Many Internet sites supposedly dedicated to the principles of individualism, individual freedom, and even certain related philosophical principles, have devolved into blogs; mostly with links to stories about all the horrible things the government or the police are doing while the continuous worldwide Muslim atrocities pretty much miss their notice, strangely enough. Original material on these sites is mostly about the sites owners' personal experiences, with cars, houses, dogs, (or other animals), or how they manage their budgets, even a smattering of recipes and food recommendations, all couched in language meant to imply these offerings provide some kind of deep insight for individualists and freedom seekers.
Most of those sites are run by women, and though I do not buy into any of the stereotypes, it is impossible not to notice they are dominated by gossip, sensationalist news, and sentiment, especially about animals and certain poor souls, "down on their luck;" they in fact run thick with sentiment, like sickly-sweet syrup that leaves one feeling sticky
This is not a criticism of either the sites or their owners, however, it is only an observation, an admittedly personal one. Their sites are popular. People obviously like what they have to offer. They are, after all, providing something of value to someone, which is more than any politician or academic can say.
At least two of these ladies' sites recently provided links to an article by a third lady entitled, "What Anarchism Means To Me." Both ladies recommended the article. [You do not need to read the article and I do not recommend it. The link is provided only for those who are sure I make these things up. Here are links to the other two ladies' sites, 1 and 2, provided for the same reason.]
The article is written in the style of the typical fifth grade writing assignment such as "What Thanksgiving Means To Me," or, "What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation." Back in the days when there were such writing assignments, they were graded on spelling, punctuation, grammar, and composition. Graded that way, this article would have received an A.
In the adult world, people either know what a word means or they do not, its meaning does not require a whole article to explain, and, except in the squishy world of politics and academia, words do not have meanings that can be adjusted for every individual.
Of course the writer of the article is not writing about the meaning of anarchism at all. She presumes the reader knows what it is. She is writing a piece extolling what she considers the virtues of anarchism; it is a very personal view that is mostly subjective and sentimental. It does not occur to such individuals to ask, why would anyone care what anarchism or anything else means in her own private thoughts and feelings? It is more like a confession than an exposition.
If you know what anarchism is, the article itself is very confusing. Essentially, anarchism means, "an - no, arch - government, ism - belief in," that is, the belief that there should be no government. If all that meant was that individual human beings would be better off without a government, there would be nothing wrong with it. It is what I believe myself. But for those who call themselves anarchists it always means more than that. For them it means an ideal, a condition they believe can be brought about by some means, and that they ought to work for it in some way.
But that is not what the writer of the piece means either. To her, apparently, anarchism is a kind of symbol, a metaphorical bag into which she drops all her values and principles, and some of the principles found in that bag are quite peculiar.
She Confuses Anarchism with Morality
"Anarchism is my declaration of peace with you. It is a repudiation of the use of coercive power to achieve my own ends ..." [The paragraph continues with irrelavancies.]|
No moral individual would ever consider the use of coercive force (she uses the word "power," but I assume she means force.) How this has anything to do with anarchism is not explained. If that is one of the things anarchism means to her, does it mean she only refrains from coercion where anarchism prevails? I'm sure that is not what she intends, so anarchism has nothing to do with an individual being moral.
Most of her other statements of what Anarchism means to her, are actually descriptions of how moral individuals relate to one another. Except for the fact the word anarchism is used where the word ethics or morality ought to be used, though there is nothing new in any of them, they are at least interestingly and well stated. But, some of the things she says indicate a social or collectivist view which is in total conflict with individualism and morality.
One Example of a Collectivist View
"Anarchism does not divide us into partisan systems; it unites us through the realization that if we do not function as part of a sublime and inter-related network of lives, we're pulling against the tide when it's much less strenuous - and infinitely more enjoyable and rewarding - to drift along with it."|
First of all, anarchism is a political view and it divides all those who hold that view from those who hold different political views. It only unites those who agree with it, if one is the type that wants to be united with something.
The last part of the paragraph is pure socialist collectivism. What does it mean to, "function as part of a sublime and inter-related network of lives?" If this is not implying that society in some way transcends individual purposes and causes, it means nothing. And it smacks of supernaturalism.
