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Reading Recommendations for a Fellow Anarchist

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LBird
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Sep 24 2012 12:18
omen wrote:
...I baked you an anarchy cake

No, no, no, omen!

There's no such structure as a cake!

It's just flour, eggs, butter, sugar, etc., lying alongside each other on a table.

ComradeAppleton doesn't recognise the counter-revolutionary apparatus of an 'oven', or the counter-revolutionary act of 'baking'.

ComradeAppleturnover wrote:
There is nothing more I can learn from you.

Not even cookery? Surely you like cakes!

omen
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Sep 24 2012 12:25
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I have tried my best to awaken any spirit of independent thought in you, but all you have issued in reply is insults and insinuations.

Appleton, you make a dogmatic Marxist look like a fucking free-thinker. That's the reason I depict you in my cartoons with a bucket over your head.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Since I have had enough reading insults, do not bother replying further smile There is nothing more I can learn from you.

I guess I should have read this bit before hitting reply, then...

Besides, I was officially declared the winner of this thread a couple of pages ago, so anything I've posted since has been nothing more than a victory lap.

ETA: I was really hoping you would say "I didn't come here to be insulted," so I could say "Well, where do you normally go?" But you're not even a very good foil.

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 12:54
omen wrote:
Appleton, you make a dogmatic Marxist look like a fucking free-thinker. That's the reason I depict you in my cartoons with a bucket over your head.

Making a cartoon is not altering reality. I realize it is difficult for you to explain or clearly articulate your ideas, but that does not mean that other people have 'buckets on their heads'. You are the one who completely ignores reality in favour of pedalling your mediocre theories of society instead of honestly looking at the world and seeing it for what it is. There is no society and all your abstractions mean nothing to me.

omen wrote:
I was officially declared the winner of this thread a couple of pages ago

If that is what life is about for you, defeating others, then you can keep going along to get along and enjoy your little circle jerk! As I said before - not an iota of rebellion in your conformist soul! But what could I expect from a collectivist, the only way you can get any gratification is through other people: either by defeating or destroying them or by praise from others.

Nietzsche wrote:
A light has dawned for me: Zarathustra shall not speak to the people but to companions! Zarathustra shall not be herdsman and dog to the herd! To lure many away from the herd— that is why I have come. The people and the herd shall be angry with me: the herdsmen shall call Zarathustra a robber. I will not be herdsmen or gravedigger. I will not speak again to the people: I have spoken to a dead man for the last time.
I will make company with creators, with harvesters, with rejoicers: I will show them the rainbow and the stairway to the overman.

Maybe I was too blind to realize that it is idiocy to speak to people like yourself and it was my mistake to do it in the first place. But curiosity led me astray, as it often does. Farewell omen!

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 13:06
LBird wrote:

No, no, no, omen!

There's no such structure as a cake!

It's just flour, eggs, butter, sugar, etc., lying alongside each other on a table.

It is very revealing that you compare people to mere ingredients which you manipulate to create something else. Is this was Marx meant by the "fire of history"? An oven for human beings? And you think of yourself as the baker, or just a mere particle of flour? I wonder which.

With willpower comes liberation. But a single self-determined will is something you clearly lack.

omen
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Sep 24 2012 13:15
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Making a cartoon is not altering reality.

They made you type an awful lot of angry and confused words in response. If I hadn't made them, you would have posted slightly fewer angry and confused words. Ergo, I have altered reality, and you are my puppet...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I realize it is difficult for you to explain or clearly articulate your ideas

Thank ye koindly, Sur, for 'splainin you're oideas to the loiks of us simple country folks...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
omen wrote:
I was officially declared the winner of this thread a couple of pages ago

If that is what life is about for you[...]

Yes, because that was an entirely serious comment, and I live to pwn random strangers who post shit on the internet. roll eyes

ComradeAppleton wrote:
the only way you can get any gratification is through other people

Well, we can't all be onanists...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Farewell omen!

Don't let the door hit you on the way out...

LBird
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Sep 24 2012 13:16
ComradeAppleton wrote:
But a single self-determined will is something you clearly lack.

But at least I can bake a cake!

The social theory of recipe, the social technology of an oven, and my practical activity, during which I learn and improve, creates a cake which did not exist before, only the isolated ingredients.

But this, I realise, is as nothing compared to your 'willing' of a cake into existence.

