'Aristocrats were always anarchists'

It’s been three years since I last quoted this, from G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. So it’s about time I quoted it again.

“You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.”

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  • http://gocart-mozart.blogspot.com/ gocart mozart

    From each according to his abilities to me according to my needs.  Suck it bitches!

  • Lori

    From each according to his abilities to me according to my needs limitless wants.  Suck it bitches!
    FTFY

  • http://gocart-mozart.blogspot.com/ gocart mozart

    Second.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Amen.

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com Philboyd Studge

    the rich have always objected to being governed at all

    .

    While I love The Man Who Was Thursday to bits, the rich people in the most powerful government on earth at the moment don’t seem to be putting up many objections.  Maybe aristocrats were always anarchists, but CEOs like state protection and bailouts.

  • https://profiles.google.com/ravanan101 Ravanan

    “don’t seem to be putting up many objections.”

    So where’s this clamor for deregulation and dissolving the top income bracket’s marginal tax rate originating?

    Deregulation has consequences, and the rich like being able to take their profits and have the government pay for the consequences instead of them. That’s not them being “governed.”

  • http://indiscriminatedust.blogspot.com Philboyd Studge

    I thought by “governed” what was meant was “being in a state with effective government”.  By your definition, rich people aren’t and have never been governed – they’re the ones doing the governing.  Matri’s right on the money.

  • Matri

    They don’t put up any objections because the rules are basically condensed into this sentence: “Whatever the frakk they want, however they want it.”

  • Matri

    I mean, how else do you explain the Republicans fucking over the economy, the country and everybody else just to get more tax cuts for the rich?

  • Matri

    I mean, how else do you explain the Republicans fucking over the economy, the country and everybody else just to get more tax cuts for the rich?

  • Matri

    I mean, how else do you explain the Republicans fucking over the economy, the country and everybody else just to get more tax cuts for the rich?

  • Matri

    I mean, how else do you explain the Republicans fucking over the economy, the country and everybody else just to get more tax cuts for the rich?

  • Matri

    I mean, how else do you explain the Republicans fucking over the economy, the country and everybody else just to get more tax cuts for the rich?

  • Christopher Lake

    Exactly, the rich only like government when they are in charge. Otherwise it’s communism. At least according to the conservatives in American 

  • Anonymous

    Shorter Chesterton:  “This is all your fault, Kropotkin!

    Yeah, this seems completely wrong to me.  The anarchist movement–especially in Chesterton’s time–was intimately tied to the labor movement, and the vast majority of its supporters were working-class.  As were most of the people who actually fired a gun or threw a bomb in the name of anarchism. It’s true that many of the most influential anarchist writers were from well-off families, but that’s true of pretty much every political movement, Christianity included.  If you want to be an influential writer, it helps to have leisure time and a good education.

    And anarchists typically didn’t object to being governed.  (Individualist anarchists did, but there were never that many of them.)  They objected to being governed by a state, because they thought that a state would inevitably end up crapping on its workers. 

    Disclaimer: I am neither an anarchist nor a historian.

  • Matri

    because they thought that a state would inevitably end up crapping on its workers.

    Well, the Republicans have proven that.

    Reminds me of the monkeys-in-a-tree corporate analogy.

  • Anonymous

    Well, the Republicans have proven that.

    Reminds me of the monkeys-in-a-tree corporate analogy.

    Or to put it another way:  Something’s “trickling down,” but it sure isn’t money.

  • https://profiles.google.com/ravanan101 Ravanan

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-7-2010/supercuts

    John Oliver: The rich are above us. And if we allow them to drink from the fountain of wealth long enough, wealth can’t help but trickle down. Think of it as a golden stream, John, showering us in slightly used, oddly hot champagne…

  • Anonymous

    Chesterton’s point, out of context, is certainly valid (and it’s amusing that it’s actually MORE true today than when it was written, if we equate anarchists with libertarians).

    But yeah, the guy was a brilliant writer, but I’m always left a bit uncomfortable by his relentless siding with the powers that be, the nobility, the church, the military and the other established institutions of his time, and his more or less complete dismissal of the idea that there might have been such a thing as social injustice or a need for systemic change.

