This is the final in a series of essays in response to Matthew Lyons’ critique “Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism.” And here is the transcript of a recent lecture by Lyons where yours truly gets a couple of mentions. Part One may be viewed here. Part Two may be seen here.
By Keith Preston
“‘As long as the sun shall shine upon man’s misfortunes, the sheep will be eaten by the wolf.’ All that is left is, for those who know and can, to avoid becoming sheep.” –
-Vilfredo Pareto, The Rise & Fall of Elites
“(There is) a perpetual struggle between ‘freedom’ and ‘authority’; neither one of which will be annihilated. It appears, indeed, that we are left with a politics of perpetual protest. There cannot be any point at which those dedicated to liberty can sit back in security and assume the world is in peace, harmony and freedom…(E)ven if anarchy were to be achieved, eternal vigilance would be the bare minimum price for a modicum of success…(T)here is no final battle. The battle is forever.”
-Harold Barclay, Anarchist anthropologist
“What the common man longs for in this world, before and above all his other longings, is the simplest and most ignominious sort of peace — the peace of a trusty in a well-managed penitentiary. He is willing to sacrifice everything else to it. He puts it above his dignity and he puts it above his pride. Above all, he puts it above his liberty. The fact, perhaps, explains his veneration for policemen, in all the forms they take — his belief that there is a mysterious sanctity in law, however absurd it may be in fact. A policeman is a charlatan who offers, in return for obedience, to protect him (a) from his superiors, (b) from his equals, and (c) from himself. “
–H. L. Mencken
“…a series of fundamental misconceptions…which prevented (man) from learning the lessons of the past, and…now put his survival in question. The first of these..is putting the blame for man’s predicament on his selfishness, greed, etc.; in a word, on the aggressive, self-assertive tendencies of the individual…I would like to suggest that the integrative tendencies of the individual are incomparably more dangerous than his self-assertive tendencies.”
Matthew Lyons depicts the philosophical foundations that inform my political views in this way:
Preston’s opposition to the state is based on a radically anti-humanistic philosophy of elitism, ruthless struggle, and contempt for most people.
Preston embraces “a philosophical conservatism regarding human nature and the nature of society,” whose tenets include “natural inequality of persons at both the individual and collective levels, [and] the inevitability and legitimacy of otherness…”He is harshly critical of the left’s egalitarianism and universalism. Instead, he offers an elitist, anti-humanist philosophy that echoes Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, and Ayn Rand:
those who obtain the upper hand in the ongoing power struggle will almost always be the most ruthless, cunning and merciless of the competitors. The wolves will always win out over the sheep. Within the bleak framework of a perpetual war of each against all, there from time to time arises the exceedingly rare individual whom Nietzsche referred to as the “ubermensch.” This is the individual of superior will, strength, mind, spirit, discipline, intelligence, intuition, perceptiveness, shrewdness, wisdom, creativity, inventiveness, generosity and other such characteristics that set the human species a half step above the other animals. It is this individual who becomes the “anarch,” the “egoist,” the one who rises above the perpetual fog in which both the sheepish people and their vicious masters dwell…. It is persons such as these who carry with them the seeds of cultural and civilizational growth. For any sort of human existence to emerge beyond that of the merely animalistic, this type of individual must thrive…
Preston argues further that “the first purpose of any politics or ethics beyond the purely material or defensive” must be to protect and foster these rare, superior individuals, the anarchs. “It is apparent that the political framework most conducive to the advancement of the anarch is some sort of anarchism.” In other words, the main reason Preston supports anarchism is not to liberate all people — but to help a handful of superior individuals rise above the bestial mass of humanity.
This is a generally accurate portrayal of my view of human nature and the nature of human societies, as the extensive quotations from me in the above passages from Lyons’ essay would indicate. Just as Lyons’ critique of my economic outlook provides, on a general level, an illustration of the historic differences between the Marxist and Anarchist approaches to political economy, so does his critique also exemplify one of the most crucial philosophical conflicts in the history of modern Western political philosophy. This is the battle between egalitarianism and non-egalitarianism. This conflict is not necessarily a struggle between the Left and Right. As no less a man of the Right than Richard Spencer has observed:
…in my fantasyland, there would still be a Left and a Right—and granolas and libertarians and animal rights activists and Mormons, et al.—but they would operate within Western unity and natural hierarchy.
