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Anarcho-pacifism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anarcho-pacifism (also pacifist anarchism or anarchist pacifism) is a tendency within anarchism that rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change, the abolition of capitalism and the state.[1][2] The main early influences were the thought of Henry David Thoreau[2] and Leo Tolstoy while later the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi gained importance.[1][2] Pacifist anarchism "appeared mostly in the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States, before and after the Second World War and has continued since then in the anarchist involvement in the protests against nuclear armament.".[3]

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This series of lectures is one of the most important ones for Paralelní Polis Because Paralelní Polis tries to promote freedom, decentralization, independence of the state And ideally, over time, a stateless society At the moment, it is probably easiest to implement this idea on the internet And in that case we call it cryptoanarchy You are sitting in the Institute of Cryptoanarchy right now, which is a part of Paralelní Polis And which tries to promote exactly these ideas And together with probably the most active anarcho-capitalist in the Czech Republic, Urza, We have agreed that he would give a lecture and hopefully an entire series of lectures here In two weeks, there will be another lecture from this series here and in the next year, we will continue further And I will finally stop talking now and give the floor to Urza. Thank you. I would like to welcome you here, I am happy to see all of you And what I am happy about foremost is that although the lecture is called anarcho-capitalism When a colleague of mine asked how many of you here are anarcho-capitalists, about two thirds of you said that you were not Which I appreciate a lot because I would like to primarily talk to people that don't necessarily agree with me on everything So first, I would like to introduce myself, so that you know who I am I studied at the faculty of mathematics and physics, I work as a programmer I used to teach at a private high school as a part time job And I raised three children And why am I here? I'm an anarcho-capitalist, the creator of the webpage "Stoky Svobodného Přístavu" And one of the founders of the Czech Ludwig von Mises Institute I have read literally thousands of texts about libertarianism and anarchism And I have written hundreds of them myself And by doing something like that, I was able to better organize my thoughts So I would like to present them to you as well These ancap meetups will be happening here in Polis roughly every other Wednesday Although not every time, since during the holidays it will be cancelled In each lecture, I will be dealing with one specific topic Throughout the series you will learn, for example, how firefighters could work, schools, hospitals, social support system And in the end even courts, policing or the army Each lecture will be dedicated to one of these topics If you are interested in some other topic that I might not have chosen otherwise, you can either tell or message me And I will gladly prepare a lecture about something either really popular or even something that one person suggests, if I find it especially interesting There will be a discussion after each lecture here It will start here and then we'll move to the café downstairs This lecture, as all of you probably know from the invitation, will cover the topic 'The State is Immoral' We will be looking at the state from an ethical point of view And the reason why the first lecture is going to be about this is that Before I start talking about how various things could be provided in a free society I would like to explain why I think such a thing is good and desirable Only in this first lecture we won't be talking about how any particular thing could function without a state But I promise you that after today, we won't really be talking about anything else So today, I would like to keep the focus on the moral and ethical approach to a state as an institution as a whole, as an organization And I would like to get deeper into the ethical considerations of it That is why, at the beginning, I prepared three stories for you They are just short parables you can just imagine in your head The first is: You're walking down the street and suddenly, a band of thieves jump at you out of nowhere They put a knife to your throat and say "Give me your money or your life" You are in a bit of an inconvenient situation Where you can either give those thieves your money or whatever valuables you have on you Or you don't comply and risk that they might kill you In this case, we can probably all agree that the actions of those thieves are highly immoral Because you have some resources and things you have, in some way, acquired through honest work And they just come and take them from you because they are in that particular situation simply stronger than you and you can't do much about it So because they have this power over you, they will take away from you something, which is rightfully yours Another example, very similar to the first one, is that if you open a little shop I don't know, for example in Italy or Russia, and you're a small businessman there And suddenly you have a visit from someone who obviously belong to the local mafia You know that they are a bunch of tough guys who don't mess around much And they tell you that either you're going to pay them, let's say, a 10 per cent of what you earn Or it's not going to end well for you In this case, they don't have to actually come at you with a knife They don't have to pose a threat to you for the moment Actually, a nicely dressed man can come along and just have a chat with you that might even look friendly at first glance But he will clearly suggest what is going to happen to you if you don't pay your "protection money" And here again you have the choice to either comply and submit to the demants or to bear the consequences if you don't Here, again, I think we can all agree that this way of conduct on the side of the mafia is morally quite unjustifiable Because (it's the same as before) you have your goods, you have earned and built something in your shop You earn something because you offer your services to other people and they pay you for it voluntarily And suddenly someone comes along, who essentially wants to be a parasite and who wants to take your resources from you And we would all consider this as morally wrong Finally, the third story is that you live under a state, which pays you a visit in a form of issuing some laws And the state says that you have to give away a certain portion of your income... (for example in the Czech Republic, the compounded rate of all the taxes that the state collects from you is between 60 and 70 %) ...and you have to give it away somewhere, and if not, if will end badly for you as well What is interesting is that everyone will condemn the first two cases as something that is unacceptable Because in the third case, essentially the same thing happens Meaning you have earned something through your diligence and work, and suddenly someone who didn't work for it in any way comes and just takes it from you The important think to stress is that those taxes are literally extracted using violence Even if this violence doesn't have to be clearly visible at first But remember the second example - There, the violence wasn't entirely explicit either He didn't have to come to you with a weapon and physically put your knife on your throat either He simply came over and had quite a nice little chat with you, from which it was clear what was going to happen if you don't pay The state does this in a sligthly different way If you don't pay taxes, it has a little bit more patience than the mafia, which means that if you don't pay those taxes It will progressively kind of iterate with you First it tells you that you have the obligation to pay Then it will go to great lengths remining you that you really have to pay But if you still don't do so, the state will just take some executors and send them to you to just take away the property from you Because the state thinks you owe those things to it Well and then again you have the option to give it to this executor And if you don't, the executor will call the police And if you don't give it to the police either Then they will forcefully enter your home and simply start taking it And if you defend yourself against those policemen They will, in fact, treat you the same way the mafia did By either having direct violence used on you Or you give up your property The difference between this example and the one with the mafia is technical, but not moral If something like this happens, the state has more patience (way more than the mafia) But it is essentially just PR Because the mafia can base its image on being really tough so that it doesn't pay to resist them So they won't be nice with towards you, they won't send you that many reminders, maybe they'll send none and just deal with you right away The state has a different PR. It tries to come across as peaceful Which means that it will be kind of cuddling with you for quite a long time before it actually uses force against you But it will literally do just that The force that will be used against you will be aggressive, it will be the aggressor for a simple reason that you didn't have to do anything to anyone You didn't violate any other property rights You didn't harm anyone (and by property rights I also mean the right to your own body, things like that) So you didn't do anything bad to anyone and suddenly the police come and start violating your property rights I would like to pause here to ask you one thing. At the moment, we are not considering whether it is right or wrong for this to be happening, that is not the question for now I would like to know if we can all agree that the state collects taxes using violence -"Yes" Who doesn't agree please raise your hand Please wait for the microphone to get to you I would like to stress that we're now talking only about whether those taxes are collected using violence, not about whether it is right or wrong or if it is justifiable First, we're only talking about whether you're made to pay taxes using force -This is, of course the typical argumentation that we know from the domain of cryptoanarchy But what is important about the state in particular in the liberal democratic world Is that this power is controllable democratically... -Wait, please -No, let me finish The mafia is not democratically controllable, there is an outstanding book, which... -Excuse me please but I have to stop you. We can discuss this after the lecture. I was asking something else now I wasn't asking about whether it is justifiable but only about whether you agree that taxes are collected using force Regardless of how it may be justified by democracy -This question is of course asked a little bit suggestively, just let me say an argument -Okay, I'm sorry You are