Updated News Digest May 31, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“An intellectual is someone who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”

“That all men are equal is a proposition which, at ordinary times, no sane individual has ever given his assent.”

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

                                                                                         -Aldous Huxley

The Struggle Against the State by Nestor Makhno

The Empire and Its Ideology by Hans Hermann Hoppe

What Is the Ruling Class? by Sean Gabb

Who Will Stand Up to America and Israel? by Paul Craig Roberts

Obama’s Democratic Authoritarianism by Justin Raimondo

Where Would We Be Without Our Prison-Industrial Complex? by TGGP

Back Into the Cold: Conservative Russia/Revolutionary America by Mark Hackard

Americans Succumb to the Dark Side by Paul Craig Roberts

The Populist Patriotism of Gore Vidal by Bill Kauffman

Who is Oswald Spengler? Austin Bramwell

Military Commissions, Round Three by Joanne Mariner

“Empathy” and International Affairs by Stephen M. Walt

A New Low in Political Correctness? by Sarah Netter

End Medical Slavery by Bill Sardi

The Subconscious Modernism of Graffiti Removal by Ean Frick

Libertarians Against Sprawl by Kevin Carson

Doublespeak on North Korea by Paul Craig Roberts

Is North Korea About to Blow Up the World? No, but lets’s not push by Justin Raimondo

How to Start Your Own Country from The Futurist

Can China Save the World from Depression? by Walden Bello

Jewish Anarcho-Nationalism? from State of Exile

It’s Official: Racism Causes Weight Gain by Harrison Bergeron 2

The Trouble with Prison by Kenneth Hartman

Enriching Our Lives? from Conservative Times

“War on Pot” Overrides “Support Our Troops” by Fred Gardner

The Worst Companies in the World  by Francois Tremblay

America’s Wise Latina Lady by Richard Spencer

How Lew Rockwell Took Over the Libertarian Movement by Gary North

Cheney Made Us Less Safe by Jack Hunter

Muslims Are Good Folks by Charley Reese

Housing: The Bubble Hasn’t Burst (Yet) by Peter Schiff

Middle American Anti-Imperialism by George Leef

The Cheney Doctrine by Pat Buchanan

Colleges Eyes 3-Year Degree Programs by Valerie Strauss

Torture at the Crossroads: Which Way America? by Ron Paul

Setting a Higher Standard for Making a War by Philip Giraldi

The Tamil Tigers Have Been Defeated by Eric Margolis

Gerald Celente on the Economic Apocalypse

When It Rains, It Pours by Charles Pena

MoveOn Remains Silent on War by Tom Hayden

Obama: Preventive Detention is My Policy by Thomas Eddlem

More on That “Bogus” Terrorist Plot in New York by Robert Dreyfuss

Is Israel Planning to Provoke Iran? by Tony Karon

Was Rape an Enhanced Interrogation Technique? by Jacob Hornberger

Downsize the Imperial Presidency by Gene Healy

The Great But Unacknowledged Wisdom of Doing Nothing by Arthur Silber

Feingold’s Constitutional Objection to “Prolonged Detention” by John Nichols

Obama in Netanyahu’s Web by Roger Cohen

Suburban Survivalists by Gillian Flaccus

Another Reason to Secede by Lori Montgomery

Life in Vichy America by Bill Buppert

Christiania Loses Court Challenge

Support Your Local “Domestic Warrior-Heroes by William Norman Grigg

Nationalists Without a Nation by Justin Raimondo

Canadian Anarchist Book Fair Targeted by PIGS 

Big Man Obama and His Diversity Princess by Ilana Mercer

Soviet America?  by Stanislav Mishin

Mark Levin Sucks by Jack Hunter

Sotomayer and the Last of the WASPS by Alexander Cockburn

There is No Authentic American Right by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Iraq: The Mother of All Corruption Scandals by Patrick Cockburn

The Snitch Faces Human Nature by Razib Khan

When Workers Rights Go Unenforced by David Macaray

A Redneck View of Obamarama by Joe Bageant

Defending Israeli War Crimes by Stephen Zunes

First, Muslims; Next, Maybe You by Steven Greenhut

The Death of Corruption by John Pilger

The End of American Exceptionalism by Eric Black

Becoming Barbarians by Rod Dreher

The Political Theory of Carl Schmitt 2

By Keith Preston

 

Discussion:

 

Carl Schmitt

The Crisis of Parliamentary Liberalism 

The Concept of the Political

The Weimar Republic Sourcebook (p. 331, 334-337, 342-345)

 

          The editors of The Weimar Republic Sourcebook attempt to summarize the political thought of Carl Schmitt and interpret his writings on political and legal theory on the basis of his later association with Nazism between 1933 and 1936. Schmitt is described as having “attempted to drive a wedge between liberalism and democracy and undercut the assumption that rational discourse and legal formalism could be the basis of political legitimacy.”(Sourcebook, p. 331) His contributions to political theory are characterized as advancing the view that “genuine politics was irreducible to socio-economic conflicts and unconstrained by normative considerations”. The essence of politics is a battle to the death “between friend and foe.” The editors recognize distinctions between the thought of Schmitt and that of right-wing revolutionaries of Weimar, but assert that his ideas “certainly provided no obstacle to Schmitt’s opportunistic embrace of Nazism.”

 

          As ostensible support for this interpretation of Schmitt, the editors provide excerpts from two of Schmitt’s works. The first excerpt is from the preface to the second edition of Schmitt’s The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, a work first published in 1923 with the preface having been written for the 1926 edition. In this excerpt, Schmitt describes the dysfunctional workings of the Weimar parliamentary system. He regards this dysfunction as symptomatic of the inadequacies of the classical liberal theory of government. According to this theory as Schmitt interprets it, the affairs of states are to be conducted on the basis of open discussion between proponents of competing ideas as a kind of empirical process. Schmitt contrasts this idealized view of parliamentarianism with the realities of its actual practice, such as cynical appeals by politicians to narrow self-interests on the part of constituents, bickering among narrow partisan forces, the use of propaganda and symbolism rather than rational discourse as a means of influencing public opinion, the binding of parliamentarians by party discipline, decisions made by means of backroom deals, rule by committee and so forth.

 

          Schmitt recognizes a fundamental distinction between liberalism, or “parliamentarism”, and democracy. Liberal theory advances the concept of a state where all retain equal political rights. Schmitt contrasts this with actual democratic practice as it has existed historically. Historic democracy rests on an “equality of equals”, for instance, those holding a particular social position (as in ancient Greece), subscribing to particular religious beliefs or belonging to a specific national entity. Schmitt observes that democratic states have traditionally included a great deal of political and social inequality, from slavery to religious exclusionism to a stratified class hierarchy. Even modern democracies ostensibly organized on the principle of universal suffrage do not extend such democratic rights to residents of their colonial possessions. Beyond this level, states, even officially “democratic” ones, distinguish between their own citizens and those of other states. At a fundamental level, there is an innate tension between liberalism and democracy. Liberalism is individualistic, whereas democracy sanctions the “general will” as the principle of political legitimacy. However, a consistent or coherent “general will” necessitates a level of homogeneity that by its very nature goes against the individualistic ethos of liberalism. This is the source of the “crisis of parliamentarism” that Schmitt suggests. According to the democratic theory rooted in the ideas of Jean Jacques Rosseau, a legitimate state must reflect the “general will”, but no general will can be discerned in a regime that simultaneously espouses liberalism. Lacking the homogeneity necessary for a democratic “general will”, the state becomes fragmented into competing interests. Indeed, a liberal parliamentary state can actually act against the “peoples’ will” and become undemocratic. By this same principle, anti-liberal states such as those organized according to the principles of fascism or bolshevism can be democratic in so far as they reflect the “general will.”

 

            The second excerpt included by the editors is drawn from Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political, published in 1927. According to Schmitt, the irreducible minimum on which human political life is based is the friend/enemy distinction. This friend/enemy distinction is to politics what the good/evil dichotomy is to morality, beautiful/ugly to aesthetics, profitable/unprofitable to economics, and so forth. These categories need not be inclusive of one another. For instance, a political enemy need not be morally evil or aesthetically ugly. What is significant is that the enemy is the “other” and therefore a source of possible conflict. The friend/enemy distinction is not dependent on the specific nature of the “enemy”. It is merely enough that the enemy is a threat. The political enemy is also distinctive from personal enemies. Whatever one’s personal thoughts about the political enemy, it remains true that the enemy is hostile to the collective to which one belongs. The first purpose of the state is to maintain its own existence as an organized  collective prepared if necessary to do battle to the death with other organized collectives that pose an existential threat. This is the essential core of what is meant by the “political”. Organized collectives within a particular state can also engage in such conflicts (i.e., civil war). Internal conflicts within a collective can threaten the survival of the collective as a whole. As long as existential threats to a collective remain, the friend/enemy concept that Schmitt considers to be the heart of politics will remain valid.

 

           An implicit view of the ideas of Carl Schmitt can be distinguished from the editors’ introductory comments and selective quotations from these two works. Is Schmitt attempting to “drive a wedge” between liberalism and democracy thereby undermining the Weimar regime’s claims to legitimacy and pave the way for a more overtly authoritarian system? Is Schmitt arguing for a more exclusionary form of the state, for instance one that might practice exclusivity on ethnic or national grounds? Is Schmitt attempting to sanction the use of war as a mere political instrument, independent of any normative considerations, perhaps even as an ideal unto itself? If the answer to any of these questions is an affirmative one, then one might be able to plausibly argue that Schmitt is indeed creating a kind of intellectual framework that could later be used to justify at least some of the ideas of Nazism and even lead to an embrace of Nazism by Schmitt himself.

 

          It would appear that the expression “context is everything” becomes a quite relevant when examining the work of Carl Schmitt. It is clear enough that the excerpts from Schmitt included in the The Weimar Republic Sourcebook have been chosen rather selectively. As a glaring example, this important passage from second edition’s preface from The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy has been deleted:

 

“That the parliamentary enterprise today is the lesser evil, that it will continue to be preferable to Bolshevism and dictatorship, that it would have unforseeable consequences were it to be discarded, that it is ‘socially and technically’ a very practical thing-all these are interesting and in part also correct observations. But they do not constitute the intellectual foundations of a specifically intended institution. Parliamentarism exists today as a method of government and a political system. Just as everything else that exists and functions tolerably, it is useful-no more and no less. It counts for a great deal that even today it functions better than other untried methods, and that a minimum of order that is today actually at hand would be endangered by frivolous experiments. Every reasonable person would concede such arguments. But they do not carry weight in an argument about principles. Certainly no one would be so un-demanding that he regarded an intellectual foundation or a moral truth as proven by the question, What else?” (Schmitt, Crisis, pp. 2-3)

 

          This passage, conspicuously absent from the Sourcebook excerpt, indicates that Schmitt is in fact wary of the idea of undermining the authority of the Republic for it’s own sake or for the sake of implementing a revolutionary regime. Schmitt is clearly a “conservative” in the tradition of Hobbes, one who values order and stability above all else, and also Burke, expressing a preference for the established, the familiar, the traditional, and the practical, and an aversion to extremism, fanaticism, utopianism,  and upheaval for the sake of exotic ideological inclinations. Clearly, it would be rather difficult to reconcile such an outlook with the political millenarianism of either Marxism or National Socialism. The “crisis of parliamentary democracy” that Schmitt is addressing is a crisis of legitimacy. On what political or ethical principles does a liberal democratic state of the type Weimar purports to be claim and establish its own legitimacy? This is an immensely important question, given the gulf between liberal theory and parliamentary democracy as it is actually being practiced in Weimar, the conflicts between liberal practice and democratic theories of legitimacy as they have previously been laid out by Rosseau and others and, perhaps most importantly, the challenges to liberalism and claims to “democratic” legitimacy being made by proponents of totalitarian ideologies from both the Left and Right.

 

          The introduction to the first edition and first chapter of Crisis contain a frank discussion of both the intellectual as well as practical problems associated with the practice of “democracy”. Schmitt observes how democracy, broadly defined, has triumphed over older systems, such as monarchy, aristocracy or theocracy in favor of the principle of “popular sovereignty”. However, the advent of democracy has also undermined older theories on the foundations of political legitimacy, such as those rooted in religion (“divine right of kings”), dynastic lineages or mere appeals to tradition. Further, the triumphs of both liberalism and democracy have brought into fuller view the innate conflicts between the two. There is also the additional matter of the gap between the practice of politics (such as parliamentary procedures) and the ends of politics (such as the “will of the people”). Schmitt observes how parliamentarism as a procedural methodology  has a wide assortment of critics, including those representing the forces of reaction (royalists and clerics, for instance) and radicalism (from Marxists to anarchists). Schmitt also points out that he is by no means the first thinker to point out these issues, citing Mosca, Jacob Burckhardt, Belloc, Chesterton, and Michels, among others.

 

          A fundamental question that concerns Schmitt is the matter of what the democratic “will of the people” actually means, observing that an ostensibly democratic state could adopt virtually any set of policy positions, “whether militarist or pacifist, absolutist or liberal, centralized or decentralized, progressive or reactionary, and again at different times without ceasing to be a democracy.” (Schmitt, Crisis, p. 25) He also raises the question of the fate of democracy in a society where “the people” cease to favor democracy. Can democracy be formally renounced in the name of democracy? For instance, can “the people” embrace Bolshevism or a fascist dictatorship as an expression of their democratic “general will”? The flip side of this question asks whether a political class committed in theory to democracy can act undemocratically (against “the will of the people”) if the people display an insufficient level of education in the ways of democracy. How is the will of the people to be identified in the first place? Is it not possible for rulers to construct a “will of the people” of their own through the use of propaganda? For Schmitt, these questions are not simply a matter of intellectual hair-splitting but are of vital importance in a weak, politically paralyzed democratic state where the committment of significant sectors of both the political class and the public at large to the preservation of democracy is questionable, and where the overthrow of democracy by proponents of other ideologies is a very real possibility.

 

          Schmitt examines the claims of parliamentarism to democratic legitimacy. He describes the liberal ideology that underlies parliamentarism as follows:

 

“It is essential that liberalism be understood as a consistent, comprehensive metaphysical system. Normally one only discusses the economic line of reasoning that social harmony and the maximization of wealth follow from the free economic competition of individuals…But all this is only an application of a general liberal principle…: That truth can be found through an unrestrained clash of opinion and that competition will produce harmony.” (Schmitt, Crisis, p. 35)

 

For Schmitt, this view reduces truth to “a mere function of the eternal competition of opinions.” After pointing out the startling contrast between the theory and practice of liberalism, Schmitt suggests that liberal parliamentarian claims to legitimacy are rather weak and examines the claims of rival ideologies. Marxism replaces the liberal emphasis on the competition between opinions with a focus on competition between economic classes and, more generally, differing modes of production that rise and fall as history unfolds. Marxism is the inverse of liberalism, in that it replaces the intellectual with the material. The competition of economic classes is also much more intensified than the competition between opinions and commercial interests under liberalism. The Marxist class struggle is violent and bloody. Belief in parliamentary debate is replaced with belief in “direct action”. Drawing from the same rationalist intellectual tradition as the radical democrats, Marxism rejects parliamentarism as sham covering the dictatorship of a particular class, i.e., the bourgeoise. True democracy is achieved through the reversal of class relations under a proletarian state that rules in the interest of the laboring majority. Such a state need not utilize formal democratic procedures, but may exist as an “educational dictatorship” that functions to enlighten the proletariat regarding its true class interests. Schmitt then contrasts the rationalism of both liberalism and Marxism with irrationalism. Central to irrationalism is the idea of a political myth, comparable to the religious mythology of previous belief systems, and originally developed by the radical left-wing but having since been appropriated by revolutionary nationalists. It is myth that motivates people to action, whether individually or collectively. It matters less whether a particular myth is true than if people are inspired by it.

 

          It is clear enough that Schmitt’s criticisms of liberalism are intended not so much as an effort to undermine democratic legitimacy as much as an effort to confront the weaknesses of the intellectual foundations of liberal democracy with candor and intellectual rigor, not necessarily to undermine liberal democracy, but out of recognition of the need for strong and decisive political authority capable of acting in the interests of the nation during perilous times. Schmitt remarks:

 

“If democratic identity is taken seriously, then in an emergency no other constitutional institution can withstand the sole criterion of the peoples’ will, however it is expressed.” (Sourcebook, p.337)

 

          In other words, the state must first act to preserve itself and the general welfare and well-being of the people at large. If necessary, the state may override narrow partisan interests, parliamentary procedure or, presumably, routine electoral processes. Such actions by political leadership may be illiberal, but not necessarily undemocratic, as the democratic general will does not include national suicide. Schmitt outlines this theory of the survival of the state as the first priority of politics in The Concept of the Political. The essence of the “political” is the existence of organized collectives prepared to meet existential threats to themselves with lethal force if necessary. The “political” is different from the moral, the aesthetic, the economic or the religious as it involves first and foremost the possibility of groups of human beings killing other human beings. This does not mean that war is necessarily “good” or something to be desired or agitated for. Indeed, it may sometimes be in the political interests of a state to avoid war. However, any state that wishes to survive must be prepared to meet challenges to its existence, whether from conquest or domination by external forces or revolution and chaos from internal forces. Additionally, a state must be capable of recognizing its own interests and assume sole responsibility for doing so. A state that cannot identify its enemies and counter enemy forces effectively is threatened existentially.

 

          Schmitt’s political ideas are more easily understood in the context of Weimar’s political situation. He is considering the position of a defeated and demoralized Germany, unable to defend itself against external threats, and threatened internally by weak, chaotic and unpopular political leadership, economic hardship, political and ideological polarization and growing revolutionary movements, sometimes exhibiting terrorist or fanatical characteristics. Schmitt regards Germany as desperately in need of some sort of foundation for the establishment of a recognized, legitimate political authority capable of upholding the interests and advancing the well-being of the nation in the face of foreign enemies and above domestic factional interests. This view is far removed from the Nazi ideas of revolution, crude racial determinism, the cult of the leader and war as a value unto itself. Schmitt is clearly a much different thinker than the adherents of the quasi-mystical nationalism common to the radical right-wing of the era. Weimar’s failure was due in part to the failure of political leadership to effectively address the questions raised by Schmitt.

 

Ernst Junger: The Resolute Life of an Anarch 10

by Keith Preston

Perhaps the most interesting, poignant and, possibly, threatening  type of writer and thinker is the one who not only defies conventional categorizations of thought but also offers a deeply penetrating critique of those illusions many hold to be the most sacred. Ernst Junger (1895-1998), who first came to literary prominence during Germany’s Weimar era as a diarist of the experiences of a front line stormtrooper during the Great War, is one such writer. Both the controversial nature of his writing and its staying power are demonstrated by the fact that he remains one of the most important yet widely disliked literary and cultural figures of twentieth century Germany. As recently as 1993, when Junger would have been ninety-eight years of age, he was the subject of an intensely hostile exchange in the “New York Review of Books” between an admirer and a detractor of his work.(1) On the occasion of his one hundreth birthday in 1995, Junger was the subject of a scathing, derisive musical performed in East Berlin. Yet Junger was also the recipient of Germany’s most prestigious literary awards, the Goethe Prize and the Schiller Memorial Prize. Junger, who converted to Catholicism at the age of 101, received a commendation from Pope John Paul II and was an honored guest of French President Francois Mitterand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl at the Franco-German reconciliation ceremony at Verdun in 1984. Though he was an exceptional achiever during virtually every stage of his extraordinarily long life, it was his work during the Weimar period that not only secured for a Junger a presence in German cultural and political history, but also became the standard by which much of his later work was evaluated and by which his reputation was, and still is, debated. (2)

 

Ernst Junger was born on March 29, 1895 in Heidelberg, but was raised in Hanover. His father, also named Ernst, was an academically trained chemist who became wealthy as the owner of a pharmaceutical manufacturing business, finding himself successful enough to essentially retire while he was still in his forties. Though raised as an evangelical Protestant, Junger’s father did not believe in any formal religion, nor did his mother, Karoline, an educated middle class German woman whose interests included Germany’s rich literary tradition and the cause of women’s emancipation. His parents’ politics seem to have been liberal, though not radical, in the manner not uncommon to the rising bourgeoise of Germany’s upper middle class during the pre-war period. It was in this affluent, secure bourgeoise environment that Ernst Junger grew up. Indeed, many of Junger’s later activities and professed beliefs are easily understood as a revolt against the comfort and safety of his upbringing. As a child, he was an avid reader of the tales of adventurers and soldiers, but a poor academic student who did not adjust well to the regimented Prussian educational system. Junger’s instructors consistently complained of his inattentiveness. As an adolescent, he became involved with the Wandervogel, roughly the German equivalent of the Boy Scouts.(3)

 

          It was while attending a boarding school near his parents’ home in 1913, at the age of seventeen, that Junger first demonstrated his first propensity for what might be called an “adventurist” way of life. With only six months left before graduation, Junger left school, leaving no word to his family as to his destination. Using money given to him for school-related fees and expenses to buy a firearm and a railroad ticket to Verdun,  Junger subsequently enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, an elite military unit of the French armed forces that accepted enlistees of any nationality and had a reputation for attracting fugitives, criminals and career mercenaries. Junger had no intention of staying with the Legion. He only wanted to be posted to Africa, as he eventually was. Junger then deserted, only to be captured and sentenced to jail. Eventually his father found a capable lawyer for his wayward son and secured his release. Junger then returned to his studies and underwent a belated high school graduation. However, it was only a very short time later that Junger was back in uniform. (4)

 

Warrior and War Diarist

 

Ernst Junger immediately volunteered for military service when he heard the news that Germany was at war in the summer of 1914. After two months of training, Junger was assigned to a reserve unit stationed at Champagne. He was afraid the war would end before he had the opportunity to see any action. This attitude was not uncommon among many recruits or conscripts who fought in the war for their respective states. The question immediately arises at to why so many young people would wish to look into the face of death with such enthusiasm. Perhaps they really did not understand the horrors that awaited them. In Junger’s case, his rebellion against the security and luxury of his bourgeoise upbringing had already been ably demonstrated by his excursion with the French Foreign Legion. Because of his high school education, something that soldiers of more proletarian origins lacked, Junger was selected to train to become an officer. Shortly before beginning his officer’s training, Junger was exposed to combat for the first time. From the start, he carried pocket-sized notebooks with him and recorded his observations on the front lines. His writings while at the front exhibit a distinctive tone of detachment, as though he is simply an observer watching while the enemy fires at others. In the middle part of 1915, Junger suffered his first war wound, a bullet graze to the thigh that required only two weeks of recovery time. Afterwards, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.(5)

 

At age twenty-one, Junger was the leader of a reconnaissance team at the Somme whose purpose was to go out at night and search for British landmines. Early on, he acquired the reputation of a brave soldier who lacked the preoccupation with his own safety common to most of the fighting men. The introduction of steel artifacts into the war, tanks for the British side and steel helmets for the Germans, made a deep impression on Junger. Wounded three times at the Somme, Junger was awarded the Iron Medal First Class. Upon recovery, he returned to the front lines. A combat daredevil, he once held out against a much larger British force with only twenty men. After being transferred to fight the French at Flanders, he lost ten of his fourteen men and was wounded in the left hand by a blast from French shelling. After being harshly criticized by a superior officer for the number of men lost on that particular mission, Junger began to develop a contempt for the military hierarchy whom he regarded as having achieved their status as a result of their class position, frequently lacking combat experience of their own. In late 1917, having already experienced nearly three full years of combat, Junger was wounded for the fifth time during a surprise assault by the British. He was grazed in the head by a bullet, acquiring two holes in his helmet in the process. His performance in this battle won him the Knights Cross of the Hohenzollerns. In March 1918, Junger participated in another fierce battle with the British, losing 87 of his 150 men. (6)

 

            Nothing impressed Junger more than personal bravery and endurance on the part of soldiers. He once “fell to the ground in tears” at the sight of a young recruit who had only days earlier been unable to carry an ammunition case by himself suddenly being able to carry two cases of missles after surviving an attack of British shells. A recurring theme in Junger’s writings on his war experiences is the way in which war brings out the most savage human impulses. Essentially, human beings are given full license to engage in behavior that would be considered criminal during peacetime. He wrote casually about burning occupied towns during the course of retreat or a shift of position. However, Junger also demonstrated a capacity for merciful behavior during his combat efforts. He refrained from shooting a cornered British soldier after the foe displayed a portrait of his family to Junger. He was wounded yet again in August of 1918. Having been shot in the chest and directly through a lung, this was his most serious wound yet. After being hit, he still managed to shoot dead yet another British officer. As Junger was being carried off the battlefield on a stretcher, one of the stretcher carriers was killed by a British bullet. Another German soldier attempted to carry Junger on his back, but the soldier was shot dead himself and Junger fell to the ground. Finally, a medic recovered him and pulled him out of harm’s way. This episode would be the end of his battle experiences during the Great War.(7)

 

In Storms of Steel

 

Junger’s keeping of his wartime diaries paid off quite well in the long run. They were to become the basis of his first and most famous book, In Storms of Steel, published in 1920. The title was given to the book by Junger himself, having found the phrase in an old Icelandic saga. It was at the suggestion of his father that Junger first sought to have his wartime memoirs published. Initially, he found no takers, antiwar sentiment being extremely high in Germany at the time, until his father at last arranged to have the work published privately. In Storms of Steel differs considerably from similar works published by war veterans during the same era, such as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and John Dos Passos’ Three Soldiers. Junger’s book reflects none of the disillusionment with war by those experienced in its horrors of the kind found in these other works. Instead, Junger depicted warfare as an adventure in which the soldier faced the highest possible challenge, a battle to the death with a mortal enemy. Though Junger certainly considered himself to be a patriot and, under the influence of Maurice Barres (8), eventually became a strident German nationalist, his depiction of military combat as an idyllic setting where human wills face the supreme test rose far above ordinary nationalist sentiments. Junger’s warrior ideal was not merely the patriot fighting out of a profound sense of loyalty to his country  nor the stereotype of the dutiful soldier whose sense of honor and obedience compels him to follow the orders of his superiors in a headlong march towards death. Nor was the warrior prototype exalted by Junger necessarily an idealist fighting for some alleged greater good such as a political ideal or religious devotion. Instead, war itself is the ideal for Junger. On this question, he was profoundly influenced by Nietzsche, whose dictum “a good war justifies any cause”, provides an apt characterization of Junger’s depiction of the life (and death) of the combat soldier. (9)

 

This aspect of Junger’s outlook is illustrated quite well by the ending he chose to give to the first edition of In Storms of Steel. Although the second edition (published in 1926) ends with the nationalist rallying cry, “Germany lives and shall never go under!”, a sentiment that was deleted for the third edition published in 1934 at the onset of the Nazi era, the original edition ends simply with Junger in the hospital after being wounded for the final time and receiving word that he has received yet another commendation for his valor as a combat soldier. There is no mention of Germany’s defeat a few months later. Nationalism aside, the book is clearly about Junger, not about Germany, and Junger’s depiction of the war simultaneously displays an extraordinary level detachment for someone who lived in the face of death for four years and a highly personalized account of the war where battle is first and foremost about the assertion of one’s own “will to power” with cliched patriotic pieties being of secondary concern.

 

Indeed, Junger goes so far as to say there were winners and losers on both sides of the war. The true winners were not those who fought in a particular army or for a particular country, but who rose to the challenge placed before them and essentially achieved what Junger regarded as a higher state of enlightenment. He believed the war had revealed certain fundamental truths about the human condition. First, the illusions of the old bourgeoise order concerning peace, progress and prosperity had been inalterably shattered. This was not an uncommon sentiment during that time, but it is a revelation that Junger seems to revel in while others found it to be overwhelmingly devastating. Indeed, the lifelong champion of Enlightenment liberalism, Bertrand Russell, whose life was almost as long as Junger’s and who observed many of the same events from a much different philosophical perspective, once remarked that no one who had been born before 1914 knew what it was like to be truly happy.(10) A second observation advanced by Junger had to do with the role of technology in transforming the nature of war, not only in a purely mechanical sense, but on a much greater existential level. Before, man had commanded weaponry in the course of combat. Now weaponry of the kind made possible by modern technology and industrial civilization essentially commanded man. The machines did the fighting. Man simply resisted this external domination. Lastly, the supremacy of might and the ruthless nature of human existence had been demonstrated. Nietzsche was right. The tragic, Darwinian nature of the human condition had been revealed as an irrevocable law.

 

In Storms of Steel was only the first of several works based on his experiences as a combat officer that were produced by Junger during the 1920s. Copse 125 described a battle between two small groups of combatants. In this work, Junger continued to explore the philosophical themes present in his first work. The type of technologically driven warfare that emerged during the Great War is characterized as reducing men to automatons driven by airplanes, tanks and machine guns. Once again, jingoistic nationalism is downplayed as a contributing factor to the essence of combat soldier’s spirit. Another work of Junger’s from the early 1920s, Battle as Inner Experience, explored the psychology of war. Junger suggested that civilization itself was but a mere mask for the “primordial” nature of humanity that once again reveals itself during war. Indeed, war had the effect of elevating humanity to a higher level. The warrior becomes a kind of god-like animal, divine in his superhuman qualities, but animalistic in his bloodlust. The perpetual threat of imminent death is a kind of intoxicant. Life is at its finest when death is closest. Junger described war as a struggle for a cause that overshadows the respective political or cultural ideals of the combatants. This overarching cause is courage. The fighter is honor bound to respect the courage of his mortal enemy. Drawing on the philosophy of Nietzsche, Junger argued that the war had produced a “new race” that had replaced the old pieties, such as those drawn from religion, with a new recognition of the primacy of the “will to power”.(11)

 

Conservative Revolutionary

 

Junger’s writings about the war quickly earned him the status of a celebrity during the Weimar period. Battle as Inner Experience contained the prescient suggestion that the young men who had experienced the greatest war the world had yet to see at that point could never be successfully re-integrated into the old bougeoise order from which they came. For these fighters, the war had been a spiritual experience. Having endured so much only to see their side lose on such seemingly humiliating terms, the veterans of the war were aliens to the rationalistic, anti-militarist, liberal republic that emerged in 1918 at the close of the war. Junger was at his parents’ home recovering from war wounds during the time of the attempted coup by the leftist workers’ and soldiers’ councils and subsequent suppression of these by the Freikorps. He experimented with psychoactive drugs such as cocaine and opium during this time, something that he would continue to do much later in life. Upon recovery, he went back into active duty in the much diminished Germany army. Junger’s earliest works, such as In Storms of Steel, were published during this time and he also wrote for military journals on the more technical and specialized aspects of combat and military technology. Interestingly, Junger attributed Germany’s defeat in the war simply to poor leadership, both military and civilian, and rejected the “stab in the back” legend that consoled less keen veterans.

 

After leaving the army in 1923, Junger continued to write, producing a novella about a soldier during the war titled Sturm, and also began to study the philosophy of Oswald Spengler. His first work as a philosopher of nationalism appeared the Nazi paper Volkischer Beobachter in September, 1923.

