What Is The Disumbrationist Movement?

I’m glad you asked.

Not that I’m a part of it or anything, you understand.

47 Comments

Filed under Philosophica

47 Responses to What Is The Disumbrationist Movement?

  1. Li

    “an invisible team of infiltrators hell-bent on using the despised System’s own excesses to destroy it.”
    This reminds me of a conversation between Hacker and Sir Humphry in Yes Minister:
    Discussing the impact of a European identity card for all british citizens:
    Minister – Don’t the foriegn office realise what damage this will do to the European idea?
    Sir Humphry – Well, I’m sure they do, that’s why they support it.
    Minister – But, surely the foreign office is pro-Europe isn’t it?
    Sir Humphry – Yes and no…if you’ll forgive the expression. The foriegn office is pro-Europe because it is really anti-Europe. The civil service was united in it’s desire to make sure the common market didn’t work. That’s why we went into it.
    Minister – What are you talking about?
    Sir Humphry – Minister, Britian has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years – to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see, why should we change now, when it’s worked so well?
    Minister – That’s all anciet history surely.
    Sir Humphry – Yes and current policy. We had to break the whole thing up, so we had to get inside. We tried to break it up from the outside but that wouldn’t work. Now that we’re inside we can make a complete pigs breakfast of the whole thing. Set the Germans against the French, the French against the Italians, the Italians against the Dutch…the foreign office is terribly pleased, it’s just like old times!
    I love any opportunity to quote Yes Minister.

  2. I’m sure Sir Humphrey was a Disumbrationist.

  3. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that anarchism is the way to go for me ideologically.
    It’s a really difficult (or at least deeply inadvisable) thing to label oneself as though, partly since it’s associated in the popular imagination with po-faced political activism of a particularly nutty stripe, rather than as a form of anti-politicism which makes perfect sense, PROVIDED you have seen things from certain – fairly radical and counterintuitive – perspectives.
    I genuinely believe that the need for universal government and universal legal systems with the power to inflict severe punishments have been created by the deeply dysfunctional culture of mutual distrust and ill-will which is engendered by the existence of these kinds of authoritarian systems.
    It disturbs me that people believe we need rulers or governments, simply because we’ve always had them. I question this.
    All that is necessary for an anarchist state to work is that the vast bulk of people are freely and voluntarily committed to being basically decent to each other. I don’t think that’s necessarily a hopeless utopian fantasy.

  4. I’m also very much enamoured of the idea that we are already living in an anarchist state – it’s just that almost everyone has been hypnotised into believing that they are owned or ruled by others in various ways.
    We already live in a state in which people do exactly what they choose to do. People know that if they do certain things, there will be consequences which it might be desirable to avoid. This is always going to be the case.

  5. Obviously certain functional standards (money etc) are desirable but these would evolve and stabilise naturally with very minimal ad-hoc administration, as happens with a lot of computing standards.
    You know, once the government is abolished.
    I wasn’t planning on writing a manifesto tonight..

  6. It’s also all deeply tied up with the fact that everything is absurd.
    Everything is absurd. Nothing really exists.
    All human systems are figments of people’s imaginations.
    This is the key plank of platform upon which I would stand if were to run for political office, which of course as a Disumbrationist I might very well do.
    Were I one which of course I’m not.

  7. On the other hand.. key quote from the linked page:
    “Yes, this world would be a pretty easy and pleasant place to live in if everybody could just mind his own business and let others do the same. But as a wise old black faggot said to me years ago: ‘Some people are shits, darling.’ I was never able to forget it…”

