Saturday, February 17, 2007

Its still me

It appears that I have "spooked the horses" with my recent change in outlook. If you peruse the comments of that post, you'll see some support but also a lot of confusion. So, in an effort to preempt Idealistic Pragmatist's post on me for leaving the NDP, let me say this:

Guys, its still me.

I still believe in human rights. A person should be allowed to do anything so long as then do not harm or infringe on the rights of another person. Indeed, this was probably one area where I have always been an open libertarian - albeit a civil libertarian.

I still believe in economic justice. I believe people should be able to live comfortable, earn a decent living and enjoy the comforts of our society without being exploited, enslaved and being made dependent on things they cannot control. This was one of the principles that led me to join the NDP in the first place.

I still believe in human equality, that no person should be judged or discriminated against based on who they are, where they are from or any other accident of birth. Same as when I was in the NDP.

I believe that people should be free to live their lives as they choose. Again, no different than before.

I have always believed that the market can work under the right circumstances. Giant corporate oligopolies, cartelized products and government granted monopolies all conspire to make sure that the markets aren't in fact "free" and do not work and are not the right circumstances. I have always and will continue to rail against the Conservative Nanny State, and consider places like the American Enterprise Institute and the CATO Institute to be vulgar libertarians - apologists for corporatism, not supporters of free markets. I am in favour of "fair trade" not the so-called "free" trade. Again, no different than before.

I have only changed in the way in which I think these principles and goals can be reached. I have given up on the state as an agent of this. I have always thought modern corporations could not do it. I am in favour of a highly decentralized model of local governance, as suggested by Jane Jacobs. I am merely looking at this in a different way.

In short, same goals and principles, different path to implementation.

Anarchism means, quite literally, "without rulers". I think we can do better ourselves, rather than depending on politicians and bureaucrats with other agendas. Perhaps the state can do some good, but in the end, I have come to accept that it is part of the problem, not the solution.

But your mileage may vary.

Its still me. I have probably surprised, disappointed and even angered some of you. But it is still me.

I will still bash the Liberals and Conservatives when they need it. I will still agree with whomever makes good points. I still like the NDP. I will still give my opinion on how things are working in government, even though I would eventually like it to disappear.

In short, its still me.

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13 Comments:

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Reassuring, all of that. I still disagree with you about abandoning the system (my "post" actually became the last comment on that other post last night, in case you missed it), but it's good to know you still stand for the things that always mattered to you.

 
At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Deanna said...

You mean you haven't metamorphosed into a Randian? Good - I was worried we'd have to put you out of your misery. [grin]

BTW, I answered your question about my path from anarchist to federalist in the comments for your previous post.

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Ayn Rand? Gah! I can't stand her philosophy.

I'm more the Emma Goldman type. if I ever start agreeing with Ayn Rand, you have permission to put me out of my - and everyone elses - misery.

:)

I read that, thanks.

 
At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"* Politics
* writing
* technology and doing the right thing.
* Oh finding ways via anarchy and libertarianism to make a better society."

Two steps closer to Rand, according to your self-description. blah, blah, blah stop chirping, and re-read it dum-dum.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Jay said...

The "spooked horse" is a reaction I've come to expect and understand from people. After all, anarchism is about as bracing to social democrats as atheism is to secular agnostics.

What I'll never understand (and I get this a lot too) is the sheer presumptuousness of some of the commenters, e.g. "haven't you thought about a world without government run police, health care, roads, safety regulations, etc?" Well, duh, of course I've thought about it. Quite extensively, in fact. Why else would I make such a bold public proclamation if hadn't thought about these very things beforehand? It's almost like they're expecting you to go, "jeez, you know, I really didn't consider any of that before I decided to chuck the state in the dustbin and seek out an alternative - thanks so much for bringing those obscure and easily glossed over issues to my attention!"

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"dum-dum."

Canadian Sentinel, is that you? Well, I think Rand is an apologist for the current state-capitalist vulgar libertarian ideal, so no, that's not what those 4 vague sentences mean.

Poopy head.

Jay,

As one of those former presumptive commentators on your blog, I can understand where they are coming from (btw, sorry for all that ;-) ). It took me quite a while to get my head wrapped around it and it challenged me quite a bit. I don't mind them challenging me on it to keep me on my toes, but yeah, I considered it. In fact, it was one of the first things I considered, thinking that that is were anarchy and libertarianism would fall apart. When the alternatives seemed to work (in both theory and practice - CNT Spain 1936-39), I was drawn in even further.