  • Madhabmatics

    I wouldn’t go that far. Chesterton definitely had faults – he was really, really antifeminist and wasn’t a big fan of anything that sided with evolution – but I don’t think it’s so easy to peg him as always supporting authority.

    He wasn’t so much a military supporter – many of his writings were concerned with mocking Britain’s Empire and writing about how they ought to stop using their military against other countries. He actually spent time in jail for his sometimes-violent opposition to the Boer Wars, for instance. He also made no bones about England being completely awful to people internationally, writing in The Crimes of England (which disses on Germany and Austria as much as England) he says,


    The truth about Ireland is simply this: that the relations between
    England and Ireland are the relations between two men who have to travel
    together, one of whom tried to stab the other at the last stopping-place
    or to poison the other at the last inn. Conversation may be courteous,
    but it will be occasionally forced. The topic of attempted murder, its
    examples in history and fiction, may be tactfully avoided in the
    sallies; but it will be occasionally present in the thoughts. Silences,
    not devoid of strain, will fall from time to time. The partially
    murdered person may even think an assault unlikely to recur; but it is
    asking too much, perhaps, to expect him to find it impossible to
    imagine.

    He also clashed with the church on occasion, especially in their position as cultural imperialists, which he rejected. His excellent critique of missionary work in “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” demonstrates it very well, where he writes:

    “The Senor will forgive me,” said the President. “May I ask
    the Senor how, under ordinary circumstances, he catches a wild horse?”

    “I never catch a wild horse,” replied Barker, with dignity.

    “Precisely,” said the other; “and there ends your absorption
    of the talents. That is what I complain of your cosmopolitanism.
    When you say you want all peoples to unite, you really mean that you
    want all peoples to unite to learn the tricks of your people.
    If the Bedouin Arab does not know how to read, some English missionary
    or schoolmaster must be sent to teach him to read, but no one
    ever says, ‘This schoolmaster does not know how to ride on a camel;
    let us pay a Bedouin to teach him.’ You say your civilization will
    include all talents. Will it? Do you really mean to say that at
    the moment when the Esquimaux has learnt to vote for a County Council,
    you will have learnt to spear a walrus? I recur to the example I gave.
    In Nicaragua we had a way of catching wild horses…by lassoing
    the fore-feet-which was supposed to be the best in South America.
    If you are going to include all the talents, go and do it.
    If not, permit me to say, what I have always said, that something
    went from the world when Nicaragua was civilized.”

    (Civilization, in that context, meant colonization – the topic about which the book is concerned, and very vehemently against.)

    I also don’t get why you think he ignored problems with labor. Lots of his writings deal with the problem – he wasn’t a socialist himself, but he had more in common with them than with most other political groups and most of the people he held dear with basically Reds. His own philosophy is basically Syndicalist, calling for the resurrection of guilds-as-unions and trying to ensure that pretty much everyone had some sort of means of production. He spells this out in his debate with George Bernard Shaw on the very issue.


    I did start entirely by agreeing
    with him, as many years ago I began by being a Socialist,
    just as he was a Socialist. Barring some difference of age we
    were in the same position. We grew in beauty side by side.
    I will not say literally we filled one home with glee:
    but I do believe we have filled a fair number of homes with glee.
    Whether those homes included our own personal households it
    is for others to say. But up to a point I agreed with Mr. Shaw
    by being a Socialist, and I agreed upon grounds he has laid
    down with critical justice and lucidity, grounds which I can
    imagine nobody being such a fool as to deny: the distribution
    of property in the modern world is a monstrosity and a blasphemy.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. I’m basing my statement mostly on Chesterton’s fiction, not having read a lot of his non-fiction; a lot of the Father Brown stories seem mostly concerned with attacking “outsiders” and the more disadvantaged, and portraying institutions in a positive light. There’s one story that rips into communism, another where Brown goes to great lengths to portray the military as being run by wise, noble and basically infallible people (though that story itself has a general committing murder, which he seems to claim as an aberration…maybe Chesterton was being ironic?) And there’s another story that basically pooh-poohs the idea that Jews and heretics had it rough during the middle ages, or if they did, that it might have had anything to do with the church.