  8. “All that is necessary for an anarchist state to work is that the vast bulk of people are freely and voluntarily committed to being basically decent to each other. I don’t think that’s necessarily a hopeless utopian fantasy.”
    : ) You really think this *isn’t* hopelessly optomistic?
    How many people do you think would freely and voluntarily commit, fianancially, materially or physically to building infrastructure like roads or trains or, worse still, hospitals? And without “evil” organisations full of those bad authoratarian figures that you hate so deeply, who sets the standards that govern when a person is fit to practise medicine?
    Would I want to live in a society where ‘neurosurgeon’ got downgraded to ‘guy-who-happens-to-think-he’s-pretty-good-with-a-knife-and-doesn’t-mind-blood”?
    Not a chance.
    >All human systems are figments of people’s imaginations.
    All human systems are systems which humans have created to avoid chaos and to regulate society. You look at this as a bad controlling factor and yet in the same breath you state that we are all able to exercise our freedoms within the system when you say “We already live in a state in which people do exactly what they choose to do.”
    We have the priviledge of freedom of choice in our lives because we live in a society that, scoff as you may, we have a contributing voice in.
    “People know that if they do certain things, there will be consequences which it might be desirable to avoid. This is always going to be the case.”
    We also, as a society, get to decide upon consequences that we find fitting for each crime and that, as far as is possible, are even handedly and justly doled out. There is no way this would happen in an anarchist society. Do you imagine that the father of a child who has been found raped and beaten isn’t going to slaughter anyone remotely suspect? In my opinion, people would tribalise so fast it would make your head spin. Might would become right, hoarding would become the order of the day and a ruling class of thugs would quickly establish itself, if only with local influence rather than national.
    Would I have a voice in that society? Not likely.
    Would I have any rights? Only so far as the person next to me defined them. As it stands, my right to own property, my right to exist peacefully, my right to my life exists only because the laws and ‘human systems’ in place say so.
    Ideologically I believe in socialism. But I very strongly believe that no socialist country will ever really work as it does in theory and I would resist it vigerously if it ever became a real option because, just as you have said for an anarchist state- all that is necessary for an socialist state to work is that the vast bulk of people are freely and voluntarily committed to being basically decent to each other.
    and that’s never going to happen.

  9. sorry… that really prolly should have been a post on my blog rather than just a comment…
    Is it too late to take that all back and make it a post on my blog? Perhaps I could just post a link to here…
    You have touched an issue I have here…
    My first ever ranty post on xadey’s blog was about this very subject…

  10. >You have touched an issue I have here…
    Oh dear, what have I done?
    Well, I am going to be stupid and answer this (gradually) but it is early right now and my head is fuzzy so be gentle.
    >You really think this *isn’t* hopelessly optomistic?
    I really don’t think it’s hopelessly optimistic. As I explained, I genuinely believe that most people most of the time, provided they have enough to eat, are basically inclined to be decent to each other.. if not actively altruistic, then at least tolerant and not actively malevolent.
    The problem is we live in a culture that is constantly trying to convince us that we are all competing in a jungle to kill each other, and that without authorities to control everything, the world would turn into a chaotic nightmare. I don’t buy it.
    Moreover, people are filled with enormous amounts of repressed spite and bitterness accumulated as a result of having been treated like children and told what to do their entire lives.
    That’s my theory and it makes sense to me.
    Harking back to another thing I said earlier.. it’s a difficult position to defend, because doing so requires an ability to render visible fnords in the current system which many if not most will be very keen not to see – having been told all their lives that democracy works, or is at least the best conceivable system there ever could be.

  11. >How many people do you think would freely and voluntarily
    >commit, fianancially, materially or physically to building
    >infrastructure like roads or trains or, worse still, hospitals?
    We would continue to need administrators, and philanthropists. We would, of course, continue to have an economy. People would continue to have jobs.
    Drop a bomb on Canberra and every state house of parliament tomorrow, these things would still, in a sane world, continue to function. Stuff would have to be organised in a much more decentralised way – and certainly at least initially, many systems would be thrown into total chaos, but I believe the necessary ones would stabilize, provided – and here is the key thing – that there was sufficient public will and maturity to make such an arrangement work.
    People like having trains and hospitals and could, I think, make the effort to organise and sustain these systems without a government legislating them to.
    Of course in practice if you eliminated governments tomorrow, people would be thrown into a panic and riot, because they’re absolutely convinced they are children who cannot look after themselves. This would have to change.
    I do not deny it would require a significant shift in the collective consciousness in order to work.

  12. >my right to my life exists only because the laws and ‘human
    >systems’ in place say so.
    If you believe this, then it’s true for you.
    I believe my right to my life exists because I say so.
    If the law changed tomorrow, declaring me an invalid person with no rights, I would continue to believe this.
    So, incidentally, would you.

  13. >Would I want to live in a society where ‘neurosurgeon’ got
    >downgraded to ‘guy-who-happens-to-think-he’s-pretty-
    >good-with-a-knife-and-doesn’t-mind-blood”?
    >
    >Not a chance.
    Highly skilled professions (especially critical ones like medicine) would continue to ply their trade and would continue have the same sort of guilds and peer-review systems they have now.
    A neurosurgeon would not need a license from the government to practice, but they would still be a neurosurgeon because the College of Neurosurgeons (who would continue to care about their reputation) said they were.