A 'triumph of the will' - a Nietzsche sponge.

omen
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Sep 24 2012 13:21

Now that ComradeAppleton has left us*, who's up for a game of strip poker?

* Unless it was meant as one of those "Stop being mean to me or I'll leave the internet forever! ... Oh, I've come back for now, but just you wait!" type posts that people write when they lose arguments on the internet.

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 13:33
LBird wrote:
But this, I realise, is as nothing compared to your 'willing' of a cake into existence.

A 'triumph of the will' - a Nietzsche sponge.

This is the exact opposite of what actually happens. It is you who suddenly 'thinks a cake into existence' - you create society out of thin air. You then treat all your abstractions as if they actually existed in reality. Or, to be more precise, you don't even get that much credit. All you did was accept it when other people told you that the cake exists, where there is no cake. To use a more common metaphor: as much as I admire some tricksters who fool the emperor into thinking he is wearing clothes for their craftiness and sophistry, I have nothing but contempt for the emperor and all the rabble who cheer him on pretending he is actually wearing something. You can eat your phantom cake forever, but it will never provide you with sustenance...

The will is freedom. Freedom from phantoms invented by tricksters and priests.

LBird
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Sep 24 2012 13:38
ComradeAppleton wrote:
The will is freedom. Freedom from phantoms invented by tricksters and priests.

And freedom from cakes baked by cooks.

omen
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Sep 24 2012 13:43
ComradeAppleton wrote:
This is the exact opposite of what actually happens.

Oh, are you back already? That didn't take long...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
All you did was accept it when other people told you that the cake exists, where there is no cake

I posted a fuck'n picture of it, mate! Until you can post a picture without a cake in it, my evidence trumps your imagination any day of the week.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
who fool the emperor into thinking he is wearing clothes

Any internet discussion wouldn't be the same without the ubiquitous "Emperor's New Clothes" reference. Can we have an Orwell reference now, to complete the set?

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Freedom from phantoms invented by tricksters and priests.

???

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 24 2012 13:49
ComradeAppleton wrote:

The will is freedom. Freedom from phantoms invented by tricksters and priests.

so you're actually saying freedom comes from thinking your free? if you believe it hard enough it will be true?

An i've being meaning to ask, how come you say society doesn't exist, but you never say the same about property?

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 13:50
LBird wrote:
ComradeAppleton wrote:
The will is freedom. Freedom from phantoms invented by tricksters and priests.

And freedom from cakes baked by cooks.

No, cakes baked by cooks can be delicious. There is nothing wrong with cake. Especially cake that I can actually see and touch. That kind of cake is good.
It is only your imaginary cake (society) that I have a problem with. This phantom rules over you, and you want it to rule over me as well. At least have the honest decency and say that for you might makes right and if you had enough power you would establish your democratic system no matter how many people opposed it because 'justice demands it' or some bullshit like that.

We do indeed live in an age in which phantoms rule over people.

omen
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Sep 24 2012 13:58
radicalgraffiti wrote:
so you're actually saying freedom comes from thinking your free? if you believe it hard enough it will be true?

Oh, so that's what he meant when he said "Farewell omen!" He thinks I'm his imaginary friend, and if he really concentrates hard enough he can make me disappear. Hang on a minute...
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Nope, I'm still here! Phew!

omen
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Sep 24 2012 14:03
ComradeAppleton wrote:
No, cakes baked by cooks can be delicious. There is nothing wrong with cake. Especially cake that I can actually see and touch. That kind of cake is good. It is only your imaginary cake (society) that I have a problem with.

Well, I'd take my hat off to you if I was wearing one! That's a powerful piece of philosophy you got going on right there, Comrade. We're mere insects by comparison to your genius. Right up there with the best of Nietzsche! Well done!

LBird
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Sep 24 2012 14:05
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Especially cake that I can actually see and touch.

Aha! But you can't touch a cake! Remember, structures don't exist!

If you touch that 'structure' on the table, I'll say, using your method, that "no, you're touching sponge", then "no, you're touching cream", then "no, you're touching jam", then "no, your touching candy sprinkles".

To 'see' a cake requires a social concept of what a cake is. 'Cake' has a history.

Unless omen puts a 'cake' in their brilliant cartoon, along with the spitfire, castle, dinosaur...

