Wow, look at all those eating metaphors. Who knew how much this project would actually mirror Julie and Julia?
This first issue contains a feature article written by George H. Smith called “The Ethics of Voting.” This is noted as part one, so there is more to come. So I guess we can consider this the appetizer.
In this article Mr. Smith wants to speak to the group he calls “political anarchists.” (And yes, he does mention the contradiction.) He uses this article to set up definitions and ideas for a discussion of whether or not voting is ethical according to the ideas that political anarchists hold.
He goes into a lot of detail setting this all up and I am not going to repeat it here. That’s not the intent of this blog. The intent is to share what I found interesting, what hit me, and why. Past that, you can choose to read the article yourself and/or discuss with me the points I bring up here. So to that end, here’s what I found interesting about this article.
* First of all, I was intrigued by the term “political anarchist” because I really never heard that term in the discussions I had over the years. In the groups I participated in, these types of debates were generally labeled as “purist” versus “pragmatist.” Same idea I suppose.
However, it did make me wonder if the anarchistic folks moved to the word purist because anarchist just really made what they were doing there look so much more obvious in its contradictions. I don’t know, but if I had heard the term political anarchist more often, maybe I would have moved through my process faster.
Eh, probably not, I’m a slow learner.
* Secondly, he discusses the idea of vicarious liability and how important it is for all libertarians, anarchistic or not. This is the understanding that people can play an important part in the aggression even when they are not the ones actually performing the aggressive act. You can probably see why he’s pointing this out as an important piece if he’s going to talk about voting and its possible implications.
Finally, what I found most interesting about this article is this:
Voluntaryists are more than libertarians; they are libertarian anarchists. They reject the institution of the state totally, and it is this element that is not contained (explicitly at least) within libertarianism.
This is the anarchist insight, recognizing the institution itself as invasive.
Libertarians in general do not necessarily analyze and reach the conclusion to reject the institution. This was an important point for me to understand because it helps to see how my communications with those in the party changed after I started realizing this to be the case. It was like speaking a different language after a point.
When someone knows something is wrong within an institution but does not reject the institution itself, what they naturally conclude is that the people in charge just aren’t running it “right” and if only the “right” people were in there, it would be okay.
One reason I think I was able to eventually reject the institution is that, over time, I had already done that with schools. I began to understand that real education could never really happen in an institution because they simply could not hand over enough freedom for that to occur.
So perhaps that’s one thing to consider for anyone who is interested in communicating these ideas to people: find the ones who have been harmed by institutions in some way and use that to reach an understanding. Has anyone else though of that and tried it? If so, what happened?
Smith says if an institutional analysis can get us to anarchism, then it can also get one to voluntaryism. I think I see where he is going and am curious to read what he says next in this series.
In other words, I’m hungry for more.