This was on my mind this morning, so I thought I’d share:
This morning while perusing my Facebook newsfeed, I once again came across someone’s post railing against anarchists/anarchy.
As is typical, his rant was illustrative of his many misconceptions of the ideology. And it was rife with contradictions as well, particularly regarding individualism vs. collectivism, as he alleged his belief in individualism, yet spoke in collectivist terms and advocated collectivist undertakings, such as his belief that the collective accomplishes greater things than individuals, and the forced funding of his valued institutions, which he feared would cease (and rightly so) in an anarchist society.
My first thought was that he simply needed to be better educated in the ideology…
But how can this be? With the internet, social media, such easy access to any and all knowledge and information out there, how can so many people be so misguided, harbor so many misconceptions and misunderstandings of such a simple concept as anarchy (or, as I prefer, autarchy)…?
So then I thought: perhaps it’s rooted in our own lack of understanding of the ideology, or principles thereof…or is it?
As I re-read his post, I had to honestly consider the accuracy of some of his indictments of anarchists, such as their “seeking approval from their peers” and “creating rules with which everyone must comply.”
In pondering these (and other) allegations, I needed only to consider my own observation of the devolution of the libertarian/anarchist community over the past few years. I’ve watched as popular, even revered ideological leaders have strayed, seemingly abandoning the principles of liberty out of the fear of, or discomfort in, facing certain emergent issues—then perform amazing mental gymnastics in their justification of such; I’ve seen a definite jockeying for position by many within the movement, who seem to want to be considered new ideological leaders, in the process dictating their conceptions of the ideology to the rest of us; I’ve seen self-proclaimed anarchists demand their own sovereignty, while completely disregarding the plight of others, which is indicative of egocentric living, rather than non-egocentric living, a life approach which would obviously dissuade others from the ideology, thus giving rise to the common perception of a lawless, chaotic, dog-eat-dog anarchic world (of which I’ve written here on my blog, and addressed on my liberty philosophy facebook page Toward Autarchy); the list goes on.
So I had to concede: his criticisms are certainly not without merit…
All this made me realize how tragically we (in the overall movement sense) seem to be failing not only in accurately conveying the principles of liberty, the vision, the beauty of a stateless society—but also in setting an example, to which newcomers could take notice, and hopefully inquire.
(And to clarify: I by no means consider myself exempt from these failings; countless times I’ve slipped up and had others in the community call me out, and I’ve had to humbly stand corrected. This is one of the reasons I’ve evolved over the years from being very vocal, to mostly shutting the fuck up and minding my own studies, my own business, my own work, my own art, my own life. I finally came to grasp the vastness of my own ignorance—especially when it comes to the lives of others—and so I’ve decided the best thing I can do to help others is to be the best person I can be, continue my own personal development and relentless pursuit of enlightenment (again, toward self-mastery, toward autarchy), and try to simply live by example).
Anyway, that’s it. Obviously, We’ve a lot of work to do, as I personally believe we’ve actually lost ground in recent years. I only wish I had the opportunity to commit greater time/energy/resources to the endeavor, but my current circumstances prevent me from doing so.
Perhaps some day…