Uh-Oh

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Need a reason to get back into bed this morning?

It seems that this is happening. A.P. coverage here.

It may mean nothing at all.  Or it may mean this is coming. Who knows!

If it’s the latter, it could all play out a little something like this:

Or this…

On the bright side, this scenario would likely give our commenter “Cynical in California” the chance to try out the anarchy he’s always raving about.

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60 Responses to “Uh-Oh”

  1. #1 |  Nando | 

    The more earthquakes the less likely that we’ll get an eruption as the volcano releases its energy slowly instead of building up pressure and blowing up.

  2. #2 |  Radley Balko | 

    That’s true of earthquakes along major fault lines, but not of earthquakes happening over the top of a caldera. Those are the result of rising magma moving land upward as it pushes toward the surface.

    Again, this could be nothing. And even it is the early science of a major eruption, there’s nothing we can do about it.

  3. #3 |  Mike H | 

    Definitely one of the few “sky is falling” news stories that actually lives up to its name.

    Imagine the bitter irony of making good on your New Year’s resolution to quit smoking, and then waking up to a volcanic ash-cloud that turns to sulphuric cement in your lungs. Assuming your brain hadn’t caught fire, yet.

    Thanks, Radley…maybe I will go back to bed.

  4. #4 |  Edmund Dantes | 

    Well we are long “overdue” for the next eruption from Yellowstone.

  5. #5 |  stoky | 

    It’s that there wobal glorming I tell you. Buy a Prius, it’s not too late.

  6. #6 |  Rick Caldwell | 

    Meh. Major disasters are the least of my worries. Not that the tsunami we’ve been told we’re due for here on the Atalntic coast wouldn’t ruin my day. But the worry factor doesn’t make any sense, because I can’t do anything to change it.

    BTW, count me in as willing to give anarchy a try. Not the molotov cocktail throwing anarcho-communist style anarchy, where they don’t believe in the validity of property. Anarcho-capitalism, with recognition of the primacy of property rights and contracts. Granted, a really, really, tiny, infinitesimal government would do just as well. But anarchy is preferable to the police state we have.

  7. #7 |  Nick T | 

    Re: the first video.

    So people in a Wyoming diner are watching the BBC news channel?

  8. #8 |  chance | 

    “On the bright side, this scenario would likely give our commenter “Cynical in California” the chance to try out the anarchy he’s always raving about.”

    THAT’S the bright side!?

  9. #9 |  Big Chief | 

    I think the first video holds the key to stopping this. It’s quite obvious the eruption was caused by nature’s proper revulsion at an American family driving an SUV with a right-hand drive. If we just pass a law that American’s can’t own right-hand drive SUV’s, nature will be greatly mollified. Because passing laws fixes can fix everything!

  10. #10 |  Russell Hanneken | 

    Nick T., it’s also a little strange that two of the motor vehicles in Wyoming have their steering columns on the right side.

  11. #11 |  Russell Hanneken | 

    Big Chief, was the family supposed to be American? The daughter sounded kind of English to me. I notice their SUV had foreign plates.

  12. #12 |  Nick T | 

    9,10, and 11. Yep this video is just falling apart at the seams!! How exactly am I supposed to believe the science of it if they can’t even get the accents right?!!?!?

  13. #13 |  Nick | 

    Dude… get it straight. It won’t happen until Dec. 21, 2012. Sheesh.

  14. #14 |  Big Chief | 

    Russell,
    I’m pretty sure that family was attempting to sound American. I missed the plates. But it was probably a rental.

  15. #15 |  Ganja Blue | 

    I guess I should go ahead and use those vacation hours I’ve been banking.

  16. #16 |  claude | 

    “And even it is the early science of a major eruption, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

    Yes we can. We can ban smoking there.

  17. #17 |  solinox | 

    Hey, does this mean we don’t have to worry about “global warming” anymore? You know, the whole nuclear winter thing…

  18. #18 |  Andrew | 

    We’ve got another few hundred thousand years before the Caldera goes again most likely.