Critiquing the failed Marxist revolution of 1918, Junger argued that the leftist coup failed because of its lacking of fresh ideas. It was simply a regurgitation of the egalitarian outllook of the French Revolution. The revolutionary left appealed only to the material wants of the Germany people in Junger’s views. A successful revolution would have to be much more than that. It would have to appeal to their spiritual or “folkish” instincts as well. Over the next few years Junger studied the natural sciences at the University of Leipzig and in 1925, at age thirty, he married nineteen-year-old Gretha von Jeinsen. Around this time, he also became a full-time political  writer. Junger was hostile to Weimar democracy and its commercial bourgeiose society. His emerging political ideal was one of an elite warrior caste that stood above petty partisan politics and the middle class obsession with material acquisition. Junger became involved with the the Stahlhelm, a right-wing veterans group, and was a contributer to its paper, Die Standardite. He associated himself with the younger, more militant members of the organization who favored an uncompromised nationalist revolution and eschewed the parliamentary system. Junger’s weekly column in Die Standardite disseminated his nationalist ideology to his less educated readers. Junger’s views at this point were a mixture of Spengler, Social Darwinism, the traditionalist philosophy of the French rightist Maurice Barres, opposition to the internationalism of the left that had seemingly been discredited by the events of 1914, irrationalism and anti-parliamentarianism. He took a favorable view of the working class and praised the Nazis’ efforts to win proletarian sympathies. Junger also argued that a nationalist outlook need not be attached to one particular form of government, even suggesting that a liberal monarchy would be inferior to a nationalist republic.(12)

 

In an essay for Die Standardite titled “The Machine”, Junger argued that the principal struggle was not between social classes or political parties but between man and technology. He was not anti-technological in a Luddite sense, but regarded the technological apparatus of modernity to have achieved a position of superiority over mankind which needed to be reversed. He was concerned that the mechanized efficiency of modern life produced a corrosive effect on the human spirit. Junger considered the Nazis’ glorification of peasant life to be antiquated. Ever the realist, he believed the world of the rural people to be in a state of irreversible decline. Instead, Junger espoused a “metropolitan nationalism” centered on the urban working class. Nationalism was the antidote to the anti-particularist materialism of the Marxists who, in Junger’s views, simply mirrored the liberals in their efforts to reduce the individual to a component of a mechanized mass society. The humanitarian rhetoric of the left Junger dismissed as the hypocritical cant of power-seekers feigning benevolence. He began to pin his hopes for a nationalist revolution on the younger veterans who comprised much of the urban working class.

 

In 1926, Junger became editor of Arminius, which also featured the writings of Nazi leaders like Alfred Rosenberg and Joseph Goebbels. In 1927, he contributed his final article to the Nazi paper, calling for a new definition of the “worker”, one not rooted in Marxist ideology but the idea of the worker as a civilian counterpart to the soldier who struggles fervently for the nationalist ideal. Junger and  Hitler had exchanged copies of their respective writings and a scheduled meeting between the two was canceled due to a change in Hitler’s itinerary. Junger respected Hitler’s abilities as an orator, but came to feel he lacked the ability to become a true leader. He also found Nazi ideology to be intellectually shallow, many of the Nazi movement’s leaders to be talentless and was displeased by the vulgarity,  crassly opportunistic and overly theatrical aspects of Nazi public rallies. Always an elitist, Junger considered the Nazis’ pandering the common people to be debased. As he became more skeptical of the Nazis, Junger began writing for a wider circle of readers beyond that of the militant nationalist right-wing. His works began to appear in the Jewish liberal Leopold Schwarzchild’s Das Tagebuch and the “national-bolshevik” Ernst Niekisch’s Widerstand.

 

Junger began to assemble around himself an elite corps of bohemian, eccentric intellectuals who would meet regularly on Friday evenings. This group included some of the most interesting personalities of the Weimar period. Among them were the Freikorps veteran Ernst von Salomon, Otto von Strasser, who with his brother Gregor led a leftist anti-Hitler faction of the Nazi movement, the national-bolshevik Niekisch, the Jewish anarchist Erich Muhsam who had figured prominently in the early phase of the failed leftist revolution of 1918, the American writer Thomas Wolfe and the expressionist writer Arnolt Bronnen. Many among this group espoused a type of revolutionary socialism based on nationalism rather than class, disdaining the Nazis’ opportunistic outreach efforts to the middle class. Some, like Niekisch, favored an alliance between Germany and Soviet Russia against the liberal-capitalist powers of the West. Occasionally, Joseph Goebbels would turn up at these meetings hoping to convert the group, particularly Junger himself, whose war writings he had admired, to the Nazi cause. These efforts by the Nazi propaganda master proved unsuccessful. Junger regarded Goebbels as a shallow ideologue who spoke in platitudes even in private conversation.(13)

 

The final break between Ernst Junger and the NSDAP occurred in September 1929. Junger published an article in Schwarzchild’s Tagebuch attacking and ridiculing the Nazis as sell outs for having reinvented themselves as a parliamentary party. He also dismissed their racism and anti-Semitism as ridiculous, stating that according to the Nazis a nationalist is simply someone who “eats three Jews for breakfast.” He condemned the Nazis for pandering to the liberal middle class and reactionary traditional conservatives “with lengthy tirades against the decline in morals, against abortion, strikes, lockouts, and the reduction of police and military forces.” Goebbels responded by attacking Junger in the Nazi press, accusing him being motivated by personal literary ambition, and insisting this had caused him “to vilify the national socialist movement, probably so as to make himself popular in his new kosher surroundings” and dismissing Junger’s attacks by proclaiming the Nazis did not “debate with renegades who abuse us in the smutty press of Jewish traitors.”(14)

 

Junger on the Jewish Question

 

Junger held complicated views on the question of German Jews. He considered anti-Semitism of the type espoused by Hitler to be crude and reactionary. Yet his own version of nationalism required a level of homogeneity that was difficult to reconcile with the subnational status of Germany Jewry. Junger suggested that Jews should assimilate and pledge their loyalty to Germany once and for all. Yet he expressed admiration for Orthodox Judaism and indifference to Zionism. Junger maintained personal friendships with Jews and wrote for a Jewish owned publication. During this time his Jewish publisher Schwarzchild published an article examining Junger’s views on the Jews of Germany. Schwarzchild insisted that Junger was nothing like his Nazi rivals on the far right. Junger’s nationalism was based on an aristocratic warrior ethos, while Hitler’s was more comparable to the criminal underworld. Hitler’s men were “plebian alley scum”. However, Schwarzchild also characterized Junger’s rendition of nationalism as motivated by little more than a fervent rejection of bourgeoise society and lacking in attention to political realities and serious economic questions.(15)

 

The Worker

 

Other than In Storms of Steel, Junger’s The Worker: Mastery and Form was his most influential work from the Weimar era. Junger would later distance himself from this work, published in 1932, and it was reprinted in the 1950s only after Junger was prompted to do so by Martin Heidegger.

In The Worker, Junger outlines his vision of a future state ordered as a technocracy based on workers and soldiers led by a warrior elite. Workers are no longer simply components of an industrial machine, whether capitalist or communist, but have become a kind of civilian-soldier operating as an economic warrior. Just as the soldier glories in his accomplishments in battle, so does the worker glory in the achievements expressed through his work. Junger predicted that continued technological advancements would render the worker/capitalist dichotomy obsolete. He also incorporated the political philosophy of his friend Carl Schmitt into his worldview. As Schmitt saw international relations as a Hobbesian battle between rival powers, Junger believed each state would eventually adopt a system not unlike what he described in The Worker. Each state would maintain its own technocratic order with the workers and soldiers of each country playing essentially the same role on behalf of their respective nations. International affairs would be a crucible where the will to power of the different nations would be tested.

Junger’s vision contains a certain amount prescience. The general trend in politics at the time was a movement towards the kind of technocratic state Junger described. These took on many varied forms including German National Socialism, Italian Fascism, Soviet Communism, the growing welfare states of Western Europe and America’s New Deal. Coming on the eve of World War Two, Junger’s prediction of a global Hobbesian struggle between national collectives possessing previously unimagined levels of technological sophistication also seems rather prophetic. Junger once again attacked the bourgeoise as anachronistic. Its values of material luxury and safety he regarded as unfit for the violent world of the future. (16)

 

The National Socialist Era

 

By the time Hitler took power in 1933, Junger’s war writings had become commonly used in high schools and universities as examples of wartime literature, and Junger enjoyed success within the context of German popular culture as well. Excerpts of Junger’s works were featured in military journals. The Nazis tried to coopt his semi-celebrity status, but he was uncooperative. Junger was appointed to the Nazified German Academcy of Poetry, but declined the position. When the Nazi Party’s paper published some of his work in 1934, Junger wrote a letter of protest. The Nazi regime, despite its best efforts to capitalize on his reputation, viewed Junger with suspicioun. His past association with the national-bolshevik Ersnt Niekisch, the Jewish anarchist Erich Muhsam and the anti-Hitler Nazi Otto von Strasser, all of whom were either eventually killed or exiled by the Third Reich, led the Nazis to regard Junger as a potential subversive. On several occasions, Junger received visits from the Gestapo in search of some of his former friends. During the early years of the Nazi regime, Junger was in the fortunate position of being able to economically afford travel outside of Germany. He journeyed to Norway, Brazil, Greece and Morocco during this time, and published several works based on his travels.(17)

 

Junger’s most significant work from the Nazi period is the novel On the Marble Cliffs. The book is an allegorical attack on the Hitler regime. It was written in 1939, the same year that Junger reentered the German army. The book describes a mysterious villian that threatens a community, a sinister warlord called the “Head Ranger”. This character is never featured in the plot of the novel, but maintains a forboding presence that is universal (much like “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s 1984). Another character in the novel, “Braquemart”, is described as having physical characteristics remarkably similar to those of Goebbels. The book sold fourteen thousand copies during its first two weeks in publication. Swiss reviewers immediately recognized the allegorical references to the Nazi state in the novel. The Nazi Party’s organ, Volkische Beobachter, stated that Ernst Jünger was flirting with a bullet to the head. Goebbels urged Hitler to ban the book, but Hitler refused, probably not wanting to show his hand. Indeed, Hitler gave orders that Junger not be harmed.(18)

         

Junger was stationed in France for most of the Second World War. Once again, he kept diaries of the experience. Once again, he expressed concern that he might not get to see any action before the war was over. While Junger did not have the opportunity to experience the level of danger and daredevil heroics he had during the Great War, he did receive yet another medal, the Iron Cross, for retrieving the body of a dead corporal while under heavy fire. Junger also published some of his war diaries during this time. However, the German government took a dim view of these, viewing them as too sympathetic to the occupied French. Junger’s duties included censorship of the mail coming into France from German civilians. He took a rather liberal approach to this responsibility and simply disposed of incriminating documents rather than turning them over for investigation. In doing so, he probably saved lives. He also encountered members of France’s literary and cultural elite, among them the actor Louis Ferdinand Celine, a raving anti-Semite and pro-Vichyite who suggested Hitler’s harsh measures against the Jews had not been heavy handed enough. As rumors of the Nazi extermination programs began to spread,  Junger wrote in his diary that the mechanization of the human spirit of the type he had written about in the past had apparently generated a higher level of human depravity. When he saw three young French-Jewish girls wearing the yellow stars required by the Nazis, he wrote that he felt embarrassed to be in the Nazi army. In July of 1942, Junger observed the mass arrest of French Jews, the beginning of implementation of the “Final Solution”. He described the scene as follows:

 

“Parents were first separated from their children, so there was wailing to be heard in the streets. At no moment may I forget that I am surrounded by the unfortunate, by those suffering to the very depths, else what sort of person, what sort of officer would I be? The uniform obliges one to grant protection wherever it goes. Of course one has the impression that one must also, like Don Quixote, take on millions.”(19)

         

An entry into Junger’s diary from October 16, 1943 suggests that an unnamed army officer had told  Junger about the use of crematoria and poison gas to murder Jews en masse. Rumors of plots against Hitler circulated among the officers with whom Junger maintained contact. His son, Ernstl, was arrested after an informant claimed he had spoken critically of Hitler. Ernstl Junger was imprisoned for three months, then placed in a penal battalion where he was killed in action in Italy. On July 20, 1944 an unsuccessful assassination attempt was carried out against Hitler. It is still disputed as to whether or not Junger knew of the plot or had a role in its planning. Among those arrested for their role in the attemt on Hitler’s life were members of Junger’s immediate circle of associates and superior officers within the German army. Junger was dishonorably discharged shortly afterward.(20)

 

Following the close of the Second World War, Junger came under suspicion from the Allied occupational authorities because of his far right-wing nationalist and militarist past. He refused to cooperate with the Allies De-Nazification programs and was barred from publishing for four years. He would go on to live another half century, producing many more literary works, becoming a close friend of Albert Hoffman, the inventor of the hallucinogen LSD, with which he experimented. In a 1977 novel, Eumeswil, he took his tendency towards viewing the world around him with detachment to a newer, more clearly articulated level with his invention of the concept of the “Anarch”. This idea, heavily influenced by the writings of the early nineteenth century German philosopher Max Stirner, championed the solitary individual who remains true to himself within the context of whatever external circumstances happen to be present. Some sample quotations from this work illustrate the philosophy and worldview of the elderly Junger quite well:

 

“For the anarch, if he remains free of being ruled, whether by sovereign or society, this does not mean he refuses to serve in any way. In general, he serves no worse than anyone else, and sometimes even better, if he likes the game. He only holds back from the pledge, the sacrifice, the ultimate devotion … I serve in the Casbah; if, while doing this, I die for the Condor, it would be an accident, perhaps even an obliging gesture, but nothing more.”

 

“The egalitarian mania of demagogues is even more dangerous than the brutality of men in gallooned coats. For the anarch, this remains theoretical, because he avoids both sides. Anyone who has been oppressed can get back on his feet if the oppression did not cost him his life. A man who has been equalized is physically and morally ruined. Anyone who is different is not equal; that is one of the reasons why the Jews are so often targeted.”

 

“The anarch, recognizing no government, but not indulging in paradisal dreams as the anarchist does, is, for that very reason, a neutral observer.”

 

“Opposition is collaboration.”

 

“A basic theme for the anarch is how man, left to his own devices, can defy superior force – whether state, society or the elements – by making use of their rules without submitting to them.”

 

“… malcontents… prowl through the institutions eternally dissatisfied, always disappointed. Connected with this is their love of cellars and rooftops, exile and prisons, and also banishment, on which they actually pride themselves. When the structure finally caves in they are the first to be killed in the collapse. Why do they not know that the world remains inalterable in change? Because they never find their way down to its real depth, their own. That is the sole place of essence, safety. And so they do themselves in.”

 

“The anarch may not be spared prisons – as one fluke of existence among others. He will then find the fault in himself.”

 

“We are touching one a … distinction between anarch and anarchist; the relation to authority, to legislative power. The anarchist is their mortal enemy, while the anarch refuses to acknowledge them. He seeks neither to gain hold of them, nor to topple them, nor to alter them – their impact bypasses him. He must resign himself only to the whirlwinds they generate.”

 

“The anarch is no individualist, either. He wishes to present himself neither as a Great Man nor as a Free Spirit. His own measure is enough for him; freedom is not his goal; it is his property. He does not come on as foe or reformer: one can get along nicely with him in shacks or in palaces. Life is too short and too beautiful to sacrifice for ideas, although contamination is not always avoidable. But hats off to the martyrs.”

 

“We can expect as little from society as from the state. Salvation lies in the individual.” (21)

 

Notes:

 

1. Ian Buruma, “The Anarch at Twilight”, New York Review of Books, Volume 40, No. 12, June 24, 1993. Hilary Barr, “An Exchange on Ernst Junger”, New York Review of Books, Volume 40, No. 21, December 16, 1993.

 

2. Nevin, Thomas. Ernst Junger and Germany: Into the Abyss, 1914-1945. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996, pp. 1-7. Loose, Gerhard. Ernst Junger. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1974, preface.

 

3. Nevin, pp. 9-26. Loose, p. 21

 

4. Loose, p. 22. Nevin, pp. 27-37.

 

5. Nevin. p. 49.

 

6. Ibid., p. 57

 

7. Ibid., p. 61

 

8. Maurice Barrès (September 22, 1862 December 4, 1923) was a French novelist, journalist, an anti-semite, nationalist politician and agitator. Leaning towards the far-left in his youth as a Boulangist deputy, he progressively developed a theory close to Romantic nationalism and shifted to the right during the Dreyfus Affair, leading the Anti-Dreyfusards alongside Charles Maurras. In 1906, he was elected both to the Académie française and as deputy of the Seine department, and until his death he sat with the conservative Entente républicaine démocratique. A strong supporter of the Union sacrée(Holy Union) during World War I, Barrès remained a major influence of generations of French writers, as well as of monarchists, although he was not a monarchist himself. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Barr%C3%A8s

 

9. Nevin, pp. 58, 71, 97.

 

10. Schilpp, P. A. “The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell”.  Reviewed Hermann Weyl, The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Apr., 1946), pp. 208-214.

 

11. Nevin, pp. 122, 125, 134, 136, 140, 173.

 

12. Ibid., pp. 75-91.

 

13. Ibid., p. 107.

 

14. Ibid., p. 108.

 

15. Ibid., pp. 109-111.

 

16. Ibid., pp. 114-140.

 

17. Ibid., p. 145.

 

18. Ibid., p. 162.

 

19. Ibid., p. 189.

 

20. Ibid., p. 209.

 

21. Junger, Ernst. Eumeswil. New York: Marion Publishers, 1980, 1993.

 

Bibliography

 

Barr, Hilary. “An Exchange on Ernst Junger”, New York Review of Books, Volume 40, No. 21, December 16, 1993.

 

Braun, Abdalbarr. “Warrior, Waldgaenger, Anarch: An Essay on Ernst Junger’s Concept of the Sovereign Individual”. Archived at http://www.fluxeuropa.com/juenger-anarch.htm

 

Buruma, Ian. “The Anarch at Twilight”, New York Review of Books, Volume 40, No. 12, June 24, 1993.

 

Hofmann, Albert. LSD: My Problem Child, Chapter Seven, “Radiance From Ernst Junger”. Archived at http://www.flashback.se/archive/my_problem_child/chapter7.html

 

Loose, Gerhard. Ernst Junger. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1974.

 

Hervier, Julien. The Details of Time: Conversations with Ernst Junger. New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1986.

 

Junger, Ernst. Eumeswil. New York: Marsilio Publishers, 1980, 1993.

 

Junger, Ernst. In Storms of Steel. New York: Penguin Books, 1920, 1963, 2003.

 

Junger, Ernst. On the Marble Cliffs. New York: Duenewald Printing Corporation, 1947.

 

Nevin, Thomas. Ernst Junger and Germnay: Into the Abyss, 1914-1945. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996.

 

Schilpp, P. A. “The Philosophy of Bertrand Russell”.  Reviewed Hermann Weyl, The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Apr., 1946), pp. 208-214.

 

Stern, J. P. Ernst Junger. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953.

 

Zavrel, Consul B. John. “Ernst Junger is Still Working at 102”. Archived at http://www.meaus.com/Ernst%20Junger%20at%20102.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "Purge" Revisted: Anarcho-Leftoids Unite in Hatred Against Keith Preston 15

In his autobiography, Jerry Rubin, the late leader and co-founder of the 1960s era leftist-anarchist court jester faction the “Yippies”, told a story about how during a speech he had remarked that hippie kids should “kill their parents for the revolution.” He was speaking metaphorically, suggesting that the perceived stodgy or overly jingoist values of the pre-60s generation should be overturned, not that hippie kids should procure a knife from the kitchen and off Mom and Pop, Charlie Manson-style. But a menacing photograph of Rubin subsequently appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer with the bold headlines: “Yippie Leader Tells Kids to Kill Their Parents.” And so both a legend and a scandal were born.

I really don’t know what to make of the reaction to my recently published essay, “Is Extremism in the Defense of Sodomy No Vice?” in the circles of what is called “left-libertarianism,” particularly considering that I have been only peripherally associated with that “movement.” Given the rather extensive number of blog posts and comments threads that have appeared in response, perhaps someone in a “man from Mars” position could be forgiven for assuming that Keith Preston must be someone of overwhelming importance, perhaps a presidential candidate or leader of a mass movement of millions, with its own mass army, and who has called for a “night of the long knives” purge of the left-deviationist, homo-erotically-inclined, Ernst Roehm wing of the Left Libertarian Anarcho-National Socialist Workers Party, no doubt to secure my own grip on the Chancellorship. I suppose I should be honored that others consider my pronouncements to be of such significance, though my first inclination is to respond with the immortal words of William Shatner, who said in a comparable context: “Get a life!”

With the notable exception of Kevin Carson’s very gracious “Open Letter,” most of the criticisms expressed either a) do not contain enough substance to merit the dignity of a response or b) originate from individuals who have already rejected my own positions fairly thoroughly, anyway or c) both of the aforementioned. However, there have been a few critics who raise issues worth addressing, and if others find my own ideas to be important enough to merit the volume and kinds of response that has been generated, I suppose I should make the effort to insure that my views are being accurately understood and represented in the discussion that is taking place. So here goes.

Totally Unrepentant: A Reply to Mike Golguski

Mike Golguski is someone I know absolutely nothing about, except that he’s the fellow who renounced his American citizenship and has become officially “stateless” as someone who is not a citizen of any particular nation. If all that is true, then I very much respect him for taking such an action, given that such doings can hardly be in his own personal self-interest. Apparently, Golguski is the one who got the ball rolling in the flood of responses to my “sodomy” piece, and I’ve already posted a response on the No State blog. I want to follow up by addressing Golguski’s final sentence: “Without substantial work at repentance, Keith will not be welcome at my table, nor in my tent.”

I do not care if Golguski does not want me at his table or in his tent. After all, this whole anarcho-libertarian thing is supposed to include something about freedom of association and property rights, and that goes double for a pan-separatist like bad old me. Unlike some of my more vociferous critics, I do not care if others wish to “exclude” me from their midst. What do I find interesting is Golguski’s use of the term “repentance.” This would seem to provide evidence for the claims that I and others far more capable than myself like Alain De Benoist, Tomislav Sunic, Murray Rothbard, Samuel Francis or Paul Gottfried have made that modern “cultural leftism,” “multiculturalism,” “political correctness,” “cultural Marxism” or whatever one wishes to call it is, like orthodox Marxism and American-style liberal-progressivism before it, a type of secularized, pseudo-Christian moralism. As Thomas Sowell has mentioned, ideological leftists often tend to regard their opponents as not being not only in error, but in sin, in the same manner as their ostensible Christian rivals. Suffice to say that as a pagan, a Machiavellian, a Nietzschean, and a Stirnerite, Keith Preston does not “repent” of anything. I am reminded of an incident from well over twenty years ago when I received a letter from a former pastor of the Christian Reconstructionist church I went to as a kid, urging me to repent of the Satanic monstrosities I had inflicted on the world as an adult. I replied with a brief note saying, “Fuck you, Jesus Freak!” or something to that effect. I’d say something similar in this particular context as well.

People, Revolution and Warfare: A Reply to Brad Spangler

Brad Spangler has a post up that seems to be sincere in intentions but is a grotesque misrepresentation of my actual views. The ideas Spangler attributes to me are something like what I would imagine a parody of Keith Preston to be like.

First, as I see it, Preston mistakes the sociopathic proclivity for personal violence commonly encountered among white nationalists for martial prowess and “fighting spirit”. Simply put — every bigot is a bully, and every bully is a coward. If we are to fight, let us fight at the side of the brave. There is no Nazi utopia. The handful of “damaged personalities” who would lay down their lives for a twisted, dystopian vision would undoubtedly be no challenge for a suitably well-armed Girl Scout troop.

I actually agree with everything Spangler says here. The problem is these comments have nothing to do with my actual views. If one wishes to understand the nature of what I have called “martial spirit,” then read “In Storms of Steel” by Ernst Junger, who, by the way, was a close personal friend of the martyred Jewish anarchist Erich Muhsam. I also disagree with the view that everyone bearing the label “white nationalist” fits the narrow stereotypes derived from images of George Lincoln Rockwell-influenced, Hogan’s Heroes-imitating, neo-nazis being described here. In fact, one could make the ironic claim that there might just be a little bit of the dreaded “bigotry” involved in such characterizations and generalizations. I will say that I actually agree with Spangler’s analysis of the psychology of those who do fit such stereotypes. I know very few such people, probably because there are very few such people. Occasionally, some of these Hogan’s Heroes types will creep into the periphery of my circle. I tend to regard them as an interesting oddity and curious sociological phenomena and little more. And, yes, most of them are sociopaths and damaged personalities, not unlike many of their counterparts on the Left, which is why they’re useless as political allies.

Secondly, despite wearing the grandiose term “American Revolutionary Vanguard” on his sleeve, that same above statement by Preston betrays an apparently very crude, shallow and underdeveloped understanding of anarchist revolution as simply insurrection. It appears that in Preston’s view, if we can manage to collect enough of those who simply want to kill people and blow things up, we “win”. A more credible understanding is the notion that by attacking the illusionary moral legitimacy of the state we build a revolutionary class consciousness among the victims of statism that can compel them to cooperate in defending themselves against the state. And since you can’t blow up a set of dysfunctional social relationships, Preston is metaphorically flailing about at imagined nails because the only tool he apparently respects is a hammer.

I actually agree that delegitimizing the state is a fundamental part of a revolutionary effort. Where I suspect Spangler and I would disagree is that I think it unlikely that “the masses” will ever become self-proclaimed “anarchists,” and reject abstractions like “the state”, much less “authority,” “hierarchy,” “domination,” yadda, yadda, in some carte blanche sense. Without getting too deep into it, I’ll say that I don’t think the evidence from social psychology indicates that hopes for such an occurrence are warranted. However, there is much precedent of particular states losing their perceived legitimacy, usually do to their perceived violation of long-established cultural, political and historic traditions within a particular society. That is why I advocate a secessionist strategy. Secession has strong roots in American political culture, and we need to assemble a critical mass that recognizes that the present ruling class is illegitimate according to popular norms of what constitutes legitimacy. What I have in mind would simply be a repetition of 1776 and 1861, that is all.

Third, Preston suffers from a failure to understand the realities of multilateral conflict in failing states. I’ll use Iraq as an example. Ba’athists, tribal militias and Islamists commonly do cooperate on the battlefield on a per-project basis when it suits them, despite the gross differences in their visions of what they are fighting for. They create no unifying organization. Preston’s laughable proposal to “purge” an entire family of related movements with no centralized command and control speaks volumes about his understanding of organization. He’s acting as if he seeks some sort of neo-Maoist political coalition unified in thought and action — and any thoughts would apparently be okay, as long as those thoughts gather together a sufficient amount of cannon fodder.

Umm, excuse me, but has anyone ever heard of Lexington and Concord? Fort Sumter? The Durruti Column? Nestor Makhno? I simply advocate political and military alliances against common enemies, not alliances based on ideological abstractions. Nations and armies do this all the time. The issue of internecine fighting among alliance members is obviously a genuinely serious matter. That’s part of the reason why I am a pan-separatist. The anti-imperialist resistance needs its own Peace of Augsburg.

Immigration Uber Alles? A Reply to Charles “Rad Geek” Johnson

Johnson offers the same criticisms as others, with the addition of a rather intense focus on issues related to immigration, reflected in these comments pulled from different blog postings:

Similarly, I wonder what you think about the several paragraphs Keith spends attacking “the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism,” by which he apparently means the plumb-line libertarian position against government border checkpoints, papers-please police state monitoring, and government prohibitions on hiring immigrant workers [?!]. When Keith claims that the anarchistic position is to enforce border checkpoints and police-state monitoring of national citizenship papers, the use of government immigration enforcement to exile from the country those that the American government declares “criminals [or] enemies of America” (?!) and suggests government prohibitions against employing undocumented immigrants, and apparently also government prohibitions against employing any immigrants at all during a strike (?!) — when, in short, he calls, over and over again for the expansion of the state and an increase in the power of government border police, in the name of nationalist politics, and attempts to justify this Stasi-statism by pointing to the majority opinion among those approved to vote in government elections by the United States government (?!) — what do you think of that? Do you really think of that as just a problem of “tone”? Or is a problem with the substance of his position?

The only place in which decentralization is mentioned in the discussion of immigration politics is to suggest that criteria for naturalization — that is, extending the status as politically-enfranchised citizens to immigrants — be spun off to “local community standards.” Once that’s done, though, he has nothing to say about changing how the central state treats people who are or are not counted as naturalized. Nowhere does he suggest dismantling existing centralized definitions of “national borders.” Nowhere does he suggest dismantling or even decentralizing existing agencies of border fortification, border checkpoints, border patrol, immigration-status documentation and surveillance, imprisonment and trial of alleged undocumented immigrants, paramilitary immigration enforcement, forcible deportation, etc. etc. etc. Instead he suggests giving these existing centralized government agencies more to do. He explicitly calls for deployment of the existing centralized government immigration control system: he explicitly calls for “designated checkpoints” to be run by the government, with “an objective screening process,” which is designed to screen out “criminals, enemies of America” (?! how the fuck do you suppose you ban entry to government-defined “enemies of America” in a decentralized fashion?) and people with “certain kinds of contagious diseases”; he calls for deportation of those who don’t have permission slips for their existence from the worthless megamurdering United States government (from where to where? if it’s outside the borders of the U.S.A., we’re not talking about decentralization, are we?); he adds calls for new government prohibitions on “employers … using immigrants as scab labor” and “employer use of illegal immigrant [sic] labor”. How do you suppose you go about enacting and enforcing these government prohibitions and government bans on peaceful, consensual labor contracts, without expanding the size, power, and reach of the State?

For instance, how about the several paragraphs that he devotes to arguing that anarchists, of all people, ought to be calling for the expansion of government checkpoints, documentation requirements, and prohibitions against immigrant workers? I don’t know about you, but I’d say that there’s some ideological shortcoming going on when a professed anti-statist goes around arguing for the escalation of police state tactics by government border thugs (because, hey, a majority of government-approved voters want it! well, hell, sign me up!).

I wonder what you think about the several paragraphs Keith spends, in an essay which, according to you, is mainly defending freedom of association and dissociation, attacking what he characterizes as “the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism,” by which he apparently means the plumb-line libertarian position against government border checkpoints, papers-please police state monitoring, and government prohibitions on hiring immigrant workers.

When Keith claims that the anarchistic position is in fact to enlist the United States government to enforce border checkpoints and police-state monitoring of national citizenship papers, to demand the use of government immigration enforcement to exile from the country those that the American government declares “criminals [or] enemies of America” (?!); when he suggests escalating government prohibitions against employing undocumented immigrants, and apparently also creating new government prohibitions against employing any immigrants at all during a government-recognized strike (?!) — when, in short, he calls, over and over again for the expansion of the state and an increase in the power of government border police, in the name of nationalist politics, for the purpose of a systematic assault on free markets and free association, and then attempts to justify this Stasi-statism by pointing to the majority opinion among those approved to vote in government elections by the United States government (?!) — what do you think of all that? Do you think that this is defending the claim that “people can associate however they want in a libertarian world”? Do you think that this propaganda for growing the size, scope, and intensity of government enforcement, is the sort of thing that would make libertarianism more attractive to “regular (?) anti-government” types?

I think it can be assumed rather safely that Johnson cares a great deal about this topic. Here’s what I have written on immigration elsewhere: See here , here (section VII), here , here , and here.

Rather than rehash all the pro and con libertarian arguments concerning immigration, which aren’t going to convince anyone anyway, I’ll simply describe how my own views on this topic have evolved over time. Until I was in my thirties, I was an unqualified “open borders” libertarian. If there was one individual who could be credited with motivating me to modify my views, it would be the late Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, a great irony considering the context of this debate, as Fortuyn was a flamboyantly gay man. Fortuyn argued against allowing mass Third World immigration into the West, and he argued from the Left rather than the nationalist or racialist Right. Simply put, his position that the “liberal” cultural values of the West, such as secularism, civil liberties, women’s rights, gay rights, and, in the case of Holland, tolerance of drug use and consensual prostitution, as well as the wider intellectual culture of the Enlightenment, were endangered by the importation of large numbers of persons from cultures that do not share such values. Fortuyn was mostly critical of Islamic immigration, but he gained the support of many among older Muslim communities in Holland, who believed immigration policy had become so indiscriminate as to allow criminals, terrorists, career welfare recipients and other such elements into the country.  For his efforts, Fortuyn was assassinated, not by a Muslim, but by a fanatical leftoid.  I was in Holland myself when all of this happened, and it was a bit of a wake-up call.

