National-Anarchism and Classical American Ideals: Is A Reconciliation Possible?
“Establishing a new world order of supranational government is Hitlerian in concept and will need to be Stalinist in execution.” (1)
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”(2)
“That government is best which governs least.”(3)
“anarchism (‘an-ar-kiz-im) n (1642): a political theory holding all forms of government to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups”(4)
As long as there has been power and authority, there has been rebellion. From the insurrectionary efforts of Spartacus in ancient times to the noble resistance of the people of Occupied Palestine in our own era, the enslaved and oppressed have sought to throw off the chains by which their masters keep them bound. The great libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard argued that the history of human civilizations is largely a struggle of liberty against power with the latter gaining the upper hand with much greater frequency than the former. The great nineteenth century historian Lord John Acton insisted that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. At no point has the truth of Acton’s famous adage been demonstrated more strongly than in the last century. R. J. Rummell’s monumental studies in a unique field that he chooses to label “democide”, a term coined to describe the systematic slaughter of subjects by the states which rule over them, show that nearly one hundred seventy million persons were annihlated by “their” governments during the twentieth century alone. These figures exclude those killed in intra-state warfare. Reviewing the sorry record of the treatment of subjects by states, Rummell paraphrases Acton and concludes that “power kills, and absolute power kills absolutely”. (5) In a similar vein, the Nobel Laureate economist Friedrich August von Hayek recognized that power comes most easily to the ruthless, treacherous, cunning and amoral. Those who achieve power are faced with constant challenges to their position of supremacy and are therefore driven to eliminate all those who can challenge their rule. The more concentrated power becomes, the more ruthless and deadly those who hold it will be. Hence, those who have held the greatest amount of power throughout history have also been history’s massest of mass murderers-Stalin, Hitler, Mao and others of their ilk.
The greatest crimes are those committed by large disciplined organizations rather than solitary individuals. Arthur Koestler noted:
“…a series of fundamental misconceptions…which prevented (man) from learning the lessons of the past, and…now put his survival in question. The first of these..is putting the blame for man’s predicament on his selfishness, greed, etc.; in a word, on the aggressive, self-assertive tendencies of the individual…I would like to suggest that the integrative tendencies of the individual are incomparably more dangerous than his self-assertive tendencies.” (6)
One need not reject the claims of a Hobbes or a Burke that humans are creatures of passion rather than reason to recognize that the most severe crimes perpetrated by individuals pale in comparison to those committed by organizations led by some sort of institutionalized authority. The modern serial killer is insignificant when contrasted with the death squad member or secret policeman. The greatest crimes of all are, of course, committed by the institution of the state, what Nietzsche characterized as a “cold monster”. It is of the utmost importance to recognize that even persons of “normal” psychological make-up or moral temperament can be driven to act in the most atrocious ways when prodded by group norms or the direction of malignant leaders. This is borne out by the relevant studies in social psychology, particularly those of Stanley Milgram.(7) Hannah Arendt described this phenomena as “the banality of evil”, a process whereby the most senseless and irrational forms of inhumanity acquire an aura of normalcy and take place within an atmosphere of dull mechanization. (8)
Various critiques of power, authority and the state have arisen thoughout history. The European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gave birth to the ideology of classical liberalism, which sought to limit the rule of power through various institutionalized mechanisms and processes. Classical anarchism arose as an ideology that explicitly rejected the authority of the state in toto, rather than seeking to simply curb its worse abuses. In his study on the origins of the state, Franz Oppenheimer pointed out that states have their roots in the invasion, conquest and plundering of some groups by others. (9) This observation strips the state of any veneer of legitimacy it may try to shroud itself with. Modern theorists of “democratic” or “constitutionalist” expressions of the state will typically argue that “modern” states are somehow to be differentiated from those of the Old Order, who claimed authority on the basis of divine right or superior might rather than “popular sovereignty”, “the general will” or other such platitudes. Yet claims of this type have been effectively exposed and discredited by Lysander Spooner, Hans Hermann Hoppe and other notable anti-state thinkers. (10)
If the primary danger to human life and liberty is the excessive concentration of power, then humanity has never faced a greater threat than it does today as the universal dictatorship of the New World Order under the boot of American imperialism continues to be consolidated. At present, the American imperial regime demands the exclusive “right” of the first-use of military force, including nuclear weaponry, as part of its own “defensive” perogative, yet curiously seeks to deny this right to others. In a manner rivaling the greatest tyrants in history, the US regime has systematically fabricated all sorts of extravagant falsehoods to justify its imperial ambitions regarding the Islamic nations. The American regime has established a Faustian bargain with the degenerate ideology of Zionism for the purpose of further consolidation of its own power, both internationally and within the American nation itself. The emerging world order is one of unilateral and utterly arbitrary rule by a regime that demands absolute obedience, economic domination by a handful of transnational corporations of the First World by means of mercantilist arrangements managed by byzantine bureaucracies, and cultural dominance by the combined values of liberal commercialism-consumerism and authoritarian leftist-egalitarianism and “multiculturalism” under the ideology of “political correctness”. David Michael describes the dangers, both bellowing and subtle, posed by such a global order:
“Even without the danger of the machinery of world government falling into the hands of a Stalin, Hitler or Pol Pot, and without the danger of large supranational institutions or nations being manipulated or exploited to serve certain groups or individuals at the expense of other groups or individuals, the sheer remoteness of supranational institutions from the ordinary people can have undesirable effects. The remoteness of decision making can lead to inappropriate decisions, as might occur where the quality of the food we eat is determined by supranational institutions rather than local farmers. The remoteness of the dominant culture can engender psychological and sociological problems-violence, alienation, crime and youth problems have been attributed, inter alia, to globalization and the breakdown of communities that it has engendered.” (11)
As power has never been quite so centralized as it is at present, the anarchist critique is now more relevant than ever. The essence of the traditional anarchist position is that the state is no more than a criminal gang writ large. The state exists to control territory, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, exploit its subjects or expand its power. Any other claims by or on behalf of the state are simply a matter of evasion, obfuscation, or perhaps mere naivete. Although the philosophical anarchist critique of the state originating from the ideas of William Godwin or Pierre Joseph Proudhon is the most radical and comprehensive, this critique follows in the footsteps of many strands of traditional ethical, religious and philosophical systems going back to very ancient times. These include the criticisms of power offered by the early Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, the Stoic and Cynic branches of classical Greek philosophy, the very ancient Hebrew scriptures, and the teachings of early Church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo as well as tendencies within the Radical Reformation, such as the Anabaptists. (12)
Having emerged only a couple of centuries ago and having never been dominant in any particular nation or culture, philosophical anarchism is still a rather new and underdeveloped political outlook. “Classical” anarchism of the nineteenth and early twentieth century variety, represented by Bakunin, Kropotkin and the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, positioned itself as the most radical wing of the international socialist labor movement, as the so-called “labor question” was the dominant social struggle of the day. The political programs of the classical anarchists, as well as their contemporary “neo-anarchist” descendants, typically call for some sort of decentralized socialism, although neo-anarchism often focuses more on the advancement of left-wing cultural values such as feminism, “anti-racism” and “gay liberation” than on politico-economic matters. Another branch of modern anarchist thought, the “libertarian” anarchism of Murray Rothbard, is more rooted in classical liberalism than classical socialism, and traces its ancestry to the uniquely American branch of classical anarchism that emerged in the nineteenth century, the so-called “individualist” anarchism of Lysander Spooner and Benjamin R. Tucker. Although these variations of anarchist thought provide a rich intellectual heritage that can be drawn upon, they are clearly inadequate in a number of important ways. The principle error in the branches of anarchism thus far established is that of universalism. It is particulary important that this error be confronted if anarchism is to offer a viable alternative to the universalist ideology that provides the intellectual foundations of the New World Order.
