Why Fascists Hate Anarchy

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 anarchists today 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.

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

13 replies »

  1. I am reading Wyndham Lewis’ The Art of Being Ruled at the moment and so your discussion relates directly to certain ideas I’m thinking through. Lewis, or the fascist you describe, would rejoin that you’re thinking in egalitarian terms. What’s good for the free spirit, the “nature” as Lewis says, is not good for the masses of “puppets” who simply must submit to an external will. Put it this way: life is hard, work is hard and, especially in the complex modern world, people want certainty; they want guarantees like the welfare state, the right to work and safe streets protected by professionals with guns. They don’t want the responsibility of running their own businesses, defending themselves against crime, etc. The masses are basically feminine.

    Hoppe’s remark about the state being unnatural is true to an extent. But if we want to live naturally and free from coercive, impersonal aparatuses I suspect that path leads not to Austrian School economics (which is purely abstract and predicated on the eradication of force and fraud–except usury–from human affairs), but to the philosophy of Ted Kaczinski.

  2. I’m not sure I buy the fear of the Black Swan as the essence of fascism. I think love of order is the essence of conservatism, and it’s true that fascism and conservatism overlap. How much so is dependent on the fascist in question. What about the fascist romance with war? If war is chaos and peace is order, then the fascist is on the side of chaos and the Black Swan (are not wars not at times the blackest of swans?), against the order-loving leftists. The Nietzschean strain in fascism is the most comfortable with chaos. Nietzsche was deeply influenced by the presocratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who defined life as a perpetual flux generated by opposing forces. War and all other manner of conflict was therefore natural. The fascist loves above all not order, but power.

    • “What about the fascist romance with war? If war is chaos and peace is order, then the fascist is on the side of chaos and the Black Swan (are not wars not at times the blackest of swans?)”

      The event of war in itself is not a rare, unforeseeable Black Swan event. World War I, now that was a Black Swan.

  3. What fascism offers the average guy is the “illusion of control”. A state which will totally secure him against all threats, or at least offer the best prospect of that. People can be persuaded to go to war if it secures them permanently from future threats from the target. For example Nazi Germany wanted to control Russia to neutralize the threat of Communism. NATO has attacked half a dozen “Rogue States” on the pretext that, since they were independent, they represented a potential threat.

    So I’d say Ryder is bang on. Fascism appeals cowards, and no-one will fight harder than a coward if the alternative if facing the enemy. If your such a pussy you can’t sleep for fear of stuff which might become dangerous, then fascism is for you!

    • Actually, I don’t think fascists “hate” anarchy. I think they see that authority and inequality aren’t going away, that they’re part of all human societies, and that they should be managed by a responsible elite. Rejecting vertical organisation is not a realistic option: if you don’t step up somebody else, like a totalitarian humanist for example.

      You’ve probably encountered Robert Michels’ concept of the “iron law of oligarchy”: “whoever says organisation says oligarchy”; well, I think he argued pretty convincingly that anarchy, specifically, offers no prophylactic against the centralisation of power (and what is power if not centripetal force?).

      Lastly, on the “cowards” point, I’d say it doesn’t make much sense to call all people cowards for turning to authority as insurance against bad things happening. When people like Hoppe talk about private law they’re skirting around the inevitable fact that force is necessary in social relations–as if a burglar and his victim were to politely trade insurance details! Of course, you don’t have to be a fascist to get this any more than NATO had to be a fascist organisation to attack Serbia, at al.

  4. “Actually, I don’t think fascists “hate” anarchy. I think they see that authority and inequality aren’t going away, that they’re part of all human societies, and that they should be managed by a responsible elite. Rejecting vertical organisation is not a realistic option: if you don’t step up somebody else, like a totalitarian humanist for example.”

    Fascists hate pretty much everyone, one of the major drawbacks of fascism is that a huge number of people within any given society stand to be killed as “traitors” or “subversives” should classical fascism ever take hold; this kinda motivates opposition. The fascists I encounter have a particular loathing for anarchists who, perhaps with some justification for practical purposes, they equate to “commies”; number one tribal enemy.

    As for the enduring nature of “authority”. Well yeah, that’s the point at which “pan seccessionism” breaks from conventional anarchism, in that here it is acknowledged that given freedom many, most even, would choose slavery. Further that voluntary slaves are not seen as a deal breaker as they are for most conventional “anarchists”.