comparing the state to the mafia here There is a great book which anarcho-capitalists might like, by Albert-László Barabási called Linked Which talks about what happens if you ideally decentralize networks Some centres in those networks start to form And it doesn't matter if it's a biological network, social network, whatever network you like It is a fifteen year old theory If you abolish the state, power centers will start to form, which will be the mafias Which come to existence exactly because of this previous decentralization The state, on the other hand, emerged from a social contract Precisely because we have figured out that we can provide this power in a way that we can control That means that yes, the state collects its money using force -I really need to stop you here -And in return, it gives us *unintelligible*, so that we can be protected from the mafia -I'm sorry, we can discuss this at the end of the lecture. I was asking about something entirely different now And from the very beginning of your comment, I suspected that you would be talking exactly about this And I thank you for your interest, however, I wasn't asking that The problem is that I was asking a specific question and you were answering another, completely different one I'm asking if there's anyone here who doesn't agree that taxes are collected using force Who simply thinks that that isn't the case I'm not asking if or how it is justifiable, we can discuss that later If we were to discuss that now, if would take another half an hour and we don't have that much time during the lecture I was just asking if we can all agree that taxes are collected using force or not Madam -So you are defining violence as the use of physical force, am I right? -Yes, I define it as using physical force Or the threat of physical force Either against a person or against their possessions; it is about property rights -So are you talking about unrightful use of force or...? -No, now we were only talking about whether it is done using force, not whether it a rightful use of force or not I mean using physical force or the threat of physical force Regardless of whether it is rightful use of force or not -So you mean the use of direct physical force...? -Yes, that's exactly what I meant -Okay, I agree -I would like to add that this will be the last question now, we will surely get back to this at the end These pauses for questions in between will be just really short; so last question -But if a given person doesn't agree that an executor should for example take his TV or something Then the state doesn't have the powers to use force against this person It the person does not consent and if he or she does not use force first, then the state won't use force first either -I would argue, and I'm fairly certain about that, that if you just refuse to open the door to the executor And you'll just refuse to talk to him, you will eventually end up with your door getting kicked down I'm not saying it's going to happen immediately, nor that the executor himself is going to do that But as soon as you have some claim against the state and you will act like you have the money but just refuse to give it away The state will eventually come and take it from you All the while I'm not saying that the first executor to come to your place will necessarily use force, and I said that already After a while, if you really don't let him in, if you really stand your ground The police will come and kick down your door And again, they will not try to kill you or anything but if you try to defend your property, then they will definitely do something to you -But how am I supposed to protect it without using force? -No, they will be the first to use force by kicking down your door -But the state sees it as a consequence of your indebtedness to it, the kicking down of your door. From their point of view, it is not an act of aggressive force, the state itself, not you, chooses the justification for kicking down your door -Well I defined violence here as the use of physical force, which is when someone breaks into your house -So you count that as violence? -Yes, I regard as violence when my door gets kicked down and the SWAT team storms my house -Okay but that's the only use of force the state will do -But it is the use of force, isn't it? -And imprisonment is a form of violence as well -Yes, if you get locked up, that is violence as well. They will take you there against your will -Come on, no one gets locked up for not paying taxes -That depends on how exactly you don't pay those taxes, but that's only about details You can not pay your taxes by just refusing to do so and saying that you just won't do it And in that case, they will simply keep taking it, they won't lock you up In the case of hiding your money from the state, then if they find out, they will lock you up -Yes, but that's a crime. No one will lock me up just for not paying it. -For just not paying, they won't lock you up but they will use force against you by breaking in and taking your possessions Okay, I thank you for all the input in the discussion... I'm sorry, at the end we will... At the end of the lecture we can have this discussion, really From the possible differences that can arise among those three stories The first objection can be raised is that the thieves and mafia don't offer any services in return That is true, although not everywhere Because for example in Japan, the Yakuza runs what is essentially a charity during catastrophes and things like that, it gives out stuff to people. But that's a fringe case But the most important argument against this objection is That even if I first steal something from you and then go and buy you something for it, I might have apologized, so to speak, but I didn't stop being a thief So this argument, again, points to further technical differences between those examples But not moral differences, meaning that theft would suddenly become non-theft Another argument that we heard from the back is that in a democracy, those taxes were voted for That is true, of course, but it can hardly be used as a moral imperative for one reason Namely that if we accept as moral anything that the majority says it is okay to do Then if there's about 130 people here, then if let's say a hundred of us agreed to just go now and sack the Bitcoin Coffee downstairs Then we have voted on it, most of us agreed to it And nonetheless, is is not exactly okay to do it And if, on the other hand, I take the opposite extreme, no one would really like if that democratic voting was done for example on a global scale So that the billions of people from the third world would vote on how we're going to redistribute the wealth Most people probably wouldn't like that either So we arrive at the conclusion that what people take as acceptable is that they would like to vote in a state of exactly the form it has at the moment So for example the Czech Republic with its 10 million people, and that this is the correct extent But as soon as another 80 million Germans would join us, we could all complain a little And that is based on some historical reasons which are understandable on one hand But on the other, it is hard to distill any general moral imperatives from them We can hardly generalize the principle that when we vote on something, it becomes moral And this is clear to us in most cases The only case where this is not clear to us, or where we would have the urge to make objections to that is in exactly the scope of voting that the state offers to us Another typical argument is the social contract Which people often compare to an implicit contract such as if I come to a restaurant and order something And by ordering, I have entered into a contract with the restaurant that I will pay for the mean or drink later By doing this, I am, indeed, entering into a contract and it is by performing an action that as a consequence a contract is created with an institution And I'll then make a transaction with it without signing a piece of paper I can do that because a contract is not a piece of paper but an agreement, and the piece of paper only serves as evidence that an agreement like this happened Some people, in an attempt to defend the state, claim that we have a social contract Which means that by being born here and living here, a person gives the state the permission to be taxed and then offered some services in return On the other hand, the same thing could then be said about the mafia as well It's as if I opened the shop there and just by running the business there and not wanting to move it somewhere else or stop doing the business I am agreeing to the mafia taking away the protection money from me And I could argue in the same way that it is actually a social contract, couldn't I? Where is the difference? The only difference is that the state is really powerful so it can tell us the same story over and over for a really long time since we were just schoolkids And it tells us that being taxed is a social contract On the other hand, if anyone else does that, we immediately see that it is not okay And again, I would like to argue from the moral principle that if something is not okay for anyone to do except this one case where we say that it is fine Then it seems to me that there is some inconsistency in the argumentation And I would more likely consider it to be a result of certain propaganda from this institution, which was intensive enough to convince us That the behavior that we would generally consider outright condemnable is tolerated when this specific institution does it And this also relates to the last argument, my favorite Which is that whoever is not happy should just move somewhere else This argument, again, could be also applied in the same way to the mafia. You don't like it? Just move away then You don't like being robbed in an alleyway? Don't go there All and all, it doesn't really make sense if only because for example here in the Czech Republic there are families, in which their wealth and land is handed down from generation to generation And they are here for a significantly longer period of time than this state (and by that I also mean the Czechoslovakian state) It's a little sketchy to capture them under some coercive authority and then say: "You have agreed to a social contract with us because you have to and if you don't like it, move away" That just doesn't make sense because those people were there earlier that the state Because we are running a little bit late I would like to ask just one question: whether someone still sees a difference from the moral point of view, not the technical one Between the thieves with the protection money and taxes, beyond the four differences that I have mentioned so far -I would like to know for example if you consider the [Czech compulsory] medical insurance a tax or not -Thank you for the question I was considering that 'insurance' a tax in what I was saying as well as the [Czech compulsory] social insurace I will talk about that more in future lectures But I consider it a tax because it has all the characteristics of a tax even if it is called an insurance Voluntariness in