But like my post says, its really not that far from where I was.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger KevinG said...

Dukkha?

I'm not sure I'm reading this right or not but it seems like you're frustrated by the state's slow action on the issues you think are important rather than embracing an alternate form of governance or an alternate set of principles.

Would you have come to this conclusion ( quitting collective action and embracing individual action ) if the current government was genuinely focused on climate change solutions? Presumably there is an anti-mike out there somewhere whose faith in government has been on the rise for the last year as the important issues of tax reform and the decentralization of power are finally addressed.

I'm not arguing against individual action. In fact I think I went through a similar, if less dramatic process a while ago. It's focussing on the outcomes that created my frustration. Focussing on creating a future that I had no real ability to affect.

The future will be what it will be. Act when you think it's important to act. Speak when you think it's important to speak. Argue and advocate when you think it's important. But, let go of the outcome.

It sounds fatalistic but it's not. For me, separating doing the right thing from seeking a result is liberating and satisfying.

I only mention this because if you're trying to enforce your will on a future state over which you have no real control, it seems likely that whether you act locally in small like minded groups or collectively through the mechanisms of government, you will be equally frustrated when the future deviates from how you want it to be, and, unless you are tremendously fortunate the future will never match how you want it to be.

If, on the other hand, you focus on doing what you think is important then each action is a success and a great many more actions are open to do. Why enforce a dichotomy when none exists?

Ugh, sounds more preachy than I mean it to ...

 
At 8:20 PM, Blogger Mike said...

KevinG,

Not quite. I am, of course, frustrated with slow actions on things that if feel are important. That is nothing new. But after much research and thought, I have come to the conclusion that the state and the action it takes often cause more problems than it solves. I actually think it gets in the way and, in the long run, creates worse problems.

My goals are the same as always, but my way of trying to get them are expanded beyond simply waiting for a government to do something.

And yeah, its pretty liberating. Looking at this with a new perspective and with new, direct way to look at things is both exciting and liberating. No false dichotomy at all. I actually feel I have expanded, not restricted my outlook.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger KevinG said...

"But after much research and thought, I have come to the conclusion that the state and the action it takes often cause more problems than it solves"

That would be an interesting discussion. I'd love to hear the line of reasoning that got you there.

"My goals are the same as always, but my way of trying to get them are expanded beyond simply waiting for a government to do something."

Acting is always better than waiting. I can see how embracing direct action as opposed to waiting for a solution would be exciting. In some ways we came to same conclusion.

While state action always causes problems, is the situation really worse?

 
At 11:11 PM, Blogger Josh Gould said...

I'm interested in the discussion as well, not least because I'm not really convinced that non-state alternatives are particularly stable much less stable enough - and I think the Spanish Civil War does prove that point.

So I'm going to try to answer these questions:
1) Is the State necessary? Necessary for what? What is the appeal of the order it seems to provide?
2) Is property - as a legal entity - something that can exist without the State? What is a law in an Anarchist world? What does "law and order" have to do with markets and trade?
3) What does true anarchism consist of? What sort of trade-offs are implied by abolishing the State?
4) What does history tell us about these questions?

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Mike said...

josh,

Here are a few good places to start:

http://www.blackcrayon.com/essays/

Supports an individualist anarchist approach, which I prefer.

This post at Kevin Carson's blog is pretty good too:

http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2007/02/libertarian-forum-resource-for.html

Actually Kevin has a great deal of good stuff.

This interview with Karl Hess is quite good as well:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green_home_building/1976_January_February/The_Plowboy_Interview__Karl_Hess

As for the Spanish Civil war, I think that the "failure" of anarchism there had more to do with Franco and his German weapons than any inherent instability of non-state alternatives. And the Republic refusing to give the CNT weapons probably didn't help, but I digress.

Anyway these are but a few of the areas I investigated. Let me know what you think.

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger Josh Gould said...

Thanks, Mike - I'm also going to check out Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

My evil cross country brainwashing is working like a charm.....pretty soon you'll be at pro-capital punishment rallies and walking the streets holding signs that say "REPENT, for the Lord is coming to judge you !!!!!"

To be honest Mike, I've never really thought of you as partisan......more as intelligent, you've always managed to pick through the BS that you don't like about the NDP, and I have always respected that.....

 

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