    Though since I’m as far away in the continental US as you can get from there, I’m looking forward to the cooler temps for a couple of years if it does go!

    (kidding)
    (of course)

  19. #19 |  Greg N. | 

    @6: Two words: Mancur Olson.

  20. #20 |  Chris | 

    Pretty scary stuff.

    I have had some survival gear set aside for years now. (More of a “Bug-Out Bag” that has enough basic items to last me a few weeks and is portable enough to carry by myself.) I get a snide comment from some family members every now and then but it is worth the peace of mind to know that I have some slim resources to draw on when/if a major catastrophe occurs.

    Really, really hoping it never comes in handy.

  21. #21 |  pham newen | 

    In fairness Radley, you should be willing to admit that disaster based anarchy of the sort that would ensue is NOT what anarchists (Ancap or Ansoc) want, what we want is people to come into a anarchist state willingly, and with both the moral and physical wealth to make a real go of it, as individuals. The anarchy that would ensue would be the result of horrific loss, and death, and not be the choice of those who survive. This would make them not only mentally unprepared for a anarchist society, and thus doomed to fail, but their need would be so great they likely would abandon their morals even if they did subscribe to a anarchist viewpoint (just like other view points would fall by the wayside in favor of mere survival)

  22. #22 |  dave smith | 

    My mother in law is visiting right now. God please don’t let this happen till she’s gone. I don’t want to suffocate or starve with her.

  23. #23 |  Leonson | 

    Isn’t a chosen anarchist state kinda against the principal?

  24. #24 |  sidereal | 

    I don’t want to suffocate or starve with her.

    Well, her being there might reduce your chances of starving.

    If you know what I mean. . .

  25. #25 |  Marty | 

    #24- that’s just sick. funny, but sick.

  26. #26 |  Matt | 

    The weird thing about this story is what a friend told me about a conversation with his stepfather last week. His stepfather, an independent baptist preacher, stated his belief that global warming is caused not by man. Oh no, not by man. It’s actually hell coming up through the Earth to get us. Apparently Yellowstone is the breakthrough point.

  27. #27 |  KBCraig | 

    Anarchy doesn’t mean “without government”, “without laws” or even “without rules”, it means “without rulers“.

    If your world is being dominated by rock-throwing socialists who mistakenly call themselves “anarchists”, if you must make business or social or commerce decisions based on fear of this mob (or any other mob), then you are being ruled by them. This, by definition, is not anarchy.

    As for the video, I wasn’t aware that so many Euros drove over to visit, but the right hand drive would explain the one going the wrong way on interstate.

  28. #28 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “On the bright side, this scenario would likely give our commenter “Cynical in California” the chance to try out the anarchy he’s always raving about.”

    Radley, are you suggesting that my occasional debating partner Cynical might be up for some “disaster anarchism!” Where’s Naomi Klein when you need her, dammit! Oh that’s right, she’s probably busy inventing rationalizations for the current wave of “disaster corporatism” that is sweeping the nation.

    #27 KB Craig: Those were excellent points! Johan Nordberg’s book “In Defense of Global Capitalism” discusses the hypocrisy and ideological confusion of the so-called anarchists/professional protesters that drive the anti-globalization movement. Nordberg used to call himself an anarchist, but he views the behavior of these anarcho-turds as something akin to fascist goon squads. I think he’s probably hit the nail on the head.

  29. #29 |  billy-jay | 

    Uncool, Radley. That comment shows a lot of ignorance about anarchy.

  30. #30 |  Pyre | 

    Here’s a Google News link to follow ongoing reporting:
    http://tinyurl.com/a64u3b
    Yellowstone Quake/Volcano News

  31. #31 |  Pyre | 

    Regularly updated (once or more per hour) Yellowstone Quake chart:
    http://www.seis.utah.edu/req2webdir/recenteqs/Maps/Yellowstone_full.html

  32. #32 |  RWW | 

    Ignorance about anarchy on this blog? I’m shocked.

