Traditional anarchism/Talk

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Traditional anarchism is a poor choice of words since anarchists usually find themselves working against tradition. One might be forced to say that "traditional anarchism eschews tradition, including its own" .... Unreformed anarchism would be better since anarchists reject the notion of political reform. It would also be funny though I find I cannot explain the humour in it. Probably just the meta-syntactic thing. -- RichardKulisz


Perhaps there is a better forum for this type of debate. I'm not the least bit interested in debating with you the truth or falsehood of these claims. I am only interested in seeing that everything gets stated in a neutral, encyclopedic manner.

I think you might achieve some personal growth if you came to understand and respect that the vast majority of serious political scientists and economists, those who have thought seriously about these issues, disagree with you. That need not mean that you are wrong, of course, but it does mean that you should drop the pretense that your opponents are either ignorant or irreducibly ideologically unconvincable.

But none of that has to do with the wikipedia. There is no need for us to settle debates about the truth of anarchy. What there needs to be, though, is some understanding from you that an encyclopedia is not the appropriate forum for you to promote your ideology.

You can't define the difference between description and honest advocacy because there isn't one. Your "neutrality" is just a cover for pushing the mainstream ideology, which surprise surprise gets the special status of not being treated as an ideology.

As for economists and political scientists, they are bought wholesale by rich capitalists. I don't give any credit to people dumb enough to claim that war is a good thing, as free market economists do. And there's a serious problem when some of the best political science in North America is done by a linguist. I'm hardly going to respect academics that have forfeited their duties to an outsider in favour of selling themselves to the highest bidder. I have no idea what kind of "personal growth" you're talking about but given what you say is required to achive it, I know I want no part of it.

"[I]f there is a body of theory, well tested and verified, that applies to the conduct of foreign affairs or the resolution of domestic or international conflict, its existence has been kept a well-guarded secret, despite much pseudo-scientific posturing." -- NoamChomsky, the linguist in question

The only argument you can make which I would accept as valid is that facts about corporations belong in an entry on corporations and not on anarchism. You have conspicuously failed to make that argument. I can just imagine how horrified you would be if I described in explicit detail exactly how psychopathic corporations are on ModernCorporation. Further, if you were neutral you would limit yourself to editing in "Anarchists believe" and not threaten to insert something equivalent to "but they are completely wrong since nobody believes them blah blah blah". I do not for a single second believe your pretense at "neutrality".

You also wrote:

No, not really. I don't care what the ideology, it should not be presented. Note the difference between stating facts about an ideology, and stating that the ideology is fact. This goes for all ideologies.

So you don't care what's written so long as there are sufficiently long disclaimers and any insight is couched in super-bland language? But that just promotes the view that all political philosophies are "unreasonable" and causes people to become apolitical. And that's the problem right there. Apoliticizing people is not being "neutral", it's promoting the dominant ideology. I've tried to write in a bland "neutral" style before and I only got disgusted at how dishonest it was. "Don't look at the man behind the curtain people! Nothing to see! Move along!" People can observe the different non-standard ideologies like animals in a zoo but oh horrors if they start believing any of them! Like I already said, the most twisted and biased libertarian tripe is infinitely more insightful and informative than the bland apolitical tripe you seem to want to promote.


Probably against my better judgment, I'm going to reply to you, Richard. I think you simply fail to understand some things. You might not be capable of understanding them yet, but I'll give it a shot. I'll try to explain these things once, and then let you go on believing whatever it is you want to believe.

You can't define the difference between description and honest advocacy because there isn't one. Your "neutrality" is just a cover for pushing the mainstream ideology, which surprise surprise gets the special status of not being treated as an ideology.

This claim is completely unjustified, and frankly, it's just silly. Why is it that a description of what people believe, without explicitly advocating any particular belief, is "a cover for pushing the mainstream ideology"? I'm not aware of covering for anything, and I hope I'm a smart and honest enough person to be able to see if I am. Many people--many philosophers, for example--are very capable of writing encyclopedia articles (see, e.g., my favorite encyclopedia, The Companion to Epistemology) that fairly present various views without advocating any one of them. But some of these philosophers hold extreme views of one sort or another. Certainly they don't mean to be plugging for "the mainstream ideology" (or whatever the mainstream view on the question at hand is). And none of their audience would be so silly as to assume that they were advocates for "the mainstream ideology," either. If you think so, you simply don't understand the dialectical dynamic that's going on.

When you're writing for mature adults who can think for themselves, it simply insults their intelligence to assume that presenting views neutrally, or unbiasedly, will cause them to think that you are plugging for "the mainstream ideology." Even more it insults their intelligence to presume to be writing an informational article which openly attempts to influence their views, as though the text from which they would most be likely to form their views would be an obviously biased encyclopedia article. That's not what most people use encyclopedias for.

As for economists and political scientists, they are bought wholesale by rich capitalists.

I don't even know what that means. Do you mean that they are all paid by corporations for advocating capitalism? If so, that's silly. First of all, they don't all advocate capitalism, and second, of course, they aren't all paid by corporations. Many of them work for universities or as independent consultants, writers, and thinktank operatives. More importantly, you insult them by assuming that they do not--whether due to inability, greed, coercion, or whatever other reason--use their own brains in deciding what to write.

