moreover, it’s not going to happen in one clean sweep, as it were, but in bits and pieces, on a touch and go kind of basis until those forms are perfected. So no, I don’t entertain the kind of illusion you may possibly be attributing to me. I spoke time and again of the Eurozone as an experiment in that general direction; and however unstable it may yet be and uncertain to survive, we’re already beginning to see a slight shift in the nature of economic and political relationships between the member states, relationships which divert, again, however slightly, from what has been customary. So yes, I do see a pattern here as well as the way in which this process will unfold.

    As to the value of so-called “armchair philosophizing” – a derogatory term, to be sure, coined by unenlightened minds (Ruvy and Kurtz are on the tip of my tongue here) – I don’t have any great illusions about it either. Surely it’s not going to affect the events on the ground, such as the most recent developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. Those things are happening and are going to happen of their own accord and when the time is ripe. So no, “armchair philosophizing” is not going to accelerate the speed with which things happen or going to happen. Nor is it a blueprint of any kind, a master plan, for the revolution. And yet …

    As thinking persons, engaged besides in current events, it’s only natural to try to understand what’s happening in the world and make sense of it all, where we are and where we’re going, with an eye on the present and the future too. Some satisfy their natural curiosity by listening to the news; others more actively, by thinking for themselves, writing about it, engaging in discourse, and generally speaking, trying to arrive at their own understanding and analysis of the world we live in (rather than merely relying on being spoon-fed whatever tidbits come their way in a necessarily diluted, highly-ingestible form, bearing “Gerber” trademark, I might add.) And need I also add that part of arriving at one’s own understanding is to share it with others? Communicating, even on the Internet, is a natural human trait and it needs no defense.

    I shouldn’t have to be stating the obvious (it’s so hopelessly pointless), but apparently a sensible response has got to made to the many voices of late – all men of action, I presume! – who have been deriding “armchair philosophizing” as a useless endeavor. If trite is all they can understand then trite I must be.

    Meanwhile, let Ruvy and Kurtz, et al. engage in topics of their choice, and the same old and stale discussions about the idiosyncrasies of outdated and no longer functioning American politics to their hearts content; and the activists that they are, let them do that too.

    We’re living in a rapidly changing world, changing even as we speak, and I take it as my obligation as a member of the human community to contribute as best I can and communicate my understanding to others. And let others do what they do best.

    So no, I have no apologies to make, and no excuses either.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, it is simply not the case that you have provided any examples at all of anarchy in action as a way of life for people.

    I’m not re-defining any terms, you are confusing different things as being the same when they aren’t.

    Your “definition” of authority is entirely made up and can not be found in a dictionary. You seem to be objecting to anybody having any greater sense of responsibility than anybody else, but yet you yourself can’t even behave to the minimum standards that a truly anarchic lifestyle would demand.

    Your 158 isn’t anarchy, it is simply a group of people temporarily banding together to protect their own economic situation.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t know what to say to you Christopher. You are looking in the dictionary for a definition of a huge subject like ‘authority’? You can find any evidence in the world that the word authority is used like I say it is?

    I have never posted about cultures and organizations arranged in ways that are consistent with anarchy, such as the Zapatistas and the worker-run factories of Argentina, and to a lesser extent, the Inuit?

    (and your own family? which I offered as an example)

    re #158 – what that group is doing is consistent with anarchy.

    Okay then, if you don’t see those things, then we will simply have to disagree.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    First off, Cindy, do make it a point to speak of “anarchism” rather than anarchy. It’s should be a minor point to you but confusing to many for the reason that “anarchy” still carries negative connotation, meaning chaos, disorder, absence of any kind of structure, etc. I’m certain this would alleviate a great number of trite, merely verbal disagreements. I’m not accusing Christopher of confusing the two, but too many people still are.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    “You can find any evidence…”

    should be,

    You can’t find any evidence…

    (Yes, Roger, I realize that. It is that very reason I am choosing to use the word. It is an effort to bring the positive meaning into normal speech.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Well, it’s an upward hill to climb. Meanings of words don’t change overnight.

    BTW, Diana left you a response. I’ll abstain from commenting on that thread for a while till a get a better sense as to where she’s at.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, glad to see in the beginning of your #160 that we agree!