Today, I would consider myself a moderate on the immigration question. I’m not ready to embrace the “immigration is the root of all evil” rhetoric of VDare, yet I am also skeptical of Johnson’s free-for-all approach. I tend to agree with the analysis of Laurence Vance on this question. Most of the proposed policies that I have thrown out in the past concerning immigration are merely ideas for discussion, and nothing I’m particularly committed to. I will formally commit myself to only one policy concerning immigration: That immigration policy itself be taken out of the hands of the federal government and ruling class elites and as Hans Hermann Hoppe says:

More specifically, the authority to admit or exclude should be stripped from the hands of the central government and re-assigned to the states, provinces, cities, towns, villages, residential districts, and ultimately to private property owners and their voluntary associations. The means to achieve this goal are decentralization and secession (both inherently un-democratic, and un-majoritarian). One would be well on the way toward a restoration of the freedom of association and exclusion as it is implied in the idea and institution of private property, and much of the social strife currently caused by forced integration would disappear,…and to solve the “naturalization” question somewhat along the Swiss model, where local assemblies, not the central government, determine who can and who cannot become a Swiss citizen.

From there, vigorous debate can take place concerning how much or how little immigration there should be, and under what circumstances and conditions.

The Night of the Long Knives is Hereby Officially Cancelled: A Reply to Kevin Carson
Kevin Carson is as fine a scholar as any I have ever encountered anywhere, inside or outside the academic world, and across political and ideological boundaries. I consider his works on political economy and organization theory to be revolutionary in nature. He is one of those timeless writers like Hobbes, Carl Schmitt or Robert Nozick whose ideas transcend historical or ideological particulars. When someone of his caliber criticizes me, I’m inclined to pay attention and take what he says seriously. He graciously allowed me to view his “open letter” before posting it and, unlike some of my other critics, actually makes an effort to represent my own views correctly and temper his criticisms with nuance and civility. I’ll respond to what I think are Kevin’s essential points.
I have consistently defended you against the charges of fascism, racism, homophobia, and all the rest of it, that arose in response to your “big tent” strategy of offering solidarity to secessionists of all kinds. I still think you went too far in promoting active solidarity with national anarchist groups and racists.

Because my association with national-anarchists seems to be a particular thorn in the side for many of my critics, I will refer the reader to an essay I wrote assessing national-anarchism back in 2003. It can be viewed here. As for the libertarian credentials of national-anarchism, I will cite this interview from the movement’s founder, Troy Southgate. Beyond that, I will say that in my personal experience with national-anarchists, I have found all of them, to a person, capable of civil disagreement concerning major issues in a way that is completely absent from the “anarcho-leftoid” milieu. In other words, it is the leftoids who are the ones with the problem. Additionally, I know a number of people who consider themselves to be both left-libertarians and national-anarchists, and I know of number of national-anarchists who are sympathetic to many of the economic ideas of left-libertarianism, and I also know left-libertarians who personally disagree with national-anarchism but can approach the issue calmly. Unfortunately it is the leftoid loudmouths who seem to dominate the left-libertarian milieu’s online presence.

When Aster kicked you out of her Salon Liberty, I thought (and still think) she did so on inadequate grounds, and that nothing you’d said up to that point on your strategic approach (as outlined above) warranted such a reaction. As I recall, I said as much on her Salon at the time.

A bit of clarification is in order. When Aster booted me from her “salon” (which I can assure everyone was a long, long, long, long way from being the most tragic thing that ever happened to me), I actually defended her decision privately to others who criticized her. As a proponent of freedom of association, private property rights, the right of exclusion and pan-separatism, I have no problem with someone saying they don’t want me on their discussion list, or in their house, or in their backyard, or in their country club, or wherever. When Aster booted me, I bowed out in a way that, I think, was actually rather gracious. However, Aster has since that time persistently engaged in what quasibill has called “serial slander and cyber-stalking” towards me, at times attempting to do so anonymously but not very competently, and has attempted to draw wedges between me and others with whom I have no real quarrel. Furthermore, Aster’s clique of “friends” has refrained from criticizing her for doing so, but reacted with outrage and joined in her personal attacks when I have retaliated by throwing personal insults in her direction. The reasons for this double standard ought to be obvious.

But since she evicted you, I’ve noticed that your general language toward gays and transgender people has become increasingly “colorful” (i.e., deliberately demeaning) and hostile, by what seems like an order of magnitude or so.

No doubt about it. As this particular faction within left-libertarianism has escalated the personal attacks directed at me, I have retaliated. It’s a two-way street. I make no apologies for that. I reject the argument that the physical or sexual characteristics of others are off-limits when it comes to rhetorical political combat. For instance, the opponents of the Nazi movement during the Weimar Republic period used to refer to Goebbels as “Mickey Mouse” because of his large ears. I have no problem with such rhetoric. If others do, that’s their prerogative, but I simply do not share their conviction. If they wish to disavow or disassociate themselves from me because of it, then I would once again uphold the principle of free association and encourage them to do so.

Also, I should clarify that this war between myself and the anarcho-leftoids long pre-dates my conflict with Aster. I mean, for God’s sake, Aster’s internet postings read like a schizophrenic on an acid trip. Do I really give a damn about such a person? Of course not. The quality and content of my anti-leftoid rhetoric has not changed one bit since I first encountered Aster a couple of years ago. If one takes a look at this old article, and this, this, this, this, and this, one can see what I mean. All of these pieces were written before I ever heard of Aster, and make the same arguments and use similar rhetoric. It is true I had largely avoided such rhetoric in the left-libertarian milieu itself, as there was no need for it, but that changed as Aster and company began to attack me.

Likewise, you have become increasingly dismissive of all who express concerns about racism or fascism–even when they do not endorse thuggish “antifa” tactics–purely out of what seems to be your own increasingly knee-jerk hostility toward the “cultural left.”

I think there’s a point here that can be well-taken, with the qualification that in order to really answer this charge thoroughly I would need some working definition of what “racism and fascism” actually are, given that these terms are typically thrown about so loosely. I do concede that I find professional “anti-racism” hysterics to be a particularly ridiculous lot, and have also frequently been on the receiving end of their attacks, and consequently I have spent an excessive amount of time mocking them.

I recall a scene from the film “Born on the Fourth of July” where Tom Cruise portrays Ron Kovic, a disabled Vietnam vet who becomes a figure in the antiwar movement. In the early part of the film, Kovic is a gung-ho young guy who says he’s going off to fight in the Vietnam War in the name of anti-communism. As he is planning this escapade, a cynical but very sensible friend remarks, “Communists? Where are they? I don’t see them!”

On a more personal level, I get a very strong sense of deja vu whenever this “fascism” question is raised. When I was in the Central America solidarity movement, I used to get a lot of accusations of “communism” thrown in my direction, or else I was accused of being an abettor of “communism.” No matter how much effort I would put into explaining the difference between anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism and Stalinism or Maoism, no matter how much I insisted the issue in Central America was not between “democracy” and “communism” but between imperialism and self-determination, there were always plenty who didn’t want to hear it. I assure everyone, this got to be rather annoying-particularly when it was coming even from Mom!! Now twenty-three years later, the political winds have shifted and most of the serious revolutionaries are on the Right (at least in the U.S.). So I have shifted accordingly. Actually, I haven’t so much shifted as much as I’ve gone from being a “communist” to being a “fascist” simply by remaining in place.

In the advanced industrial democracies where nearly all of us reside, there are no organized “fascist” movements or parties of any significance. The closest thing I know of is the U.S. Republican Party, whose neoconservative ideology seems to share certain traits with fascism, such as jingoistic militarism and nationalism. See here, here and here.  But neoconservatism also has a liberal-universalist dimension to it that would probably make it more compatible with Jacobinism that fascism. Either way, when my critics talk about “fascism,” I don’t think they’re talking about the neocons anyway.

Some might point to an incident like a former member of the Italian Social Movement getting elected mayor of Rome, but this would seem to be about as significant as David Duke getting elected to the Louisiana state legislature some years ago. Italian politics has always had a freakish dimension to it. It had the largest Communist party in Europe in the 70s, and in the 80s the Italians elected a porn star to Parliament. Others might point to something like France’s National Front, but that has black members and a pro-Israel stance, so it’s obviously a long way from what is typically meant by “fascism.” The bottom line is that there’s not going to be a “fascist” mass movement in North America anymore than there’s going to be a Maoist or anarcho-communist mass movement. These ideologies are completely alien to our own society, and regarded as utterly freakish by 99.999% of observers.

As for “racism,” there are few things that have become greater taboos among Western elites than this. In some countries, charges of “racism” will land you in the joint. Even an eminent scientist like Dr. James Watson is not immune from professional retaliation over the issue of “racism.” Nothing destroys a public figure’s career quicker than “racism,” as Don Imus found out. I see no threat of “racism” whatsoever, just as I saw no threat of “communism” when I was in the Central America solidarity movement two decades ago. Indeed, I would argue that in many countries today, so-called “anti-racism” has become a force for obscurantism rather than enlightenment, just as “anti-communism” has played a similarly obscurantist role in the past. On such questions, I would agree with most of the views outlined in Sean Gabb’s book, “Cultural Revolution, Culture War.” Indeed, if one takes Gabb’s analysis and applies it to the United States, one would have the essential views of Keith Preston.

I just can’t see how “racism” is that big of a deal in a society where blacks are thirteen percent of the population, yet where a black man is head of state, and where things like this go on. I’ve spent years around universities and graduate schools, and decades around leftist political groups, so I’m familiar with the arguments concerning “institutional racism” and the major works upholding such themes. I don’t fully discount all such arguments. Likewise, I’ll certainly concede that there are subsets of blacks who aren’t doing so well, whether because of state policies like I’ve written about here, here and here or self-inflicted wounds. Beyond that, I’ve argued for the justifiability of reparations on “forty acres and a mule” grounds, endorsed black secessionist movements, and amnesty for blacks imprisoned for “victimless crimes” and other frivolities. I’ve even characterized the L.A. Riots as a lumpenproletarian class uprising against the police state and capitalism. What else is there?

But while I could respect your willingness to tolerate loathsome people on pragmatic grounds, I can’t remain neutral when you advocate purging the anti-state movement in order to appease those loathsome people. You have “evolved,” if you can call it that, from a willingness to share a tent with racists and homophobes for the sake of defeating Empire as the primary enemy, to promoting an active purge of anti-racists and gays from the anti-Empire movement because the majority of your anti-state coalition might find them offensive. In short, you have “evolved” from tolerating racist and homophobic groups as a means to an end, to withdrawing support from the “cultural left” in order to appease the right wing of your coalition.

Well, the problem is that it’s the “cultural left” faction that’s causing all the ruckus. I rarely, if ever, get these kinds of personal attacks from “the right wing of my coalition,” even among people with whom I have significant differences. The only exceptions are rare nutcases like one fellow whose ideology was some kind of Hitler-Stalin synthesis (“Aryan Communism”). Also, I’ve noticed that it’s the right-wingers who are better at policing their own movements, e.g., not tolerating shitty behavior from favored in-groups while “calling out” everyone else’s real or imaginary offenses, and responding with indignation to every cross word thrown in their direction.

Once again, I’m also being given too much credit in some respects. There is no “anti-Empire” movement in North America beyond scattered individuals and tiny groups. The real anti-Empire movement is in places like Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and, to some degree, Russia. Also, as I indicated, this conflict between me and the “cultural left” is nothing new. It’s been going on as long as I’ve advocated these positions. For instance, the Infoshop.Org crowd has been attacking me for years now, and in the same manner and for the same reasons. Attack the System came under assault from the cultural left, commies and anarcho-leftoids from the moment we first went online eight or nine years ago. Likewise, the overwhelming majority of the “left-libertarian” milieu in which we are swimming at the moment has always rejected my own pan-secessionist, third-positionist outlook. It certainly didn’t start with my “sodomy” essay, nor did it start with my conflicts with Aster and her cohorts.

If my choice is between “self-hating whites, bearded ladies, cock-ringed queers, or persons of one or another surgically altered ‘gender identity’,” and Nazis, Klansmen and white nationalists, I know which side I’ll take.

There are no Nazis in my circle, except occasional gate-crashers on the periphery. To my knowledge, there are no Klansmen. As for white nationalists, that’s a term that’s about as varied as “socialists.” See here and here . Just as not every socialist is a Pol Potian, every white nationalist is not a Nazi.  Raimondo has a current piece critiquing white nationalism. While I would agree with many of Raimondo’s criticisms, I wouldn’t dismiss someone like Jared Taylor quite as quickly, given that Taylor raised questions that ought to at least get a fair hearing, but that no one is allowed to ask.

I do not ask that you revise your original strategic assessment that the threat of Empire justifies a broad secessionist coalition that includes some (in my opinion) very objectionable people on the right. I do not ask that you share my judgment that such objectionable people alienate more potential support than do those on the cultural left. I ask only that you 1) repudiate the flame-war quality of demeaning rhetoric that you have increasingly adopted toward sexual minorities since your breach with Aster,

I will go further than that and cease participation in the “left-libertarian” milieu altogether, on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” with two exceptions. One exception will be for my relationships and associations with those individual left-libertarians who are also part of the pan-secessionist, national-anarchist, anarcho-pluralist, New Right, left-conservative or other movements that I am also associated with. There are more of these than some might think. The other exception will be for the promotion of left-libertarian scholars whose work I respect (such as Kevin).

As for the issue of my prior rhetoric concerning sexual minorities, I suppose I would respond to that in the same way I might respond to someone who criticized me for calling the cops “PIGS” as I consistently do. There are no doubt some cops who are good people just trying to do a job, and hoping they might actually help out some crime victim, accident victim, missing child, etc. in the process. To those cops, I would say: If you’re a cool cop, then don’t take my “pig” rhetoric personally, because it’s not about you. Likewise, with sexual minorities, if you’re a cool Joe/Jane Sixpack gay guy, lesbian, transgendered person, transvestite or whomever, and you just want to be left alone to do your own thing without anyone messing you, then you’re okay with me. Don’t take it personally, because it’s not about you.

and acknowledge that you allowed a personal grudge to goad you into overreaction on that score.

No, it’s about a whole lot more than that. As I said, the battle between me and the “anarcho-leftoids” began years ago, long before I ever heard of Aster. It is certainly true that the battle has intensified within the left-libertarian milieu itself in more recent times, and that Aster’s persistent attacks on me and my counterattacks have been a big part of that.

and 2) repudiate your call for a purge of anti-racists, gays, transgender people and the cultural left in order to appease the majority.

Again, that’s taking me way too seriously. I have no power to “purge” anything except a turd out my own ass. I will “re-phrase” what I originally said. In the context of a revolutionary anti-state, pan-secessionist movement, I have no problem with the participation of individuals who happen to be anti-racists, gays, transgender people or who might think of themselves as “cultural leftists.” For instance, I have no problem with these categories of persons being in a revolutionary guerrilla force, militia, cooperative business enterprise, copwatch or neighborhood watch program, alternative media project, non-state social services project or other such alternative or intermediary institutions. I have no problem with them holding leadership positions, or being “equal” members of secessionist organizations or support organizations, just as I have no problem with Mormons, pot-smokers, punk rockers, snake-handlers, Christian Scientists, vegetarians, or persons with tattoos and piercings being engaged in similar participation. I have no problem with them having separate organizations to promote their own interests or simply for fraternal purposes. In fact, I would encourage them to do so. Nor do I have any problem with individual secession movements within a broader pan-secessionist alliance having an explicitly “cultural left” or “sexual minority” orientation. Nor would I have any problem with a secessionist tendency specifically oriented towards racial/ethnic minorities being part of a pan-secessionist alliance. For instance, the Peoples’ Democratic Uhuru Movement advocated an independent black city-state in the majority black section of St. Petersburg, Florida some years ago. Then as now, I supported them in their ambitions.

I would view sexual minorities in the same manner that I would view other marginal social groups like drug users, prostitutes or polygamists, or fringe religious sects like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Scientologists, or subcultures like Grateful Deadheads, bikers, or heavy metal rockers. I would gladly undertake a lengthy battle with those who wished to engage in the genuine persecution of such groups. In fact, though I started out as a foreign policy radical, it wasn’t until I began to notice the “war on drugs,” and the related police-state and prison-industrial complex, and the police state atrocities at Ruby Ridge and Waco which involved precisely the sort of oppression or marginal religious sects I’m discussing here, that I began to turn my attention to domestic political matters within the United States.

What I do reject is the claim that a revolutionary anti-state, pan-secessionist movement should be built up around such proclivities, or that other people with different value systems should be excluded for not sharing or agreeing with such proclivities. Here’s an illustration: Within the context of the present day secessionist movement in North America, many of the groups involved have something of a “right-wing populist” orientation, such as the League of the South, Christian Exodus, Alaskan Independence Party, and the Republic of Texas. Some of these right-wing secessionists are explicitly Christian, while others are not. Others are oriented towards indigenous peoples of different kinds, such as the Lakota Republic, the Kingdom of Hawaii or the movement for Puerto Rican independence. Some are ideological libertarians, like the Free State Project and United Texas Republic. Others are non-ideological and advocate secession for its own sake, like the movement for Long Island independence. Some seem to be rather centrist (or perhaps “radical middle) in their actual politics, like the proposed New England Confederation. Still others involve people who have their roots on the Left, such as the Second Vermont Republic , Novocadia Independence Party, and Cascadia, and secessionists from the Left often have a very strong green-decentralist-ecologist-bioregionalist orientation. The North Star Republic, which is based in Illinois, is self-described as “Marxist-Leninist.”

Now, in my view, this is precisely what a pan-secessionist movement would and should look like. It makes perfect sense that secessionists in “conservative” regions would generally hold conservative values, and secessionists in “liberal” regions would generally hold liberal values and so forth. However, as we might expect, “left-wing” secessionists like the Second Vermont Republic have been attacked by various forces of liberal-totalitarianism, such as the $outhern Poverty Law Center, for being part of an alliance that also includes factions from the Right. I think Kirkpatrick Sale’s answer to these critics has been both cogent and correct:

Concern has arisen in some quarters in recent weeks regarding secessionist organizations that express values—or are charged with expressing values—that others do not like, and questions have been raised about alliances with such groups. The Middlebury Institute would like to establish a basic response to such concerns and questions.

First, the secessionist movement is made up of organizations of many different kinds that are alike in their advocacy of secession—of secession in general and of secession of their particular part of the planet. That is what makes them colleagues and allies—because in this difficult task of making secession and separatism a legitimate political goal they stand shoulder to shoulder with each other.

Second, it is not up to any organization in the movement (or its friends) to judge the attitudes, philosophies, or beliefs of others. While one would hope to have those compatible with one’s own, it must be understood that different people in different places will have different ideas, desires, goals, and strategies—that, after all, is the whole point of secession. A group is for secession precisely because it does not want to be part of a larger entity whose beliefs and actions it does not like, and wishes to live free on its own terms.

Third, the kind of people who insist on telling others how to live and think so as to have one unanimous right-minded uniformity are dangerous people and precisely the kind that establish national governments and pass laws applicable to entire populations. Fascism is one obvious and ugly form of this, but mass industrial democracy is a similar, if often more benign, form. And it is exactly this that secession and separatism are opposed to.

Fourth, as to the League of the South, it is demonstrable that as an organization it is not racist and would not establish a racist state if they were successful in secession. The Middlebury Institute has offered to be a co-sponsor with the LOS of the next Secessionist Convention this year squarely because it believes it to be an honorable and legitimate—and non-racist—organization sincerely and intelligently devoted to peaceful secession  from the empire.

We accept the fact that there may be people in the LOS who have expressed intemperate and intolerant opinions—but of what group, we ask, could that not be said? (And the scare-mongering charges along these lines by the Southern Poverty Law Center have much more to do with its desire to squeeze money out of people made to be afraid of hobgoblins than by any genuine exposure of misbehavior.] Moreover, even if there are, as individuals, LOS people we could from our point of view deem racist, that would matter not one whit as to whether they were legitimate colleagues in the secessionist movement. It is irrelevant.

People turn to secession because they want their own form of government, on their own terms, and hope to create a state that will live out their beliefs, principles, ideals. It is no more justifiable for one organization to question or criticize or castigate those goals if they work toward a Christian-directed government that outlaws abortion and adultery than if they work for a secular democracy favoring gun-control and same-sex marriages. The beauty of secession is that it looks toward having a world where those and many other kinds of states can exist, free and independent, and not impose its ideas on others or have others’ ideas imposed on it.

Ultimately we in the secessionist movement stand divided, but we stand together. We believe in secession, each of us, and though the ends we work for may be different—and what a thriving, vibrant, multi-variant world that would bring us to—the means we use unites us all.

What Sale is saying here is simple: The purpose of the pan-secessionist movement is to promote pan-secessionism, not to promote any one faction’s cultural particularities, ideological specifics or lifestyle interests, and certainly not to allow outsiders who oppose or are indifferent to secessionism in the first place to dictate who may or may not join a pan-secessionist movement or to dictate what sort of political or cultural values they must hold. Ditto.

Some Predictions

I envision the future political struggle in the United States as something that will constitute an intra-Left struggle that essentially pits whiteys against whiteys, rather than a racial struggle or a Left vs Right struggle. Most of the political groups that now constitute the Right represent cultural, generational or demographic factions that are in decline. I’ve discussed that a bit here. I see two lefts emerging. One of these will be an establishment Left oriented towards political correctness, therapeutism, multiculturalism, what I have called “totalitarian humanism,” globalism and corporate social democracy. In other words, the present-day center-left coalition that is currently seizing the reins of power and consolidating its position. The other will be a kind of revolutionary left that transcends current left/right boundaries. This will happen for a number of reasons:

1) Over the next few decades the inherent problems associated with mass immigration will become painfully obvious. Consequently, the new revolutionary left will take a more skeptical view of multiculturalism.

2) As political correctness becomes more deeply entrenched in institutions, it will be ever more bold about showing its fangs. Hence, many people will get a wake-up call.

3) The present day left-wing coalition of traditional outgroups will splinter. This will happen for several reasons: a-growing class divisions that transcend such boundaries, b-ideological differences among the left (multicultural vs universalism), c-the incompatibility of some of the left’s constituent groups (socially conservative blacks and homosexuals, for instance),d-the decline of the traditional Right as a common enemy and unifying force for the center-left, e-the economic bankruptcy of state-socialism

4) A decisive factor will be the increased opposition to Zionism, the Israel Lobby, AIPAC, however one wishes to term it in the years ahead. The cat is out of the bag on this issue, and there is nothing that is currently more divisive among the Left than the Israel question. Recent anti-Zionist demonstrations I have observed have featured leftists, nationalists, anarchists, national-anarchists, Communists, anti-Zionist Jews, anti-Semites, libertarians, gays, transgendereds, minorities, racists, feminists, male chauvinist pigs, Greens and Muslims under the same political banners. I suspect such a “third position” left is the future of the Left, as left-liberalism becomes ever more status quo. Indeed, I suspect the PC Left will become with increasing frequency the enforcement arm of PC statism. These “anti-racist” and “antifa” hoodlums, for instance, maybe even some reading this right now, may well be the secret police of the future.

As for the relevance of all this to my wider pan-secessionist, anarcho-pluralist outlook, see here, here, here, and here.  In American political conflagrations of the past, the various out-groups of the era tended to end up on both sides of the fence. For instance, there were blacks and Indians on both sides on the American Revolution, Indians, Germans, Jews and Irish on both sides of the Civil war, even a few black Confederates. There were blacks, civil rights liberals and segregationists in the New Deal coalition. I suspect a pan-secessionist movement, for instance, a movement where, say 30 states and 50 major cities attempt to leave the U.S., would include gays, transgendereds, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, etc. on both sides of the fence, but for the most part it would be a white vs white conflict.

The Question of Empathy

As a final word, I will note that some have criticized my alleged “lack of empathy.” While I in no sense consider myself to be a liberal-humanist-humanitarian, I have been involved in the past in a good number of efforts on behalf of the genuinely downtrodden. In fact, I suspect some would be shocked by some of the activities of bad old Nazi/fascist/racist/bigoted/terrorist  Keith Preston in this regard. However, I prefer to keep such things separate from my wider political agenda (as it’s mostly irrelevant). There also reasons of prudence why such things should not be broadcast too loudly. Lastly, perhaps the one aspect of my Christian upbringing that I retained was the view that actions of piety or virtue are best done in secret rather than in the public square.

Updated News Digest May 24, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“The exception is more interesting than the rule. The rule proves nothing; the exception proves everything: It confirms not only the rule but also its existence, which derives only from the exception. In the exception the power of real life breaks through the crust of a mechanism that has become torpid by repetition.”

                                                                                                   -Carl Schmitt

“The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.”

                                                                                                  -George Bernard Shaw

Barack Obama: From Antiwar Law Professor to Warmonger in 100 Days by Alexander Cockburn

The Humanitarian Face of the State, With Fangs by Lew Rockwell

Why Liberals Love Obama by Justin Raimondo

The Limits of Race by Paul Gottfried

Beheading on a Bus: Why Do Psychiatrists Excuse a Killer? by Thomas Szasz

To Serve and Protect (Themselves) by Thomas Knapp

Gangsters in Blue by Kevin Carson

Tracking the Fall of Empire Chalmers Johnson interviewed by Scott Horton

American Death Squad by Justin Raimondo

Challenging the Lobby by Murray Polner

Obama Steers Toward Endless War with Islam by Michael Scheuer

Secession is in the Water by Tom Wrobleski

Picking on AIPAC? by Philip Giraldi

Vermont Patriots: Alternative to Empire by Thomas N. Naylor

Torture and Empire by Stephen Walt

The Unlikely Survivalist by Susan Carpenter

Why I Became a Wobbly by Mike Ballard

Arrogant and Ignorant: U.S. Aggression Against Pakistan and Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

Secession and Nullification Are All Around You by Patroon

Own It by Ilana Mercer

British Surveillance State Attacked-with Axes!! by Ben Leach

Richard Neuhaus: The Failures of a “Public Intellectual” by David Gordon

Torture: The Plot Sickens by Alan Bock

Unexceptional Americans: Why We Can’t See the Forest or the Trees by Noam Chomksy

Bipartisan Disaster by Jack Hunter

The Toll Booth Economy by Michael Hudson

Bibi’s Next War by Pat Buchanan

Work is Hell by Michael D. Yates

Whiteout by Jared Taylor

Meet the Climate Change Lobby by Marianne Lavelle

Opening the Conservative Mind by Paul Gottfried

Gitmo: A Prison Built on Lies by Andy Worthington

White Pride is Uncool by Steve Sailer

Zero Tolerance in the Workplace by David Macaray

The Limits of Bacevich by Richard Spencer

Oil and the American Nightmare by Grant Havers

Bacevich, Consumption, and Empire by Dylan Hales

War and Torture by Robert Rodriquez

Throw the Bums Out by Taki Theodoracopulos

Josef K: Citizen of the USA by Ray Mangum

Police Violence: How Many Kicks to the Head Does It Take? by Ben Rosenfeld

Thoughtcrime and Doublethink in England by Ray Mangum

 Brazil’s Black Market Economy More Than One Quarter of GDP

Economic Advice to My Children (And You)  Jim Rogers interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Biden and the Balkans Nebojsa Malic interviewed by Scott Horton

Armed Citizens Are Free Citizens by Karen De Coster

 The Decline and Fall of the Globalist Empire by Joe Schembrie

Obama, Accessory After the Fact by Glenn Greenwald

We Are the “Enemy of the State” by Mike Gaddy

The Coercive Education Industry by Myron Weber

How the Tamil Tigers Were Beaten

When a Cop is Charged with Assault by William Norman Grigg

Former South African Deputy President Pisses Off Gays

Supporting Police Abuse by Bill Anderson

Texas Builds Border Wall to Keep Out Unwanted Americans 

Woman Handcuffed for Not Holding Escalator Handrail by Karen De Coster

Jesse Ventura on the Lying Torturing U.S. Government 

Economists and the Zimbabwe Solution by Bill Anderson

Same Old Boss, But Talks Pretty from Social Memory Complex

The State is Still the Main Evil from Free Association

Did Bibi Box Obama In? by Pat Buchanan

Remember the Victims of the Therapeutic State from Free Association

Watching Obama Morph Into Dick Cheney by Paul Craig Roberts

Neocons Happy with Obama from Free Association

Race Difference, Immigration, and the Twilight of the European Peoples by Richard Lynn

Just Say No to Government by Jack Hunter

Workers Shut Down Wal-Mart Warehouse from Dead End

10th Division by Ilana Mercer

Ron Paul is Under Lindsey Graham’s Skin by Patroon

White Like Us by Richard Spencer

Women and Immigration  by TGGP

Is Waterboarding Torture? by Jack Hunter

Russia Rejects the U.S. Dollar 

Thoughts on White Nationalism by Dylan Hales

Radicals Battle PIGS in Greece

Celebrity Worship   by Taki Theodoracopulos

Kudos to Clinton and Canada by TGGP

An Empire of Desire by Mark Hackard

Weimar Hyperinflation: Could It Happen Again? by Ellen Brown

Obama’s Animal Farm by James Petras

Barack Obama and Black Power by Malik Zulu Shabazz

The New Bubble is the Biggest Ever by Gerald Celente

The Successor to the Dollar by Jim Rogers

Modern Survivalism  by Jack Spirko

Blowing Smoke on Gitmo by Ivan Eland

A New Libertarian Classic by Jeffrey Tucker

The Virtues of Gorbachevism by Eduoard Husson

An Introduction to Revisionism by Jeff Riggenback interviewed by Scott Horton

Cheney: Support for Israel Feeds Terrorism by Ray McGovern

The Empire is Bankrupting America by Jacob Hornberger

War President: They’re All War Presidents by Glenn Greenwald

Facts and Myths About Obama’s Preventive Detention Proposal by Glenn Greenwald

Choose the Right Gun by Charley Reese

How Long Does It Take? by Alexander Cockburn

The Morality of Torture by Laurence Vance

Obama, Torture and John Walker Lindh by Michael Teitelman

No More Commie or Fascist Highways by Walter Block

King Abdullah’s 57-State Solution by Rannie Amiri

Bartering is Booming by Kevin Simpson

Obama to Honor Confederate Dead by Lew Rockwell

PIG Assaults and Maims Innocent Man  

PIG Causes Deadly Crash While Driving 109 Miles an Hour

Making Secession Into a Mass Movement Reply

Recently, ATS/ARV associate Jeremy Weiland put forth some questions that are well worth considering. Here goes:

– Is opposition to the state something that can genuinely serve as a rallying point for broad-based revolutionary change? What kind of language would this need to be articulated in?

“Anti-statism” in the more abstract sense that libertarians and anarchist theoreticians conceive of it is not something that can be a “rallying point” for the average person. Most people are not ideological or philosophical by nature. Most people do not have the aversion to authority that is implicit in libertarian ideologies. No movement calling itself “anarchist” is ever going to be a mass movement, nor will the dogmatic libertarianism of the anarcho-capitalists. Simply trying to convert “the masses” to anti-statism of the kind that, for instance, Tolstoy or Alexander Berkman or Rothbard preached will be no more successful that an attempt to convert them to Scientology. However, a rebellion against a state that has lost its perceived legitimacy is far more probable, and has many precedents throughout all sorts of cultures. The particular rhetoric employed should be strongly rooted in the cultural, political and historical traditions of the particular society in question. Therefore, for the U.S., the rhetoric of secession, self-determination, “sic semper tyrannis,” and appeals to the legacy of 1776  are appropriate because it resonates well with the political education of the ordinary person. These things seems familiar, while exotic ideologies simply seem weird. Of course, that doesn’t mean that leaders, activists, organizers, intellectuals, writers or particular groups cannot be influenced or motivated by such ideologies.

– What would a single issue, cross-ideological coalition look like, and what would keep disparate parties united in action? I’ve seen arguments on either side about this matter, but it seems we’re merely speculating.

