This is what stubborn refusal to understand Anarchism looks like

More often than not we see intellectual dishonesty rather than valid criticism when Anarchism is concerned.

There we go again. Another blatantly dishonest anti-anarchist rant from the Barefoot Bum who apparently has no limits to how much he will twist the reality of the situation to excuse himself about throwing unsubstantiated and horribly misinformed slanders against anarchists and the movement.

Once again he whines about hostility coming to him when he innocently and pleasantly tried to understand the threory. He forgets to mention how he crassly insulted anyone who tried to explain things to him, how he alienated any anarchists who attempted to clarify some concepts and how he banned and silenced all discussion in his own blog when he had no arguments. Is it any wonder that he’s faced hostility after he practically goaded for it? There’s only so much abuse anyone will suffer when trying to explain a concept to someone who’s convinced they are “fucktards”.

The Barefoot Bum is a classic example of deliberate obtusity. It’s not that he cannot understand. It’s not that people have no tried to explain things politely. It’s not that Anarchism is difficult to grasp as a concept. It’s that he steadfastly refuses to listen. He has no interest to find out what the theory says because that would mean that he can’t strawman it by using definitional arguments or that he can’t compare it to US Libertarianism (which he egregiously calls “Right Anarchism”).

It may seem that I’m beating a dead horse by continuously pointing out the dishonest methods of TBB but I can’t help that he constantly places himself on the pedestal of bad argumentation. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving triggers to show how not to blog and how not to argue against Anarchism. Take this for example:

I do not understand what anarchists mean by “hierarchical authority” (or the related concept of Libertarian and right-anarchism of “initiation of coercion”). The best explanations I’ve read of these concepts boil down to the presence or exercise of authority or coercion the anarchist does not herself like.

Which is a blatant lie. A most cursory examination of available and primarily suggested material shows that anarchist opposition to hierarchical authority is far more nuanced than TBB claims. Any anarchist who understands the theory they espouse worth a shit will argue in a similar vein and in fact, I’ve done so already and he’s even seen it! To take all this explanation and clarification that I and other anarchists have provided on this exact issue and claim it is nothing more than “exercise of authority or coercion the anarchist does not herself like” can only signify intellectual dishonesty of epic proportions.

Unfortunately this is the classic way by which people have been arguing against Anarchism for far longer than when TBB first started cutting his lying teeth.  Lenin, Trotsky, Drapper and a great number of other Marxist-Leninists have a proud tradition of purposefully misrepresenting Anarchist ideology in order to convince people not take serious notice of it. Lest they become “infected” one imagines. It’s funny really how both sides of the statist camp, left and right, are so similar in the ways they oppose anarchism: By refusing to argue against what it really suggests. This should really point out to anyone how little they can actually argue against the actual anarchist suggestions. Lenin’s book State and Revolution is characteristic in this regard as it was written in a period where the Bolsheviks were practically acting like anarchists and thus he needed to completely misrepresent anarchism within the boook so as to clarify that they were not the same.

Much like Lenin, TBB persists in claiming that Anarchists only mindlessly oppose The System. He bases this conclusion on the fact that Anarchists do not support nonsense such as “Governmental Communism” or “Transitory States” which he himself supports. The argument is as stupid as “As long as you do not support the existence of a transitory state of some sort, you’re being naive or immature”. Read any Marxist-Leninist anti-anarchist tirade and you will see this argument at the core of it ad nauseum. It never gets old apparently. Just look at this:

In other words, I’m not sure it’s even important for me to understand anarchism. If anarchism labels an affinity group of people who simply want to oppose The System without worrying overmuch about the specifics, then good for them. Although it’s not my personal affinity, anarchists in this sense must exist and to a certain extent thrive in any good system, especially a system of governance.

You see? Anarchists are just rebels without a cause and nothing more. ((Even Better: “I have come to the conclusion (which I of course can change based on additional evidence) that left anarchists are infantile faithists because they passionately defend a concept they are unable to explain and seems basically incoherent.”))

Much like all the classic anti-anarchist bullshit commonly flung around, TBB then proudly informs us that:

if anarchism really were, as many of its proponents suggest, a coherent, rational and practical political philosophy, then I do want to know about it and be rationally convinced.

…While stubbornly refusing to listen, understand or be “rationally convinced” of anything that does not already coincide with his currently held views.

For everyone else, I hope that TBB once more serves as a lesson on how not to behave. Anarchists are more than happy to help anyone understand and to clarify any concept you might have about the thory – as long as you extend the same courtesy you expect in return. Such examples are plentiful. But if you go out of your way to insult, silence and dishonestly misrepresent our opinions and those who try to engage you, then you have no leg to stand on to claim that you are open to being “rationally convinced” nor to complain about “hostility”.

3 thoughts on “This is what stubborn refusal to understand Anarchism looks like”

  1. Hey dB

    Long-time lurker – at both yours and TBB's house.

    I'm a little bit over this private "who gets anarchy and who doesn't" dick-fight turning up on the Planet Atheism feed with such semi-regularity. It's petty, spiteful & getting painfully dull. I wouldn't be surprised if it drives away as much traffic it attracts. On a personal note I couldn't give a crap which unworkable political system either of you favour; it's not why I started visiting either of your blogs.

    I won't sling blame as I'm not remotely interested in who cast the first stone, but it takes two to tango and the pair of you are Fred and Gingering my head in.

    I don't expect everyone to agree or even to play nice, but I don't care to see this personal back-and-forth BAWWWfest in my favourite feed.

    PS left more or less the same comment at TBB; still in moderation

    1. hank, I comment on anarchism with regularity here. TBB comments on State Communism while often disparaging Anarchism and anarchists. Use this as an opportunity to clarify a point and to hit back at him. He gets upset because he can't handle criticism. That's usually the way it goes.

      The alternative is either me to read egregiously wrong arguments against a political theory I espouse and silently accept them, or for him to start making actual criticism.

      Imagine the same thing happening with someone posting in planet anarchism about Atheism and claiming that “they just hate god” or some other nonsense and being quite insulting in the process. Wouldn't you or others try to strike back and correct the issue? I damn well know people would and in fact it happens with far more regularity than I butt heads with TBB. It's only natural.

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