On Defining Anarchism and Egoism Reply

Whenever I’m asked to define what an anarchist is I usually just say that if you get a 100 self-proclaimed anarchists in a room, and ask them a question, you might get 200 answers. It’s the same way people who are self-proclaimed Christians have argued over Christology for 2000 years. What I tend to like about anarchist theory is that it has so many parallel definitions in terms of what it’s essence is supposed to be, and some these may be only marginally related to each other. There’s also the way that different kinds of seemingly polar opposite forms of anarchism (an-coms and an-caps, an-prims and an-transhumanists) also complement each other in a kind of Hegelian manner.

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Julian Assange, the Left-Anarch 2

Julian Assange, the Left-Anarch

This passage from the interview of Julian Assange by Google CEO Eric Schmidt exemplifies the kind of radicalism I most admire. Notice the lack of a clean, rationalist philosophy or any sanctimonious univeralist moral bravado.

I looked at something that I had seen going on with the world. Which is that I thought there were too many unjust acts… And I wanted there to be more just acts, and fewer unjust acts. And one can sort of say, well what are your philosophical axioms for this? And I say I do not need to consider them. This is simply my temperament. And it is an axiom because it is that way. And so that avoids, then, getting into further unhelpful discussions about why you want to do something. It is enough that I do.

The rest of the interview has some fascinating insights, anecdotes, and theory on networks, politics, even technology and even ontology. Highly, highly recommended!