Some, no doubt, might counter that you can’t have a “non-egalitarian Left.” But I don’t agree with this at all. Jack London was a collectivist; HL Mencken, an anarchist; both were “leftists,” of sorts, and both rejected egalitarianism. And they both operated on a different planet than the whole spectrum of contemporary Leftists and Rightists, from Glenn Beck to Cornell West.
To this list of anti-egalitarian liberals and leftists could be added the socialist George Bernard Shaw, the anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon, and the classical liberal John Stuart Mill, all of whom expressed skepticism of the tendency of modern democracy towards ochlocracy. In his discussions of the conflicting visions of humanity and society found in traditional Western thought, Thomas Sowell has identified Plato as a proto-typical utopian radical and Aristotle as a proto-typical conservative realist. Yet it is interesting to note that neither of these two of the greatest thinkers from antiquity were egalitarians.
It should be a matter of common understanding that human beings are not “equal” on either an innate or behavioral level. Wide variation exists among human types with regards to both intellectual ability and physical or psychological fitness. It is therefore obvious that any sort of prosperous civilization with functional institutions must rank the intelligent over the stupid, the healthy over the diseased, the physically fit over the disabled, and the psychologically stable over the mentally disturbed. Persons with Down’s syndrome are not going to be neurosurgeons. Stratification must also exist whereby the wise are ranked over the foolish, the competent over the incompetent, the sober over drunks and addicts, the productive over the lazy, and so forth. Not even the most ideologically rigid leftist-anarchist commune could survive for very long and tolerate freeloaders, moochers, predators, or perpetually destructive or disruptive individuals, no matter how fervently committed the communards were to their egalitarian ideals.
An “equality of equals” may be possible, but not an equality of unequals. A group of scientists may be capable of engaging in common research projects in a relatively egalitarian manner, but they cannot reasonably be expected to seek guidance from the laboratory custodian with an IQ of 90. This does not mean that some people cannot be inferior in some ways and superior in others. Many of the greatest writers, artists, and musicians have been alcoholics and drug addicts. A person with severe physical handicaps can also be an intellectual giant (see Stephen Hawking). A person of limited intelligence can be relatively functional in their daily life while a person of much superior intellectual ability can be lacking routine life management skills. Nor should those who are inferior in many ways be subject to mistreatment. Very few people have written more defensively of a wide assortment of lumpen or marginal populations than I have. Even persons with severe moral limitations and greatly exaggerated antisocial impulses can make contributions to civilization in other ways. For instance, the violent criminal who is also talented at creative endeavors: Phil Spector, Jack Henry Abbot, Jim Gordon, or Bobby Beausoleil.
Just as there is inequality between individuals, so is there organizational and institutional inequality. Robert Michel’s well-known study of the Social Democratic Party in Germany of the early twentieth century indicated that even organizations that are ostensibly committed to egalitarian ideals, even fervently so, tend to develop an oligarchic internal structure over time. Likewise, Pareto’s also somewhat widely recognized “80/20 principle” indicates that the top twenty percent of an organization will tend to dominate the bottom eighty percent. Mosca’s conception of the “circulation of elites” suggested that elites in one organization will overlap with elites in other organizations within the wider society, and that this overlapping will have the effect of a rotating transfer of elite personnel from one organization to another. One of Georges Sorel’s key insights was that most people are more motivated by the myths surrounding institutionally established ideals than by the actual reality or substance of those ideals. The arguments of these elite theorists have been borne out quite well by empirical analysis.
There is no particular reason to think that the kinds of organizations and institutions favored by the radical Left would be any different in this regard than more conventional kinds. To be sure, I am all for the development of anarcho-syndicalist labor unions, workers councils, cooperatives, collectives, communes, land trusts, mutual banks and mutual aid societies, alternative currencies, municipalized industries, consumer cooperatives, tenants unions, claimants unions, alternative schools and universities, and other such institutions as the libertarian left has traditionally advocated. But even within the context of such institutions, the iron law of oligarchy, the 80/20 principle, the circulation of elites, and the power of myth would still apply as general sociological principles. Certainly, there are matters of degree. It is obviously not necessary for all forms of human organization to be run in the same way as the United States Marine Corps. But the extreme egalitarianism that Lyons apparently advocates in neither possible nor desirable. At some point, equality has to yield to merit and ability.