  33. #33 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #29 billy-jay and #30 RWW:

    I think Radley’s comment was sarcasm. In general, I think the discussions about anarchism are much more sophisticated on this blog than they would be elsewhere in our society. People who haven’t studied political theory much, or those who just want to make simplistic statements often equate anarchy with chaos, bomb-throwing, etc.. The people I discussed in post #28, not to mention the rock throwing junior “anarchists” in Greece, certainly help to re-inforce the idea that anarchism is synonymous with nihilism or plain thuggery.

    I don’t buy into these stereotypes. I disagree with anarchists because I think they’re wrong, not because I think they all promote chaos and disorder. I try to avoid generalization about groups (whether the groups in question are anarchists, politicians, police, lawyers or economists). Maybe you guys took Radley’s comments too seriously because you’re miffed that anarchists don’t control The Agitator. Sorry, there is no choir to preach to on this blog. Evangelize all you like, but be prepared to face questions.

  34. #34 |  ASP | 

    Yay! I can’t wait til our collective ash-mummified corpses are exhumed and displayed in marvelous museums. Our images, primitively limb-deficient and soft-skinned, used to disprove the notion that God had created the super-cockroaches a mere six thousand years before.

  35. #35 |  Elliot | 

    I can’t recall reading anything by “Cynical in California” in the comments here, so I don’t know exactly what he or she has said about anarchy. I’ll assume, from the other reactions to this article, that “Cynical” is a rational anarchist–one who opposes the use of aggressive force, who recognizes the individual right to property (as opposed to the faux-anarchy communists). I may be barking up the wrong tree for that person, though.

    I do agree with pham newen that it’s unfair to suggest that someone who wants to live without aggressive coercion would want a megadisaster. It’s as absurd and insulting as suggesting that an anarchist wants to be ruled by Somali warlords, who are authoritarian thugs imposing Sharia law–quite the opposite of anarchists. Just because the warlords are small-scale in comparison to other formal governments doesn’t make them anarchists.

    Radley’s snarky aside reminds me of the reaction of Republicans to the only halfway rational voice at their primary debates, Ron Paul. (Only half, because he is a politician, worst of all, but he also takes the irrational, populist position on immigration, for example.) The guy didn’t have chance in hell of winning, but the fact that he cut to the heart of the matter on things like drug prohibition and foreign military entanglements made him a big target for ridiculous attacks. To put it another way: he was the only sane man on a stage full of lunatics. So he was “crazy” for being different than the rest of the herd.

    Rational anarchists, who are an even lesser threat than Ron Paul, receive unfounded, often preposterous and disgustingly dishonest criticism from those who purportedly support liberty and individualism. “Oh, so you want big corporations to do….” “You want Mad Max villains to wreak havoc on society.” “You want to live on an island.”

    Nope. Nope. And, nope. Corporations are an artifact of government granting special privileges to those who play the game and leverage government power for their nominally private sector activity. Most people wouldn’t run around raping and pillaging if there were suddenly no police to enforce such laws. Those who imagine that everyone would behave like savages are likely projecting their own dark nature. (In the same fashion, theists often imagine that those without belief have no basis for morality, when often it is they who require threats of damnation to stay them from doing horrible things to their neighbors.)

    Without god or government, I, like most decent people, would be no threat to my peaceable neighbors.

    I just can’t understand why the owner of this website doesn’t get that and feels the need to ridicule the only sane people in this lunatic world.

  36. #36 |  billy-jay | 

    @31:

    I have a lot of respect for what Radley does and I don’t care very much that he isn’t an anarchist. But…

    “or those who just want to make simplistic statements often equate anarchy with chaos…”

    that is exactly what Radley just did.

  37. #37 |  Russell Hanneken | 

    Billy-jay, it’s not clear that Radley was equating anarchy with chaos. I took him to mean merely that the collapse of government would make it possible for alternative institutions to arise. Today’s governments are the main obstacle to trying out anarcho-capitalism.

