So says former Reaganite turned sensible person Paul Craig Roberts.
The empire, the military-industrial complex, and the plutocratic corporate-state are the real enemies.
by Jeremy Weiland
Over the past two to three years, I’ve engaged in many conversations featuring the appeal to moral principles asserted to be held in common. Some who’ve known me for a while may notice that over this period I’ve begun to distance myself from appealing to these moral principles as a basis for my arguments. This has been a rule I’ve adhered to largely from both my own investigations of my beliefs as well as the influence of Max Stirner’s “The Ego and Its Own” (or, as Shawn Wilbur correctly points out is a better translation of the title, “The Unique One and Its Property”).
Stirner taught me that abstractions and concepts (“spooks”) often rule us just as completely and arbitrarily as corporeal authorities, and that true freedom requires one to break free of all preconceived notions of propriety, convention, and duty. This philosophy is often called “egoism” and is treated by many as a form of nihilistic realism culminating in an almost Nietzschean “will to power”. All constraints on the ego are to be discarded in order for the self to express itself fully through its property, its ideas.
This causes understandable concern in many. The search for perfect and complete freedom is framed in terms that are positively anti-social. If adhering to ethical codes or moral laws or legal statutes or social conventions should displease you, why not throw them all out? After all, what makes them all more valuable than your own happiness? And I find this a hard argument to reject without appealing to other spooks.
Indeed, I’ve come to realize that my own moral beliefs are undemonstrable and, therefore, I often have no compelling argument to make. For example, I believe the non-aggression axiom is a valid construct – it makes sense to me and seems to align with my innate sense of justice most of the time. But there’s no way to fashion a logical argument for this position outside of the conventions instilled in us through a lifetime of social experience, the nature we can claim to share (whatever that means), or the rhetorical power with which I can persuade, or make demands on, you.
If I want you to accept the axioms I accept, I don’t know where to begin, other than to presume you’re like me in important ways that allow my sensibilities to transfer over to you. The belief that we share common access to a universal basis for truth is the precondition for any persuasive, rational debate. It underlies the motivation for reaching out to you at all, because I assume you have the innate ability to reach the same conclusion I did – somehow. If I believe my position is true, I believe that you are compelled to accept it if you’re honestly accessing that same store of truth.
The idea that you and I are similar, that there’s an inner truth available to both of us that underlies our common interest in peace and harmony, and that this common truth is mutually accessible, is typically consigned to the domain of the religious, the mystical, the arena of doctrines requiring blind faith (though it has its secular versions, such as the rationalism of the Enlightenment era). And yet, the more deeply I’ve studied the arguments of libertarians (and I certainly believe this applies to any political ideology, or for that matter any belief system, bar none) the more clearly I see that ours is distinguished from others not by our beliefs per se so much as our constructions of that universal truth we expect others to access. Hence our outrage when they appear not to, because they are not simply disagreeing with us; they are challenging our own certainty in the truth at which we’ve arrived. After all, we would not reach out to them in the first place if we did not believe they (A) are honest with themselves and us, and (B) have equal access to that store of universal truth.
What’s weird about the typical construction of Stirner’s argument that appears to predominate in libertarian and anarchist circles is the emphasis on the quest to banish every kind of spook – only to make room for the primacy of another. It typically presumes a particular conception of the individual lying nascent and pure under these layers of spooks (particular at least to the degree that the spook’s restriction of it is identifiable) but never questions whether that conception of the individual as described by Stirner is itself a spook. Stirner advocates for this ego to dominate in exactly as arbitrary a manner as any other ideation can elevate itself within the psyche. In pushing for a radical individualism, Stirner seems to be convincing the reader not to abandon all the chains and limitations of the various spooks so much as to adopt one really powerful spook to rule them all, and let that ascendency be named “freedom”.
But what next? If you follow his ideas to their logical conclusion, a totally different construction can emerge. What if we, as the unique ones, create ourselves – not merely limit ourselves, though that seems to be part of it – through the duties, moral codes, and other constructs we assume? What if that is the character of our creative task? Perhaps casting off the spooks gets us down to the core of our being, but must we stop there? Or do we channel that core to others as an expression, a unique composition of identity and “will to self-definition”?
Perhaps all of us unique ones are defined not simply by our mere uniqueness at the root of it all, but the way in which we fit together as irreplaceable components. The ego as Stirner described it may in fact not be the unique one – it may be the spook we empower to protect ourselves from the inner truths others are constantly counter-demonstrating to us. If we are threatened by others’ constructions of their inner truth, it is only because we rely on the certainty of identification with our own spooks, which stand in for a more honest, rigorous, and continuous exploration of the self.
I maintain that the genuine political act is the quest for self-knowledge, or rather, a continual dedication to increasing honesty with oneself. The rest is arbitrary expressions people choose in order to get at that essential heart in others – indeed, if they didn’t assume the existence of that heart they wouldn’t bother to make the effort! Too often, they mistake the expressions for that which is being expressed, that which is truly being sought by all of us with various degrees of fidelity. You can argue ethics, morality, and logic all day with others and not convince anybody of anything nor discover anything that helps you better understand the human condition, because it is a condition of billions of unique truths, all equally valid.
In the same way that Nietzsche dared the individual to will himself to power, one can dare to create oneself by choosing his spooks, his constraints, his individual expressions of the universal as he understands it. It is an act of consummate creativity to define your own moral and ethical context as an expression of universal truth. The key, however, is to recognize that others do the same, and to see the interpersonal dialogue as a continuation of the meditation on the unique one – not some challenge to your ego. You approach the universal through the individual, not as a rejection of it.
If I express frustration with those who advocate for universal principles, such as particular conceptions of human rights, justice, moral codes, etc. it is not because I reject the reality of a transcendent universal truth. Instead, it has more to do with the manner in which some advocates appeal to it, as if their conception were binding on me. Often such arguments end up coming off more or less as breathless assertions of one’s ego, seeking conformity and not understanding, and certainly not an appeal to the common truth we should share.
In fact, it is precisely because of my firm grasp of what it means for a truth to be universal – that it has no need to be forced on another, either through the brute force of rhetoric or that of violence – that I do not insist on your consent to it. In fact, I welcome your dissent. We are each equally the conduits of the universal if we’re worth convincing at all. In order for me to be assured that I am articulating something “true”, the last thing I want to do is to extract your consent to my position. Above all, I want your honest feedback to help me integrate your unique insight into my search. The earnest seeker of truth places a higher value on testing it than merely believing in it.
Stirner closed his magnum opus with the phrase, “All things are nothing to me,” as if that were the end of the matter. Be that as it may, creativity and freedom end up manifesting most universally as the ability, nay, the daring to make something of that nothing, and to do it in the unique way only you can. That is a magnificent and glorious idea to me – indeed, it is what I believe I am, and what I believe you are.
It is why I will never demand you are compelled by some universal law “out there” to adopt my beliefs. Such arguments amount to hand waving, and no honest person resorts to them knowingly. For the precise reason that I believe some things are universal, I dare to trust you to find it yourself, in your own unique way – and if you can construct it better than I, then the benefits accrue to us both. It is in that manner of unique togetherness we approach a less distorted, more useful conception of the unnameable principle which impels us to associate in the first place.
So says Kevin Carson.
We anarchists don’t believe other people are our property. We don’t believe we have the authority to tell other people what to eat, drink, smoke, or whom to have sex with. We’re not their bosses. We don’t own them. And we have no right to act through government to do things we have no legitimate authority to do as individuals. In other words, we anarchists actually believe the things the authors of your civics texts claimed to believe.
Fantastic piece from Jack Donovan at AltRight.
The Left has successfully marketed youthful rebellion against “The Man” for decades. One has to wonder, though, how long it will take until today’s budding hipsters — gussied up in a postmodern hodgepodge of recycled rebellions past — finally realize that they are the new squares.