particular, but also how the sum of the payment is calculated and things like that, it all resembles a tax -Then I see a difference there in that we have certain advantages from that health insurance -Because thanks to that we have healthcare -Okay, I understand Do you see the first bullet point? -So it is like the Yakuza? -I'm not saying it is like Yakuza, I'm saying that just because the state offers some services (thank you for asking, because I have clearly explained that badly) If the state offers some services to its victims, it doesn't stop being a thief in the same way that if I were to steal from you and then just bought something for you with the money It's exactly the same thing with the health insurance It doesn't suddenly just make me not a thief Now I would like to say a few words about aggressive and defensive force, as we have touched on it briefly already So I would like to talk about it in a bit more detail now We have talked about violence here and the first question is whether using force is always wrong Some people, like pacifists, say violence is always wrong, even as a reaction to other, prior violence And here there is just a little remark that a consistent pacifist has to be an anarchist as well, because they have to reject the state as being founded on the use of force But most people, even those who are not anarchists, condemn aggressive violence Which means that most of us will put up with me injuring someone if they assault me and I am trying to defend myself But most people would not commend it if I just approached someone without them doing anything wrong and attacked them out of the blue So that is the main difference between defensive and aggressive use of force, and the defensive one is tolerated by most people (although not by the pacifists) And aggressive violence is tolerated by almost no one, but in spite of that it is interesting to notice that if the aggressive violence is being committed by the state Then almost everyone tolerates it That is, again, some food for thought: what is the reason of this? It is just curious that most people don't even consider it being an aggressive use of force anymore When you're not doing anything and the state comes and starts taking something from you Taxes are not the only type of violence that the state commits We have to realize that all laws have to be enforced by actual violence, otherwise no one would care about them at all Of course, again, they can be enforced by a fine or something like that And again there will be many iterations What I'm saying is that eventually, it always has to come to violence If I get a fine, I say I won't pay it. Then an executor comes and we're back on track, we've talked about this And so every law that we have, every regulation, everything that gets passed by the state, then is enforced through the use of actual force Violence is the thing that the state claims to have a territorial monopoly on Which means that the state would get to decide (and it actually does, because it has the power to do so) who in a given territory can use force, when, and in what circumstances The state is simply just a violent apparatus which is monopolized in some way I would like to go back to the laws I was talking about It is important to realize that what is often harshly underappreciated Is that laws are such a mundane thing and an everyday part of life for us that the fact that they are enforced by violence is often completely forgotten, belittled, and ignored So when there is a law or a regulation coming, and there's a public discussion on the internet, on TV, and everywhere else Then people weigh on one side the benefits of this regulation and on the other the negatives of it So for example, when the [Czech law about] electronic register of sales, the smoking ban, or whatever else is discussed and you listen to both sides of the debate Then you see the advocates of the regulation claiming that it will be good because it will make people healthy here and there, maybe something about money somewhere else, things like that And on the other hand its opponents say that it will be too much of a hassle, this and that person will have to adopt to some requirements, or some other person will have to restrict themselves somehow But what is completely forgotten is that even if we have a regulation that seemingly doesn't do anything to anyone and everyone just has some kind of a new duty to perform, let's even say that it is really cheap as well Then there is still violence hidden behind the curtain because when someone doesn't do that, they will in the end be simply assaulted Because if this aspect of the regulation wasn't present in there, then the law is completely useless What would you do if there was a law (for example the electronic registry of sales), and whoever would not keep track of their sales, nothing would happen to them anyway Then how many people would do that, right? And this is just one example, but this violence is behind every law and regulation there is I would like to talk more about regulations now and first divide them into a few groups First ones are those which are completely nonsensical and almost no one agrees with them and we have them here anyway, mainly thanks to the Europen Union Those are just regulations for the sake of regulations For example, circus tents have their allowed size prescribed by the European Union You simply have a few fixed sizes of circus tents, and you cannot run a circus in a tent of a different size I couldn't even find the reason this law was instituted, but I'm sure there's one Olive oil - that's another ordinance by the European Union and that is that if you have a restaurant Then your olive oil on the tables have to be in the original package and you cannot pour it into any other receptacle And the reason for that is so that the owners of the restaurant won't mix it with water I don't know how an original package is going to prevent that but a regulation like this is here nonetheless And then, there is the Greek yogurt and spread butter That was basically renamed, so that a Greek yogurt cannot be called a 'Greek yogurt' but a 'yogurt of the Greek type' if it's not from Greece And spread butter cannot be called spread butter either These, too, are regulations, and even behind bullshit like this, there is violence hidden at the end Exactly as I said before: You don't comply? Eventually we'll take you down Another category, which might make some sense for people, is protection of people against themselves Typically, it is for example the obligation to wear a seat belt when driving a car, otherwise you'll get fined by the police These regulations protect you in some sense, but on the other hand, it is something that is forced on you And after all, that is none of anyone's business - if you're driving without a seat belt, the only person you're putting in danger is yourself In opposition to this I've heard an interesting argument that you could also endanger other people if you broke through the windshield and landed on someone else, for example On the other hand, If this reason was valid, it would have to be forbidden also to transport any unfastened objects in the car and anything that can fly through that windshield That doesn't make sense either The same holds for example for bans on drugs and mandatory listing of allergens in restaurants That protect people from hurting themselves even when they have other ways to deal with that Allergens are an interesting topic If someone has basically a lethal allergy and is too lazy to ask the waiter or find out in some other way whether what they're ordering will kill them or not Then because of that, all restaurant owners have to be restricted by having to put up some lists of allergens And the worst thing about it isn't that they're putting up a list of allergens, that's basically done in a few minutes But that's exactly the argumentation we've talked about here For them, it's only a few minutes of extra work but if they won't do it, we'll take them down -They're taking us down already -Another thing is restraining people from being a potential threat to their surroundings That is a more interesting and more controversial topic And that's for example the possession of weapons It might be the state's mandatory technical inspections of vehicles In this case, this person might actually harm someone else Or it might be hygienic norms for food etc. If you're interested more in the laws from this category, we'll surely talk about them in the future as well They have one thing in common: They typically order a lot of people about and very often barely work at all However the fact that they don't work is not even the main issue, which is that we're again using force against someone who has done nothing wrong The fact that someone possesses a weapon means that they can hypothetically be dangerous, that's true But they can be dangerous with a knife as well, maybe a little less And we just say: "You can't have this weapon because we have so decided and because you might be dangerous and harm someone with that weapon" And the state takes this as a reason for using force against a person The last category, which is a bit contentious, is the protection of property rights Where it could be said (that's why I have the question mark next to it) that the state actually prevents violence from happening in this case And that's true in many cases So by forbidding us from killing, raping, robbing etc., the state protects property rights of some people, that's true And for example when the police prevents a murder or something, they surely fight against violations of property rights and against harm being done So in this case, these laws are not just to boss us around for no reason The problem in this category is who is forced to pay for these services and on which terms If it was the case that these services would be paid for somehow voluntarily And if there weren't any violations of property rights of people who are not involved in the situation in any way Then it would be in a certain way justifiable The question is: To what extent would this state continue being a state if it had voluntary taxation And the enforcement of laws would only happen where violations of property rights would happen and people would pay for it voluntarily The same function could actually be performed just under a different name on the free market by any private company A state like this could exist but in this case, I would not call it a state anymore Today, this is in almost all states conducted like this: It's great that the state prevents murderers from murdering people, when it does that But the way it gets the money to do it is wrong The state needs to basically attack some people and take something from them in order to perform this function I know that some people have been asking me some questions during my talk and there will surely be enough time after the lecture I would just like to ask if everyone understands the difference between the first three groups and the last one Why I have pointed out the last one and marked it with a question mark and why it was different Is there