    I’m not so sure that the kind of change we are talking about won’t be sudden. We clearly need to evolve some new systems and sometimes a clean break is quicker and kinder.

    Don’t complex but stable systems absorb considerable energy and then suddenly jump to another stable state? That might be what is starting to happen here, major human tectonic plates are shifting.

    About that armchair philosophising thing; I’m not saying it is wrong to consider events of the day nor to discuss options and ideas, of course not. What I’m trying to get at is that armchair philosophising is more like talking about things that aren’t going to happen when we could be talking about what could or should happen or even what we are going to do.

    One of the things that I value about a public communal space like this is that, in order for it to work well, we participants need to grow a newer, more empathic way of understanding what people are saying so we can compensate for the other communication cues that accompany other more direct interactions. We need to receive as well as we transmit. This to me seems to demand a greater degree of emotional intelligence than has historically been the case. Maybe this new empathy, which clearly seems to require a certain degree of respect for others and voluntary self-restraint, is also part of the evolutionary process we need to go through for a more equal, more anarchistic if you will, world to emerge.

    Cindy, I still find your thinking about authority equally confused and confusing.

    As Wikipedia correctly points out, currently “Authority… means invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. Essentially authority is imposed by superiors upon inferiors either by force of arms (structural authority) or by force of argument (sapiential authority). Usually authority has components of both compulsion and persuasion”.

    Even if people had developed sufficiently to not require a formal central authority of some kind and to shun the imposition of power by force (structural authority), which clearly is not yet the case, there would still be a debate of ideas and certain ideas would gain greater authority by default if nothing else (sapiential authority).

    It follows then that even in an anarchistic environment there will still be differences of personal authority.

    Authority doesn’t go away in an anarchistic setting, it just takes on a significantly different form, not necessarily always benign.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Since you provided me with the opportunity, Christopher, let me tell you what I really think.

    I believe I provided an alternative paradigm/model for understanding, interpreting, and analyzing current events. It’s not on the economic front (vestiges of my former thinking) that we shall experience radical shifts and changes in organizational structures, paving the way and serving as a vanguard, so to speak, but on the political. To be sure, the economic forces/conditions will precipitate and drive events on the ground, provide justification and rationale, even the impetus for all kinds of movements and calls for change, no doubt about it. They’ll continue to contribute to the weakening of the State as an institution, but that alone won’t do it because the State will continue to jumpstart the economic system in place, provide it with all the necessary means support, in the interest of its own survival. It’s the inherent weakness of the State, both in concept and in practice, that will prove to be its own undoing – that’s the thesis. It’s from within that the State will crumble.

    I’ve spoken time and again of the Eurozone as a foretaste of the future. It’s still in its experimental stages, but already we’re beginning to see however slight changes in political structures more so than in economic ones. Once again, the economic ideas – in particular, concerns with becoming more competitive, uniform currency, relatively unrestricted travel for the purpose of employment – may have paved the way to, and provided the impetus for, the new political formation, but it’s in the political, I insist, that the significant shift has already taken place, more so than in the economic. Anyway, I see in this experiment a pattern that will be replicated over and over again in the future (of course, at first with varying degrees of success). In short, it’s a sign of things to come: formation of administrative bodies over larger and larger territorial domain, while the nation-states themselves will begin losing, however slowly, their absolute and preordained sovereignty rights in all areas which up till now have been their exclusive preserve, from criminal prosecution to right to wage war. The authority vested in the Hague is one example.

    Anyway, nuff said.

  • Clavos

    Most people I talk to think police, military, and government is [sic] necessary.

    Absolutely! Who else is going to take your money by force and give it to the shiftless and undeserving?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    A 60-minutes exclusive with Julian Assange.

  • M

    Rog, I’m having a hard time participating in BC’s comments section in good conscience given my disappointment in its current editorial practices. Time for a break. I look forward to reading the further development of your ideas and will leave the occasional response on your blog.

    Mark

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    M, I am surprised by your statement above as nothing about the formulation or operation of the editorial practices with regard to the comments space has changed at all.

    If you are saying that you are disappointed that the deliberate attempts of a couple of cranky folk to attack the comments space by persistently abusing other people have been resisted, then I would respond by saying that I am disappointed in you for such inaccurate superficiality. The troll would never have done such a thing…

    As has always been the case, people are able to express a far wider range of ideas here than many other sites that do not welcome divergent opinions. They simply can’t be excessively rude to other participants, that’s all.

