Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wall Street Bombing

We are learning that the Anarchist are not just against government, they are also against pretty much any large institution that would exert influence over others, such as, large corporations. From my study, it appears that the banks and financial centers are particular sore points with the anarchists. The picture above was taken in 1920, and shows a bombing that occurred on Wall Street. So apparently this group did not just throw bombs at their own rally, but also threw bombs at other people.

I was very excited to see we had an actual anarchist post on the site yesterday, a Mr. Lemuria. From the post it sounded like he was not a real anarchist, but more of a hobby-anarchist, or armchair anarchist, or to coin a term, a Gentleman Anarchist. I would guess that he likes to read books on the subject, and sit around the coffee shop with his friends and talk about throwing rocks through windows, but probably would not ever really throw a rock through a window. I am not being pejorative, but just summarizing my read on his musings.

I hope Mr. Lemuria will post again today, as I would really like to better understand how this movement thinks. I am not interested in winning an argument, I just want to understand what goes on in these people's minds.

OK, so let me describe a situation. I have this friend named Matt. Matt loves guns. Every time I see him he shows me the 27 guns he has bought since the last time I saw him. He buys guns, he shoots guns, he fixes guns, and in fact he can even make guns from scratch. If there is one thing he loves more than guns, it is coffee. The only thing better than coffee is free coffee. The only thing better than free coffee would be an evening of drinking free coffee and burning down anarchist book stores. Now Matt might dream of stealing coffee from an anarchist coffee shop, and then burning down an anarchist book store, but he would never actually do it because of the Rule of Law. He understands that if he were to do those things he would be thrown into prison, and would possibly become a love interest of a 350 pound Hell's Angel biker. So, Matt behaves himself because there is a government, and rule of law, and prisons, and bikers in prison.

If Mr. Lemuria and his friends achieve their Utopian vision of anarchy where there is no government and no large corporations, the issue is that my friend Matt does not go away, and his friends do not go away, and his guns do not go away. Even if you got rid of guns as you got rid of governments, Matt could build one from scrap metal in about a week. So, if we have Matt, guns, anarchist coffee shops, anarchist book stores, and no government, there will be raids where coffee is stolen and anarchist book stores are burned. Oh yes, there will be coffee raiders, and coffee raids.

Mr. Lemuria now has the choice of either organizing his friends and arming himself, or becoming the victim of Matt and his marauding band of bookstore burners. If Mr. Lemuria does organize and arm, then Matt and his group get into battles with Mr. Lemuria and his group. So, we got rid of government but did not get rid of war. Also, Matt then starts banding together with other marauding groups, and organizes, and chooses leaders. Now all the sudden it sounds like we have a new government emerging. Matt now has a lot more men to arm, and he does not have the time to make all the guns, so a company is formed to make guns, and Matt uses the proceeds from his coffee shop raids to purchase weapons from the company, which begins to grow in size. So, now we not only have emerging governments, we have emerging large corporations and defense contractors.

So, how can an anarchist society exist without wars breaking out, people organizing, and governments being formed.


  1. And that is how life goes.
    Very well said PJM.

    In other words we need government or at least somebody to police people into doing the right thing. So we won't have to throw them in jail with bikers named Bubba

    And then we need some one to police the police. You and I know that the police need to be policed. Or you would have Sheriffs named Bubba running and terrorizing their county.

    GOD BLESS THE USA the greatest country in the world. Where we have about the right amount of every thing. Maybe a little to much here and a little to little there, but hey nobody is perfect. All in all a pretty darn good Country to live in.

  2. There are different and in fact distinct strains of anarchism.

    There are anarchists who profess to be against any large, hierarchical organization.

    I think these anarchists are naive, as hierarchy is an inevitable part of nature. Virtually all social animals have hierarchies of one sort or another.

    What I object to is coercive hierarchies. If the "government" (so-called) derived its powers only from the consent of the governed, freely given, and by each individual, then I would have no objection to it.

    If a person and his neighbors want to organize to provide for their mutual defense, then there's nothing wrong with that, it's just an extension of their individual rights to defend themselves.

    Where anarchists part ways with statists is when statists start saying that two people may band together and force a third, against his will, to help protect them, or to accept their protection if he does not want it, under penalty of violent enforcement measures. When "governments" (so-called) behave in this manner (and all do), they make themselves no different from mafias, who also offer "protection" on these terms.

