The Worst Anarchist in the World

Tlaloc (whoever he may be in real life) is the most prolific commenter at this website. In the Bizarro world, Reform Club is run by him and James Elliott.

What has to be up for discussion is the question of what is an anarchist? Tlaloc has proclaimed himself to be one, but has consistently favored government solutions over free and independent human action in case after case after case.

I guess the question I have to ask is one immortalized by the great Robert P. George:

What’s wrong with acts of capitalism between consenting adults?

Especially as far as it concerns an anarchist. Even if the state withers away or is blown away by revolution and not replaced, one imagines people will still buy and sell and will do so very freely with no regulating leviathan around.

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27 thoughts on “The Worst Anarchist in the World

  1. Tlaloc is not an anarchist in any sense of the word that anyone else has ever used it. He says he’s an anarchist for the same reason my ex-husband’s father used to tell people he was a Druid. Tlaloc’s preferred system of government is a technocratic oligarchy. He’s just another technician-engineer who thinks in a Nietzschean universe he’d be one of the übermenschen, and he’s pissed off that no one else sees it that way.

  2. I suppose the pretense at avoiding personal attacks here is over? You two are acting like petulant children, pissed off that someone keeps pointing out where you’re mistaken and, after you fail to refute him, moving on to petty ambiguities or semantic arguments in order to feel a sense of vindication and superiority.

    This is sad. The Reform Club is comprised of the best and brightest that conservatism has to offer. And if an anonymous commenter named after an Aztec god can rile you up and set you off-kilter, it does not bode well for the vitality of your position.

  3. Challenging Tlaloc on his contention that he in an anarchist is not a personal attack, it is merely a direct question that many have danced around.

    This question should not come as a surprise to anyone.

    Anyone who likes the idea of government when it come to their idea of what government should do is not an anarchist.

  4. James, I’m not personally attacking Tlaloc at all. He has proven to be fairly thick-skinned about all this stuff and seemed to enjoy having a thread largely about his position on universal moral values.

    I think he’s more than up to it and won’t see it as a personal attack as much as an invitation to debate a little more.

    Kathy is right about what seems to be more correctly his ideological position (technocracy), but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s Nietzschean. I think he’s more of a modern liberal natural law theorist with clear ideas about the good that aren’t conquest oriented the way I perceive Nietzsche’s to have been.

  5. One more thing. I would love to accept the compliment about best and brightest, but it may go a little far, at least in my case. I’m just a humble Ph.D student with a bunch of other degrees (including my J.D.) from state universities. I get by on readable writing and provocative ideation.

    I do, however, continue to maintain that S.T. Karnick is “The Greatest Living Film Critic in the English Language.” (TM)

  6. I suppose the pretense at avoiding personal attacks here is over? You two are acting like petulant children, pissed off that someone keeps pointing out where you’re mistaken and, after you fail to refute him, moving on to petty ambiguities or semantic arguments in order to feel a sense of vindication and superiority.

    I don’t suppose you’ll be surprised to find that’s not quite the way I would characterize the exchanges.

    First, Tlaloc has never, not once, pointed out a mistake an RCer has made. He makes assertions, which he claims are based on common sense, and believes that he has made an argument. In that sense, he is nothing like you, James. You apply different interpretations to facts than I tend to do, and your order of priorities is probably different from mine — but at least you introduce facts, and attempt to present a structure within which to interpret them. Tlaloc does nothing of the sort, which is why his monopolization of the comment boards is so frustrating, at least to me.

    Another thing, James, while we’re talking about personal attacks — does it not bother you that it is only when Tlaloc addresses me, the sole female RCer, that he lards his insults with baby talk and infantilisms? Calls me “Kathy Dear” and says I can’t deal with “Mr. Frowny Face” and what not? You’re the guy that’s so sensitive to the marginalization of the Other, doesn’t it bother you when a man publicly singles out a woman for that brand of speech? Doesn’t bother me — being a woman in a male profession like economics, you learn to laugh at male territorial marking (we femmecons call it “lions pissing on trees”) but I thought that sort of thing was supposed to push lefty buttons.

  7. Kathy, the whole sex/gender sensitivity thing blew out the window with Bill Clinton. It only survives with reference to the LBGT community. You’re fair game in the new world!

    I’m hoping T-man hasn’t gone off for the weekend. If he has, this post is lost for later when he finally discovers it. I’m truly interested in seeing him engage the anarchy thing.

