A news story informs us that the U.S. military is “easing” its restrictions against women serving in combat, so that they can enjoy an “equal playing field” with men in their opportunities to have their minds and bodies ripped apart in wartime. Medals and promotions are disproportionately awarded to men, depriving women of their equal right to come home in flag-draped coffins, or to be rehabilitated with artificial limbs!
If there are any intelligent minds out there who still do not understand why “equality” and “liberty” are wholly incompatible concepts, perhaps news stories such as this will help illustrate the differences. The feminists who bemoan the unfairness of women not being allowed to share in the state’s systems of victimization need to go back to “Go” in their thinking.
Categories: Men and Women
Granted this is straight up military propaganda:
An article about the disproportionate number of Native American’s who serve in the military. There’s a line in there about when Natives got the “right” to serve and patriotically participate in the very imperialistic system that we fell victim to. Gee thanks, assholes. What they don’t mention is that our communities have been virtually destroyed and the recruiters circle like fucking vultures.
Does anyone else find it interesting how the empire changes it’s self-justification in accordance with the cultural zeitgeist? First, “Manifest Destiny” and now….”Democracy and Equality”!
‘All sheep are born equal and have the right to be freed of mutton and wool’. Right. Always beware of those benevolent masters Butler – those who only have your best interests at heart. They’re like shit in a field – everywhere. But hang on a minute Butler, feminists aren’t the people who spring immediately to my mind when I want to attack militarism or imperialism – what’s going on? What have you got against feminism? “Equality and liberty are wholly incompatible concepts…” But my understanding of the principle of equality is one of people working together without leaders or bosses, giving what they can to society and taking from it what they need? How does that threaten your ‘iiberty’ Butler? No answer. Butler – is your version of liberty the same as the benevolent master’s version of equality?
“An article about the disproportionate number of Native American’s who serve in the military. There’s a line in there about when Natives got the “right” to serve and patriotically participate in the very imperialistic system that we fell victim to.”
Virtually every grad school text on the history of civil rights in the U.S. that I ever read started by pointing out that desegregation of the U.S. military was the first step towards supposed racial “progress” in the postwar era: “How wonderful it was that blacks and whites could now share the same barracks before dying on the battlefield for the empire!”
“What they don’t mention is that our communities have been virtually destroyed and the recruiters circle like fucking vultures.”
I hate those fuckers. I used to manage a restaurant that was located next door to a military recruiting office. A lot of the employees who worked for me were high school and college aged and the recruiters would descend on them like vultures as you say everyday when the kids were coming across the parking lot to work. A lot of our employees were black kids and the recruiters used to tell them crap about how serving in the military could help them with their career ambitions like being rap artists and stuff like that. Total predators.
I actually think these issues as much as any distinguish the true radicals from so-called “progressives.” The latter views greater integration of the state’s armed forces along race/gender/gay/whatever lines as “progress” while the former wants to abolish the US empire, military-industrial complex and imperial legions altogether.
It also helps to illustrate the middle class orientation of so-called “progressives.” What are the main institutions that do harm to those populations the Left claims to champion like minorities, women, youth, the poor, working class, etc.? Obviously the military that gets them killed disproportionately in imperial warfare is a major one (not too mention all the foreign women and brown people killed by the empire). Then there’s the police state that imprisons them en masse. Then there is the plutocratic economy that is killing them economically.
Progressive typically ignore all of this or regard it as a tertiary matter. What really matters to them is getting a bigger piece of the system’s pie for the elite members of the traditional minority groups (hence the emphasis on things like affirmative action), expanding the range of public sector jobs for “progressives,” more subsidies to institutions that employ them (like schools and universities), a bigger welfare state with all sorts of goodies for the upper middle class (like single payer health care), defense of their lifestyle interests (hence the emphasis on abortion and gay marriage as priority issues), advancement of their therapeutic values (environmentalism, vegetarianism, anti-smoking crusades, banning sugar and salt and fat, seat belt laws, firearms bans), etc.
Of course, all of this is light years away from genuinely radical goals like overthrowing the state, smashing the plutocracy, repelling the police state, etc. which are obviously goals most “progressives” would be horrified by.