It’s not like back in the ‘60s when you could just grow your hair out, get naked and sit around singing and smoking pot in the mud. And it’s not some wizened old beatnik feeding you communist propaganda; it’s your schoolteacher, your principal, your college professor and your Supreme Court Justices. The future is now, cats, and you can’t fight “The Man” when he’s on your side. You can take to the streets and march, if that’s what you’re into, but your signs might as well say “Yes, sir, more of the same, please!” All you can do is become part of the machine, another cog. Your “rage” is all staged.
Kevin Carson lets us know.
Interesting article by Black Panther-turned-anarchist Ashanti Alston.
Its funny cause as an anarchist searching for some good anarchist shit from the 60’s to be able to hold up and show “proof” that the anarchist were better on the position of Nationalism than the Marxists and Leninists, I found hardly anything! I found some positive stuff from a “libertarian” publication but to my surprise they represented the “anarcho-CAPITIALIST tendency! Yet, I found them to be on point and consistent on RESPECTING nationalism and national liberation. (“The Libertarian Forum” of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Karl Hess, Joseph Peden, and Murray N. Rothbard). They, at least, understood that black people’s nationalist struggle was a struggle against the State, the Babylonian state. They, also, looked at what the nationalist groups were doing in their actual grassroots practice, like creating concrete defenses against repression and alternatives in survival institutions. Thus, they liked what the Panthers were doing on the ground through their programs and supported that kind of nationalism as being compatible with “anarchism on the ground.” Paul Goodman made similar observations of the early civil rights movement groups. But it was understood that these groups were dealing with issues of survival against genocide, and that these groups were developing their own analyses and programs to rally their communities. One last thing about the libertarians of LF, they interestingly enough were critical of the Panthers when the Party turned towards Marxism and other authoritarian ideologies because in their “on the ground” practice the survival programs were no longer spontaneous responses to specific oppressions but increasingly had to be kept under the tight control of the Party.
Some great new stuff by Michael Parish and Ian Huyett.
“White Nationalism”? Bah Humbug by Michael Parish
Bowling for Common Sense by Michael Parish
The Descent Into the Cultural Marxist Twilight Zone Continues by Michael Parish
Penetrating the Liberal Mindset by Michael Parish
The Reason for Our Discontent by Michael Parish
Why Do Europeans Need Advocates? by Ian Huyett
A close colleague recently put a question to me that I regard as important enough to be well worth discussing publicly. I was asked if whether or not my own assumption of controversial stances on a variety of issues might have the effect of weakening my wider advocacy of an “anarcho-pluralist” political framework and a “pan-secessionist” strategy for achieving it. For instance, by attacking political correctness, am I not alienating many people with PC views on many issues who might otherwise be sympathetic to my wider outlook? By challenging the “open borders” preferences of mainstream libertarians, am I not pushing away anti-statists and decentralists who might also hold pro-immigration views? Indeed, might not even illegal immigrants themselves be viable allies within a pan-secessionist or anarcho-pluralist meta-political framework given that, at least on some levels, they are in conflict with the existing state?
Clearly, a number of important distinctions need to be made regarding such questions. The most significant of these distinctions involves defining what “anarcho-pluralism” and “pan-secessionism” actually are. “Anarcho-pluralism,” as I conceive of it at least, is a brand of anti-state radicalism that has “anti-universalism” and what might be called “radical localism” as it core defining characteristics. It is “anti-universalist” because it rejects the view that there is one “correct” system of politics, economics, or culture that is applicable much less obligatory for all people at all times and in all places. As Russell Kirk observed: “There exists no single best form of government for the happiness of all mankind. The most suitable form of government necessarily depends upon the historic experience, the customs, the beliefs, the state of culture, the ancient laws, and the material circumstances of a people.” Anarcho-pluralism advocates “radical localism” as the best possible method of avoiding the tyrannies and abuses of overarching Leviathan states, and accommodating the irreconcilable differences concerning any number of matters that all societies inevitably contain.
“Pan-secessionism” is the strategy for achieving anarcho-pluralism. Given that most modern societies are under the rule of overarching states possessing expansive bureaucratic tentacles and police powers, the simple territorial withdrawal of regions and localities and renunciation of the central state by the secessionists would seem to be the most practical and comprehensible method of resistance. These few simple ideas are all that anarcho-pluralism and pan-secessionism really amount to. Theoretically, one could hold to just about any other set of beliefs or values and operate within the framework of anarcho-pluralism and pan-secessionism. In its essence, the anarcho-pluralist/pan-secessionist program does nothing more than work to abolish the central state and give every political interest group its own territory to create whatever kind of society it wishes, with ultimate success or failure being the sole responsibility of the local organizers, residents, or participants.
With regards to political correctness, it is certainly possible for persons holding stereotypical PC views to operate within a wider anarcho-pluralist/pan-secessionist framework or to join an alliance for the organization of such. For instance, the late, great, feminist-extremist Andrea Dworkin was actually a proponent of “lesbian separatism” and apparently favored the creation of communities for those with views like hers complete with “land and guns” of their own. Some in the left-wing anarchist milieu favor an idea called “libertarian municipalism,” a perspective advanced by the late anarchist-ecologist Murray Bookchin which basically involves creating independent city-state-like municipalities organized on the New England town meeting model, presumably espousing the usual communitarian-green-feminist-rainbow values of the far Left. It is theoretically possible that if and when the day comes that a pan-secessionist movement that is actually large enough and well-organized enough to mount a credible challenge to the authority of the U.S. regime and ruling class emerges, a majority or even a super-majority of the individuals, organizations, and communities participating in such an effort could potentially reflect the kinds of “far Left” values and positions on issues of the kinds that most current left-anarchists espouse.
A similar theoretical formulation could be applied to the immigration question. It is entirely possible that many if not most participants in a pan-secessionist action could indeed be persons or groups favoring a completely “open borders” policy for their respective post-secession communities. Indeed, it is even possible that many participants in a pan-secessionist movement or action could be immigrants, even those who immigrated illegally according to present U.S. law, or the immediate descendants of such.
Yet a number of obvious and vital questions remain. The most immediate of these would be: what is the purpose of anarcho-pluralism/pan-secessionism in the first place, its core principles aside? Anarcho-pluralism/pan-secessionism is an outlook that myself and some colleagues developed in the late 1990s in response to certain problems that we perceived in the mainstream of the anarchist milieu. From my earliest involvement in the anarchist movement, I noticed that quite frequently anarchists seemed to be, among other things, much more interested in promoting the standard laundry list of liberal or left-wing causes, or simply engaging in countercultural lifestyle practices, rather than advancing the struggle against the state. Opposition to the state itself is the core essence of any anarchist ideology worthy of the name. Anarchism differs from classical liberalism, which views the state as a neutral agent whose purpose is to uphold and protect abstract “rights.” The anarchist view regards the state as a self-interested entity claiming monopoly privilege for its members. Anarchism also differs from leftism in that it regards the state as a parasite and usurper rather than as a reflection of some mythical “general will” (the democratist view) or as an agent of class rule (the Marxist view). The traditional anarchist critique of capitalism regards plutocracy as the result of state-imposed privilege for private interests allied with the state (see Proudhon), and the traditional anarchist opposition to war, militarism, and imperialism results from the anarchist view of these things as simple acts of aggression and plunder by states, no different in kind from ordinary criminality.
An additional factor that shaped my own view was the recognition that many thinkers and activists outside the anarchist milieu and, indeed, outside the subculture of the “far Left” where most anarchists tend to function, possess many cogent criticisms of the state, plutocracy, empire and imperialism that overlapped quite well with the traditional anarchist critique, including some from the “far Right.” While studying the works of leading commentators and theorists from these schools of thought more carefully, I came to the conclusion that a good number entirely valid and legitimate issues and questions were being raised by many in these camps. Initially, I began pushing for greater collaboration between anarchists and the libertarian-left and paleoconservatives, the militia-patriot-constitutionalist milieu, right-libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, the populist-right, and so forth. I then discovered the neo-secessionist tendencies that were starting to organize at the time, and around ten years ago I encountered for the first time the national-anarchist tendency that had recently emerged. This in turn introduced me to the world of “third-position” ideologies, to the French New Right of Alain De Benoist, and so forth. I began to understand that quite often the only key differences between many of these “right-wing” perspectives and traditional anarchism are matters of culture, and in some instances mere aesthetics or individual tastes. I wrote a letter to a left-anarchist journal in 1999 where I outlined these views, and I later reworked the letter into an article expounding upon these ideas further.