Inequality of individuals and within organizational and institutional structures, a fact of human existence that cannot be dispensed with, inevitably means social inequality. The primary barometers of social stratification identified by Max Weber-wealth, power, and status-automatically come into play here. The greater levels of merit and ability possessed by some, combined with the fact of institutional inequality, guarantees that some individuals and groups will necessarily have more wealth, power, and status than others. This certainly does not mean that we should desire a society with huge class divisions such as those found in traditional Third World societies or of the kind that the United States is rapidly becoming. Aristotle himself recognized that the most successful political units are those with a large middle class which in turn requires a widespread dispersion of wealth, power, and resources. Plutocracy is not compatible with a healthy civilization but neither is the kind of parasitical bureaucracy that modern welfare statist-mass democracies inevitably generate. Equality does not naturally occur. Therefore enforced equality requires a massive administrative bureaucracy of the kind leftists typically favor. But even this is self-defeating as the bureaucratic overlords become an elite class unto themselves. This is one of the core insights of “new class” theory.
A wide array of factors also guarantees the inequality of different population groups. Different levels of technological development and economic success, environmental circumstances, climate, topography, natural disasters, susceptibility to disease, military conquest, inherited genetic traits, historically evolved cultural factors, and different levels of social evolution indicate that there will always be “inequality” between regions, nations, communities, cultural and ethnic groups, socioeconomic categories, and so forth. For instance, with regard to gender differences, the different biological roles assumed by males and females in the procreation and child-bearing process indicates that “gender inequality” of some kind will always be with us. Further, the insights of conflict theory indicate that once former outgroups become powerful, they become as abusive and exploitative as the former ruling classes whom they replaced. The historical and contemporary world evidence for this is overwhelming. As awful as the former systems of oligarchic racial supremacy in nations like South Africa and Zimbabwe were, there is no evidence of any particular improvement in those societies since their conversion to majority rule. Indeed, the economic decline experienced by those countries has been dramatic and violent crime has increased exponentially. A new kind of puritanism motivated by misandry has begun to emerge in those countries where feminists have become the most influential. The increased political power of the homosexual movement has brought with it increased repression of free speech in the name of exempting gays from criticism. One of history’s most widely recognized outcast groups, the Jewish people, have become every bit as tyrannical as their former Gentile masters since their assumption of state power in the nation of Israel. There is no reason to believe that pervasive totalitarian humanist rule in the United States or other Western countries would be any more benevolent than any traditional system of social and political stratification found in those countries, particularly not after decades of hate propaganda depicting white Christians as evil oppressors, the formal institutionalization of victimology as the ideological superstructure of the state, and the dissemination of such in state educational institutions and the mass media.
Yet another form of inequality exists that is even more important than any kind discussed thus far. This involves the matter of moral inequality. I should begin by clarifying that I do not accept the view that any sort of objective morality exists. Morality is the outgrowth of the subjective individual and collective value judgments of human beings. Conceptions of morality, ethics, virtue, “right and wrong,” and the like are social constructs that human beings create to give order to their communities and societies and meaning and structure to their own lives. Collective moral judgments represent the specific totems and taboos erected by particular tribes. The modern leftist tribe considers any kind of differentiation on the basis of race, gender, sexuality and a few other forbidden categories to be the ultimate taboo. The religious right considers aborting a fetus or buggery to be the ultimate taboo. Nazis presumably believe racial miscegenation to be the ultimate taboo. Eco-radicals believe pollution or killing a member of an endangered species to be the ultimate taboo. No evidence exists that any of these value systems are somehow decreed by the cosmos. In the grand scheme of existence, all of these belief systems are just another way of looking at things.
What is important to this discussion is the relationship of social and cultural constructions of morality to the psychological characteristics of individuals. The well-known experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo indicate the susceptibility of the average individual to both group pressure and the influence of perceived authority figures. The evidence from social psychology is overwhelming that Arthur Koestler was correct in his observation that it is the herd instinct exhibited by the average human type rather than the much rarer impulse towards extreme egocentrism that poses the greatest social and political danger. In his study of fundamentalist religious cults, Edmund Cohen observed the distinction between the effects of cultic psychology on different personality types and the relationship of such to the herd instinct. Specifically, Cohen differentiated between the normal, “other-directed” personality and the much rarer “inner-directed” personality:
…by “inner-directed,” we mean an individual whose relation to others and to situations is guided mainly by conscience, a person who is sensitive and responsive to the several layers of his own conscience. And by “other-directed,” we mean an individual who takes his cues from peers and from generally approved points of view. He is capable of being confronted with what ought properly to disgust him but can accept it with feckless cheerfulness if others around him give off no cues to the contrary. Most people, we are warned, are really much more other-directed than appears on the surface, and it is terrible to contemplate what most of our friends and neighbors would blithely do were leaders and peers to turn malignant. Inner-directedness, particularly if accompanied by particular intuitive sensitivity or perspicacity, means than many an intrinsically admirable person must pass through life in conflict with the prevailing ethos.