Or perhaps T. Rex did eat cake?

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 14:12
radicalgraffiti wrote:

so you're actually saying freedom comes from thinking your free? if you believe it hard enough it will be true?

An i've being meaning to ask, how come you say society doesn't exist, but you never say the same about property?

If your mind is not free, how can you ever hope to free your body? If you let imaginary beings (god, society, the state, the nation, etc) rule over your own personal judgement, in what way are you free? Get rid of those concepts and then we can talk individual to individual, about our own values and opinions.

Property is also a concept, of course! And nothing requires you to respect it! There is a slight difference in that 'society' or 'nation' are actually completely intangible whereas the concept of property applies to particular things. You can never show me society and society can have no physical manifestation. Even the will of society can't exist, there is only the will of individuals. If someone says to me that in a democratic election a president was chosen to represent society, I will reply that this is a lie - he/she was not chosen by 'society', but rather imposed by one group of individuals (who voted for him/her) on another (who did not vote for him/her). And the same applies for all decisions made by the phantom society.
Property is somewhat different because I apply it to physical objects which actually exist - such as my hat or my house. This does not mean you have to respect property or that you are obliged to recognize it. And I myself am not a big fan of property! I am only saying that I want to assert my individuality, and the only non-violent way of doing this is through voluntarily creating a small community of independent people. And to be independent, I need my own way of producing things which is not dependent on others. It seems occupancy-and-use is a good way to create such communities. There is nothing sacred about property, it is only a means to an end. Now if you want to begin a discussion about property and individualist life I will be happy to do so. But please, do not attempt at any point to say that I am somehow obliged to 'society' and that 'society' should make these decisions for me. Being a hermit is not an ideal existence, but if I have to choose between living alone in the desert and living under the dominion of demagoguery (as is necessary in any regime where ‘society’ rules), I choose the former.

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 14:23
LBird wrote:
To 'see' a cake requires a social concept of what a cake is. 'Cake' has a history.

Ah, more bullshit I see. Cake is a social concept! Good thinking! I hate to rain on your parade, but someone just made up the word cake and then other people started using it because it was convenient (they did not have a word for it before). Just because a lot of people use the word 'cake' does not mean that it has magical properties and is a social concept. The word 'cake' or the existence of the thing we call a cake are not at all contingent on you, me, or 'society'. Unless you live in a world in which language determines reality, and not the other way around...

There is no such thing as a social concept. There are only concepts, and they exist only on the individual level. The fact many people use a similar word for a similar object does not change the nature of the object, nor does it change the nature of the people.

Again, but I repeat myself, the 'state' is a concept of identical worth and value as 'society'. If you allow 'social concepts' to rule over your life, I do not see why you prefer one to another. Why not just live as you are? After all exchanging imaginary phantoms while living the same exact life as before is not much of a future to look forward to...

omen
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Sep 24 2012 14:43
LBird wrote:
Unless omen puts a 'cake' in their brilliant cartoon, along with the spitfire, castle, dinosaur...

No, but I did this instead:

omen
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Sep 24 2012 14:57
ComradeAppleton wrote:
There is no such thing as a social concept. There are only concepts, and they exist only on the individual level.

And you made up your own language to express the concept of "cake", which coincidentally just happened to resemble the languages used by all of the other individuals around you, which also just happened to resemble each other, or did your concept of "cake" consist of a picture of a cake in your head?

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jura
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Sep 24 2012 15:00

On ComradeSimpleton's terms, communication would pretty much be a miracle.

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 15:11

Because I am hearing a lot of totally crazy ideas now, I will attempt to summarize your position. I just want to see if I have this right, so please instead of the usual unrelated insults just tell me if I'm at least in the ballpark with this:

I am a part of society, which is the totality of people and their interactions on earth. This society has always existed (at least as long as people have existed). I only speak language because of society and pretty much every detail of my life has been shaped by my historical and social circumstances. Because of this I can never be independent and autonomous; I will always be part of society. Whatever interaction I have with any other individual also automatically becomes a social interaction which affects the whole society.
Therefore any thought that I have about self-determination or anything of that sort is an illusion. I am actually only acting as I have been socially programmed to act. My ideas and my actions would all be meaningless without the social context within which they exist. Real meaning is only given to all things (such as words, thoughts, actions, etc) on a social level.
The best way to organize society is communism which is the only theory of social organization which was created with the above in mind.

