G20 Protesting: “Spring Break” for Sophomore Political Theorists
“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” – Winston Churchill
Origin: 1530–40; (< MF anarchie or ML anarchia) < Gk, anarchía lawlessness, lit., lack of a leader, equiv. to ánarch(os) leaderless
When William Godwin, the philosophical father of anarchism, wrote Political Justice in 1793, he postulated the “minimal state” as a necessary evil whose power would gradually decline in proportion to an increasingly educated citizenry. Ah, what faith the Enlightenment placed in the natural virtue of humanity. Of course, as was the custom, he also exercised his 18th century right to be judgmental and perspicacious by considering those individuals with a greater ability to perpetuate social good to be, “of more worth and importance,” than those less inclined to pitch in with the chores of civilization. There seems to be a reasonable expectation of individual responsibility here. An expectation wherein the individual, who by first assuming responsibility for himself, begets a responsible community. Whoa!
So, the philosophical father of anarchism, we deduce, might be fairly dismissive of this week’s crop of manifesto maniacs currently exercising their collective first amendment right to peaceful assembly in Pittsburgh, “the place where steel is smelted.”
In its 18th century context, “anarchist” carried a positive connotation. The anarchist philosophy supported the moral centrality of freedom, founded on the reasoned belief that a voluntary community comprised of rational adults, in which all goods and services are private, functions more efficiently without the overlay of government.
Let’s review. In a voluntary community, the condition of order and the system of commerce are maximized as government is minimized. The necessity for government is reduced as education is increased.
Are all things ultimately doomed to misinterpretation, political hijack and hostile takeover? Like the fable of church and state separation?
How did our utopian social philosophy, born in the Age of Enlightenment, and predicated on the existence of natural law within a market economy, fare through the course of history? Well, it was conceptually mutilated by metaphysical larceny, agenda-driven plagiarism, and intellectual genetic manipulation. The metaphorical train departed, as a social philosophy based on the belief that freedom is morally central to a condition of natural order sustained by personal responsibility and a free market. Down through history, it’s itinerary of exponential bastardization included highlighted stops in the hills of socialist anarchism, the valleys of collectivist anarchism, the plains of communitarian anarchism, the great anarchist communist dessert, a side trip to a central European asylum for the politically insane, then Saccoandvanzettiland, Jerryrubinville, the town of Abbiehoffman, and… now arriving… in the academies of our nascent 21st century. Where the choruses may yet be heard singing to themselves the refrains, “private property is oppressive, private enterprise is exploitative, the global economy is a conspiracy to enslave the third world, achievement is failure, and initiative is greed.” What is with this worn out collection of didactic duds, inoperative ideologies and collapsed concepts that is so attractive to……sophomores? (Yeah, you saw the answer contained in the question. We know you did.)
This week, the old train is in the Pittsburgh switching yard of the G20, serving as a backdrop for the big HamasWear head scarf and fashion show. Tyro novitiates of all ages are accessorizing the look with the freshest styles of sustainably manufactured gas masks.
It’s Spring Break for sophomore political theorists in Pittsburgh, “the city that melted before meltdown was cool.”