In other words, the person who is “inner-directed” is an individual that is both rare and superior. It is this kind of individual who is most appropriately labeled with Nietzschean or Jungerian terms like “ubermensch” or “anarch.” It is this kind of individual that is the foundation of human advancement, achievement, and civilization.
An understanding of the “sheepish” nature of the average human type helps to properly contextualize the tendency of human herds to engage in massively predatory behavior. The gulag or concentration camp guard, invading soldier, or routine “pig” policeman is not a specifically egocentric, selfish, or antisocial individual. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. In his private life, such a person may often be the model of a good neighbor, devoted family man, or responsible citizen. It is in his role as a herd creature that he becomes a predator, and he does so not because he is a schemer or manipulator but out of a sense of duty and moral commitment to the herd, its leaders, and the specific value system that guides the herd. This phenomenon is what Hannah Arendt described as the “banality of evil.” The administrative personnel of the local gulag or the rank and file members of the terrorist SWAT team are fundamentally no different from the check out clerks at the local grocery store. They are simply ordinary individuals who are going about their business and doing their jobs.
It should also be understood that even normally superior individuals are susceptible to the herd instinct in completely irrational ways when faced with conditions of extreme pressure. For instance, the Dutch psychiatrist Joost Meerloo described how after being imprisoned by the Nazis for his activities as a member of the Dutch Resistance he began to develop feelings of guilt for his resistance activities and an impulse to confess his supposed crimes. Said Meerloo of his experience:
As soon as man is alone, closed off from the world and from the news of what is going on, his mental activity is replaced by quite different processes. Long-forgotten anxieties come to the surface, long repressed memories knock on his mind from inside. His fantasy life begins to develop and assume gigantic proportions. He cannot evaluate or check his fantasies against the events of his ordinary days, and very soon they may take possession of him.
I remember very clearly my own fantasies during the time I was in a Nazi prison. It was almost impossible for me to control my depressive thoughts of hopelessness. I had to tell myself over and over again: “Think, think. Keep your senses alert: don’t give in.” I tried to use all my psychiatric knowledge to keep my mind in a state of relaxed mobilization, and on many days I felt it was a losing battle.
To the horrors the accused victim suffers from without must be added the horrors from within. He is pursued by the unsteadiness of his own mind, which cannot always produce the same answer to a repeated question. As a human being with a conscience he is pursued by possible hidden guilt feelings, however pious he may have been, that undermine his rational awareness of his innocence. The panic of the “brainwashee,” is the total confusion he suffers about all concepts….The enemy knows that, far below the surface, human life is built up of inner contradictions. He uses this knowledge to defeat and confuse the brainwashee.
Not only superior individuals such as Meerloo but even lower order elements on the margins of society and with an overdeveloped tendency towards antisocial impulses are prone to a similar inclination for “sheepishness” when faced with the pressures of institutionalized authority. Edmund Cohen observed this phenomenon during his time as a defense attorney representing ordinary street-level criminals:
…generally I found the criminals to have good information as to the punishment risk entailed by their crimes. They had weighed the risks realistically and made the conscious decision that the benefit was worth it. The comments one often hears from criminologists about the supposed ineffectiveness of deterrence against crime ring false to those who have dealt with criminals on an individual basis. The sole gaping exception to the rule that criminals exhibit quite a functional approach to their own self-interest is in the area of confessions and admissions. Because self-disserving admissions can be used as evidence against one in court and the suspicions or inferences of the police based on the person’s silence or lack of cooperation cannot be so used, it is never in the self-interest of one suspected of a common crime to cooperate with police…Every criminal knows this from his street education, from his past experiences with defense attorneys, and from the Miranda ritual that must proceed any police interrogation…And yet, one never ceases to be amazed at the substantial proportion of convictions that would have been unobtainable had the defendant not convicted himself out of his own mouth. The typicalness of the compulsion to confess and the underlying sound but guilty conscience indicated by it are clear and impressive to all who work with common criminals.
If the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Koestler was correct in his observation that the tendency towards “sheepishness” is grossly overdeveloped in most people, even seemingly superior or otherwise antisocial or even predatory people, then from where do the wolves arise? One of the most important observations of Friedrich Hayek is that the “worst get to the top” within the context of authoritarian institutions. The reason for this is obvious enough. Those who are the least inhibited by social norms, regard for others, innate conscience, or values exterior to one’s own self-interest are precisely those who will be driven to achieve positions of wealth, power, and status by whatever means available. Lord John Acton’s dictum that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” only tells half of the story. It is also likely that those who are absolutely “corrupt” to begin with will be the ones most driven to seek to obtain “absolute power.”