“Does anyone else find it interesting how the empire changes it’s self-justification in accordance with the cultural zeitgeist? First, “Manifest Destiny” and now….”Democracy and Equality”!”
Sure. Ultimately, it’s always about justifying the position of those who are the most powerful.
“But my understanding of the principle of equality is one of people working together without leaders or bosses, giving what they can to society and taking from it what they need? How does that threaten your ‘iiberty’ Butler? No answer. Butler – is your version of liberty the same as the benevolent master’s version of equality?”
Surely, you must understand the difference between cooperative individualism or voluntary communalism of the kind you seem to be advocating and the kind of egalitarian-collectivist-authoritarian state that Shaffer is attacking. If you are an anarchist, then surely you must understand the historic conflict and ultimate incompatibility between the libertarian socialist tradition and the Blanquist and Marxist traditions. Remember that it was the French Revolution that fully introduced the concept of conscript armies into European civilization as opposed to the largely mercenary armies of the feudal era. Egalitarianism is hardly synonymous with liberty as the “Maoist International Movement” aptly demonstrated:
“MIM is an internationalist organization that works from the vantage point of the Third World proletariat; thus, its members are not Amerikans, but world citizens.
MIM struggles to end the oppression of all groups over other groups: classes, genders, nations. MIM knows this is only possible by building public
opinion to seize power through armed struggle.”
One of the points that I was trying to make, maybe not clearly enough, is that I think we often have different notions of what some of these ‘words’ actually mean. Butler has very different ideas to romanticanarchist about what ‘freedom’ actually is. For people like Butler who may have learnt to fear things that are ‘other’, the idea of equality is probably a bit of an anathema. Butler’s motivation is not really to attack militarism or even the state. It is, in the end, to defend himself against the notion of equality itself and from the related principles of solidarity and collective action. “For liberty romanticanarchist you’ve got to be strong. You’re a fool if you trust those feminists who live down the road”. But romanticanarchist quite likes the feminists that live down the road. One of them turned up last week to help when the police tried to evict him and his mates from their house. romanticanarchist believes firmly in the principles of solidarity and collective action, as I said before (for Keith’s benefit) WITHOUT LEADERS OR BOSSES! romanticanarchist is going out with now with one of the feminists that live down the road, so he doesn’t spend so much time with Butler. Because Liberty without Equality is after all PRIVILEGE (I dare say somebody else once said that)…
“For people like Butler who may have learnt to fear things that are ‘other’, the idea of equality is probably a bit of an anathema. Butler’s motivation is not really to attack militarism or even the state. It is, in the end, to defend himself against the notion of equality itself and from the related principles of solidarity and collective action.”
The view that Butler Shaffer is primarily motivated by “fear of the Other” is, uh, a rather limited understanding his ideas…to say the least.
“One of them turned up last week to help when the police tried to evict him and his mates from their house. romanticanarchist believes firmly in the principles of solidarity and collective action,”
It’s not a question of either/or.
Butler states that he believes notions of equality are ‘wholly incompatible’ with his interpretation of liberty. To evidence this he provides us with some information relating to the Military’s policy on equal opportunities. Maybe you think this is an impressive piece of analysis – I don’t know. Maybe I’m just giving him the benefit of the doubt when I suggest that he might be motivated by fear. Correct me if I’m wrong Keith, but you seem to be agreeing with me – that it’s NOT a question of either/or – that liberty and equality are not only compatible, but actually desirable and necessary in a free society?
“Correct me if I’m wrong Keith, but you seem to be agreeing with me – that it’s NOT a question of either/or – that liberty and equality are not only compatible, but actually desirable and necessary in a free society?”
Well, as you say, it depends on how these terms are defined.
I define “liberty” in the classical liberal sense of “negative liberty,” i.e. the absence of physically coercive authority over the individual: “Congress shall make no laws….” and all that.
When it comes to “equality,” of course I’m in favor of “equal rights” in the sense that everyone has the right to free speech, religion, assembly, fair trial, etc. regardless of social position.