Anarcho-pluralism/pan-secessionism was created as a tendency whose specific purpose was to re-orient the focus of modern anarchism away from liberal and leftist social causes and countercultural lifestyles, and towards a more concentrated attack on the state, the empire, and the plutocracy. A related purpose is to form tactical alliances towards this end with many others sharing overlapping critiques or concerns, including some from the “far Right” or other points on the political spectrum apart from the radical Left milieu. Additionally, strategic and organizational issues are to be placed at the forefront of our ongoing efforts and expressed concerns. In other words, anarcho-pluralism/pan-secessionism differs sharply from the mainstream anarchist movement by
1) shifting focus away from left-wing social causes and countercultural lifestyles towards attacking the state, empire, and plutocracy as the primary values or objectives;
2) working for the construction of an anti-state, anti-plutocratic, and anti-imperialist political alliance comprised of opposition forces from across the political spectrum;
3) developing or promoting regional and local secessionist movements as the strategic and organizational vehicle for the political advancement of such a tactical alliance;
4) rejecting the universalistic claim that all participants in the anarcho-pluralistic/pan-secessionist project must hold to “ultra-liberal,” “far Left,” or countercultural lifestyle views on such matters as abortion, gay rights, feminism, transgendered rights, environmentalism, animal rights, “anti-racism,” “anti-fascism,” immigrants’ rights, “open borders,” veganism/vegetarianism, economic preferences, nuclear power, capital punishment, religion, drugs, family organization, squatting, dumpster-diving, punk rock music, and many other things. This is not to say that participants in such a project cannot hold “ultra-liberal” or countercultural views on such matters, but that such an outlook, while acceptable, is not mandatory.
5) recognizing that a post-state, post-plutocratic, and post-empire nation or civilization where anarchists are politically dominant would contain a genuine diversity of forms of political, cultural, and economic organization, and not just the kinds favored by the “far Left.” Consequently, a post-revolutionary political order would likely include communities and institutions of a conservative, religious, ethnocentric, traditionalist, patriarchal, or just plain old middle-of-the-road, moderate nature as well as those of a leftist or countercultural nature.
The Necessity of Confronting Totalitarian Humanism
Once upon a time, I generally agreed with the standard leftist view that much of the conservative critique of “political correctness” amounts to little more than sour grapes on the part of right-wingers who are on the losing end of history and political struggles. However, upon further experience and reflection, I found it necessary to alter my view. When I first began promoting the ideas outlined above in the anarchist milieu, I knew it would be controversial and that many would object. However, I was somewhat surprised by the level of vociferous hostility and threats of violence I received from the critics. Now, on one hand, if some anarchists regard immigrants’ rights, gay rights, transexual rights, animal rights, or the most extreme forms of “anti-racism” to be the most important issues, then they are still perfectly within their rights to feel this way. If they prefer to tolerate or endure the present system rather than cede any ground, politically or geographically, to the Right, or to have any sort of association with cultural conservatives, then they likewise have the right to make this value judgment for themselves. However, the fact that they cannot accept that some of us would choose a different way, and that they cannot co-exist with our own tendency without making threats of violence and assuming a generally obscurantist attitude, indicates that their commitment to such core libertarian values as freedom of speech and thought is rather limited. This essentially cancels their supposed “progressive” credentials and essentially renders them to the status of either a pre-Enlightenment cult movement, or secular theocrats, or a variation of the modern totalitarian movements that have emerged since the French Revolution. As a biographer of the anarchist historian Paul Avrich observed: “Avrich does not shy away from controversy in his books, treating the anarchist acts of violence honestly and in the context of the time. He does not condone the violence of Berkman, but says he still admires his decision, considering how brutal Frick acted toward striking workers. But Avrich does not have the same patience for some contemporary anarchists, who choose to destroy property and who, he says, come mainly from educated and middle-class backgrounds. “I’m not so crazy about anarchists these days,” he says. Anarchism means that you leave other people alone and you don’t force people to do anything.” He says he is sad that the old-timers are not around to guide the resurgent movement. “They were nicer people –much nicer people.” Of course, the anarcho-leftoids, antifa, and other related groups are merely a symptom of the growing totalitarian movement of which Political Correctness is a manifestation. I have written about this third totalitarianism before, and will continue to do so in the future. For now, it is simply enough to say that Political Correctness must be confronted by serious anarchists in the same way that it was necessary for perceptive anarchists to confront Communism as Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin did in the days when it was the emerging totalitarian movement of the 19th century. This is simply a matter of self-defense, as the left-wing enemy has declared war on us. Given the rabid hatred expressed by PC Left (including its “anarchist” and “libertarian” contingents) towards anyone with political, social, or cultural values that conflict with hard-left orthodoxy, it is unlikely that these elements will ever be able to peacefully co-exist with those who are different from themselves. The PC Left contains within itself the Lenins, Stalins, Maos, Castros, and Pol Pots of the future.
This is not to say that one cannot theoretically be a cultural leftist and simultaneously oppose Totalitarian Humanism. One can be a worker, a political leftist, or even a socialist, and oppose Marxism. One can be black, Jewish, or Hispanic and oppose totalitarian multiculturalism. Many do. One can be a woman and oppose the feminazis. There are many of these. One can certainly be gay and oppose the “homo-totalitarians.” Plenty of examples of this exist. Many of my own views on various issues are well to the left of the Democratic Party, if not the Green Party. Yet Totalitarian Humanism needs to be recognized for what it is, the third triplet after Communism and Fascism.
The Necessity of Strategic and Organizational Thinking
A criticism that has been issued against my outlook in the past is that it is overly concerned with pragmatic or strategic considerations and not rooted strongly enough in matters of abstract principle. But ideas are worthless (Stirnerite “spooks”) if they cannot be translated into real world action. If we wanted we could simply form a monastery where we sit around and debate whether drunk driving interferes with anyone’s property rights or whether non-coercive ageism or transphobia conflicts with the natural rights of man, but for what purpose other than intellectual masturbation? If that is what some wish to do, so be it, but for those of us who want an anti-state movement that is a real world contender, matters of strategy and organization are indispensable. Therefore, considerations of what kinds of demographic groups, subtendencies, organizational methods, and tactical efforts are most conducive to the success of the objectives outlined above, and considerations of time frame, are essential to our wider theoretical framework.
The Necessity of High Intellectual Standards and Political Foresight
While considerations of strategy and action are important to the formulation of theory, this does not mean that we should not aspire to high intellectual standards. For one thing, the purpose of ARV/ATS is not to simply be popular and attract sympathizers, but to cultivate an elite leadership corps who will be the revolutionary elite of a future anarcho-pluralist/pan-secessionist populist movement. A competent leadership corps has to first possess not only high intellectual standards but a capacity for serious political foresight. These considerations are relevant to many different questions. For now, we can reflect a bit on the relevance of these to the immigration question, given that immigration is at present a prominent and controversial public issue.
With the exception of the paleo-libertarians, national-anarchists, and perhaps some Green-anarchists, most present-day anti-state radicals generally advocate “open borders,” meaning that the existing states should simply order their border and coast guards to stand down and allow entry into their respective countries by anyone who wishes to enter for whatever reason. If that’s how many if not most libertarians or anarchists feel at present, then that’s their prerogative. Yet the popularity of a position should not be a barrier to its challenge. After all, if the goal were to simply be popular in the anarchist milieu, our own tendencies would not even exist in the first place.