Is that kind of what you have been trying to explain to me? I know there has been a lot of sarcasm and monkey behaviour in this thread, so I tried to keep this post as serious and succinct as possible.
Please correct me if I'm wrong on anything because, like you have been saying, I cannot effectively respond to something I don't understand.

omen
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Sep 24 2012 15:43
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Because I am hearing a lot of totally crazy ideas now, I will attempt to summarize your position. I just want to see if I have this right, so please instead of the usual unrelated insults just tell me if I'm at least in the ballpark with this:

Dang! And I already made this:

[ETA: Damnit! I just realized I confused Lassie with Skippy the Bush Kangaroo! My sincerest apologies, Australia!]

But on with the serious stuff...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I am a part of society, which is the totality of people and their interactions on earth. This society has always existed (at least as long as people have existed).

Society is not fixed, and constantly evolves, roughly starting with early tribal societies, through feudalism, then capitalism, but that's pretty much right.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I only speak language because of society and pretty much every detail of my life has been shaped by my historical and social circumstances.

Not every detail, but much of it, particularly the fundamental stuff like language and class. But, yes, more or less.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Because of this I can never be independent and autonomous; I will always be part of society. Whatever interaction I have with any other individual also automatically becomes a social interaction which affects the whole society.
Therefore any thought that I have about self-determination or anything of that sort is an illusion. I am actually only acting as I have been socially programmed to act. [etc]

And this is where it all goes terribly wrong. I don't think any of us have said anything like as extreme as that above quote. But you can never be genuinely independent. Think of it like gravity (I'm sick of cakes now!): It constrains your actions to some extent, you can't just leap into the air and fly away, but you are free to jump a bit and move about the Earth's surface. That's half of what we are saying, the other half is that society is necessary for freedom in any pleasant kind of sense, that is, it doesn't just constrain you, but also enables you, by giving you, for example, language with which to think and communicate. Without society -- genuinely without it -- you would be a naked, mute wolf-man scavenging for scraps and berries in the wild!

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Is that kind of what you have been trying to explain to me? I know there has been a lot of sarcasm and monkey behaviour in this thread, so I tried to keep this post as serious and succinct as possible.
Please correct me if I'm wrong on anything because, like you have been saying, I cannot effectively respond to something I don't understand.

You actually seem sincere for once! And I mean that in a good way! Really!

You get an "up" for that, and not a pity one this time!

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 24 2012 16:03

Okay, so we seem to be making progress. Perhaps I could bother you with a couple more questions:

omen wrote:
Society is not fixed, and constantly evolves, roughly starting with early tribal societies, through feudalism, then capitalism

I did not say it was fixed, but that's beside the point. You claim that there is a social evolution (dare I say, progress?) happening. This is not exactly controversial, I agree that in general types of human relations always change and shift and in some time periods or locations certain modes are more numerous than others. My question would be - how do you determine which of these phases you named (tribal, feudal, capitalist - and following Marx's determinism - socialist, or communist) are better than others? You are quite clear in your assertions that you are a communist, so I would be curious to hear why communism is in any way superior to other societies. After all you have to have some objective measuring stick of 'goodness' to answer this question. To make a quick analogy, I would not say that a human (Homo sapiens) is 'better' than a dinosaur despite one being a former biological life-form and one a current life form. Or does time imply progress, ie. what is later is better?

omen wrote:
Think of it like gravity

Don't you think it is a bit ridiculous to compare human interactions (which are regulated by will and can be changed momentarily through an act of choice) to physical interactions between lifeless objects (which are totally outside of our control)? This analogy seemed crazy to me when Bakunin made it and it seems crazy now when you make it.

And most importantly:

omen wrote:
society is necessary for freedom in any pleasant kind of sense, that is, it doesn't just constrain you, but also enables you, by giving you, for example, language with which to think and communicate. Without society -- genuinely without it -- you would be a naked, mute wolf-man scavenging for scraps and berries in the wild!