Reading through the incessant manifestos and political statements issued by anarchist factions, one notices a number of dominant themes. Foremost among these is a type of Rousseauan utopianism that postulates the innate benevolence of human nature, a benevolence that would realize its potential if only the oppressive chains of established institutions were removed and the true essence of humanity allowed to flourish. As the nineteenth century was a time of enormous human advancement, classical anarchists like Proudhon or Bakunin can be forgiven for adopting such a childishly naive outlook. However, with the experience of the twentieth century now behind us, such a perspective becomes laughable with the advantage of hindsight. Another common theme in conventional anarchist thought is an implicit reliance on archaic Marxist and Fabian social democratic economic theory, a set of ideas that have been disasterous in every nation where they have been put into practice. Marxism is a dead faith, except among Western radicals, and the elitist social democratic views advanced by the Fabians have served to create a permanently entrenched “new class” of bureaucratic parasites that are slowly but surely driving the First World nations towards stagnation, deterioration and eventual collapse. (13) Anarchists are typically the most zealous champions of the cultural ideals of the modern Left-feminism, environmentalism, homosexualism, anti-racism. Yet these ideas are hardly radical in the modern welfare states of the West. Traditional forms of oppression such as bestial violence towards ethnic out-groups, the traditional religious subordination of women, and the organized state persecution of homosexuals have become socially unacceptable in modern societies to such a degree that Scotland Yard now maintains a “Diversity Directorate” to police attitudes not sanctioned by the high priests of “political correctness”. Left-wing anarchists have, on such matters, become a type of self-parody that robotically parrots the rhetoric of the left-wing of the ruling class.
The professed aims of anarchists of the Left also conflict with one another. The ideal political order postulated by left-anarchists is typically something that resembles a traditional New England town meeting or the participatory democracy of ancient Athens. While this model is no doubt as legitimate as any other, it is hardly any sort of panacea. After all, it was the democracy of Athens that put Socrates to death, thereby souring his successors Plato and Aristotle on democracy, and it was the town meeting governments of Puritan New England that instigated the witch trials of Salem. Yet, left-anarchists somehow assume that all of their idealized directly democratic, consensus-based, decentralized communities are somehow going to embrace the egalitarian-multicultural perspective of the Left. If such a system were put into place in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, the first vote taken would be to appoint Osama bin Laden to the position of President for Life. Libertarian anarchists make a similar mistake in their efforts to universalize a commercialist culture bound together by no common threads other than the actions of consumers in the marketplace and the standard common law rules concerning crimes, torts and contracts.
To understand what is wrong with these schools of anarchism, it may be useful to draw upon the work of Hayek. Loosely and awkwardly, we might characterize a Hayekian approach to social theory as one that draws a sharp distinction between “constructivist” and “organicist” understandings of social evolution and the origins of human institutions. Both leftist and libertarian variations of anarchist theory are implicitly rooted in Enlightenment rationalism, which tended to glorify and overstate the capacities of human reason and the ability of human beings to achieve a certain state of existence through the application of critical intelligence for the purpose of reconstructing the external world. While the excesses of the Enlightenment in this realm may have been an understandable backlash against the superstition and irrationalism that often dominated previous eras, the enduring legacy of all this has been a prevailing tendency towards fantastic utopianisms on the part of modern intellectuals, whether they be of the left-anarchist, left-liberal, libertarian, Marxist or neoconservative varieties. As an antidote, Hayek emphasized the inherent limitations of human knowledge and human reason as a means of “constructing” elaborate plans for the reorganization of society that are ultimately doomed to failure and the intellectual conceit reflected by such efforts.
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of anarchists is the smallness of their ranks. This is likely rooted in the tendency of most anarchists, of whatever school, to focus on ideological abstractions and a type of intellectual elitism that disregards the sentiments and sensibilities of ordinary people. Most people are not intellectuals. Most people are not interested in ideology. Most people are not the rugged self-reliant individualists idealized by libertarians or the faithful crusaders for social justice that serve as left-wing archetypes. Instead, the nature of most people is to focus on their immediate day-to-day business. Most people seek security, identity and self-actualization in groups and get their ideas about what constitutes “right and wrong” from cues taken from peers, members of their own in-groups and perceived leaders and authority figures. The strongest attachments of this type seem to be family, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, geography and, to some degree, economic function and social class. Particularistic attachments of these types are commonly disregarded by leftist and libertarian intellectuals (and by establishment liberals and neoconservatives!) as reactionary, backward, overly parochial or provincial, ignorant and superstitious and even bigoted and hateful. Yet it is precisely these types of particularism that provide the social glue that holds organic and authentic human societies and cultures together. It is these types of particularism that the ruling class of the New World Order wishes to eliminate in order to reduce every individual to the level of identity-less worker-consumer drone faithfully practicing the religion of the credit card and reciting the catechism of political correctness. Consequently, it is these particularisms and the attachments that ordinary people have to them that serve as humanity’s best hope for fostering resistance to the universal slavery the oligarchs of the New World Order wish to bring about.
There remains the question as to how the anarchist critique is to be practically applied and what sort of institutions an anarchism-influenced civilization would likely produce. Unlike some of his successors, the godfather of classical anarchism Pierre Joseph Proudhon recognized that “anarchy” was an ideal, like “peace” or “justice”, towards which humanity could only strive. Said Proudhon:
“…It is scarcely likely, however far the human race may progress in civilization, morality and wisdom, that all traces of government and authority will vanish.” (14)
Likewise, the eminent philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell characterized anarchism as “the ultimate ideal to which society should approximate”. (15) Instead of pursuing utopian fantasies, anarchists should focus on identifying and breaking up concentrations of power wherever they may be located. The best bet for achieving this aim would likely be the development of strong regionalist and localist movements, both inside and outside of the territorial boundaries of the United States, with each of these reflecting the unique cultural or ideological orientations of their own organic or intentional communities, and organized in ways whereby different regions and communities are independent but mutually supportive of one another in the face of imperial power, regardless of their particular sectarian differences. The perspective of Troy Southgate offers a clue as to how to proceed:
“We firmly believe in political, social and economic decentralization. In other words, we wish to see a positive downward trend whereby all bureaucratic concepts such as the UN, NATO, the EU and the World Bank and even nation-states like England and Germany are eradicated and consequently replaced by autonomous village communities.” (16)
Such a vision is entirely compatible with the original anarchist vision of Proudhon who offered decentralized confederations of communities, municipalities and distinctive regions, each containing their own cultural identity, combined with an economy ordered on the basis of small property holders and dispersed control over resources, cooperatives and worker organizations. Such a vision affords most of humanity the opportunity to obtain sovereignty within the context of the social groups most strongly identified with. Such a vision offers a means of reconciling the numerous social conflicts fostered by the modern state resulting in an increase in social harmony, liberty, prosperity and peace. Those with conflicting values should simply separate from one another in favor of mutual self-segregation. Such is the way to authentic cultural diversity as opposed to the vision of those for whom “diversity” is simply a collection of exotic foods, museum displays and state-mandated social engineering.
