Why Be Anarchist?

A reader writes:

I think you make an absolute mistake of allowing your silly anarchistic tendencies to blind you into being anti-American just for the sake of it and this is a terrible way to start objective analysis. History has a track record of overturning the analysis of doomsayers and optimists who ignore statistics and facts.

My response:

The anarchist critique of the state holds up pretty well under scrutiny. Modern anthropological research, like that of James Scott, demonstrates that the state has its roots in plunder and conquest. Of course, it can be argued that plunder and conquest are just inevitable parts of the human condition like person-to-person crime, diseases, natural disasters, and attacks by wild animals, so why bother with it? That’s a point of view I am sympathetic to but I would say it is necessary to safeguard ourselves against the state in the same way it is necessary to safeguard ourselves from natural disasters, serial killers, wild animals, diseases, etc. Maybe the state is never going to go away, nor are diseases, serial killers, wild animal attacks, or natural disasters. But that doesn’t mean that we want to encourage the spread of diseases, give the green light to serial killers, ignore warnings of natural disasters, dismiss shark attacks as no big deal, etc. And, yes, I criticize the American state more than others because it’s the one I live under, it’s the world’s most powerful state, and the de facto government of the world with the others being junior partners or rebellious provinces. That doesn’t mean the USA is the worst country to live in. Far from it. Being an American or European or East Asian today is like being a citizen of Athens or Rome in antiquity, a Venitian in the Renaissance era, or a British citizen in the 18th and 19th centuries. But the power dynamics involved are still what they are.

For the record, I am not a fan of Russia or China, to say the least. I think the world would be a better place without either regime. I’d prefer the 22 republics secede from the Russian federation, that Xinjiang and Tibet achieve independence, and that Shanghai and Shenzhen become independent city-states like Singapore. I’m pro-Hong Kong against China as well. I am a “fan” of Iran only in the sense that they are a check and a counterbalance to Turkey, Israel, and, especially, the KSA and the other Gulf States. I detest all of the Middle Eastern countries and simply want them all to contain each other so that none of them can spread too far.

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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