As for economic quality, it depends on what one means by that. I’m for stripping away every form of state intervention in the economy that creates plutocratic privilege. I’m also for creating alternative economic enterprises of a cooperative nature like traditional anarchists favor. But I also lean towards the idea that some are always going to be more economically successful than others. For instance, I think some anarcho-syndicalist labor federations would be more successful than others, some anarchist communes more successful, some mutual banks, some cooperative enterprises, etc. That means that some regions, communities, social groups, etc will probably be more economically successful while others will be less so. I generally follow Aristotle’s line of thinking on this: total equality is not desirable because it overlooks the principle of merit but we don’t want inequality to the point where there’s oppression and exploitation. So it’s a matter of finding a happy medium.
As for social equality, I think those who are intelligent, wise, educated, sober, diligent, healthy, strong, etc. will always be advantaged over the foolish, stupid, lazy, sickly, weak, etc. So some individuals will naturally rise while others fall behind due to their failure or innate weaknesses. That doesn’t mean anyone should dump on those on the bottom for its own sake. For instance, I’m all for upholding the rights of homeless drug addicts or whatever, but I think some people are simply “born to lose” and would probably be fuck ups in any kind of society.
Concerning relations between demographic groups, I suspect the larger groups will always have a tendency to dominate (races, religions, cultures, etc.) One primary reason I’m a radical decentralist is because I see it as a means to at least some level of self-determination for even smaller or more marginal social groups. Since this discussion is taking place in the context of an original post about feminism, I’ll just say that I outlined my views on feminism fairly extensively here: http://europidmusings.com/2010/06/22/feminism-women-national-anarchism-an-interview-with-keith-preston/
All sounds mighty reasonable to me Keith. As you know, many of the attributes you refer to in your paragraph on social equality are social/cultural constructions. Their meanings are likely to be subject to change, especially one would hope within the context of an organised, creative and co-operative society – one with a sophisticated understanding of the nature of power and which also rejects coercive authority. But I agree, society isn’t going to become some kind of hippy utopia where everybody holds hands and eats smoked salmon and drinks pink champagne. Some people will fuck up, seemingly irrespective of their social or economic circumstances. On the other hand, I might be careful about making comments which appear sympathetic to the cause of biological determinism, especially if I was in the habit of hanging around with the likes of Troy Southgate.
I’m sure I will get around to reading your thoughts on feminism, er…one day.
“On the other hand, I might be careful about making comments which appear sympathetic to the cause of biological determinism,”
Again, it’s not a question of either/or. Some aspects of the human experience seem to be biologically determined, while others may be dependent on environmental or social factors. There’s also a lot we don’t really know.
For instance, why are whites more susceptible to cystic fibrosis, blacks more susceptible to sickle cell anemia, and Jews more susceptible to Tay-Sachs disease? This would seem to indicate some genetic differences among ethnic groups. On the other hand there is evidence that IQ deteminists are in error as the average IQ among population groups seems to be elastic and can rise or fall over time. This indicates that factors like low IQ might be at least partially attributable to environmental or social factors like malnutrition. I think the evidence is still unclear to the degree that there is not a whole lot of room for certainty on these kinds of questions.
“especially if I was in the habit of hanging around with the likes of Troy Southgate.”
Oh, Troy’s not that bad. 🙂 This is from his N-AM manifesto:
“‘Our vision, in a nutshell, is one of small village-communities in which people occupy their own space in which to live in accordance with their own principles. These principles depend on the nature of the people forming the community in the first place, because the last thing we wish to do is impose a rigid or dogmatic system of any kind. In theory, therefore, National-Anarchists can be Christian or pagan, farmers or artisans, heterosexual or homosexual. The important thing, however, is for National-Anarchist communities to be self-sufficient. They should also be mutualist, rather than coercive. In other words, people should be free to come and go at all times. If you are unhappy with the unifying principle of one National-Anarchist community, then simply relocate to another. On the other hand, communities must be respectful of their neighbours and be prepared to defend themselves from outsiders.”
What’s so awful about any of that?
Precisely. Social problems arise within the context of a range of complex interactions. But as an anarchist, I believe that considerations of power are the most significant factors. A social problem isn’t even a social problem – unless you belong to one of those powerful groups of people or institutions that says that it is. I seem to remember a great anarchist slogan from the eighties: Destroy power, not people. But in order to destroy power, you have to understand what it is. It’s the main function of an anarchist and of an anarchist society. Troy’s ‘vision’ of a free society pretty much boils down to: If you don’t like it, you can fuck off. His manifesto betrays a complete absence of understanding of the central tenets of anarchism. That’s because he’s not an anarchist. He’s a Nazi, turned racial separatist.
