Recently, I read a response to my article “The Conservative Anarchist.” It had some fair points and was a fair criticism. One of the main criticisms was that my belief that appealing to the Left was useless would make anarchism more right-leaning. On that, I disagree. I feel that appealing to the Left will be the doom of anarchism. I didn’t go into too much detail in my original piece but here I’m going to explain my justification.
To me, the Left (or, at least, the Mainstream Left) constitutes social democrats, statist socialists, communists, and progressives. State intervention is ingrained in these ideologies. They support nationalization, single-payer healthcare, free college, high taxes on the wealthy, a large welfare state, regulation, and a host of other “big government” ideas. Anarchists can continue appealing to a crowd who views the State as an inherent good but I believe we need to chart a new path.
You can’t convince me that Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Ilhan Omar would drop everything they believe in and support gun rights, abolishing taxes, free-market healthcare, or privatization. If anarchists try appealing to this crowd by adopting their ideas, they’ll end up as part of the crowd. It’s like the pigs in Animal Farm who overthrew the farmer only to slowly become what they fought against. If we try appealing to these groups, we will doom anarchism. At that point, it’s just like pigs in the farmer’s clothes. What’s the difference between them and the other farmers? What would be the difference between anarchism and social democracy or communism or progressivism or statist socialism? If Kevin Carson supports a wealth tax and Elizabeth Warren does too, you tell me what the difference is between the two.
Appealing to the right (that is the libertarians, moderate American conservatives, Appalachian conservatives, and Sovereign Citizens who aren’t racist or homophobic or whatever) would not make anarchism more right-leaning. We share a commitment to liberty and the free market (at least, individualist anarchists do). That gets us in the door. We can promote pro-life anarchism that keeps abortion legal but reduces it through reducing poverty and the like. We also don’t need to drop our belief in socialism. We support private alternatives to public institutions, whether that is through unions of egoists or self-employment or whatever. That allows us to separate ourselves from other, statist socialists. We can’t do this if we appeal to these statist socialists.
I thought Spooky’s piece was a fair criticism. That was my weakest piece with no clear direction. I also admit my definition of conservatism was wrong. I meant Appalachian conservatism and only learned later that Appalachian conservatism was different from American conservatism. However, my point still stands. Appealing to the Left is a losing battle. If we water down anarchism to appeal to these leftists, what would be the difference between us and them? What’s the difference between pigs in the clothes of the farmer and the other farmers?