This seems to be a very radical statement. First of all, the word "pleasant" implies an aesthetic judgement of pure opinion, so that is just your own judgement which cannot be applied to any other human being (who may have a different aesthetic opinion).
Second of all, you make a huge leap of faith from claiming that without society (ie. interacting with other people) I would be a wild animal (which is not at all the case anyway), to the fact that 'society' has any right to force me to behave a certain way. At least that's what I think you were implying before with all the talk about democracy, etc; requiring me to behave in a certain way. The second does not follow from the first. Just because you give me a gift, does not mean I have to give you a gift. Or vice versa. And what about all those people in society who hold me back and who I don't want to have anything to do with? Why should they have a say in what I do?

omen
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Sep 24 2012 19:29

OK, this is a biggy, so I suggest you only reply to the points that bother you the most to save it getting even bigger.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I did not say [society] was fixed, but that's beside the point.

OK, but you did say "This society has always existed" (my emphasis), so you'll have to forgive me if I misunderstood.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
You claim that there is a social evolution (dare I say, progress?) happening.

Well, evolution (in the biological sense) doesn't necessarily imply improvement, and that wasn't what I meant to imply. For example, I guess Mayan society evolved something like: tribal -> some sort of urban feudalism -> tribal (collapse of urban feudalism) -> feudal (under Spanish occupation) -> capitalism, maybe with some localised and short lived attempts at socialism of one kind or another.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
My question would be - how do you determine which of these phases you named (tribal, feudal, capitalist - and following Marx's determinism - socialist, or communist) are better than others?

Much as I would choose between anything else in life (e.g. buying a new computer). In this case I'd look at the conditions people lived under, look at evidence from the different periods (where it exists), for example written accounts, being careful to distinguish those written by the "rulers" and those by the "slaves" (if they existed in those societies), and compare them. As for socialist/communist societies, I don't believe a genuine one has existed other than localized and short lived attempts, and then under exceptionally harsh circumstances (e.g. Spanish Civil War). I don't count the Soviet Union, say, as communist, because I would take "worker control of the means of production" as a rough definition of communism, and in the case of the USSR the state owned the means of production, and workers had no control of the state at all (as they might in a democratic state, say). Plus, life in the USSR was shitty, as many people who live there would tell you.

As for genuine communism, I'd have to make an educated guess, same as you would in your individualist utopia.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
You are quite clear in your assertions that you are a communist, so I would be curious to hear why communism is in any way superior to other societies.

I'd probably just call myself an anarchist actually (but not in the exclusive sense you use the term), but I'd accept libertarian communist. Short answer [ETA: turns out it wasn't so short!]: under libertarian communism you wouldn't have to work for most of your day and most of your life in an (often) pointless job you hate, for a boss you hate, just about scraping by, or living an even shittier life on the dole (if you're lucky). IMO, most labour is squandered under capitalism (look at how much unnecessary disposable shit it produces, and how people are convinced to regularly throw away perfectly usable items for slightly better versions). Under libertarian communism people would only make what is needed, would work much fewer hours, mostly doing the jobs they liked, and without a boss to annoy them, share around the shitty jobs that have got to be done anyway (so they wouldn't take up so much of any one persons day), and you wouldn't have to worry about unemployment because the products of society would be made available to everyone due to the over abundance of labour. Also, you'd have more freedom in your personal life (in part because you have more free time), and an actual say in how your workplace was run.

As it happens I listened to this radio programme yesterday (a repeat of a 1994 broadcast), on pretty much this subject (although he doesn't make reference to socialism, what with it being the BBC and all). It's quite funny and to the point.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
After all you have to have some objective measuring stick of 'goodness' to answer this question.

To know that working a shit job, for shit pay, under horrible conditions, etc. is not a good thing? It's a value judgement and hence subjective, but I'm pretty sure large numbers of ordinary workers agree with it (even if they don't agree with or understand socialism) and that's what matters.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
omen wrote:
Think of it like gravity

Don't you think it is a bit ridiculous to compare human interactions (which are regulated by will and can be changed momentarily through an act of choice) to physical interactions between lifeless objects (which are totally outside of our control)? This analogy seemed crazy to me when Bakunin made it and it seems crazy now when you make it.

Because you aren't entirely "free", even in a libcom society, to do whatever you want, but you would be freer than in a capitalist society, say, and freer still than in a fascist society. There is no such mode of existence as total freedom. The example I gave of a dumb, naked, wildman, scavenging and gathering berries, though unconstrained by any society, is not free either, and is heavily constrained by nature. It would be a poor, brutal and short existence.