    Anarchists such as myself envision firms and voluntary organization freely providing protection in a competitive marketplace. Accountability would be enforced by consumers of protection services, who would be free to stop dealing with any organization that became abusive and overbearing and seek protection from one that better respected their rights and their sovereignty.

    There would not be one provider of protection, but many, and they would be forced to mostly get along and settle disputes peacefully because of the reality that conflict is expensive and peace is profitable. Without the power to tax, but needing to find willing customers, they would be unable to push the costs of conflict off onto hapless taxpayers or conscripts, but would have to bear them directly, making that an unappealing option.

    So, to recap, hierarchy, not bad as such. Organization, not bad. Coercive territorial monopolies, very bad.

  3. How about a subject a little less political next week . im sure everyone is sick of political ads etc , we need some uplifting photos, perhaps WW2 or vietnam photos would be nice. (just kidding).

  4. Hey PMJ, how about a dog week?

  5. All is good and said, but what happens when the one that was providing protection doesn't want to lose those he was protecting.
    Like the Mafia does he do harm to those that don't want to pay for his protection anymore. Then you have the start of a war between the old and the new protectors.

    It's nice to dream about the perfect society, but in reality it is hard to come by.

    It's like I said, no body or society is perfect, but I think here in the USA we come about as close to it as we can get

  6. how about old farm equipment week since you are so fond of tractors .

  7. I think there's a common misconception that anarchists are anti-governance, we are committed to a free, autonomous society. Allowing members to wage violence on others unabated is not necessarily something that inherent in an anti-authoritarian society.
    "How do you stop Matt the gun nut then?," you will ask. Well the story supposes a couple things. One of the top of my head is that the owners won't have lots of guns as well. The other is that the coffee won't be free already.

  8. Interesting hypothesis, PJM.

    /hides coffee stash

  9. Eli, how does your system of free competition handle fire protection, and utilities like water, sewer, and power?

  10. To sum up you position then, states are good and anarchism is bad, and the reason why anarchism is bad is because it leads to the formation of states, which are bad.

  11. "My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) – or to ‘unconstitutional’ monarchy . . . Anyway, the proper study of man is anything but man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity." ~J.R.R. Tolkein

    "Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." --Thomas Jefferson

  12. Mr. Lemuria" profile describes himself as a cult leader. Whether sincere or not "leader" implies a dominant position over others.

    Reducing the number of guns one can own is a ploy. All it accomplishes is to identify those to be totally disarmed in the future. Incremental loss of freedom.
    Getting rid of the guns is both fanciful and self-destructive. If "they" have guns how do you propose to disarm them? By force? Then I guess someone will still have guns. Can you swear 100% for the ethics and civility of those still armed, and of those controlling them? Disarming the population is the earmark of an oppressive government.

    The Founding Fathers had way more faith in the common sense and abilities of the population at large than we are given presently. Then again they all had real jobs besides their elected positions. I think most here agree government is meant to exist for our benefit not the other way around.

    Exercise the Bill of Rights. it's good for your Constitution


  13. Silvanos of PerenoldeOctober 27, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    I, for one, am enjoying the diversity of PJM's posts. Typewriters one week, Anarchists another! This is why I read this blog every day.

  14. Some people spend their lives rebelling against forces outside of themselves... which is easier than dealing with what is going on inside of themselves.

  15. Mr. PJM, thank you for starting a FUN week here.

    The subject has stirred up some great comments.

  16. I would encourage anyone interested in learning about a different anarchism then you're taught in the textbooks to go here:

  17. "Some people spend their lives rebelling against forces outside of themselves... which is easier than dealing with what is going on inside of themselves."

    This also is a common misconception about anarchists. Rather than taking personal stock anarchists fight against an seemingly unwavering power. I would guess you don't know any anarchists. An anarchist wants complete autonomy in their society, meaning absolute personal responsibility, choice making, and a world where their community decides it's destiny. Who else but a secure human wishes for this?

  18. Would Anarchists forbid others in the same community from setting up some kind of government?

    And has any society, past or present, lived under a pure anarchic system? Some might say primitive societies would qualify, but even they have hierarchies of some sort: chiefs, elders, councils, etc.

    It seems to me that it's one of those utopian ideas that sounds good or looks good on paper but which comes up against the harsh reality of human nature, or of 'nature', simply.

    It might work if we were all perfectly law-abiding and selfless people but we humans are not.