As noted, anarchism as a political philosophy is still very much in the elementary stage of its development as an intellectual system. Fortunately, certain strands of anarchistic thought have emerged in recent years that may eventually prove to be a corrective for some of the extravagance and frivolity found in the established branches of anarchism. One of these is a tendency emerging from the British Far Right known as “National-Anarchism”. This particular variation of anarchist theory lacks the irrational utopianism found in most other schools of anarchism. It might be said that national-anarchism is anarchy without pretensions. The core tenet of national-anarchist ideology is a fervent opposition to the emerging global system of the “New World Order” under the rule of American imperialism. More than any other political tendency, anarchist or otherwise, national-anarchism recognizes that there is really only one system of government in the contemporary world and that is the American empire. As a national-anarchist publication, “Voice of the Resistance”, puts it:
“Nations, at least as you knew and loved them, are dead. We live today in a post-nationalist, globalized world. What you call your nation is now a mere administrative district of the New World Order. Never mind its ‘proud and ancient history’! Never mind its ‘wonderful accomplishments’! Never mind how many of your ancestors fought and died for it! Those things were in the past.” (17)
Incidentally, this apt description of the nature of the New World Order applies to the American nation as well, despite the American origins of the global system. The conservative Catholic commentator Joseph Sobran observes:
“Only a few Americans have clearly understood that contrary to our sentimental illusions, the old federated constitutional republic has become not only a single consolidated state, but an empire as well. Today the president has ceased to be a mere executive, subordinate to the legistlative branch, and has become an elective emperor, a temporary Caesar. This is hard for Americans to see, because it goes against our cherished national myths and has no close historical precedent. But foreigners may see it more clearly than we do. To American ears, the phrase “American imperialism” still sounds like leftist jargon. But it is more accurate than our slogans of democracy.”(18)
American conservatives, libertarians and other anti-statists and anti-globalists now find themselves in an interesting ideological predicament. To consistently oppose “Big Government”, one must first and foremost oppose centralized government, imperial government and global government. The foremost proponent of centralism, imperialism and globalism in today’s world is the US regime. This necessitates that authentic anti-statists adopt an attitude that the jingoist wing of US politics would characterize as “anti-Americanism”. As a look at the leading “paleoconservative” publications will show, this is a position that traditionalist conservatives are loathe to adopt. Their deathly fear of being labeled “anti-American” and lumped together with the riff raff of the reactionary left prevents them from developing as comprehensive a critique of the global imperial order as they otherwise might (just as their deathly fear of being labeled “anti-Semitic” prevents them from developing a similar critique of the role of Zionist ideology in the formulation of American imperial ambitions).(19) Yet these phobias are unfounded. If the historic America that traditionalist conservatives cling to is just another nation that has died at the hands of the empire, then the current US regime is not an expression of America but a hostile, enemy, occupational regime. Joseph Sobran notes:
“At any rate, the old America-the America of hard work and sound money, of thrift and piety, of small property and free markets, of individual freedom and responsibility, of limited government and dispersed power-is gone. The kind of people who made the old America hardly exist anymore. Their descendants might as well belong to another species; anyway, they will soon be outnumbered by aliens and “minorities”… Americans neither remember the old America nor comprehend the new one, which defies comprehension. What is an “American” these days? Someone who has filled out the proper forms? One out of hundreds of millions of disinherited people, who have nothing in common but a government that supplies them with depreciating paper currency? A mere digit of the empire, I suppose.” (20)
Serious opponents of global empire are not conservatives but radicals and revolutionaries of the first order. More than any other ideological tendency, national-anarchism recognizes that traditional ideological, cultural and even national boundaries are irrelevant in the current world order. As David Michael, a leading theoretician of national-anarchism, explains:
“The ‘left/right’ political distinction is a cynical ploy to divide the people and set them against each other so that they do not unite against the single main enemy of us all: the Establishment. As Eduard Limonov remarked: ‘There’s no longer any left or right. There’s the system and the enemies of the system.” (21)
If traditional nations have been absorbed by the empire, and if the traditional left/right political spectrum has been dissolved by the universalization of the values of American imperialism and global capital, then the traditionalist elements of the right are the natural allies of the anti-corporate left. The primary divisions among these scattered forces are cultural in origin. The traditional right places its emphasis on established institutions and values such as family, religion, ethnicity, nationality, traditional culture and organic communities. The left focuses first and foremost on those social groups believed to have been previously dispossessed or “excluded” in some way. These include workers and the poor, racial minorities, women, homosexuals and others. This type of progressivism has become institutionalized and rigidified in its own right as the existence of Scotland Yard’s Diversity Directorate and the “speech codes” found on the campusues of American universities demonstrate. Both sides on these matters regard their opponents as tyrants and reactionaries. If effective opposition to the New World Order necessarily involves the creation of an anti-Establishment alliance that transcends conventional ideological, cultural and national boundaries, then obviously some means of accommodating such a diverse array of perspectives is sorely needed. National-anarchism invokes the ideal of radical decentralization as a means to this end. As “Voice of the Resistance” states:
“Consider the ancient Greek polis or city-state. Here was an institution that truly allowed for diversity of government. Although no overarching state structure existed, a variety of communities thrived across ancient Greece, often with very different systems of government ranging from the quasi-democracies of Athens to the more communistic regimes of Sparta. It is not too difficult to envisage an adapted form of such a system as an alternative to the American imperialism of the modern age. This, surely, must be anarchism at its most practicable and useful.”
“Let a thousand different communities flourish! Let those who want communism have communism! Let those who want Islam have Islam! Let those who want Christianity have Christianity! Let those who want to live among their own racial kind do so! Let even those who want to keep the sham democracies of American imperialism have them! But let us all unite to defend such diversity, such freedom, against the tyranny of the bland capitalism espoused by our lords and masters and their media puppets.” (22)
National-anarchism of the type described here is a marked improvement over prior expressions and applications of anarchist theory. National-anarchism lacks the utopian fantasies employed by traditional left-wing anarchism and instead employs a heavy dose of realism. The contradictory nature of the conventional left-anarchist demand for decentralization, communal socialism and proletarian supremacy combined with the universalization of left-wing cultural values is absent from national-anarchism. Political decentralization would result in more rather than less social discrimination as there would be no centralized state to enforce egalitarian or progressivist values within local communities. Likewise, the poor and working class tend to be the most socially conservative cultural element. Secularism, feminism, multiculturalism and homosexualism are the predominant social values of the cultural elite rather than the common people. Economic collectivism requires maximum social discipline and conformity. There is a reason why highly collectivist regimes, such as those of the Marxist-Leninist variety, severely repress political dissidents, religious believers and perceived sexual deviates.