  14. >all that is necessary for an socialist state to work is that the
    >vast bulk of people are freely and voluntarily committed to
    >being basically decent to each other.
    No, a socialist state, like a capitalist democracy only more so, accepts that ordinary people are basically children, and requires an extremely powerful ruling elite, which will inevitably be (or quickly become) hopelessly corrupt, heavy-handed, and focussed primarily on sustaining and strengthening itself rather than serving any common good. In practice socialist regimes are fascist police states. I think we’re basically on the same page there.
    >In my opinion, people would tribalise so fast it would make
    >your head spin. Might would become right, hoarding would
    >become the order of the day and a ruling class of thugs would
    >quickly establish itself, if only with local influence rather than
    >national.
    Er, we have a profound epistemological schism here, if you associate ‘tribalism’ with ‘mob rule’. These are *entirely* different things as far as I’m concerned.
    Tribal cultures have a fundamentally different outlook to ours (which is much LESS ‘might is right’ than ours, and much more ‘what is good for the collective is right’), and a successful anarchist state would require us to readopt many tribalistic attitudes towards things like property and collective responsibility.
    To my mind this would be a wholly beneficial and desirable thing.

  15. >All human systems are systems which humans have created to
    >avoid chaos and to regulate society. You look at this as a bad
    >controlling factor and yet in the same breath you state that we
    >are all able to exercise our freedoms within the system when
    >you say “We already live in a state in which people do exactly
    >what they choose to do.”
    That comment of mine was in no way a reflection on our present system or any system. Even under an extremely oppressive totalitarian regime in which it was a capital offence to wear a hat on Tuesday, you would be free to wear a hat on Tuesday if that was what you chose to do.
    You would be very unlikely to do this however, because you’d know that a much more powerful entity (the government) would probably exercise its freedom to shoot you.

  16. “If you believe this, then it’s true for you.
    I believe my right to my life exists because I say so.
    If the law changed tomorrow, declaring me an invalid person with no rights, I would continue to believe this.
    So, incidentally, would you.”
    I would continue to believe this but if the guy standing next to me with the crowbar didn’t?
    People are basically good yes. But are all people good? Not a chance. 1 in 5 Australian women get raped even with the justice system we have in place. If you take away any form of ordered consequence and any avenue of formalised recourse for the women who have been made victims to these crimes, do you think that rapists will just stop, take a good hard look at themselves and decide to turn over a new leaf?
    I believe in my right to exist regardless of any laws in place but I can’t defend this right on my own and I doubt you could either. I need laws to protect me.
    “Highly skilled professions (especially critical ones like medicine) would continue to ply their trade and would continue have the same sort of guilds and peer-review systems they have now.
    A neurosurgeon would not need a license from the government to practice, but they would still be a neurosurgeon because the College of Neurosurgeons (who would continue to care about their reputation) said they were.”
    So the medical world would survive on pride? And what about the ‘neurosurgeons’ who were not trained but just went about claiming they were? What consequence for them? Without laws ensuring that certain standards are maintained and that people could not go around falsely claiming skills or qualifications they did not possess standards of care and skill would inevitabley drop.
    And where would the money come from to organise and run these guilds? Who would supply universities and hospitals with the money to train doctors and update equiptment? Who would ensure that patients who were unable to assert their own wishes got a level of care that, at the moment, they are rightfully entitled to? Who would ensure that sick people had access to medical care at all rather than just rich people or those with influence?
    It’s all very well to say that people would behave in an upright and socially responsible manner even if the laws and structures set up to guide, compensate and, in some cases, restrict us were gone but I just don’t see that it’s plausible.
    If you had the choice between continuing on with the job you have now and just robbing a supermarket, what would you choose? And what consequences would you face?
    If a neurosurgeon who gets paid well to work 70 hours a week to patients covered by Medicare now wasn’t hemmed in by ethical standards and legal structures, would he continue to give that service or would he only give it for maybe 40 hours a week to those that could compensate him the most?

  17. >So the medical world would survive on pride?
    Yup. God knows, it has more than enough.
    >And what about the ‘neurosurgeons’ who were not trained but
    >just went about claiming they were?
    You would have to be smart enough to avoid them, just as you are now.
    >And where would the money come from to organise and run
    >these guilds?
    From within the industry, as is the case now.
    More later.

