Re: The IFG - Still don't think.....

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Fri Feb 09 2001 - 12:58:20 MST

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Here is a message I got from the list owner of the primary NE North
> American anarchism activism co-ordination mail list. These people are
> the ones primarily involved in much of the 'green' and anarchist
> protesting going on around the US. This guy has booted me from the list
> because I was debating some fine points which raised a ruckus among the
> faithful:
> [snip]

This is too bad, and is the type of absolutist reactionary response I am opposed to. But then,
I went to the links they provided and saw how young these guys are, so I can (at least in
theory) cut them a little slack (for now). Taking absolutist positions is often a way for
people to find self-definition (we all do it, in varying degrees, throughout our lives), and
when young and exposed to the idea that the world we've been handed ain't what it seems . . .
well, to me these kind of reactions are normal and healthy (but are not the same for everyone,
of course). I'd rather see these guys involved in this kind of activity than becoming
neo-nazis. You do see that they are at least identifying some of the same problems? I see this
as a good thing, but then I like to find common ground among people. And I'm somewhat
optimistic that the critical thinking that obviously lies beneath all the posturing will
someday develop into something important and useful (at least to the people involved, if
nothing else). It's a shame they felt it necessary to kick you off the list, as I think you
could provide them with an interesting perspective. But, like I said, I'm an optimist.

> A corporation has no legal power to use force to make you buy their
> product, pay them extortion money, or die in their service. A
> corporation cannot shoot you out of hand without any repercussions.
> Governments can do all of these. What powers corporations do have that
> do get abused are only granted to them by the monopoly on the market of
> force that government has. End that monopoly and you end both government
> AND corporate abuses. Follow the power. Where is it most concentrated?
> In government.

This is only true in theory. In practice, there is plenty of evidence that corporations do
engage in such unhealthy activities as coercion, bribery, murder and genocide. You don't need a
government to hire thugs and mercenaries to do your dirty work. And if you own the media, the
police, and the government, who exactly can make sure there are repercussions for your actions?
And with no government of any kind, who is going to stop corporate gangs from doing whatever
they want? Again, I'm not saying that the corporation is inherently bad, or that all
corporations are engaging in these activities, just that some are and do. The only reason power
appears to be the most concentrated in government is because that's what the powers that be
want us to see. If the US government (for example) actually reflected the will of the people
(as it is supposed to do in theory), and if the people were truly informed and cared about what
was going in their own backyards and the world, then maybe these abuses couldn't take place. I
don't know. Perhaps this is too much to hope for.

> Ah, yes, and thanks to imperialism, 1/4 of the human race is no longer
> burning its wives to death when their spouses die. I don't see that as a
> negative process.

I'm sorry, but the ethnocentric position of your argument sounds like a rationalization for
oppression to me. Oddly enough, this is similar to the rationalization used by Christian
missionaries, i.e. that these people were not living correctly and it's our job to better their
lives and help them see the light. What hogwash. It's easy to pluck the most extreme examples
(and, frankly, not very good ones) out of the air to justify something that has already
happened. I'm just not buying it.

> Thanks to imperialism, despotic insular states like Japan and China
> opened up and modernized. Thanks to imperialism, four of the ten most
> stable nations on earth exist entirely due to colonization.

And at what price to the people who didn't want what the white gods had to offer? This is so
shortsighted and arrogant it almost defies belief. How can you claim to be a libertarian when
it appears you think it's okay to selectively apply liberty? How exactly has colonization
improved the lives of native Americans?

> Local opposition to 'imperialism' is typically a matter of one despot
> and his henchmen getting pissed off that they aren't allowed to abuse
> their serfs like they used to.

Only to become serfs of the imperialists. This is a circular argument, and not a very good one.

> 2000-3000 years is nothing to evolution, and 'culture' is a thin veneer
> that typically dissapears entirely with sufficient stress.

Despite the evidence that this happens (I won't dispute it), I don't share your rather dark
view of humanity. While culture is often a thin veneer, it's really all we have (of course, I'm
including science and technology under this rubric) to separate us from the other animals. And
enough, if we have the strength of character to use it wisely.

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