I criticize the “open borders” beliefs of many anarchists for a variety of reasons. First, I regard mass immigration as a phenomenon that is actually generated by the forces of State, Capital, and Empire, and serves the interests of present day political elites and ruling classes. Second, I am skeptical as to whether a civilization of anarchic communities would actually have “open borders” as many anarchists conceive of such. “Open borders” simply invites the existing state to impose a uniform immigration standard on all communities and institutions within the wider society. There is likely to be a considerably greater degree of variation with regards to matters of immigration and citizenship in the absence of an overarching statist system. Third, it is doubtful that the cultural and social ultra-liberalism promoted by many anarchists and libertarians is compatible with the importation of unlimited numbers of persons from profoundly illiberal cultural environments. Fourth, the history of efforts by genuinely multi-ethnic and multicultural societies to maintain civil peace is not a particularly happy one or a cause for optimism. Fifth, there are the practical costs of mass immigration. For instance, do we really want North America to become as populous as China or India? Lastly, I am skeptical as to whether anarchists who champion “open borders” the most fervently are motivated primarily by anti-statist or civil libertarian concerns.
For instance, many anarchists have not devoted nearly as much effort, or no effort at all, to opposing statist legislation that is far more onerous or draconian in content and effect than the recently enacted Arizona immigration law. So are these anarchists motivated by anti-statism and civil libertarianism, or are they motivated more by universalism, e.g. the view that immigration is a good unto itself regardless of the state’s role in fostering or prohibiting it? What sort of concerns do they express? What sort of criticisms do they raise? Do they say “Requiring travelers to display passports is a statist interference with freedom to travel!”? Perhaps they do at times, but there are plenty of laws on the books of a comparable nature that they rarely if ever discuss, for instance, those requiring motorists to obtain and carry a driver’s license. Are they not more likely to say, “Restricting immigration is racist and xenophobic!” It is fairly clear that for many of the “open borders” anarchists and libertarians, univeralism rather than anti-statism is the guiding value.
Now, to be fair, it should be pointed out that those anti-statists with anti-immigration views are often likewise motivated by values beyond those of mere concern with the role of the state in promoting or sponsoring immigration. The same could be said of libertarians holding opposing views on other controversial matters like abortion or capital punishment. Yet, anti-statists who are anti-immigration are typically much more likely to demonstrate anti-universalism. For instance, Hans Herman Hoppe is a leading paleolibertarian critic of “open borders” libertarians, yet he recognizes the degree of discrimination or non-discrimination, inclusion or exclusion, homogeneity or heterogeneity, will inevitably vary from community to community and institution to institution minus a system of uniformity imposed by the central state. Likewise, the national-anarchists typically recognize that the internal norms and standards of differing “tribes” or communities will vary greatly in the absence of the state, and typically understand that without the state homogeneous communities will co-exist with multicultural ones. Neither paleos nor national-anarchists typically engage in slander, vilification, threats, or violence towards those who do not share their views. Therefore, their claims of authenticity are at present the most valid and compelling.
The Necessity of a Flexibility of Theory and Tactics
The matter of immigration raises a few other issues that are relevant to the anarcho-pluralist/pan-secessionist paradigm. For instance, I have had some no doubt sincere and well-intentioned people ask questions such as these?
1) How can it be argued that the state promotes immigration and that immigrants benefit from statism when illegal immigrants are subject to arrest by the ICE or other police agencies?
2) Is not criticizing immigration promoting division among enemies of the state, thereby weakening the anti-state cause?
3) Is not criticizing immigration actually strengthening pro-state elements on the Right, who are after all motivated not by anti-statism but by statist nationalism?
4) Would not it be strategically more feasible to ally with immigrants against overarching common enemies, such as the global plutocracy?
Here are some short answers to these questions:
1) The state not a monolithic conspiracy. Many anarchists and libertarians seem to regard “the state” the same way Marxists regard “the capitalists” or Nazis regard “the Jews.” The state is a collection of certainly overlapping and interconnected interests, but one that also contains within itself plenty of contradictions and conflicts. Yes, certain elements within the state (for instance, the ICE or Joe Arpaio) might well have self-interest in enforcing immigration law. But plenty of other interests within the state actually benefit from immigration. These have been widely documented by immigration critics. Further, simply being a lawbreaker does not necessarily make one an enemy of the state per se, much less an anarchist revolutionary. If mere law-breaking were to be our standard of anarchist authenticity, then we would have to say that dirty cops are among the most anarchistic of all. After all, dirty cops commit perjury, plant evidence, engage in police brutality, confiscate drugs and then use or sell them, steal from evidence lockers, accept bribes, participate in illegal searches and seizures, solicit sexual favors from suspects or prisoners, or even engage in outright common crimes such as robbery, rape, kidnapping, and murder. There are certainly plenty of laws prohibiting these things, but are we prepared to argue that such cops measure up to anarchist standards?
2) For reasons that are widely known, it is doubtful whether immigrants, or even illegal immigrants, can be classified as enemies of the state on any kind of consistent level. As Andrew Yeoman succinctly put it: “…the ideal is to decentralize political power and increase the power of local institutions outside state control. This does not mean supporting illegal immigrants, who aren’t outside the state — to the contrary. Illegals represent a minority that is trying to impose its will on the majority by fully integrating itself within the state. Illegals oppose state power just as much as they oppose capitalism, which is to say, not at all — they are here to make money and eager to take advantage of all the benefits of the welfare system. They are also seeking race replacement.”
3) It is undoubtedly true that many on the anti-immigration Right are motivated less by an opposition to the imposition of a uniform and universalist immigration policy by the central state, and more by a desire for a xenophobic brand of statist nationalism? But to what degree are these elements reflective of ruling class values or elite consensus, or even the mainstream of public opinion? For instance, the New York Times (which Abbie Hoffman used to refer to as “the voice of the ruling class”) has consistently taken an “open borders” stance, as has the Wall Street Journal (which might be called “the voice of the global plutocracy”). The evidence is overwhelming that while elites and the radical Left share the common goal of total or near-total abolition of immigration standards, hard-core “xenophobes” are a fairly marginal, fringe movement. Research indicates that the average American of all races or colors generally has a tolerant view of legal immigrants, while regarding present immigration rates as too high and believing that illegal immigration should be barred. This is hardly an indication of imminent genocide as “immigrants’ rights” hysterics would have us believe.
4) All of these issues aside, are there indeed areas or situations where illegal immigrants might well be potential allies? Aside from my strenuously un-PC views on certain questions, one of the areas of my own thinking that often raises the most eyebrows is my position that outlaw organizations might well be valuable allies against the state in certain instances. For instance, motorcycle gangs, survivalist militias, common street gangs, exotic cults, and the like. There are a number of reasons why I hold to this view. One is the obvious. Many of these groups view themselves as a nation of their own that is at war with the government, therefore in a situation of direct conflict with the state, they may be viable military allies against a common enemy. Second, many of these groups have a history of being in direct conflict and combat with the repressive apparatus of the state, e.g. the BATF, FBI, DEA, or state and local SWAT teams or paramilitary police. Thirdly, by recruiting them as allies or mercenaries for “our side” we prevent our various enemies from doing so. There are other, less significant reasons why I take this position as well.
This brings us to the final question of on what issues might it be appropriate to take a pro-immigration stance or to ally ourselves with illegal immigrants. As mentioned, individuals participants in the anarcho-pluralist/pan-secessionist project can have any other views they wish. By extension, they can advocate for their own tribe, community, or territory whatever political values they wish. For instance, if some left-anarchists, left-libertarians, Hispanic ethno-nationalists, or liberal multiculturalists decide to organize a Miami secessionist movement (the “Republic of Miami”) and decide they wish for an independent Miami to have completely open borders, so be it. If most people in a liberal metropolis like New York City or San Francisco prefer that these regions be “sanctuary cities,” then that’s how it will be. Likewise, while I would defend Arizona’s sovereignty against the feds regarding the controversial immigration law, if one of Arizona’s cities or counties, say, Tucson or Flagstaff, decided to secede from Arizona in protest of the immigration law, I would defend their right to do so as well. Nor does this mean that any policy of any seceded polity is necessarily “written in stone.” For instance, in an independent Arizona, pro-immigrationists could certainly agitate for less restrictive immigration policies, and I would defend their free speech rights to do so. In an independent “Republic of Miami” with open borders, immigration restrictionists could push for more limits on immigration, and I would likewise defend their free speech rights as well.