  18. “No, a socialist state, like a capitalist democracy only more so, accepts that ordinary people are basically children, and requires an extremely powerful ruling elite, which will inevitably be (or quickly become) hopelessly corrupt, heavy-handed, and focussed primarily on sustaining and strengthening itself rather than serving any common good. In practice socialist regimes are fascist police states. I think we’re basically on the same page there.”
    A socialist state, in theory, would be wholly communal. Each giving what they can and taking what they need. A true sociallist state wouldn’t be run by a greedy fascist but by the person who was best able to serve the community in the role. In practice this doesn’t work because power corrupts and people are self-serving and greedy and flawed.
    “Tribal cultures have a fundamentally different outlook to ours (which is much LESS ‘might is right’ than ours, and much more ‘what is good for the collective is right’), and a successful anarchist state would require us to readopt many tribalistic attitudes towards things like property and collective responsibility.”
    I think you might have meant ‘what’s good for our tribe is right’ there… When you look at tribal cultures which still exist, such as those living in the jungles of indonesia they do take care of their own. They do live beautifully simple lives where they gain satisfaction and worth and purpose from feeding their families and ensuring the saftey of the tribe. They also eat their rivals…
    They die of tragically common illnesses and are judged by their community on physical prowess, which is all good and well until you find you’re not the best hunter/warrior. Their women are there for the purposes of cooking and breeding. They have to climb into tree huts when in labour to offset the risk of being caught up in tribal warfare when at their most vulnerable and all too often die anyway.
    My needs and requirements have outgrown the simple beauty of this life. I could not withstand the brutal element and I would never choose to. Sure we have great medical services, efficient ways of farming and fabulous technologies but without the structures that are in place to direct these services do you think they would run? What if you didn’t have a doctor in your tribe? Or someone who was willing to take justice into their own hands? Or someone who could fix your stuff when it broke down? Or enough people to protect you?

  19. “You would have to be smart enough to avoid them, just as you are now.”
    So the people who were harmed by that doctor in Queensland recently were just not smart enough to avoid him and had it coming to them? You’re proposing that if you’ve been in a car crash your buddy better be all clued up on which doctors are credible and which are not because otherwise you’re going to die whilst he goes around checking credentials?
    “From within the industry, as is the case now.”
    Yes professional associations are self funded now but medical professionals, for example, are also heavily funded and assisted to carry out the work that they do. It recently cost (I’m sure I shouldn’t be saying this but anyway…) over 16 million for one hospital to upgrade one area purely in architectural/project management/consultant fees. When the government stops footing that bill, who does?
    People *may* be willing to chip in with whats needed for things like MRI machines and the like but what about the huge cost and specialised skill of ensuring that the building housing the machine doesn’t leak? Or that the materials used on the floor are of a quality and standard that they will remain hygenic and safe over time?
    All of these things are at present covered by legislation but you take that legislation away and you’re going to get people who are untrained, or not to the current level, surmising what they believe is the correct (or the most convenient/cheapest) thing to have in place.

  20. >We have the priviledge of freedom of choice in our lives
    >because we live in a society that, scoff as you may, we have a
    >contributing voice in.
    This is a fnord, pure and simple. You believe this because you have been taught to believe it from birth. Contrary to the pervasive conditioning that extant power systems depend upon, freedom is not, in reality, a privelige, it is not a right, it is not something you have been ‘given’, it is not something you have ‘earned’. It is the existential condition in which you and everyone else lives and it is unconditional.
    People are allowed to get away with saying what they like in our society – within limits, naturally – because serious dissent is so effectively neutralised by the illusion that those kinds of statements are true.

  21. >>If you believe this, then it’s true for you.
    >>I believe my right to my life exists because I say so.
    >>If the law changed tomorrow, declaring me an invalid person with no rights
    If the law declared that you had no right to life, it wouldn’t matter what you think, you would be tied to a bed with a needle in your arm… 😉

  22. “This is a fnord, pure and simple. You believe this because you have been taught to believe it from birth. Contrary to the pervasive conditioning that extant power systems depend upon, freedom is not, in reality, a privelige, it is not a right, it is not something you have been ‘given’, it is not something you have ‘earned’. It is the existential condition in which you and everyone else lives and it is unconditional.”
    I believe this because I have, as yet, never been denied the right to seek out something that I have wanted. More than that – I have often encountered assistence with my pursuits. You want to study, right? See how unconditional your right to study is in a fascist nation or in a country that doesn’t support this ‘unconditional’ right with facilities and fianances to allow you to do so. See how ‘unconditional’ this right is when you’re forced to spend all your time defending yourself, defending your possessions and scrounging up food in a lawless land.
    Doing away with government does not do away with power structures and control. It replaces it with haphazard, brutal systems created by the strongest individuals or groups in the local community.
    We don’t have limitless freedoms and nor would I want to have them. I don’t want my freedom to exist to be at odds with the next door neighbours freedom to end my existence.
    If you take what you’re saying out of the realm of philosophy and theory and try to implement it practically it just doesn’t work. People aren’t all good and giving and loving. They are greedy and selfish and power hungry. They are vengeful and discriminatory and violent.
    You don’t seem to be factoring human nature into your calculations…