  8. Hunter — are we wrong in supposing that when most people hear the word “anarchist” they would think of a Nozickian sort of anarchy? Maybe I’m just not familiar with the current terminology of the radical left. I know that whenever those rowdy left-coasters show up in DC to block traffic on 18th St and throw baggies full of fake blood at the World Bank, there are people who call themselves ‘anarchists’ in the crowd. I always just thought that meant they liked to throw fake blood at international bureaucrats. Maybe I’m missing something.

  9. I’m thinking of the dictionary definition of the word. You can see what a poor fit it is for T’s usual positions:

    1. Absence of any form of political authority.

    2. Political disorder and confusion.

    3. Absence of any cohesive principle, such as a common standard or purpose.

    Tlaloc is emphatically not an anarchist.

  10. Hunter, I find those definitions a bit harsh.

    I would, however, expect an anarchist to be in some accord with libertarianism, which is more than halfway over the bridge from statism.

    Except for a total disengagement with foreign policy, I have not yet observed any remotely libertarian principles.

    What I have observed is a total engagement with authoritarian collectivism—charity at the point of a gun, which can be confused with altruism. If you squint.

  11. Hey, blame the dictionary! But the first definition listed is probably most apt:

    Absence of any political authority.

    I think that is pretty much the universally (uh oh, that word again) understood meaning of the word.

  12. I have always thought of anarchy as “libertarianism minus the rule of law”.

    Not sure how accurate that is …

    In other words, I *think* anarchists would not (shoud not) oppose the free exchange of (fill in the blank) between consenting adults.

  13. This discussion is getting quite semantic. I think that Tlaloc has made his positions quite clear, and they are not out of line with many other folks and groups who identify themselves as “anarchists”.

    The type of government which Tlaloc supports would no doubt be the type of government that he would support under his form of anarchism. While in the current case he’s pushing it on everyone, in his ideal society it would probably just be his city or enclave that engaged in it. Those who didn’t like it would be free to move elsewhere — perhaps only a few miles away.

    Tlaloc, am I correct?

  14. Perhaps a sort of agrarian communitarianism, then? Small communities deciding which system they wish to adopt? I think one of the huge problems infecting the political discourse in this country is a lack of common definition, which is what happens when things become so polarized no one talks to one another, but rather yells. My guess is Tlaloc is sort of a “small a” anarchist. Sort of like a communist in the early Marxist sense does not resemble the “Big C” Communism of the post-Bolshevik Revolution. That’s my impression, and I could easily be wrong.

    Most people who call themselves “Anarchists” these days are just using chaos as an excuse for “anything goes” behavior. I feel Tlaloc is more principled than that.

    Kathy, I have noticed the gender-specific dimunitives. My interpretation of Tlaloc’s usage (and I don’t want to put words in his mouth here, because that would be rude) is that he does so because he believes it is exactly the sort of thing that would piss you off. It’s not that he thinks less of you because you’re a woman, just that he thinks less of you as a debater and uses that as a means to get your goat.

    I may be a far-Lefty, but I’m no PC-fascist. I believe a majority of so-called oppressive or offensive comments stem from ignorance on the part of the utterer and oversensitivity on the part of the recipient and not actual intent.

  15. “Perhaps a sort of agrarian communitarianism, then? Small communities deciding which system they wish to adopt?”

    James, I would submit that the beginning of philosophy, which we credit pretty much to Plato and his era, came about because the tribal agrarian community became “The City.”

    The political level of “kin” (which Saddam’s Iraq was actually reduced to) is pre-philosophical.

    Once thousands of strangers come to live side-by-side in The City, abstract principles, i.e., philosophy, become necessary.

    Until we kill off 99% of humanity, the nation-state, not to mention The City, is here to stay. Anarchism is intellectual Onanism. Sort of like the communes of the 60s, which spilled their seed on the ground, sterile, not fertile.

  16. Liberal Anon., Tlaloc has made his positions clear and they are not out of line with those outlined by the Politburo.

  17. Once thousands of strangers come to live side-by-side in The City, abstract principles, i.e., philosophy, become necessary.

    Funny, I seem to recall being told this was nonsense when I used it as an argument for why religion got started in the first place.

  18. Funny, I seem to recall being told this was nonsense when I used it as an argument for why religion got started in the first place.

    Well, it is nonsense. Religion and philosophy are not the same thing, and religion predates the rise of the city by millenia.

  19. What is nonsense? The idea that religion creates rules for living in a community. (However one defines community – I would say people with similar interests living in a defined area. Survival is a pretty similar interest, no?) Combined with a mechanism for explaining unexplainable yet frightening phenomena and an entity capable of punishing you for violating the rules of your community, and it seems like a pretty good reason to explain the advent of religion.