Much of what passes for left-wing anarchism would, if implemented, be anything but anarchistic. Consider, for example, the political outlook of an outfit called the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC):
“As anarcho-communists, we struggle for a classless, stateless, and non-hierarchical society. We envision an international confederation of directly democratic, self-managed communities and workplaces; a society where all markets, exchange value, systems of wages and divisions of labor have been abolished and the means of production and distribution are socialized in order to allow for the satisfaction of human needs, adhereing to the communist principle: ‘From each according to ability, to each according to need’.” (23)
What we have here is simply a restatement of traditional Marxism with some nominally anarchistic ideas thrown in for good measure. How is this “international federation” going to be somehow different from a state? What if some communities in this federation decide to withdraw? Is an anarcho-Abe Lincoln going to come along to prevent them from doing so? What if some “directly democratic, self-managed communities and workplaces” do not want to abolish “all markets, exchange value, systems of wages and division of labor”? How are “the means of production” going to be “socialized in order to allow for the satisfaction of human needs” without either a consumer market or a state plan? What about those people who do not wish to contribute “according to ability” but prefer to take more than their “need”? Who is going to say otherwise? It becomes clear that for NEFAC “anarchism” is simply a world communist government with a centrally planned economy of the type that has typically failed miserably in Marxist states. This becomes clear in an overview found in the NEFAC publication of the economic arrangements established by the anarcho-syndicalists of 1930s Spain:
“Had the Spanish collectives been moving in a genuinely communist direction the tendency towards self-suffiency and autonomy for each collective… would have been reversed in favor of centralized planning by delegate bodies.”(24)
It is the precisely the decentralist and most anarchistic aspects of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist collectives that are being condemned. Of course, the NEFAC group represents the intellectual bottom of the barrel even among the reactionary left. The ideas of all socialist-anarchists are not always so muddled and incoherent. The “libertarian” or “anarcho-capitalist” variations of anarchist theory are usually more well-developed than those of their left-wing counterparts. Economic problems and matters of practical application aside, a principal difficulty with “free market” anarchism is its reliance on abstact ideological concepts and indifference to cultural matters. Libertarians of this type make the same mistake as the Marxists who view everything from the perspective of a narrow economic determinism and intellectual constructs. The primary strength of national-anarchism is its rejection of universalism in favor of particularism. Adherents of national-anarchism are not required to accept any particular set of philosophical or cultural values beyond the bare minimum of opposition to the New World Order and the need to replace it with decentralized, community based political institutions. David Michael comments:
“One of the really neat things about national-anarchism is that it can appeal to a lot of very different people. Whether you’re a communist, a nationalist, a Muslim, a Christian, or whatever, if you go along with the basic core ideas, such as opposition to the American-led ‘New World Order’, opposition to global governance by a one-world superstate (de jure or de facto), and a belief in a world of small, relatively independent communities, each ‘doing its own thing’, then national-anarchism could appeal to you….national-anarchism, by its very nature, allows its adherents to hold to a wide variety of peripheral values (Islamic, communist, Christian, Satanist and so forth).” (25)
Theoretically, then, national-anarchism could include not only the kinds of communities mentioned above but also communities organized according to the variations of classical anarchism (mutualism, syndicalism or anarch-communism), neo-anarchism (primitivism, libertarian municipalism or the ideas of Lorenzo Komboa Ervin), libertarianism (whether of the Rothbardian, Randian or Hayekian variety), racial nationalism (including such tendencies within all races), various populist tendencies (such as the US militia movement or the Swedish National Democrats), monarchism (such as that favored by certain elements among the indigenous peoples of Hawaii) or the traditional tribe and clan based cultures found in African, Asian or Middle Eastern societies. Even ideological groupings that theoretically endorse a powerful centralized state (such as Marxist-Leninists or National Socialists) could achieve sovereignty within their own enclaves. Those who wish to retain some variation of the present system could do so. Those who favor a radically different system could, to a large degree, realize their goals as well. National-anarchism focuses on cultural struggles, community sovereignty and authentic cultural diversity rather than economic determinism, abstract intellectual constructs or utopian egalitarianism and universalism.
Probably the most controversial aspect of national-anarchism is the fact that many of its leading theoreticians and adherents have their political roots in the British Far Right and have been previously involved with anti-immigration and white nationalist tendencies like the National Front or the International Third Position. Some national-anarchists continue to hold what might be characterized as, for lack of a better term, “conservative” views on race and culture. As Troy Southgate, the founder of national-anarchism, explains:
“Racial miscegenation, for example, is viewed by National-Anarchists, as something which runs contrary to nature. Similarly, we regard issues like human cloning, euthanasia, homosexuality, genetically-modified foodstuffs, vivisection and abortion in the same way…(O)ur vision is based upon the realities of self-determination for all peoples and not on mindless racial hatred toward others. Furthermore, we do not subscribe to a supremacist agenda or wish to enforce our world view on others…These are issues which must be decided by those concerned, although we do remain adamant that such practices remain outside of our own naturally-based Anarchic communities…if people disagree…(w)e have no problem with that. As long as they do not prevent us from occupying our own space and land in which to live according to our own principles and beliefs. Those who attempt to interfere with our way of life or prevent us from realizing our distinct vision based upon Natural Order are nothing short of fascistic and authoritarian. We do not wish to persecute others or bend them to our will. Let them found their own communities…” (26)
This outlook is a refreshing alternative to the anti-intellectualism and pseudo-Marxist totalitarianism offered by left-wing anarchists and the aristocratic, robber baron conservatism offered by anarcho-capitalists. With national-anarchist arrangements, controversial social questions could be resolved by means of community preference. There could be communities for separatists within all the different ethnic and religious groups along with multi-ethnic and secular communities. There could be pro-abortion and anti-abortion communities, gay militant and “homophobe” communities, gun nut and anti-gunner communities, vegan and carvivore communities, druggie and anti-druggie communities. Theoretically, there could be communities for UFO worshippers or human sacrifice enthusiasts. Some communities could be as closed as those of the Taliban or the Nazis while others could be as free-wheeling as the Mardi Gras. Those who did not like the communities they found themselves in could simply migrate to a more appealing community. Such a vision, what David Michael describes as an anarchy of “nations” or “homelands” or “communities”, seems to be a realistic alternative to those forms of anarchism that promise the fulfillment of utopian fantasies of absolute social equality and social harmony or absolute individual sovereignty where every person somehow functions as a sovereign nation unto themselves. Such a vision seems entirely compatible with any consistent application of the traditional anarchist ideals of decentralization, anti-statism, mutual aid, voluntarism, individual sovereignty, free association and federation and community self-determination. However, because of the views of some leading theoreticians and adherents of national-anarchism on racial and cultural matters, the typical reaction of left-wing anarchists to national-anarchism has been rather similar to what one might expect from a five-year-old girl who suddenly discovers a gargantuan spider in her bed. But such hysteria is more illustrative of typical left-wing bigotry and narrow-mindedness rather than any actual weakness in the national-anarchist perspective.