  23. “See how unconditional your right to study is in a fascist nation or in a country…”
    And i understand that you would have the right to desire to study. You would have the right to learn as much as you could from your surroundings and those around you but you would not have the right to study, as in to recieve formal training and become fully qualified, unless granted it by the systems in place, whether those systems be the ordered governmental systems we have in place here or the ones that would, without a doubt, emerge in the anarchist state you would like to live in.

  24. I do understand what you’re saying, although it mightn’t seem like it…
    We can all behave in any way that we personally find gratifying regardless of systems in place. The systems in place restrict our freedom to do this by setting out generic boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not based on underlying agendas that are serve those in power rather than the community at large. We are told by the government that under them we are free but really under them we are made subservient and our freedoms are restricted, our actions curbed. By believing that they grant us freedom and power we willingly aid and assist in their control of us.
    I too have read Albert Camus. I get it. God is dead. We live for this life rather than making ourselves servants of the fallacy that following rules, undergoing poverty and trials for the controlling powers benefit will bring us greater rewards after our time here is done.
    I just don’t think it practical in a day to day existence. I am willing to forfeit my freedoms in certain areas to ensure that I have the opportunity to live a peacable life, however base and unenlightened you believe that to be.

  25. > See how ‘unconditional’ this right is when you’re forced to
    >spend all your time defending yourself, defending your
    >possessions and scrounging up food in a lawless land.
    See, the fundamental point of disagreement which we’re not going to get around here is that you think people are inherently shit, and I think they’ve been taught they’re shit and consequently believe it, and make it true.
    ‘Human nature’, certainly insofar as it cruds things up, is learned. The entire natural ecosystem – which is enormously complex, much more so than any human social ecology – sustains itself perfectly well without any authority system – except to the extent that we’ve fucked it up.
    There is that ‘some people are shits’ problem. I can’t deny I find that one genuinely problematic. Of course there were numerous traditional societies in which really grossly antisocial acts were unheard of, but I would tend to agree with you that even in the most enlightened, prosperous, harmoniously retribalized industrial society, you would get the odd individual who was compelled to commit seriously harmful acts against others, which might well precipitate vigilantism and then successive cycles of violence.
    I don’t know the answer to that one.
    I am mindful however of the fact that tribal cultures take on a much more collective sense of responsibility for this kind of thing. Individuals may be severely punished for committing serious crimes, but the pervasive sense isn’t – as it is in our present society – ‘look at the terrible thing this evil person who is not really One Of Us has done’ so much as ‘isn’t it terrible that the tribe has undermined itself in this way, how sad that we have failed’.
    Xade – indeed. Anyone who imagines we’re not already living in a might-is-right world is dreaming.

  26. >Doing away with government does not do away with power >structures and control.
    >It replaces it with haphazard, brutal systems created by the
    >strongest individuals or groups in the local community.
    This is what we have now, and would always be the case to some extent.
    Things could be a fuckload worse, I’m not disputing that for a second.

  27. Thanks for that. I was looking for an excuse to have an intelligent debate with a reasonably sympathetic adversary and that did nicely. It also confirmed my suspicion that self-identifying as an anarchist is incredibly stupid, because you will be fnorded to death by people who just don’t get it at all.
    Which is not to say you’re necessarily one of those.
    >I am willing to forfeit my freedoms in certain areas to ensure
    >that I have the opportunity to live a peacable life
    The question is, how can people be encouraged to wake up to the fact that 99% of the time they do this voluntarily because they know it makes sense, rather than because a benevolent gun is being held to their head?

