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PostReflections on Anarchism; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 05/12/19 3:52 am)
Gary Moore writes:
Replying to Anthony Candil (May 11), our moderator wondered how John Lennon of the Beatles could write a song hoping for a world without not only religions but even without countries.
The answer is easy, though enigmatic: anarchism. This ancient mystery can express as peaceful, dreamy anarchism like Lennon's, or violent anarchism like Nechayev or Antifa, or archetypal anarchism like Rousseau's. But the mystery remains: tear it all down and the good will then flower spontaneously (rather than the more likely default of the guy with the biggest fist or club taking over the ruins). As with other political dreaming, society as an overall authority can't legitimately ask: "How can they believe this crap?"--because "they" is so often "we." The consensus demands its place at the table of possibilities. At this level, politics might seem clearly to be psychology, but "clearly" to whom? Post-Enlightenment empiricism offers no way to stand apart from the observations and categorize, and pre-Enlightenment dogmatism scarcely did either.
WAIS on May 11 also segued to David Duggan's concise rap sheet on serial killer John Wayne Gacy, with his formal MPI diagnosis of "antisocial personality disorder (a disorder which incorporates constructs such as sociopathy and psychopathy)." But note here that the latter two terms don't handily differentiate separate pathologies. "Sociopath" evolved as a politically correct way to replace "psychopath"--which came to seem bigoted, placing blame on someone's deformed psyche and not on more nebulous society--the same path leading to "antisocial personality disorder." So might this include anarchism? Or is that unfair? Our politics is barely above the level of trial by combat or getting the best lawyer, since we've still found no way to systematically understand our extremes.
JE comments: Gary Moore has put his finger on it: "dreamy" (perhaps Utopian?) anarchism. Lennon himself anticipated the naysayers: They say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
WAIS has not given anarchism much attention, outside the context of our perennial favorite, the Spanish Civil War. We now commonly take the Libertarians to be the inheritors of the anarchist mantle, although we also associate Libertarianism with a hard-boiled Darwinism, with nothing of Lennon's touchy-feely lovefest. (I don't have a question to stimulate further discussion here, but I'll agree with Gary that anarchism is a very interesting political philosophy. It's the most extreme form of optimism: Destroy it and we will live in bliss.)