Are you an Anarchist?

Atheist_AnarchistI’d want to be an anarchist but they are crazy, bomb-wielding, nihilistic, immature, crazed fanatics. Well, that is what lots of people think or are told to think. But in a talk two days ago Noam Chomsky told us otherwise:

anarchism seeks to free labor from economic exploitation and society from ecclesiastical guardianship.

Well, heck, I support that. Indeed, over my decades of political ponderings, I have realized that I am probably a type of anarchist. But jeez, that name.  Why would I ever choose “anarchist” as an identity label with all those negative connotations?


I think lots of folks who don’t believe in any gods have wondered if they are atheists but because of negative caricatures, devilish nuances and deplorable images, they probably shivered at the thought and put the label to rest because everyone knows atheists are disgusting and immoral.

Ah words! With the right loading, they can easily stop us from thinking.

We run after words for identity. Do we do it because they identify us correctly, or because their nuances and connotations are the ones we want others to understand us through?  I think you know my thoughts.

Question to readers:  Any words you might have embraced if others understood them differently?




Filed under Philosophy & Religion

10 responses to “Are you an Anarchist?

  1. Hedonist. It comes with too much baggage.

  2. @ John Zande: LOL. How about “Epicurean” — nah, then they will just think we are snobs. Damn!

  3. Chomsky is right about anarchism. But so is your characterization as “nihilism”. The term “anarchism” embraces a wide range of possible views, some of them mutually contradictory.

  4. That’s definitely how I originally felt about the word atheist, and I still see that reasoning a lot today. On the topic of other dirty words that I might have embraced had it not been for the connotations, I definitely have had times when I would have been accepting of socialist ideas (although not so much today, now I’d consider myself just a regular old social liberal).

  5. I tend to self identify as an “anarcho-nihilist”. So, have fun with that one!

    And I love this quote:
    “Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals…”
    Emma Goldman
    [I put the quote in for you Bo]

  6. @ William Bell,
    Excellent you understood my point — the dirty words keep us away from an otherwise useful self-label and yet, self-labeling itself is fraught with problems.

    @ Bo,
    Yep, and since labels never fit perfectly, we keep tinkering with them, modifying them and making new denominations to market.

    @ Neil,
    Hmmmm, not sure I got your point. I’m not sure their is a “right” anarchism — you know my view of language. But we know for sure there is a “wide range of possible views” on the meaning.

    But then, this post isn’t about anarchy at all. I just touched the issue to draw to deeper issues. In the same way that the real workings of religions are about deeper things than just the apparent outer confessional beliefs.

  7. “anarchism seeks to free labor from economic exploitation and society from ecclesiastical guardianship.“

    This is too broad, and it is not a means but a goal. A lot of people on the left have the same goal. The differences between anarchists, pragmatic socialists, utopian socialists, social democrats, communists, and many other political theories are *how* to achieve this goal.

    A fundamental principle of political philosophy is the status and character of the state. Western (capitalist) political scientists use Max Weber’s definition: the organization(s) with a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Lenin has a slightly different defintion: the organization that maintains by force the privilege of the ruling class. Lenin considered a state by this definition to be required after a revolution to maintain the privilege of the working class. Lenin’s anarchist contemporaries (notably Bakunin) more or less agreed with his definition, but considered such a state to be not only unnecessary but inherently corrupting to communist ideals.

    The problem I have with self-described anarchists is that either I cannot distinguish their ideology from those that do *not* call themselves anarchist (see the list above) or that they have a naive or infantile view of political reality. Anarchists will have to do more than name a couple of lofty goals for me to take them seriously,

  8. Hey Larry,
    Hint: The post is not meant to be about “Anarchy”. Can you guess what I am really writing about?

  9. Tristan

    I am both these things ^_^

  10. The Forgotten RightThe Ninth Amendment and Unenumerated RightsBy: Kenneth Mabie

    Freedom of Speech, the Right to Bare Arms, The Right to Remain Silent, Trial by Jury of Ones Peers, most people know these simple rights that are a few of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, also know as the Bill of Rights. But if you were to ask the average person on the street what Unenumerated Rights are most would not be able to answer. What are Unenumerated Rights? The constitution says this about Unenumerated Rights, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” or if translated in todays modern legalese “Including but not limited to…”.

    September 25, 1789, the beginning peak of fall in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. The streets filled with crisp autumnal air and the trees are ablaze with striking orange, reds and yellows. On the corner of 6th and Chestnut streets the first congress propose 12 amendments to the Constitution, articles i and ii fail, but articles iii through xii are accepted, including the ninth amendment, Unenumerated Rights.

    As mentioned above most people know at least some of their rights, but what about the ones not listed? The Right to an Education, The Right to Good Health, The Right to Self Medicate, The Right to Choose How You Want to Die, and The Right to Ones Self/Own Possessions. These rights even though not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights, are encompassed in the ninth amendment, because the majority of the people hold them as true. To prove this all you have to do is try to take away one of the rights mentioned above in this paragraph. The actions following the removal of any of the mentioned ninth amendment rights above, could range from protest and feverish debates to full out revolution.

    It is quite obvious that certain rights were not mentioned in the original amendments, examples of this are the following amendments that were added after the first ten. Woman’s Suffrage, Sovereign Immunity, The Abolishment of Slavery, and (the current buzz word for the winter of 2010) “Lame Duck Amendment”. All of these rights were originally included in the ninth amendment of Unenumerated Rights, but because people took advantage and profited from certain actions the rights added had to be written out to be more explicitly. Examples of this today are the land mark legal cases of Dr. Jack Kevorkian and his Right to Die cases, the medical cannabis cases of 16 states that include California, Colorado, New Jersey in addition to Washington D.C., and the “Obama-care” scandal of the current administration.

    After examination of what the ninth amendment is comprised of, I have to say that it is difficult to pin point an exact opinion of any specific rights of the ninth amendment. I can say that i wish that more of the public knew and understood this amazing amendment. The originators of the Bill of Rights meant for the ten amendments contained there in to be end all of the additions process. The amendments added after the tenth were already included in the ninth, but for reasons unknown, certain rights had to be explained in detail, but not before protest, boycotts and even civil war.

    Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, many Americans know this phrase, but many do not seem to know what it really means. The inalienable right of life, life is the most basic of rights, the right to good health to have a long life, to education to have a higher quality of life. These are all interconnected, doctors must have a top rate education to give people the chance to live long enough to make technological advancements in medical care, housing, clean renewable energy, transportation and everything else we take for granted today in our modern world.

    Many Americans use the word “liberty” with out knowing what it means at all. The definition of liberty is “the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will and take responsibility for their own actions”. Anarchy, in its strictest definition, anarchy is not equal to chaos, instead it is the ultimate liberty. “An” meaning without and “archy” meaning government is the embodiment of self governing and free will. Add personal responsibility to anarchy and presto instant liberty. Of course this is a delicate dance if one uses their free will without basic morality this can be disastrous, and would lead to chaos. In order to prevent this many Americans give up their right to liberty, or at least the “free will” part, to have the assumed security of laws and order.

Please share your opinions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s