As for, "it's much less strenuous - and infinitely more enjoyable and rewarding - to drift along with it," I'll quote Ayn Rand, not as an authority, but because she said it so well:
"Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone." [For the New Intellectual,—The Fountainhead, "The Soul Of An Individualist"]
A Worse Collectivist View
"Anarchism is socially responsible; it doesn't pollute the environment, has no incentive to create factory farms, or engage in nefarious back room conspiracies. It takes a corporatized government, or a politicized corporation, to do those things, because no other institution can long rationalize - much less profit from - such short-sighted and damaging behavior."|
The concept of, "social responsibility," is a purely collectivist or Marxist one. The only responsibility anyone has is for their own choices and actions. A moral individual seeks nothing in life except what he can earn or acquire by his own effort and merit and owes nothing to anyone, especially not to society.
It always surprises me that so many obviously intelligent people have swallowed the Marxist environmentalism propaganda. Environmentalsim, renamed ecology to sound more scientific (a ploy used to put over many big lies) has always been a political scam. You can read about its history, or not. If you are going to believe a lie, why be bothered by the truth.
She Doesn't Really Know What Anarchism Is
"Anarchism is not a utopian scheme, because if we're all able to create our own little interlocking utopias, then no two will be alike. There is no one-size-fits-all paradise, and one person's heaven may indeed be another's hell; to force your heaven upon someone else is as atrocious an act as creating a hell for him. Good intentions are no excuse for making prisoners and hostages of people who have less political clout than you do."|
Maybe anarchism for her is just a lovely dream she knows will never be, but if it is anything more than that, if it is an ideal she actually believes can be realized, then of course it is utopian. It is a belief that a society, where every individual is free to live their life as they choose, however they choose to live it, is possible.
That view ignores the most important fact, that most people cannot even imagine such freedom and would not want it if they could. That kind of freedom makes everyone responsible for their own life, and their success or failure, their happiness in fact, depends entirely on their own effort and achievement. Very few people want that; what most people want is security and assurances that no matter how they live their life they will be taken care of and will always be safe and they'll never hear "a discouraging word and skies are not cloudy all day." So long as societies consist mostly of such people there will never be a free society—an anarchistic society—unless it is forced on them.
This Explains A Lot
"Anarchism is my bill of rights; written by the finger of the benign life-force which forged time and space, day and night, male and female, and signed by those who believe that we are all worthy to draw in the same perpetual and impartial breath of the universe. Man can only bring about inequality, by defining equality in terms which persuade us it was never ours to begin with. We are only as equal as we perceive ourselves to be. To consider yourself my equal is to accord me the respect of being yours as well."|
She's a thorough-going mystic.
Well there is no "benign life-force," so there is no bill of rights, and there is no equality, and no right thinking man or woman could possibly want there to be. Since when have anarchists become egalitarians? Every human being is different from every other human being. There is absolutely no commensurate unit of measure by which any two human beings can be measured and compared. It is one of the most absurd notions to infect philosophy and politics, and, apparently, the minds of some anarchists.
This Is The Best Paragraph
It's not good, but has one statement which is very good.
"Anarchism is my statement of intention to mind my own business, and not to interest myself in yours beyond what is welcome, mannerly, and appropriate to our relationship, because I expect the same courtesy from you. We will only care about each other when our relationship is peaceful, and it is not a peaceful act to care to the extent of violating another person's boundaries."|
The good statement is that she intends to mind her own business. If she had stopped there it would have been perfect.
The ninth moral imperative (adapted) from "Notes On Tathagatagarbhaianism says:"
"Every individual is different from every other individual. No individual can know what is right or good for any other individual. Any attempt to interfere in the life of any other individual to influence his thoughts or choices, by any means except reason, is immoral.|
"The last may be restated as a true 'golden rule:'
"'Do nothing unto others, ever!'
"'Mind your own business!'"
Unfortunately she cannot help lapsing into sentimentalism, because she continues by saying she'll not interfere in others lives:
"... because I expect the same courtesy from you. We will only care about each other when our relationship is peaceful, and it is not a peaceful act to care to the extent of violating another person's boundaries."|
The ethical principle applies to the individual, not others. One should never interfere in the life of another because it is immoral to do so, whatever the consequences. Whether anyone else will treat you morally, (and it is unlikely they will), is irrelevant.
If I should ever meet her, I would certainly treat her courteously, as I do all others, not for her sake, but for mine, and it certainly won't be so we'll "care about each other." About that sentimental pap I couldn't care less.