    “Notting Hill” is indeed anti-colonialist, but that’s not really the same as saying that it’s against the institutions that generate cultural imperialism.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Isn’t that the “beauty” of the trend towards corporate-feudalism in the guise of libertarianism?  By mixing up anarchy in economics with reactionary theocracy, the Right has blended up a dangerous cocktail.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Isn’t that the “beauty” of the trend towards corporate-feudalism in the guise of libertarianism?  By mixing up anarchy in economics with reactionary theocracy, the Right has blended up a dangerous cocktail.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Isn’t that the “beauty” of the trend towards corporate-feudalism in the guise of libertarianism?  By mixing up anarchy in economics with reactionary theocracy, the Right has blended up a dangerous cocktail.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been reading Nicholas Nickleby lately, and would like to offer a similar quote from its pages:

    “‘What do you call it, when Lords break off door-knockers and beat policemen, and play at coaches with other people’s money, and all that sort of thing?’
    “‘Aristocratic?’ suggested the collector.”
    –Charles Dickens

    Reminds me of that Aristocrats joke a bit, but in a less-offensive way.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I find that behavior somewhat MORE offensive than that in the joke. I’d much rather aristocrats degrade one another in horrible disgusting ways than consider themselves above the rule of law. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/raven268 Raven Corvid

    I like Chesterton, and I love that book, but he didn’t know anything about politics. Anarchism was always a movement of the poor: from the Diggers to the POUM in Spain. It was about the lower classes constructing a social order for their own good, as opposed to one imposed by church and state. The participants in historical anarchist movements had been so abused by governments that they did not believe that good government was even possible: they wanted to do it themselves. Rather like the Tea Partiers before they were co-opted, actually.

    As for the rich: as we see now, the rich are fine with government, so long as it is working for them. The new aristocrats, like those of old, want to _be_ the government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LoneWolf343 Derek Laughlin

    If you love to book, than maybe you would remember there are two kinds of anarchists, the “innocent” and “guilty” anarchists. A good real life example would be the Tea Party, an astroturf political movement where poor people are tricked into serving the rich’s interests. You don’t think that practiced liars would tell you their true intentions, do you?

  • Tonio

    A good real life example would be the Tea Party, an astroturf political
    movement where poor people are tricked into serving the rich’s
    interests.

    Would you explain the astroturf analogy?

  • Aimai

    I’m actually the great grand daughter of a a real live anarchist, who founded and led two anarchist communes, one in Michigan and one in New Jersey.  The thing to remember is that Kropotkin style anarchism is communal, totally different from modern american style FYIGM libertarianism which is isolationist, selfish, nihilistic and in the true sense of the word idiotic.

    Also, anarchism changed, or died off, because of the realization (ultimately) that in a world of governments and corporations most people were going to have to combine together to work within and against dominant structures.  You weren’t going to be able to withdraw from the world and just ignore it.

    aimai

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NYIMSCWWLA5XTAYXL3FXNCJZ7I Kiba

    From Wikipedia: Astroturfing is a form of advocacy often in support of a political or corporate agenda designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity—a politician, political group, product, service or event.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

  • Tonio

    Thanks for the explanation. For a minute I wondered if you had come up with the metaphor on the spot. No question that people like the Koch brothers are using the Tea Party movement that way. However,  the vast majority of Tea Partyers probably don’t realize that they’re being manipulated. While I don’t claim to be particularly perceptive to manipulation, in the case of Fox News it practically screams at me from the pixels: “White Christian males are being persecuted!”

  • chris the cynic

    However,  the vast majority of Tea Partyers probably don’t realize that they’re being manipulated.

    That’s what makes it manipulation.

  • eyelessgame

    It’s similar to “there are two sorts of libertarian conservative: billionares and suckers.”