    Far from being nonsense, it’s fairly logical.

  20. “Tlaloc has proclaimed himself to be one, but has consistently favored government solutions over free and independent human action in case after case after case.”

    Essentially true but it misses one detail: I am preferring government solutions in the here and now. Right now we have an autocratic system, and as much as I do truly hope that we grow beyond it because I believe it is sabotaging us we aren’t there yet. In the meantime of what I hope is a transition toward an anarchistic world it’d be plainly stupid for me not to accept the few benefits of government while suffering all it’s horrors.

    Is that clearer?

    “Especially as far as it concerns an anarchist. Even if the state withers away or is blown away by revolution and not replaced, one imagines people will still buy and sell and will do so very freely with no regulating leviathan around.”

    Indeed, and I have no problem whatsoever with small scale capitalism. What will be missing in an anarchistic world are the corporate behemoths that have proven so prone to abuse and exploit people.

  21. “First, Tlaloc has never, not once, pointed out a mistake an RCer has made.”

    Oh Kathy…

    “He makes assertions, which he claims are based on common sense, and believes that he has made an argument. In that sense, he is nothing like you, James. You apply different interpretations to facts than I tend to do, and your order of priorities is probably different from mine — but at least you introduce facts, and attempt to present a structure within which to interpret them. Tlaloc does nothing of the sort, which is why his monopolization of the comment boards is so frustrating, at least to me.”

    So you are claiming I never introduce facts? Kathy you know I can prove you are lying through your teeth in an instant. Why then make such a transparently false claim?

    “Another thing, James, while we’re talking about personal attacks — does it not bother you that it is only when Tlaloc addresses me, the sole female RCer, that he lards his insults with baby talk and infantilisms?”

    But Kathy darling I do it specifically because you have shown yourself to be rather cold hearted toward that sort of thing. And yet here you are proving that it does indeed get under your skin to be condescended to because of your gender. That thing all around you is called a pit, I’m afraid you stumbled into it.

  22. “Kathy, I have noticed the gender-specific dimunitives. My interpretation of Tlaloc’s usage (and I don’t want to put words in his mouth here, because that would be rude) is that he does so because he believes it is exactly the sort of thing that would piss you off. It’s not that he thinks less of you because you’re a woman, just that he thinks less of you as a debater and uses that as a means to get your goat.”

    (small tip of the hat to Mr. Elliot)

  23. I have no problem whatsoever with small scale capitalism. What will be missing in an anarchistic world are the corporate behemoths that have proven so prone to abuse and exploit people

    In the absence of an organized state, what power will prevent their continued existence (or re-emergence, if the onset of anarchism is catacylsmic)?

  24. “In the absence of an organized state, what power will prevent their continued existence (or re-emergence, if the onset of anarchism is catacylsmic)?”

    You are thinking of anarchism as analagous to our current socio-political modes. The problem is that these modes perpetuate themselves by force. If asked “why didn’t the people of the Soviet Union just make their own companies and practice capitalism?” the answer is that the state would have kiled them or curtailed their freedom so as to prevent those actions.

    Anarchism on the other hand (or at least my version, there are a great many differing views of the topic) is not a system then but an attribute which a society either has or does not have. There either are leaders or there are not leaders. If there are leaders it is not an anarchism. If there are authoritarian power structures (in this case corporations) then it is not anarchism.

    In that sense there can never be a modern style company in an anarchism because as soon as people decide to form a board and follow their rules it’s no longer an anarchism.

    But to answer the question more directly anarchism is the only system that can never be forced on anyone, it can only exist in so much as people choose it. No one can make you take responsibility for yourself rather than follow a leader. You have to make the choice individually. Obviously right now people are not ready to choose anarchism, which is why I accept government intrusion for the time being.

  25. By the way if you want to read my thoughts on the subject of anarchism you can look here.

    It’s a short post but contains links at the bottom to several earlier posts that taken together go a long ways toward explaining why I believe other systems are destined to fail and why Anarchism escapes that fate (see the “Cognitive Tale” parts 1 and 2). It also gets into much of the needed shift in perception to understand how conflicting moral codes is acceptable even desirable (see “Results vs Process Orientation”). It also gets into setting up definitions of terms that are commonly used interchangably but which are much more useful if we set some distinctions between them (see “Power, Influence, and Force”).

    Finally the “Synthesis” post is basically a bit of all the others mixed together.

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