I agree that at this point in the game it’s merely a matter of speculation. However, I do not think it would be different from similar coalitions that have existed in the past. For instance, the movement to oppose the extension of slavery into the western territories of the pre-Civil War period included racists and nativists who opposed slavery because they did not want the black population to expand westward, and it also included abolitionists who wanted to see an end to slavery for it’s own sake, and believed that containing it in the South would bring its eventual demise. The New Deal coalition included Northern blacks and civil rights activists, and Southern segregationists. These kinds of political coalitions of seemingly opposite groups are not as uncommon as many seem to think. Because the center-left is likely to be dominant for the forseeable future, the question is what kind of political re-alignment would need to take place in order to effectively challenge the hegemony of the center-left? My guess is that it would not be any kind of “conservatism” as presently understood, though it could include issue-oriented factions that are currently part of the official “conservative” milieu. Most probably, the future of radicalism is with some kind of anti-liberal left. For instance, something like Norman Mailer’s “left-conservatism,” which is in many ways polar opposite from conventional “conservatism.”

– Similarly, is it possible to promote a program for political change that is motivated by radically different political / ethical / philosophical constructions and analyses? Can we agree on the means and not the ends, or do we have to be agreed on both, or maybe just the latter?

Thus far in the secessionist movement, there are everything from socially conservative Christians to left-wing environmentalists, and some of the latter have anarchist backgrounds. So the seed is already being planted.

– What is the relationship between political belief and identity, and how does coalition deal with this effectively? Seems like a lot of the talk in the thread centers around whom one “rejects” or “is happy to work with”. Well, what does that mean, and to what extent does either affect our sense of what “side” we’re on, and therefore what the constellation of possible coalitions actually is?

Those who spend so much time discussing whom they “reject” tend to be ideologues who wish to maintain a level of purity and enforce a set of cultural values in a such a way that simply doesn’t work when it comes to practical politics. American politics operates on the basis of shifting coalitions of divergent political interest groups, which is why you find everything from the Log Cabin Republicans to the disciples of Rev. Pat Robertson among the Republicans, and everything from the traditional labor unionists and the gay lobby among the Democrats. Many of my harshest critics in the “anarchist” and “left-libertarian” milieus are not really the kinds of folks I would envision as being leaders or constituents for a pan-secessionist movement, anyway. The reason I participate in those forums is not to convert them en masse, but to reach those isolated individuals who may be sympathetic to what I’m saying, because it is an individual of that type that might very well play a leadership role at some future point.

How do we evaluate progress towards the goal of decentralizing power? This to me is a crucial problem: the coalition must be useful to these different interests. How much of this anarcho-pluralist idea depends on actual subsidiarity vs. the symbolic dissolutions of the state and other centralized institutions as such? The former seems much more fundamental but more slippery; the latter serves as a definite milepost, but could be superficial as well.

Well, how do we evaluate the success of the expulsion of the forces of King George III during the American Revolution? How do we evaluate the success of the attempted secession of 1861? For any one faction to remain in a political coalition, the faction’s leadership and members must believe they have more to gain by staying put than by leaving. At the same time, it is the nature of coalitions that some factions are more successful at achieving their objectives within the context of the coalition than others. Among Democrats, pro-NAFTA neoliberal business interests were successful than anti-NAFTA union interests. Among Republicans, neocons have been more successful than traditionalist conservatives and right-libertarians.

For example, let’s say that the panarchist lobby achieves a significant amount of local autonomy for communities in America. How would this be regarded if it did not involve the formal dissolution of the U.S.?

The end result could either be that the U.S. is broken up entirely (like the Soviet Union) or the U.S. could remain in some kind of defanged, confederated form (like the Article of Confederation). I suppose how well this would be regarded would depend on one’s perspective. Hard-core anarcho-capitalists and “purist” anarchists of other kinds would probably say this is still too much government. Perhaps these could take things further still in their own local areas.

How would we be able to TELL that the decentralization meets the coalition’s requirements? Or would we require a formal renunciation of central authority to validate our mission? I see a great deal of possible confusion occurring because preserving but weakening the central state could serve some coalition interests and not others. I go back and forth on how important it is to smash the state vs. rendering it irrelevant.

Again, the devolution of power could take on a radical decentralist flavor within the context of the wider U.S. as a nation-state (the Bill Kaufmann/Norman Mailer vision) or involve dissolution into independent political units (the Kirkpatrick Sale/League of the South vision). Within the present secessionist movement, there are proponents of both perspectives: for instance, the differences between the Second Vermont Republic and the Free State Project, as the latter does not advocate formal secession.

It seems to me like the more diverse the cross-ideological coalition, the fuzzier the end goal is. What does it mean for a particular ideological / ethnic / lifestyle group to have sufficient autonomy, and are there any attendant formalities to achieving that condition? Otherwise, how do all parties determine their particularist interests are being met by the general mission?

I suppose each party would have its own standards as to how it judges it success as a coalition member. I don’t think there can be any generally agreed upon guidelines for that. The same is true of the various members of the Democratic and Republican coalitions. How does the NRA evaluate its success as a member of the GOP coalition? How does the NAACP regard its success within the Democratic Party?

There’s another problem of achieving the big sort on terms that make sense to the anarcho-pluralist project. How quickly could an even “bigger sort” occur, and how would we handle the quite likely situation where breaking up national state power does not coincide with the self-segregation of different political tendencies into distinct, homogeneous communities?

Well, if another “big sort” occurs, there can be another round of secession or division. It’s very likely the breakup of the central regime will lead to both some communities being organized along ideologically distinctive lines (like the Free State Project or Christian Exodus) while anothers may be the ideologically mixed administrative systems that we have now.

Decentralizing power right now with the current demographics would very likely just yield hundreds of little status quo Americas over the short and medium term.

So what? The purpose of decentralization is to create a marketplace of governments and communities that collectively acts as a constraint on what any one tyrant or political interest group can impose. What you’ve described here would also be the de facto end of the empire.

How do we build popular support for a position that, essentially, breaks up existing communities filled with the non-ideologically motivated population? If I don’t give a shit about decentralizing power, I don’t see why I’d be interested in picking up and moving just because some dick comes to power in my community.

My guess is that a pan-secessionist movement would be a coalition of regional and local movements representing the prevaling cultural and ideological currents in their respective regions and communities. Secessionism in large cities might have an African-American orientation. In Oregon or Vermont it might be green-oriented. Secession movements in the South, Texas or the Western states might have a more conservative/libertarian/populist approach. It could vary even more at the local level. For instance, I think a secession movement in Texas that had a generally conservative outlook would need to strengthen its positions by providing assurances that it would not rule tyrannically over liberal enclaves in places like Austin. This is one of the reasons why I think something like “states’ rights” by itself is not enough. Something like a Swiss cantonal system would be a means to autonomy for dissident communities within a seceded area. An even more serious problem would be something where multiple factions claim the same territory: for example, Aztlan Nation and the Republic of Texas both claim Texas, and the League of the South and some of the “new Afrika” groups claim the South. Christian Exodus has its sites on South Carolina, but I’ve also seen articles by gays in South Carolina who are sympathetic to secession. So a regional confederal system, perhaps one that is polycentric in nature, may be necessary in order to handle such differences.

With regards to the first question I asked, “How do we define success”, there’s a different way of asking it that may be more useful: has there ever been a successful revolutionary / secessionist movement that only articulated a negative platform? Is merely being against the state enough, or do we also need to unite around being “for” something as well? In other words, is there historical evidence for the kind of ideologically-neutral anti-statism you’re proposing, or is there perhaps a need to articulate a positive agenda?

I think there needs to be a few overarching principles that serve as points of unity, like the legitimacy of secession, the legitimacy of decentralism or separatism as means of handling severe cultural and ideological differences, or recognition that the empire is a failure and that communities of scale are more beneficient. The thing to do is to promote and work to popularize these ideas in the wider political culture, just like proponents of gay rights, pro-life, gun control, gun rights, etc. do all the time. Beyond that, I would say that individual regional, local or private forces in a wider pan-secessionist movement could have whatever internal beliefs or practices they wished. As far as actual examples of revolutions with anti-statism as a primary item in the platform, there are a couple that have come close, like the American Revolution and the Anarchist uprising in Catalonia. I don’t think the idea of pan-secessionism is purely negative in content. It includes the positives of “self-determination” of distinctive cultures, regions, and communties; independence of subjugated populations from an oppressive overarching state, human scale institutions that maximize accountability to those whom they are supposed to serve; achievement of political peace among otherwise hostile ideological or cultural groups; and the proliferation of many different kinds of communities that allow an individual greater freedom of choice in terms of associations and lifestyles. A realistic pan-secessionist movement would likely have a number of other generally shared secondary ideas as a complement to the primary ideas. For instance, if pan-secessionism were rooted heavily in the lower classes and the less formally educated, then an economic outlook combining a variety of libertarian and populist themes would likely be present, as well as a social or cultural outlook that is generally disinterested in so-called “political correctness,” as the latter is generally the ideology of the left-wing of the educated, upper-middle class.

Of course, you do enounter the issue of groups that will not join a coalition that also includes other groups that they strongly disagree with. But these kinds of groups will necessarily have to fall by the wayside. The way to compensate for this is to focus on where we can get the greatest numbers. That’s why I’ve advocated synthesizing secessionism with populism and an emphasis on certain socio-economic classes, demographic and political groups. Generally speaking, I suspect a movement of this type that grew large enough to achieve something approaching actual success would include more lower class people than upper class, more lower educated than academic elites, more young than old. Also, while “right-wing populist” currents would likely be present in such a movement, I’m not yet convinced they would be the dominant current. Much of the populist right represents forces that are in decline and losing ground politically. I think the more relevant question for the future would be: If the center-left is likely to be the dominant ideological paradigm for some time to come, what would the opposition to the center-left from a more radical left look like? Some evidence indicates that the prevailing currents might well originate from what might be called the “independent” Left or even ethno-nationalist elements among the racial minority groups, given that research has shown that there is actually more support for genuinely radical ideas like secession among self-identified “liberals” and racial minorities. With regards to the former, I would say the real source of class conflict in modern American society is between the lumpenproletariat and the New Class. With regards to the racial minorities, I am no way suggesting that we regurgitate the “anti-racism” hysteria of the Left. I am simply saying that a future pan-secessionist political/military alliance might include secessionist movements of an African-American or Hispanic nature as core players. I am not making any PC suggestions here. I’m just recognizing that racial minority secessionists might be part of a pan-secessionist coalition in the same manner as particular nations in a military alliance. The emerging “alternative Right” might also grow into a “true left” (i.e., radical, revolutionary) opposition force at some point in the future. There is also the need for such a movement to identify those groups most under attack by the state, and with the least to loose by rejecting the state, or who lack political representation within the state, and cultivate these as constituents for a wider movement. This is what I tried to do in essays like this one.

Essentially, I see the dominance of center-left liberalism being eventually challenged by a political re-alignment that draws from the populist right, radical middle, independent left, minority nationalists, lumpenproletarian class, urban underclass, rural neo-peasantry, petite bourgeoisie, de class elements and eco-radicals. These groups would then break down into different issue-oriented groups, cultural factions and so forth. I suspect their will also be some big splits among the Left’s constituent groups in the future: genuine eco-radicals vs liberal enviros, elite vs lumpen racial minorities, upper middle class feminists vs poor and working women, etc. For instance, I recall seeing an exit poll after the Bush-Kerry election in 2004 that indicated that twenty-five percent of self-identified homosexuals actually voted for Bush. As the economy worsens and class divisions continue to widen, and as the police state continues to tighten its grip, I suspect there will be plenty of homos, lesbos, trannies, et.al who will put their own material and political survival first. For instance, I’ve seen occurrences of anti-Zionist demonstrations including Muslims and anti-Zionist Jews, left-anarchists and national-anarchists, homos/trannies and Communists, as part of the same demo, and I suspect there will be more of that in the future. So it’s not like the Left’s favored “oppressed” groups all have the same interests or politics. Collectively, all of these things might comprise constituent groups for a pan-secessionist movement that evolves into a mass secession movement like the secession of the colonies in 1776 or the attempted secession of the Confederacy in 1861

On the other side, would be neocons, jingoists, American nation-state -based nationalists, imperialists, globalists, liberal internationalists, neoliberals, totalitarian humanists, cultural Marxists, multiculturalists, elite members of traditional outgroups, the political class, the state-capitalist economic elite, the New Class, war and police state profiteers, Zionists, and others with a stake in maintaining the status quo.

Is Extremism in the Defense of Sodomy No Vice? 21

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

-Barry Goldwater

“With respect to libertarian eccentricity, the dream of an absolute private freedom is one of those visions that issue from between the gates of ivory; and the disorder that they would thrust upon society already is displayed in the moral disorder of their private affairs. Some present here will recall the article on libertarianism in National Review, a few years ago, by that mordant psychologist and sociologist Dr. Ernest van den Haag, who remarked that an unusually high proportion of professed libertarians are homosexuals. In politics as in private life, they demand what nature cannot afford.”

-Russell Kirk

“Perhaps it hasn’t occurred to you, but human history is not entirely summarized by the bold struggle for the “right” to poke your veiny ding-dong through disco-bathroom glory holes. Not every act is political. Some are just silly and ugly and stinky.”

-Jim Goad

For all of my adult life, I have been fascinated by the ideas of classical anarchism, classical liberalism and modern libertarianism, including the works of Jefferson, Paine, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rothbard, Hess, Szasz, Chomsky, Bookchin, and other such thinkers. For roughly the same amount of time, I have never failed to be completely underwhelmed by most of what I have found in organized anarchist, liberal or libertarian circles.

I became a radical roughly twenty-three years ago, after having been awakened to the nature of U.S. war crimes and state-sponsored genocide in places like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia and elsewhere. Early on, I noticed most of the other people in the anti-imperialist movement were Communists, left-wing Christians, and pro-state liberals. Maybe it was because I grew up among Birchers, Falwellites, Wallaceites, and Reaganites, but I never cared much for the Big Brother statism of the Left on domestic issues, however much I might have agreed on foreign policy. So, to make a long story short, I became an anarchist.

From the time that I first encountered the organized anarchist movement, I was a bit puzzled by the overwhelming obsession with “racism” to be found in those circles. It might have made sense if anarchists were predominantly blacks or Hispanics or Asians, but, then as now, probably ninety-eight percent of anarchists were white, at least in North America. I personally helped found two separate anarchist student groups at one point. How many “people of color” did we ever attract? I recall two. One was a young black woman with an upper middle class background whose father was a colonel in the U.S. military. Another was an immigrant from Sri Lanka from the northern Virginia suburbs. For several years, I was the local representative of the anarcho-syndicalist labor union Industrial Workers of the World. I attended several national events of the IWW. How many non-whites did I ever meet? I recall one, a black middle class schoolteacher from Brooklyn. I was on the national committee of the U.S. section of the International Workers Association (which also includes the CNT of Spanish Civil War fame). How many non-whites did I ever meet? Two, both of them Cuban exiles. I was at the founding conference of the old “Love and Rage” anarcho-communist faction. How many people of color? Two blacks, an Caribbean immigrant and a gay ex-Trotskyist who had recently converted to anarchism. I attended two separate continental anarchist gatherings in the late 1980s, both of them attended by several thousand people, mostly countercultural youth, but very few non-whites. This pattern has continued ever since.

While organized left-anarchism (and its “free market” variation of “left-libertarianism”) might have a grossly disproportionately low number of racial minorities, one thing that also becomes immediately apparent in such circles in the grossly disproportionately high number of “sexual minorities,” e.g., gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendereds, transvestites, transsexuals, and butch-women, along with the occasional hetero female feminist.  And this is the likely explanation for the rather pronounced hostility to myself found in many left-anarchist and left-libertarian circles.

The ironic thing is that those who attack me the most fervently are those whom I agree with most of the time. I’ve taken Theodore Adorno’s “F Scale” test and come up with the rating of “liberal airhead.” I’ve taken this “political compass” test and come up as a “left libertarian.” So if my critics are to be believed, I’m a liberal airhead-left libertarian-neo fascist. Oh, well, so be it.

I admit that I am often baffled though amused by the rantings of my political enemies. I have tried to figure out where the “fascist” label assigned to me originates from. Am I an advocate of totalitarian government? No, I am a loud critic of the state. Am I an advocate of a Mussolini-like corporatist economy? No, I’m the author of a prize-winning essay attacking such things. Am I an apologist for imperialist war? No, I am an outspoken opponent of the U.S. empire. Do I favor a police state? No, my published writings are filled with denunciations of the state, the law, the cops, the prison system, the war on drugs, and victimless crime laws, even to the point of advocating virtual insurrection against such things. Do I support jingoistic nationalism? No, I’m right alongside Noam Chomsky in my “anti-American” sentiments.

Am I an apologist for Hitlerism or Nazism? No, I’ve attacked Nazism repeatedly. Do I promote theocratic fundamentalist Christianity? No, I am an atheist. Am I a social conservative? No, I support legalized abortion, euthanasia, drug decriminalization, abolition of laws prohibiting consensual adult sex, and repealing vice laws.  Do I lack concern for the oppressed, disadvantaged or downtrodden? No, I’ve written, spoken and even appeared on television upholding the rights of the homeless, the disabled, the sick and diseased, runaway teenagers, students, prisoners, psychiatric inmates, prostitutes, drug addicts, and others whom many people don’t give two shits about. I have written repeatedly in favor of forming non-state defense organizations for these kinds of marginal populations. I favor abolition of compulsory school attendance laws. I am opposed to the drinking age. I am opposed to state-licensed or state-regulated marriage. Am I some sort of reactionary “family values” conservative, moral traditionalist? No, for years I worked for a Greek family that owned a collection of strips joints and all-night bars and many of my female friends are strippers, hookers, lesbians and biker chicks. For all of my life since about age sixteen, I’ve been associated with marginal subcultures: one percenter motorcycle clubs, hippies, anarchists, rock ‘n’ rollers, gutter punks, ex-cons. I am for the abolition of the prison system. I am opposed to capital punishment. I would put more restrictions on the power of the police than ACLU would. I am opposed to statutory rape laws. I am for upholding the right of unconventional religions to practice unmolested by the state, for instance, Mormon sects that practice polygamy or sequestered cults whose members can be subjected to abduction and forcible “deprogramming” by others. I am for the right to practice alternative medicine. I’m even skeptical of laws requiring driver’s licenses. Unlike the left-wing “civil libertarians” who think the proper response to the police state is to file lawsuits, I am for forming civilian militias for the purpose of chasing the PIGS away. Hell, I’ve even defended street gangs on the basis of freedom of association and more broadly as a form of class-based insurgency. Indeed, my views on most social issues are well to the left of the Democratic Party, often to the left of the Green Party.

Am I an anti-Semite? I’m very critical of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and I generally agree with the analysis of this question advanced by Mearsheimer and Walt and by James Petras. I generally think that American Jews who favor Israel’s interests over keeping the U.S. out of foreign wars should simply put their money where their mouth is and go live in Israel, take their right-wing Christian Zionist cohorts with them and leave the rest of us alone. I suppose some would say this makes me an anti-Semite. Certainly Norman Podhoretz would think so. However, probably fifty percent of my primary intellectual influences have been Jews. These include Thomas Szasz, Noam Chomsky, Murray Rothbard, Murray Bookchin, Milton Friedman, David Friedman, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Sam Dolgoff, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Friedrich von Hayek, Paul Goodman, Hannah Arendt, Arthur Koestler, Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, Paul Gottfried, and Norman Mailer. So there would seem to be some problems with the “anti-Semite” label. With regards to Israel, do I care that Israel exists? Of course not, just as I do not mind that China or Japan exist, though I am quite strongly in favor of Palestinian independence, just as I am in favor of independence for the Tibetans. What I do oppose is the hijacking of American foreign policy by the Israel Lobby. I think the arguments of those who claim that severance of the U.S.-Israel relationship would result in genocide of the Israelis at the hands of the Arabs are absurd. If anyone in the Middle East is likely to be genocide victims, it is the Palestinians. But assuming such an argument has merit, I’d say, okay, fine, then we can simply establish a West Israel in one of the New York City boroughs, or in West Palm Beach, or in Hollywood and be done with it.

Am opposed to black people? Like most white Americans, I’m mostly indifferent to blacks. I live in a majority black city, with a black dominated municipal government, and I’ve done so for twenty-two years. I guess if I thought blacks were that awful, I would have relocated to whiter pastures by now. I’ve had plenty of blacks among my co-workers, fellow students, business associates, and neighbors. I even had a couple of black roommates when I was in my twenties. I can’t say that on average I’ve regarded them any higher or any lower than my white associates in the same situations. Hell, of all the women I’ve had, I’d say about a third of them were something other than white (Indian, Asian, black, Hispanic, American Indian, Arabic-the whole fucking Crayola box). Fuck, one of my grandmothers is Cherokee, for god’s sake. So there would seem to be some problems with the “racist” label being applied to myself as well. Politically, I have advocated reparations to blacks for the purpose of economic development of politically sovereign black homelands in North America, the creation of independent black municipalities in sections of large cities and metro areas where blacks are dominant, and legal amnesty for most black prisoners (and most other prisoners, for that matter). These are essentially the same positions as the Nation of Islam, Republic of New Afrika, and the People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement. What I do oppose are efforts to abridge freedom of association, micromanage race relations by the state, or create a new racial caste system based victimological ideology in the name of compulsory integrationism.

A favorite cause of many contemporary left-anarchists and left-libertarians is pro-immigration. Virtually every website, zine, or blog of this type is littered with pro-immigration propaganda. I happen to think this is an issue reasonable and honest anti-statists can disagree on, as it involves population transfers among states, and it is states that create the conditions under which population migration occurs. The reasonable pro-immigration position might be something like that articulated by Craig Biddle:

“Open immigration does not mean that anyone may enter the country at any location or in any manner he chooses; it is not unchecked or unmonitored immigration. Nor does it mean that anyone who immigrates to America should be eligible for U.S. citizenship—the proper requirements of which are a separate matter. Open immigration means that anyone is free to enter and reside in America—providing that he enters at a designated checkpoint and passes an objective screening process, the purpose of which is to keep out criminals, enemies of America, and people with certain kinds of contagious diseases. Such a policy is not only politically right; it is morally right.”

Indeed, Rasmussen research has shown some interesting results concerning immigration:

Sixty-six percent (66%) of likely voters nationwide say it is Very Important for the government to improve its enforcement of the borders and reduce illegal immigration. However, the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 32% of America’s Political Class agrees.

An even more dramatic gap appears on the question of legalizing the status of those immigrants now in the country illegally. Voters nationwide are evenly divided on the question of whether it is even somewhat important: 48% say it’s important, and 45% say it’s not.

However, among the Political Class, 74% say legalizing the status of these residents is important, and only 17% disagree.

So it seems that we have the interesting spectacle of anarchists aligning themselves with the political class against “the people” when it comes to immigration. It is not that “the people” are overcome with xenophobia and racist “hate.” As the Rasmussen study points out:

One major misunderstanding has clouded the debate over immigration. Most pundits assume that those angry about the issue are angry at the immigrants. In fact, data shows that the anger is directed primarily at the federal government. Rather than being angry at immigrants, 56% continue to favor a welcoming immigration policy that would let anybody move to the United States except national security threats, criminals and those looking to live off the U.S. welfare system.

So it would appear that the majority of Americans take a rather magnanimous, tolerant view of immigrants. I would argue that the mass immigration problem that we currently have in the Western nations is the fault of perverse incentives created by our own ruling classes, who are addicted to easily exploitable Third World immigrant labor, and who use liberal-multiculturalist ideology as a smokescreen, and whose class of court intellectuals, liberal academicians and media hacks generate propaganda for such on their behalf.

I would probably take a position not dissimilar to Biddle’s, with the qualifications that “antidiscrimination” (prohibition of freedom of association) legislation be repealed, that immigrants be ineligible for state entitlement programs and tax-payer funded services, that employers be prohibited from using immigrants as scab labor, that employer use of illegal immigrant labor be barred, that immigrants convicted of serious crimes (like rape, robbery and murder, not drug possession or vending without a license) be deported, and that naturalization policy be decentralized according to local community standards. These measures, combined with large-scale efforts to create alternative economic institutions operating independently of the capitalist class which demands immigrant labor and, if necessary, the formation of volunteer citizen militia to better safeguard border areas would likely reduce immigration to manageable levels. I am actually quite wary of the proposals by some to create a “war on drugs” or “war on terrorism” police state crusade against illegal immigration. Nor do I “hate” or personally resent the masses of Latin American immigrants into the United States or Islamic immigrants into Europe. In a purely legal sense, I don’t think illegal immigrants should be dealt with any more harshly than ordinary trespassers, shoplifters, traffic offenders, or vagrants camped out on someone else’s property.  My priority political issue is to oppose U.S. imperialist aggression against other societies where many of the Left’s much beloved “people of color” actually live. But just because I do not wish to see people in other lands slaughtered does not mean I wish for Western civilization to commit economic, political and cultural suicide, just as my opposition to the statist persecution of homeless drug addicts does not mean I’m going to invite them all to move in with me, either. As Murray Rothbard said: “It’s the only civilization we’ve got.”

Yet the propaganda of pro-immigration leftists-anarchists-libertarians would have us all believe that opening the borders to any terrorist, criminal or welfare colonist who wants to jump a fence somewhere would be just fine. Why bother screening for communicable diseases immigrants from countries where public health standards are just about zero? What’s the big deal about tuberculosis, anyway? Why not allow a few hundred million Asian, African, Latin American or Eastern European immigrants to come on over and sign up for public assistance? Why not allow foreign states to empty their prisons of violent criminals and send them to America as Fidel Castro did during the boatlift of 1980? If al-Qaeda wants to open a branch office on Main Street, USA, then who are the rest of us to say otherwise?

What is odd is that the anarchist and libertarian groups who push such ideas are almost all white. Check out a group photograph of any anarchist sect and you will rarely find a “person of color.” So what is the source of the extreme “anti-racism” hysteria and equally over-the-top “immigrants’ rights” perspectives held by many of these people? Perhaps they are simply regurgitating what they have picked up from the media, the entertainment industry, their public school teachers and university professors, or their ex-hippie parents. Perhaps they come from right-wing subcultures, and such views are a means of giving the finger to their Christian fundamentalist, redneck racist or bourgeoisie Republican parents? Clearly, there is no issue of self-interest involved. Or is there?

So what of the homosexuals? When I was about fourteen, I was in a fundamentalist church, and I heard a hysterical Jim Jones-like preacher advocating the death penalty for “sodomites,” saying something to the effect that “if Jack and Fred want to make out on a street corner, then we should fry Jack and Fred.” I recall being baffled by the intensity of this fellow’s rhetoric and emotions. Then as now, I really couldn’t give a good goddamn if two queers want to poke each other in the anus or not, just as I don’t care if some hetero dude wants his girlfriend to shove a strap-on up his fucking rectum. For that matter, I don’t particularly care if others wish to engage in S&M or coprophilia or just about any other sort of sexual freakiness they prefer. In fact, as one who grew up among the so-called “religious right,” including some of its more extreme branches, like the Christian Reconstructionists and the Bob Jones people, I could never really understand what the point behind all the hooey about “the homo-sex-shuals”  really was. When I was in my mid-teens, there were two gay guys who bought the house next door to my parents. I don’t recall that it was any kind of issue. My first real exposure to homosexuals was in a state correctional facility when I was in my late teens. While I didn’t exactly go out of my way to befriend them, I thought they were basically harmless. When I was in my early twenties, one of the guys who lived on my floor during college was a stereotypical “flaming gay” and I had no problem with him. Since then, I’ve had plenty of gay co-workers, neighbors, a gay professor, and other such associates, and I’ve never had any problem with them. As mentioned, the many leftist, liberal, libertarian and anarchist political groups I’ve been associated with over the years have included many homosexuals, and I’ve never had any problem with that. A few years ago, there was an openly gay anarchist who lived at a nearby commune who was an occasional guest at my residence.

So what is the source of the problem? I used to think it was ridiculous when members of the religious right and other social conservatives accused the gay rights movement of demanding “special rights.” Having taken a harder look at the “gay rights” phenomenon, I’ve more or less changed my opinion. Among those who have attacked me the most fervently as a “fascist,” those who can be personally identified are, with few exceptions, gay militants of one type or another. This has been true in my local community, on the internet, and in hate mail that I have received.

What is it that I do or say that is so offensive to gay militants? Have I called for the reinstatement of sodomy laws, or for vigilante violence against homosexuals, or for the closing of gay-oriented clubs or businesses? Have I called for severe social or economic discrimination against gays? Have I even criticized homosexuality as a lifestyle or practice? I’ve done nothing of the sort. Have I belittled the cultural or intellectual achievements of homosexuals? No, I haven’t. For instance, I’ve gone out of my way to promote the work of Justin Raimondo, not because Raimondo is gay (who cares?), but because Raimondo is one of the very best critics of U.S. imperialism to be found. One of the very best critics of the police state is Glenn Greenwald, a gay man. One of my favorite political writers is Gore Vidal, who is a homosexual. Have I called for the legal prohibition of transgender surgery as some reactionary conservatives have done? No, I haven’t. Would I care if gays could legally marry? No, though I don’t think the state should be involved in marriage in any capacity. I am not even carte blanche opposed to the adoption of children by same-sex couples, though I think the preference should be for hetero couples, all other variables being equal.

The source of the hostility seems to come down to two things: My advocacy of political decentralization ordered on the principal of individual liberty, freedom of association, private property and community sovereignty, and my advocacy of political alliances against statism, state-capitalism, and imperialism that transcend cultural boundaries and divisive social issues and, yes, alliances that might sometimes include people who disagree with homosexuality for religious, cultural, moral or philosophical reasons.

As a big tent, pluralistic anarchist, I would favor the proliferation of a wide assortment of lifestyles and communities in a libertarian system. For instance, on the economic issues that divide libertarians, I would advocate a plurality of economic arrangements. I would say there can be competing systems of property rights, perhaps determined on a geographical basis, of the kind Kevin Carson has suggested, reflecting Lockean, Georgist, or Proudhonian systems of property. There can be anarcho-capitalist private defense agencies, anarcho-communist kibbutzes, anarcho-syndicalist workers’ councils, mutual banks, geoist land trusts, and all the other kinds of economic institutions different kinds of libertarians favor. When it comes to issues that libertarians differ on, there are many. These include capital punishment, abortion, immigration, environmentalism, animal rights, childrens’ rights, property theory, theories of criminal punishment and many others. I’d say let these be determined according to community standards at the local level.  There can be agrarian or primitivist colonies where modern technology or even industrial civilization of any kind is banned. There can be separatist enclaves for feminists, homosexuals or “people of color,” where men, heteros or whiteys are forbidden. There can be anarcho-puritan communes that bar guns, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, porn, S&M, prostitution, religion or meat-eating. On the other hand, there can be hedonist associations, modeled on places like the Red Light Districts of Amsterdam and Frankfurt (where I’ve visited numerous times) where virtually anything goes.

Of course, I’ve applied the same principles to the cultural right as well as the cultural left, and this is where the real source of the conflict between myself and others in the anarchist milieu begins. Hans Hermann Hoppe has gained much criticism for statements like this:

“…the anarchistic upshot of the libertarian doctrine appealed to the countercultural left. For did not the illegitimacy of the state…imply that everyone was at liberty to choose his very own nonaggressive lifestyle? Did this not imply that vulgarity, obscenity, profanity, drug use, promiscuity, pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, polygamy, pedophilia or any other conceivable perversity or abnormality, insofar as they were victimless crimes, were no offenses at all but perfectly normal and legitimate activities and lifestyles?”

“the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism-will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.”

In fact, I have been one of the critics of this kind of culturally reactionary libertarianism. See here, here, here and here. I think the proper response is the one articulated by Walter Block:

“Say what you will in support of this statement – it is stark, it is well written, it is radical, it gives a well deserved intellectual kick to the teeth to some groups who richly deserve it — it is still exceedingly difficult to reconcile it with libertarianism. For, in the free society, there will always be the likelihood that different groups will tend to amalgamate in certain geographical areas, and even have restrictive covenants that enforce just requirements, and limitations on free speech. In places like parts of Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, for example, there is little doubt that such sentiments will be the order of the day. But there will likely be other areas of the country, for example, the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, Ann Arbor, Cambridge, Mass, Greenwich Village in New York City, heck, the entire Big Apple for that matter, where pretty much the opposite outlook will legally prevail. That is, in these latter places, positive mention of free enterprise, capitalism, profits, etc., will be severely punished by law. Why libertarianism should be equated with the former views and not the latter is a mystery. Surely, the libertarian philosophy would support the rights of both groups to act in such manners. As for homosexuality, it is entirely possible that some areas of the country, parts of Gotham and San Francisco for example, will require this practice, and ban, entirely, heterosexuality. If this is done through contract, private property rights, restrictive covenants, it will be entirely compatible with the libertarian legal code.”