anyone here who doesn't understand it or doesn't agree in some way? Again, I'm asking if you understand the difference between the first three groups and the last one [unintelligible] -...to prevent people from being a potential threat to their surroundings I can imagine a situation where it's fine by your criteria but not fine from other points of view If I buy a piece of land and build a nuclear plant on it with my own money And I build this reactor in a very careless way and it can be a threat to the surroundings It doesn't have to adhere to any technical norms or anything and it's dangerous [unintelligible] -Thank you for that question. In some cases, there can only be a thin line between those two last categories For example, if I just pulled out a gun right here and started just randomly carelessly shooting around, even if I didn't intend to harm anyone Then it could happen that I actually injure someone And the difference between the two last points is not so much in the intent of the person doing it but in how serious this threat is Which means that if someone who doesn't want to cause harm but does something that almost certainly will They move from this category down here. Thank you for the question I have already told you three stories, so I would like to tell you two more I would like to turn to something other than violence now Imagine a private company that would in our system of education pay teachers money to advertise their own products to children who have to go to that school So for example if McDonald's paid some teachers to explain to the kids how great food at McDonald's is And they would really insist on that and instill that in those children That is something most of us would condemn, especially in the case of compulsory education, where we don't have the option not to send our kids there Something like that would I think all of us see as unacceptable On the other hand, what's really interesting is that when the state openly and bluntly pays teachers to teach the same propaganda but to the benefit of the state Suddenly everyone is fine with that So then, we have something like civics, where all the kids will learn how great democracy is And how we really need the state And in this way, the state advertises itself into the heads of little children Let me show a typical example to illustrate what I'm talking about If you have soldiers, who go off to fight somewhere, then what they do is they murder people because someone told them to murder people Just imagine if you shot someone and then said: "By boss at work told me to do it. I was just ordered to do it. "And therefore I have not murdered anyone, I was just following orders." But the soldier in the army is in a similar situation, especially if it's a voluntary soldier, who went there on their own knowing that they'll be getting orders And that the commander will say "kill him" and so they will and suddenly it's fine It's really interesting that almost no one calls this act murder, if the person is a soldier But if I do it because my boss says so, no one will be denying that it's murder When I tell people this example, they often reply: "That's completely absurd as a parable." And then when I ask why, they will come up with better or worse arguments But the interesting thing is that they're trying to come up with those arguments basically on the spot They know right away that it's absurd But they only realize why later I think that is a straightforward case which shows that it has been hammered into them since early age And therefore they know in advance that it's absurd to compare the case of me killing someone because my boss told me to to a soldier killing someone because their general told them the same thing All the while I'm not saying that one couldn't find any differences or reasons, but it's interesting that everyone knows it's absurd before they even think about why Which is exactly the process of the propaganda of the state, which tells us upfront what we should think before we even think it through It is that in some cases, critical thinking is supressed And that happens on purpose because this type of education isn't just random If you look at the National Educational Programme or The White Book [Czech government programme for the development of education] Those are publications created by the ministry of education and they contain what kids must learn And in there, there is, for example, a bullet point called "civil competencies", which means that every teacher, even in classes that aren't civics and the like, has to make those kids into good citizens Which is, if I may use the allegory from before, just as if McDonald's said: "Make them into good consumers of our hamburgers." Again, the difference is that we might agree with one of them and disagree with the other But we can't really deny that it's happening If you open the White Book and read it, it's just stated there It says that every teacher of every subject is supposed to make their pupils into good citizens Which is, whether we agree with it or not, unequivocally state propaganda, which is being hammered into the heads of even the youngest kids for the entire time they spend in the education system Another interesting thing, that will probably also seem absurd to you but try to think about it anyway Is what happens if you say you don't want to indoctrinate your child in this way and that you refuse to expose them to this propaganda And that you will simply not teach them that, no one else will teach them that, you ignore it and won't send them to school Well, then social services will come to your house and if you stand by what you said firmly enough, they will the your child from you There are some options to homeschool your child but even if they're homeschooled, they still need to be reexamined at that school to find out whether they have been correctly indoctrinated at least by you So by homeschooling, you can make up for some of the damage inflicted in school However, it essentially means that if you don't educate your kid the way some bureaucrat wishes, they will kidnap your child No one calls it an abduction of a child by social services because it's described in some other way in laws On the other hand, that's exactly what it is Simply put, if you defy compulsory education and you stand by it, you will lose your child because they'll kidnap it Related to this is also the upbringing of children Kids are of course on one hand raised in school but fortunately still primarily by their parent, which is great On the other hand, even those parents used to be schoolchildren before So most parents have these things ingrained in them since childhood and when they raise their own children, they pass it on to them And I'm not at all saying that it's bad when parents pass on to children what they consider right, on the contrary, I consider that very good and beneficial for the kids, if their parents do that Nevertheless, the problem is that the parent had already gone through the state indoctrination in school And the parent had already been told that the state is actually good and that a soldier doesn't actually murder people And they are raised to respect for example the hymn, the flag, and so on And the parent passes these things onto their child, of course with the best intentions, and it's completely okay that they pass their values onto their children However, those are values, which the state had implemented in them during their own school years Because of that indoctrination, we consider a lot of questions already automatically answered We simply think that we know the answers to those questions before we even think about them That was exactly true in the case of the "absurd" soldier But even if you say "What if the state didn't exist?" to someone who has never heard about and thought about it, and its functions were accounted for differently That person (and I have this experience from conversations with literally hundreds of people) will practically always respond: "That's absurd!" This reaction will come extremely fast even in cases, where people never encountered those ideas or thought them through How can you form an opinion on such a complex issue without spending many tens and hundreds of hours thinking hard about it That question is not at all easy, is it? Just saying "That's absurd!" alone doesn't mean you're wrong, far from it But if someone says "That's absurd!" without taking a second to think about it, it means that someone had implemented into them the idea that it's absurd Without them feeling the need to critically think about that evaluation I would be very disappointed if someone took from this that I claim that everyone who says that the state is a necessity and thinking otherwise is absurd hadn't thought it through. I'm saying nothing like that There are a lot of people who had thought it through; right now, I'm only talking about those who hadn't - that their reaction is instantaneous They react immediately and regard it unthinkable And that's exactly because of the influence of the school and the people who instill in them that they should simply know it upfront and look for arguments later If you're honest with yourself, you know that if you know something in advance and then later try to find arguments supporting it, the result is different Than if you don't know something in advance and you're only trying to find out how it actually is One can't really escape this of course but it's really good to think about it sometimes Which brings me to my last point: How do you open yourself up to these ideas? I don't think it's possible, at least fully Although I've been working on it myself for years, I can't say that similar thought processes are absent from my head And I'd say that the same is the case for everyone else as well And that each person has some things rooted in them which have taken their roots there on some kind of an emotional basis Because it's been repeated to them over and over and they haven't had the time to think it through in order to find out if what they'd been told is in fact logical We can't really escape this What you can do is to take some time to honestly think about things And to find out in yourself about the areas where this is happening So the important thing is to find out if we're open to the discussion I would like to tell you one little story about an experience of mine, which I personally had with anarcho-capitalism It's a school of thought that I've been interested in for about ten years And after some time, while having one discussion I realized (and my opponent pointed that out as well) that whatever argument he would give at that point I would only think about how to counteract it and wouldn't even consider the option that the argument could in fact be correct and I could be wrong That was a couple of years ago and I realized then that in that situation, he was right And even if I had succeeded to free myself from what the state had instilled into me during my own upbringing, I had gotten myself into the same situation on the opposite side So our brains have the tendency to be defensive about what they believe