You couldn't, for example, just declare yourself the King of England (even if you wanted to, no one would recognize you as legitimate), print your own money (and expect other people to accept it), speak your own personal language (and expect people to understand you), you couldn't pollute a reservoir without the locals getting uppity, etc. As my example was meant to highlight, you are "free" but within limits, but those limits also provide structure to enable you to be as free as you can. In the case of gravity, it stops you being able to leap into the air and fly away at will, but it also stops you and all the oxygen floating off in space and asphyxiating, leaving you free to wander around the Earth's surface and breathe.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
And most importantly:

omen wrote:
society is necessary for freedom in any pleasant kind of sense, that is, it doesn't just constrain you, but also enables you, by giving you, for example, language with which to think and communicate. Without society -- genuinely without it -- you would be a naked, mute wolf-man scavenging for scraps and berries in the wild!

This seems to be a very radical statement. First of all, the word "pleasant" implies an aesthetic judgement of pure opinion, so that is just your own judgement which cannot be applied to any other human being (who may have a different aesthetic opinion).

By "pleasant" I was referring to the wolf-man/wildman example. Such a creature would be without society, and if you want to regard that as freedom, it would be a very poor form of freedom.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Second of all, you make a huge leap of faith from claiming that without society (ie. interacting with other people) I would be a wild animal (which is not at all the case anyway),

As I said, purely and totally outside society (an extreme example for sure) you would have no language, hence be unable to form any concepts, have no upbringing (family counts as a part of society), no one to pass on knowledge to you (hence you couldn't build anything more than rudimentary tools, and possibly not even them), no one to make things you couldn't make yourself, and so on. Lest you think I'm just making this up, this very occasionally does happen: one case I know of, a girl was kept locked in a darkened room by her parents, continually tied to a home-made "potty-chair" until the age of fourteen (or thereabouts), only provided with basic food and water, and they never spoke a word to her, apparently. No one but her parents knew she existed. Eventually she was discovered and rescued and cared for. She never learnt to speak anything more than a rudimentary sign language, as she'd effectively skipped the developmental stage of language acquisition, and so it was virtually impossible for her to learn anything. She had to have people do everything for her, and she eventually disappeared, as an adult, into the US mental health care system, and (from what I heard at the time) no one knew where she was at that time.

Now I don't for a moment think, that is what you mean by society not existing. Your neighbourhood of friendly individualists, producing for themselves and trading amongst each other, which you seem to think is somehow not a society, is a just particular form of society. (There are people, and social relations between those people, such as a common language, general friendships, trading, etc.) And the people here don't think it is a particularly good form of society, at least not for long, because in such a society, in our considered opinion, there is nothing to stop people accumulating wealth, and then using that to exploit others.

Example: much of the US started out from small Mom & Pop businesses, but ended up with huge corporations controlling everything. Another: After the fall of the USSR, citizens where all given shares in privatized companies that used to be the state companies, but due to their virtual worthlessness, massive unemployment and food shortages, most people sold their shares for peanuts, and they were acquired by a relatively small number of what are now known as Russian oligarchs (billionaires who were often mobsters, who used their capital from their blackmarket activities to buy up all the shares and became super-rich).

All these small businesses won't be able to make a living some will go out of business, others will be bought up, often cheaply, because people need to eat, these people will then need to work for someone else because they don't have a business or enough money to start one up (because they had to sell cheap) and even if they could start another one up, they couldn't compete with all the large businesses that were being created from the bought up smaller ones, and eventually you end up back where we are. It's already happened before. And there's no reason it won't happen again.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
to the fact that 'society' has any right to force me to behave a certain way. At least that's what I think you were implying before with all the talk about democracy, etc; requiring me to behave in a certain way.

I didn't say this, and no one here has. Generally you would be left alone in a libcom society, even if you refused to participate. However, you couldn't just do anything you liked, if it affected other people. Say you wanted to dump raw sewage in the reservoir, for some reason: I think it would be legitimate for people to stop you from contaminating everyone's drinking water, as long as they didn't use unreasonable force (e.g. shot you in the head rather than talk it over with you). If you refused to stop doing it, it would be within reason to remove you from the reservoir, using reasonable force if necessary, and to prevent you from returning to continue polluting. This is not unreasonable, and in examples such as this: you causing harm, intentionally or unintentionally, to other people, it is not unreasonable to society to prevent you behaving in a specific way (polluting drinking water).

