No problem is more downplayed than inflation; and when there is an overwhelming consensus that inflation is not a problem, then you know that it is.
Peter Schiff (via moralanarchism)
Peter Schiff is a rightwing libertarian hack economist. He was Ron Paul’s econ advisor during his 2008 campaign. He has been predicting “impending hyperinflation” since 2007, but it hasn’t hit. Inflation is “downplayed” because it’s not an immediate problem we face.
Schiff is the OPPOSITE of a valid source for economic thought. He’s in the Koch gang. He is against a minimum wage altogether. He criticizes the Ryan Budget plan as not reactionary enough!
He may also believe in Reptilliens; I don’t know.
No, I’m not against written law, but we should honestly evaluate what written law does and can do, the inflexibility of it and its propensity to value efficiency over authentically dealing with individual circumstances. Written law in this way is innately conservative when it does not allow within its writing for rapid, easy adaptation (think of how badly outdated huge portions of the U.S. constitution are, and how rapidly it got that way in the context of state-sanctioned slavery to emancipation).
The reason law is written and enshrined in the way it is today fundamentally has to do with our idea of justice, which is rather punitive and not really embodying of Justice at all. Again, this goes back to “the law” as being efficient rather than holistic. There is a philosophy of the world that underpins this. If we are honest about that tendency we ought to then look back at the archaeology of how we came to value law and justice as measured by how efficiently and effectively we can be punitive toward other human beings who have been punitive toward us. It has a lot to do with Western concepts of what can be measured, with positivist and empiricist value systems.
You cannot measure real Justice, but you can measure a prison sentence.
It is the whole reason the modern court system is built on an adversarial relationship between what is perceived to be truth and what is not. The innocent must tell the truth, the “criminal” (criminality often being a fabricated construct) must lie, and by that clashing of narratives somehow justice will emerge. But, as another example, how has the War on Drugs given us any justice whatsoever when its battle between what is perceived to be the good guys, that is law enforcement, etc., and the bad guys, predominantly poor people and people of color, has yielded only more oppression of America’s historically most oppressed classes?
As many black men are in jail today as were owned in all of slavery, and a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. Is this the kind of justice we accept? Because it is exceedingly efficient.
I make these points to say, we must be vigorous in understanding how we got here today. Part of that means deconstructing our ideas of “the law” and justice. It also means taking a close look at the institution of police and evaluating what function it is they serve. Do they serve we the public, or do they serve somebody else? I have made the case time and again that they do not serve us, they serve the moneyed corporate elite and the State, a white supremacist heteropatriarchal capitalist system.
We don’t need them, people can govern themselves… and can do so very well when enormous systems of oppression do not beat them into poverty or social isolation.
Which leads me to your final question: Can we execute the functions needed for daily living without the State? Absolutely. Any honest inquiry into Anarchist societies will answer that question. Governance, aka, navigating the challenges of living in groups with one another, producing things, having economies, etc., is possible without centralized State power. This does not mean nobody has authority; it means we all have equal, vested authority in choosing how we’ll live our lives. We can choose to set up governing bodies if we want, but in doing so we must remember the difference between organizing for our own well-being and relinquishing our agency to some entity which will exercise power over us.
(As a sidenote, shout-outs to my girlfriend for having these conversations with me and helping flesh it out. Always learning with you)
Great response! Thanks!
I think a lot of people—including many or most self-proclaimed anarchists–don’t understand the difference between governance and statecraft. Or, at least, they don’t make the distinction explicit enough. Some anarchists reject the notion that social norms would be democratically decided and written down in some way (laws) instead of arbitrarily decided on the fly when someone accuses someone else of bad behavior. More commonly, they deny that a specialists should work through established institutions to enforce laws or defend the accused, preferring to subject everyone to a form of (sophisticated, at best) mob rule. They also commonly deflect the responsibility for managing perpetrators of serious offenses, opting for simplistic solutions like banishment.
Truthfully, I don’t think anarchists have taken these questions of vision seriously enough. We don’t need a blueprint for our alternative, but we need to convince people that we’re not advocating a void, and we have something better than Marxists or other statists will gladly put on the table. We also need to demonstrate to more extreme autonomists that we’re not proposing something that will just become an increasingly powerful state. Here’s something I wrote on the topic several years ago.
(The original version with tons of critical comments has disappeared but can still be found in archive.org at the same source I believe.)
I’m not a fan of people like that. They’re in it for the money.
Thanks for your response!
It’s quite a sweeping generalization, though it may very well be largely right. I know it’s not everybody. I asked in fact because I have had several such requests over the years, none of them involving any amount of money. I have made different choices depending on the situation. First I ask directly if they’re having PoC perspectives in the conversation or what they’re doing to include them. When I have said yes (no more than a couple of times in specific circumstances), I try to keep the topic to responsibilities of white people, acknowledgment of white privilege, etc—not so much trying to convey the experiences of people of color, which I obviously can’t, except through quotes and statistics.
I think Tim Wise is the best example of a prominent white antiracist. I have never discussed this matter with him, and I assume he does make some money doing what he does (articles, books, and lots of lectures). But more importantly he mainly addresses white audiences making the case that white privilege exists and should be opposed.
What I don’t know is if validating voices like his (which many white people find very convincing, and people of color often find very gratifying, to be sure) just perpetuates the problem in some way. That is, if you require a white person to convince you that racism is real and you have white privilege… are you now a step closer to confronting it actively, or are you just there, in that very act, reproducing the problem you’re critiquing?
I suspect the answer for some is both. But the follow-up would be: Will you now really be ready to listen to voices you recently invalidated? Has a real step been taken, or is it just that you technically “lost” an argument but haven’t changed in any meaningful way? THAT is my biggest concern.
Sadly, I think in the vast majority of cases it’s what happens when I, as a white person, “convince” a fellow white person that racism is real and they have privilege. The logic works, but it doesn’t flip a switch in them. Getting your ass beat in an argument against a person of color challenging your racism might go either way, but one way it can go is to fundamentally humble your shit out, which is an absolutely necessary ingredient to white antiracism.
The whole “I support Palestinians but Hamas is an extremist/terrorist” yadda yadda yadda line is annoying. Occupied peoples have a right to resistance and armed struggle MUST be a part of any liberatory praxis when the oppressor has forgone consciousness and dehumanizes an entire people.
Armed struggle against combatants is one thing. Firing rockets over the heads of amassed soldiers solely in hope of terrorizing or murdering civilians is altogether different. There’s a reason some ardent pro-Palestinian advocates (myself among them, I assure you) would prefer to not have to defend the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli citizens, including those who oppose the occupation and invasion.
The first two people critically wounded by fire from Gaza prior to the IDF ground invasion were a soldier and a “civilian” who was resupplying soldiers, hit by Palestinian mortar fire near Gaza while troops awaited the order to invade. This is highly legitimate warfare targeting combatants, absolutely not terrorism, and it proves that Hamas and the factions are making a very odd choice in directing most of their external fire at civilian populations.
Dismissing someone’s views with yadda yadda and calling it “annoying” doesn’t really make a case. The fact is, world opinion might shift heavily in favor or Gazans if the factions stopped targeting unarmed Israeli civilians (including Palestinian citizens of Israeli and Bedouins). It surely would be worth trying, just to see, since there are so many IDF troops clustered all around Gaza, between the Strip and most Israeli towns and cities.