I would go still further than Block, and advocate entirely separate homelands for those with irreconcilable political differences, for instance, neo-nazis and their equally thuggish “antifa” opponents. As I’ve written before:

Leftists whose main issues are “racism, sexism and homophobia” could create their own homelands complete with a constitution that required that a majority of the seats in the highest body of the provincial government be given to people of color, feminists and homosexuals. There could be “anarchist” city-states organized on the basis of “consensus-based direct democracy” complete with marathon debates over “process” along with “communist” city-states ruled hierarchically by the “vanguard party”. Recall the dichotomy between demo/hedo/homo/art-fag Athens and commie/fascist Sparta. In the white separatist states, there could be sub-communities established for “Aryan” white nationalists and Jewish white nationalists (yes, there is such a thing). Their could be collections of towns and villages for the followers of “moderates” like Jared Taylor and Michael Levin on one hand and “extremists” like the Aryan Nations or the World Church of the Creator on the other. In the black separatist states, there could be sub-communities for Garveyites, adherents of Black Israel, Black Muslims, black separatist Christians and Marxists like the Republic of New Afrika.

Of course, I don’t think it’s generally necessary to take things to these kinds of extremes. For the most part, I think cultural differences can be handled the same way religious differences are presently handled. Different groups could simply have their own institutions. For instance, with regards to education, there might be Afro-centric schools, “traditional American” schools, Catholic schools, fundamentalist-evangelical schools, Hasidic schools, liberal-leftist-politically correct schools, libertarian-anarchistic Summerhill-type schools, “white supremacist” schools, Islamic schools, and, yes,  even “homo-centric” schools.

I take it as a given that there will always be groups as well as individuals with irreconcilable political, ideological, cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, economic and other kinds of differences. One of the virtues of libertarian ideas like decentralization, freedom of association, a wide dispersement of economic resources and so forth it that these things allow such differences to be accommodated without bloodshed or oppression. For instance, just as some leftists might prefer a way of life that priorities homosexuality, feminism, “green-consciousness,” racial and ethnic integrationism, hedonism, communalism, therapeutism or vegetarianism, so might some other people prefer a way of life that prioritizes religious devotion, ethnic preservationism, social conservatism, cultural traditionalism, asceticism, racial separatism, racial, religious or cultural homogeneity, “morality,” “family values,” private property, hunting, meat-eating or tobacco farming. There is no reason why there needs to be a civil war between such factions, or that such factions even be under the same political roof. There can be separate schools, churches, cultural organizations, intermediary institutions, media outlets, non-state social services, economic enterprises, common law legal systems, defense organizations, neighborhoods or, if necessary, entirely separate towns, counties, cantons or provinces for such competing factions.

Seems fair enough to me. After all, freedom of choice and freedom of association are two-way streets. Just as some people may wish to live a homosexual or hedonistic lifestyles, others might wish to live a “racist” or religious lifestyle. But what I have come to call “homo-totalitarians” typically respond in one of two ways. Some are outright political totalitarians who wish for an all-powerful central government to eradicate the associational, religious, economic, privacy and property rights of others with antidiscrimination laws, direct subsidies to homosexual organizations, the use of gay marriage laws to require taxpayers to finance state-funded benefits for same-sex couples, granting homosexual pairs preferential consideration so far as the adoption of children is concerned, criminalizing speech that is critical of homosexuality, the use of tax-funded public schools for the dissemination of pro-gay propaganda under the guise of “sex education” and “teaching tolerance”, enacting hate crimes (thought crimes) laws granting homosexuals legal protection above and beyond that of ordinary crime victims and many other such privileges.

Still others argue less for political totalitarianism of this kind and instead prefer a censorious intellectual culture where dissent from PC orthodoxy on homosexuality is forbidden. We have seen previews of what this would look like in the phenomenon of “political correctness” that has infested certain sectors of society, particularly the academic world and the media. What this amounts too, at minimum, is reacting to those with un-PC views on “gay rights” with hysteria, shrillness, rudeness, slander, vilification, and threats.

Within the context of libertarianism, some have argued that those with un-PC views pertaining to homosexuality, “racism” and a few other things should be written out of the libertarian milieu so as to uphold some standard of cultural leftist purity. Isn’t this interesting? To demonstrate the lunacy of such a proposal, one only need to ask what might happen if other supposed “minority” groups engaged in such special pleading? Should Mormon libertarians demand that libertarians refrain from criticizing Mormon theological beliefs or practices of the Mormon church? Should drug-using libertarians demand that drug use be off-limits so far as disapproval or disagreement from other libertarians is concerned? Should vegetarian libertarians demand that other libertarians refrain from criticizing or ever expressing disapproval of vegetarianism? What if people with tattoos and body piercings asked for similar favoritism? But this is precisely what “homo-totalitarian” libertarians expect. Anyone who comes near the libertarian milieu who has perfectly fine libertarian credentials but who disagrees with homosexuality for whatever private reasons should not only be shunned but personally attacked, according to the logic of these folks. Now, homo-libertarians have every right to criticize the views of anti-homo-libertarians. Hell, I’ve even criticized them on occasion. For instance, if homo-libertarians want to go picket a lecture by an anti-homo-libertarian like Hans Hermann Hoppe, then of course they are well within their rights, just as conservative Christian libertarians are well within their rights to organize boycotts of Disneyland for holding “Gay Day” or whatever the fuck it is. Yet, this kind of thing would seem to me at least to go against the “live and let live” spirit of libertarianism, and it is utterly baffling to me at least that others would regard such matters as equally pressing or even more pressing with concerns like, oh, well, overthrowing an empire that has killed eight million people worldwide.

This hypersensitivity to criticisms of homosexuality found in many anarchist and libertarian circles helps, I think, to explain the otherwise inexplicable “anti-racism” hysteria and enthusiasm for the most extreme forms of pro-immigrationism, not to mention the most ridiculous renditions of feminism, found among these people, virtually all of whom are white, overwhelmingly male, and mostly from middle class backgrounds. Anti-racism, anti-xenophobia and feminazism are simply surrogates for homosexualism. The wider “gay rights” movement has gone out of its way to attach itself to the legacy of the black civil rights movement. They do this because they know that most Americans recognize the treatment given to black Americans prior to civil rights was unfair, and thereby proclaim themselves to be a comparable victim group. Therefore, they promote the most extreme and lunatical forms of “anti-racism” and immigrationism, and loudly proclaim any kind differentiation of persons or groups along racial, ethnic, national or gender lines to be the ultimate in human evil, no matter what its purpose, and then subsequently proclaim themselves to the equivalent of an oppressed ethnic group deserving similar favoritism. Apparently, their rallying cry is to paraphrase Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of sodomy is no vice.”

I’ve wondered why there is so much acrimony between myself and many of these left-anarchist people, given that I agree with them the vast majority of the time. Some of it is no doubt attributable to what Thomas Sowell has called a “conflict of visions.” This has to do with broader philosophical differences beyond preferred political systems, economic policies, particular laws, positions on single issues and so forth. It is a conflict that emerged during the Enlightenment and has endured ever since. Says Sowell:

The great evils of the world-war, poverty, and crime, for example-are seen in completely different terms by those with the constrained and unconstrained visions. If human options are not inherently constrained, then the presence of such repugnant and disastrous phenomena virtually cries out for explanation-and for solutions. But if the limitations and passions of man himself are at the heart of these painful phenomena, then what requires explanation are the ways in which they have been avoided or minimized. While believers in the unconstrained vision seek the special causes of war, poverty and crime, believers in the constrained vision seek the special causes of peace, wealth, or a law-abiding society. In the unconstrained vision, there are no intractable reasons for social evils and therefore no reason why they cannot be solved, with sufficient moral commitment. But in the constrained, whatever artifices or strategies restrain or ameliorate inherent human evils will themselves have costs, some in the form of other social ills created by these civilizing institutions, so all that is possible is a prudent trade-off.

Recognition of these facts can sometimes require that hard choices be made. For instance, the need to balance being kind and generous to immigrants with cultural, civilizational, political and economic survival. The need to establish political priorities that aim to minimize the greatest harms (like imperialist war, mass imprisonment of harmless people, and severe economic failure that will severely damage tens of millions) as a primary consideration, as opposed to focusing primarily on upholding to the letter the interests and preferences of marginal fringe groups, like “sexual minorities,” regardless of other considerations.

Some years ago I sat in on a conversation of university professors discussing the mystery of the “origins of racism.” But the origins of racism are no mystery. Conflict of this type has existed as long as there have been human beings. The mystery is those rare instances where peace between races has been achieved. On another occasion, a liberal associate was highly offended by my defense of a man who had been arrested for shooting and killing a criminal who had been burglarizing his home, and my associate was giving me the usual drivel about “the sanctity of human life” and “criminals are victims of socio-economic oppression,” as though the interests of the crime victim counted for nothing.  I responded with a quote from Adam Smith: “Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.” I once had a political science professor, a Princeton graduate, who said in all seriousness that the real issue in the gun control debate is whether “having a gun makes you feel safe” versus  “knowing that someone else might have a gun makes you feel unsafe,” as though mere subjective emotions and states of mind are the real basis for public policy debates, irrespective of actual facts and tangible reality. Many years ago when I was in the Central America solidarity movement, I once criticized what I felt was the overuse of civil disobedience by antiwar protestors. To me, it seemed counterproductive to ritualistically sit down in the street and blockade traffic in a way that had zero effect on actual U.S. foreign policy, but resulted in hundreds of people being carted off to jail, and resources squandered on fines, bail, lawyer fees and court costs. I was told by a very intelligent man with a decades long history of involvement in such activities that the purpose of civil disobedience was to “make a personal statement” that one is taking a stand on this, that or the other thing. In other words, it was all about the individual protestor, not the actual cause itself.

If we see anarchism as a movement to oppose statism, capitalism, imperialism, aggressive war,  and authoritarianism, and to uphold individual liberty, decentralism, voluntarism, federalism, mutual aid, cooperativism, syndicalism, communitarianism, pluralism, human scale, institutions, intellectual freedom, free inquiry, free speech, and freedom of association, then the attacks of my critics don’t really make sense. But if we see so-called “anarchism” as a movement of homosexuals seeking political, institutional and cultural privilege, while hiding behind the rhetoric of egalitarian-universalist-humanism, then such attacks begin to make a great deal of sense. To my enemies, I would respond by citing the immortal words of Jim Goad:

I don’t care about your precious personal lifestyle choices. I really don’t. And your entire dingbat philosophy, the whole tectonic plate upon which San Francisco rests, is based on the false presumption that people such as me are somehow upset about the manner in which you flap your genitals around. Egads.

It isn’t what you do, it’s the way you do it. Not the meat, but rather the motion. It’s not what you’re saying, it’s your lousy voice. It isn’t your private cock-slurping, it’s your public megaphone-mouth. It ain’t how you move beneath the sheets, it’s the way you wave the picket signs around. The problem isn’t your self-consciously “decadent” personal lifestyle, it’s your warped social instincts.

It has nothing to do with the widespread sidewalk displays of ass-rimming…or the women who look like Lou Costello…or even the concept of white people who hate the concept of white people… It’s the attitude.

As for the rest of us in the anarchist milieu, I say it’s time for a purge, if not an outright pogrom. Does the spectacle of a bunch of white college students crying about “racism, racism, racism” and pretending that they’re Black Panthers do anything to actually increase the number of Actually Existing People of Color in our ranks? It hasn’t yet after decades of trying. The typical convert to anarchism is an angry, young, white, male from an upper strata working class to upper middle class socio-economic background, one who possesses above average levels of intelligence and education, and an interest in history, philosophy, political science and related fields. Do we really attract more people into our ranks by having so many self-hating whites, bearded ladies, cock-ringed queers, or persons of one or another surgically altered “gender identity” in our midst? Is this really something the average rebellious young person wants to be associated with? Could we not actually attract more young rebels into our ranks if all of this stuff was absent? I believe we could. For instance, I’ve been amazed at how fast the “national-anarchist” movement has grown in the short amount of time it has been around. And it is largely due to the efforts of Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard to purge libertarianism of precisely this kind during the late 1980s and early 1990s of thing that eventually made possible the Ron Paul movement and the post-paleo movement that has followed it. Does the average young rebel really want to join an “anarchist” movement that is only going to tell him what a racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic sinner he is? No, he can go to church or take university humanities courses for that.

As for the feminism thing, I suspect the absence of such “feminist” elements will actually increase the number of actual female participants in our ranks. In my experience, right-wing political groups and even fundamentalist churches tend to have at least as many women participants as left-wing groups, if not more. I mean, let’s be real. What confident, intelligent, secure, emotionally stable woman with a keen sense of individuality wants to join a movement of pissed-off, man-hating, dykes with an excess of body hair? I really doubt that many of our stereotypical angry young male anarchists really, in their heart of hearts, want to belong to such a movement. I recall a conversation with a female friend of mine, a 23-year-old bisexual anthropology student. I was criticizing the “gay rights” movement as having no real message other than: “We suck cock, and we deserve merit badges for it.” Her response: “Yes, exactly. That’s a perfect description.” As for homosexuals, let them be evaluated according to what they actually contribute to our movement rather than simply for their status as homosexuals. We need the likes of Justin Raimondo or the late Alisdair Clarke. I’m not so sure we need some of these others.

So where do we go from here? I suggest that those of us who want to have a non-leftoidal anarchist movement simply go about building one, and ignore the personal attacks that will continue to be thrown our way. As Andrew Yeoman of Bay Area National Anarchists suggests:

My goals are (in no particular order) are consistent with a pragmatic libertarian anti-capitalist holistic ethnocentric worldview.  This is why I advocate for 1) less government authority and the repealing of many laws, 2) greater autonomy for the self-determination of all peoples, and 3) believe it or not, greater cooperation between powerless political factions.  With caveats I will work with people who I disagree with on most issues because the philosophy I live by is to organize with different but like minded tribes.  This tenet is continuously emphasized by National Anarchists like Troy Southgate.  Disagreeing with me on issues is fine, but you will never tell me or my tribe how we shall live our lives.

And this:

National Anarchism is a political tendency that allows different communities to form a political structure according to their own values.  That’s it.  That’s the solution to the irreconcilable differences between me and other anarchists, different lifestyles, religions, and even races that have historically had problems living together (above and beyond mere class conflict).

Before we can have an anarchist revolution, we need to have a revolution within anarchism itself. We need to convey the message to other radical tendencies and to the public at-large that anarchism as a political ideology is not simply some freak show that exists to provide group psychotherapy to a bunch of psychologically damaged personalities. In recent years, an “alternative Right” has developed in the U.S. consisting of paleoconservatives, paleolibertarians, post-paleos, anarcho-capitalists, “left-conservatives,” and Ron Paulistas. New tendencies within anarchism have also emerged like national-anarchism, tribal anarchism, and anarcho-pluralism. Out of all of these strands, perhaps we can build a new “revolutionary Right” that in essence becomes the “true left,” a new radicalism that eventually replaces PC leftoidism as the dominant outlook of radical youth, and then begins the process of becoming an actual popular movement to displace the dominance of liberalism in American society.

Updated News Digest May 17, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always civilized and tolerant.”

                                                                                              H. L. Mencken

Why is the US making itself impotent fighting wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with is security, wars that are, in fact, threatening its security?  The answer is that the military/security lobby, the financial gangsters, and AIPAC rule.  The American people be damned.”

                                                                                            -Paul Craig Roberts

Secede! Bill Buppert interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Did Somebody Say Secession? by Jack Hunter

How Dare Anyone Question the Fed? by Thomas Woods

Who Rules America? by Paul Craig Roberts

It is Getting Very Serious Now by Chuck Baldwin

Do You Feel Safer Now? from No Third Solution

Intellectual Property: A Libertarian Critique by Kevin Carson

The Great American Bank Robbery (of US) by Thomas N. Naylor

Twelve Axioms of American Foreign Policy Towards Israel by Thomas N. Naylor

The New Neocons  by Justin Raimondo

Hillary and the Sleeping Dragon by William S. Lind

A Practical Path to Secession by Bill Buppert

King of the Hate Business by Alexander Cockburn

Local Barter Clubs Proliferating by Hazel Henderson

Money Talks  by Tomislav Sunic

Workers Power and the Ultra-Right by Ean Frick

Apostle of Catastrophe Kirkpatrick Sale interviewed by Derek Turner

Pentagon Gluttons by Charles Pena

Pelosi the Ennabler by Robert Scheer

The Inside Fight Over Torture by Nick Baumann

New General, Same War by Robert Dreyfuss

10th Amendment Showdown by John Bowman

Obama’s Latest Effort to Conceal Evidence of Bush Era Crimes by Glenn Greenwald

Saving Israel from Itself by John J. Mearsheimer

The Hidden Hand of Dick Cheney by Juan Cole

Torture Cannot Be Justified to Save Lives by Klint Alexander

Surprise! by Harrison Bergeron 2

On Cops and Gangs by Manuel Lora

The Cure for Layoffs: Fire the Boss! by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis

PIGS Kill Teenager Over Expired License Tags 

Employees Occupy Their Company in Rochester 

Where Were All of the Business Schools When Wall Street Needed Them Most? by Thomas N. Naylor

PIGS Attack Stuffed Animal with Taser 

The Shell Game of Democracy by Ray Mangum

Judicial Restraint by TGGP

Wanted: A Fighting Party by Pat Buchanan

Savage Nation by Derek Turner

Remembering the Great Screaming Lord Sutch by Ray Mangum (check it out!

Bull Markets in the Cocaine Game by Mark Easton

The U.S. Descends Deeper into the Third World 

PETA Founder Comes Up With Another Howler by Francois Tremblay

The Fascist Federation vs Free-Market Aliens by John Bowman

The Rule of the “Experts” by Justin Raimondo

Saigon Again? by Philip Giraldi

What a Horrible Weapon the Taser is… (especially in the hands of the PIGS) by William Norman Grigg

We Face Economic Destruction by Murray Rothbard

Understanding the Long War by Tom Hayden

Saberi’s Plight and American Media Propaganda by Glenn Greenwald

It’s Time to End the Cold War by James Bissett

Obama’s Empire by Sheldon Richman

The Case Against World Currency Schemes by David Gordon

Obama Can’t Fix the Military Commissions by Denny LeBoeuf

Becoming What We Seek to Destroy by Chris Hedges

The Bubble to End All Bubbles by Gerald Celente

Bill Would Turn Bloggers Into Felons by John Cox

Mohawks March on Canadian Border by Michael Peeling

The Bomb Iran Faction by Gary Leupp

Obama Chooses a Reliable Dictatorship by Wajahat Ali

Why Isn’t Obama Turning to Credit Unions? by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Pseudo-Science and Wrongful Convictions in the War on Drugs by John Kelly

Who Killed 120 Civilians? by Patrick Cockburn

New York Governor Does the Right Thing by Anthony Papa

Jon Stewart and Truman, the War Criminal by Paul Krassner

Savage Nation by Derek Turner

A Hypocrisy That Can Win by Richard Spencer

Ron Paul Republicans by Jack Hunter

Social Solidarity is Overrated by Richard Spencer

The Economics of the Meltdown interview with Tom Woods

Michael Savage is Our Business by Marcus Epstein

Star Trek and Humanity by Razib Khan

Glen Beck Discusses Anarchy with Penn Jillette hat tip to Francois Tremblay

Bakunin on Order hat tip to Brad Spangler

 Where Russia Went Wrong by Michael Hudson

The Limits of Liberalism by Lance Selfa

Obama Channels Cheney by Dave Lindorff

Obama and Latin America: No Light, All Tunnell by Robert Sandels

The Banker Boys Are Alright: Time to End the Bailouts by Dean Baker

It’s Time for Another Stock Market Correction interview with Jim Rogers

A Sucker’s Rally by Gary North

The Bitterly Clinging Obama by Vin Suprynowicz

Death of a Civilization by Dave Deming

Four Traits of the Really Successful Investors by Chris Clancy

1984: The Book That Killed George Orwell by Robert McCrum

Christians for Torture by Laurence Vance

U.S. Out of Pakistan and Afghanistan by Ron Paul

The Social Benefits of Saving by Hans Hermann Hoppe

Gangbangers in Blue by William Norman Grigg

Jesse Ventura Wants Cheney on a Waterboard from Larry King Live

Support Your Local Police? by Laurence Vance

Tax Revolt in California by Gary North

What Did Nancy Know? by Justin Raimondo

Twenty Years After the Fall by Eduoard Husson

The Politics of Excusing Torture in the Name of National Security by John Dean

Obama Administration Statements on Iranian Nukes Not Backed by Intelligence by Jeremy Hammond

The Sematics of Torture by John McQuaid

Obama: A Careerist, Not an Ideologue by Pat Buchanan

National Bankruptcy by Peter Schiff

Child Abusers in Uniform? from No Third Solution

The Tragedy of Classical Liberalism by Gus diZerega

For Reproductive Anarchy by Roderick Long

Anarcho-Communists for Private Property? by Roderick Long

Film Crew Arrested for Filming PIG from Rad Geek

How the Left Killed Hollywood Drama by S.T. Karnick

Is College Worth It? by Tom Piatak

You Can’t Do This on Television or Can You? by Dylan Hales

Cultural Continuity and Revolution 

Neo-Slavery Re-Emerging as a Business Strategy by Brenda Walker

Obama Picks Up Where Bush Left Off by Mike Whitney

A Real History of Rupert Murdoch by Bruce Page

The Black Shirts of Guantanamo by Jeremy Scahill

Vaginas from Outer Space! by Kim Nicolini

PIGS Assault Pastor

Can Star Trek‘s Non-Violent Utopia Happen?

A Special Kind of Feminist

You’ve Got to See This One to Believe It

Updated News Digest May 10, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“There’s the populist wing of the libertarian movement, and then there’s the Washington crowd that’s still trying to sell libertarianism, or their version of it, to elites. These people want to go along and get along. As long as they can abort their babies and sodomize each other and take as many drugs as they want to, they are happy. They don’t care who is being killed in Iraq and how many Iraqis are dying. That’s their hierarchy of values.”

                                                                                                          -Justin Raimondo

Joke of the Week:

“Watching Keith Preston shows me beyond the shadow of the doubt that life isn’t worth living as a cold manipulator.”

                                                                                              -Anonymous Lunatic

The Tyranny of Tolerance by Hal G.P. Colebatch

Soft Totalitarianism by Thomas Jackson

“Hate Crimes” Prevention Bill Will Suppress Speech by Paul Craig Roberts

The Left Attacks the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle by Matthew Yglesias

Torture and Mr. Obama by William Blum

Obama’s War Budget by Jeff Leys

The Marijuana Dilemma: Free Market Decriminalization vs Bureaucratic Legalization by Daniel Flynn

When Norman Mailer Ran for Mayor of NYC by John Buffalo Mailer

Obama’s Afghan-Ignorant Policy by Michael Scheuer

Ignore AIPAC at America’s Peril by Philip Giraldi

The Great Depression of 2009 by Gerald Celente

Exempting Israel From Criticism by Paul Craig Roberts

Is Obama Taking on the Israel Lobby? by Justin Raimondo

Obama Must Break from Past Israel Policy by Jonathan Steele

National-Anarchists Smash Shop Windows in San Francisco by BANA

Dead Souls by Alexander Cockburn

Jailed for Caring by Neve Gordon

Why the Left Hates Decentralization by Thomas Woods

The Case for All-Black Schools by Jeff Severns Guntzel

Andrej Grubacic on Anarchism for the 21st Century 

“They Had Swords”: Anarchist Mayhem in San Francisco 

Anarchist Common Action General Assembly Meets in the Pacific Northwest 

IWW Starbucks’ Workers Organizing Efforts Extend to Chile 

American Exceptionalism (And Why American Extremists Tend to Be Anarchists Rather Than Communists and Fascists) by Seymour Martin Lipset

Bush POWs Treated Worse Than Americans Captured by the Chinese by Glenn Greenwald

Afghans to Obama: Get Out, Take Karzai With You by Patrick Cockburn

The Torturer’s Apprentice by Richard Neville

To Power a Nation: Nuclear Bombs or Sunshine? by Manuel Garcia, Jr.

Pork and Baloney: Obama’s Defense Budget by Winslow T. Wheeler

Pakistan in Crisis by Deepak Tripathi

Stanford Alumni Call for Investigation of Condoleeza Rice by Marjorie Cohn

Who’s Behind the Financial Meltdown? 

The AIPAC Spy Case by James G. Abourezk

Afghan Ayatollahs Push Marital Rape Law by Patrick Cockburn

Dropping the AIPAC Spy Case by Gary Leupp

Economy on the Ropes by Mike Whitney

Is the GOP Finished Yet? by Pat Buchanan

The Mexican Flu by Jack Hunter

I Committed Treason Last Week by Kevin D. Annett

Remembering Isabel Paterson by Stephen Cox

The Case Against the State from LiberaLaw

“Communism” vs Communism by Milan Valach

We Are Brainwashed to Believe We Are in a Classless Society by Francois Tremblay

Doing Tax Resistance from the Picket Line

Dialectical Anarchism by Roderick Long

Against Rothbard and Keynes, for Marx by TGGP

The Copyright Nazis’ Latest Venue: Newspapers by Kevin Carson

Liberty Creates Order by Sheldon Richman

The Ruling Class Nature of the Federal Reserve by Sheldon Richman

Moral Nihilism and Existentialism from Back to the Drawing Board

Victim of Amerika  by William Norman Grigg

Want to Get Out of Debt? 

Hero of Gun Rights by Jeff Snyder

Texas Highway Robbery-by the Cops!! by Gary Tuchman and Katherine Wojtecki

Armed Student Saves Lives 

The Taliban Are Coming! The Taliban Are Coming! by Eric Margolis

The Federal Government is Increasingly Totalitarian by Mark Crovelli

Survivalism: It’s Just Common Sense by Tim Elliot

Money Must Not Be State Provided by Mike Rozeff

Waterboard an A-rab for Jesus by Laurence Vance

Ron Paul, Surveillance and the GOP by James Bovard

“Democracy at Gunpoint” Strategy Guarantees Defeat by William Pfaff

A Nation of Men, Not Laws by Nat Hentoff

A Vietnam Warning  by Robert Dreyfuss

At What Point is a Traitor a Patriot? by Bill Buppert

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republicans

Jon Stewart: Wimp, Wuss and Moral Coward by Justin Raimondo

Congressional Retards Call for a Ban on “Indecent” Viagra Commercials by Butler Shaffer (and the proper response)

AIPAC Stooge Jane Harman: Fuck That Bitch article by Glenn Greenwald

How to Survive the Depression and Worse Jack Spirko interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Student Loan Debt: The Next Big Crash?

U.S. Policy Breeds Revolution in Pakistan Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

How Israel Avoids a Palestinian State by David Bromwich

Nukes and National Independence: The French Example by Edouard Husson

A Conspiracy to Prevent Torture Prosecutions? by Thomas R. Eddlem

Taking Liberties With the “Justice” System by Andy Worthington

Another Cheney Cover-Up? by David Corn

The New Face of the Senate? 

French Mutualism Beyond Proudhon  by Shawn Wilbur

How Good People Turn Evil, and Why the State is the Problem by Francois Tremblay

The Forces of the American Occupation (of America) from Rad Geek

From a Slave to His Former Master, in 1865  from Roderick Long

Can Christians Serve in the New World Army? by Chuck Baldwin

The New Racism by Pat Buchanan

Casualties of Obama’s War by Patroon

Stuff White People Like by Robert Weissberg

Can Local Government Work for the Poor? from IFPRI Forum

Another Federalist of the Left? from The Volokh Conspiracy

The End of Arrogance: Decentralization and Anarchist Organizing by the Curious George Brigade

Bush is a Felonious Torturer by Judge Andrew Napolitano

Should a Christian Join the Military? by Laurence Vance

Empire Contributed to Economic Crisis by Ivan Eland

Rangoon’s Renaissance by Doug Bandow

Obama Readies Troops as Afghans Die by Jeremy Scahill

Give Up Your Empire or Live Under It Jacob Hornberger interviewed by Scott Horton

Why We Fight: U.S. Troops Die for Rapists by Ted Rall

Taking Up Where Clinton-Gore Left Off by Gordon Prather

The President and His Troublesome Allies by Tony Karon

U.S. Foreign Policy Caused the Taliban Problem by Jacob Hornberger

The Torture BITCH by Justin Raimondo

Happy Days  by Peter Schiff

A Woman Dumber Than John McCain? by Ilana Mercer

Fuck the PIGS from Rad Geek

A Full Court Press for Pakistan War by Chris Floyd

Marilyn Chambers, R.I.P. by Warren Hinckle

In Praise of Revolutions  by Serge Halimi

Hilary and Latin America by Mark Weisbrot

Recessions and Labor Unions by David Macaray

Mothers and War by Ron Jacobs

A Break from the Past in the Drug War? by Kevin Zeese

Party of Rush by Robert Fantina

A Hymn to Political Incorrectness (and another one!)

Reflections on Urban Sociology by Chris Rock

Updated News Digest May 3, 2008 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“In spite of the unceasing efforts made by men in power to conceal this and to ascribe a different meaning to power, power is the application of a rope, a chain by which a person will be bound and dragged along, or of a whip, with which he will be flogged, or of a knife, or an ax with which they will cut off his hands, feet, ears, head—an application of these means or the threat they will be used. Thus it was in the time of Nero and of Ghenghis Khan and thus it is even now, in the most liberal of governments.”

                                                                                                              -Leo Tolstoy

 

“”One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words socialism and communism draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, Nature-cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England… “We have reached a stage when the very word socialism calls up, on the one hand, a picture of airplanes, tractors and huge glittering factories of glass and concrete; on the other, a picture of vegetarians with wilting beards, of Bolshevik commissars (half gangster, half gramophone), or earnest ladies in sandals, shock-headed Marxists chewing polysyllables, escaped Quakers, birth control fanatics, and Labour Party backstairs-crawlers. “If only the sandals and pistachio-colored shirts could be put in a pile and burnt, and every vegetarian, teetotaler and creeping Jesus sent home to Welwyn Garden City to do his yoga exercises quietly. As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.”

                                                                                                     -George Orwell

The Drug War: A Bonanza for the Enemies of Freedom by Kevin Carson

Prosecute ‘Em by Jack Hunter

New Issue of Synthesis

What Happened to the Peace Movement? Scott Horton interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Farewell, US Hegemony by Andrew Bacevich and Tom Engelhardt

America’s Shame by Eric Margolis

Is the State Necessary? by Kirkpatrick Sale

National-Anarchist Portraits: Andrew Yeoman

Taking Secession Seriously-At Last by Kirkpatrick Sale

H.L. Mencken Speaks Wow!!