    Having said that there is a important practical difference between localised authoritarian regimes, which command limited resources and which can be evaded by the expedient of walking a few miles down the road and global ones which have the power to dominate every aspect of life and thought everywhere all the time.

    Sure, even if we could magically evaporate every state on Earth some bastards would immediately begin the process of reconstruction. There is no way to create a stable low energy utopia. Even so that is no reason to passively accept the fancies of your elite. The fight between individual and community liberty and centralised elite power can never be won, but that doesn’t mean we should aim to lose today.

    As for the point of “force”. Problem is that it doesn’t work, the state you built to defend you, will inevitably turn against you at some point. And when that happens the stronger you made it the worse position you are in. So building a fascist state as a protection against potential and even actual threats is just plain dumb. Even more so since the worst thing out there that could come for you is a state, that is the one thing that could potentially destroy a decentralised society. However, they are not invincible and building of one of your own to defend you from others is the logic whores use when considering the utility of pimps.

    • Tribalism is for the masses. It’s obviously a substitute for an experience that’s lacking in modern, individualist societies. The same impulse is behind all these different subcultures as lies behind sports enthusiasm in mainstream society. Analysis dissolves that identity: the same players playing in different colours would become “them” and the crowd would boo instead of cheering. There’s no point calling them names and wishing the’d grow a brain. The street thugs you describe as your political opponents should be given fulfilling work suited to their personality type: a good argument for compulsory military service.

      I like the idea of pan-secessionism and I’m sympathetic to the anarchist position put forward here (except I doubt it’s really anarchism). I do think the point about acceptance of hierarchy/authority could be made clearer. At what point, for example, does a movement cease to be libertarian and become authoritarian? Is it when patriarchal authority replaces bureaucratic? How does that work on a large scale, in a modern industrial society–some form of Fuhrer Prinzip or dialectical Caesarism perhaps?

      I think the national/tribal anarchist position is fairly obviously allied not to the libertarian left but to the authoritarian right (even if nazi skinheads don’t get it). Leftists can see that if there were a viable fascist, third-positionist or otherwise authoritarian/populist/elitist movement in the streets or in politics today, that’s where you guys would be. You can see this very starkly in the way Keith eulogises Codreanu, for example. Who’s next, Primo De Rivera?

      Anyway, I’m not baiting anyone: these tendencies are all to the good as far as I’m concerned, and if you can peel a few leftists off or get a few anarchists to stop worrying about whether Bakunin had authoritarian tendencies or whether Makhno was still an anarchist when he was shooting deserters, that’s great as well.

  5. The word fascist needs to just be thrown in the dust bin.

    The amount of straw-man arguments and half-ass articles written on everyone’s supposed interpretation of this sponge word is likely incalculable at this point.

    Decent article though I’mtoo lazy atm for argumentative parley.

  6. First of all, this article is fucking awesome.
    Second, why can’t anarchists EVER deal with fascism like this: rationally and objectively? It’s always cartoonish caricatures and tangential features (RAYSISM). I suppose it’s the dominance of the Soviet and Anti-Fas left in culture, but it’s freakin’ obnoxious.

  7. The friction between White and Black Swan, is something complicaties and interesting

    In Both Liberal, conservative and capitalist societys we can see and hear millions of White Swan, living cliché lives, doing the right thing, die boring. Its the copy paste human, made by the perception that raised them. Je suis Charlie.

    The uber mensch, as Nietzsche would see it, the own, as Stirner would call it and the Black Swan, can not Be predictable, they arise, as an antithese to any kind of system. But a System of black Swan cant exist, because than the whole notion of this Swan being special is gone.

    A paradox in anarchism is that it wants a system of Black Swan, while this would Be a paradox, the Black swan is born out of chaos

    Its even past the order of anarchist theory

    Because there is order in the theory of anarchism

    Being a world changing individual is being past a system. Creativity is past any discours. Its past State, past theory, past Art. Its from within

    I think a left that wants to be open to the black swan might be a post left, our might be called a post left, i dont know

    If we call the rejection of Society and discours in general, anarchism, than it would be something different than the social anarchist movements which need a degree of conformism

    The whole notion of the Black Swan, is a Stirner like perception.

    I think any kind of state is good in the destuction of a black Swan, but maybe than we can call the theory in general also a State, and than the Black Swan is Just this individual genious this Anti these, which had No place in any theory, Who sets new theory, Who makes new paradigms. Its not something that can be made by a paradigm

Leave a Reply