  • eyelessgame

    Arrgh, I said “billionares”.  Caffeine first, then blog comment. Caffeine first, then blog comment…

  • Anonymous

    What’s really funny is when you ask a libertarian if the private sector is not creating jobs because of government interference, why is it that all the jobs are being created in China, the last major communist country? If they answer at all they’ll try to claim that it is because somehow Communist China is more capitalist than America.

    Then when you point out that Communist China offers businesses free energy, rent, healthcare for their employees, free facilities and basically all the things our corporate overlords are fighting against Americans having, and that (plus cheap labor) is why China is more attractive than any other place. Said libertarian will mumble something incomprehensible and leave.

    Libertarianism is really just code for, “I want all the government that helps me, and nothing that costs me and nothing that would prevent or lessen my profit in my chosen field.”

  • Tonio

    Communist China offers businesses

    You could also point out that if China has businesses, it doesn’t really qualify as communist.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Why not? The United States has businesses too and there are still many people who think that it’s a Communist country.

  • Tonio

    Heh. Yeah, the US is communist if you define that word as government involvement in any activities other than law enforcement and national defense. One would think at a minimum, communism requires all means of production and all enterprise to be state-owned.

  • Anonymous

    You’re thinking of socialism, Tonio. Communism, everything would be owned by the people as a collective. The distinction is a relevant one.

  • Tonio

    Well, I question whether the distinction is relevant in practice. I suspect “owned by the people as a collective” ends up being state ownership, since a government apparatus would still be needed for administration. Would you elaborate on the relevancy of the distinction?

    But the real issue is that neither system would seem to allow for private enterprise. (At least any enterprise that matters to the overall economy. I can imagine both systems allowing for small personal transactions such as selling a used car.) I agree with Loki that what’s often called libertarianism is really opposition to any government initiative that would correct for inequalities in power and privilege. My community considered transferable development rights some years ago, and a few residents labeled the concept as communism. Most here would probably agree that if one flings the words communism and socialism at any such initiative, at best that renders the words meaningless, and at worst it furthers the economy’s march toward oligarchy.

  • Anonymous

    Communism, like anarchy, stops working in groups bigger than the monkeysphere.

    I identify socialist but I don’t want everything to be socialist. I like owning the fruits of my labor. I just want to socialize everything the public sector does better than the private sector and everything that I don’t care how well the private sector does it because everybody needs the product-or-service and not everyone gets it because of money issues.

  • Tonio

    A while back I pointed out that anarchy is essentially the absence of any method or apparatus for governing a society, instead of the absence of a formal apparatus. I questioned the logic of some self-identified anarchists who favored a flat universal democracy in place of a formal government. My point was that a government is a government is a government, and a state is a state is a state.

    And I agree with you that the public sector does some things better, with “better” including the compensating for the tendency of laissez-faire capitalism to turn into an oligarchy of billionaires. I just disagree that having the public sector take over something like health care is inherently socialistic. Otherwise, one would have to dub public utilities and police departments to be socialistic as well. I’ve encountered a few people who even see privately owned membership corporations as socialistic. I suppose my real objection is to the defining of capitalism in narrow laissez-faire terms, as if anything less than that meant pulling out the prayer rug and intoning the hallowed names of Marx and Lenin and Mao. Which is what too many self-identified libertarians would have us believe.

  • Anonymous

    I questioned the logic of some self-identified anarchists who favored a
    flat universal democracy in place of a formal government. My point was
    that a government is a government is a government, and a state is a
    state is a state.

    How so?  A state is a fairly specific sort of political institution: to paraphrase Max Weber, it’s compulsory, has a centralized government, and holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within its territory.

    Not all human societies are organized around a state–indeed, basically none of them were before a few thousand years ago.  I don’t particularly want to live in a stateless society myself, but I don’t think it’s inherently illogical for anarchists to desire one.