Shrink the State: A Leftist Aim by Chris Dillow

Secession Is Our Future by Cliff Thies

Let a Thousand Nations Bloom from Free Guptastan

Revisionism: A New, Angry Look at the American Past from TIME, 1970

Why We Fight the Power by Roderick Long

Neocons on the Danube by Paul Gottfried

Credit Card Deform by Sheldon Richman

Don’t Know Much About Capitalism by Thomas Woods

African Anarchism in Zimbabwe by Larry Gambone

Is GDP Decreasing? by Francois Tremblay

Outside the Gates: Turkey and Europe by Mark Hackard

Debt as a Way of Life by Richard Spencer

The Taliban’s Road to Kabul by Patrick Cockburn

Death at Work in American by Joann Wypijewski

Zionist Lobby Targets Another Tenured Professor by Doug Henwood

The Nuremberg Truth and Reconciliation Committee by Jeremy Scahill

Will Iceland Be Handed Over to a New Gang of Kleptocrats? by Michael Hudson

Israeli Fascism by Uri Avnery

Why the U.S. Still Hates Cuba by Frederico Fuentes

Obama’s Sins of Omission by Andrew J. Bacevich

The Secessionist Option: Why Now? by Ian Baldwin

George Washington on Entangling Alliances 

James Madison on War 

Most Women Oppose Preferences in Hiring Blacks by TGGP

Unsubstantiated Blanket Statements by Ean Frick

“Get Your Hands Off My Country” 

Military Moronity by William S. Lind

The Secessionist Bookshelf by Bill Buppert

Anarchy and the Law of the Somalis by Dick Clark

The Fed Has Wounded You Gerald Celente interviewed by Lew Rockwell

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate? by Charles Pena

The Case for Prosecuting Bush by David Henderson

Some Might Call It Treason by Philip Giraldi

Calamity Jane by Justin Raimondo

The U.S. is Addicted to Imperialism Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

Get Out of Iraq George McGovern interviewed by Scott Horton

The U.S. Should Cut Military Spending by One Half by Benjamin Friedman

We Are All Torturers in America by Naomi Wolf

The Greatest Gay Rights Song Ever Written -here’s the lyrics

Secession: The True Bioregional Way by Kirkpatrick Sale

The Ten Core Values of Survivalism 

The Greatest American President of All by Thomas Woods

Is is Time to Bring Back the Lone Star Republic? by Kelse Moen

Is a Hyperinflationary Depression Ahead? John Williams interviewed by Howard Ruff

The Rich Capitalist Who Co-Founded Communism by Robert Service

The Lobby Wants War by Justin Raimondo

Obama Looks Unimpressive on Civil Liberties After 100 Days by J.D. Tuccille

The Dark Core of the Empire by Jacob Hornberger

Tortured by the Past by Frank Snepp

The Obama-Netanyahu Showdown by Robert Parry

What This Country Needs is a Good Pirated Version of Kindle E-Books by Kevin Carson

Really Small Firm Size by Shawn Wilbur

Help Arthur Silber

Fair Taxers-Friends or Foes? by Dylan Hales

Obama and “Two States” by Ellen Cantarow

The McCarthyism That Horowitz Built by Dana Cloud

The Cocaine Powder/Crack Sentencing Disparity by Jasmine Tyler and Anthony Papa

Obama Disses Tea Partyers by Red Phillips

The Flu Hysteria Agency by Bill Anderson

The Evil of Eminent Domain by David T. Beito

Secede, Georgia! 

Is Neocon Foreign Policy Finished? by Ivan Eland

Dictatorial Powers Unchallenged by Andy Worthington

Bibi’s Holocaust-or Ours? by Gordon Prather

Freedom of Expression, Dissenting Historians and the Holocaust Revisionists by David Botsford

Thought Police Muscle Up in Britain by Hal G.P. Colebatch

Why Many Chinese Don’t Want Freedom by Richard Bernstein

Economic Policy and Growth by TGGP

Jon Stewart the Hypocrite by Francois Tremblay

May Day 2009 by Rad Geek

The Shadow of the Panther by Hugh Pearson

Remembering Gustave Landauer-He Was Killed 90 Years Ago Today 

Strictly Personal  by Chuck Baldwin

The Road to Weimar America by Robert Stacy McCain

“Do You Take This Pony?” by Evan McLaren

Thoroughly Modern Marxism by Richard Spencer

Is the GOP Too Conservative? by Jack Hunter

The Swine Are Loose by Ilana Mercer

Technofascism, Not Socialism by Thomas Naylor

Dissing the Declaration by Harrison Bergeron 2

Kabul’s New Elite by Patrick Cockburn

The Israel Boycott is Biting by Nadia Hijab

Why I am an Anarcho-Pluralist, Part Two 4

Imagine, for one horribly unpleasant moment, that the anarchist movement (movements?) in North America, in their present form, were to carry out an actual revolution. What kind of social or political system would be the result? The Wikipedia entry on anarchism in the United States lists a number of individuals who represent North American anarchism in different ways. These include Michael Albert (Chomskyite proponent of participatory economics-“parecon”), Ashanti Alston (black power anarchist), Hakim Bey (lifestyle anarchist), Bob Black (nihilist and reputed psychopath), Kevin Carson (Proudhonian mutualist), Noam Chomsky (Marxo-syndicalist-anarcho-social democrat), Peter Coyote (love generation), Howard Ehrlich (social anarchist), David Friedman (anarcho-capitalist), David Graeber (anarcho-anthropologist), Hans-Hermann Hoppe (anarcho-monarchist), Derrick Jensen (primitivist), Jeff Luers (eco-anarchist prisoner), Judith Malina (anarcho-pacifist actress), the late James J. Martin (individualist anarchist and Holocaust revisionist), Wendy McElroy (Rothbardian anarcho-feminist individualist), Jason McQuinn (post-left anarchist), Cindy Milstein (Bookchinite), Chuck Munson (anarchist without adjectives), Joe Peacott (individualist-anarchist), Sharon Presley (left-libertarian feminist), Keith Preston (agent of the forces of darkness), Lew Rockwell (Rothbardian paleolibertarian), Jeremy Sapienza (market anarchist), Crispin Sartwell (individualist-anarchist), Rebecca Solnit (environmentalist), Starhawk (neo-pagan eco-feminist), Warcry (eco-anarchist), Dana Ward (anarcho-archivist), David Watson (primitivist), Mike Webb (murder victim), Fred Woodworth (atheist anarchist), John Zerzan (primitivist) and Howard Zinn (New Left anarcho-Marxist).

This list does not even begin to mention all of the ideological tendencies to be found among anarchists, e.g., indigenist anarchism, anarcho-communism, national-anarchism, insurrectionary anarchism, Christian anarchism and many others. Even so, anarchists collectively probably do not comprise even one percent of the population at large. Imagine if the anarchist milieu were to grow to include tens of millions of people. Most likely all of these specific tendencies would grow exponentially, and some new ones no one has heard of yet would probably appear. How would anarchists go about organizing society if indeed anarchism were to become a mass movement and the state in its present form were to disappear. More specifically, how would we reconcile the differences between all of these different tendencies, and how would anarchists co-exist with persons of other belief systems? Unless we want to start sending people to re-education camps, or placing them in gulags, or engaging in summary or mass executions we had better start thinking some of this out.

There are really only three ways. One would be anarcho-totalitarianism, where whatever anarchist faction or group of factions that happens to have the most power simply represses their rivals, anarchists and non-anarchists alike. Another would be anarcho-mass democracy, where we have an anarchist parliament consisting of the Syndicalist Party, Primitivist Party, Libertarian Party, Ecology Party, Feminist Party, et.al., perhaps presided over by, say, Prime Minister Chuck Munson. While this might be an interesting situation, it ultimately wouldn’t be much different than the kinds of states we have today.

The only other alternative is the dispersion of power to local units. These could be localities where everything is completely privatized (Hoppe) or everything is completely collectivized (anarcho-communism), or some point in between. The specific anarchist tendencies these communities represented would be determined according to prevailing ideological currents at the local level. One contemporary anarchist observes:

The superficial story is that the primmies control the NW, the SW desert and the Appalachians, while the Reds control the entire NE block and have a mild advantage everywhere else.

So “after the revolution” the “primmies” would be dominant in their regions and the “Reds” in theirs, and presumably the Free Staters in theirs, and the queer anarchists in theirs,  and so forth. It’s also interesting to observe how radically different the value systems and definitions of “freedom” employed by different kinds of anarchists are. One anarchist has noted that some anarchists wish to bar alcohol, drugs, tobacco, meat, porn, S&M and prostitution from their communities. This should go along way with those libertarian-libertine anarchists for whom anarchy is synonomous with all sorts of legalized vice.  Then there’s the conflict between the ethno-preservationist national-anarchists and the anti-racist left-anarchists, and between the proprietarian anarchists and the communal anarchists. I’ve even come across an anarchist proponent of the draft. Of course, the different kinds of anarchists will insist that others are not true anarchists, but that’s beside the point. Each of the different anarchist factions consider themselves to be the true anarchists, and that’s not going to change.

The adherents of many of these philosophies act as though the fate of the world depends on their every move, when in reality each of these tendencies will often have no more than a few thousand, maybe a few hundred, maybe even just a few dozen sympathizers (or even fewer than that). Rarely is any attention given to the question of how anarchists will ever achieve any of their stated goals, to the degree that anarchists have any common goals, or any goals at all.

If anarchists want to have any impact on the wider society whatsoever, I believe there is only one way. First, anarchists, whatever their other differences, need to band together in large enough numbers to become single-issue political pressure group. This would be a pressure group just like those in the mainstream: pro-choice, pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gun, pro-gay marriage, anti-gay marriage, marijuana decriminalization, etc. The purpose of this pressure group would be to reduce political authority down to lowest unit possible, which, I believe is the local community, i.e., cities, towns, villages, districts, neighborhoods,etc. I recognize some anarchists wish to reduce politics down to the individual level. I’m a little more skeptical of that. For instance, I’m not so sure competing criminal codes could exist in the same territorial jurisdiction, but I’m willing to agree to disagree on that. I say let’s work to reduce things down to the city-state, county or village level, and then debate how much further to go from there. Such a pressure group could include not only anarchists of every kind, but also left-green decentralists, conservative local sovereignty groups, regionalist or secessionist tendencies or even good old fashioned Jeffersonian states’ rightsers. This idea does not mean that every locality would need to be an independent nation unto itself. They could be sovereign entities within broader territorial confederations, so long as they retained their right of withdrawal or to veto policies favored by the larger bodies. This way, even communities with radically different cultural values or economic arrangements could collaborate on projects of mutual interest such as maintenance of transportation systems, firefighting, or common defense.

Meanwhile, outside the context of this single-issue movement for radical decentralization, the different anarchist factions could continue their other interests in different contexts. Libertarians could continue to push for private money or competing currencies. Syndicalists could continue to push for anarcho-syndicalist unions. Primitivists could set up tech-free communes or villages. Anti-racists could protest Klan marches, and national-anarchists could set up ethnic separatist intentional communities. Pro-lifers could agitate against abortion and feminists could agitate against pro-lifers. Gun nuts could simultaneously belong to the NRA and pacifists could belong to the Catholic Workers. Anarcho-communists could organize Israeli-style kibbutzes and anarcho-capitalists could set up their preferred private defense agencies.

Additionally, different factions with different beliefs could target certain geographical areas for colonization as the Free Staters are doing in New Hampshire, the Christian Exodus is doing in South Carolina, the Native Americans are doing in the Lakota Republic, or the Ron Paulites are doing in the Liberty Districts. Indeed, Bill Bishop’s interesting book “The Big Sort” describes how Americans are in the process of self-separation along the lines of culture, religion, ideology, political affilitation, sexuality, age, income, occupation and every conceivable other issue. Colonization can then become a movement for full-blown local secession. The values and ideals of those whom you disagree with are not as personally threatening if you do not have to live under the same political roof , and the worse someone’s ideas are, the better that they be separate from everyone else.

This does not mean that sovereign communities cannot have institutionalized protects for individual liberties, minority rights, or popular rule. Some state constitutions or municipal charters already have protections of this type in some instances, and sometimes on a more expansive level than what is found in the U.S. Constitution. Individual sovereign communities could make such protections as extensive as they wanted. Nor does this mean that libertarian anti-statism is the “only” value. There are some values in life that transcend politics, and one can also be committed to other issues while also being committed to political decentralization and local sovereignty. For instance, I am also interested in prisoners’ rights, legal, judicial, penal and police reform, ending the war on drugs, repealing consensual crime laws, abolishing compulsory school attendance laws, opposing zoning ordinances, eminent domain, the overregulation of land and housing markets, sex worker rights, the right to bear arms, self-defense rights, the rights of students, the homeless, the handicapped, medical patients and psychiatric inmates, freedom of speech and the press, labor organizing, worker cooperatives, mutual aid associations, home schools and alternative education, credit unions and mutual banks, LETS, land reform, indigenous peoples’ rights, alternative media, non-state social services, and many other topics. My primary area of interest is foreign policy. In fact, foreign policy was the reason I became an anarchist and have remained one, in spite of being continually underwhelmed by the organized anarchist movement. I think the American empire and its effects on peoples throughout the world is an abomination, and I want to see it ended. Yet, I think at the same time an agglomeration of anarchist communities in North America would need some kind of “national defense” system, given that Europe and Asia may not “go anarchist” at the same moment, which is why I am interested in the paleoconservatives with their traditional American isolationist views.

At the same time, there are some topics that many anarchists are committed to that don’t particularly interest me. Environmentalism is one of these. Like all reasonable people, I think we need clean air and water, and it’s not cool to build a toxic waste dump in a residential area. Yet, the eco-doomsday ideologies associated with ideas like global warming and peak oil are not things I’m sold on as of yet. I also really just don’t see what the big deal about endangered species is. The overwhelming majority of species that have existed thus far have already gone extinct, so what’s a few more? Still, if this is an issue others care passionately about, then by all means enaged in direct action on behalf of sea turtles or spotted owls or against urban sprawl. Don’t let me get in your way. Gay marriage is another topic I really just don’t give a fuck about, not because I’m anti-gay but because I view marriage as an archaic religious and statist institution that anarchists or libertarians or radicals of any stripe should not be promoting. But that’s just me. As an atheist, I also don’t care much for the militant politicized atheism found in some circles. I agree that compulsory religious instruction and practice should not exist in state-run schools, but I think extending this idea to things like prayers at city council meetings or football games, or extracurricular religious clubs in state institutions, is taking things a bit far. It is this sort of thing that alienates the usually religious poor and working class from radicalism.

Lastly, we need to consider how to appeal to all those ordinary folks out there whose assistance we might need in order to achieve these kinds of goals. An anarchist-led, libertarian-populist, radical decentralist, pan-secessionist movement that appealed to the tradition and ideals of the American Revolution is the only possible avenue. What I have outlined here is essentially the same set of views promoted by Voltairine de Cleyre in her essays “Anarchism without Adjectives” and “Anarchism and American Traditions“. If you don’t like my views, then come up with a plan of your and let the rest of us hear about it.

You Musn’t Forget S-L-A-V-E-R-Y!!!!!! 1

In contemporary American political discourse, we often hear talk of “the legacy of slavery,” primarily in discussions of racial issues. To be sure, the “legacy of slavery” has had a damaging impact on American race relations (it wasn’t so wonderful for the actual slaves, either). Many of the rather severe social problems found among certain sectors of Americans of African ancestry today are often attributed to this legacy. I tend to think such claims are often overstated. For one thing, the overwhelming majority of American blacks are far from being the social or economic basket cases many people imagine them to be. As the black economist Dr. Walter Williams puts it:

If one totaled black earnings, and consider blacks a separate nation, he would have found that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world’s 16th richest nation. That’s just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans have been chief executives of some of the world’s largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, headed the world’s mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black. A few black Americans are among the world’s richest people and many are some of the world’s most famous personalities. These gains, over many difficult hurdles, speak well not only of the intestinal fortitude of a people but of a nation in which these gains were possible. They could not have been achieved anywhere else.

Of course, there is another side to this question, primarily the ongoing gap in accumulated wealth between whites and blacks, and the even more serious problem of the enormous black “underclass.” I’m inclined to think these latter problems have broader and more recent causes, such as ongoing patterns of class conflict, repression, politically imposed hinderances to the economic self-advancement of blacks, and attacks on the organic community life of the lower classes by the state. Still, there’s no doubt the “legacy of slavery” contributes to the disproportional representation of blacks among the lower classes that are impacted most heavily by such things.

There’s still another way in which the “legacy of slavery” has damaged American politics, and that is the persistent identification of ideas like local sovereignty, community autonomy or political decentralization as code words for slavery or compulsory racial segregation of the kind associated with Jim Crow. For instance, in much of American higher education, the classical American republican doctrine of “states’ rights” is simply dismissed as an anachronism that never had any purpose other than to defend the interests of slave-holders. Having studied American history in an advanced academic setting, I’ve noticed the general tendency is to present the unfolding of American history as an evolutionary struggle towards the achievement of “progress,” meaning overcoming reactionary ideas like states’ rights, limited government and other impediments to the glorious victory of the federal welfare state and centralized micromanagement of local race relations. Joe Stromberg’s parody of a modern course in what used to be called Western Civilization, which can be viewed here, is only a slight exaggeration.

The obsession with slavery has corrupted not only political discourse in elite academic circles, and among mainstream “progressive” thinkers, but also among fringe radicals as well. For this reason, my Number One Fan Aster feels it necessary to place this item in the proposed constitution for her rendition of Utopia:

The principle applies to places not subject to the jurisdiction of the County of Bohemia too, but this isn’t an excuse to bomb foreigners and take their stuff. Or to get other foreigners to ruin their livelihoods so they have to work in your sweatshops for virtually nothing. It even applies to BROWN people, believe it or not- and the fact that it took you this long to figure that out means you suck.

Section VII. Aster shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Actually, anyone who wants to stop a slavery situation should feel empowered to do it. Figuring out the enforcement and incentive structures will be a bitch, though- but that’s not an excuse for giving up and just letting slavery happen, Keith.

Soviet Onion:

Aster has written some unwarranted misrepresentations of Keith (I prefer to think he enables fascists rather than being one himself) and even more of Jeremy, but this isn’t one of them. Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

So should we “just let slavery happen”? First of all, where does contemporary slavery actually take place? Mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. You know, the places where all of those supremely virtuous “people of color” tend to be found and who would have remained in the Garden of Eden if only those evil white European snake-devils hadn’t come along and fucked up their otherwise idyllic world. If only those evil white-devil slave traders hadn’t brought Africans to the Western hemisphere as slaves, perhaps their current descendents could enjoy living in the paradise of Nigeria, where seven percent of the population are still enslaved. Maybe the prosperous members of America’s black middle class (roughly seventy-five percent of American blacks) could even be in the oasis of Mauritania, where twenty percent of the population are still slaves. Of course, to their credit, the Mauritanians did pass an anti-slavery law in 2007. Who says they’re not progressive?

Do we need to “just let slavery happen?” No, a coalition of nations could invade the African continent and force the locals to free their slaves, in the style of U.S. Grant, Bill Sherman and Phil Sheridan. However, the only nations with the level of wealth and/or military power to even attempt such an effort (disaster though it would be) would be those of North America, Europe and Russia (plus the wild card of China). Problem is it’s mostly white folks who live in those nations. So a liberatory invasion of Africa and other slavery hotbeds seems to be off the table. Otherwise, we might be practicing European colonialism, or even white supremacy. Plus, it’s been done already. Wasn’t decolonialization supposed to be a “progressive” thing? So, yes, it looks like we do indeed need to “just let slavery happen.” Anything else might even be racist or white supremacist. Of course, we could assist those actual groups who really are doing something to oppose slavery in place like Africa. For instance, those groups who have actually purchased the freedom of Sudanese slaves. Problem is a lot these actually effective anti-slavery groups seem to be Christian in orientation, and we couldn’t endorse that, given that they are all no doubt frothing-at-the-mouth homophobes who express skepticism as to whether anal sodomy and/or rimming ought to be elevated to the level of sacramental rites, right along with eucharist, baptism and the last rites.

Actually, I don’t think we should be that hard on the African slave-holders. After all, they’re not so different from us white Americans of a mere 150 years ago. Plus, the slave-holders in places like Nigeria or the Sudan never got to go to U.S. or Western European public schools, receive multicultural education, or participate in “teaching tolerance” programs whose curriculum was designed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. So give them a break.

Of course, it is sometimes argued, though usually not by sensible people, that American-style antebellum slavery was of a particularly nasty variety, unlike the sunny and hedonistic kinds that existed in places like South America, Africa, China or the Islamic world. And while we would not want to impose Eurocentric Western values like slavery abolition on places like Africa (to do so would be racist), surely the recent ancestors of us white Americans, at least the enlightened ones from up North, should not have “just let slavery happen” in the states of the Old Confederacy? Africans enslaving Africans, Chinese enslaving Chinese, or Arabs enslaving Arabs might be something we can tolerate because, well, it just couldn’t be all that bad if “people of color” are doing it, but the idea of white American Southerners (and Christians, no less) enslaving Africans, well, that’s just, well, worse than awful, for some reason or another.

I reject the claims of modern day Confederate patriots that the U.S. Civil War had nothing to do with slavery and that it was all about tariffs, agriculture and states’ rights. However, I agree that the motivation of the Union was self-preservation rather than slavery abolition because, well, the President of the Union said so. Still, wasn’t the victory of the Union a victory for liberty? Yes, if we want to overlook the imposition of the draft in both the North and South during the course of the war, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, and the maiming or displacement of millions more. Well, wasn’t it at least a victory for “anti-racism”? Well, not really, considering the next major military effort after the defeat of the Confederacy was the conquest of the Indian territories in the West. There’s also the thorny question of the fact that there were both Indians and blacks on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Then there’s the question of the impact of the Civil War on the future of American politics. The war marked the death of the old confederal republic and the creation of a centralized, Jacobin, nationalist regime and continental empire. If America had been split into two republics in the 1860s, the Wilson regime might not have entered World War One a half century later. It was American involvement in that war that led to the total destruction of Germany, the subsequent rise of Nazism, World War Two, the genocides that transpired during the war, the invention of atomic weapons, the Stalinist occupation of Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, the brush wars in Asia, the present day American world empire and other not-so-nice things. Indeed, the war for slavery abolition advocated by many of Lincoln’s abolitionist supporters would seem to be an example of the “armed doctrine” that Edmund Burke warned against. Of course, that does not mean that an actual guerrilla war against the Southern slaveholders of the kind advocated by the anarchist Lysander Spooner would not have been justified.

So back to Soviet Onion’s comments:

Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

Aside from the fact that comparing “authoritarian” parenting, compulsory school attendance and marriage to chattel slavery does little except make others think that anarchism is a philosophy not suitable for anyone over the age of fifteen, there are certain significant qualifications that would need to be added for this to be an accurate description of my actual views. I am for the dissolution of the American regime into smaller, more manageable units. Presumably, America’s international empire would no longer be able to sustain itself. Those nations are that are now colonies, vassalages, or client-states of the U.S. would achieve their full independence. However they choose to organize themselves upon achieving independence is none of my business. If the Italians elect a representative of the fascist Italian Social Movement as mayor of Rome, or if the Venezuelans prefer Chavez as their leader, or if the Cubans fail to rise up against Castro as the Romanians did to Nicolae Ceausescu, then that’s none of Keith’s goddamn business.

The question of what political factions or ideologies, if any, should be excluded from a pan-secessionist alliance in North America is indeed an interesting one. While ideologies like Nazism and Stalinism are too alien to American political culture to ever become mass movements, it is possible small bands of such groups could carve out separatist enclaves for themselves. There could theoretically be autonomous urban neighborhoods run by skinheads, or rural compounds of neo-nazi survivalists, or communes organized by Stalinist or Maoist groups. Groups of this type could even hold fairly large tracts of land that would be their de facto private property. If such communities are entirely voluntary in their membership, then there can be no political objection to them on libertarian grounds. Of course, others might have aesthetic, moral or cultural objections. But that’s too bad.

In a case where, say, a Neo-Nazi or hard-core Communist group were to seize a wider city or town, I would say the degree to which such an effort should be challenged or recognized should depend on the circumstances. At bare minimum, I would want those who wished to leave to be given the chance to do so on a model similar to, say, the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. If such requests were refused, should surrounding communities engage in military action against the offending community? Perhaps, or perhaps not, depending on the circumstances, potential costs of such an action, the degree of severity of the offense given, and the probably of victory by the self-appointed policemen.

Ironically, this debate has relevance to an issue that I have raised with anarchists and libertarians in the past, and it is an issue where I have never received a satisfactory answer. What about a scenario where a libertarian or relatively libertarian society, or a federation of anarchies, was threatened by domestic political movements of an authoritarian or totalitarian nature? The classic example of this is the Weimar liberal republic, where the center collapsed and the two largest political parties were Hitler’s NSDAP and the Stalinist KPD, with each of these maintaining their own private armies, and engaging in routine, violent streetfighting with each other. To what degree do such groups cease to be mere political organizations using their rights of association, free speech and right to bear arms and become outright domestic invaders? Would the broader alliance of citizen militias, mercenaries, guerrillas, paramilitaries, posses, gangs or whatever that would comprise the defense forces of an anarchist federation ever be justified in suppressing the activities of a group like the NSDAP or the KPD? I believe they would, if such groups grew large enough, powerful enough, disruptive enough or violent enough to pose a “clear and present danger” to the survival of the anarchist federation. There is no reason why a confederacy of anarchies should tolerate an insurgency by a Khmer Rouge or a Shining Path.

I’ve even made similar arguments concerning immigration. To what degree should a host society allow or tolerate immigration by persons demonstrating values or originating from societies whose values are hostile to those of the host society? What constitutes a legitimate demographic threat? Should a billion Chinese be able to migrate to the U.S. tomorrow if they so choose, irrespective of the wishes of the natives? Should liberal-Enlightenment or Greco-Roman Western nations accept immigration from theocratic Islamic societies unconditionally? I think not.  It would seem that political, economic and civilizational survival would be an issue that trumps the migratory rights of immigrants.

These are difficult questions, and appeals to rigid ideological formulations and overblown juvenalia do not help to answer them.

Updated News Digest April 26, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“Yes, something very ugly has surfaced in contemporary American liberalism, as evidenced by the irrational and sometimes infantile abuse directed toward anyone who strays from a strict party line. Liberalism, like second-wave feminism, seems to have become a new religion for those who profess contempt for religion. It has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power. . . . For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. The nut cases on the right are on the uneducated fringe, but on the left they sport Ivy League degrees. I’m not kidding — there are some real fruitcakes out there, and some of them are writing for major magazines. It’s a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals.”

                                                                                                    -Camille Paglia

We Live in a Fascist State Gerald Celente interviewed by Russia Today

Putting the Bush Years on Trial by Alexander Cockburn

If Obama Were Not a Pawn of Wall Street and Corporate America by Thomas Naylor

Sovereignty Resolutions, Nullification and Tea Parties: Much Ado About Nothing by Thomas Naylor

The Tea Parties: A Step in the Right Direction? Richard Spencer and Jack Hunter

Secede and Survive: Prepare to be Overwhelmed by Secession by Carol Moore

Go to CNN and Vote on Secession (looks like the poll has closed)

Conservatives Are Evil by Ryan McMaken

Libertarianism vs “Libertarianism by Justin Raimondo

If Only Libertarians Had Cards, So They Could Be Taken Away by TGGP

Bay Area National Anarchists Participate in Cystic Fibrosis Walkathon (good work, comrades! good outreach and a good cause!)

Just How Big a Disaster is the American Military by Bill Lind

Why the State is Our Enemy Robert Higgs interviewed on C-Span

Does the New Class Oppress Traditional Religious Communities? by David R. Hodge

The National-Anarchist Litmus Test by Keith Preston

Too Small to Fail: The Wilhelm Roepke Solution to Our Economic Woes by Dermot Quinn

Secession, the Fed and Tomorrow Ron Paul interviewed by Lew Rockwell

War Socialism and National Bankruptcy by David Gordon

The Amazing Catholic Bullshit Generator by John Zmirak

PIGS Ambush Citizen in Milwaukee by William Norman Grigg

The Apologist by Pat Buchanan

A Storm in a Cup of Tea by Jack Hunter

The Real Tea Parties by Ilana Mercer

First They Came for the Fatties by Richard Spencer

On Nation and Nationalism by Matthew Roberts

The War on Family Farms by Richard Spencer

The Thin and Thick, the There and the Here by Razib Khan

Are Hierarchies Rational? by Francois Tremblay

Missing the Point on Secession by Rad Geek

A Match Made in Hell by Roderick Long

Government Spending is No Cure for Recession by Sheldon Richman

The Real Debate on Foreign Policy: Intervention vs Non-Intervention by Sheldon Richman

Dangerous Men in Uniform by Rad Geek

Tea and Sympathy by Roderick Long

Legal Purgatory and John Demjanjuk by Binoy Kampmark

Ten Years After Columbine: The Tragedy of Youth Continues by Henry A. Giroux

Drug War Persecution Continues by Fred Gardner

The American Empire Foreclosed? by Marc Engler

The FARC Can’t Dance by Belen Fernandez

Norman Finkelstein with Martin Indyk on Gaza 

Survivalists: Regular People Get Ready for the Worst 

Ex-President of Colombia Says America Should Decriminalize Drugs 

The Ultimate Reaping of What One Sows: The Reich-Wing Edition by Glenn Greenwald

The Republic Strikes Back by Bill Kauffman

Against All Flags by Jesse Walker

Bush’s Torturers by Justin Raimondo

When Torture Isn’t “Torture” by Thomas R. Eddlem

Reading the Case of Roxana Saberi by Henry Newman

Japan Pays Foreign Workers to Go Home from Global Business

The Dark Side of Dubai by Johann Hari

Murdering Police Scum 

The Europe Syndrome and The Last Man 

A Federalism Amendment to the Constitution? by Randy Barnett

End the Cuban Embargo! by Sheldon Richman

Keynesian Conservatives by Sheldon Richman

Direct Action Gets the Goods: Syndicalist Action Against Starbucks by Rad Geek

U.S. Militant Workers Union Formed: Workers Unite Beyond Left and Right! 

A Nation of Helpless Idiots by Karen De Coster

Fuck Single Mothers by Gavin McInnes

The Soul of Booker T. Washington by Dylan Hales

The Ghosts of Earth Day’s Past by Dylan Hales

Get In Touch With Your Inner Bigot by Robert Stacy McCain

Obama Plays Hamlet on Torture by Ray McGovern

The Torture Commission Trap by Michael Ratner

Deconstructing the Taliban by Fawzia Afzal-Khan

Torture, War and the Imperial Project by Chris Floyd

Unemployment Across the USA by Chris Wilson

Obama’s Afghan Plan: Fracturing the Antiwar Movement by Vijay Prashad

The Tyranny of Bad Economics by Dean Baker

White Privilege in the Americas by Aisha Brown and Dedrick Muhammed

A Reflection on the “Left” and My Arrest by Joaquin Cienfuegos

PC Gestapo Disrupts Meeting at UNC 

Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Defending His Home Against PIGS 

Man Arrested for Murder for Defending Property Against Masked Criminal 

Obama the Bubble Pricker by Tom Woods

Don’t Criticize the Somali Pirates by John Higgins

Why is there a Totalitarian Drug War? by Jacob Hornberger

Banning Black Cars: The Latest Eco-Insanity by L.K. Samuels

The American Police State vs Little Boys by Paul Craig Roberts

The Servants of the Reptilian State by William Norman Grigg

Economic Survivalists by Judy Keen

Harmanic Convergence  by Justin Raimondo

The Cuban Embargo is a Proven Failure by Michael Kinsley

Of Course It Was Torture by Gene Healy

The Obedience Circuit  by Francois Tremblay

Rather Than Say This Myself from Back to the Drawing Board

Torture by Sheldon Richman

Paul Krugman is Right About Something from Back to the Drawing Board

In Counting There Is Strength by Rad Geek

Don’t You Wish It Really Could Be This Way? from Back to the Drawing Board

Educrat PIGS Molest Little Girls by Rad Geek

Obama Positioning for Back Door Gun Control by Chuck Baldwin

Immigration Hitting American Workers Hard by Peter Brimelow and Edward S. Rubenstein

Is Sean Hannity Now Cool? No!! by Jack Hunter

Religion and Politics by Razib Khan

Free John Walker Lindh by Dave Lindorff

Are Democrats Afraid of Investigating Torture? by Jeremy Scahill

A Housing Crash Update by Mike Whitney

Obama and the Housing Crisis by Anthony DiMaggio

The Debt Looters by Greg Moses

Blowback in Pakistan by Stonewall

Marijuana Advocates See Tipping Point by Brian Montopoli

Matt Taibbi’s The Great Derangement a review

TV Military Analysts Are Paid Pentagon Shills  by Glenn Greenwald

The Crime That Cannot Be Wiped Away by Laurence Vance

Never Trust a Commie or a Conservative by Jeffrey Tucker

Our Economic Future Peter Schiff interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Shamelessness of Jane Harman by Justin Raimondo

Newt’s Sword of Damocles by Gordon Prather

How to Deal with North Korea Doug Bandow interviewed by Scott Horton

On Somali Piracy Jesse Walker interviewed by Scott Horton

Obama’s Foreign Policy Ron Paul interviewed by Scott Horton

Obama’s First 100 Days: Give Him a “D” by Ivan Eland

Soldier Killed Herself After Refusing to Take Part in Torture by Greg Mitchell

The National-Anarchist Litmus Test 10

Lately, when surveying the works of various anarchist/libertarian/whatchamacallit writers, commentators or bloggers, I’ve starting applying what I call the “National-Anarchist Litmus Test.” That is, I’ve come to think that a fair standard for measuring some anarchist ideologue’s level of intellectual, political, emotional or psychological maturity is his/her ability to discuss the ideas of National-Anarchism without falling into something resembling an epileptic seizure. For those who want to know more about National-Anarchism and its actual ideas, go to the Synthesis website and real some of the articles in their archives. Then go check out AnarchoNation, Bay Area National Anarchists, Folk and Faith, A Heretickel Anarchyste, National Anarchists of Australia and New Zealand, Ean Frick, and  Revolution International. Make up your own mind.