An analogy could be made to class issues. Any interest of mine is organizing secessionist efforts by large cites with an emphasis on class issues. While I am a Southerner, neo-confederate ideology or Dixieland revivalism doesn’t really interest me much. Instead, I would prefer to develop secession movements on the part of the large metro areas like Richmond, Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Charleston, and so forth. The focus would be on achieving economic self-sufficiency and self-determination for the lower classes, and on repealing policies that generate much of the violent crime in these urban areas, particularly drug prohibition. Consequently, if we were to organize a general strike or mass walkout by workers in fast food chains, superstore chains, meatpacking plants, crony-capitalist real estate developments, or agribusiness plantations, I would very much advocate labor solidarity among all the workers, even though many of these places employ illegal immigrants.
At the same time, as part of the process of developing a pan-secessionist movement, I am certainly open to class collaboration on certain issues. While my personal focus would be on the urban lower classes, in many of the counties surrounding my own city there are affluent, upper-middle class communities with strong conservative leanings. If indeed a secessionist movement motivated by a desire to simply not pay taxes to Washington, D.C. or the state government were to emerge among such people, I would certainly back their efforts. Likewise, even though I am a pro-abortion atheist who thinks the cause of gay marriage is more silly than offensive, if a rural county or small town comprised of evangelical Christians or other religious conservatives were to secede rather than recognize Roe v. Wade or gay rights/gay marriage laws, I would support their efforts as well.
In a similar vein, given the reality that the future of the American Southwest likely belongs to Aztlan, it may well be likely that tactical collaboration with Hispanic ethno-nationalist secessionists in the Southwest, including many illegal immigrants or their immediate descendants, will be strategically feasible or even necessary at some point in the future.
Great interview with Mike Gogulski of Center for a Stateless Society on Russia Today.
More required reading. This describes very well the revolution that has taken place in American politics in recent decades and the nature of the ruling class as presently constituted. The only point of contention I have with it is its nostalgia for the good old days of WASPish bourgeoisie rule.
But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
I’m not sure I buy that. C. Wright Mills’ “The Power Elite” demonstrated pretty well the monolithic nature of the old elites.
The heads of the class do live in our big cities’ priciest enclaves and suburbs, from Montgomery County, Maryland, to Palo Alto, California, to Boston’s Beacon Hill as well as in opulent university towns from Princeton to Boulder. But they are no wealthier than many Texas oilmen or California farmers, or than neighbors with whom they do not associate — just as the social science and humanities class that rules universities seldom associates with physicians and physicists. Rather, regardless of where they live, their social-intellectual circle includes people in the lucrative “nonprofit” and “philanthropic” sectors and public policy. What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government. They vote Democrat more consistently than those who live on any of America’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Streets. These socioeconomic opposites draw their money and orientation from the same sources as the millions of teachers, consultants, and government employees in the middle ranks who aspire to be the former and identify morally with what they suppose to be the latter’s grievances.
In fact, it is possible to be an official of a major corporation or a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (just ask Justice Clarence Thomas), or even president (Ronald Reagan), and not be taken seriously by the ruling class.
This is too narrow a focus. This author ignores the Sunbelt insurgency fueled by the growth of the military-industrial complex in the postwar period which became the leadership of the kind of “movement conservatism” the author is obviously a product of. I wrote about that here. Like many conservatives, the author of this piece is very astute at pointing out the sins of the Left, but glosses over some of the sins of more traditional institutions or values. It’s still an excellent article, however.
Required reading. This article explains very vividly why the modern PC feminist movement and anti-statist politics are not compatible.
By Michael Parish
Since its emergence in early modernity, the capitalist market has been trumpeted as the natural collorary to liberal governance, and understandably so. If the state assumes the atomized individual as its theoretical basis, and the natural rights of that individual as its chief (protective) function, then the economic system it presides over should be structured within a corresponding paradigm. What this produces is an economic order based on the free interactions of atomized individuals, its chief function the satisfaction of individual desires. The exponents of this paradigm have historically portrayed it as a shining example of “spontaneous order”, of an optimally functioning whole arising randomly out of self-interested interaction, or what Hayek gushingly christened the “Grand Society.”
Over time, as the market and its functions grew increasingly entrenched, two schools of thought emerged regarding what direction the state should function in regards to it. The first, falsely calling itself “conservative”, cheerleads for lassiez-faire, bolstering its demands with allusions to “protestant work ethic” and Ellis Island cultural mythology. Their opponents, social democrats, foresee all manner of disaster in this vision, insisting to the contrary on a protective regulatory role for the state. That both views retain the same belief in material transaction as the optimal method of social organization, and differ only in regards to the value of central planning, is itself indicitave of the nature of market society. For while the market is typically draped in rhetoric suggestive of spontaniety, its actual history reveals a far different reality.
By taking the abstract individual as its starting point, and constructing itself around the material desires of that individual, market society effectively erodes organic and pre-rational social relations. Families, communities, and hobbyist clubs commit two grave errors…the first being their inclusion of more than one person, and the second being their failure to produce profits. It is only necessary, then, that the individual subject be split from these relations during their insertion as a cog into the capitalist machinery. The non-productive values held by these eroded instutions commit the same sin, so the explicitly materialist market phases them out accordingly, to be usurped by a rational dogma of efficiency, predictability, and convenience.
During the early development of the system, as those at the helm were busy swallowing public subsidies and land grants, those displaced by these developments bore understandable grievances, and ideologies emerged to legitimize those grievances. Capitalism, functioning as it does with ice-cold rationality, ensured its future survival by commissioning the state to assume caretaking roles, ones previously belonging to the organic ties it had severed. This moderate reform also serves the dual purpose of softening the conditions of those on the economic bottom, thereby limiting the neccessity of (and excluding from debate) alternative, non-market economic options. This is the true origin of the modern welfare state.
We can see at this point how the market, despite its supporters claims, is totalitarian in impact. Having already replaced organic social relations with state beauracracy, it has also begun to reshape state-craft in accordance with its aims. As this article continues, it will become crystal clear that our object of inquiry here is an all-encompassing entity that absorbs and recasts all of society in its own image. We’ll explore more of this as we continue…
It is impossible to understand this transformative process without first understanding its political collorary, liberal mass democracy. The definitive feature of the liberal state is its self-legitimation through popular approval, configured along egalitarian lines i.e. one vote granted as a basic right to each citizen. In contrast to the monarchist regimes displaced by Enlightenment upheaval, liberal states justify their rule not by appeals to the transcendent (“the divine right of kings”) but to the populist, in ways that echo market functions. If a business enterprise markets a useful product, it is rewarded with sufficient profits and remains in competition. If not, the product is recalled, and the enterprise vanishes. Similarly, political parties remain in power by attracting votes via appealing offers. If these are successful, their status remains untouched. If not, they find themselves out of office.
Similarly, political parties are structured identically to business enterprises, built heierarchally around bosses (politicians), beauracracies (campaign management), and labor (street level activists). The democratic process in liberal political envieronments mirrors precisely the functions of the capitalist marketplace. Political parties, like private businesses, engage in competition with one another in pursuit of voters (customers) by offering different products (politicians and legislation presented as favorable to the interests of prospective voters).Conventions hosted by parties are strikingly similar in aspect to corporate product inveilments. Political campaigns gather voters with the use of stylized “campaign commercials” that are fundamentally indistinguishable from corporate product advertisements.
Modern politicians may not be royalty defined by blood as in bygone eras, but they nonetheless constitute a definite elite type of their own. The emergence of the mass media and the public’s subsequent dependence on it for their political information, as well as the neccessity of long distance transportation, has rendered running for political office a possibility only to those who can afford the cast of utilizing such apparatus. This has effectively made political campaigning the sole preserve of the already welathy. It is no coincidence, then, that those at the top of the political latter are culled from the same class as those at the top of the economic ladder. The egalitarian proposition of a political process open to everyone is revealed to be a most dubious sham.