  28. “‘Human nature’, certainly insofar as it cruds things up, is learned. The entire natural ecosystem – which is enormously complex, much more so than any human social ecology – sustains itself perfectly well without any authority system – except to the extent that we’ve fucked it up.”
    I think you overestimate the inherent goodness of people, as well as the morality of nature. Nature is brutal. Lions kill their children to reduce competition. They fight, maiming and killing eachother, constantly to retain power and *authority*. As do the absolute majority of wild, animals, particularly predators like our good selves.
    There is nothing immoral in the acts of a lion because it does it to survive, to sustain it’s family and because it knows no better.
    Acts of the lions that we all accept as natural would not be accepted of humans. We know better. We have ethics and morality and sensibilities and thoughts that lions do not. I don’t have it in me to live as a lion would, or as those tribes in Indonesia do who have not yet heard of the wheel. I just don’t.
    Also, I think that in human nature, there is a balance. No person is all good, just as no person is all bad. But without structured ways of dealing with people who break the laws (or generally agreed upon standards of behaviour, if you’d prefer) of society what do we have? Do we debase oursleves to public lynchings? To mob brutality?
    I could point out many many examples of times and places that have existed outside of govermental regulation where people have behaved in the most horrendous ways because the believed they were entitled.
    Even if this is conditioning rather than nature, how do you propose to wipe this conditioning, to restart the human race in a perfect balanced world? Breed people in jars? Put them into catagories based on their genetic make-up and have predestined paths so that there’s no need to argue. No need to fight for breeding partner or territory. No need to think. Sounds a little Brave New Wolrd…

  29. “It also confirmed my suspicion that self-identifying as an anarchist is incredibly stupid, because you will be fnorded to death by people who just don’t get it at all.
    Which is not to say you’re necessarily one of those.”
    I love the fact that you’ll happily assume that ‘people’ are too stupid to understand your way of thinking but then think so very highly of the species that you honestly believe we could all just get along… 😀
    Do you think that I understand what you’re saying? Because I really think I do I just whole heartedly disagree…

  30. No, that is precisely the opposite of what I am advocating.
    It would take a massive collective shift of attitude and I don’t see that happening in an instant, although I do fantasize about it. It’s something that would have to be worked towards in a slow, organic, evolutionary way, and I choose to believe that we are indeed doing this. Because if we aren’t, we as a species are as doomed as doomed can be.

  31. “The question is, how can people be encouraged to wake up to the fact that 99% of the time they do this voluntarily because they know it makes sense, rather than because a benevolent gun is being held to their head?”
    I think that people genuinely don’t care. You think about your feet when they hurt and you think about the system when you can’t live with it.
    People are generally happy living within the system that we have. It doesn’t actually matter why or how, to them or to the system.

  32. “Thanks for that. I was looking for an excuse to have an intelligent debate with a reasonably sympathetic adversary and that did nicely”
    I’m sorry… I’m hopelessly argumentative and stubborn… You should really try to avoid getting me started. It’s not pretty. 🙂

  33. My previous comment was in answer to your earlier ‘Brave New World’ comment.
    I think individuals are potenitally all very smart. People collectively have a tendency to be very very stupid. They have been taught to be as such. There’s no conspiracy theory there, it’s something we’ve collectively done to ourselves, or allowed to happen to ourselves.
    If you really want to know (and you will probably think me most arrogant and I apologise for that) I think you get it more than most, but that you have a strong loyalty to the extant system which I have been cured of.

  34. >People are generally happy living within the system that we
    >have.
    To the (limited) extent that this is true, it’s because they’ve never known anything better and have been thoroughly brainwashed into believing that anything significantly better is inconceivable. And because, as you say, most people don’t really care about much outside their personal sphere as long as they have bread and circuses and no one is trying to kill them.

  35. >I’m sorry… I’m hopelessly argumentative and stubborn… You
    >should really try to avoid getting me started. It’s not pretty
    Yes, I can see that! But that was quite pretty all the same because I am equally argumentative and stubborn, and because we respect each other despite disagreeing. Isn’t that nice? See how easy it is for people get along? Sometimes?!

  36. >as well as the morality of nature.
    There is no morality in nature. Morality is a human system designed to control people. In nature there is only survival. Intelligence + a collective need to survive + the concept of ‘individuality’ (which I believe to be an illusion) has given us religions and governments and morality etc etc.
    But in spite of all your arguments, I am convinced that it could quite feasibly give us the ability to get along okay without needing rigorous formal codes and systems of behaviour with heavy-handed punishments for transgression.
    The concept of individuality as we currently understand and venerate it might have to go. That would be painful. But I think it would be worth it.
    See, I can see these things. I know I’m not stupid. I know I’m not naive. I also know that when I start talking like this, my ability to argue successfully with a normally socialised person is pretty much zero.
    There are certain ideas which are so radical there is no way to advocate them without sounding insane.
    But it doesn’t necessarily make them bad or wrong ideas.

  37. >But it doesn’t necessarily make them bad or wrong ideas.
    I wasn’t saying that the idea was bad or wrong. On the contrary the idea that everybody could give up on conflict and individual gain and work for the benefit of the community is delightful… but unrealistic, I feel.