    As always, anybody with a serious point to make is welcome to engage with me directly and will receive a prompt response, as those who have made the paltry effort to compose a quick email to me know all too well.

  • M

    Chris, if you would like to engage in a discussion concerning my disappointment in your approach, you have my e-mail address.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    One way or another, I think we should resolve this, guys, to everyone’s satisfaction. Perhaps I’m being selfish here, but I’d hate to be deprived of your oft-incisive comments, Mark. They’ve always been food for thought and more often than not, open up areas I failed to consider before. It would indeed be a great loss if you were to significantly curtail your communications.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Mark, as it is you that is expressing concern, I rather think the onus is on you but no harm done and I have emailed you…

    Roger, Mark has been a long time contributor to Blogcritics comments space and always been fairly perceptive and thoughtful. I agree with you that it would be disappointing if he stopped participating.

    On the other hand, I am as certain as one can be in an uncertain universe that the way we do things here has not changed. However, I await Mark’s email with interest.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    As to my take on things, Irv has mellowed down of late, and Alan, well, Alan will always be Alan. Nothing either of them will say or do really offends me. Perhaps as grownups, we should all adopt a more liberal attitude. After all, it’s only Internet, guys. We’re all pixels in a manner of speaking.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Oh, the email I sent him has just been returned address unknown, so Mark will have to take the initiative himself.

    Roger, I rather think you’re mistaken about both Alan and Irv but time will tell.

    Nothing either of them has ever written has offended me, although their wilful determination to ignore information they dislike and to continue repeating the same remarks over and over is disappointing and frustrating, as it effectively blocks communication, which I suppose must be the intention.

    Furthermore, even if they had offended me, it would be irrelevant. I don’t own or control this site and merely do what is asked of me with regards to the comments space.

    The comments guidelines are pretty relaxed and tolerant and basically boil down to don’t be an ass, so it really does take a certain effort to be edited or deleted. I am fairly optimistic that such people aren’t so rude and aggressive in real life or surely many other Americans would be considering, what’s the recent expression, 2nd Amendment options?

    As a reminder, here is the guidelines I work to in their gloriously brief totality:-

    Please think of the comments as a conversation between individuals and interact with civility.

    We will edit/delete spam comments, duplicate comments, unsupported accusations, personal attacks of any kind, and terms offensive to groups when used in a pejorative manner.

    In addition, we reserve the right to edit/delete comments that are some combination of pointlessly vulgar, vile, cruel, without redeeming qualities, and an embarrassment to the site.

    Subjective? Yes, but we know them when we see them and so do you.

    We also ask that you not post comments under multiple names, and it is grounds for immediate banning to comment under someone else’s name.

    We will also ban repeat or particularly egregious offenders.

    Please do not post phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment – you cannot assume the good intentions of everyone who reads them.

    And please do not post URLs – which may be long and skew the page or the comment sidebar – but make the URL an actual HTML link.

    Thanks for your help and understanding.

    Not rocket science is it?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    An interview of Noam Chomsky, Cindy, on Democracy Now!: “This is the Most Remarkable Regional Uprising that I Can Remember.”

  • cindy

    Thanks Roger. I caught the end of that interview on the day she he was on wbai while I was driving. I meant to go and listen to the beginning.

    (We had a setback…a 2nd stroke. He recovered to baseline in 2 days again and again is out of ICU. Its the lvad. A very small percentage of people get blood clots from the lvad.

  • cindy

    Sorry. Hit the post button. Anyhow. He’s doing well. Home soon. He will be moved toward the top of the transplant list as soon as he heals enough to make it safe to do.

    Things are looking upagain gonna go to the flower show if all goes well and we go home.

    Ttys (talk to you soon)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Wish both of you the best.

  • cindy

    Roger,

    George Bush is now an ‘official’ outlaw. He cancelled his Switzerland trip to avoid being arrested on torture charges. Check the news tidy. Still can’t do a link.

  • cindy

    Tidy- should be’today’

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Poetic justice, Cindy. While the US tries to use Switzerland in order to extradite Julian Assange on charges of terrorism, conspiracy, whatever, the former head of state takes precautions not to step on teh Swiss soil for fear of being charged with war crimes.

    Delicious irony!