The electoral process in liberal democracies is largely a continuation of market actions. Parties cynically accrue support by offering programs and services purportedly beneficial to the social segments they seek to attract; in turn, these segments (voting in line with their status within the market and/or its complementary welfare state) align themselves accordingly. Over time, the state itself transforms into a redistributive agency, ever expanding to allocate scarce resources to whomever can afford them. All political activity, more or less, devolves into regularly scheduled meetings on how best to preserve the status quo.
This dour state of affairs is perpetuated by the empty mentality of a public absorbed in commodity fetishism. As organic and pre-rational values dissappear and are replaced by commercial ones, citizens see themselves less as agents within a developing whole and more as passive recipients of services and stimuli. Material needs are replaced by desires, which the market continually expands to satisfy, as they can never be measured and defined in accordance with sensible standards. Consequently, political involvement is relegated from social duty to entertainment option, one of many equally valid hobbies or interests to choose from on our pop-culture smorgasboard. “I’m just not interested in politics” (as if it is no different from sports or rock music or any other consumer choice of little impact) becomes the mantra. That political advertisements are strikingly successful at inducing uninformed votes in the public by displaying an artificial image and witholding any pertinent information (similar to how product advertisements manipulate consumers) should come as no surprise.
Nor should it this mindset’s effect on the natural world. With the rationalization that has restructured the incomplete American mindset, subjective value has all but dissapeared as a means of evaluating objects. If it can’t be assigned a set material quality it ceases to bear weight as an item of value. Hence, a sufficient reason cannot be thought of to explain the existence of forests and wetlands, so they are to be stripped, dried and replaced with yet more cracker jack homes and commercial centers. Natural landscapes’ historic status as part of a nation’s and it’s people’s identity is of no significance, another instance of market society’s incompatability with conservatism.
What effect the market has on the natural is bested only slightly by its effect on the cultural world. If it is taken as an article of faith that the world exists for commercial co-optation, then what starts with naturally occuring substances (lovingly rebaptized as “natural resources”) will eventually happen to the arts. With the absence of a real cultural elite (which existed previously in the form of the landed aristocracy) culture exists for mass consumption rather than intellectual reflection. Though it does produce jarring inequalities in wealth, the market does have a built-in egalitarian mechanism-act of purchasing. Some may have more dollars in their pocket than others, but each individual dolor is worth the same, irrepsective of the intellect or intentions of he who spends it.
This effectively reduces art to “entertainment”, from an object of creative analysis to one of passive absorption. Epic dramas and plays become Hollywood movies, the classics become three-minute “pop-rock” jingles, and street performances are replaced by half-hour sitcoms and soap operas. Difference, variety, and creativity dissapear to have their positions usurped by repetetive formulas and genre exercises. Morever, their status as creations of the market reduce them even further, from socially encouraged rites of passage to mere consumer options, to be taken in, enjoyed, and disposed of at will. Consequently, given the rigors of work and social obligations, people look to such things as a means of temporary escape and nothing more.
The dissolution of organic culture caused by the market goes hand in hand with the dissolution of its sources, that being organic communities. As capitalism is an exclusively materialist system that prioritizes the accumulation of profit and dismisses all other concerns, it retains no loyalty to any of the particulars that traditionally constituted societies. Market pressures uproot members of historic communities and cast them out in pursuit of satisfactory economic conditions. Hence, societies become geographically re-arranged not according to ancestral roots but to material factors. This is the chief culprit behind the proliferation of suburbs and subdivisions populated by atomized materialists i.e. “Well, we wanted something with more bedrooms and a bigger garage…and David can finally have his mini-theatre in the basement.”
What it does on the communal scale it also carries out on the national scale, producing even greater societal distortion. As corporations go multinational and shed any pretense at loyalty to the soil that spawned them, the resulting globalization spurs the economically-motivated mass movements of peoples and products. This brave new world calls to be overseen by specially appointed global institutions, sapping independent nations of control over their own economies, and effectively of their own destiny. As cheap labor becomes a greater neccessity for the continued existence of top market players, immigration reaches mass proportions and borders grow increasingly irrelevant. Ultimately, what were once homogenous organic nations devolve into multicultural incoherency, their once readily identifiable national characters replaced by postmodern smorgasboards of disparate and unrelated colors and creeds.
Within this latter stage of capitalist development, individuals find themselves in a state of existential peril. Removed irrevocably from the traditional particulars that gave meaning to the lives of previous generations, they exist in a semi-comatose state, so mindlessly happy as to be blind to their own subconsious search for meaning. Devoid of any real roots, they are therefore devoid of any real identity…so they cultivate artificial ones for themselves by picking and choosing from superficial market options. Suddenly, people are defined (and define themselves) by the movies they view, the music they listen to, and the clothing they wear…in other words, their actions as a consumer become their identity. When Sartre affirmed the metaphysical significance of acting over mere being, this is not what he was referring to.
For generations now, the mainstream of the American right has been steadfast and uncritical in their embrace of what Evola rightly deplored as “the Age Of The Machine.” This is why, more than anything else, they have not “conserved” a damn thing.
By Michael Parish
Regular followers of this blog will know that I am unyielding in my contempt for the left-liberarian tendency, whose proponents I and others have engaged in debate to no effect. Hence the disproportionate amount of space I dedicate to sliming them here. As of late, the main point of contention between us has been the immigration cesspool, and its attendant implications vis a vis political philsosophy. I recently came across this slice of bleeding heart bullshit at the C4SS blog, courtesy of site regular (and ALL auxiliary member) Darien Worden. Analyze this…
“Liberty For All Means Immigrants Too”
But of course. We can’t forget the precious immigrants.
“It is dissapointing to see people express concern for liberty while advocating government restrictions on the liberty of immigrants. Immigrants should not be seen as a threat to liberty, but as potential allies in the fight for liberty.”
You can only buy into this if your understanding of our social-democratic system is seriously lacking. As they emerge as a demographic in this country, the immigrants and their children will likely evolve into another whining interest group, thumping a list of grievances and corresponding demands…and, in the name of “inclusiveness”, the managerial regime will expand to accomodate them. This is another foot deeper into the same quicksand we’re already mired in, not a rope to assist in our escape.
“Liberty means nothing if the freedom of any group is placed above individual liberty. And people do not stop being individuals if they are born in a different country. All individuals have the right to claim the fullest liberty to do as they will, as long as they do not violate the liberty of others. Moving to a different part of the world and trying to improve one’s life-with or without permission from a government-does not violate anyone’s liberty.”
And….here comes the Jacobin universalism. Suddenly, everyone everywhere possesses the inaliable right to live wherever they fancy…because this guy says so. Might I inquire as to where this right originates and why it is universally applicable? Given that liberty is a relativist concept, possessing no quantitative or qualitative property, it would be far more sensible to view rights as concieved through the particulars of cultures…of which each individual is a part. That someone uproots from their place of origin and moves elsewhere is of relevance not to states, but to the peoples already established in their immigration destination.
“National borders are invasive of liberty. Most, including the U.S.-Mexico border, were drawn by conquest at the orders of elitists in capitols. Borders designate which politicians are to control which people. They invade the lives of individuals who want to interact with people on the other side or to escape the conditions that governments have inflicted on people within certain boundaries.
No one has the “right” to move wherever they choose irrespective of the wishes of those native to the place they’ll be moving. As such, national borders are hardly “invasive of liberty.” Borders are drawn by cultural groups to represent where one regional identity ends and the next begins. That the dominant group on side doesn’t care to interact with the next does not constitute a rights violation. If governments have inflicted undesirable conditions on their citizens then the optimal course of action would be to remain and fight said government, not escape from their troubles in a foreign land. I am weary of this sort of legal-material reductionism.