I’m only a fellow traveler to National-Anarchism, but if I had to summarize it with one idea, I’d say it’s primary message is self-determination for all the world’s diverse peoples. You know, all those Tibetans, Palestinians, Kurds, Basques, Irish, Chechnyans, Lakota, Maori, Hmong, Oaxacons, Miskito and other occupied, colonized or oppressed peoples that the Left pretends to give a flying fuck about. Another idea might be the self-preservation of all the world’s diverse peoples. You know, kind of like those endangered spotted owls, snail darters, and sea turtles the Left is always wringing hands over.

Of course, what really gets a hair up the ass of the Left is the fact that National-Anarchists apply the same standards to indigenous Europeans that they do to other peoples. For some reason, this seems to evoke images in the Leftist mind of apartheid, Jim Crow or Nazism, although it would seem to a rational person that self-determination for all peoples is the polar opposite of a stratified racial caste system like Jim Crow or apartheid, much less a genocidal ideology like Nazism.

As I write this, there is a discussion going on over at the Rad Geek blog concerning the infamous Keith Preston and the shady National-Anarchist forces of darkness for whom I am supposedly a front man. Many anarcho-leftoids regard me as similar to the “Mr. Morden” character in the earlier episodes of the old 90s sci-fi show Babylon Five. For non-sci-fi fans, Morden was a human who acted as an operative for unseen sinister alien forces. Ironically, a thread that starts off as a very good and helpful discussion of Starbucks workers organized by the IWW soon degenerates into this from Soviet Onion:

As wishful as it sounds, it’s a welcome antidote to the left-libertarian tendency to treat localism and decentralization as THE POINT rather than an instrumental tool to some more fundamental desire. That shit’s also vulnerable to corruption by every kind of village fascism under the sun. Hence the enabling attitude toward things like National Anarchism coming from Keith Preston and Jeremy Weiland that almost makes ANTIFA-style gang beatdowns seem like a more intelligent response to the phenomenon.

Never one to allow herself to be outdone, my Number One Cheerleader Aster pipes in:

It is hard for me to express how much I appreciate your speaking out against the national anarchist Trojan horse. Thank you.

And that’s precisely it- replacing rights with decentralism completely throws out the principle of liberty. I want the implementation of a specific social system which guarantees individual rights and supports individual autonomy. I’m not interested in a politics which switches this for the goal of acceptance of existing social systems. whether individualist or not. Liberty requires a conscious and rational set of values and institutions which are incompatible with traditional organic society.

I’m a moderate on decentralisation- actually, I think the original 1789 American federal system buttressed by an extensive and enforceable Bill of Rights fully incorporated against local tyranny is a fairly good model. I’m at the moment inclined to say yes to decentralisation in economic matters, no in educational matters, and to favour a mixed system in politics. I think we do need broad regional social organisation in a form which maintains an easy flow of goods, people, and ideas- I think this aspect of the Roman, British, and American empires was a good thing (have you read Isabel Paterson’s God of the Machine?).

Incidentally, I think Jeremy Weiland (if he’s Jeremy of Social Memory Complex) means well, in the sense of wanting a world in which human beings are really happy. I still disagree with him, but he’s not like Preston or Troy Southgate. I’ve been unjustly nasty to him in the past and regret it.

So political and economic decentralization really aren’t so bad so long as an enlightened cultural elite gets to control a nationalized educational system in order to properly brainwash the young with The Official Enlightened Progressive Truth. You know, notions like the idea that human history can be primarily defined in terms of the historic, dialectical, objectively revolutionary, linear struggle for the inalienable, inevitably triumphant sacred human right to suck cock in the men’s room at the airport. Next up is Marja Erwin:

In my admittedly incomplete understanding, collectivist anarchism has historically involved either or both of two kinds of community control. The first being near-monopolistic but temporary; a transitional confederation instead of Marx’s transitional state. I think this was Bakunin’s pragmatic proposal. The second being community control of specific institutions, but neither requiring participation nor forbidding competition.

I think Parecon has sowed the seeds of Prestonism, because it imagines a permanent system which subjects individual choices to community decision, and forbids independent exchange. … And the primitivists like that!

Huh??

Then comes Rad Geek (a writer I actually like, BTW):

For what it’s worth, on this specific issue, I think you’re being subjected to a bit of six-degrees-of-Heinrich-Himmler here, and I think it’s unfortunate and unfair to you. Although Keith Preston is not himself an anarcho-fascist he has put a lot of effort into being accommodating towards anarcho-fascists; and you’ve put a lot of effort into being accommodating towards Keith Preston. I think the links in that chain are worth talking about individually, but I don’t think it’s fair to describe what you’ve been doing as “enabling” the anarcho-fascists by some kind of transitive property.

And pot-smoking leads to cocaine-sniffing, which leads to crack-smoking, which leads to heroin-addiction, which leads to junkie whores turning tricks for their dope, which leads to junkie whores selling their daughters to pedos for their dope, which leads to the collapse of civilization and the conquest of America by homosexuals, al-Qaeda and liberals.

Now for some other jewels. Says William:

Although a majority of folks express annoyance at it (generally by deriding the partisans as rat-bastard “theorists”, and ridiculing the notion that folks should be forced to choose between hugging a tree or holding a union card) Red / Green hostilities nevertheless play an enormous role in shaping the movement. In the muddled mainstream of the movement virtually everyone calls themselves “anti-civ” and supports the IWW in a desire to avoid conflict. The campus activist derived folk side more with the Syndicalists, while the Crimethinc romantic punx side more with the primmies. The fringes are the one’s that produce substantive thought.

In the isolated, insular core of these wings (ie, Eugene and NEFAC) the primmies are likely to write MAs off as irrelevant and the syndicalists are likely to go batshit insane a la McKay.

Might I dare to suggest that an ideological conflict between “primmies” and syndicalists means about as much to Actually Existing Reality as a theological conflict between snake handlers and Scientologists?

My buddy Aster:

There’s some obnoxious political correctness stuff… I got bugged about prostitution a few times (mildly), and one has to mind vegetarian and recycling Ps and Qs to avoid hassles. I got involved in a reasonably benevolent individualist/collectivist anarchist schism which began (I am not making this up) over recycled toilet paper.

These are the folks that old tolerance-mongering Aster prefers to hang out with? Sheesh. Soviet Onion:

I could perhaps try to initiate the conversation (that is supposed to be one of the functions of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left), but I think it would be frustrating at best and dangerous at worst. The Libertarians don’t know enough about the currents of anarchist movement/scene continuum to even “get” the conflict, and social anarchists would react with all the courtesy and consideration currently reserved for the interwebs, if not being equally confused. Given that I’ve also witnessed conversations where market anarchists have been compared to neo-Nazis, I honestly wouldn’t even feel safe doing that, at least alone with a group of them.

What? “Dangerous”? “Wouldn’t even feel safe”? Around all those inclusive, tolerant, humane-humanitarian-human rights loving, sensitivity-mongering anarchists?

Well, isn’t it great that we’ve got that giant squid to keep us from killing each other. It’s a bit like Iain McKay’s strategy of easing up on the mutualists only because he sees anarcho-capitalists as a bigger aberration and threat (and to avoid having to cede history and ideological pedigree to the “other side”).

Someone needs a “strategy” for that? Sounds about as important as a “strategy” for jerking off or picking your nose. William again:

The superficial story is that the primmies control the NW, the SW desert and the Appalachians, while the Reds control the entire NE block and have a mild advantage everywhere else. Also don’t forget that primitivism got much of its start in the UK. Its just that the Reds and Greens have relatively zero interaction there.

Sounds like the Bloods and the Crips. Rad Geek:

For reference, when you refer to a “left-libertarian tendency” to fetishize localism and decentralism, do you have anyone particular in mind, other than Jeremy Weiland? (There’s also Keith Preston, presumably, but he doesn’t consistently identify as a left-libertarian, and in any case I’m not willing to grant him the description.)

Oh, well, poor me.

Folks, this is right out of the parody of leftist anarchism in Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail”: “Help, help, I’m being repressed!!”

This is precisely what the anarcho-leftist milieu was like when I was a hard-core participant in it going on three decades ago now. Unfortunately for anarchism, it does not seem to have progressed one iota since then. Fortunately for the rest of humanity, this sort of thing will be permanently relegated to youthful or bohemian subcultures with nothing better to do. I remember when I first became involved in leftist anarchism and was explaining my new found enthusiasms to my father, who didn’t share my enthusiasms (to say the least). Said Dad: “That just sounds like some fad  that will never amount to anything but crap.” Sorry, dad, you were right.

Updated News Digest April 19, 2008 2

Quotes:

“Liberals: they’d support Nazi death camps if it raised more money for public schools (also invented by German autocrats).”

                                                                                                         -Soviet Onion

“The fact is that the average man’s love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice, and, truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage, and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty- and is usually an outlaw in democratic societies. It is, indeed, only the exceptional man who can even stand it. The average man doesn’t want to be free. He simply wants to be safe. . . .”

                                                                                             -H. L. Mencken (thanks Ray!)

“Chavez has always been a non sequitur. 20th century politics in the 21st. It’s all part of the same ruse as the false left/right “division” which is the
private enterprise/public sector “division.” Would you rather have your life
controlled by a corporate shill or an arrogant, uneducated state bureaucrat? How come, neither is never an option in mainstream discourse?”             

                                                                                                             -Ean Frick

“Spare me the mewling about “ordered liberty,” please – 50 years of conservative pieties about “ordered liberty” led to Dick Cheney and a movement full of “men” who dared not open their mouths to defend liberty when she needed it most. Give me disorderly hinterland rebels any day.”

                                                                                        -Bill Kauffman (thanks Jeremy!)

 

Unprincipled Conservatism: The Tea Partyers by Jeremy Weiland

The Big Government/Big Business Axis of Evil by Chuck Baldwin

Empire Nearing Its End? by Alan Bock

Inflationary Depression is on the Way by Eric DeCarbonnel

Progressive Consensus Against Obama Emerges by Glenn Greenwald

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal Glenn Greenwald and Peter Reuter

The Declining American Empire by Eric Margolis

Payback: The U.S. Has Already Lost in Afghanistan by Michael Scheuer

The Fourth Generation Armies Are Winning by William S. Lind

Anarchy and Chaos in Black Communities by Robert Wicks

Peace Out by Justin Raimondo

Getting Beyond Race by Walter Williams

Confessions of a Liberal Anarchist by Ray Mangum

Hey, Tea Partyers, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is from The Picket Line

Homesteading on the High Seas for Liberty by Patri Friedman

Developmental Aid for Africa is Not Working by Dambisa Moyo

How the Vulgar Libertarians Work Against Liberty by theConverted

Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward on the Police Abuse of Atheists from Francois Tremblay

The Grammar of War  from Rad Geek

Taxation with Misrepresentation by Sheldon Richman

Charles Schumer is a Scumbag from Rad Geek

Attend the Tax Protest of Your Choice from The Picket Line

John Demanjuk and the True Haters by Pat Buchanan

NORML for Aspen by Christina Oxenberg

Extending Our Firepower by Paul Gottfried

Mark Sanford, the Alternative Right and Me by Jack Hunter

New Midwest Anarchist Website 

Wild Weekend in NYC 

Anarchist Organizing Conference in Chicago 

114 British Activists Arrested 

The Censorship of Norman Finkelstein 

French Comedian to Face Trial for Anti-Semitism 

Vulgar Childish Liberals by Filmer

Happy Easter! by Ean Frick

The Holocaust Justified My Values by TGGP

Iraqi Militia Fear Reprisals After US Exit by Patrick Cockburn

A Test for Habeus Corpus by Jeremy Scahill

Bossnapping by John V. Walsh

Marry a Farmer Rana Foroohar interviews Jim Rogers

A Mother is Tased After Learning Her Child Was Dead 

Pirates and Presidents 

Jon Stewart is Half Way There 

Open Hearings for War Crimes by Philip Giraldi

The Fog of Warmongering by Jeff Huber

Neoconned Again by Michael Brendan Dougherty

A Message from Der Tax Commissar (umm, IRS Commissioner) from Rad Geek

How Do We Get Out of the Financial Crisis? by Sheldon Richman

Generational Theft  by Jack Hunter

Tea Partyers in Charleston by Jack Hunter

The LaRouchian Madness by Ean Frick

Noam Chomsky and Robert Faurisson 

The Corporate Lobbyists Behind the Tea Parties by Jane Hamsher

Youth for Western Civilization Banned in UNC by Richard Spencer

A Clusterfuck is Descending on the IMF/WB Summit Meetings

Fire to the Prisons Issue # 6 Needs Submissions 

Put All Your Eggs in One Basket Jim Rogers interviewed by David Bogoslaw

To Mexicans, the U.S. is Not a Friendly Nation by Fred Reed

94 Years of Serfdom by Paul Craig Roberts

Texas to Secede by Rick Perry

Why the End of America is Closer Than You Think by Mike Adams

Tax Resistance, Then and Now podcast with Charles Adams

Revolution is the Only Solution by Gerald Celente

Optimism Opium from Second Vermont Republic

Snatch-and-Jail Justice by Dave Lindorff

No Blank Check for the IMF by Robert Weissman

Taxing Grandma to Subsidize Goldman Sachs by Peter Morici

Letter to Obama on the Rights of Native Hawaiians 

Solving Palestine While Israel Destroys It by Bill and Kathleen Christison

Bush, the Torture Decider by Ray McGovern

Obama and the Pirates by Justin Raimondo

U.S. Foreign Policy and the Drug War by Liz Harper

Youngstown PIGS Put 13 Shot Into Puppy  by Rad Geek

Death by Homeland Security by Rad Geek

Invitation to Open Conspiracy by John Taylor Gatto

Peace Through Statism? by Roderick Long

Help Challenge the $PLC by Peter Brimelow

Vermont Secession Video Archives

The Resurrection of Guy DeBord by Andrew Gallix

“Feral Futures” Gathering in Colorado 

Jimmy Carter Conservatism 

Thin Ice from Here to the Horizon by Alexander Cockburn

Persia Rising by Franklin Lamb

The Greedsters Are Back! by Ralph Nader

Obama’s Chimerical Marijuana Policy by Fred Gardner

Economic Fallout Hits Families Hard by Kathy Sanborn

Latin America Changes by Benjamin Dangl

Thinking Like an Afghan by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Banning Barbie  by Christopher Brauchli

The Book of Ruth by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Tea Party Terrorists  by Richard Spencer

Rendering Unto Caesar by Pat Buchanan

Are the Tea Parties Radical and Paranoid Enough? by Richard Spencer

Youth for Western Civilization by David Reid Saucier

The Terrorists at Home by Dylan Hales

A Jeffersonian in Texas or a Hot Air Peddler? by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Obama’s Inflationary Depression by Peter Schiff

Revenge of the “Waco Gene” by William Norman Grigg

No More Commie Highways by Walter Block

Cal Thomas and the Gospel of the Pharisees by Christoper Manion

Political Winds Whift in Favor of Legalized Pot by Carla Marinucci

The Conspiracy Theorists Were Right All Along by Gary D. Barnett

The Right-Wing’s A.N.S.W.E.R. by Anthony Gregory

These United States: Too Big to Fail? by Justin Raimondo

Delusions of Omnipotence by William Pfaff

How Obama Excused Torture by Bruce Fein

Expedience and the Torture Amnesty by David Bronwich

The West’s Hysterical Reaction to North Korea by Scott Ritter

U.S. Military Spending and the Cost of the Wars by Chris Sturr

Freedom by Permission by Jacob Hornberger

Stop the War, Stop the Spending by David Boaz

Tea and Sympathy by Roderick Long

Manufactured Consent by Peter Schiff

Sleepless Goat Workers’ Cooperative 

The Peoples’ Economic Forum in Washington, D.C. on April 25 

Piracy: The Family Business

The Waco Butchers Are Back by Anthony Gregory

Prepare for Austerity by James Howard Kunstler

Is Secession “Anti-American”? by Larry Beane

Tim McVeigh: Blowback, American Style by C.J. Maloney

Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist 19

Over the last few days, there’s been an interesting discussion going on over at the blog of left-libertarian philosopher Charles Johnson (also known as “Rad Geek“). I’ve avoided posting there, due to the presence of an individual who has declared themself my mortal enemy (a role I’m happy to assume), but the subject matter of the discussion provides a very good illustration of why any sort of libertarian philosophy that demands a rigid universalism cannot work in practice. A poster called “Soviet Onion” remarks:

It seems that both social anarchism and market libertarianism have respectively come to adopt forms of collectivism typical of either the statist left or right. That’s a result of the perceived cultural affinity they have with those larger groups, and partly also a function of the fact that they appeal to people of different backgrounds, priorities and sentiments (and these two factors tend to reinforce each other in a cyclical way, with new recruits further entrenching the internal movement culture and how it will be perceived by the following generation of recruits).

On the “left” you have generic localists who feel that altruism entails loyalty to the people in immediate proximity (they’ll unusually use the term “organic community” to make it seem more natural and thus unquestionably legitimate). Most of them are former Marxists and social democrats, this is simply a way to recast communitarian obligations and tacitly authoritarian sentiments under the aegis of “community” rather than “state”. This comes as an obvious result of classical anarchism being eclipsed as THE radical socialist alternative by Leninism for most of the twentieth century. Now that it’s once again on the rise, it’s attracting people who would have otherwise been state-socialists, and who carry that baggage with them when they cross over.

On the “right”, it’s a little more straightforward. Libertarians have adopted the conservative “State’s Rights” kind of localism as a holdover from their alliance with conservatives against Communism, to the point that it doesn’t even matter if the quality of freedom under that state is worse than the national average, just so long as it’s not the Federal Government. And with this, any claim to moral universality, or the utilitarian case for decentralism go right out the window. Like true parochialism, it hates the foreign and big just because it is foreign and big.

That’s also one of the reasons why I think there’s a division between “social” and “market” anarchists; they each sense that they come from different political meta-groups and proceed from a different set of priorities; the established gap between right and left feels bigger than the gap between they and statists of their own variety. And the dogmatisms that say “we have to support the welfare state, workplace regulations and environmental laws until capitalism is abolished” or “we should vote Republican to keep taxes down and preserve school choice” are as much after-the-fact rationalizations of this feeling as they are honest attempts at practical assessment.

The problem with left-libertarianism (or with the 21st century rebirth and recasting of 19th century individualism, if you want to imperfectly characterize it that way), is that instead of trying to transcend harmful notions of localism, it simply switches federalism for communitarianism. It does this partially as a attempt to ingratiate itself to social anarchists, and partly because, like social anarchists, it recognize that this idea is superficially more compatible with an anti-state position. But it also neglects the social anarchists’ cultural sensibilities; hence the more lax attitude toward things like National Anarchism.

These are some very insightful comments. And what do they illustrate? That human beings, even professed “anarchists,” are in fact tribal creatures, and by extension follow the norms of either their tribe of origin or their adopted tribe, and generally express more sympathy and feel a stronger sense of identification with others who share their tribal values (racism, anti-racism, feminism, family, homosexuality, homophobia, religion, atheism, middle class values, underclass values, commerce, socialism) than they do with those with whom they share mere abstractions (“anarchy,” “liberty,” “freedom”).

Last year, a survey of world opinion indicated that it is the Chinese who hold their particular society in the highest regard, with 86 percent of Chinese expressing satisfaction with their country. Russians expressed a 54 percent satisfaction rate, and Americans only 23 percent. Observing these numbers, Pat Buchanan remarked:

Yet, China has a regime that punishes dissent, severely restricts freedom, persecutes Christians and all faiths that call for worship of a God higher than the state, brutally represses Tibetans and Uighurs, swamps their native lands with Han Chinese to bury their cultures and threatens Taiwan.”

Of the largest nations on earth, the two that today most satisfy the desires of their peoples are the most authoritarian.”

What are we to make of this? That human beings value security, order, sustenance, prosperity, collective identity, tribal values and national power much more frequently and on a deeper level than they value liberty. Of course, some libertarians will likely drag out hoary Marxist concepts like “false consciousness” or psycho-babble like “Stockholm syndrome” to explain this, but it would be more helpful to simply face the truth: That liberty is something most people simply don’t give a damn about.

The evidence is overwhelming that most people by nature are inclined to be submissive to authority. The exceptions are when the hunger pains start catching up with them and their physical survival is threatened, or when they perceive their immediate reference groups (family, religion, culture, tribe) as being under attack by authority. We see this in the political expressions of America’s contemporary “culture wars.” During the Clinton era, many social or cultural conservatives and religious traditionalists regarded the U.S. regime as a tyranny that merited armed revolt. During the Bush era such rhetoric disappeared from the Right, even though Bush expanded rather than rolled back the police state. Meanwhile, liberals who would denounce Bush as a fascist express polar opposite sentiments towards the Obama regime, even though policies established by Bush administration have largely continued. So how do we respond to this? Soviet Onion offers some suggestions:

The proper position for us, and what could really set us apart from everyone and make us a more unique and consistent voice for individualism in the global Agora, is to recognize all cultures as nothing more than memetic prisons and always champion the unique and nonconforming against the arbitrary limitations that surround them, recognizing their destruction as barriers in the sense of being normative. And to that end there’s the instrumental insight that the free trade, competition, open movement and open communication are forces that pry open closed societies, not by force, but by giving those who chafe under them so many options to run to that they make control obsolete, and thus weaken control’s tenability as a foundation on which societies can reasonably base themselves. Think of it as “cultural Friedmanism”: the tenet that open economies dissolve social authority the same way they render political authority untenable.

THAT’s what left-libertarianism needs to be about, not some half-baked federation of autarkic Southern towns filled with organic farms and worker co-operatives. It can still favor these things, but with a deeper grounding. It doesn’t ignore patriarchy, racism, heterosexism, but opposes them with a different and more consistent understanding of what liberation means.

But how far should our always championing of the “unique and nonconforming” go? If, for instance, a group of renegades happen to show up at the workers’ cooperative one day and commandeer the place, should we simply say, “Hell, yeah, way to go, noncomformists!” As for the question of the “Big Three” among left-wing sins (“racism, sexism and homophobia”), are we to demand that every last person on earth adopt the orthodox liberal position on these issues as defined by the intellectual classes in post-1968 American and Western Europe? Why stop at “patriarchy, racism and heterosexism”? Soviet Onion points out that many “left-wing” anarchists do not stop at that point:

I used to be an anarcho-communist. Actually, I started out as someone who was vaguely sympathetic to mainstream libertarianism but could never fully embrace it due to the perceived economic implications. I eventually drifted to social anarchism thanks to someone who’s name I won’t mention, because it’s too embarrassing.

After hanging around them for a while I realized that, for all their pretenses, most of them were really just state-socialists who wanted to abolish the State by making it smaller and calling it something else. After about a year of hanging around Libcom and the livejournal anarchist community, I encountered people who, under the aegis of “community self-management”, supported

  • smoking and alcohol bans
  • bans on currently illicit drugs
  • bans on caffeinated substances (all drugs are really just preventing you from dealing with problems, you see)
  • censorship of pornography (on feminist grounds)
  • sexual practices like BDSM (same grounds, no matter the gender of the participants or who was in what role)
  • bans on prostitution (same grounds)
  • bans on religion or public religious expression (this included atheist religions like Buddhism, which were the same thing because they were “irrational”)
  • bans on advertisement (which in this context meant any free speech with a commercial twist)
  • bans on eating meat
  • gun control (except for members of the official community-approved militia, which is in no way the same thing as a local police department)
  • mandatory work assignments (ie slavery)
  • the blatant statement, in these exact words, that “Anarchism is not individualist” on no less than twelve separate occasions over the course of seven months. Not everybody in those communities actively agreed with them, but nobody got up and seriously disputed it.
  • that if you don’t like any of these rules, you’re not free to just quit the community, draw a line around your house and choose not to obey while forfeiting any benefits. No, as long as you’re in what they say are the the boundaries (borders?) of “the community”, you’re bound to follow the rules, otherwise you have to move someplace else (“love it or leave it”, as the conservative mantra goes). You’d think for a moment that this conflicts with An-comm property conceptions because they’re effectively exercising power over land that they do not occupy, implying that they own it and making “the community” into One Big Landlord a la Hoppean feudalism 🙂

So I decided that we really didn’t want the same things, and that what they wanted was really some kind of Maoist concentration commune where we all sit in a circle and publicly harass the people who aren’t conforming hard enough. No thanks, comrade.

These left-wing anarchists sound an awful lot like right-wing Christian fundamentalists or Islamic theocrats. Nick Manley adds:

I have encountered an “anarchist” proponent of the draft on a directly democratic communal level.

Of course, we also have to consider all of the many other issues that anarchists and libertarians disagree about: abortion, immigration, property theory, economic arrangements, childrens’ rights, animal rights, environmentalism, just war theory, and much, much else.  We also have to consider that anarchists and libertarians collectively are a very small percentage of humanity. Nick Manley says:

I spend more time around libertarians then left-anarchists — although, I briefly entered “their” world and sort of know some of them around here. I was a left-anarchist at one time, but I no longer feel comfortable with the hardcore communalism associated with the ideology. I don’t really want to go to endless neighborhood meetings where majorities impose their will on minorities. I also would agree with Adam Reed that it’s naive to imagine such communes being free places in today’s world — perhaps, this is less true of New Zealand.

The list of things supported by anarcho-communists posted by Soviet Onion confirms my fears about village fascism posturing as “anti-statism”. I frankly do just want to be left alone in my metaphorical “castle” — I say metaphorical, because I am not an atomist and don’t live as such. I will engage in social activities, but I will not allow someone to garner my support through the use of force or do so to others. Like Charles, I have a strong emotional and intellectually principled revulsion to aiding the cause of statism in any way whatsoever. I’d be much happier being at some risk of death from handguns then in enforcing laws that harm entirely well intentioned peaceful people. This is not a mere political issue for me. I know more than a few people with guns who deserve no prison time whatsoever — one of them has guns affected by the assault weapons ban.

I honestly see a lot of principled parallels between conservative lifestyle tribalism and left-liberal lifestyle tribalism. Oh yes: there are contextual inductive distinctions to be made. A gun is not the same as homosexuality. The collectivist dynamic is still the same. Gun owners become no longer human in sense of rational beings. All of contemporary politics seems to be one thinly veiled civil war between fearful tribalists.

It would appear that tribalism is all that we have. I have been through a long journey on this question. I was a child of the Christian Right, drifted to the radical Left as a young man, then towards mainstream libertarianism, then the militia movement and the populist right, along the way developing the view that the only workable kind of libertarianism would be some kind of pluralistic but anti-universalist, decentralized particularism. Rival tribes who are simply incompatible with one another should simply have their own separatist enclaves. This concept is explained very well in a video series beginning here. Unlike the other kinds of libertarianism, there is actually some precedent for what I’m describing to be found in past cultures. See here and here. As Thomas Naylor remarks:

Conservatives don’t want anyone messing with the distribution of income and wealth. They like things the way they are. Liberals want the government to decide what is fair. Liberals believe in multiculturalism, affirmative action, and minority rights. Conservatives favor states’ rights over minority rights.

What liberals and conservatives have in common is that they are both into having—owning, possessing, controlling, and manipulating money, power, people, material wealth, and things. Having is one of the ways Americans deal with the human condition—separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and death. To illustrate how irrelevant the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have become, consider the case of Sweden and Switzerland, two of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Sweden is the stereotypical democratic socialist state with a strong central government, relatively high taxes, a broad social welfare net financed by the State, and a strong social conscience. Switzerland is the most free market country in the world, with the weakest central government, and the most decentralized social welfare system. Both are affluent, clean, green, healthy, well-educated, democratic, nonviolent, politically neutral, and among the most sustainable nations in all of history. By U.S. standards, they are both tiny.

Switzerland and Sweden work, not because of political ideology, but rather because the politics of human scale always trumps the politics of the left and the politics of the right. Under the politics of human scale, a politics that trumps our now-outdated and useless “liberal-versus-conservative” dualistic mindset, there would be but one fundamental question:

“Is it too big?”

It would seem that contemporary America is precisely the place to build a movement for this kind of decentalized particularism, a huge continent wide nation with many different cultures, religions, subcultures, ethnic groups and growing more diverse all the time, and where political and economic polarization is the highest it has been in over a century, and where dissatisfaction with the status quo is almost universal.

My challenge to anarchists, libertarians, communitarians, conservatives, radicals and progressives alike would be to ask yourself what kind of community you would actually want to live in, and where and how you would go about obtaining it. For instance, the geography of the culture war typically breaks down on the basis of counties, towns, precincts, municipalities and congressional districts rather than states or large regions. So why not envision forming a community for yourself and others in some particular locality that is consistent with your own cultural, economic or ideological orientation? The Free State Project, Christian Exodus, Second Vermont Republic, Green Panthers and Twin Oaks Commune are already doing this.

Political victory in the United States is achieved through the assembling of coalitions of narrow interest groups who often have little in common with one another (gun toting rednecks and country club Republicans, homosexuals and traditional working class union Democrats). Imagine if a third force emerged in U.S. politics whose only unifying principle was a common desire to remove one’s self and one’s community from the system. The only thing anyone has to give up is the desire to tell other communities what to do.

Updated News Digest April 12, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

The categories of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ are paradigmatically modernist. It is not an accident that they date back to the French Revolution, and that they fade with the decline of modernity. In the early 19th century, the distinction referred primarily to the relation to the French Revolution, with the Right defending the status quo ante, and the Left the new bourgeois regime. Later, after it became clear that there was no way to restore the ancien régime, the categories came to characterize the split between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. But, even that became obsolete with the development of social democracy and the integration of the labor movement into the system at the turn of the century. Subsequently the Bolshevik Revolution introduced a seven-decades-long distortion, which only now is beginning to disappear, whereby Left and Right were identified with political regimes based respectively on capitalism and socialism. The capitalist turn in Communist China and the predominance of social democracy in the capitalist West indicate the extent to which the reduction of politics to economics presupposed by the distinction was a Cold War fraud. Consequently, after 1989, the distinction has become increasingly blurred; it lingers on by default, pending the development of better alternatives and of a political climate that will make it possible to recast the political in terms other than those deployed by the ruling elites.

In other words, how to reconfigure the political is itself a political issue, whose outcome is a function of political struggle. Today, the Left/Right split remains an ideological smokescreen concealing the real distinction: between neo-liberals (as well as neo-conservatives) and communitarians.