  38. #38 |  Rich J | 

    “Those who imagine that everyone would behave like savages are likely projecting their own dark nature.”

    I translate this to read “If you don’t agree with the anarchist ideal, then you are probably a bad person.” This argument sounds like a form of religion to me. Either believe in our system of thought or be judged to be evil.

    Sorry, I won’t worship at that church, or any other for that matter, but that doesn’t mean that I am immoral, amoral or otherwise projecting some nefarious dark nature. How does recognizing that people are capable of good and evil taint a person?

  39. #39 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #35 Elliot: “I just can’t understand why the owner of this website doesn’t get that and feels the need to ridicule the only sane people in this lunatic world.”

    What arrogant nonsense. RRRRRIGHT, all of us non-anarchists are crazy. Way to win the converts over, Elliot. #38 Rich J. hit the nail on the head. You sound just like a theist who, when confronted by a non-believer says, “what, you don’t believe in God, what the hell is wrong with you. You’re crazy. You’re evil, etc..” If you want to know why people don’t buy into anarchism, look in the mirror. Then think first before typing such drivel.

    “Most people wouldn’t run around raping and pillaging if there were suddenly no police to enforce such laws.”

    No, probably not. But events such as the infamous Boston Police strike of 1917 (I think) should make it plain that a sudden, drastic reduction in law enforcement can be disastarous.

    Even if an anarchist society emerges gradually, you will still have crime and disorder to deal with. According to psychologists like Dr. Robert Hare (author of “Without Conscience”), approximately 2-3% of the population may have psychopathic personality disorder. In other words, they lack empathy for other people, are manipulative, and cannot delay gratification. They aren’t crazy. They just don’t care. Psychopaths, not suprisingly, are found disproportionately in the prison population, and would still exist in your ideal society. Even fairly normal people will find reasons to steal, will get drunk and stupid, and will annoy or pick fights with their neighbors, relatives, friends, etc.. I just don’t think a rag tag system of private security officers and detectives will be able to deal with all of these problems, let alone major civil disturbances or foreign invasions.

    So, that’s why “crazy” people like me disagree with you, Elliot. I was a criminal justice major and I currentyl work in protective services (private sector). I have studied the development of law and law enforcement and I just don’t think anarchists have particularly well thought out plans for dealing with public safety issues. But, in a broad sense I am for limited government and enhancing the ability of individuals to run their own lives.

  40. #40 |  Justin Leach » What’s the deal with the 250 mini-earthquakes at Yellowstone? | 

    [...] Radley Balko of The Agitator is having fun by posting a news brief about “250 small earthquakes that have occurred in Yellowstone National Park since Friday,” along with a link about the supervolcano sleeping under Yellowstone: This last happened at the Yellowstone volcano approximately 650,000 years ago. The caldera that it left is 53 miles long and 28 miles wide. In the area surrounding Yellowstone, 3000 square miles were subjected to a flow of pyroclastic material composed of 240 cubic miles of hot ash and pumice. Ash was also thrown into the atmosphere and blanketed much of North America. It can still be identified in core samples from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

  41. #41 |  RWW | 

    Having one’s views compared with a “religion” or a kind of “worship” by closed-minded pro-state zealots is beyond irony.

  42. #42 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #41 RWW: “…pro-state zealots”

    Sniff, sniff. You hurt me so my anarcho-hero. Have we done something to offend your anarcho sensibilities on the Agitator. I offer you my sincerest anarcho apologies. Sniff, sniff. WTF dude! If one does not support pure anarchy then they are a “pro-state zealot.” Have you no sense of proportionality (or skills in the area of argumentation, beyond ad hominem attacks and rote memorization of anarcho-talking points)? Are you at all familiar with the tone of this blog? We are close-minded because we don’t buy into anarchism hook, line and sinker? Look, I feel like I’m feeding the trolls here, but let me just say that if we want to join your anarchy party, we will. The fact that most of us have not does not mean we worship the state, for christ’s sake. It just means that people like you haven’t convinced us. Then again, I don’t think you could convince me that the sky is blue w/ that weak shit.