  38. Li

    Teigan:
    “Er, we have a profound epistemological schism here, if you associate ‘tribalism’ with ‘mob rule’. These are *entirely* different things as far as I’m concerned.”
    Tribalism to me is mob rule. What’s best for the tribe supersedes what’s best for the individuals within the tribe. The tribe then is the focus, rather than the individual. The majority will win, meaning that the weak will subsidise the rich and in effect, become serfs – see socialism. I’m interested however, in hearing your perception on the matter more fully.
    Teigan:
    “In nature there is only survival. Intelligence + a collective need to survive + the concept of ‘individuality’ (which I believe to be an illusion) has given us religions and governments and morality etc etc.”
    What about the concept of individuality do you find to be an illusion? In a politico-economic sense that is. I have, of course, taken enough acid to give the ‘we are all one’ speech, yet using it as a basis for an epistemological approach to the ethics of society has never worked for me.
    Teigan:
    “Tribal cultures have a fundamentally different outlook to ours (which is much LESS ‘might is right’ than ours, and much more ‘what is good for the collective is right’), and a successful anarchist state would require us to readopt many tribalistic attitudes towards things like property and collective responsibility.”
    I would have thought this to be the total antithesis to the anarchist state. There is no collectivism in anarchy, only individuals working for themselves. That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t work together, but that the focus is on the individual, not the collective.
    I’m also interested in what it is about laissez faire capitalism that you don’t like.

  39. *sigh*
    I grow a tad weary of this now.
    Li:
    “Tribalism to me is mob rule.”
    Then you don’t really understand what it is 😛 As I understand it, tribalism involves a way of relating to each other which is quite different to ours. Ego and individuality is much less important. Social responsibility and looking after each other is much more important. This is no bad thing IMHO.
    Specifically, I’m interested in a kind of ‘enlightened tribalism’ which for a number of reasons I think we are really ready for. It wouldn’t necessarily mean giving up any of our modern mental conveniences. It just means we would take ourselves as individuals much less seriously and ourselves as an organism much more seriously.
    For the last time, read some goddamn MacLuhan!
    Li:
    “What about the concept of individuality do you find to be an illusion? In a politico-economic sense that is. I have, of course, taken enough acid to give the ‘we are all one’ speech, yet using it as a basis for an epistemological approach to the ethics of society has never worked for me.”
    No? Why not?
    I suspect my basis for arguing that individuality is an illusion would be similar to yours and I have trouble articulating it, since it is one of those illusions, like time, which language is totally antithetical to exposing.
    You are a discrete biological entity with a discrete point of view. But your treasured beautiful & unique snowflake of a self is just the result of whatever random conditioning you’ve accumulated over your life. It may be unique, but so is any garbage heap. As another person, I recognise that you are of much more value than a garbage heap, but I would say that. If I were a garbage heap, I’d feel the same about it.
    You could exist totally removed from any social context, but the complex fiction you and those you know have constructed around the behaviour of the animal known as Li is inextricably tied to a social context. It’s a figment of our imaginations, and it’s shared. And of course the same goes for me and everyone else.
    I’ve done a lousy job of explaining that one but like I said I suspect you already get it.
    If you can’t translate this awareness into a feasible theoretical social model, I probably can’t do it for you. You can see it or you can’t. It would be quite different to the society we have now.
    Li:
    I would have thought this to be the total antithesis to the anarchist state. There is no collectivism in anarchy, only individuals working for themselves. That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t work together, but that the focus is on the individual, not the collective.
    There are many anarchist models, and mine is maybe more socialistic than many, but is fundamentally not socialism since it doesn’t depend on any central administration or any firm proscribed ideology.
    Li:
    “I’m also interested in what it is about laissez faire capitalism that you don’t like.”
    I never criticised laissez faire capitalism and I’m not suggesting that in my dream society there wouldn’t be trade and that some people wouldn’t be wealthier or more powerful than others.
    Since you ask, I think laissez faire capitalism as a theory works quite well. As it’s currently practiced, it has a tendency to cause everything (including people) to become totally commodified, given everyone permission to be woefully greedy and selfish, and is used as an excuse for all manner of grotesque exploitation and abuse of the powerless by their evil masters, the powerful.

  40. Li

    “*sigh*
    I grow a tad weary of this now.”
    Appologies. I disagree with some of your views, however I disagree with Johanas even more.
    Btw, laissez faire capitalism isn’t, and has never been practiced.
    But we’ll do this another time.