“The reality of border enforcement is brutal and draconian. Patrols at the safest crossings send immigrants into the most dangerous desert areas. Many die slowly, and others tresspass desperately. A series of secret prisons, some in warehouses not designed for long term confinement, form a modern American gulag system. New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee has documented much of evidence of widespread, pervasive abuse of immigration detainees. One of the many who died in Immigration and Customs Detention was Jason Ng. A father of two who was arrested for immigration paperwork violations compounded by by beauracratic error, Ng died after being refused medical treatment. “
I’m the very last person to wave pom poms for the American police state, but I must point out that for every illegal that suffers in detention a great many more make it into the country, resulting in deleterious effects on the well-being of those already here. In order to prevent abuses of the sort he (rightly) deplores here, I would advocate dissolving the police state and restoring control over immigration at the state and local level, where the issue can be handled on a human scale.
“Studies suggest that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natives. But whatever the case, punishing people for crimes other individuals have committed is fundamentally unjust. And crime is incentivized by any form of prohibition, including The War On Drugs, and by locking people out of the mainstream by assigning them the status of “illegal” humans.
He’s correct in pointing out the dubiousness of prohibition, but the notion that lawbreaking on the part of immigrants can be blamed on alienation over their legal status is laughable. Also, the title “human”, when devoid of any concrete particulars, is as meaningless as a blank slate.
“Immigrants do not generally take advantage of the U.S. welfare system anymore than natives do. In the article “Immigration: An Open Or Closed Door”, The International Society For Individual Rights notes that immigrants pay much in taxes and recieve little benefits from services. And if they did pay less in taxes, that just means the monster state gets less to use to harm people.”
Oh I beg to differ, as the exorbitant cost of immigration to native inhabitants has been well documented, by Peter Brimelow and others. Given their undocumented status they do not pay income taxes, which is the largest of them all, and the state’s main source of revenue. “And if they did pay less in taxes” that would just mean U.S. citizens are getting fucked over.
“Immigrants do not take jobs from natives. Soceity does not contain a fixes number of jobs or a fixed amount of wealth. Jobs are created when there is a demand that needs to be filled, and value is created by production and trade-by the interactions of numerous individuals. Politicians, not workers, make the economy more rigid and less productive. They stunt economic growth through land use regulations, restrictions that hamper starting businesses,corporate welfare, inflation, and military-industrial complex waste.
Actually by agreeing to work for lower wages immigrants do take jobs from natives, which those doing the hiring are more than happy to give them. Oh, and we’re all familar with free market basics and the workings of the U.S. corporate state, buddy.
“And no one has a higher claim to a job because of national or ethnic status. Supporting nationalist ideas of privelege means standing with the politicians who are making things worse, instead of with people trying to get by. Those concerned about job loss or wage reduction should stand with immigrants for higher wages and better conditions instead of deepening the divisions that can be used against workers.”
In an organically constituted society the economy exists to serve pre-existing social relations, rather than serve as the basis for social relations (which is all left-libertarianism is, aside from rationalized abstractions.) This naturally leads to preferential hiring for the native-born. This is not “privelege”, it’s common sense. Supporting open borders means standing with the Reagan, Bush, and Bush The Second, all of whom supported mass immigration and amnesty, and with the industrialists who bak-roll the entire pro-immigration agenda in this country…instead of the majority of the native population who hold dim views on this mass exodus. Those concerned about job loss and wage reduction should consciously reject the multiculti mantra of “diversity” that’s used to Trojan Horse these sagging economic fortunes.
“An aspect of culture that cannot survive without being enforced by government agencies is unfit to exist. English has been around long enough and is spoken in enough places that it can easily continue to be an language of communication between multiple ethnic groups. And there is nothing wrong with teaching English to immigrants or knowing other languages. What business is it of anyone else’s is some people want to talk to each other differently. Culture is enhanced by interaction. If it is locked in place by isolation it is more likely to stagnte than strengthen.”
Agreed wholeheartedly. This is why bilingual voting cards, multiple language instructions, and other accomodations for Spanish speakers need to be abandoned.
“Immigrants, including illegal immigrants, have good reason to be against the government and for true liberty. Wide-spread cooperation among immigrant and native born freedom lovers will make our would-be masters tremble at the sound of advancing liberty.”
This is true, but immigrants generally are not “freedom lovers” (is this a return of Bush-speak?!)…they’re just here into integrate themsleves into the system as it currently exists, not fundamentally realter it in ways that extend beyond language. Oh, and I highly doubt a handful of Mexicans posting on the C4SS message board will induce any trembling in our masters.
Interesting article on Roberts from the John Birch Society’s New American.
Glad to see Roberts is still in the game.
by Jeremy Weiland
originally published at Social Memory Complex
Art, Hypocrisy, and Violence in Perspective
A friend gave the pamphlet The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand to a friend of his, passing along his reactions to me. This essay is an attempt to answer some of his concerns, which I am not publishing here. However, I think it stands reasonably well on its own as a meditation on genuine change and its propensity for resulting in some kind of suffering. The friend began by asking,
With whom, economically and culturally, should or does the contemporary poet or artist identify?
I appreciate the question. My personal opinion is that I see no difference between the answer to this question and the answer to the question, “With whom should anybody identify?” You either see an unjust system as acceptable or not. How honest you are with yourself about the actual decision you’re making is the real matter, and I don’t think anybody scores perfectly in that area.
The range of self-honesty among artists is probably on par with the general population. Some honestly find an elite-organized society appealing (it’s a cliche to mention nowadays, but let’s remember Hitler’s artistic inclinations). I’d agree that artists tend to have more empathy than your average person, but not that all do without exception. And business, prejudice, religion, and other forces invade art to varying degrees of distortion like every other aspect of life.
Any genuine resistance should begin, and in fact is beginning, to engage more directly with the conservative political economic vision of the status quo. As long as these ruling class systems are accepted as the default starting point by which others are compared, any truly revolutionary cultural impact artists can make is hedged against, as a rule. But the burden of moving the center of discourse is by no means borne solely by artists – everybody has talents that they can and should put to better use in order to convince one’s fellow man that more is possible in our world. Artists and poets can inspire the imagination, but it takes a lot of people doing the imagining to realize material change.
Realizing it, frankly, means slowly building and growing counter-institutions and organic, human-scale communities that can give people an identify and context independent of the status quo. Kevin Carson is a big fan of the old Wobbly slogan about “building the new society within the shell of the old”. To see rejection of the status quo as primarily a question of violence is mistaken. In order for such a rebellion to even be possible, much creative, positive work will have had to take place.
It’s kind of like what John Adams said during the debate over independence with Britain: the question isn’t whether to separate, but whether or not to formally acknowledge the separation between Britain and America that has already occurred. Similarly, the question isn’t whether the revolution will be violent, but to what degree the establishment will suppress the rejection of the regime that will have already occurred. Any armed struggle is far less important and completely at the mercy of the creative forms of insurrection, such as building counter-institutions like mutual aid societies, militias and community patrols, local businesses using their own transactional forms and instruments that fly under the state’s radar, building local economic networks for distribution (say, in emergencies to start), etc.
If one focuses on the violence brought about by change, it is far too easy to be discouraged. It may feel hypocritical to advocate for change when so much suffering is possible and when one benefits from the current state of affairs. But supporting the status quo as an effort to minimize violence is far more hypocritical, ignoring the ocean of violence exercised on behalf of this system every single day, at home and abroad. As white, middle class American men we have the privilege of occupying a societal position where this violence is not apparent. But it’s still real.
So if a moral cost to action is weighed, the cost of complacency and inaction must also be considered in comparison. Calling what we enjoy now “peace” is just as empty as calling revolution “justice”. In our hearts, we know neither is a pure good or pure evil, and dangers lurk on all sides. Faced with such daunting moral calculus, what is the concerned individual to do?
A more responsible approach would be to simply look at the world honestly and decide the manner in which one wants to contribute to it. We live within a system that is positively saturated in violence; escaping it is not an option, but acknowledging it is. The issue to my mind is not whether we will achieve a personally consistent and non-hypocritical approach to our condition (as Derrick Jensen once said, the genius of our system is that it’s impossible to live in it and not be a hypocrite) but whether we will act according to our values or resign ourselves to spectating. Moral certainty has never been a pre-requisite of moral actions, and we are dishonest to believe so.