I hope you see what I am getting at here.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
The second does not follow from the first. Just because you give me a gift, does not mean I have to give you a gift. Or vice versa. And what about all those people in society who hold me back and who I don't want to have anything to do with? Why should they have a say in what I do?

They shouldn't, unless you adversely affect them. And no one here has said otherwise, except your good self when putting words in our mouths.

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Sep 24 2012 20:10

Thanks for the reply, I certainly appreciate you elaborating on some important points.

First off I'd like to say that I find your criticism of today's system rather timid. Basically you are critiquing the phenomenon popularly known as 'consumerism' which involves people buying all kinds of useless crap because it is 'cool', 'fun', 'hip, or some other nonsensical reason. People value the relationship they have with facebook or their blackberry more than the relationships they have with other people. This is because people still have this pathetic collective mentality of needing to be like others and conform to the group.
But what makes you think that in a communist society people wouldn't want all these things anyway? Personally I can't imagine capitalism as we see it today surviving even one day if most people adopted a way of living similar to mine. I make it a point to avoid useless consumerist nonsense and focus on the important emotional aspects of my life.
It is important to note, however, that some people would still prefer to work longer hours and have more 'stuff'. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, is there? The collective shouldn't be able to put a limit on people's working hours or the amount of useless electronics and widgets the accumulate in their basement.

If I was critiquing the current system I would say that the problem is not consumerism, but exploitation (as I am sure you also know and acknowledge). That is, it's not a problem that ignorant buffoons want lots of funny and useless widgets, but that the people who produce these widgets do so in an exploitative manner (by using the state to enforce all kinds of rules which profit the powerful elites). If it was a matter of people producing iphones and then just using them, I wouldn't see that as a problem. But I see that somehow a small group of people seems to be raking in all the profits from this nasty enterprise.

By the way, I am very glad you have moved away from the communist label. Anarchism is not about communism, it is about eliminating force and coercion from human relationships. Communism is just one way of living in a post-state world panarchy (if I may use that vague term).

omen wrote:
Say you wanted to dump raw sewage in the reservoir, for some reason: I think it would be legitimate for people to stop you from contaminating everyone's drinking water

This is a fairly obvious point. If an individual attempts to kill or poison others, he/she can and should be stopped. But I think you will agree with me that it is difficult to draw a line sometimes when deciding what type of action is legitimate self-defense, and what type of action is actually aggression posing as self-defense.
So when you write that:

omen wrote:
They shouldn't, unless you adversely affect them

You have to define this "adverse effect". If I tell someone they're ugly and make them cry, I certainly had an adverse effect on them. But does that mean I should be punished by the collective for adversely affecting someone? This is why normally individualists make such a big deal about property - a term that really gets libcom worked up! And property is simply whatever is under the exclusive control of the individual (or group) concerned.

So I was wondering, now that you have explained your ideas on the question of society, if you could elaborate on this question of "adverse effects"? How exactly would you determine where the collectivity can step in and stop an individual (or group) and where the individual should be left to his/her own devices.

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Sep 24 2012 20:28
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Personally I can't imagine capitalism as we see it today surviving even one day if most people adopted a way of living similar to mine. I make it a point to avoid useless consumerist nonsense and focus on the important emotional aspects of my life.

Lifestyle choices to make yourself feel superior. And sound pompous. Wont end capitalism.
In any case, when you link 'effort' and 'reward' thus...

ComradeAppleton wrote:
It is important to note, however, that some people would still prefer to work longer hours and have more 'stuff'.

You make it clear that you arent against 'capitalism' anyway, just want your little version of it.

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Sep 24 2012 20:57
PartyBucket wrote:
You make it clear that you arent against 'capitalism' anyway, just want your little version of it.

You are correct. I am not against capitalism any more than I am against communism, socialism, marriage, the church, god, or the easter bunny. If people choose to accept these things for themselves, it is none of my business to crusade against them and end their way of life.

I am for free human relations and voluntary organization. That's all.

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Sep 24 2012 21:11
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I am for free human relations and voluntary organization. That's all.

That's what capitalists say.

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Sep 24 2012 21:13

Damn, how much did I miss?

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Sep 24 2012 21:15

After reading all the way to post #329, I still don't think ComradeAppleton has a clue what we're talking about.