And I'd say you can't do much about it because it's natural But we can at least identify it within ourselves and deal with it accordingly when it happens It's not that I would stop being an anarcho-capitalist after realizing this but I started to think differently about the arguments And when someone tells me an argument, I try my best to be willing to reevaluate the issue I'm not saying I'm always successful in that but a lot of people don't do something like this at all Sometimes I encounter people who don't even try to find out how things really are but they primarily try to defend one particular feeling they have So that will probably be all for today; I'm just going to recap in a few sentences what I've been trying to say here The first thing is that the state is based on the use of aggressive force Remember what we have said about taxes and basically all laws and what happens when you break them (With the exception of the last group, which is the protection of property rights.) When you break them, an aggressive force will be used against you even if you have done nothing wrong Aggressive use of force is immoral, as I've written here, and I think most or all of us will agree that in general it really is immoral, even if we excuse it when it's being done by the state From which I draw that the state itself is immoral because the state is it's essence based on the aggressive use of force And the last thing I wanted to point out that it's really hard to see this because of the indoctrination we all experienced from our formative years on I also need to pick on my own side a little bit because it's hard to see it the other way afterwards as well Then you have anarcho-capitalists who have gone through all of this and realized that the state is in fact evil and now believe something else than they used to But who are often also mired in that so hard that they refuse to think about these issues further And used to be one of them too I would like to invite you to the next lecture Which won't be about morals or ethics anymore I named the lecture "The state is a bad servant but a worse master" It's going to be about the economic inefficiency of the state We won't be talking about the moral side of it anymore, although we might touch on it a little bit But primarily, I would like to explain how these things are underpinned economically and how it could be done differently And we will definitely bring up some real-life examples, so for example, I'll be asking questions such as Why does a famous football player that everyone watches have a higher salary than a firefighter who saves lives even though the football player just kicks some ball around I'll be asking more questions like these and then try to answer them - those will be some real examples of what I'm talking about I'd be delighted if you came along; I hope I didn't disappoint anyone with today's lecture by not mentioning any of those real-life examples I wanted to give a glimpse of the moral and ethical side of this to give a context for the following lectures, so that it's clear why I criticize the state so much and why I'm so dead-set against it That lecture will take place on Wednesday, 14. December [2016] at 8 pm here in Polis Thank you for your attention, now there will be time for all your questions I will answer a few of them here and then, in order not to bore the rest of you, we can move downstairs to Bitcoin Coffee Where we can discuss it further I would like to thank you very much. Thank you for coming whether you agreed with me or not And if anyone wants to ask about anything, I will take a few questions here and then we'll move downstairs Ask away! -In the section about the reasons why regulate for examples the safety belts in cars, I think it's important that you mention that since we have a state-run medical insurance, it is economically advantageous for the state Because the cost of medical care for the injured is really high -I agree with you wholeheartedly, you're right, and that's a great argument against a state-run medical insurance I thank you for mentioning that -I'm not really sure about the violence... Well, let me rephrase: The entire concept probably stands on the assumption that all laws originate in violence -They don't originate in violence, they are enforced by it -Enforced, right, thanks If I succeed in convincing you that just one law doesn't originate in violence but in something else... -Not that it doesn't originate, that it isn't backed by it -...not backed by it, are you then willing to let go of the entire concept? -In such case, where there is a law which is not enforced, I'll tell you that it's a great law but it doesn't need a state behind it I'll tell you that it's a great law, if it's indeed a great law, and if you show me such a law, I won't condemn that it and won't say that it's immoral On the other hand, I don't see how it would invalidate this concept because I'm not a person that would say that anything the state does is inherently wrong Because when the state does something that is not wrong, then fine, but it doesn't erase the things which it does and which are wrong. But if you have such a law in mind, tell me -Yeah, I do. So theoretically, if something is green in 90 percent of cases and red in the remaining 10 percent, and we're supposed to say if it's green or red, do we say that it's red or green? -I'm sorry... I thought you were going to tell me the example of the law -Okay, I will then. Here, today, no one came here with grenades in their pockets and didn't try to kill everyone in here Is it because they were worried about someone else coming to them and taking away their freedom by force, or because we all see it as a pretty dumb idea? -I think it's because we all see it as a pretty dumb idea because if a person wants to kill, and they just want to enjoy killing people, I think they can do that well enough so that no one will catch them Because if that person is not completely dumb and select victims that are sufficiently random and far away from home and so on Then they can keep murdering them and I doubt that of all people the police especially will be able to do anything about it Surely you have been in a lot of situations in your life where you could kill someone and didn't because you thought it was a dumb idea And surely some of those situations were such that no one would be able to find out about it Or perhaps the blame would fall on someone else If you're with someone alone somewhere, you go trekking, climbing, whatever, you can technically throw them down, can't you? -Well, we can agree in those cases that that law isn't backed by force but by my conscience or reason, right? -Well, then it's not enforced at all -It's accepted -Something is accepted but it's not the law but the principle -Right, but in the same way, most laws are not enforced by the threat of violence but are enforced because we accept them as normal Whether it's because of that indoctrination... -Yes, but that's not the case that... -But in that case it's not enforced by violence -But the question is: What is or isn't enforced. You surely don't have your own inner imperative that says: "I will not murder anyone because I'd be breaking the law" Either it says: "I will not murder anyone because it's bad" or it says "I will not murder anyone because they would catch me" But I can't really imagine... I don't agree that you defend the *law* itself because your own conscience You defend the principle because of your conscience, the principle of not murdering But surely the fact that the same thing is by coincidence written in law doesn't mean that just because you identify with the principle "you shall not kill", you identify with the law directly -And now about the taxes. I happen to think that most people pay taxes not because they're afraid that an executor will come for them but because they regard it as normal and because everyone does it -Do you then think that if those taxes were suddenly voluntary... -Well, if it was the other way around, the state wouldn't have enough force to defend such a thing -Well, that's the same principle as with the mafia Even if it didn't have enough power to annihilate everyone there, by burning down one store and saying "he didn't pay us, make sure to pay", the others will do it But that doesn't mean they'd also do it if they weren't forced to do it Yes, the state doesn't have the capacity to take down all of us if we all decided not to pay taxes -But the state doesn't need to somehow openly persecute those, who don't do it, while the mafia does -It doesn't because the mafia is much weaker If the mafia was as strong, it wouldn't need to do it openly either because everyone would know it already And just one really important thing related to what you said: Look, imagine that it was declared: "Taxes are exactly as they were," it would be law that "you have to pay taxes same as before *but* who to those, who don't pay, nothing will happen" What do you think would happen to the state's budget. Would it remain about the same or...? -I don't think there would be any drastic change -Really? Well that's certainly an interesting opinion and I really wish that would happen I, for example, would stop paying immediately And with regard to how much the state invests into making sure that people pay, it doesn't seem that much that they're doing it voluntarily -Run for president with a platform of abolishing that -I don't do politics -No really, I think that this kind of social dynamic... -Okay, in that case, we could try voluntary taxation, we could agree on that You'd be happy because for you it's a social dynamic and I'd be happy because the state wouldn't be taking my money -Yes, if you could still hear everywhere: "Pay your taxes"... -Everyone would say "Pay your taxes" but nothing would happen to those who wouldn't I would wholly agree with that -Then it would surely not decline all the way down to zero -No, it surely wouldn't go all the way down to zero; if no one else, then at least you would pay But I didn't say all the way down to zero, I think it would decline substantially But if not, then fine, everyone would be happy, right? I'm not sure now who put their hand up before. That man has had a question for a really long time now And I feel sorry for him because his hand has been up for like half of the lecture -If I may, I had a question before... -Okay then... -Just a short, technical question, I don't want to usurp the microphone or anything, sorry Basically from the beginning (and it is also in the title of the lecture), we've been talking about the adjective 'moral', or morality And so if we don't want this to be just a discussion over coffee, I would like to somehow define morality, either generally or just ad hoc. I'd like to know, which paradigm or intellectual framework do we take as a basis -This is a great question but on the other hand, at this point during this lecture, I have to confess that our base is morality as most people feel it Which means that I point out certain extremes of those considerations For example, when I say that aggressive force is immoral, I mean that we can agree