The honest path is, I feel, to acknowledge the complexity of our situation instead of pushing it down and ignoring it because it’s uncomfortable. I think you can live a normal life and still work for human freedom and dignity. Contributing money and time to social or political causes, or building mutual aid institutions to solve your own problems, or engaging in conversations to open others’ minds – all of these things are individual acts of transforming self and, by extension, the society in which the self moves and has being. We need changed minds, not changed politics or economics; too often the cart is put before the horse.
What I think is important to understand about the anarchist perspective is that individual transformation, not some grand, outward historical event or abstract ideological mass realization, is the essence of revolution. These small, individual creative and social acts scale up spontaneously to the large, outward events that historians study, to be sure. But it’s a mistake to see the events as causing the change. The real change already occurred in the hearts and mind of the people. The events are at best lagging indicators; the personal transformation of individuals and the emergent social paradigm shifts are the material change we seek.
Revolution is a correction to the political order similar to a stock crash: the tumult comes from the delayed realization of the inherent imbalance that existed all along. If a social correction becomes violent, who is more to blame: those who prize their own hegemony over addressing injustice and suffering, or those willing to risk their lives to address it? Blaming violence on those who want change is an attempt to take the spotlight off those who fuel the system that caused the instability in the first place. Ultimately, those with the money and power will determine how violent the correction becomes, just as they decide right now how violent their “peaceful” rule is.
To put it another way: I’m not an anarchist, and I don’t advocate for change, because I think I know how the world should be organized. The goal is to change minds about what is possible, so that human potential can be explored more fully and people can live in a world that makes sense to them, that they have a stake and say in. The improvement over our current condition will come from all of us working messily and disjointedly towards it, not from one easily-identified leader or one tidy systemic model or one clever ideology. As Karl Hess once said, “Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions. It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status.”
Originally posted on the American New Right blog
As Preston and his comrades are busily outlining a functional anti-state strategy (and as a functional anti-state movement is busily coalescing around them) they have grown into a lightning rod for thunderstorms of left-wing hysterics. These have predictably emanated from those echo chambers of our institutions of lower learning known officially as the left-libertarian message boards.While I dedicated a past entry to defending his honor, I’ve neglected to pair my defense with a sturdy offense. My contempt for these over-protected mocha sippers is apparent from even the most cursory glance at this blog. My rationale for such a low evaluation, however, is not. So, while avoiding a backslide into rhetorical strawmen and ad hominem assaults, I have prepared this expanatory eviscreation.
A defining factor in the left-libertarian mindset is a decisive split from reality, one that renders them incapable of understanding, much less opposing, our current state of affairs. This is not unique to this faction, but likewise plagues the broader left of which they are an obvious subset. Specifically, they all but base their approach on the Marcusean identity politics inherited from the now graying New Left. This should not shock us in the least, given their origins as products of our academic idiot factories where those remnants have long held sway. Like their youthful disciples, these stale leftovers hail not from the underclass hordes whose interests they’ve appointed themselves to speak for, but from the very same strata they (correctly) attribute their misery to.
Somewhere between washing the mud off their legs and swapping cocaine for rogaine they found themselves at the helm of the very establishment they once told us we could never trust (a helm inherited, no doubt, from their bourgeoise folks.) With this dubious ascension the hollow nature of their rebellion became apparent so they started singing a different song. The establishment is your friend, the caring mama bear who will shelter you from white hoods, shaved heads, and tanned necks… and all the other nefarious nasties lurking under every bed and in every closet. Such scares are but a figment of the alzheimer’s encroached imagination of this mama bear. This time it’s the parents who are seeing and hearing things. And, another historic first, this time the kids actually listen to their parents. And…no break with tradition here…the kids repeat what they hear.
This effectively traps us in a cultural way back machine, with university engineered and approved TAPS teams chasing after ghosts that stopped hauntin’ these parts long ago, blind to their own status we should pull our covers over our heads for. When the well-off (and well-financed) anti-establishment agitators stormed the castle, they didn’t take a wrecking ball to it. They walzed on into the throne room of the new ousted monarch, assumed the throne, and unleashed a terror over the kingdom all their own. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. The aging W.A.S.P. feudal lords were thrown out, but the feudal system itself was not…their positions were merely assumed by those cut from a more colorful cloth.
So, if you’ll allow me to transition from medeaval conquest back to modern hauntings, we arrive at an unsettling conclusion. Not only do the young false exorcists of the modern Left lack the theological know-how to properly expel spirits, they themselves are the spirits that need exorcising. So, if you’ll allow me me to time-warp yet again back to the middle-ages, we find that it is in fact the former lords and ladies of our cultural kingdom that need to take up arms. For those taking up arms with thems, the strategic implications are clear…and which I will share in common English.
In this world of “hate speech” legislation and “sensitivity training”, is it really that radical a move to wail about “institutionalized racism”…or to defend free speech and open inquiry for the insensitive? Is it that bold to crusade in favor of “women’s rights” in this era of family courts and university-mandated feminist studies…or to act on behalf of father’s rights? Is railing against “homosphobia” that radical a cause in a country where the lifestly is mostly viewed as an amusing novelty…or to agitate for freedom of speech and association for bible thumpers who find it a bit over the top? Is it that courageous to prattle on about “peace” and “non-violence”…or to snag a position on your local NRA chapter’s leadership board? I find these truths self evident. It’s indeed an odd paradox where conservatism has become radical and leftism reactionary.
The liberal-capitalist status quo takes as its basis the atomized individual, and its reason de’ etre that individual’s whims and wants. In this societal conception, these faceless particles construct their own mini-realities through an impersonal web of economic interaction and exchange. Preffered social relations are those concieved materially, with those that aren’t submerged under pavement. This process, starting at the dawn of modernity and within recent decades shifting into high gear, is effectively dissolving traditional ethnic groups, national boundaires, and cultures. How can effective ressistance, then, be found among those who dismiss such things as archaic abstractions (to be disposed of, naturally, so we can finally discover our universal “humanity”)?
For all the shrieking over alt.anarchism’s supposed “collectivism”, I fail to detect any flaw in a social system hardwired for organically constituted communities. If living and working with those you share commonalities with is such cardinal sin, why not just have the nanny state intervene for reprogramming purposes? Because a liberal universalist agenda doesn’t fit all, but a state enforcing it does, the answer to the debate over which side is more prone to authoritarian slipups is clear.
In his televised 1971 debate with Noam Chomsky, no less a leftist icon as Michel Foucault dismissed then contemporary radical movements on the grounds that their underlying philosophy was often wholly in line with that of the prevailing regime. His AIDS-related passing in 1984 was unfortunate, as he never got to see the realization of this observation among the inanities posted on the LL messageboards.
One from the Right, by Thomas Sowell
Elites may have more brilliance, but those who make decisions for society as a whole cannot possibly have as much experience as the millions of people whose decisions they preempt. The education and intellects of the elites may lead them to have more sweeping presumptions, but that just makes them more dangerous to the freedom, as well as the well-being, of the people as a whole.
One from the Left, by Kevin Carson
By making capital and land artificially scarce and expensive, the state forces workers to sell their labor in a buyer’s market and thereby reduces the bargaining power of labor. The owners of land and capital are thereby enabled to collect scarcity rents.
The economic effects are destabilizing. Income shifts from workers, who work mainly to meet their consumption needs, to rentiers with a high propensity to save and invest. The result is a chronic tendency toward overaccumulation and underconsumption.
At the same time, the state subsidizes the most centralized, capital-intensive forms of production, leading to mass-production industry with overbuilt plant and equipment that’s constantly plagued with idle capacity.
How living through an earthquake turned an anarcho-communist into a Hobbesian. Read the story. This has nothing to do with anarchism as I conceive of it, but it’s an interesting read.
Another once honorable organization falls into the clutches of PC and does the bidding of the therapeutic state. Article by Stephen Baskerville.