Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

January 7, 2013

Anarchist, be kind to the new lamb.

Filed under: Soapbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — paragardener @ 4:31 am

After 10+ years of calling myself an anarchist, I am sure that that is what I am and what I will die being. I promise that this has relevance to all people with strong beliefs…

I believe in human freedom and self-determination, noncoercion, and voluntary association. Now, most people only come halfway to this philosophy: they figure that it sounds nice, but in fact we need forceful government (aka “the State”) to a) take money from the wealthy for the feeding of poor folks, b) keep guns away from our mentally ill halfwit neighbors, c) protect us from the Russians and Chinese, or d), e), f) or g).

When I started down the anarchy path, I still supported FDA. Sure, FDA had neglected herbal medicine, practically causing it to fade from the nation, and they approved dangerous and/or useless Big Pharma drugs and suspicious food additives… but, we need FDA to keep Big Pharma from blatantly poisoning us! Look at all the shady pills Big Pharma is pushing! (The Zoloft and Ritalin I feared back then sound nice and mellow compared to the statin drugs and atypical antipsychotics of today.)

Today I hold Big Pharma and FDA in equal contempt: they are one and the same. Big Pharma is Big Pharma because FDA leases them a concession to fulfill that role. The mist has fallen from my eyes, and I have more consistent anarchist views.

In conversation with anarchists online, someone might raise the point, for instance, that taxation is equivalent to theft. A less faithful anarchist replies, “but taxes support food stamps and winter heating programs. Do you want to freeze and starve people?” Now, ideally, according to our group beliefs, we would look for ways to muster the power to feed and warm everybody through voluntary means. We could have all kinds of conversations about how to accomplish that.

Instead, the anarchist masses turn on the pro-tax anarchist with the charge: “You aren’t a real anarchist! You don’t know anything about anarchy!” They are trying to turn away the young me, to make sure he develops into a Democrat or something equally drab. Because, if you still believe in taxes or FDA, you can’t be an anarchist. According to other people, if you aren’t a vegan, or if you wear suits, you can’t be an anarchist. Coming from a group of people known for questioning the rules, such behavior is particularly lame.

I imagine that this is a universal group behavior: “She can’t be a Christian, she smokes meth / has premarital sex / does something fun” or “He’s not a real patriot, he only owns one gun” or “She’s no Marxist, look at the size of her house.”

Well, guess what. If you know some people who are even close to being on the same page as you, you are pretty lucky. Appreciate them. Welcome them in. Speak to them as if you think they know what they are talking about.

If your ways are just and right and worthy of spreading like Good News over the face of the Earth… you are going to have to bring people into the fold from where they really are, right now. Calling someone a hypocrite for only coming halfway over is the best way to exclude people from a shrinking circle.

If it’s not a matter of life and death, you’re better off sharing beers with someone than driving them from the temple. Relax, tilt your glass again…



  1. I think you’ve mellowed some …

    Comment by estraven — January 7, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  2. Nice post, and I would love the opportunity to “bend elbows” with you again! I hope I’m “close enough to being on the same page”;). Also, your piece on the new Beck “album” was fantastic and quite eye-opening for me. I trust you enjoyed your Holidays. Mike

    Comment by mike — January 9, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  3. I’d rather there be a socialist vs. anarchist dichotomy than republican/democrat. You have well tempered anarchist views. More importantly, your views are logically consistent. I can always count on your counter argument -especially- when I am unaware that there is one!

    Comment by wilfridcyrus — January 11, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

    • I would be pretty happy in that world where people hear the socialist and anarchist arguments, and then feel that they have heard “both sides!”

      Comment by paragardener — January 13, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

      • I second that, paragardener!

        Comment by estraven — January 13, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  4. I’m behind on your posts– but Bravo!!! to this one.

    I think political parties (even smaller ones without representation) have trained people to have strong emotional reactions to certain words & phrases, which only divides us all the more. We tend to reject people if they haven’t adopted the lingo of our particular tribe, even if our goals are 90% the same. You can express the same concept using different vocabulary and it’ll meet with a very different reaction. You can say “The corporatist bastards in Washington stole the Social Security trust fund and now our retirement safety net is in jeopardy!” Or you can say “Our largest entitlement program has had all the assets in its so-called “trust fund” diverted to other programs by Congress, and therefore at current levels, its funding is unsustainable.” The basic underlying facts are the same, but reactions will be vehemently different. Anyway– people get so excited after adopting the “proper” lingo (I swear it’s more about language and less about concepts than most of us think) that they get quite invested in protecting that “proper” speech and slamming some of the newbies. E.g. let’s not call it a tax. Let’s call it a “suggested communal safety net donation” or talk about “decriminalized taxation” and hey, there might be a bit of gray-area common ground.

    Comment by freelearner — January 15, 2013 @ 5:36 am

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