Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Questions For Anarchists That Are Hard To Admit Pt.2 (Part 1 of New 3 Part Series)

Questions For Anarchists That Are Hard To Admit Pt.2 (Part 1 of New 3 Part Series)

So the last time I wrote one of these articles, I caught a lot of flak from the people whose answers I used when discussing the subject, so this time, it will be more general, but still based off of real interactions.

And before I begin, I want to make quick point about something. These articles are not written with the intent to criticize unfairly, or mischaracterize anybody, or a given position. Instead, my perspective through which I view these kinds of essays are dialectical in nature. I’m writing to have a conversation with myself, with the hopes that it is useful for others. Instead of reading what I write as an attack, read it as an individual’s own internal struggle with a given issue, and see if any of it applies to you. Read it as if you were watching family members who disagree on something. They aren’t attacking each other, and instead, are ideally coming from a place of love and an attempt at understanding. In the end, that is almost as important as the questions and answers themselves.

With the recent Manchester bombing, I am once again thinking about Islam’s impact on the human race, whether or not Islam itself is compatible with the principles of Anarchy, and as the foundation for this article, how should the residents of ancapistan deal with violent, radical ideologies like Islam?

So I posted the image you saw as a header and asked this question:

I get that we can’t extend from “our own property” to “nation,” as far as borders are concerned, but how would you realistically deal with something like this?

In other words, what I asked was “how would your version of acapistan respond to critiques that a lack of borders around your territory leave you open for attack, and eventual conquest?” The context specifically was Islam, and one responder rightly pointed out that, at the end of the day, whether it is Islam or government, the question is ultimately asking how we keep government out.

And while that is true (especially since Islam is not simply a religion, but a violent political ideology at the same time), my response was that Islam is a unique thing. Although it very much is a violent political ideology, Islam doesn’t care if you’re a capitalist, a Christian, a Frenchman, or a woman.

If you are not a Muslim, you are a kafir. And this is important when someone responds with “well, without government, terrorism wouldn’t exist anyway.” While it may be true that the current crop of terror that we see may not exist without prior government involvement (America creating virtually every terrorist organization operating out the middle-east it seems – Certainly this is true with Al-Qaeda and ISIS), the fact remains that for the previous 1,400 years, Islamic Conquest has approached, breached, and has even seen success within Europe. Islam started out small, but in the context of history, the Islamic Empire is no joke, and its effects are still seen in large portions of the world to this day.

So while it is true that certain terror groups have America to thank for their formation today, it’s not as if the middle-east was some peaceful, homogeneous territory with kumbaya festivals, and vegan food trucks, back before the West involved itself there, either. This is a political-religion and culture that has seen to the destruction of the Persian Empire, influenced the Mongols and Seljuk Turks to some of their bloodiest campaigns, and orchestrated the destruction of ancient Buddhist and Mesopotamian holy sites, temples, and relics. This is a political-religion and culture that is actively attempting to stamp out religious minorities, (while the only one left trying to protect them is being attacked by America, no less…*sigh), and has no problem putting to death people who had sex outside of marriage, throwing homosexuals off of tall buildings, and destroying the sexual organs of young girls.

Say what you want about the effects of American imperialism in the region. Nobody – certainly not here – is going to debate that.

But when we are looking at the title picture, and the answer is “without governments, we wouldn’t have terror,” you are mischaracterizing the enemy of Islam. It isn’t capitalism, like it is for Marxists. It isn’t democracy, like it is for Communists.

It’s the kafir. It’s people who aren’t Islamic.

So to suggest that if only governments went away, terrorism would go away, is in my opinion, dangerously naïve, and it simply does not address the real threat Islam in particular poses to the Western world. And if the West falls, the far-East won’t be far behind. Radical Islam is an existential threat, not a government threat. We aren’t seeing James Bond terroristic activities. They aren’t bombing MI-6. They’re nail-bombing children at an Arianna Grande concert. They’re mowing down people with diesel’s just trying to enjoy New Years in France. They’re operating pedophile rings in England and Germany, and generally are acting with little to no conscience towards their host cultures and nations. It is so obvious to me that their enemy isn’t a particular government, or government in general, like it is with Anarchy. Islam doesn’t see kafir as human, it seems. At least, if what is happening in Europe by radicals is any indication.

Some of the other responses I got were along the lines of (again, I’m paraphrasing and shortening responses, if only to keep people anonymous – I’m not attacking people here, certainly not friends and philosophical allies) “use weapons to protect yourself,” “move to a new area,” “hire body guards,” etc…And other things along these lines.

With the “use weapons” response, yes of course. Having your own cache of firearms, home security systems, and maybe a cannon will keep some run-of-the-mill crooks and robbers at bay.

But ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other groups are fully-funded, fully-trained, and fully-stocked private religious militaries hell bent on seeing the kafir dead, or enslaved. Are you ready to battle that? Do you have the funds necessary to stock and train your own pmc, in case of an attack? And even then, let’s assume you do. If you set your borders only around your own house, regardless of what money and troops you have your disposal, allowing people who want you dead that close means they will succeed, one way or the other. Instead, you would need borders that are far removed from your own personal property so that the distance alone is another battle they would have to fight to kill you. Do you have that much land? Can you pay for your pmc to patrol that much territory?

I don’t. I likely never will. Remember, actual militaries, and entire government budgets are wasted trying to combat these people, and they can’t do it. Will you be successful? Be honest.

Yes, of course, I want my people in ancapistan armed and trained. But remember, this particular threat doesn’t care if you leave them alone. That is just an excuse for them to not leave you alone.

Another response was something along the lines of “just pack up and move.” Sure, that is always an option. But I think of a million reasons why somebody might not find that necessarily feasible. What if you have a family? Is constant wandering good for your spouse, or your kids? What if you are old, or physically incapable of moving? Is that how death comes to the aged, in this kind of ancapistan? We no longer have death by “age-related diseases,” but “age-related massacre?” “Oh, here come the religious extremists. Well, I’ve lived a long and good life. I’ll just wait here on my chair until they come knocking to behead me. Good bye everyone!”

*facepalm*

We aren’t going to win people over like this.

Another response was hire body guards, and for that one, the same answers as the “use weapons” answer work here too. Again, these things cost. Do you have the money? And more specifically, how much would a sizeable amount of quality trained body guards or protective service cost to maintain? Have you crunched the numbers? I haven’t run the numbers, but I did a quick google search, and what do you know, it ain’t cheap to have just a few body guards, much less your own sizeable force.

Why would that be any different in ancapistan, where demand would be even higher, knowing already that there are people alive today who are richer than you will ever be and can afford more?

Probably the answer that I appreciated most dealt with trade. Basically, the idea presented was that free trade gives people the opportunity to become rich, or wealthy. Who would want to stay a terrorist when they could become wealthy via trade?

I liked and appreciated this answer most because I myself am a proponent of free-trade, and capitalism especially. That said, the 9/11 hijackers were college educated, engineers, doctors, and businessmen, and Bin Laden himself came from wealth. In fact, he used much of the wealth he inherited from his father to fund his terrorist operations. The same is true for many terrorists and terrorist leaders today. This notion that poverty creates violence is absurd. China, India, and Russia have some of the largest and deepest amounts of poverty the world has ever seen, even as of 2017. And yet, by and large, we don’t see support for terror, their kids running off and joining terrorist organizations, or people from these communities infiltrating other more prosperous nations with the intent to destroy the people and culture of the host nation. It isn’t happening. There’s something else going on, and addressing this issue from a free trade perspective isn’t going to bring people over to our side.

Remember, just this last week, 2 white girls with a burrito shop in Portland, after going down to Mexico to learn how to make great tortillas, and bring some authenticity back to their restaurant, were shut down because they committed the all-evil and unpardonable sin of “cultural appropriation.” Some people just don’t care about free trade. They don’t “value” it as highly as we do. So to suggest that if only terrorists were making money, they wouldn’t be terrorists just doesn’t hold any weight. And we know this is true, considering many on the ancap side support the black market. Look at what ISIS is doing on the black market. They are stealing oil in Iraq, and selling it to Turkey, in ridiculously large quantities. They are getting very rich from it.

Are they riding off into the sunset of retirement on a florida beach, somewhere?

No.

What are they doing with it?

Growing their terroristic empire, plotting and funding bigger and deadlier attacks, and training more recruits who buy into the notion of a paradisiacal afterlife if they die in the name of allah.

Free-trade will save us?

No it will not.

I love free-trade, and capitalism.

But it is not the savior of an ancap society. It has to be something else. These responses above are valid answers, and part and parcel for how ancaps view these things. But for most of society, they aren’t going to be satisfying answers. There is a hierarchy of needs which must be met first.

People aren’t going to switch over from the statism they know now to the uncertainty our anarchy represents to them because it is a major shift in their current lifestyle. Our change has to be more incremental if we are to ever see the ancapistan we envision. I promise you – no, I guarantee you, we will not go from the society we have now, to ancapistan next. It won’t happen. The change must be smaller, and similar enough to what we currently have so as to convince people that the change isn’t as bad as they think.

The difference between ancaps and the rest of society is that our goals are way off in the distance. The rest of society's goals (primarily in the West) relate to when they will get their next latte’, or if they’re going to be able to binge-watch their favorite Netflix show tonight.

Not quite ancap material.

At least not yet. But there has to be intermediate steps we shoot for first before we arrive at the gates of ancapistan. And to be honest, I’m not sure most ancaps are ready to hear what it is.

But that’s for part 2 and 3. 

What Anarchist Philosophies Can Learn From The Statist Systems of Government Pt. 2 of 3

What Anarchist Philosophies Can Learn From The Statist Systems of Government Pt. 2 of 3

Some Realizations About The Similarities Of Religion And The State

Some Realizations About The Similarities Of Religion And The State