  • Tonio

    I would take out the “centralized” aspect, because that seems to be derived out of practicality from the size of the society being governed. With that removed, Weber’s definition appears broad enough to apply to any kind of governance for a compulsory human community, from a modern nation of a billion people all the way down to an extended family in the pre-civilization era. There’s no reason that universal democracy for a monkeysphere-sized community shouldn’t be considered a state, since it’s still compulsory and still has a monopoly on legitimate violence. And more to the point, there’s no reason to dub that concept “anarchy” since that word seems to properly apply not to a stateless society but a society that lacks any sort of governance. (I suppose such a “society” would really amount to individual hunter-gatherers like a pseudo-libertarian’s fantasy.)

  • Anonymous

    I would take out the “centralized” aspect, because that seems to be derived out of practicality from the size of the society being governed.

    ‘Tain’t necessarily so.  Feudal societies were highly decentralized, but could span vast areas, such as Japan and most of Europe.  The Iroquois Confederacy covered a large area and a lot of people too.  

    I personally don’t think a large society can be governed well in a decentralized fashion, and I would shudder to live in a large society that wasn’t governed at all, but it’s not theoretically impossible or anything.

    With that removed, Weber’s definition appears broad enough to apply to any kind of governance for a compulsory human community, from a modern nation of a billion people all the way down to an extended family in the pre-civilization era.

    Not really.  For one thing, most hunter-gatherer communities aren’t compulsory; if you want to renounce your family or your clan and strike out on your own, you can do that.  You’ll lose all support from your former kinsmen, and if you actually get in a fight with any of them you’re screwed–and if you hang out nearby and compete for resources you probably will get in a fight, eventually.  But you won’t actually be prevented from leaving.  By contrast, if you live on American soil, you’re subject to American law; you can’t just opt out, go live on a mountain somewhere and ask the government to ignore you.

    For another, even compulsory communities need not have a monopoly on violence.  So long as I live in Washington, the state government has the right to use violence to force me to do various things, but it doesn’t have a monopoly; the federal government can also come in and make me do stuff, and punish me if I don’t comply.  (For that reason, individual US states aren’t “states” in Weber’s sense, and it’s been argued that the UN and EU member nations are gradually sliding away from statehood.)

    There’s no reason that universal democracy for a monkeysphere-sized community shouldn’t be considered a state, since it’s still compulsory and still has a monopoly on legitimate violence.

    That depends on the sort of universal democracy envisioned by the anarchists you were talking to, I suppose.  Were they thinking of it as compulsory, and as having a monopoly on violence?  I’m no expert on anarchist thought, but as I understand it they’re generally pushing for voluntary-participation institutions without such a monopoly.  For instance, free-market anarchists envision multiple security organizations operating on the same territory, each one policing on behalf of the chunk of the population that hired it. 

    And more to the point, there’s no reason to dub that concept “anarchy” since that word seems to properly apply not to a stateless society but a society that lacks any sort of governance.

    It applies to both; the word’s got multiple meanings, and has since the French Revolution or so.  I don’t think that’s a problem so long as people define their terms.

    (I suppose such a “society” would really amount to individual hunter-gatherers like a pseudo-libertarian’s fantasy.)

    Something like Rousseau & Hobbes’ state of nature, yeah.

  • Tonio

    Feudal societies were highly decentralized, but could span vast areas, such as Japan and most of Europe.

    Valid point. By “centralized” I meant in terms of power, not necessarily in terms of structure. The feudal system still amounted to the few governing the many.

    For instance, free-market anarchists envision multiple security organizations operating on the same territory, each one policing on behalf of the chunk of the population that hired it. 

    That sounds like a recipe for de jure corporate oligarchy, where Google and Microsoft would be the official governing bodies.

    I don’t think that’s a problem so long as people define their terms.

    I agree. My larger issue with the type of anarchists we’re talking about is that they seem to long for a stateless Eden that never existed. Having all of humanity revert to small communities as voluntary-participation institutions sounds appealing at first. But in practice, such a planet could exist only if humanity’s numbers were drastically reduced, maybe to a few million. And it would make the continued production of technology very difficult.

    It’s generally the same flaw as libertarianism – without the larger-scale cooperation involved with formal government, life becomes much more of a struggle to survive. Both groups seem to want it both ways – they apparently want a world with good roads and Web access but without the governance mechanisms that make it possible.

