Saturday, February 05, 2011

Those reasonable anarchists

It's no secret that I find much value in anarchist writings; particularly in anarchist criticisms of statist ideology and institutions. When I see the clear thinking of such essays, I sometimes wonder how anarchists got the reputation for being unreasonable. Of course, there are less "rational" or "realistic" aspects of anarchism. For instance, anarchists put a lot of effort into dreaming up institutions that will replace the state, and the problems of establishing these institutions may seem insurmountable, making the anarchists into a bunch of dreamers. At the extreme, there are frequent calls of alarm and the repetition of conspiracy theories (aside from those "conspiracies" that have been well documented, even if ignored by most people).

Anyway, even the most extreme and alarmist anarchists are no more wild-eyed than plenty of "respectable" voices in mainstream political debate. Over the past few days, I checked in on the local talk-radio station, and got an earful of conspiracy theory and alarmism from nationally syndicated conservative stars -- Glenn Beck and Michael Savage.

If this type of stuff is respectable these days, then there is no good reason that anarchism shouldn't be mainstream.

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