on twenty cases where twenty subjects are using aggressive force And we can all say that this is the ad hoc definition (well, I wouldn't even call it a definition), let's say that it's some explanation of what most people see as moral So if we can agree here that it's immoral to assault someone, break their jaw, that the mafia is immoral when it collects protection money And then suddenly an only exception appears where everyone says it's okay when the state does it I'm not saying that's a thorough and exhaustive answer But if you're really interested in that, then we can either talk about it later or I can recommend the work of Rothbard, who deals in more detail with morality Or some other libertarians such as Hans-Hermann Hoppe or Stephan Kinsella and so on, or Walter Block And I know that I didn't give you a full answer now but that response would take half an hour -So I'll just quickly bite now: You said that morality is based on what most of society feels Although a while ago we have defined that just because most people see the state in some way, it doesn't make it moral -I agree. The only thing I added to that from the field of philosophy is that morality should be applied universally Which means that if you say Joe can't steal, Franz can't steal and Anne can't steal, it should be true at the same time that neither John should't steal It's true that I borrowed this from the field of philosophy. When philosophy deals with morality, the requirement of universality is often implied, so I worked with that too I really apologize for not defining that. As an alumni of the faculty of maths and physics, it also really bothered me while I was preparing the lecture But unfortunately, if I started off with that, I think that first, the lecture would be 3 hours long and second, everyone would be bored and leave after 15 minutes So you're completely right, this is a good remark, I really didn't define morality -I think it wouldn't take 3 hours but a whole term, so... -Yeah, I think that's about right -Thanks a lot -Oh yeah, that man over there has had a question for a really long time now If you could take a microphone please... -I'll speak loudly -Okay, speak loudly then ... Well, actually, if you could take the microphone because of the record -Okay -Sorry -Throughout the entire lecture, I kept thinking what would actually happen if the state wasn't there What if it didn't enforce its schooling with its terrible brainwashing of children and didn't oversee restaurants and if there weren't cops, courts and so on And I still think that if it was abolished overnight and it was up to the people how they decide to do it And how they negotiate their security with commercial subjects as well as education, who's going do it and so on It would surely cause huge economic damage. On one hand before it would actually happen and on the other I think it would be really costly even after it would've been established A lot of places would be completely left aside by the police A hypothetical court in one state would work differently than in another one, people would be afraid to travel Even with trade in different states... I expect that instead of the Czech Republic, a number of smaller states would arise that would divide its powers locally I just think everything would be really costly. I think that the state is the best and the most efficient choice, even though it's surely not perfect -Thank you for your question. I'll allow myself one answer and one little promotion The answer is: You said that if it happened overnight, we'd see huge damage done -But let's compare it to a time when it's all settled, let's say ten years -Yeah, I know, don't worry, I'll answer that With regard to the change overnight, I agree with you in that if the state really ceased to exist overnight, it would bear a huge cost And with regard to all of your other questions, I'd like to invite you to all following lectures, especially to the very next one Where we'll be concerned with exactly that We'll be dealing with the economic side of things generally and then the next lectures will be covering specific topics such as education And we'll be talking about education for the whole hour, or healthcare and so on I am not able to summarize answers to all of those questions sufficiently because for each of those topics, even the whole hour would not be enough But exactly because of this, I said at the beginning that we'll be dealing with ethics and morality and your question is definitely on point -But at the end, you said that we can ask about anything -You can, and it's good that you asked and that I can promote myself a bit here And I really hope you'll come next time, when I'll actually answer that with an entire hour-long lecture I hope you'll forgive me for not giving you that answer now because right now, at this point, I can't give you a sufficient one -Okay, so if we imagine that we skip all those topics, you claim even then, because all you've read, that if the state was abolished and some time had passes that society on its own would be better off than with the state? -I do -Okay -So we'll take one last question and then we'll move to the café so that we don't sit here like in school And continue in a bit nicer environment -I would just like to ask one thing because when talking about compulsory healthcare one argument should be considered That people have the tendency to disregard or underestimate statistics People thing that something can never happen to them even if it in fact regularly happens Because of that, I think that if health insurance in particular wasn't compulsory, many people wouldn't pay for it or neglect it Therefore they would bring harm onto themselves because they'd think nothing can happen to them even if it absolutely can So from this point of view we could say the opposite: That it's moral and greatly beneficial that health insurance is compulsory -Okay, I'll divide my answer into several parts First, you have ended your question stating that it would be moral and greatly beneficial From the arguments I heard I saw the "beneficial" side, not the "moral", but anyway, now for the actual answer: We won't be dealing with this in particular in the healthcare lecture because we'll be explaining it in general, to a certain extent even in the next lecture And we can get back to it in healthcare as well In any case, there is another thing to consider here: The fact that a person so to speak places a bet that nothing will happen to them doesn't automatically mean that they're wrong Because it actually depends on the priorities of that person The point is that utility and value is interpersonally incomparable Which means that for you personally I'd say, based on what you said, that health insurance is pretty important to you and you're not willing to take that level of risk Which is surely right for you because you claim that this is the way it's supposed to be and I believe you as well as anyone who tells me that their view is that it is like that On the other hand the fact that someone else evaluates the level of risk differently than you doesn't mean they're wrong Because the benefits it has for them are purely subjective I will give you a really extreme example that will illustrate it for you and then we can work our way towards the less extreme ones Imagine that a person's only wish in life is to build a yacht and to sail around the world with it But that person doesn't really have the money for that yacht and without having this dream fulfilled, they don't even want to live They have so decided and we can think about it whatever we want but it's his life and his dream so we should respect it in some way Now, forcing this person to pay for a health insurance does a disservice to him because their priorities are set so they they primarily want the yacht and to sail the world And if they don't obtain that, they'd gladly risk their life, and they'd risk it not because they're dumb but because their priorities are set in that particular way In this case, you can hardly say that you'll help them by forcing them to pay for a health insurance Because in a certain way, you are worsening their prospects of reaching their great dream in order to give them something which they subjectively value less than what you'd taken away from them The fact that they value it less is clear from their decision of not paying for it themselves This was an extreme example but you can find a great number of examples like this You can have for example a parent who wants to provide better education for their kid or something and is willing to risk their own injury or loss because of that You can have a person who needs those resources for something else and who is aware of risks it carries But it's worth it for them anyway By saying in general that it's not worth it you'd actually be saying that no risk is worth taking because something can always fail No situation, where you risk your death So if a mountain climber wants to climb Mt. Everest or something and can freeze there to death, they actually take some risk just for a good feeling There might be a chance that they die And you're of course fine with that Well, if you don't pay for health insurance, then you too are risking something for a good feeling You might risk your death But it's worth it for you in the same way it's worth for the mountain climber Do you understand what I'm trying to say? -I understand but it seems to me like a really extreme example and I don't know what would be more common, I guess we can't tell, but I understand the argument -Okay, next time, we'll also explain why it actually doesn't matter what would be more common Or in other words that it's far less important than we usually think exactly because utility is interpersonally incomparable I think that was the last question... -Just one more technical question -Okay -Would it be possible to vote on moving these lectures to 9 pm? -I don't know, try asking them -Thanks -I just do the lectures -Unfortunately, Parallel Polis usually closes at 8 and we're extending our regular opening hours because of Anarcho-capitalism, so I'm afraid it's not possible I'm sorry but it's not possible yet If there's no one with a really urgent question they want to ask publicly here, I would like to end the event... -I see a real urgency here -I would just like to say that simply from the basic structure of a law, which consist of a hypothesis, a disposition and a sanction, the sanction is automatically always there -I see, that was a response to the colleague who asked the question before, thanks -So there can't be a law which doesn't include a sanction -Thanks -So I thank you all for your questions and for coming And I would really appreciate if you could come next time as well and I'll just say last one thing about the next lecture The next lecture will be completely different than this one, which means that if we didn't touch on what you were interested in in this lecture because we only discussed morality Then next time, we'll be going through efficiency, economics, what is worth what and what is good for whom So thank you and I wish you a nice evening