  • Anonymous

    I questioned the logic of some self-identified anarchists who favored a
    flat universal democracy in place of a formal government. My point was
    that a government is a government is a government, and a state is a
    state is a state.

    How so?  A state is a fairly specific sort of political institution: to paraphrase Max Weber, it’s compulsory, has a centralized government, and holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within its territory.

    Not all human societies are organized around a state–indeed, basically none of them were before a few thousand years ago.  I don’t particularly want to live in a stateless society myself, but I don’t think it’s inherently illogical for anarchists to desire one.

  • Anonymous

    You’re thinking of socialism, Tonio. Communism, everything would be owned by the people as a collective. The distinction is a relevant one.

  • Matri

    The US is communist, socialist, tyranny and dictatorship. Why? Because someone other than a Republican is in the White House.

    You’ll be able to detect this sentiment from everyone on the Right who isn’t already harping on Obama being black.

  • Madhabmatics

    The Man Who Was Thursday was an awesome book that p. much changed my outlooks on religion (it is subtitled “A Nightmare” for a reason.) Also philosophy police all being paranoid about each other is, in fact, awesome.

    However, yeah, Chesterton was going with the “oh no scary boogeymen” Anarchists the press made up to freak people out, not most real life Anarchists. Also, unirionically the best quote from that book is:

    “I do not go to the Council to rebut that slander that calls us
    murderers; I go to earn it (loud and prolonged cheering). To the priest
    who says these men are the enemies of religion, to the judge who says
    these men are the enemies of law, to the fat parliamentarian who says
    these men are the enemies of order and public decency, to all these I
    will reply, ‘You are false kings, but you are true prophets. I am come
    to destroy you, and to fulfil your prophecies.'”

    Although this one, about his visit to America, is also p. good.

    One of the questions on the paper was, “Are you an anarchist?”
    To which a detached philosopher would naturally feel inclined to answer,
    “What the devil has that to do with you? Are you an atheist”
    along with some playful efforts to cross-examine the official about
    what constitutes atheist. Then there was the question, “Are you
    in favor of subverting the government of the United States by force?”
    Against this I should write, “I prefer to answer that question
    at the end of my tour and not the beginning.” The inquisitor,
    in his more than morbid curiosity, had then written down,
    “Are you a polygamist?” The answer to this is, “No such luck”
    or “Not such a fool,” according to our experience of the other sex…

    …There seems to be a certain simplicity of mind about these answers;
    and it is reassuring to know that anarchists and polygamists are
    so pure and good that the police have only to ask them questions
    and they are certain to tell no lies.

  • Anonymous

    It’s true the Chesterton quote may lack historical accuracy, but, when considered in light of the whole debt-ceiling dust-up, there is a nugget of truth in there.  I remember being really alarmed at the prospect of default.  What about my mom’s social security check?  What about out small mutual funds accounts?  The only person who could face a default scenario without being too worried would be a plutocrat.  Sure, one or two of his million dollar accounts would be wiped out completely, but when you have several separate million dollar accounts (and many are offshore), it hardly matters.  You can sail away on your mega-yacht. Yes, there actually are such things.  The travel channel (or maybe it was discovery) did a little segment on them. 
     
    When you think of anarchy not as an  alternative political system but in the colloquial sense of “total collapse of society,” the quote becomes more accurate.  At this point it’s not relevant though, because we have a frightening number of supposedly neutral news organizations that are  willing to broadcast the oligarchy’s message for them.  Take this gem I just read from the AP under the headline “Fed may react to market plunge and stalled economy” 

    That decline came after credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the United States’ long-term debt because of what it saw as political gridlock that is preventing Washington from making meaningful cuts in the country’s soaring budget deficits.

    (italics mine)
     Funny thing is, according to S&P’s  own press release, failure to raise revenues played just as much a part in the downgrade.  Here is the quote:

    we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues s less likely than we previously assumed

    (italics mine, again).