Is a Nazi who’s unwilling to subjugate the next village over really anything to worry about? I know a lot of Natives who are racial separatists (for good reason, as far as I’m concerned.)
I’ve got respect for National Anarchism, but I don’t think NA is capable of taking over America, nor is that anything we advocate for here.
Thanks for your contribution Vince. I agree, Native American’s have very good reasons for turning to separatism for protection. And any group of people that has been on the wrong side of genocide doesn’t need a lecture from me – let alone from the descendants of the perpetrators, about the means by which they should fight back. But the crucial issue here for me as an anarchist is again about power and about oppression – it’s not about race (sic) per se.
I can’t say that I share your ‘respect’ for the concept of National Anarchism, although I tend to agree with you about its prospects as a political force.
National Anarchism is a bastardisation of ideas which were being promoted by a guy from the UK called Richard Hunt about 25 years ago. Richard wanted to see the UK transformed into a collection of small autonomous self sufficient villages, which he believed would bring regression of technology – no pollution, no bomb etc. He called it ‘The Natural Society’ – a ‘Grubby Utopia’. Pretty harmless you might think? But the main problem with the model, as Richard would tell you himself, was that it was going to probably require a reduction in the British population of about oh…50 million people:
Enter (stage right) ex Political Soldier, professed Entryist and all round good guy – Troy Southgate.
Now leaving aside for just one minute the problem of how he was going to reduce the country’s population by about 50 million people, for Troy Southgate, Richard Hunt’s ideas were the perfect blueprint for setting up his own exclusive communities. But in Troy’s communities some people just wouldn’t be welcome. In Troy’s communities, people would be free to discriminate against other people on the grounds of their ethnicity, their sexuality, if they were disabled, if they had mental health problems – whatever. Richard Hunt’s Natural Society or Grubby Utopia would be Troy Southgate’s blueprint for intolerance, for oppression and who knows, for atrocity.
Southgate of course spins all of this in a very different way as you might expect. But behind the rhetoric, behind the trendy graphics and the respectable books on old Nazis, there’s just another Nazi trying to re-invent himself.
“Is a nazi…really anything to worry about?”
That might be a question better answered by one of the relatives of the 11-17 million victims of the Holocaust that took place in Europe between 1939-45.
how can one exclude and oppress at the same time?
It seems as if you believe a Nazi, even a former Nazi, is necessarily forever bound to do certain things, act in a certain way. This is certainly not always the case, as from my experiences in the white nationalist movement most of them, strangely enough for a movement identifying itself as against the modern world, resemble law n’ order conservatives in their penchant for an all-powerful State to bring order to a society and keep the rabble in line. And as a newcomer I’m not necessarily an expert on the recent history of radical movements, but he seemed to be taken enough with Richard Hunt’s green-anarchist ideas to become a devout disciple of Proudhon and Bakunin, to go against one of the sacred cows of white nationalism, authoritarian thinking. He is now simply nothing more than a conservative anarchist, which from any intelligent and nuanced anarchist’s point of view, shouldn’t be any worse than a libertine anarchist or a Native American anarchist or anything else. He is now in a position to spread the anarchist message far beyond anything anyone could have accomplished previously. Why is this considered a bad thing? Now this site is primarily populated by generally left-wing people who have discovered right-wing ideas and decided to adopt them into their philosophy. Is it unacceptable for a right-winger to adopt left-wing ideas into his philosophy? Why is one acceptable but the other dishonest entryism? You could certainly expect the nationalists to accuse us of hijacking the movement in order to spread degenerate libertine decadence, weakness and chaos. Fortunately this hasn’t happened much, and in fact they seem to be willing to work with anyone who shares even some of their ends, which is why we normally consider the Right to be of a higher caliber than leftists.
Although now that he brings it up I am interested in how Southgate actually made the jump, intellectually, from statist nationalism to anarchism.
This is the closest thing to a National Anarchist community in America that I am aware of. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it N-A, because it’s a Native American community. We have our own thing going on and don’t need a western label for it.