For the record, I am not nor have I ever been either a racial separatist or a social conservative. On a purely personal level, an individual’s race, religion or sexual orientation is no more important to me than their hair or eye color. Politically, my approach is fairly eclectic. Race is no doubt a factor in the determination of individual character and social relations, but so too is class, gender, religion, individual psychological traits, geography, culture, history, educational methods, parenting methods, life experience, probably physics and many other things. I would not prioritize race in the same manner as the above statements by Troy Southgate indicate. However, Southgate’s views on Natural Order are relatively similar to those found among many nationalist or separatist tendencies among non-whites, most traditional religions, traditional indigenous cultures that leftists tend to romanticize, and much of the Old Left (which often regarded feminism as bourgeoise and homosexuality as a manifestation of capitalist decadence). Many social groups that leftists claim to champion-urban American black males, rank and file union members, the oppressed masses of the Islamic world-would include within their ranks many people with such an outlook. All ethnic groups have their separatist, preservationist tendencies along with their assimilationist, integrationist tendencies just as all religions have their fundamentalist or traditionalist as well as their ecumenical tendencies. If it is acceptable for left-wing environmentalists to seek to preserve the tiniest micro-species, then why is it not acceptable for some people to wish to preserve traditional races, nationalities, religions, languages or cultures? If the destruction of the Baghdad Museum and Library is rightfully viewed as a crime against culture, then why is the extinction of unique ethnic identities to be casually dismissed? While an interest in the preservation of specific ethnic groups does not have to mean that new ones cannot evolve, would the world really be a better place if everyone were beige?
On social matters, I tend to follow the lead of the late Ernest Van den Haag, who for many years was a leading American conservative intellectual and part of the circle of staunch Cold War militarists associated with William F. Buckley Jr. and the National Review magazine. Van den Haag was a harsh critic of leftists and libertarians alike and held right-wing social democratic views not unlike those of today’s neoconservatives. He was also a fervent proponent of “law and order” and vigorously defended the death penalty and the strict punishment of criminals. Yet, Van den Haag also supported the “right-to-die”, abortion rights, decriminalization of drugs and prostitution and eventually reversed his earlier position of support for the censorship of pornography. He also remarked that society has no compelling interest in regulating or legistlating concerning the matter of homosexuality. While I am an anti-imperialist and an anarcho-socialist rather than a conservative like Van den Haag, I largely share his social outlook. He was no doubt drawing on the experience of his own native Holland, a nation that maintains what are likely the most “liberal” policies in these matters and a nation that I have visited myself and found to be rather harmonious, prosperous and attractive.
It seems to me that efforts to eliminate abortion are simply futile. Many American social and religious conservatives lament the famed 1973 “Roe v. Wade” Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the early stages of pregnancy and rail incessantly about the number of abortions that have occurred since then, yet abortion remains illegal in Mexico but that nation has a higher rate of abortions per capita annually than the US. Reinstituting the legal ban on abortions would likely be about as effective as the legal ban on psychoactive drugs. The ancient Greeks seem to have had literally no conception of sexual morality and homosexuality was apparently the virtual norm in ancient Greece, at least among the elites, yet classical Greek culture is regarded by many as the apex of Western civilization, particularly and ironically by many conservatives. On euthanasia, I draw a sharp distinction between voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. On one hand, if a terminally ill or severely physically disabled person wishes to end their own life and others wish to assist them, I can see no objection to that. Yet, I do not consider it to ever be appropriate for someone to take it upon themselves to kill another person without their consent and call it “mercy killing” or whatever, though I certainly think that such acts should not be penalized nearly as severely as homocides committed during the course of common crimes. On ecological questions, I take a somewhat more moderate position than that of many radicals. I largely agree with the conclusions of former Greenpeace activist Bjorn Lomborg,(27)who regards the fears of modern environmentalists as greatly exaggerated. I am considerably less sanguine about human cloning and genetic engineering, conjuring as they do the images of the eugenicist ideals of Hitler, Pol Pot and Imperial Japan.
Of course, all of the aforementioned questions are of an endlessly controversial nature with fervent and emotional opinions being held on all sides. Anarchistic political institutions provide a means for such disputes to be settled as peacefully as possible. Those with conflicting values or ideals should simply go their own way. Webster’s Dictionary defines anarchism as “a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups”. The catch is that people with different values or goals will form different kinds of associations. Egalitarians will form egalitarian associations. Elitists will form elitist associations. Socialists will form socialist associations. Racialists will form racialist associations. It may be that such absolute voluntarism can be maintained only as an ideal to be striven for. Obviously, the next best thing is radically decentralized politics. Such decentalization would likely result in the vast ideological and cultural diversity favored by national-anarchists. It is not all that difficult to envision how a system of political, cultural and geographical decentralization might work. However, for this kind of decentralization to exist as a concrete reality rather than as a theoretical construct only, economic decentralization would have to take place as well. Otherwise, political/cultural/geographical decentralization would exist only on paper. Consider, for example, the US constitutional system. Formally, the government of the United States is organized on the basis of a separation of powers, both vertically and horizontally. The national government consists of three separate and distinct branches-the legistlative, executive and judicial-with executive power spread out through a myriad of bureaucracies. The national government ostensibly shares power with the semi-autonomous state governments who maintain a similar separation of powers and delegate certain authority to localities. The enforcement arm of government is divided into the courts, the prosecutor’s office, the police, the lawyer’s guilds, and the penal system, with each of these being theoretically independent of one another. The military functions as a semi-autonomous state with its own legal system and governmental structure (much like the medieval church), but is still subject to external civilian authority. As sophisticated as this entire state apparatus may be, all of it is still controlled at the top by those with economic power in the broader society (Big Business, Big Banking, Big Oil, armaments manufacturers and other corporate interests) and a variety of well-organized and financially well-endowed interest groups (bureaucrats’ unions, professional associations, Zionists and other ethnic/religious interests and single-issue pressure groups like “pro-life” and “pro-choice). As Jaroslaw Tomasiewicz states:
“A pluralistic, decentralized society can be the only alternative to a unified and centralized New World Order, a formless plasma fed on pop culture. Not only does territorial decentralization (broadening the authority of communities and regions) have to occur but also different cultural communities should gain autonomy. Not only the state but also every community should have the opportunity to proclaim its own laws for its own people. In that situation, coexistence of traditional patriarchal families and feminists’ or homosexual pairs, religious fundamentalists’ communities and countercultural groups, military-racist communities of the right wing and anarchistic or communistic groups of the left wing would be possible. So that the territorial and cultural decentralization doesn’t become a fiction, it has to be accompanied by economic decentralization and that would mean eliminating the concentration of property and production forms. The information technology revolution gives the opportunity to make this process real. I believe that this idea of a pluralistic society is the only program, which would be able to combine so many scattered and quarrelling sections of anti-System opposition. The only requirement for accepting it is surrendering the ambition of making the whole of humanity happy by your own idea (It will be enough if you concentrate on making yourself happy only).” (28)
This vision outlined by Tomasiewicz intersects nicely with the original anarchist ideal offered by Pierre Joseph Proudhon, a man whose ideas illustrate that one can be both an extreme radical and an extreme conservative simultaneously. For this kind of Left-Right convergence to emerge in the modern world, a mutual cease fire and non-aggression pact would have to be established among competing cultural groups with political decentralization and mutual self-segregation utilized as a means of dealing with unresolvable disputes. Economic decentralization is somewhat more problematical given the technical questions involved. While in decentralist, pluralist social systems different types of communities would have widely divergent economic arrangements contingent upon their own needs, traditions and ideological orientations, it would seem that certain common economic principles could and should be agreed upon by the various anti-System forces. The principle conflicts involve the role of the state in economic matters and the historic dispute between the lassez faire and socialist traditions. The ranks of economic radicals include anarcho-syndicalists, mutualists, guild socialists, councilists, agrarians, primitivists, distributists, anarcho-communists, adherents of social credit, geoists, populists and others. The common thread among all of these tendencies is a belief that economic power and control over resources, property and productive processes should be dispersed and devoid of centralism. Economic decentralization is a natural complement to political decentralization and vice versa. (29)
When considering these ideas, it is interesting to consider their relevance to authentically American cultural history and traditions. It is a great irony, and perhaps an illustration of a fatal contradiction in the American psyche, that a nation originally founded by explorers, pioneers, mercenaries, pirates and refugees, established by means of an anti-colonial revolution, the principle exponent of the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment, structured on a decentralist, federalist basis, should degenerate after only two centuries into an imperialist empire ordered on crass commercialism and consumerism, intellectual mediocrity, conformity and murderous neo-colonial aggression. The decentralist, anti-imperialist sympathies and immense respect for an authentic plurality of cultures found in national-anarchist thought are perfectly in keeping with early American traditions and classical American ideals. The isolation of North America allowed those who wished to escape persecution in Europe to find a homeland in the New World. Puritans went to Massachusetts, Baptists to Rhode Island, Quakers to Pennsylvania. Virginia and the Carolinas were largely colonies established by merchants and sea traders. Georgia was a penal colony a la Botany Bay. The American Revolution of 1776 came from a desire on the part of the colonists to preserve the freedom and independence they had found in America from the creeping tyranny of the Crown. (30) The westward expansion involved the creation of settlements organized as anarchistically as any ever found. (31) Along the way there has been the Southern independence movement of the Confederacy, slave revolts, labor uprisings, and massive resistance to imperialist wars and conscription. It is this aspect of American history and culture that modern revolutionaries should appeal to and capitalize on. Judging by the standards of classical American ideals, the modern US regime is nothing more than one massive act of treason.
It is also interesting to note the compatibility of national-anarchist ideals with those of authentic resistance movements that have emerged from the grassroots of American society in recent years. Many in the militia/patriot/constitutionalist milieu have worked to form their own intentional communities governed by the ideological principles of their choice. Others have created an alternative governmental or legal infrastructure based on the US Constitution, the Confederate Constitution, state constitutions, the Bible, the Magna Carta, old English common law, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and other sources of perceived cultural authority.(32) Some, like the Christian Jural Societies or the Continental Congress, have created a separatist or provisional political structure in the same way that the Palestinians established their own national organizational structure, Parliament and all, in the face of exile and the expropriation of their homeland by Zionist invaders. The national-anarchist concept of small, seceded communities emerging in the face of the global superstate is also consistent with the ideas postulated by some of the more radical libertarian thinkers, particularly Murray Rothbard and the leading contemporary exponent of Rothbardian anarchism, Hans Hermann Hoppe. Like the national-anarchists, Hoppe is a harsh critic of modern systems of liberal democracy. Like the national-anarchists, Hoppe regards the universalization of American imperialism and liberal democracy to be the primary threat to freedom and liberty. His book, “Democracy: The God That Failed” is a landmark work in political philosophy and political economy. (33) Hoppe regards modern democracy as a degeneration from earlier monarchical systems which he regards as less wasteful and warlike. When the stable, prosperous monarchy of Liechtenstein is compared with the indebted, near bankrupt, rapidly deteriorating social democratic states that dominate Europe, we can see that Hoppe may be on to something. (34) Some national-anarchist sympathizers express monarchist tendencies as well. Rothbard believed the right of political secession to be among the most powerful bulwarks against state tyranny. As a staunch anti-militarist and anti-imperialist, Rothbard believed that only two wars in American history were “just” wars-the American Revolution and the Southern War of Independence of 1861-1865. This position is consistent with that of the early American anarchist Lysander Spooner, an anti-slavery lawyer who championed southern secession while at the same time calling for slave insurrections against the southern aristocracy. If only the South had won the US Civil War, there would have been no consolidated national regime, and therefore no American entry into World War I, no Treaty of Versailles, no Hitler, no World War II, no Holocaust, no Stalinist occupation of Eastern Europe, no Cold War, no arms race, no Korean War and no War in Vietnam. Indeed, it would appear that the failure of the Confederate States of America was one of the greatest tragedies in world history. Applying these principles of secession and sovereignty to the modern world, it becomes obvious that anti-imperialists must stand by all nations and movements who defy the New World Order. This means defending Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, the Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon and any other nations who display resistance, regardless of what one may think of their internal politics. It means standing by nations like Russia, Germany, France, Turkey and Belgium when they refuse the dictates of American imperialism, even if this is largely an intramural dispute within the ranks of the masters of the New World Order. It means supporting armed insurrectionary movements on the periphery, such as the FARC of Colombia, the Peoples’ War Group of Nepal, the Shining Path of Peru, the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Hamas, Hezbollah, the ETA, IRA and the Corsican autonomists.