  • Anonymous

     And I think this is related, while Gov. Perry was holding his prayer rally, a few blocks away 100,000+ showed up to get free school supplies and immunizations, this got no press coverage, and there were so many, some had to be turned away when supplies ran out, that Perry would not think to mention this speaks volumes, http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/08/08/290973/prayer-rally-school-supplies/

  • Tonio

    Yes, that does reflect badly on Perry’s worldview. Both are worthy of press coverage, if only because Perry as president would push the country far toward theocracy.

  • Anonymous

     And I think this is related, while Gov. Perry was holding his prayer rally, a few blocks away 100,000+ showed up to get free school supplies and immunizations, this got no press coverage, and there were so many, some had to be turned away when supplies ran out, that Perry would not think to mention this speaks volumes, http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/08/08/290973/prayer-rally-school-supplies/

  • Anonymous

    The rich only remain rich because the power of the state protects their property rights and the value of money and contracts with armed force.  Without the state to protect them, how would the rich keep the poor off “their” land? What is their money worth if there is no state to back it as legal tender? How far will they get on their yacht without a navy to keep the anarchist pirates away?

    One might say the rich could hire armed thugs to protect their property, but how will they prevent these armed thugs from just appropriating it all for their anarchosyndicalist commune?

  • Anonymous

    One might say the rich could hire armed thugs to protect their property,
    but how will they prevent these armed thugs from just appropriating it
    all for their anarchosyndicalist commune?

    Rich people can exist in stateless societies too; look at the “big men” in Oceanic cultures, or the tribal chiefs of the Pacific Northwest.  They manage to retain their wealth by:

    a) establishing social and emotional ties to their allies, so that the latter don’t see themselves as hired “thugs,” but as loyal friends/clients/family members;

    b) demonstrating an exceptional talent for acquiring wealth, and

    c) periodically distributing a fraction of that wealth to their allies.

    b) and c) combined mean that, for his allies, beating up the rich guy and taking his stuff would be killing the goose that laid the golden eggs.  Serve him loyally and you get a reliable payoff.  Fight him and you have to fight all his other allies who stayed loyal.  Even if you win that fight, you still have to defend your winnings from everyone else, since nobody has any reason to be loyal to you.  And even if you win that fight, it’s only a short-term benefit if you don’t actually have the knack for moneymaking like the rich guy did.

  • Anonymous

    What I meant to say is that “wealth” depends on the consent of the society. If these chiefs and big men exploited the poor downtrodden majority of their societies and were hated by the people, they couldn’t remain rich without some kind of state apparatus to protect them from the consequences.

    But that aside; even if “stateless oligarchies” are possible, then what makes these chiefs Anarchists?
    What makes the looters and rioters in London today Aristocrats?

  • Anonymous

    What I meant to say is that “wealth” depends on the consent of the society. If these chiefs and big men exploited the poor downtrodden majority of their societies and were hated by the people, they couldn’t remain rich without some kind of state apparatus to protect them from the consequences.

    Very true.  But if wealthy folks are sufficiently hated by the people, a state apparatus doesn’t protect them either, because a state apparatus is administered and staffed by people.  Revolutions and regime changes do happen.

    Also, as I’m sure you know, exploiting the downtrodden majority doesn’t necessarily mean you’re hated by them.  Chiefs and “big men” are usually profiting quite handsomely off their allies, and everyone else would often benefit from a more equitable distribution of wealth.  But as long as the common people don’t know that…or do know but don’t mind, because they have no expectation of better treatment…or do mind, but don’t trust their fellow poor people to help them change things…the rich folks still enjoy the consent of society.

    Which is how it works for us too, of course.  Even as Rockefeller Jr. and Carnegie were having picketers shot to death, they were financing a thousand philanthropic projects which made them public heroes.  And every corporation these days has a “community involvement” side project.  It seems to work, at least in conjunction with the general admiration we have for the successful; very few of our wealthy are widely hated.

    But that aside; even if “stateless oligarchies” are possible, then what makes these chiefs Anarchists?

    Oh, they’re definitely not.  Some of them lived in an anarchy, by one definition of the word, but they were all about amassing political power.