If most people have an overdeveloped tendency towards a “sheep” personality, then the “wolf” personality may well be an evolutionary overcompensation. If this is indeed the case, then the personality type commonly labeled as “sociopathic” may actually be a manifestation of nature’s efforts to genetically counter the overdeveloped herd instinct. The notion of the “wolf” personality as essentially superior though maldeveloped in particular areas would go a long way to explain why “wolves” tend to be dominant in virtually all human societies. Indeed, this observation is relatively compatible with a Hobbesian conception of the nature of human societies. A possibly necessary revision to the Hobbesian outlook might be to conceive of society as less of a “war of each against all” and more as a war of individual wolves or wolf packs guiding and dominating herds of sheep.
If society can generally be conceived of as a permanent war of wolf packs leading much larger herds of sheep, then it is obviously crucial that the power to engage in coercive violence be dispersed as widely as possible. Some may object that this only creates a scenario where smaller wolf packs are dominating smaller sheep herds, but it may well be that this is the best humanity can do. Clearly, the dangers of overly centralized power are well demonstrated by historical experience. The historical evidence is also rather clear that societies with a widespread dispersion of power ultimately create better and higher achieving civilizations. For instance, it was during the eras of the Greek cities and the Roman Republic that classical civilization reached its apex, with the decline taking part as the Roman Empire became ever more expansive and bloated. The most successful empires have been those that afforded a great deal of autonomy to their regions, possessions and subject peoples such as the Ottomans or the Hapsburgs. The traditional Chinese civilization typically lacked an overly extensive or pervasive state in spite of its tradition of consolidated imperial rule by the emperor.
Besides the sheep and the wolves, we might identify a third kind of primary human personality type which is consistent with Nietzsche’s “ubermensch,” Junger’s “Anarch,” or Max Stirner’s “Egoist.” This type of person we can characterize as an “owl.” Such a people is neither a servile sheep grazing in the pasture, but nor is he a predatory wolf. Instead, such a person exhibits the characteristics we have previously identified as “inner-directed.” For civilization to genuinely thrive and continually advance, such a person and his/her survival, cultivation, and flourishing must be made paramount. What kinds of conditions make the advancement of the “owls” most probable? Just as the animal species that is most likely to survive the process of natural selection is not necessarily the strongest or most vicious animal but the kind of animal with the greatest ability at evolutionary adaption, so it is the owl personality rather than the wolf personality with the greatest prospects for evolutionary survival. Just as the adaptive animal becomes more adaptive in an ecological environment where, among other things, cover and camouflage are more readily available, so is the owl personality better protected and developed in a social and political environment where what might be called “niches of refuge” are more prevalent and a Kafkaesque all-pervasive authority is absent.
Bringing things down to the ground level once again, considerations such as these imply that the socio-political ecology most conducive to the advancement of the owl personality is some kind of political anarchism, where power, wealth, status, and resources are dispersed as widely as reasonably possible and where “niches of refuge” become exceedingly common. Most of the ideas of classical anarchism would seem to be compatible with this objective. To the degree that there are gaps to be filled in the classical anarchist ideological paradigm, other ideological systems, whether contemporary or pre-existing, may provide assistance. Among these are classical liberalism, traditional American populism, paleoconservatism, distributism, and the European New Right.
Regarding specific institutional arrangements, an anarchic civilization would likely be a collection of city-state-like entities with affiliated towns and villages, perhaps regionally federated for the purpose of maintaining common utilities and public goods. Economic arrangements could vary widely with the kinds of economic institutions favored by anarcho-syndicalists, mutalists, distributists, or Georgists playing a prominent role. There might well be common law provisions built into the legal structures of anarchic polities for the purpose of preventing over-centralization of control of wealth, such as limits on individual inheritance or land accumulation. Political power should naturally be spread out among hundreds of different communities, and among dozens of institutions within a single community. The autonomy of non-political institutions should be nurtured and preserved. Both social practices and legal norms would likely reflect the mores of particular communities.
