Sunday, May 20, 2012
Anarchists are ridiculous people. Anarchy is a ridiculous political belief. Now, to be fair, substitute the word "Libertarian" for "Anarchist" and those sentences still ring true. Both Anarchists and Libertarians believe in a fantastical world where governments are not necessary for the proper allocation of common goods. Of course, Libertarians still acknowledge the need for a state to adjudicate crimes against property, so the police and military tend to stick around in a Libertarian utopia.
The difference of course is that "Liberals" - for lack of a better word - reject anarchism and anarchism rejects liberalism. Libertarianism and conservatism kind of work hand in hand. It's fun watching Libertarians try to justify supporting the GOP with its hardline against drugs and abortions, or the fact that there is practically no daylight between the GOP and the Democrats on national security issues that infringe on civil liberties. In fact, the GOP is even more dismissive of civil liberties claims when it comes to Muslims and other scary brown people.
But anarchists have been screwing things up for liberals (or progressives) ever since the late 1800s. Haymarket Square, the Homestead strike and a host of smaller labor clashes saw anarchists upping the violence against the state and capital, which in turn created a backlash against legitimate worker's grievances.
Liberalism (as a political attitude rather than a political philosophy) has always shied away from its radical fringes. Because Liberalism seeks to change society through progressive, incremental measures, those calling for radical change (and radical ends to achieve that change) have always been a threat to their agenda. Ironically, conservatism (which seeks no or very small change) has allied itself closely with a radical reactionary movement that would drag the country back to before the New Deal.
So even though a bunch of anarchists were allegedly planning on attacking the Obama headquarters in Chicago, Obama will routinely be tarred with Bill Ayers and Socialism. Whereas Mitt Romeny, who IS allied with people like Paul Ryan who will roll back Medicare and Social Security, is a stolid conservative.
The lack of understanding of this essential difference explains why Romney is within spitting distance of Obama.