  41. We can do it now if you want. I am feeling less weary now.
    True lassaiz-faire capitalism has never been practiced? Okay, tell me. I’m not an economist.
    Here is something I wrote to Jo last night:
    It’s this thing of … I can see this thing. I really can. You understand my argument on an intellectual level but you really can’t see it. You think everything would fall apart and this is true in a sense. What I am talking about would take a profound revolution within the collective mindset. I can truly see it happening though.
    People are terrified of each other now. This is not a natural state; it is an induced state. It is not natural I tell you.
    I think we are at a level of mental evolution where we can think and reason in an abstract way but ALSO re-embrace a tribal sort of society (which is not by any means a stupider or more primitive society necessarily), in which people genuinely feel like they are nodes in a single organism rather than free floating lone units in space. Harming other people would be instinctively offensive to pretty much everyone in such a society and ideas like individual property would become less important. I can see individual identities and ego and competition being important but only in a relatively playful sort of way.
    It would have administrative groups and concentrations of power but no godlike over-ruling authority structure.
    In a situation where multiple tribes of people were competing for resources you would get conflict but it would be contained and reasonably predictable, and all parties would consider it desirable to resolve these things as amicably as possible, because we have indeed evolved since we were nomadic tribes.
    It would be very different. But I can see it and I don’t think it’s hopelessly optimistic at all.
    People already know perfectly well how to get along.
    It is all about competing to be god. Everyone wants to be god. We’re having this argument because we want to be god of the argument.
    And we are clever enough to know better! We are! We people-in-general, I mean!
    Another problem with socialism is that it seeks to enforce the idea that everyone is equal. This is useless. I would agree that people are certainly all of equal value in the final analysis but people are not equal in many important respects and this is a form of diversity and is Good.
    Some people are better looking, more talented, smarter, stronger, more priveliged, more charismatic etc etc than others. People make choices and succeed or fail on the basis of them. People are not equal. That is not a problem in itself. They just have to stop trying to compete to be god. Trying to make them equal with social engineering and lots of guns is hopeless. They must *believe* they are equal! No government can accomplish this.

  42. Li

    “True lassaiz-faire capitalism has never been practiced? Okay, tell me. I’m not an economist.”
    Lassaiz-faire capitalism is similar to anarchy, in that government would be either severely diminished, or dispensed with altogether. What we have at the moment is statism. We use the free markets to allocate wealth, but we’re also taxed and subsidised by an overseer. It’s a compromise between capitalism and communism.
    “Specifically, I’m interested in a kind of ‘enlightened tribalism’ which for a number of reasons I think we are really ready for. It wouldn’t necessarily mean giving up any of our modern mental conveniences. It just means we would take ourselves as individuals much less seriously and ourselves as an organism much more seriously.”
    I believe that at our current state of evolution, man is incapable of this – it’s not part of his nature. More below.
    “If you can’t translate this awareness into a feasible theoretical social model, I probably can’t do it for you. You can see it or you can’t. It would be quite different to the society we have now.”
    I can see it quite clearly; it’s just not a vision that involves man at his current state of evolution.
    “…in which people genuinely feel like they are nodes in a single organism rather than free floating lone units in space.”
    This is the crux of what I disagree with. To be a node in a greater being, or organism, is to disown, or sacrifice one’s own individuality, much like socialism. This means that one must become a serf to a higher power, in this case, the greater organism. You transfer power from a centralised state, and again from the individual, to a collective. This is mob rule. This is collectivism. It requires man sacrifice himself for the greater good. I don’t believe this vision of society you have can include anything other than self-sacrifice. I don’t believe it’s in mans nature to behave that way, and I don’t believe it’s merely because of social conditioning. It is intrinsic to his survival.
    “People already know perfectly well how to get along.”
    Not when they inhabit limited space with limited recourses and the fear of death over their heads.
    “People are terrified of each other now. This is not a natural state; it is an induced state. It is not natural I tell you.”
    I believe this to be extremely natural, and rife within the animal kingdom. That’s not to say that fear isn’t manufactured by those who wish to control – it most certainly is. Certain fears per say, are irrational and illusory, but fear of others itself is natural and beneficial for survival.

  43. “Appologies. I disagree with some of your views, however I disagree with Johanas even more.”
    are you going to expand on this?

  44. Li

    “Appologies. I disagree with some of your views, however I disagree with Johanas even more.”
    “are you going to expand on this?”
    One day…one day.

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