Contents

History

Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience" (Resistance to Civil Government) was named as an influence by Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy due to its advocacy of nonviolent resistance.[2] According to the Peace Pledge Union of Britain, it was also the main precedent for anarcho-pacifism.[2] Thoreau himself did not subscribe to pacifism, and did not reject the use of armed revolt. He demonstrated this with his unqualified support for John Brown and other violent abolitionists,[4] writing of Brown that "The question is not about the weapon, but the spirit in which you use it."[5]

In the 1840s, the American abolitionist and advocate of nonresistance Henry Clarke Wright and his English follower Joseph Barker rejected the idea of governments and advocated a form of pacifist individualist anarchism.[6] At some point anarcho-pacifism had as its main proponent Christian anarchism. The Tolstoyan movement in Russia was the first large-scale anarcho-pacifist movement.

Violence has always been controversial in anarchism. While many anarchists embraced violent propaganda of the deed during the nineteenth century, anarcho-pacifists directly opposed violence as a means for change. Tolstoy argued that anarchism must be nonviolent since it is, by definition, opposition to coercion and force, and that since the state is inherently violent, meaningful pacifism must likewise be anarchistic. Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis was also instrumental in establishing the pacifist trend within the anarchist movement.[7] In France anti-militarism appeared strongly in individualist anarchist circles, as Émile Armand co-founded "Ligue Antimilitariste" in December 1902 with fellow anarchists Georges Yvetot, Henri Beylie, Paraf-Javal, Albert Libertad and Émile Janvion. The Ligue antimilitariste was to become the French section of the Association internationale antimilitariste (AIA) founded in Amsterdam in 1904.[8]

Bart de Ligt, influential Dutch anarcho-pacifist writer of the theoretical work The Conquest of Violence
Bart de Ligt, influential Dutch anarcho-pacifist writer of the theoretical work The Conquest of Violence

Tolstoy's philosophy was cited as a major inspiration by Mohandas Gandhi, an Indian independence leader and pacifist who self-identified as an anarchist. "Gandhi's ideas were popularised in the West in books such as Richard Gregg's The Power of Nonviolence (1935), and Bart de Ligt's The Conquest of Violence (1937). The latter is particularly important for anarchists since, as one himself, de Ligt specifically addressed those who lust for revolution. 'The more violence, the less revolution,' he declared. He also linked Gandhian principled nonviolence with the pragmatic nonviolent direct action of the syndicalists. (The General Strike is an expression of total noncooperation by workers, though it should be added that most syndicalists believed that the revolution should be defended by armed workers.)"[9] The Conquest of Violence alludes to Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread.[10]

As a global movement, anarchist pacifism emerged shortly before World War II in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States and was a strong presence in the subsequent campaigns for nuclear disarmament. The American writer Dwight Macdonald endorsed anarcho-pacifist views in the 1940s and used his journal politics to promote these ideas.[11] For Andrew Cornell "Many young anarchists of this period departed from previous generations both by embracing pacifism and by devoting more energy to promoting avant-garde culture, preparing the ground for the Beat Generation in the process. The editors of the anarchist journal Retort, for instance, produced a volume of writings by WWII draft resistors imprisoned at Danbury, Connecticut, while regularly publishing the poetry and prose of writers such as Kenneth Rexroth and Norman Mailer. From the 1940s to the 1960s, then, the radical pacifist movement in the United States harbored both social democrats and anarchists, at a time when the anarchist movement itself seemed on its last legs."[12] A leading British anarcho-pacifist was Alex Comfort who considered himself "an aggressive anti-militarist," and he believed that pacifism rested "solely upon the historical theory of anarchism."[13][14] He was an active member of CND.

Among the works on anarchism by Comfort is Peace and Disobedience (1946), one of many pamphlets he wrote for Peace News and the Peace Pledge Union, and Authority and Delinquency in the Modern State (1950).[13] He exchanged public correspondence with George Orwell defending pacifism in the open letter/poem "Letter to an American Visitor" under the pseudonym "Obadiah Hornbrooke."[15]

In the 1950s and 1960s, anarcho-pacifism "began to gel, tough-minded anarchists adding to the mixture their critique of the state, and tender-minded pacifists their critique of violence".[2] Within the context of the emergence of the New Left and the Civil Rights Movement, "several themes, theories, actions, all distinctly libertarian, began to come to the fore and were given intellectual expression by the American anarcho-pacifist, Paul Goodman."[2]

Other notable anarcho-pacifist historical figures include Ammon Hennacy, Dorothy Day and, for a brief period between 1939 and 1940, Jean-Paul Sartre.[16] Dorothy Day, (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was an American journalist, social activist and devout Catholic convert; she advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism. She was also considered to be an anarchist,[17][18][19] and did not hesitate to use the term.[20] In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker movement, a nonviolent, pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. The cause for Day's canonization is open in the Catholic Church. Ammon Hennacy (July 24, 1893 – January 14, 1970) was an American pacifist, Christian anarchist, vegetarian, social activist, member of the Catholic Worker Movement and a Wobbly. He established the "Joe Hill House of Hospitality" in Salt Lake City, Utah and practiced tax resistance. Charles-Auguste Bontemps was a prolific author mainly in the anarchist, freethinking, pacifist and naturist press of the time.[21] His view on anarchism was based around his concept of "Social Individualism" on which he wrote extensively.[21] He defended an anarchist perspective which consisted on "a collectivism of things and an individualism of persons."[22] Gérard de Lacaze-Duthiers was a French writer, art critic, pacifist and anarchist. Lacaze-Duthiers, an art critic for the Symbolist review journal La Plume, was influenced by Oscar Wilde, Nietzsche and Max Stirner. His (1906) L'Ideal Humain de l'Art helped found the 'Artistocracy' movement - a movement advocating life in the service of art.[23] His ideal was an anti-elitist aestheticism: "All men should be artists".[24] Jean-René Saulière (also René Saulière) (Bordeaux, September 6, 1911- January 2, 1999) was a French anarcho-pacifist, individualist anarchist[25] and freethought writer and militant who went under the pseudonym André Arru.[26][27][28] During the late 1950s he establishes inside the Fédération des Libres Penseurs des Bouches du Rhône, the Group Francisco Ferrer[29] and in 1959 he joins the Union des Pacifistes de France (Union of Pacifists of France).[29] From 1968 to 1982, Arru alongside the members of the Group Francisco Ferrer publishes La Libre Pensée des Bouches du Rhône.

Movement for a New Society (MNS), a national network of feminist radical pacifist collectives that existed from 1971 to 1988",[30] is sometimes identified as anarchist, [31] although they did not identify themselves as such.[32] For Andrew Cornell "MNS popularized consensus decision-making, introduced the spokescouncil method of organization to activists in the United States, and was a leading advocate of a variety of practices—communal living, unlearning oppressive behavior, creating co-operatively owned businesses—that are now often subsumed under the rubric of “prefigurative politics.”[30] MNS leader George Lakey stated that, “The anarchists claim me but I'm always a little surprised when they do because I'm fond of social democracy as it's been developed in Norway.” (Lakey has supported electoral politics, including the re-election of Barack Obama as U.S. president)[33]

Thought

From "An Anarchist FAQ": "the attraction of pacifism to anarchists is clear. Violence is authoritarian and coercive, and so its use does contradict anarchist principles... (Errico) Malatesta is even more explicit when he wrote that the "main plank of anarchism is the removal of violence from human relations".[34]

Anarcho-pacifists tend to see the state as 'organised violence' and so they see that "it would therefore seem logical that anarchists should reject all violence".[2] Anarcho-pacifism criticizes the separation between means and ends. "Means... must not merely be consistent with ends; this principle, though preferable to 'the end justifies the means', is based on a misleading dichotomy. Means are ends, never merely instrumental but also always expressive of values; means are end-creating or ends-in-the making".[2]

An anarcho-pacifist critique of capitalism was provided by Bart de Ligt in his The Conquest of Violence. An Anarchist FAQ reports how "all anarchists would agree with de Ligt on, to use the name of one of his book's chapters, "the absurdity of bourgeois pacifism." For de Ligt, and all anarchists, violence is inherent in the capitalist system and any attempt to make capitalism pacifistic is doomed to failure. This is because, on the one hand, war is often just economic competition carried out by other means. Nations often go to war when they face an economic crisis, what they cannot gain in economic struggle they attempt to get by conflict. On the other hand, "violence is indispensable in modern society... [because] without it the ruling class would be completely unable to maintain its privileged position with regard to the exploited masses in each country. The army is used first and foremost to hold down the workers... when they become discontented." [Bart de Ligt, Op. Cit., p. 62] As long as the state and capitalism exist, violence is inevitable and so, for anarcho-pacifists, the consistent pacifist must be an anarchist just as the consistent anarchist must be a pacifist".[34]

A main component of anarcho-pacifist strategy is civil disobedience as advocated by the early anarchist thinker Henry David Thoreau in the essay of the same name from 1849 (although Thoreau strongly supported the gun rights and self-defense).[2] Leo Tolstoy was influenced by it and he saw that a "great weapon for undermining (rather than overthrowing) the state was the refusal by individuals to cooperate with it and obey its immoral demands".[2] Also the concepts of passive and active resistance have relevance as they were developed later by Mohandas Gandhi.[2]

For anarchist historian George Woodcock "the modern pacifist anarchists,...have tended to concentrate their attention largely on the creation of libertarian communities -- particularly farming communities -- within present society, as a kind of peaceful version of the propaganda by deed. They divide, however, over the question of action.".[1] Anarcho-pacifists can even accept "the principle of resistance and even revolutionary action (nonviolent revolution), provided it does not incur violence, which they see as a form of power and therefore nonanarchist in nature. This change in attitude has led the pacifist anarchists to veer toward the anarcho-syndicalists, since the latter's concept of the general strike as the great revolutionary weapon made an appeal to those pacifists who accepted the need for fundamental social change but did not wish to compromise their ideal by the use of negative (i.e., violent) means."[1]

Ideological variance

While anarcho-pacifism is most commonly associated with religious anarchism such as Tolstoyan Christian anarchism and Buddhist anarchism, irreligious or even anti-religious tendencies have emerged such as the French individualist anarchist anarcho-pacifist tendency exemplified by authors and activists such as Charles-Auguste Bontemps, André Arru and Gérard de Lacaze-Duthiers which aligned itself with atheism and freethought. The anarcho-punk band Crass polemicised a variant of anarcho-pacifism whilst at the same time explicitly rejecting all religions, especially the symbols of 'establishment' Christian theology.[35] Opposition to the use of violence has not prohibited anarcho-pacifists from accepting the principle of resistance or even revolutionary action provided it does not result in violence; in fact it was their approval of such forms of opposition to power that lead anarcho-pacifists to endorse the anarcho-syndicalist concept of the general strike as the great revolutionary weapon.[7] Later anarcho-pacifists have also come to endorse to non-violent strategy of dual power, as championed by Mutualism.