Regarding Lyons’ claims concerning my supposed “authoritarianism,” it is clear enough that “freedom” means different things to different people. For instance, Troy Southgate is widely attacked by leftists for having uttered the following statement years ago:
The most important thing for us is the Natural Order. It is natural for men and women to procreate. Anything which threatens the harmony of Nature must be opposed. Feminism is dangerous and unnatural … because it ignores the complimentary relationship between the sexes and encourages women to rebel against their inherent feminine instincts … Homosexuality is contrary to the Natural Order because sodomy is quite undeniably an unnatural act. Groups such as OutRage are not campaigning for love between males – which has always existed in a brotherly or fatherly form – but have created a vast cult which has led to a rise in cottaging, male-rape and child sex attacks. Nature is about life and health, not death and AIDS. But we are not trying to stop homosexuals engaging in this kind of activity like the Christian moralists or bigoted denizens of censorship are doing, on the contrary, as long as this behaviour does not affect the forthcoming National-Anarchist communities then we have no interest in what people get up to elsewhere … As far as abortion is concerned, this process violates the sanctity of life and once again the killing of an unborn child is flying in the face of Nature.
The comments from Southgate are often cited as evidence of the incipient fascism of National-Anarchism. But it has to be understood that leftists have plenty of taboos of their own of a comparable nature. As one “left-libertarian” (who utterly despises me, by the way) says of his experiences with the leftist-anarchist movement:
I used to be an anarcho-communist. Actually, I started out as someone who was vaguely sympathetic to mainstream libertarianism but could never fully embrace it due to the perceived economic implications. I eventually drifted to social anarchism thanks to someone who’s name I won’t mention, because it’s too embarrassing.
After hanging around them for a while I realized that, for all their pretenses, most of them were really just state-socialists who wanted to abolish the State by making it smaller and calling it something else. After about a year of hanging around Libcom and the livejournal anarchist community, I encountered people who, under the aegis of “community self-management”, supported
- smoking and alcohol bans
- bans on currently illicit drugs
- bans on caffeinated substances (all drugs are really just preventing you from dealing with problems, you see)
- censorship of pornography (on feminist grounds)
- sexual practices like BDSM (same grounds, no matter the gender of the participants or who was in what role)
- bans on prostitution (same grounds)
- bans on religion or public religious expression (this included atheist religions like Buddhism, which were the same thing because they were “irrational”)
- bans on advertisement (which in this context meant any free speech with a commercial twist)
- bans on eating meat
- gun control (except for members of the official community-approved militia, which is in no way the same thing as a local police department)
- mandatory work assignments (ie slavery)
- the blatant statement, in these exact words, that “Anarchism is not individualist” on no less than twelve separate occasions over the course of seven months. Not everybody in those communities actively agreed with them, but nobody got up and seriously disputed it.
- that if you don’t like any of these rules, you’re not free to just quit the community, draw a line around your house and choose not to obey while forfeiting any benefits. No, as long as you’re in what they say are the the boundaries (borders?) of “the community”, you’re bound to follow the rules, otherwise you have to move someplace else (“love it or leave it”, as the conservative mantra goes). You’d think for a moment that this conflicts with An-comm property conceptions because they’re effectively exercising power over land that they do not occupy, implying that they own it and making “the community” into One Big Landlord a la Hoppean feudalism.
So I decided that we really didn’t want the same things, and that what they wanted was really some kind of Maoist concentration commune where we all sit in a circle and publicly harass the people who aren’t conforming hard enough. No thanks, comrade.
And this commentator is merely describing the anarchist wing of the Left, not the avowedly statist variation which dominates the mainstream of leftism. There is no intrinsic reason why the “right’ to, for instance, engage in inter-racial or homosexual sex or have an abortion is any more inherently sacred than the “right” to possess handguns or switchblade knives, engage in drug use or prostitution, eat meat, accumulate money or property, practice religion, practice BSDM, drink alcohol at age seventeen, ride a motorcycle without a helmet, or smoke cigarettes in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Radical feminists represent only a subset of modern American women. There are likely many more female born-again Christians than devotees of Catherine MacKinnon. Being a good civil libertarian and Stirnerite individualist, I would prefer a “do your own thing” approach to legal and social matters. Combine the Gun Owners of America, the NRA, the ACLU, NORML, COYOTE, and Critical Resistance and you have a pretty good summation of my views on such matters. But clearly not everyone feels this way, not even most so-called “progressives.”
Says Matthew Lyons:
Unlike Preston’s version of revolution, that means fighting not just centralized state power, but all forms of oppression.
Unlike Lyons’ version of revolution, this means fighting for a genuine dispersion of power, not just creating a Marxist state dominated by self-appointed leaders of narrow interest groups claiming special victim status.