For domination (sort of)

I recently translated a piece over at the main site Atassa: Readings in Eco-extremism that has made the anarchist peanut gallery come out of the woodwork again, expressing how eco-extremists / “anarchists of praxis” are no better than the State or fascists because they  use “terrorist violence” and “coercion” in their actions. The reasoning is that the State is violence, violence is coercive, and if you use (indiscriminate) violence, you are no better than the State, as opposed to anarchists who use violence “judiciously” (again, according to anarchists) fighting cops and other undesirables according to the instructions of the Anarchists tribunes and pontiffs, blah blah blah…

I assume that these are “pro-civ” anarchists, but even “anti-civ” anarchists are always going on and on about this. If one person has too much power or whatever, it’s a threat to everyone, they are basically one step away from imposing total domination, domestication etc. One must find the most “egalitarian” societies that one can and try to bottle whatever made them tick (as if that were easy).  Either way, that sort of approach reduces human beings to lawyers or accountants in my opinion: primitive societies are reverse engineered into penny-pinchers and human resources managers whose only obsession is to make sure that everyone gets the exact same thing and no one gets hurt. Here the “noble savage” trope is applied fairly.

Oddly enough, if these primitivists would only read their own Canon closely, they might discover some rather unsavory truths. For example, in the Gospel According to St. James (Woodburn) it is written:

“In normal circumstances the possession by all men, however physically weak, cowardly, unskilled or socially inept, of the means to kill secretly anyone perceived as a threat to their own well-being not only limits predation and exploitation; it also acts directly as a powerful levelling mechanism. Inequalities of wealth, power and prestige are a potential source of envy and resentment and can be dangerous for holders where means of effective protection are lacking.

What we have here is direct and immediate access to social control, access which is not mediated through formal institutions or through relationship with other people. It is directly analogous to, and matched by, the direct and immediate access, again not normally mediated through formal institutions or through relationships with other people, which people have to food and other resources.”

The secret to an egalitarian society, in this version of primitivist gospel, lies not in some nebulous whining about fairness and not being coerced, but in the ability (of men, n.b.) to retaliate against others should they decide to step on your toes, metaphorically or literally. If we all (and by that, I mean “all males”) have access to the same weapons, I might think twice about stealing your goods or lording over you. That seems a far cry from the “all coercion is fascist” characterization of the modern anarchist.

I would assert that “direct and immediate access to social control” also excludes morality, the last vestige of the State or God that haunts the social anarchist who thinks that morality is some “inner light” that guides each smelly Molotov cocktail-thrower in the street like a burning in the bosom. The only reason I should not hurt you is that you will hurt me back if I do, and even then, you will probably try to hurt me anyway. If we get out of St. James’ Egalitarian Kingdom and go to less saintly tribes, this will become even more evident…

But this is just a blog post. We will obviously return to this theme in the future.

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