Criticism

Peter Gelderloos criticizes the idea that nonviolence is the only way to fight for a better world. According to Gelderloos, pacifism as an ideology serves the interests of the state and is hopelessly caught up psychologically with the control schema of patriarchy and white supremacy.[36] The influential publishing collective CrimethInc. notes that "violence" and "nonviolence" are politicized terms that are used inconsistently in discourse, depending on whether or not a writer seeks to legitimize the actor in question. They argue that "[i]t's not strategic [for anarchists] to focus on delegitimizing each other's efforts rather than coordinating to act together where we overlap". For this reason, both CrimethInc. and Gelderloos advocate for diversity of tactics.[37]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d George Woodcock. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Resisting the Nation State, the pacifist and anarchist tradition" by Geoffrey Ostergaard
  3. ^ Woodstock, George (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Finally, somewhat aside from the curve that runs from anarchist individualism to anarcho-syndicalism, we come to Tolstoyanism and to pacifist anarchism that appeared, mostly in Holland, Britain, and the United states, before and after the Second World War and which has continued since then in the deep in the anarchist involvement in the protests against nuclear armament.
  4. ^ James Mark Shields, "Thoreau’s Lengthening Shadow: Pacifism and the Legacy of  'Civil Disobedience'”' Bucknell University website
  5. ^ Michael Meyer "Thoreau's Rescue of John Brown from History" Studies in the American Renaissance (1980), pp. 301-316
  6. ^ Brock, Peter, Pacifism in Europe to 1914, Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1972, ISBN 0691046085 (p. 395-6).
  7. ^ a b Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: a History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Peterborough: Broadview Press. ISBN 1-55111-629-4.
  8. ^ Miller, Paul B. (2002-03-14). From Revolutionaries to Citizens: Antimilitarism in France, 1870–1914. Duke University Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-8223-8058-7. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  9. ^ Resisting the Nation State. The pacifist and anarchist tradition by Geoffrey Ostergaard
  10. ^ "Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society: Direct Action and Prefigurative Community in the 1970s and 80s" by Andrew Cornell Archived 18 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Wald, Alan M. The New York Intellectuals: The Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left From the 1930s to the 1980s. UNC Press Books, 1987 ISBN 0807841692, (p. 210).
  12. ^ Andrew Cornell. "Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society: Direct Action and Prefigurative Community in the 1970s and 80s." Archived 18 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Perspectives 2009. Institute for Anarchist Studies *David Graeber. "THE REBIRTH OF ANARCHISM IN NORTH AMERICA, 1957-2007". HAOL, No. 21 (Invierno, 2010), 123-131
  13. ^ a b Rayner, Claire (28 March 2000). "News: Obituaries: Alex Comfort". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  14. ^ For discussions of Comfort's political views, see Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism (1992) by Peter Marshall, and Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow (2006) by David Goodway.
  15. ^ Complete Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell volume II, pg. 294-303
  16. ^ Taylor, John, "Abandoning Pacifism: The Case of Sartre", Journal of European Studies, Vol. 89, 1993
  17. ^ Day, Dorothy. On Pilgrimage - May 1974 Archived 7 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, "There was no time to answer the one great disagreement which was in their minds--how can you reconcile your Faith in the monolithic, authoritarian Church which seems so far from Jesus who "had no place to lay his head," and who said "sell what you have and give to the poor,"--with your anarchism? Because I have been behind bars in police stations, houses of detention, jails and prison farms, whatsoever they are called, eleven times, and have refused to pay Federal income taxes and have never voted, they accept me as an anarchist. And I in turn, can see Christ in them even though they deny Him, because they are giving themselves to working for a better social order for the wretched of the earth."
  18. ^ Anarchist FAQ - A.3.7 Are there religious anarchists? Archived 23 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine, "Tolstoy's ideas had a strong influence on Gandhi, who inspired his fellow country people to use non-violent resistance to kick Britain out of India. Moreover, Gandhi's vision of a free India as a federation of peasant communes is similar to Tolstoy's anarchist vision of a free society (although we must stress that Gandhi was not an anarchist). The Catholic Worker Movement in the United States was also heavily influenced by Tolstoy (and Proudhon), as was Dorothy Day a staunch Christian pacifist and anarchist who founded it in 1933."
  19. ^ Reid, Stuart (2008-09-08) Day by the Pool, The American Conservative
  20. ^ Day, Dorothy.On Pilgrimage - February 1974 Archived 6 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, "The blurb on the back of the book Small Is Beautiful lists fellow spokesmen for the ideas expressed, including "Alex Comfort, Paul Goodman and Murray Bookchin. It is the tradition we might call anarchism." We ourselves have never hesitated to use the word."
  21. ^ a b "Charles-Auguste Bontemps" at Ephemeride Anarchiste
  22. ^ "BONTEMPS Auguste, Charles, Marcel dit « Charles-Auguste » ; « CHAB » ; « MINXIT »" at Dictionnaire International des Militants Anarchistes
  23. ^ Peterson, Joseph (August 1, 2010). Gérard De Lacaze-Duthiers, Charles Péguy, and Edward Carpenter: An Examination of Neo-Romantic Radicalism Before the Great War (M.A. thesis). Clemson University. pp. 8, 15–30.
  24. ^ Lacaze-Duthiers, L'Ideal Humain de l'Art, pp.57-8.
  25. ^ Guerin, Cedric. "Pensée et action des anarchistes en France: 1950-1970" (PDF). Public Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  26. ^ "ARRU, André (SAULIÈRE Jean, René, Gaston dit)" at Dictionnaire des Militants Anarchistes
  27. ^ ""André Arru (aka Jean-René Sauliere)" at "The Anarchist Encyclopedia: A Gallery of Saints & Sinners"". Recollectionbooks.com. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  28. ^ "Courte biographie (1ère partie)". Raforum.info. 27 August 1948. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  29. ^ a b ""Courte biographie (2ème partie)"". Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  30. ^ a b Andrew Cornell. [""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) "Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society: Direct Action and Prefigurative Community in the 1970s and 80s."] Perspectives 2009. Institute for Anarchist Studies
  31. ^ David Graeber. "THE REBIRTH OF ANARCHISM IN NORTH AMERICA, 1957-2007". HAOL, No. 21 (Invierno, 2010), 123-131
  32. ^ 1. Julie Cristol and T. L. Hill, "Review of Oppose and Propose! by Andrew Cornell" Theory in Action, Vol. 4, No.4, October 2011
  33. ^ Ian Sinclair "Interview with George Lakey" ZNet, August 7, 2012
  34. ^ a b "2A.3 What types of anarchism are there?"". Archived from the original on 6 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  35. ^ Aitch, Iain (19 October 2007). "'Why should we accept any less than a better way of doing things?'". Guardian Unlimited Arts. London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
  36. ^ Gelderloos, Peter (2007). How Nonviolence Protects the State. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780896087729.
  37. ^ Crimethinc Ex Workers' Collective "The Illegitimacy of Violence, the Violence of Legitimacy"

Bibliography

External links

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