Answering a Critic

A social media poster says of yours truly:

This guy is fash. If you look through any of this website, you see that he is constantly attacking the left and praising the right. He authors articles for far-right/conservative websites and writes eulogies for infamous reactionaries like James Buchanan. He is akin to National-Anarchism, which is a pseudonym for fascism.

A point-by-point response:

This guy is fash.

That this critic is using terms like “fash” and “reactionary” shows where his head is at. Normal people don’t talk like that. What we have here is a true believer in a cult.

If you look through any of this website, you see that he is constantly attacking the left and praising the right.

I have criticized the right quite a bit. One of the very first articles I ever posted on ATS 20 years ago was the title “Conservatism is Not Enough” and I have also written articles with titles like “Beyond Conservatism” or “Why I Am Not a Cultural Conservative.” I once wrote an article comparing America’s “war on drugs” to the Third Reich’s racial persecution policies. I’ve compared the neocons’ foreign policy to that of the Hitler regime as well. Not exactly stereotypical “fascist” positions. However, I have generally criticized the left more than the right all things considered. Why? Because the hard left has a powerful grip on the wider anarchist milieu, because the left is a rising political force (“wokeness”) while the right represents forces that are in decline (like traditional religion or traditional forms of out-group prejudice), and because the ideology of the PC Left is being co-opted by the ruling class and incorporated into its self-legitimating superstructure.

He authors articles for far-right/conservative websites

I’ve also had material published on Russian, Iranian, leftist, and libertarian sites. An audience is an audience. However, it is true that it is only on the “far-right” where one can be a critic of capitalism, US imperialism, and what I call “totalitarian humanism” (wokeness, political correctness, SJWism cancel culture, etc) all at the same time, which is why I’ve developed a substantial audience from the “far-right” milieu. My “anti-Americanism” is too extreme for mainstream conservatives or centrist liberals. My anti-capitalism is too “left” for orthodox libertarians, and I am more critical of SJWs than leftists would often be comfortable with.

writes eulogies for infamous reactionaries like James Buchanan.

I’m not sure what this means. Is he referring to James Buchanan the US President or James Buchanan the public choice economist? I suspect he may be referring to Patrick Buchanan, the paleoconservative writer, who is still alive so there is no need to write a eulogy for him. Patrick Buchanan is an important critic of US foreign policy and global capitalism, and though I disagree with his pre-Vatican II Catholic “fundamentalism,” it’s irrelevant to his writings on other topics.

He is akin to National-Anarchism, which is a pseudonym for fascism.

No. National-Anarchism is more akin to panarchism (Max Nettlau), Gustav Landauer’s folkish anarchism, Green anarchism, with elements of anarcho-primitivism, and an emphasis on aesthetics similar to that of Herbert Read. National-Anarchists are anti-fascist (thought not Antifa). However, there are people who call themselves “anarcho-nationalist” or even “anarcho-fascist” but these are separate tendencies/philosophies from National-Anarchism. It’s possible to have an “anarchist nation” that identified as a tribe or culture rather than a state (like the Native American and First Nations tribes in North America). Something like “anarcho-fascism” could never be anything more than a metaphor, a pose, or an aesthetic position as fascism is by definition synonymous with statism.

I try to approach political science, history, or social science from the perspective of a sportscaster in terms of merely identifying the teams and the players, strategies, successes, failures, etc. of different teams. Someone who reads a random page or paragraph from one of my writings might think I am far-left, far-right, liberal, conservative, centrist, libertarian, or left-anarchist depending on what they are reading, and without any context.  I’m also something of an ethnographer of anarchist and related movements and philosophies, along with fringe or oppositional subcultures generally. I approach these the same way a linguist might examine the 700 or so languages that are spoken in Indonesia, i.e. from a descriptive rather than prescriptive perspective.

I view political ideologies the same way I view religions, i.e. as sets of myths, archetypes, ritual, taboos, and icons that people use to order their own psyche and as a basis for the creation of community. I would say the same about philosophies, ethical systems, economic paradigms, and culture. None of these things are “true” in some cosmic sense in the same way that gravity is “true.” Instead, they’re subjective human constructs rooted in inferences derives from a limited range of subjective perceptions.

I am certainly a philosophical anarchist, but I am an anarchist in the same way someone could be a theist without belonging to any organized or traditional religion. I don’t belong to any one “church of anarchy,” although I generally identify with the “Big Seven” paradigm of classical anarchism (Godwin, Stirner, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, and Tucker) with elements of “anarchism of the right” (Nietzsche, Mencken, Junger) or “New Left anarchism” (Hess, Chomsky, Bookchin, Foucault, or Rothbard during his New Left phase).

My general approach to praxis is merely “let a thousand flowers bloom.” I suspect a world where anarchist philosophies achieved Gramscian cultural/intellectual hegemony would, ironically, be a lot like Christianity, which claims billions of adherents divided into tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of sects and communities, some of which are radically dissimilar when compared to each other. The actual practice of anarchism would likely involve many, many, many communities with different beliefs, norms, and approaches similar to anarchism without adjectives (De Cleyre, Malatesta, Fabbri, Faure, Mella, Voline, etc.). Anarchists would still have to share space in the world with other beliefs. Hence, the practice of panarchism (Puydt, Molinari, Nettlau, Zube). The functional result of panarchism would be something like micronations (with most of today’s micronation being among the world’s most optimal countries), localized village and town communities, (Kohr, Sale, Schumacher, Gandhi, Borsodi, Bookchin, MacCallum, and, yes, Southgate) or autonomous communes (Owen, Fourier, Cabet, George, Day).

It is even likely that there will be neighborhoods, municipal blocks, individual residential buildings, or floors of residential buildings with unique identities of their own. One block might be designed in the style of medieval architecture, another in classical Greco-Roman architecture, and another in Japanese architecture, another in the style of Gotham City. One floor of a high rise residential building might be home to anarcho-punks, another to anarcho-straight edges, another to anarcho-Goths, another to anarcho-weedheads. Civic life would be as diverse as places of worship and restaurants at present, and then some. Social organization will be as diverse as Facebook groups, and then some.

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

3 replies »

  1. You’d think that an ideology with a general consensus that is in opposition to authority wouldn’t be saturated with authoritarian and dictatorial tendencies. I always find it humorous when “anti-authoritarians” take such autocratic stances and spew dogmatic religious-like rhetoric to bully those who dare think outside of their legalistic box. This is why I return to ATS so often. It’s one of the few anarchic places that provide an open minded, objective analysis on political and cultural events.

    • “When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the declining levels of society, insists on ‘right,’ ‘justice,’ ‘equal rights’ with such beautiful indignation, he is just acting under the pressure of his lack of culture, which cannot grasp why he really suffers, what he is poor in– in life.

      A drive to find causes is powerful in him: it must be somebody’s fault that he’s feeling bad . . . Even his ‘beautiful indignation’ does him good; all poor devils like to whine–it gives them a little thrill of power. Even complaints, the act of complaining, can give life the charm on account of which one can stand to live it: there is a subtle dose of revenge in every complaint; one blames those who are different for one’s own feeling bad, and in certain circumstances even being bad, as if they were guilty of an injustice, a prohibited privilege. ‘If I’m a lowlife, you should be one too’: on this logic, revolutions are built.–

      Complaining is never good for anything; it comes from weakness. Whether one ascribes one’s feeling bad to others or to oneself–the socialist does the former, the Christian, for example, the latter–makes no real difference. What is common to both and, let us add, what is unworthy, is that it should be someone’s fault that one is suffering–in short, that the sufferer prescribes the honey of revenge as a cure for his own suffering.”

      ― Friedrich Nietzsche

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