by Ryder Wes Hardin
The fear of statelessness, randomness, and unpredictability.
Classical fascism and classical anarchism are philosophical brothers with a lengthy history of fighting each other. Both were composed of former Marxists equipped with militancy and syndicalism interlaced with visions of a natural order. The primary difference between the fascists and the anarchists is the question of the state. The former views the state as paramount to a decent order, the latter views the state as problematic.
In contrast to the anarchists, the fascists are far more fearful of the Black Swan. The “Black Swan” theory is an attempt to explain rare and unexpected high profile events driven by chance and randomness that immediately falsify inductive logic. The Black Swan is more or less a metaphor to show the ways in which humans rely on “the experts” or “the intellectuals” to predict a calculated future based on historical information—when in reality the experts and intellectuals are clueless as to what will come. The Black Swan event is entirely unpredictable yet seems explainable in retrospect — everything is always obvious after the fact. Examples of Black Swans include the birth of religions, the rise of new political powers, stock markets crashing, large scale terrorist attacks, things like the computer being invented, governments collapsing, and so on. Contrary to fascist belief, the history of the world has been driven by a small handful of random, unpredictable, and devastating Black Swans. It should be noted that the Black Swan can be seen as positive as well as negative, depending on your circumstances.
Now to be fair, most of the contemporary anarchist movements fear the Black Swan, as well. Anarchists believe they are following rational, truthful and factual calculations when in actuality they are following a belief of certainty based on hindsight and dubious predictors. In other words, most anarchists are planning a future of white swans. The various anarchist intellectuals allude to a truth of a conclusion which offers a vision of what their particular form of anarchy might “look like.” And yet this conclusion is so fragile. It only takes a single black bird to come along and bring it all down. The Black Swan character of anarchy is too shocking, too surprising, and too non-systematic — even for anarchists. If anything, to ‘be an anarchist’ is to recognize that anarchy is so disorderly, so unpredictable, and so original as to disrupt itself by creating a massive feeding ground for more Black Swans to join in. Of course anarchists can not possibly predict the future activity of anarchy. It would seem to me that to ‘be an anarchist’ means that we must allow ourselves to think in a way that allows anarchy to surprise us, and strangely so.
The fascist, however, struggles with the randomness of the world. He takes himself to extreme lengths to prevent the inevitable and unstoppable Black Swan from entering in. He is overly conservative toward the negative Black Swan and thus remains hostile to the positive Black Swan. For instance, the fascist clings to “state power” as a necessary tool to survival — even as the failed nation-state hollows out and allows for new systems of governance to emerge.
When one studies the history of the modern state one will find a centralization of top-down decision-making by self-serving leaders whose decisions are incredibly fragile because those who control the state are working within a particular framework to maintain power. The state is inherently weak due to it’s inability to allow for its parts to be regularly destroyed and reconstructed, as seen in nature’s strongest systems (biological evolution, the human body, etc.). Internal destruction is a necessary component to the development of a strong, ever changing natural system that functions beyond the constraints of a conventional state. Just as anarchy generates new modes of human creative ability, so does it too carry the less fashionable but equally important process of eliminating weakness.
In fear of the negative Black Swan, the fascists prefer to disband weakness by attempting to use the state to starve society of volatility, randomness, and unpredictability, thereby constructing a monstrous parent state in opposition to harm, and annihilating the self-organization and spontaneous healing of human nature through systematic self domination. Humans who attempt to hide from nature’s chaos will only be harmed by nature more than they will benefit from nature. One can not respond robustly to nature’s bombshells without recognizing and honoring the volatility and randomness of human nature while remaining free to tinker and experiment with individual and tribal fitness.
Those who are truly capable of revolutionizing power from within are free to become self reliant, self repairable, and more powerful than ever. But the idea that a group of individuals can setup a state to “secure” themselves in an ever-changing environment kills off the human ability to evolve variants that may eventually become remarkable systems. The state is a type of institutional power that lives cosmetically, queering the acquisition for real power. Moreover, the state is a large, structural system that guarantees protection to large groups of sheep, and in doing so, encourages great weakness. Put simply, the establishment of the State is a fear-driven, back-biting political strategy best described by Hans-Hermann Hoppe as a “scandalous deviation from the natural order.”
History shows that the fascist state has always been composed of larger disinfected structures which in many cases are connected to other fragile structures. The disinfected fascist sees everything as a potential poison, and in his attempt to systematically guard himself from all poisons, the fascist falls ill when the poison finally reaches him. Despite the fascist’s obsession with physical culture, the people of the fascist state are so fragile and fearful — that if we remove the state, the order is overthrown. The anarchist on the other hand is less interested in state systems and more interested in building immune systems. The anarchist drinks a few drops of poison and recognizes that decadence is not something that can be eradicated.
As an anarchist I’ve grown to reject all preconceived notions of “tribe,” “society,” or “world,” although I hold to my own principles — everything remains subject to discourse. For the conservative, liberal, or fascist – this is a frightening position. For the anarchist, it’s a very liberating one. Most human groups have two things in common: 1) they adhere to a single view of the world that stands above all other views, ideas, systems and cultures, and 2) they seek a social order that is planned, large, safe, swan-free, and based upon the general idea of security. Naturally, the element of self admiration prevents these groups from recognizing the flexibility that any individual might take. Most fascists are do-gooders with less power, less thought, less flexibility and less robustness, because they lack a radical approach to risk. The anarchist who soaks in danger remains flexible to the point of knowing the tides, spotting the best ideas, evaluating the greatest individuals, and potentially running with them. The anarchist view of the world is loose, not-so-serious, and pregnant with possibilities — enough to make room for anarchy’s activity, and to allow the chaos, chance and randomness into one’s life.