Non natives (primarily whites, but some hispanics) are usually asked to leave the reservation if they stray from tourist areas or are in the village when it’s “closed.” It’s extremely patriarchal by American standards, and I know of many white progressives who have referred to it as a highly sexist community, though I don’t know anyone from the tribe who would describe it as such. It is described as a secretive, conservative community. Again, by American standards, it has rigid gender roles and clearly defined expectations of behavior. If a white community acted this way it would be described as a highly racist and conservative. Most white people (including self proclaimed anti-racists) feel uncomfortable here if they stray outside of the clearly defined tourist areas.
Granted this place has a lot of social issues, too. But it has survived for 1,000 years against repeated sieges by other tribes, the Spanish, the Mexicans and the US. A lot of that, I think, is due to its conservative culture, communalism and it’s “us vs. them” outlook. Food for thought.
All that isn’t to say that any Native American communities are American conservative, nor would I say they’re liberal. With respect to power and oppression, they run the full range of having rigid social hierarchy to being quite egalitarian; but almost all of them are communal and most are anarchist to one degree or another (though they’d never describe themselves as such nor should they.) So could a rigid, socially conservative Native American community with clear, boderline sexist gender roles, practicing racial separatism coexist with a nearby left anarchist commune? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
” He is now simply nothing more than a conservative anarchist, which from any intelligent and nuanced anarchist’s point of view, shouldn’t be any worse than a libertine anarchist or a Native American anarchist or anything else. He is now in a position to spread the anarchist message far beyond anything anyone could have accomplished previously.”
That’s the same pattern that you see in the lives of many well-known anarchists.
Murray Bookchin was a former Communist turned anarcho-communist.
Karl Hess was a former Republican turned anarcho-capitalist.
Lorenzo Komboa Ervin is a former Black Panther turned black anarchist.
Troy Southgate is a former National Frontist turned national-anarchist.
Naturally, everyone who is drawn to anarchism is going to be most inclined towards whatever hyphenated brand of anarchism most suits their own cultural background and personal preferences. Vince is a Native American anarchist because that is what fits with his personal and cultural heritage. Miles is a black anarchist because that is what fits most with his own ethnic identity. LJP is a queer anarchist because that fits with his own identity and community. I am a Nietzschean-Stirnerite-Junerian-nihilist-atheist anarchist because that is what fits with my own worldview and approach to life. Troy and Welf are N-As because that’s what fits with their own values and political backgrounds.
“Why is this considered a bad thing? Now this site is primarily populated by generally left-wing people who have discovered right-wing ideas and decided to adopt them into their philosophy. Is it unacceptable for a right-winger to adopt left-wing ideas into his philosophy? Why is one acceptable but the other dishonest entryism? You could certainly expect the nationalists to accuse us of hijacking the movement in order to spread degenerate libertine decadence, weakness and chaos. Fortunately this hasn’t happened much, and in fact they seem to be willing to work with anyone who shares even some of their ends, which is why we normally consider the Right to be of a higher caliber than leftists.”
I think the big issue here is universalism. The nationalist Right is generally much less inclined towards universalism than the Left so our advocacy of an anarchist pluralism than encompasses the entire range of anarchist thought is less offensive to the N-As, “anarchists of the right,” and by extension nationalists in a more general sense than it is to leftists. The N-A idea of decentralized particularism is very similar of course to anarcho-pluralism, which why there is so much overlap between N-A and ARV/ATS, even if N-A has more conventionally rightist roots than most of us do. I think rightists on average are more accepting of the existence of ways other than their own (even if they often prefer separation) than leftists who tend to believe that all mankind must ultimately adopt their preferred model of society.
I think the European New Right is correct that leftist universalism is a secularization of Christian universalist ideas: “Love thy neighbor as thy self….,” “The last shall be the first…,” “Go ye into all the world and preach…,” “Jesus died than all might be saved…”; The only way this differs from leftism is that Christians want to bring other-worldly spiritual salvation to all mankind while leftists want to bring secular salvation through “democracy and human rights.”