  43. #43 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Radley, no fair giving me no choice but to watch 20 minutes of video footage in order to give an informed opinion of your post. FWIW, I decline. But I tip my hat to you and accept your post in the spirit of good-natured needling that I feel you intended.

    Happy New Year to you and your Agitator kin, Mr. Balko. Your intentions are good, and that’s half the battle, though I would argue that the other half is what gives the good intentions any meaning.

    I appreciate your mention of me on the front page, but I am not a lone nut here — there are many others here who share my ideas about political structure. And with your continued generous tolerance of us, there are more out there who will be persuaded. Please remember that when you argue against anarchy, you argue for slavery. The quick on your blog do notice.

  44. #44 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Courtesy of Greg N., who raises the subject of Mancur Olson, possibly meant as a counterweight to my publicity of Jim Bell:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mancur_Olson

    “In his final book, Power and Prosperity, Olson distinguished between the economic effects of different types of government, in particular, tyranny, anarchy and democracy. Olson argued that a “roving bandit” (under anarchy) has an incentive only to steal and destroy, whilst a “stationary bandit” (a tyrant) has an incentive to encourage a degree of economic success, since he will expect to be in power long enough to take a share of it. The stationary bandit thereby takes on the primordial function of government – protection of his citizens and property against roving bandits. Olson saw in the move from roving bandits to stationary bandits the seeds of civilization, paving the way for democracy, which improves incentives for good government by more closely aligning it with the wishes of the population.”

    First, these ideas were developed by Franz Oppenheimer in “The State,” published in 1914, 18 years before Olsen was born.

    Second, it is presumptuous in the extreme to conclude (unless I am missing something, I haven’t read Olsen) that “roving banditry” is the logical outcome of anarchy. While even anarchists are incapable of predicting exactly how anarchy would play out, there are many different probable outcomes.

    Third, it is presumptuous in the extreme and completely ignorant of world history to conclude that “democracy … improves incentives for good government by more closely aligning it with the wishes of the population.” Democracy is catastrophic, and if I need to explain it in any detail here, no one has been paying any attention.

    That being said, and I am skeptical about just about everything, I will try to find some of Olsen’s material and read it in depth, then get back to the subject.

  45. #45 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Pham wrote: ” [In the sort of post-apocalyptic world postulated by Balko] … their need would be so great they likely would abandon their morals even if they did subscribe to a anarchist viewpoint (just like other view points would fall by the wayside in favor of mere survival).”

    First, welcome another anarchist, or student thereof, to your site Radley. Looking forward to reading your ideas, Pham.

    Second, Bertoldt Brecht wrote “first comes food, then comes morality.” So, he knows what he’s dealing with when it comes to humans. Like I’ve written many times, humans are natural born killers, it’s how the species has ascended to world dominance. Survival is about control, it’s what humans do. I have no faith in man’s “morality,” which is exactly why I advocate individual sovereignty (anarchism). Each individual in control of his/her own self-defense, let the social order spring from this moral foundation, and spring it will, though in what form it matters not.

  46. #46 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #23 | Leonson | December 30th, 2008 at 4:10 pm
    “Isn’t a chosen anarchist state kinda against the principal?”

    Leonson has received negative karma for this comment. I believe it is unjustified. If what he meant was that a predetermined form of anarchy that must be conformed to is against anarchist principles, then I agree. However, using the terms “anarchist” and “state” in conjunction is a non-sequitur, so perhaps some neg karm is in order, unless he meant “state” as “state of being” and not “armed band of criminal thugs.”

    Perhaps a clarification is in order, Leonson.

  47. #47 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “Radley, are you suggesting that my occasional debating partner Cynical might be up for some ‘disaster anarchism!'”