Hoppe’s views on secession also involve a preference for small communities. Critiquing the failure of the Confederacy, Hoppe argues that the Union refused to allow the secession because the loss of revenue, subjects and territory involved was simply more costly to itself that fighting a war “to preserve the Union”. As an alternative, a modern secessionist effort should:
“…take its cues from the European Middle Ages when, from about the twelfth century until well into the seventeenth century (with the emergence of the modern central state), Europe was characterized by the existence of hundreds of free and independent cities, interspersed into a predominately feudal social structure. By choosing this model and striving to create a U.S. punctuated by a large and increasing number of territorially disconnected free cities-a multitude of Hong Kongs, Singapores, Monacos and Liechtensteins strewn out over the entire continent-two otherwise unattainable but central objectives can be accomplished. First, besides recognizing the fact that the liberal-libertarian potential is distributed highly unevenly across the country, such a strategy of piecemeal withdrawal renders secession less threatening politically, socially and economically. Second, by pursuing this strategy simultaneously at a great number of locations all over the country, it becomes exceedingly difficult for the central state to create a unified opposition in public opinion to the secessionists which would secure the level of popular support and voluntary cooperation necessary for a successful crackdown.” (35)
Of course, it is important to realize that Hoppe is preceding from a totally different set of ideological presumptions than those of the national-anarchists. Hoppe is clearly in the liberal-Enlightenment tradition while national-anarchists are critical of modernity in a way that is similar to that of traditional conservatives in the Burkean tradition, notably Russell Kirk. Also, Hoppe is primarily interested in a more uniform liberal-libertarian-capitalist ideological secession while national-anarchists favor a proliferation of communities that span the ideological and cultural spectrum. The national-anarchist position appears to be the preferable one, as it is more conducive to the kind of diversity that would be necessary to make such efforts viable. Hoppe’s views on secession are very similar to those of David Michael. Unlike many leftist or libertarian anarchists, Michael does not reject electoral action, demonstrations, infiltration or “lone wolf” actions out of hand. Michael is refreshingly pragmatic and methodical when it comes to questions of strategy. (36) While favoring a “fight on all fronts” approach, Michael’s primary emphasis is on acquiring territory, resources and influence and building communities and alliances. On the question of alliances, Michael comments:
“Many groups are opposed to globalisation-often for different reasons: anarchists, national-anarchists, nationalists, Islamic fundamentalists, Maoists, national bolsheviks, national socialists, national revolutionaries, third positionists, evironmentalists…As globalisation and American imperialism tighten their grip upon the world we might wonder whether the old, and largely redundant, distinction between ‘left’ and ‘right’ in politics might be replaced by a new and far more bitter struggle: the struggle between the global Establishment-the monopolar New World Order, dominated by America and American neoliberal economics and values-and those many and varied people who oppose it. ” (37)
In the process of building communities and homelands, David Michael suggests a number of core conditions that need to be met. Such projects must be adequate in size, involve enough people and involve people of high quality and committment. Geographical isolation is also a necessity, along with ideological isolation, the avoidance of provocation of external authorities, an absence of destructive ideological or personality traits among the participants and a resolute committment to the avoidance of efforts to dominate other communities. Michael notes:
“Certain of our fellow travelers in the struggle against the Establishment have imperialist potential. The communists, National Socialists, and Islamic fundamentalists-all of these are fighting against the New World Order. Yet each, if it were to triumph all over the earth, has the potential to produce a globalised world order every bit as sinister as that of the current American empire. Care needs to be taken, when working with such people, that in working with them for the destruction of the Establishment, we do not inadvertently work towards the replacement of one globalising or imperialist force with another.” (38)
We might also remember that is has been precisely these types of internecine battles among rival revolutionary factions that have destroyed prior revolutionary efforts, such as those of France of 1789, Russia of 1917, Spain of 1936 and Paris of 1968. David Michael’s warnings concerning these matters echo those of Bakunin, whose foresight regarding the inherent statist and centralist tendencies of the Marxists offered a prophetic vision of the horrors and tragedies that were to emerge in the twentieth century. As a means of avoiding the replacement of one imperialism with another, we might once again return to the lessons of classical anarchism and learn from the example of the First International. The Marxists favored the concentration of power into the hands of the International’s General Council, which they had control over, while the Bakuninists (who comprised a majority of the International’s membership) believed the International should be a model for the future post-revolutionary society with as much autonomy as possible afforded to the local sections. Similarly, the alliance against the New World Order should be radically decentralized. Just as the International maintained sections in various countries, each with their own specific ideological inclinations, so should an alliance against Anglo-Zionist imperialism be structured in such a way as to reflect the varying ideological and cultural currents found within distinctive communities, regions and nations. I am not particularly knowledgeable of the cultural map of Europe or Asia beyond the purely elementary level. However, I might be able to provide a sketch of how such an alliance might be formed in North America, “in the belly of the beast”, as Gueverra said. America, Canada and Mexico each include a number of distinctive regions. In the US, the primary regions are the Northeast corridor, long time home of the mercantile trade and banking interests, the Southern “Bible Belt”, a hot bed of religious fundamentalism and social conservatism, the Midwest, with its inclinations towards heartland populism, the West, still a bastion of Marlboro country individualism, and the Left Coast, a multicultural region with many diverse ethnic and religious populations and a reputation as a haven for “alternative” lifestyles. Breaking things down a bit further, the rural and small town communities within America tend to lean towards social and cultural conservatism while the urban, metropolitan areas are more inclined towards “liberalism” and “progressivism”. It is instructive to note the ideological content of various secessionist and decentralist movements that have appeared in the US in recent years. A San Francisco newspaper published an editorial calling for secession by that city and the creation of a liberal-progressivist city-state, citing Iceland as a model. A still small but growing neo-secessionist movement in the old Confederate states claims Christianity and conservative Southern heritage as its banners. A libertarian-capitalist group, the Free State Project, wishes to colonize an American state and set about the business of eliminating its government. During the 1970s some in the hippie movement undertook an effort to colonize Vermont with some apparent success, as anyone familiar with the internal politics of Vermont is no doubt aware. The white separatist tendencies in the US have at times subscribed to a doctrine called “Northwest Imperative”, the aim of which would be to establish a white nationalist homeland in the Northwestern United States. Similarly, the black nationalist Nation of Islam organization has long called for a sovereign black homeland within the borders of the US. While Europe is more traditionally homogenous and less pluralistic than America, no doubt similar arrangements can be found in European society as well. Troy Southgate notes that a number of the tendencies in the national-anarchist family tree, such as the National Front and the English Nationalist Movement, called for regional independence for the distinctive regions among the British Isles and, despite a strong anti-immigrationist stance, cooperation with black and Asian communities within Britain. (39) Independence movements exist in northern Italy, Flanders, Corsica, the Basque country and, of course, Northern Ireland.