I have no idea what kind of "personal growth" you're talking about but given what you say is required to achive it, I know I want no part of it.

No, Jimmy meant it quite literally, and I understand exactly what he means. You have to start treating your opponents as living, breathing human beings with brilliant brains of their own, not as automata. One of the implications of this is that these people deserve your respect as living, breathing human beings with brains, sometimes brilliant, of their own. They may not deserve your agreement, you don't have to like them, and you can even think that they're corrupt or evil for advocating the wrong thing. But don't treat them like mindless, idiotic automata.

So you don't care what's written so long as there are sufficiently long disclaimers and any insight is couched in super-bland language? But that just promotes the view that all political philosophies are "unreasonable" and causes people to become apolitical.

This is another fairly straightforward non sequitur. By assuming that people will form their political opinions based on what you have written in an encyclopedia article for Wikipedia, you fail to respect the fact that they have brains of their own and can make up their own minds, thank you very much. They will, most of them, be able to spot your propaganda as such immediately--part of being educated involves being able to spot it, after all. If they're at all educated, and they happen not to agree with you, they'll simply be nauseated. Your cause will not be advanced.

Disclaimers, hedging, and so forth does not necessarily make writing bland. Propagandizing certainly does not necessarily make writing interesting (quite the opposite, for me).

Obviously, anyway, writing from a neutral point of view certainly does not have a tendency to make people "apolitical." Why would it? That's an empirical question; where's your data? I'm very skeptical. And quite the contrary, I would say that transparently propagandistic ways of presenting political views has a way of turning people off to thinking about politics. If, as in many people's college careers, they are exposed to nothing but partisan screed when it comes to politics, those who want to rely as much as possible on their own native reason to decide what to think are necessarily turned off.

--Larry Sanger

I find it amusing how you can accuse me of insulting the intelligence of educated and "brilliant" people while you simultaneously insult the intelligence of uneducated (and presumably "dull") people. You assume that if someone believes my plain words then it is because they are stupid, uneducated and propagandized. Your target audience is the middle-class and academics while mine is "lower", the real people with real concerns. Economists who talk incessantly about irrelevant social constructs like the stock market, instead of real concerns like famines and poverty, bore me to tears. And I propose that the political and emotional disengagement of academics (only academics buy the myth of the radical academic) makes them into something less than real human beings. If "partisan screeds" turn college students off then it is merely because they feel threatened by real emotional engagement (which entails real commitment) instead of the abstract airy fairy game called 'politics' that is so common in academia and which costs academics nothing.

My position is backed up by ample facts and most students of propaganda (including the likes of Jacques Ellul and Noam Chomsky). Far from education being about detecting propaganda, it is nothing but a system of indoctrination. Further, the highly intelligent and educated are inherently easier to propagandize than the rest of the population, even before you factor in the massive (professional) arrogance you have displayed.

I have no wish to disengage myself emotionally or politically. When I read about gross exploitation and injustice, it awakens a core of anger and hatred in me every single time. It isn't because I'm stupider or less intelligent than you are but simply because I haven't grown the apathy you seem to possess (or at least are accustomed to from your peers). This is something I like about myself and I will hardly "grow" to change it. Nor do I have any wish to engage in the dishonesty of emulating the walking dead. And hence I have no wish to use emotionally void language (which is the only meaning of "neutral" I can discern). The idea of arguing in an insanely calm manner about the "flaws" of democracy (to give one example) strikes a note of horror in me.

Now, if you tell me that encyclopedias are inherently academic and middle-class artifacts then I am prepared to accept your judgement on the matter. You would be confirming my suspicions. In that case, I would limit my participation appropriately. -- RichardKulisz


Richard, you still aren't understanding, because you are too full of yourself and stubborn to even try to understand what I said; and you have totally failed to demonstrate that you have. I don't see any point in talking to someone who isn't going to make the effort of meeting me halfway.

Once again, more evidence that we should just write articles instead of engaging in this sort of pointless, sophomoric mental masturbation. If you don't want to do so, Richard, and you prefer to engage in the above sort of ranting on this wiki, I would suggest you stop wasting our time and "limit your participation appropriately." -- Larry Sanger


This usage is geographically limited to Austria and the Anglo-American countries.


That's not true: In Poland Anarchism means Anarchocapitalism, and other forms of Anarchism are considered to be only of historical interest.

Since the beliefs and actions of
AnarchoCapitalists are rarely compatible with those of traditional anarchists, traditional anarchists do not regard the
AnarchoCapitalists as anarchists.

And vice-versa.

Btw. trying to take over all Anarchist tradition by Anarchocommunists is pissing Anarchocapitalists, so don't do it. I think that wikipedia shouldn't use 'Traditional anarchism' term at all. --Taw


I agree with what you say about Wikipedia not using the term 'traditional anarchism'. I have never heard it before, and it is probably not very neutral. I think the term libertarian socialism is better, and so I am going to move the contents of this article there. -- Simon J Kissane


Simon, can you provide a reference or two that the term "libertarian socialism" is in very wide use? --LMS


Okay, try http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/1931/secA1.html#seca13 Its certaintly much more common than 'traditional anarchism', which I think was coined by someone on Wikipedia. Or maybe we should use left anarchism instead? But whatever we use, I don't think it should be 'traditional anarchism' -- SJK