    Clever, Helmut. I’ll be responding to your comments in the order I read them. And yes, survivalism is but one form anarchism might take. You and I know that Klein is a statist and that her ideas, rational or irrational as they might be, are based on a different premise than mine, and thus it is unlikely in the extreme that anarchism would capitalize in the apocalyse the way the State would. I don’t want to get too serious, I know you were kidding.

    BTW, love the debates, let’s keep them coming.

  48. #48 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #29 | billy-jay | December 31st, 2008 at 12:19 am
    Uncool, Radley. That comment shows a lot of ignorance about anarchy.

    I think he was mostly kidding, Billy Jay. I will admit my obstinacy will provoke all sorts of reactions in people, but making one’s guests the object of a joke does say something about a person. I’m not above that either.

    I think Radley understands that I’m not a bomb-throwing anarchist, and I hope he understands the moral foundations and syllogisms I post in defense of anarchism, especially as the only logical alternative to statism.

    Unviable as anarchism may be in the present political environment, it is infinitely more logical than debating what form and degree of statism is acceptable. Who holds the leash and its length is of no interest to me or any other anarchist.

  49. #49 |  Justin Watt | 

    Man, these videos are just crying out for a flowchart: What happens if the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park erupts?

    Happy New Year!

  50. #50 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Helmut, there’s gonna be a whole lotta “fisking” going on …

    “I think Radley’s comment was sarcasm.”

    You’re probably right. Maybe the man will clear it up for us.

    “In general, I think the discussions about anarchism are much more sophisticated on this blog than they would be elsewhere in our society.”

    Have to agree with you there, but I think similar blogs would attract a comparable level of civility and depth.

    “The people I discussed in post #28, not to mention the rock throwing junior “anarchists” in Greece, certainly help to re-inforce the idea that anarchism is synonymous with nihilism or plain thuggery.”

    I believe one of the first premises of anarchism is non-violence, as “archism” or statism holds violence as its foundational premise. Anyone who resorts to violence is not an anarchist, according to my understanding. One may claim to be an anarchist, but once one resorts to violence (with the possible exception of self-defense, and then only with a very narrow definition thereof) one eschews anarchism in favor of statism.

    “I don’t buy into these stereotypes. I disagree with anarchists because I think they’re wrong, not because I think they all promote chaos and disorder.”

    I respect your opinion, but I am not satisfied that you have meaningfully disproved anything about anarchism yet, Helmut. We’ll keep at it and I’ll let you know when you change my mind.

    “Maybe you guys took Radley’s comments too seriously because you’re miffed that anarchists don’t control The Agitator. Sorry, there is no choir to preach to on this blog. Evangelize all you like, but be prepared to face questions.”

    Well, speaking strictly for myself, the last thing I’m looking for is a choir to preach to. Nor am I looking to beat my head against a brick wall. You hit the nail on the head as to why this is a great blog, Helmut — ideas are not accepted on their face, there is always a challenge. This blog will draw rational individuals like moths to the flame. I’m hooked. And I hope that everyone who gives these ideas serious thought rises to the challenge too.

  51. #51 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #35 | Elliot | December 31st, 2008 at 3:21 am

    “I can’t recall reading anything by “Cynical in California” in the comments here, so I don’t know exactly what he or she has said about anarchy. I’ll assume, from the other reactions to this article, that “Cynical” is a rational anarchist–one who opposes the use of aggressive force, who recognizes the individual right to property (as opposed to the faux-anarchy communists). I may be barking up the wrong tree for that person, though.”

    Hi Elliott, I will be responding in greater detail to your comment, but I wanted to introduce myself first.

    My name is James, but I go by Cynical in CA here. I live in Orange County, CA, and as such, I must be the only anarchist in a 30-mile radius.

    I have been posting rather voluminously and frequently for the last six months or so, so I must voice a certain disappointment that our paths have not crossed before. I will resolve to double my cathartic output. That ought to make Radley very happy!

