Operational Anarchism?

By Keith Preston

My general approach to politics is modeled on what Lawrence Dennis called “operational thinking” which essentially means an empirical, evidence-based approach as opposed to an approach driven by pre-conceived ideological presumptions that require bending the corners of reality into some kind of ideological box. I try to approach political analysis the same way I would approach being a sportscaster (“this is what is actually happening”). When discussing different political groups, I am unusually writing as an ethnographer (“this is what they are”) rather than as an advocate, although I certainly ridicule their illness in many instances (the same way I might ridicule snake handlers if I were writing about religion rather than politics). When it comes to possible future outcomes, I generally prefer a predictive rather than prescriptive approach (“this is what is likely to happen” rather than “this is what I want to happen” or “this is what some ideological principle says should happen”).

As to how this relates to my anarchist viewpoint, I generally agree with the evidence-based examination of the origins of the state and critique of concentrated power developed by a wide range of anarchist, libertarian, decentralist, classical liberal, and even some socialist or conservative scholars. James Scott’s work in anthropology is currently the state of the field on these questions, IMO. I generally agree with the narrative concerning the history of anti-authoritarian thought outlined by Peter Marshall (although I could expand upon Marshall and offer additional branches or depth to this trajectory).

The concept of pan-secession is based on an effort to answer the question of “If you really want to abolish the state, centralize power, overreaching hierarchy or authority, etc., what is the most viable route that is likely to yield at least some degree of probable success?’  The concept of pan-anarchism (anarcho-pluralism, anarcho-ecumenicalism, etc) is based on an effort to answer the question of “If all governments everywhere in the world stepped aside and told the people they were on their own, what would happen?” with the outcome containing the greatest amount of combined probability and optimality being a world of a million Lichtensteins reflecting an infinite array of microcultures, some of which might not even look like the same species when compared with others.

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

1 reply »

  1. Well said.

    “…optimality being a world of a million Lichtensteins reflecting an infinite array of microcultures”

    This is why I have moved away a bit from the identifier “Anarchist” and have been trying to coin the somewhat cringe term “More Monaco’s” (which rhymes).

    By the by, this is everyone’s favorite Anarchist hero Snake Plissken:

    “We need you to rescue the President.”

    “President of what?”

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