    What makes the looters and rioters in London today Aristocrats?

    Nothing at all; like I said, I think Chesterton’s completely wrong in trying to draw an anarchy-aristocracy connection.  I wouldn’t call the rioters anarchists either, though.  They’re just breaking the law, they’re not trying to completely destroy the legal system or anything.

  • Amaryllis

    Well, since we’re quoting:
    Jessica_R: while Gov. Perry was holding his prayer rally, a few blocks away
    100,000+ showed up to get free school supplies and immunizations, this
    got no press coverage, and there were so many, some had to be turned
    away when supplies ran out, that Perry would not think to mention this
    speaks volumes

    “As a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses
    us and for what we cry out for your forgiveness.”
    -Governor Perry

    “It’s not about whether Perry becomes president, it’s about making Jesus king.”
    -Pastor Jim Garlow

    “I can’t understand people who want to destroy our country. It’s a Muslim thing. It’s Satan against God.”
    -Response attendee quoted on religiousdispatches.org

    “There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were somehow weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living on the street, and they think, ‘Business as usual.’ But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.

    These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defense, not God’s, that the self-righteous should rush.”
    -Yann Martel, from Life of Pi.

    It’s sad when a fictional character has a better grasp of the essentials than the man who wants to be our next president, and the people trying to help him succeed.

    If Gov. Perry is sincere, he needs to remember those Texas children, and maybe ask their forgiveness; God will wait. But since the rally is almost certainly about “whether Perry becomes President,” he ought to be ashamed.

  • Amaryllis

    And I can’t believe that I said “attendee” instead of “attender.” (Although that doesn’t sound right, either.)

    As Ogden Nash would say, “To ee is human.”

  • Onymous

    It’s a bit of a non-sequiter but I always feel the need to bring up the Modragon Corporation and cooperative economics in general when talking about finding a happy medium with socialism. 
    The Mondragon Corporation is group of workers co-ops 83,000 people strong in several industries. It’s one of those things that shows that dirty hippy socialist principles can scale past the monkey sphere and gives me hope that a flat society can exist.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @EllieMurasaki 

    Maybe you’re a social democrat rather than a socialist?

  • Anonymous

    It’s more likely than you think.  I consider myself a social democrat and therefore a man without a party (even social democracy is on the fringe in the Democratic caucus).

  • Anonymous

    Testing, testing…does Opera like Disqus? Because Firefox no longer seems to. Anyway, Sgt Pepper, it is entirely probable I am a social democrat. It’s just that, one, ain’t nobody ever heard of the Social Democratic Party, and two, I’d rather reclaim the word ‘socialist’.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FUBWFFFSCFMN7NS5VJGDTGVWUU C

    Classism wasn’t and isn’t anarchy.  Aristocrats have always merited death.

  • Jakobijnen

    Really? Anarchism calls for the socialisation of the means of production and workers control. It is a socialist ideology, why would the rich want socialism?Also, the notion that the poor were never anarchists is nonsense. The Spanish anarcho-syndicalist CNT had 1,500,000 members in the 1930s, all of whom were poor workers and peasants. The third and fourth largest trade unions in Spain have 110,000 members combined and are anarchist.People need to learn that anarchism isn’t about free market capitalism, it’s about socialism without authority.
    This is all elementary stuff!

  • hf

    Funny thing is, according to S&P’s  own press release, failure
    to raise revenues played just as much a part in the downgrade.  Here is
    the quote:

    we believe that the prolonged controversy
    over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy
    debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in
    public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues s less likely than we previously assumed

    Which still seems wrong, because from what I understand the long-term deficit predictions come mainly from predictions of growing private health-care costs. Simply cutting government spending on health-care will not solve the problem unless we have a plan to deal with the riots.

  • http://profiles.google.com/deathpigeon Viktor Brown

    People who are anarchists because they are aristocrats don’t understand anarchism. When the workers rise up in the anarchist revolution, they will have the furthest to fall. Anarchy is about no hierarchy, and aristocrats need hierarchy to be aristocrats.


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