    It is uncanny that you were able to deduce my particular strand of anarchism from the comments on this post! It is an achievement on the order of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, having only shadows dancing from firelight to give you the picture of reality. Bravo. There is always more than meets the eye, but that was a good 2-sentence summary.

    Hope to read more of your comments in the future.

  52. #52 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Elliott, I enjoyed reading the rest of your great comment as well. The comparisons you made were spot-on, especially as regards Ron Paul (statist). It remains to be seen what Radley meant in his post, but your reading is one possible interpretation. It’s great to read another anarchist — another voice of sanity.

    Apparently unlike you, I oscillate between having no faith in the morality of man to complete faith, but in the end I don’t think it’s relevant. The organization of society and the premises it is founded on is what’s relevant, and individual sovereignty is the obvious best form of organization from a moral standpoint, the only form of organization that guarantees respect for the individual.

  53. #53 |  Cynical In CA | 

    #38 | Rich J | December 31st, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Elliott wrote: “Those who imagine that everyone would behave like savages are likely projecting their own dark nature.”

    Rich replied: “I translate this to read “If you don’t agree with the anarchist ideal, then you are probably a bad person.” This argument sounds like a form of religion to me. Either believe in our system of thought or be judged to be evil.”

    Cynical butts in:

    I think you made a logical leap there, Rich. Southwestern law professor, author and essayist Butler Shaffer has written much on the subject of every human’s capacity for good and evil acts, for morality and immorality. Anyone who has engaged in honest self-evaluation will admit that this capacity resides in every single human individual. Aside from humans being exceptional survivors, the core attribute of humans is the ability to act, to make decisions based on internal beliefs and external assessments.

    I believe Elliott was pursuing that line of reasoning, not being so shallow as to adopt a “my way or the highway” approach. In reality, it is the statist mind that finds its last refuge in absurd statements like “if you don’t like it here, why don’t you leave?”

    “How does recognizing that people are capable of good and evil taint a person?”

    It does not. It is our very existence that “taints” us. We are all mortal, all weak (prone to sacrificing morality for food), all capable of great deeds and cruel deeds. It is the recognition of this fact that makes adults out of children. It is the devolution of power down to the individual that most logically mitigates against man’s capacity for evil.

  54. #54 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Helmut, I understand your lack of patience with what Elliott wrote, but to put it in context, it can be a bit frustrating for an anarchist when debating statists. Been there myself many times.

    As for why “people don’t buy into anarchism,” you go too far in ascribing ideas to the individuals who promote them — it’s a form of ad hominem. Ideas exist independently of those who promote them. Anarchism as a concept would still exist if no one knew about it. All it takes is that one inquiring mind to reason to it — many have reasoned to it independently.

    Far more accurate to question the anarchist credentials of someone who engages in violence or an emotional defense of anarchism than to create a fiction that somehow the idea of anarchism suffers from such a person. Anarchism has a tremendously bad rep without piling on. And for the record, I believe Elliott understands anarchism.

    As for the Boston Police strike of 1917, and I must read up on the details, the idea that any sudden thrust of a population from one form of chaos (violent structure of statism) to another (complete violent social disorder as in the Boston situation) bears at all on anarchism is completely out of context.

    The current default paradigm is statism. It’s all anyone alive on the planet knows. Eliminating one form of statism in this paradigm can only result in the institution of another form of statism, which is what happened in Boston in 1917. That was not anarchy, it was chaos.

    You know I am pessimistic about anarchism ever being applied in society, but historical examples have no logical bearing on these philosophical arguments due to their statist preconditions.

  55. #55 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Helmut wrote:

    “I just don’t think a rag tag system of private security officers and detectives will be able to deal with all of these problems, let alone major civil disturbances or foreign invasions.”