Incidentally, I also think modern racist ideologies are also rooted in Christianity, only the dualistic rather than the universalist strand of Christianity: “the saved and the lost…”, “the just and unjust….”, “saints and sinners….”, “God and the Devil…”
Authentic Nazi ideology is an extreme variation of this. Substitute “Aryans and Jews” for “saved and lost” and substitute the “Thousand Year Reich and Auschwitz” for “Heaven and Hell” and you see what I mean. This is an essential point that Alain De Benoist has made and, ironically, one that many who claim to have been influenced by him actually miss:
“The philosophical sources of racist ideology are more numerous than one would think. The West’s monotheism has not been conducive to tolerance. For a long time, the idea that there is only one God, one truth and thus implicitly one model of civilization has legitimated racially intolerant behavior. To suppress allegedly “bloodthirsty” pagan cults was to eradicate evil and save souls — even at the price of the lives of those hose souls were being saved. In some instances, this led to the disappearance of entire populations. The typical example is that of Latin American natives. For a time theologians even debated whether they had a soul. The Bible sanctions the execution of “idolaters” as a sacred duty.
One of the canons adopted at the Lateran Council of 1215 declared: “Those who kill heretics are not guilty of murder (homicidas non esse qui heretici trucidant).” Scholastic rationalism privileged classifications. The school of ontological realism proposed the idea of a natural essence, which later turned into the idea of biological “nature.” But empiricism, with its concept of the tabula rasa and the all-determining
role of the environment, has not exercised a more positive influence. Locke, who was anti-essentialist, insisted strongly that all human characteristics are rooted in a first substance: it thus became possible to speak of human essence in a way Cartesianism could not. The idea that “man” is infinitely malleable may appear “preferable” to the theory of biological determinism, but the idea of an infinitely changing mankind poses considerable problems concerning the legitimacy of “conditioning,” the validity of the criteria and of the chosen models. Thus there is the danger of falling back into ethnocentrism.”
“But the main problem with the model, as Richard would tell you himself, was that it was going to probably require a reduction in the British population of about oh…50 million people:”
Hmmmm, let’s put the question a different way. Instead of asking how are we going to off load “50 million” (to bring the population back to its maximum pre-industrial level ask yourself how you intend to keep them alive? You’re going to need to stop them killing each other, you’re going to need to import about 50% of their food at the very least, in other words you’re going to need a state and a state plugged into the global trade/governance system.
Personally that’s as far as I need to go. If it a choice between (A)keeping alive the fat , infantilised semi-sentient beings which now comprise the vast majority of the British people or (B) even the outside chance of a society comprised of fully realised humans then I’m going B; any price, including the death of 90% of the population, would be worth paying.
What’s the alternative? The situation is akin to the scene in Blazing Saddles when the sheriff takes himself hostage. If you’re highest propriety is the welfare the product of two centuries of industrial civilisation then your options are confined to those left by the requirement to attempt to maintain that industrial civilisation. Which is to say about those open to Baz and Dave, i.e. none.
So that sounds terrible right? Maybe it is. Thing is that I just can’t go along with this collective pretence that carrying on with the industrial project is even an option. Ultimately the race between our need to constantly increase our resource consumption (as population grows) Vs the exhaustion of those finite resources/the environmental damage we must do in the process/the limitations of technology is only going to have one winner, reality never comes in last. So if I had my way and we blew up the state and let the chips fall where they may, is that really any worse than the opposite view that we carry on in the certain knowledge that sooner or later the system breaks with the same effect anyway? After all if you go will the second option there are going to be more people and more stupid people to have to deal with the day of reckoning, justify that in Benthamite terms.
And population reduction doesn’t necessarily have to be apocalyptic; the Russian population has contracted 10% in 20 years, relatively painlessly. If we’re really lucky or/and smart, we could use the mileage left in the system to allow us to mitigate the worst effects of compressive de-industrialisation over a few decades. After all a pilot who crash lands his plane rather than let it fall out the sky with dry fuel tanks is not normally considered a murdering monster, even if 90% of the passengers die.
The fact is that we are now in a no-win, no easy way out, no Star Trek clean-solution-without-trampling humanist-qualms solution. I didn’t put us here, I didn’t create this situation; the system I oppose did. Feel free to call me anything you like, won’t make any difference to the outcome.