The former are committed to ever-growing state intervention, bureaucratic rationality, and the bourgeois values of abstract individuality, formal equality, social justice, representative liberal democracy, and unrestricted inclusiveness. This is the ideology of the therapeutic New Class, camouflaging its axiological particularity as universal truth, proceduralizing politics, and privatizing morality. The hypostatizing of bourgeois values to universal truths warranting their imposition on dissidents, now degraded from political opponents to pathological or criminal cases, is part of that general process of depoliticization entailed by the liberal project from its very beginning: the reduction of politics to administration.

The latter (communitarians) insist on insist on local autonomy, direct democracy, cultural particularity, and traditional values of solidarity, belonging, and the identity of politics and morality. Opponents are neither pathologized or criminalized, but classified as ‘enemy’ or ‘friend’ and treated accordingly (within various kinds of confederal, federal, or international agreements) or ostracized, confronted, and, in extreme cases, forcibly coerced.”

                                                                                          -Gary Ulmen

 

The Forest for the Trees by Ean Frick

The Neocon Credo by Dan McCarthy

The Marcuse Factor  by Paul Gottfried

In Search of Anti-Semitism by Paul Gottfried

The Mondragon Cooperatives: All in This Together from the Economist (thanks Brady!)

Taking Communism Away from the Communists: The Origins of Modern Liberalism by Fred Siegel

Liberals and Conservatives: Relics of the Past by Thomas Naylor

Global Currency: One Step Closer by Evans Ambrose-Pritchard

Progressive Warmongers by Justin Raimondo

The Two Faces of Barack Obama by Justin Raimondo

National Security: The Last Refuge of Scoundrels by Kevin Carson

Let a Thousand Nations Bloom by Patri Friedman

America’s Imperial Wars: Why We Need to See the Horrors by David Lindorff

America’s Friends: The Kkmer Rouge 

The Suicide of the West by Justin Raimondo

Left and Right Against the Military-Industrial Complex by Jon Basil Utley

Iraq Disaster Still a Mystery to Some by Alan Bock

Beware the Cult of Obama by Gene Healy

Cowardice in the Time of Torture by Ray McGovern

Ten Ways the U.S. Is Turning Afghanistan Into Iraq by Juan Cole

Obama Threatens North Korea Over Launch 

New and Worse Secrecy and Immunity Claims by Glenn Greenwald

No Excuses for Ongoing Concealment of Torture Memos by Glenn Greenwald

What About the Other Missing War Photos? by Greg Mitchell

Obama’s Flawed Nuclear Free Vision by John Nichols

A Missile Launch for Dummies by Donald Kirk

Let’s Hope Obama Keeps His Cool Toward N. Korea by John Gittings

North Korean Rocket Stirs Hawks by Katrina Vanden Heuval

March Madness, 1939 by Pat Buchanan

How Freedom Was Lost by Paul Craig Roberts

The Function of Political Ideologies by Larry Gambone

A Different Approach to Socialism by Jeremy Weiland

The Postmodern Alliance by Mark Hackard

Korean Straits  by Richard Spencer

2.7 Million People Demonstrate in Italy 

The IMF Rules the World by Michael Hudson

Prison Talk 

The Democrats and the Afghan War by Normon Solomon

Newt’s Foreign Policy Fantasies by Jack Hunter

Gangsta Gifts by Ilana Mercer

Screwing the Country by Jack Hunter

Americans Don’t Need New Cars by Richard Spencer

Riots and Intrigue in Eurasian by Mark Hackard

Kooks and Blue State Republicans by Robert Stacy McCain

White Europeans: An Endangered Species? from Yale Daily News

More Cultural Enrichment? by Thomas Fleming

Democrats for Plutocrats by Roderick Long

Against Privateering by Rad Geek

Fun With Totalitarianism by Roderick Long

Priority Number One for the PIGS by Rad Geek

Obama Expands Bush’s Wiretapping Program by Harrison Bergeron 2

The Decade of Darkness by Mike Whitney

What Would It Take to Mend Fences with Islam? by Patrick Cockburn

Israel’s Master Plan for Transfer by Ellen Cantarow

Obama and Israel’s Threat to Strike Iran by Gareth Porter and Jim Lobe

Obama’s Bloated Military Budget by Jeremy Scahill

Escaping the Drug War Quagmire by Kevin Zeese

Prosecuting the Bush Torture Team: Spain Leads the Way by Marjorie Cohn

Secession-One Year Later by Bill Buppert

Be in Charge of Your Own Health Care by David McKalip M.D.

After Torture, Resurrection by Ray McGovern

America’s Drug War Is Destroying Mexico Guy Lawson interviewed by Scott Horton

Goodbye, Bill of Rights by Philip Giraldi

The Ballad of John Singer by William Norman Grigg

Why Europe Won’t Fight by Pat Buchanan

The Wise Man of Liberty by Justin Raimondo

Common Sense Bye-Bye by Peter Schiff

The Radical Right by Jack Hunter

Good News: $PLC Loses $50 Million by Patrick Cleburne

Wilhelm Ropke’s Swiss Front Porch by Allan Carlson

Cash Strapped Communities Are Printing Their Own Money by Marisol Bello

G.K. Gets Real by Patrick Deneen

Chavez in China Touts “New World Order” 

Squatters Resist Foreclosures 

Student Revolt in NYC 

Resurrection and Revenge by Alexander Cockburn

How the Media Bought the Surge by Saul Landau

Obama’s Afghanistan Plan and India-Pakistan Relations by M. Reza Pirbhai

The Ideology of Barack Obama by William Blum

Obama’s Crossover Dribble on Marijuana by Fred Gardner

Don’t Believe Barack by Lew Rockwell

My Censored Reply to the Sheriff by William Anderson

Nullification: Its Time Has Come Again by Clyde Wilson

Barack Obama: Torture Enabler by Ted Rall

Fujimori’s Lesson for Bush by Jacob Hornberger

Liberals Line Up with Militarism by Chris Floyd

Essential Skills for the Post-Apocalyptic World 

China’s Threat to the U.S. is Exaggerated by Ivan Eland

Obama Worse Than Bush on State Secrets Glenn Greenwald interviewed by Ivan Eland

Why Big Government Always Wins by Harrison Bergeron 2

A People Apart? Paul Gottfried interviewed by Richard Spencer

The Union Makes Us Weak by William Gillis

The German Anarchist Movement in NYC: 1880-1914

ATS Book Review: Ken MacLeod's "The Execution Channel" Reply

by Peter Bjorn Perls

Ken MacLeod is one of the better Science Fiction authors of this day. He is best known, I think, for his “Fall Revolution” quarilogy consisting of the books The Star Fraction, The Sky Road, The Stone Canal and The Cassini Division, which were released between 1995 and 1999, in which he manages to produce a fantastically fresh blend of science fiction and  political exploration, with an unexpected quality: It does not preach ideology. (I will review his other works at a later time).
Political science fiction is the staple of MacLeod, and The Execution Channel continues on that path. In this, the book does not take place in 2040 and onwards, but quite a bit closer to our current point in time. Even though no “present day” dates are mentioned, by my reckoning it takes place just before 2020.
The setting is an Earth where the War on Terror rages on with no end in sight, this time, the Coalition peace keepers moved North from Afghanistan into central Asia on the nexus between several factions and states: Tien Shan, squeezed between Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Closer to home, with the pace of technological progress continuing apace (and i might add, a continually deteriorating degree of accountability of the powers that be), the fact of life circa 2020 in England, and presumably much of the world, is video surveillance of all roads and street corners, and mobile phones being so cheap that they have reached the point of disposability (paid for with Euros), but society still seems dominated by use of automotive transportation and the associated fossil fuel use. The US has an increased presence in Britain, it seems, though mostly confined to the military bases around the country. Everything else is much the same, even the cultural/religious/racial tensions in the ghettos, (in the UK, notably Bradford), and Google is still the centerpiece in people’s life on the internet.
Where the world differs from What We Know is that the Cold War is back of sorts: Russia and China are both rising back to superpower status, and they are anti-Western with a vengeance. The latter has aligned itself with North Korea, the former with… France.
The wellspring of the difference between this world and the one we know, is (Ken really chose his ideas tongue-in-cheek!) the contested US Election of 2000. Yes, G.W. Bush never made it to office – Al Gore did. In 2001 when Al is at work, a memo lands on his desk, stating that Al Queda intends to strike the US, so he goes into action and launches a volley of cruise missiles at Afghanistan. The result is lots of civilian casualties, and a popular backlash which in the story is what galvanizes the AQ to perform the 9/11 attacks. All which this goes on with Gore becoming a Democratic War President, Bush is relegated to authoring a book about the foolishness of US military adventures in foreign countries. With this digression I’m pointing out that MacLeod has a talent for making political satire from juxtapositions and keen observations of facts of history and ideology that will make you laugh out loudly. With the repeated pokes at vocal political groups (particularly those that tend to whine loudly), MacLeod uses both wit and sarcasm to full effect.
The core of the dramatis personae is the Travis family: The son Alec in the peacekeeping forces in Central Asia, the daughter Roisin who is a peacenik that as the novel takes off, has spent the last 6 months in a peace protest camp outside a Scottish air force base (RAF Leuchars, north of Edinburgh), and the father, James, is a government software contractor with ties to foreign intelligence agencies. The barrel of blackpowder couldn’t be more obvious!
What happens on what is later termed the 5/5 attack (the morning the 5th of May, 2000-something), is that the Leuchars base is hit by a low yield nuclear weapon. Roisin is tipped off of this by her brother (who despite being separated from his family by thousands of kilometers is still tied into the story) flees with the fellow peace protesters, and then it all starts: Britain is struck by a volley of bombings on important infrastructure points, and from there on, the ball rolls; international tension, since the reasoning goes that it’s one of the other nuclear powers that did it, and domestic chaos as the state comes down on everyone who gets out of line, at the same time as popular suspicion Al Queda intervention results in attacks on Muslims all over Britain. Yep, MacLeod certainly knows what contemporary strings to play.
The two dark horses of the story are: First, that the governments of the world use farfetched conspiracy theories to distract political dissenters toward unproductive pursuits (namely UFO scheming instead of aiming for the unaccountable political powers, which is MacLeod’s stab at the conspiracy buffs), second, that these governments also run secret detention centers around the world (which is already commonplace knowledge) where brutal executions take place, and somehow footage from these executions make it to the public on a broadcast channel that gives the book its title: The Execution Channel. In MacLeod’s world, you don’t have to go to 4chan.org anymore for your filth and atrocities, it’s right on your TV set!
Now, closing on the verdict of the book. Is it any good? My answer is that that It Depends.
I got it in the mail yesterday morning, and after having performed the chores of the day, I started reading it in the late afternoon. In doing so, I surprised myself by doing something I haven’t done, by my count, in 13 years: I read a book cover-to-cover in under a day, more specifically in under 13 hours, including dinner, two bathroom breaks, a shower, checking my email once, and a 15 minute rest. The book is a page-turner is the real sense of the word, and even though it is not that long (some 360 pages), the feat of blazing through it makes me wonder, writing this.
The book IS good, very much so. The blend of science fiction and fringe politics with a plausible near-future descent into dystopia is dynamite, and MacLeod knows how to execute it well. But here comes the caveat: It is the first 300 or so pages are good, whereafter the terrible happens: The story fizzes out, and plods along with late story development (decay may be a better word for it, though) of little substance, and to me it was as if MacLeod throws so much stuff into his literary blender that it becomes an uninteresting gray smudge, where only the earlier parts of the book pressures you on the back to keep on reading. I’ll have to agree completely with a number of Amazon UK reviewers: The last few (six, to be precise) pages of the book drops it all on the floor with the introduction of a non sequitur and of such silliness that it’ll make you moan loudly. (I know that I did.)
On closing the book after 4 o’clock in the morning, I got the feeling that Ken MacLeod had performed, in the terms of the British, a massive piss take on his readers. That, or he ran out of ideas at page 330, and had a ghostwriter with no feel for the story and no sense of remorse in butchering the potential of it all, finish it for him. A T.S. Elliot quote on the book ending here would be appropriate.
So, to repeat, if the book is good overall depends, on whether you tear out the last 60 pages of it before you read it, and dream up your own ending. If you do, it’s just about a 5-star read. Including the ending into the verdict, I wouldn’t even rate the book mediocre, but instead poor.
Of criticism of the story before the abysmal finish, I can offer some. For example, the title topic of the book, the Execution Channel, only has a significant presence early in the book, and after the first fourth or so, it disappears from view, only to make a single significant reappearance toward the end. I won’t go into spoilers, but suffice to say that the author wasted a  massive potential story element by not using what is drives the Execution Channel. This is unforgivable.
Second, while the portrayal of the apprehension of one of the book’s characters on Terrorism charges makes the small hairs at the back of your neck stand up, the long-run portrayal of the government agents that do this and other things, becomes far too monotonous and in the end (especially the aforementioned dreadful last 50-60 pages) they appear like robotic constructs that just keep doing what they’ve always done to finish off the story (even though the idea the some government employees are unfeeling automatons may be appropriate, but I digress…).
So. If you are already a MacLeod fan, they book is worthwhile reading, but to repeat, beware the ending. As for me, i’ll think twice about buying his books in the future. As much as I want the intensity and intricacy of his works of the 90’s to keep on coming, I’m afraid that a book like the one reviewed here signals that he has is past his peak, and do no care enough about the stories (and thus, his readers) he weave, to round it off in a graceful manner that doesn’t insult the audience.
*** END

Updated News Digest April 5, 2009 Reply

Quotes of the Week:

“I read the Social Democratic newspapers. I saw their disgusting attitude towards anything that bore even the slightest revolutionary character, and I realized that there could be no reconciliation between a revolutionary party and a party trying to earn a reputation for ‘moderation’ in the eyes of the government and the bourgeoisie.”

                                                                                 -Peter Kropotkin

States Rebellion Pending by Walter Williams

David Allan Coe: American Rebel by Will Forbis

“The FARC Think These Americans Are Pussies” by Christina Oxenberg

Tory Hacks Give Lip Service to Localism and Communitarianism by Sasha Issenberg (thanks Ean!)

911 Truths by Jack Hunter

On Loving to Hate the South by Paul Gottfried

Globomoney by Richard Spencer

Conspiracy Theories by Dylan Hales

Obama’s Attack on the Middle Class by Paul Craig Roberts

Is Notre Dame Still Catholic? by Pat Buchanan

Terror Begins At Home by Philip Jenkins

Neocon Obama Fans by Harrison Bergeron 2

Saint Wal-Mart? by Roderick Long

Patri Friedman on Seasteading (hat tip to Kevin Carson)

Open Source Health Care

Hollywood’s Democratic-Capitalist Self Censorship by Francois Tremblay

Which Politician Came Up With the Idea That Dying for Your Country is a Good Thing? by Sheldon Richman

They Really Give Nobel Prizes Away Like Candy These Days by Paul Krugman

R.I.P. Burt Blumert (1929-2009) by Wally Conger

Sheldon Richman on Arkansas Public TV 

Libertarian Essays by Roy Halliday 

All Hail Tax Resistance! from The Picket Line

Lessons from the Gulag Archepelago from The Picket Line

Virginia: Human Rights Abuses at Red Onion Supermax Prison 

UK: Protests Against Capitalism and the G20 

More Reasons To Be Against Happiness by TGGP

Early Mormon Cooperative Economics (thanks Chris!)

Barack of Kabul by Eric Margolis

Explaining the Boom and the Bust by Bob Murphy

Newsweek Actually Tells the Truth for Once? by Glenn Greenwald

End the War on Drugs by Ron Paul

We’re On the Edge of the Abyss by Peter Schiff

Burt Blumert: Liberty’s Benefactors by Lew Rockwell

Here Come the Food Police by Vin Suprynowicz

Fiat Money and Inflation by Chris Clancy

Civil War by Bill Bonner

The Obamamites Go to War by Justin Raimondo

To Reduce Violence, End the Drug War by Justin Raimondo

Stop Arming Israel by Philip Giraldi

Yes, We Have No Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Another Lost War? by William S. Lind

U.S. Cries Wolf Over China? by David Isenberg

National Anarchist-Syndicalist Union 

Leftism 101 by Lawrence Jarach

Prospects for Global Depression and Unrest by John Robb

Oppose Internet Censorship from National-Anarchists Australia/New Zealand

A New Global Debt Crisis by Nicholas Dearden

The Obama Betrayal by Dave Lindorff

“We’ll Make You See Death” by Joanne Mariner

Obama’s Pakistan Gambit by Ron Jacobs

Economic Inequality: The Foundation of the Racial Divide? by Dedrick Muhammad

What Next in Afghanistan? by Patrick Cockburn

Where’s All the Money Coming From? by Ralph Nader

Obama Bombs by Ray McGovern

Syria Calling by Seymour Hersh

The New Far Right Philo-Semitism 

Is Angelina Jolie Bad for Africa? 

“I’m Having a Very Good Crisis,” says George Soros 

The New American Interviews Antiwar.Com’s Eric Garris Part I Part II

What Is the State? by Lew Rockwell

Civil Unrest, Ghost Malls and Another American Revolution Interview with Gerald Celente

The Role of Government in a Free Society Lecture by Walter Williams

Asshole PIG Resigns 

Minneapolis PIGS Plant Gun on Teen After Murdering Him 

Mexico Has a U.S. Problem, Not a Drug Problem by Fred Reed

Blessed Are the Warmakers? Laurence Vance interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Neocon Victimology by Glenn Greenwald

Why Do PIGS Kills Dogs? by J.D. Tuccille

Guns, Gold, Secession by Karen De Coster

New World Disorder by Gary North

Dead Banks Walking by Lila Rajiva

The Scam of Political Representation by Gerard Casey

The Outlook for the Dollar Peter Schiff interviewed by Eli Neusner

Collapse: The Dollar’s Destination by Mike Rozeff

It’s All A Conspiracy! by Richard Spencer, Dylan Hales and Jack Hunter

Catholics and the Left John Zmirak interviewed by Richard Spencer

The Green Revolution Saved Lives? by Kevin Carson

The New Proudhon Library from Shawn Wilbur

John Taylor Gatto: State-Controlled Consciousness from Francois Tremblay

Tax Day Protests Planned from The Picket Line

Sheldon Richman on the Financial Crisis from Social Memory Complex

Affluenza and the Economic Meltdown of America by Thomas N. Naylor

Will There Be Anarchy After the 1930s? 

Modesto Citizens Retaliate Against PIGS 

Carter Conservatism by Sean Scallon

Obama and the Ruling Class  by David Macaray

Assassination Attempt Against St. Louis Green Party Leader by Don Fitz

Surging Further Into the Afghan Abyss by Chris Floyd

Dershowitz Encounters a Worrying Future by Michael Scheuer

Mandatory National Service on the Way? James Bovard interviewed by Scott Horton

The Truth About Guantanamo Lawrence Wilkerson interviewed by Scott Horton

Repeating Vietnam War Errors in Afghanistan by Matt Steinglass

How Do We Save NATO? We Quit by Andrew Bacevich

Fake Faith and Epic Crimes by John Pilger

The Greatest Blunder in British History by Laurence Vance

New Issue of Black Oak Presents by Michael Kleen (thanks Flavio!)

Is India Headed for Hyperinflation? by Subroto Roy (thanks Peter!)

Fucking Retards (thanks Ean!)

The Forest for the Trees by Ean Frick

An Introduction to Carl Schmitt by Gary Ulmen

National Lampoon by Austin Bramwell

How I Became a Domestic Terrorist by Ilana Mercer

Let’s Play Pretend by Peter Schiff

The Real Federal Deficit  by Tim Worstall

On the Justice of Clearing Ward Churchill by Dylan Hales

Being Honest About Abe by Jack Hunter

Should We Kill the Fed? by Pat Buchanan

Homesteading Detroit: On Urban Farming by No Third Solution

An Exercise to Clear Your Mind by Francois Tremblay

Bring on the Summer of Rage! by Charlie Brooker

Defining Terms by Thomas Fleming (thanks Chris!)

Republic Magazine: Issue # 14 (thanks Flavio!)

But in Anarchy, Who Would Make the Roads? (thanks Peter!)

Coming to a Town Near You, the BANA Newstand! 

An Interview with Noam Chomsky 

Solidarity with the Students: An Open Letter from Greek Soldiers 

Veganarchists on the London Insurrection 

PIGS/Protestors Clash in Paris 

From Twin Towers to Twin Camelots by Alexander Cockburn

Homeless in Tent City, USA by Kathy Sanborn

Girding for a Depression by Morici

The War on Drugs is a War on You by Michael Boldin

Biden, Nixon and Latin America by Saul Landau

Nuclear Power Plants: Fooling with Disaster? by Sue Sturgis

Was Gaza Israel’s Waterloo? by John Goekler

The Federal Railroading of Victoria Sprouse by William Anderson and Candice Jackson

Death to D.A.R.E. by William Norman Grigg

The Humanitarian with the Printing Press by Anthony Gregory

The PIGS Are Out to Get You by Brian Cohoon

Marijuana Reduces Tumors 

Christianity is Not a Neocon Death Cult by Tom Woods

Small Town Anarchy by J.L. Bryan (thanks Folk n’ Faith!)

There Will Be Hyper Inflation  by Thorstein Polleit

The Fair Tax is a Scam by Laurence Vance

The Goldberg Syndrome by Justin Raimondo

How to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels by Ivan Eland

Obama’s Neoliberals: Selling His Afghan War by Jeremy Scahill

An Ominous Parallel by Jacob Hornberger

Obstruction of Justice by Chris Hedges

Updated News Digest March 30, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“As an anarch, I am determined to go along with nothing, ultimately take nothing seriously-at least not nihilistically, but rather as a border guard in no man’s land, who sharpens his eyes and ears between the tides.”

                                                                                            -Ernst Junger

“My notion of the law as written is that it was conceived to catch every whore and make every mean man rich.”

                                                                                               -Norman Mailer

The Dangerous Movement for States’ Rights by Dylan Hales

Sarah the Populist? by Paul Gottfried

State of Revolution by Jack Hunter

What Happened to the War on Terror? by Jack Hunter

Going Weimar by Pat Buchanan

States, Not Washington, D.C., Need Our Attention by Chuck Baldwin

Attending Anarchist Events from Bay Area National Anarchists

New Australian National-Anarchist Video 

Are You a Domestic Terrorist? 

On Revolution and Counter-Revolution by Larry Gambone

Hollywood Always Loves the State from Out of Step

Off the PIGS!! 

Our Next Debacle by Harrison Bergeron 2

Obama’s Gang of Four by Thomas N. Naylor

Obama’s Team of Losers by Michael Donnelly

Denial and Evasion on Afghanistan by Norman Solomon

Cat-and-Mouse Off Hainan Island by William S. Lind

IDF Fired on Medics in Gaza 

Capitalism From the Standpoint of Its Victims by M. Shahid Alam

Israel’s Most Revolting Law by Uri Avnery

Bush the Teacher by Ralph Nader

The Rules of Engagement in Gaza: Fire on the Rescuers by Amira Hass

The Stark Facts About Violence Against Women by Elizabeth Schulte

The Intellectual Origins of “Militant Democracy” by Dain Fitzgerald

Terror Begins at Home by Philip Jenkins

The Attempt to Silence Walter Block by Tom DiLorenzo

A Fifteen-Year-Depression by Phil Davis

FDA Totalitarianism by Bill Sardi

The Case for Norman Mailer Conservatism a classic from Murray Rothbard, 1969

The Virtues of Patriarchy by Bob Higgs (as Aster begins to snivel and drivel in-between slurps, “Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo, I’m so oppressed, sniffle, sniffle, sob, sob, poor, poor me, boo-hoo-hoo”)

The American Empire: A Finale by Justin Raimondo

Tangled Webs by Philip Giraldi

The Long War Generals by Jeff Huber

Non-Interventionists Need Not  Apply by Michael Scheuer

NATO: Still Mission-Creeping at 60  by Alexander Cockburn

Obama Doesn’t Talk Like Bush, He Just Acts Like Him by Ted Rall

Russia: Big Threat or Paper Bear? by Eric Margolis

It’s Time to Let Go of NATO by Pat Buchanan

Politics, Jews and Israel by Razib Khan

Barney’s Bitches by Ilana Mercer

Thomas Woods interviewed by Richard Spencer 

Reefer Madness by Jack Hunter

War and the Neoconservative Mind by Jack Hunter

Containing Jihad by Mark Hackard

Old Right, New Beck? by Dylan Hales

Is the Bailout Plan Breeding a Greater Crisis? by Paul Craig Roberts

What the Drug Warriors Have Given Us by Sheldon Richman

Cost Plus Mark-Up and Mandatory Overhead by Kevin Carson

The Fallacy of Prevention From theConverted

What Games Are Conditions? by Francois Tremblay

London Protesters Threaten Bankers, Evoke Executions 

Obama’s Fall Guy  by Alexander Cockburn

How the Scam Works by Michael Hudson

The Insolence Abroad: A Defense of Iceland by Gregory A. Burris

The Broken Stone of Corporatism by Stephen Martin

The Mafia Without Moralizing by Kim Nicolini

Why Do We Need a Health Insurance Industry? by Dave Lindorff

The Big Con on Iraq by Gareth Porter

Billions More for Failed Banks by Dean Baker

Sexting: A First Amendment Challenge by David Rosen

Another System Atrocity 

The Portuguese National-Syndicalist Movement by Flavio Goncalves

The War on Drugs is Now the War on Guns by Mike Gaddy

Drug War Idiocy by Jacob Hornberger

The Threat of Hyper-Depression by Bob Murphy

How I Got In Trouble Walter Block interviewed by Lew Rockwell

How Do a Free People Lose Their Liberty? by Bob Higgs

Get a Van! You’ll Need a Back-Up Home by Joe Schembrie

Breaking with Israel by Justin Raimondo

The Nation Formerly Known As Yugoslavia by Justin Raimondo

Judge Terrified of Citizen (poor baby) by Paul Hein

I’m Tired of What My Country Has Become by Don Cooper

Traveling in China by Chris Clancy

The Truth About Guantanamo Lawrence Wilkerson interviewed by Scott Horton

Diplomacy in the Obama Administration Philip Giraldi interviewed by Scott Horton

The Facts About Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Program Muhammad Sahimi interviewed by Scott Horton

The “Rule of Law” Nuisance by Glenn Greenwald

Obama’s Afghan Quagmire Deepens by Simon Tisdall

A Terrorist-Producing Machine by Jacob Hornberger

China: Don’t Buy Government Bonds by Sheldon Richman

Afghanistan: Waiting for the “Exit Strategy” by Robert Dreyfuss

Lost History Hurts Obama’s Iran Bid by Robert Parry

The Global Impact of U.S. War on Terror, Part Two by Joanne Mariner

Debate Over Israel Lobby Clout Returns by Nathan Guttman

U.S. Spills Afghan War Into Pakistan by M K Bhadrakumar

Will Israel Be Brought to Book? by Seumas Milne

National-Anarchists in the Military

Hero of War Song from Rise Against

The Only Place Where Freedom Has Any Meaning by Jeremy Weiland

Dead Culture Walking by Brenda Walker

Bash Back: Solidarity with Cop Killers 

Pink and Black Attack: New Gay Anarchist Publication 

A Ban on Global Currency? by Red Phillips

Bush Administration Torturers to be Put on Trial by Harrison Bergeron 2

Too Big to Fail? by Arno J. Mayer

Updated News Digest March 22, 2009 3

Quotes of the Week:

“Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.” -Edmund Burke

“Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government.”

                                                                        -Pierre Joseph Proudhon

“The State calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.”

                                                                                      -Max Stirner

My Anarchism Problem by Bob Black

A Washington, D.C. Heretic is Punished by Eric Margolis

America’s Ivy League College: The Dumbass Factory by C. J. Maloney

Traveling in the New China by Chris Clancy

The Ides of March Got a Bad Rap by Cheryl Vanbuskirk

Et Tu, Switzerland? by Balz Bruppacher

Drunk Driving Laws Are Absurd by Mark R. Crovelli

The Drug War vs Civilization Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

Continuity and Change by Justin Raimondo

These Secretaries Can’t Even Type by Jeff Huber

Taliban Plan Drags Obama Deeper by Gareth Porter

Obama Follows Bush on Detainees by William Fisher

Who Are the “Worst of the Worst”? by Andy Worthington

Of Patriots and Assassins by Pat Buchanan

John Stossel Takes Down Sean Hannity 

Zionism is the Problem by Ben Ehrenreich

What We Don’t Know About Iraq by Philip Bennett

How Abu Ghraib Was Politically Defused, Part One by James Bovard

Ending Our Imperial Foreign Policy by Fareed Zakaria

The More Things Change… by Srdja Trifkovic

Racist Jim Clyburn by Jack Hunter

The Domestic Costs of Empire from Richmond Left-Libertarian Alliance

San Francisco PIGS Attack Demonstrators 

Wobblies March in San Diego 

Racist Abuse of Pennsylvania Prisoners 

Shut Down IMF/World Bank Meeting 

Santa Cruz Anarchist Convergence, May 7-11 

Obama and the Empire by Bill and Kathleen Christison

Victory for the Left in El Salvador by Richard Gott

Americans Want Justice for Wall Street Crooks by Ralph Nader

Coxey’s Army Will March Again! by Stephen Fleischman

Dismantling the Killer Elite by William Norman Grigg

EU Bans “Miss” and “Mrs” As Sexist (the journey into the Cultural Marxist Twilight Zone continues)

California to Legalize Marijuana? 

What Should We Do in the Face of Private Firearms Confiscation? by Mike Gaddy

The Emerging Marxist Church by Bill Anderson

The Confiscation of Privately Owned Weapons by Tim Case

What Happened to the War? by Laurence Vance

Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay by Lawrence Wilkerson

Compulsory National Service On Its Way? 

A Great Debate on Afghanistan by Jacob Hornberger

My Life in the New Left by Kevin MacDonald

Systemic Failure by Pat Buchanan

Israel’s American Chattel by Paul Craig Roberts

Was the Bailout Itself a Scam? by Paul Craig Roberts

Launching Lifeboats Before the Ship Sinks by Paul Craig Roberts

Empire, Secession and the Left Kirkpatrick Sale interviewed by Jack Hunter and Dylan Hales

States’ Rights and the Left by Jack Hunter

A Lexicon of Conservative Bullshit by Dylan Hales

Is Capitalism Making Life Better? by Noam Chomsky (hat tip to Francois Tremblay)

Massive French Protests and Ontario Factory Occupation by Larry Gambone

Economics: The Abysmal Science by Thomas N. Naylor

Open Letter to the Antiwar Movement 

London PIGS Fear Insurrection at G-20 Meeting 

Conservatives In Name Only by Filmer

The Economy in Two Eras of Democrats by Sam Smith

Bedouin Villages Left in the Dark Ages by Jonathan Cook

Where Are We Leaving Iraqi Women? by Yifat Susskind

U.S. Human Rights Abuses in the War on Terror by Joanne Mariner

A Grand Bargain for the Culture Wars by TGGP

We’re Dropping Down an Economic Hole by Gerald Celente

The U.S. Dollar, R.I.P. by Peter Schiff

An Open Letter to Chuck Norris by Chuck Norris

The Big Takeover by Matt Taibbi

Warning from Bosnia for Iraq by Ivan Eland

Iran: A Way Forward by Philip Giraldi

Obama’s New Message to Iran  by Glenn Greenwald

Obama and the Neocon Middle East Agenda by Stephen Sniegoski

Negotiate with the Taliban, Free John Walker Lindh by Kelley Vlahos

Why It Matters That the Army Was on the Streets of Samson, Alabama by J.D. Tuccille

Chuck Norris: Revolutionary? 

Cops Cause Crime by Francois Tremblay

Canning for the Revolution by Chris Lempa

Enemies of What State? by Kevin Carson

Institutionalized Sadism by Rad Geek

Annual Anti-Police March in Montreal 

On the Edge of the Volcano by Alexander Cockburn

When Things Fall Apart by Paul Craig Roberts

Slumdogs vs Billionaires by P. Sainath

Local Currencies by John Robb

Targeting Banksters? by John Robb