    We can agree to disagree. Again, for about the millionth time, it is not a matter of whether police forces or armies would exist, it is a question of how society is organized, by violence or voluntarism. The simple and honest answer is not “I just don’t think,” it is “I just don’t know.” You don’t know that anarchism would fail. You don’t. And a guarantee of success is a miserable precondition for any venture. Even planes fall from the sky — people still board them with that knowledge.

    Perhaps the insanity that Elliott waxes eloquently about is the blind adherence to the statist paradigm that is such a well-proven failure! And add to that the knowledge that there is a moral and logical alternative in anarchism! What is a rational mind to make of these facts?

    Which leads me to:

    “But, in a broad sense I am for limited government and enhancing the ability of individuals to run their own lives.”

    My simple questions are: how on Earth does one limit government? Who governs the governors? Who oversees the overseers? Can power ever flow down the chain? By what alchemy?

    Ignoring the first phrase in your sentence above, would not “enhancing the ability of individuals to run their own lives” be about as succinct an endorsement of anarchism as possible?

    You confuse me, Helmut. Set me straight.

  56. #56 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “Look, I feel like I’m feeding the trolls here, but let me just say that if we want to join your anarchy party, we will. The fact that most of us have not does not mean we worship the state, for christ’s sake. It just means that people like you haven’t convinced us. Then again, I don’t think you could convince me that the sky is blue w/ that weak shit.”

    Hopefully, I’m not part of the troll contingent in your mind Helmut. I’m sure I’m not.

    Of course, if you are unpersuaded to anarchism, that is what it is all about. The only way to it is by rational self-contemplation. There should be no other way.

    As an aside, it is interesting that a core belief of many Christians is that there is no way to salvation but through Jesus. So many millions cast off their individuality to collectivize through Jesus. A starker contrast to my preceding paragraph could not be found.

    Well, back to the regular program now. The discussion continues. Hopefully thoughtful individuals like you Helmut will continue to engage other thoughtful individuals as are found on this blog, and we’ll become ever more respectful of each other over time. It’s about the best we humans can do for each other.

    Peace out.

  57. #57 |  Elliot | 

    My name is James, but I go by Cynical in CA here. I live in Orange County, CA, and as such, I must be the only anarchist in a 30-mile radius.

    I happen to be visiting my in-laws in Garden Grove until Saturday. It’s a small world after all. (Yeah, I got that pounded in my head the other day at Disneyland, but my grandson had a blast.) We walked out on the pier at Seal Beach today (it was very hazy and cold), then drove through my wife’s childhood stomping grounds in Huntington Beach. Tomorrow it’s off to LA for some touristy things. I’m hoping to get one last shot at the Long Beach Trader Joe’s before I go.

    I don’t have the time to sit here and do a proper Fisking of the reactions to my comments. It almost certainly would do no good. Anyone arguing that I need to “convert” others (as though a popularity contest has any bearing on individual rights), or who thinks in terms of an anarchist state or “system”, is simply clueless. That’s a long, uphill battle I’m just not interested in fighting today.

  58. #58 |  RWW | 

    If one does not support pure anarchy then they are a “pro-state zealot.”

    If you oppose anarchy zealously, then by definition you are a pro-state zealot. What’s so hard to understand?

    Are you at all familiar with the tone of this blog?

    It is the content, rather than the tone, that is frustrating. Radley spends an awful lot of time documenting the naturally horrific actions of an organization that he nevertheless refuses to disown. It’s like listening to the complaints of a battered wife: I’m sympathetic in the extreme, but cannot understand the continued willing affiliation.

  59. #59 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Welcome to sunny OC, Elliott. Sorry about the weather lately. Our paths will not cross physically anytime soon, but please visit this blog again. It’s been nice exchanging ideas. We’ll wear these statists down over time.

  60. #60 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “Radley spends an awful lot of time documenting the naturally horrific actions of an organization that he nevertheless refuses to disown. It’s like listening to the complaints of a battered wife: I’m sympathetic in the extreme, but cannot understand the continued willing affiliation.”

    RWW, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s more money in statism than anarchism. And don’t forget the job security.

    Next question.

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