All of this brings us back to the original vision of Thomas Jefferson. At the risk of grotesque oversimplification, we might characterize American political history as an ongoing battle between the decentralist, agrarian ideals of Jefferson and the mercantilist, centralist preferences of his rival, Alexander Hamilton. Indeed, we might regard the establishment of the US national state in its earliest, late eighteenth century form as the first triumph of the Hamiltonians over the Jeffersonians, an event where the far more libertarian and decentralized Articles of Confederation was replaced via mercantilist coup with the more centralist, presidential form of government with which Americans are familiar. Subsequent American history has dramatically illustrated the wisdom of the early anti-federalist critics of the US Constitution, such as Jefferson and Patrick Henry. The Jeffersonians went on to suffer severe military defeat during the US Civil War of 1861-65 and Hamiltonian mercantilism and state capitalism continued to tighten its grip on America. Mark Winchell observes:
“By 1930, the Hamiltonian vision had triumphed everywhere in the United States except for the South and a few isolated pockets of rural culture elsewhere in the country…The Agrarians, however, believed that the Faustian bargain being offered to the south would result in the region giving up too much for too little. (It is doubtful that even they could have imagined the contemporary Sunbelt, with indistinguishable shopping malls stretching from Phoenix to Atlanta and a landscape of high-rise hotels with revolving restaurants on top.)” (40)
The early Jeffersonian vision of a republic of republics, with governmental systems ordered on the basis of counties divided into wards, and political leadership drawn from the ranks of natural aristocrats who achieved their position through superior ability, intelligence and character, with distinct communities achieving self-determination, includes a core set of ideas whose evolution continues through the work of Proudhon and Kropotkin, godfathers of British Distributism like G. K. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc, traditionalist American conservatives such as Richard Weaver and M. E. Bradford, libertarians like Karl Hess and, today, the national-anarchist movement. To be a Jeffersonian in the America of today is to be both an extreme radical and, in a sense, an extreme reactionary. A modern Jeffersonian, in any authentic sense, is a “conservative revolutionary” of the first order. Norman Mailer, a self-described “Left-Conservative”, characterizes such an outlook as “thinking in the style of Karl Marx in order to attain certain values suggested by Edmund Burke”. Mark Winchell continues:
“Certainly, one of the challenges now facing any political philosophy is to find a way to achieve harmony in an increasingly pluralistic society. Properly understood, the qualities of diversity and tolerance are more natural to a conservative than a schematic leftist mindset. Among his ‘six canons of conservative thought,’ (Russell) Kirk identifies an ‘affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional life as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and equalitarianism and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.’ Decentralization-political, cultural, and economic-is one way of maintaining and enhancing that proliferating variety.” (41)
Samuel Francis has speculated that paleoconservatives may be mistaken in adopting the label of “conservative”. What is it about the world order of modern times that anyone should wish to conserve? The ideals of the paleocons and the national-anarchists converge on a number of key points-regionalism, localism, agrarianism, traditionalism. The vociferous anti-Americanism of the national-anarchists may trigger an instinctively negative reflex among those paleocons who regard themselves as patriots, but is the America which the national-anarchists reject so fervently the America of either classical Jeffersonian or contemporary paleoconservative ideals? Obviously not. Perhaps Francis is right. (42) Perhaps those modern thinkers who find inspiration in classical American values are not conservatives at all, but anarchists. Benjamin R. Tucker once remarked that if Jefferson had been alive in his own era (this was the late nineteenth century!), he would have been an anarchist. Indeed, the iconic conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet expressed admiration for the communitarian ideals championed by classical anarchists like Kropotkin. And for those who wish to preserve both authentic diversity and distinctive communities, both inside and outside the territorial United States, national-anarchism does indeed offer a way. Indeed, it might not be too much of a stretch to say that national-anarchism is paleoconservatism taken to its logical conclusions. Of course, it remains to be seen whether paleoconservatives and national-anarchists alike would agree with that estimation.
1) Taki Theodoracopulous, “The United States of Everywhere”, American Conservative, March 10, 2003
2) Bool and Carlyle, “For Liberty”
3) Thomas Jefferson, “Notes on Virginia”
4) Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1983.
5) R. J. Rummell, “Power Kills” and “Death by Government”.
6) Arthur Koestler, “The Ghost in the Machine”
7) Stanley Milgram, “Obedience to Authority”
8) Hannah Arendt, “The Banality of Evil”
9) Franz Oppenheimer, “The State”
10) Lysander Spooner, “No Treason” and Hans Hermann Hoppe, “Democracy: The God That Failed”
11) David E. Michael, “A New Land, A New Life, A New Hope”, Voice of the Resistance, Issue Two, February 2003.
12) Colin Ward, “Anarchy in Action” and Harold Barlcay, “People Without Government: The Anthropology of Anarchy”
13) Kevin A. Carson, “The New Class’ Will to Power: Liberalism and Social Control” at http://www.attackthesystem.com
14) quoted in Barclay, “People Without Government” p. 27.
15) quoted in Noam Chomsky, “Deterring Democracy” p. 398.
16) Troy Southgate, interviewed by Richard Hunt, from the Terra Firma web site at http://www.rosenoire.terrafirma.org
17) Voice of the Resistance, Issue Two, February 2003.
18) Joseph Sobran, “The Empire and Its Denizens”, The Wander, May 15, 2003.
19) For example, the colorful paleoconservative commentator Taki Theodoracopulous states: “…the recent antiwar demonstrations all over Europe were heartbreaking, at least for me. Basically the demonstrations were anti-American, no ifs or buts about it. I am very much against the war for the obvious reasons…The idea, however, that I’m on the same side with American-haters like the egregious Biance Jagger makes my blood boil.” Taki Theodoracopulous, “The United States of Everywhere”, American Conservative, March 10, 2003. The very same issue of American Conservative featured a particulary mediocre article by neoconservative ideologue John Derbyshire reviewing Kevin MacDonald’s “Culture of Critique”, a work that exposes racist tendencies within Jewish culture. The piece was obviously included as “Look, we’re not anti-Semitic!” window dressing. John Derbyshire, “The Marx of the Anti-Semites”, American Conservative, March 10, 2003.
20) Sobran, “The Empire…”
21) David E. Michael, “Unity in Diversity”, Voice of the Resistance, Issue One, October 2002.
22) Voice of the Resistance, Issue One, October 2002.
23) The Northeastern Anarchist, Issue Four, Spring/Summer 2002.
24) “Anarchist Economics”, Subversion, The Northeastern Anarchist, Issue Four, Spring/Summer 2002.
25) David E. Michael, “National-Anarcist FAQ”, from the nationalanarchist.com web site.
26) Southgate, interviewed by Hunt.
27) Bjorn Lomborg, “The Skeptical Environmentalist”
28) Jaroslaw Tomasciewicz, “An Alternative to the American Empire of the New World Order” at http://www.attackthesystem.com/alternative.html
29) Kevin A. Carson, “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand” at http://www.mutualist.net. Keith Preston, “What Would An Anarcho-Socialist Economy Look Like?” at http://www.attackthesystem.com/economy.html
30) Murray N. Rothbard, “Conceived in Liberty”
31) Terry Anderson and P. J. Hill, “An Experiment in Anarcho-Capitalism: The Not So Wild West”, 3 Journal of Libertarian Studies 9, 1979.
32) Joel Dyer, “Harvest of Rage”
33) Keith Preston, “Democracy As Tyranny” at http://www.attackthesystem.com/hoppe.html
34) Karen De Coster, “Will Liechtenstein Autonomy Prevail?”, Mises Institute, April 28, 2003. http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1214
35) Hans Hermann Hoppe, “Democracy: The God That Failed”.
36) Michael, “A New Land…”
37) Michael, continued.
38) Michael, continued.
39) Southgate, “Transcending the Beyond: From Third Positionism to National-Anarchism”
40) Mark Royden Winchell, “This Land Is Your Land”, American Conservative, July 14, 2003.
41) Winchell, continued.
42) It should be pointed out that Francis is a social nationalist and not an anarchist.
Copyright 2003. American Revolutionary Vanguard. All rights reserved.