Mike Gogulski wrote:First, the violence employed in self-defense is not a "necessary evil" -- it is not evil at all, in fact, but a justified, legitimate response to the violation of oneself. My idealism tells me that we ought to strive to purge all evil from our midst and from our actions.
I take a more ying-yang approach to evil and I've given up on trying to obliterate it and instead marginalize it. The only pure anarchists were the old french individualists or the modern primitivists. They rejected ALL organizations, even democratically-ran ones (the idea was that there was a hierarchy established there with the collective sovereign over the individual.) I stand by statement that violence is hierarchical, but I defend self-defense the same way I defend modern industry from primivist/extreme individualism, that rejection of violence at any time any place will lead to worse outcomes. (Like: "No reprisals? I guess I'll just live a life of a roving bandit." or "That thief took the last of our medicine, now the baby's dying." or in other words "not temporarily subordinating the thief may cause me to act as an enabler of immorality.") Whether or not there's a higher moral principle to be followed, it doesn't change the fact that if you're hoping to get people to (in general) treat each other as peers rather than rungs on a ladder, then you're going to have to find something other than violence to deal with your problems.
Mike Gogulski wrote:Smith may mug Jones far off in the woods where nobody sees him. No hierarchy is created, and no authority is exercised. Smith still commits a crime by doing so, as he violates the rights of Jones.
Well I think I know roughly where the disagreement on this point is, I think there was the idea that hierarchy requires a many subordinates to one master relationship. I would say hierarchy can exist between just two people. The mugging is a crime, even in the remote woodlands. You can own only one slave, but there's still a hierarchy between you and your slave.
and now for francois...
Francois Tremblay wrote:This seems to be the difference between our views. You think a hierarchy can be formed and dissipate in a matter of seconds. I don't think that can really happen, because most of the properties and effects of a hierarchy take effect over time.
Well because time doesn't (for me) really play into whether or not a hierarchy exists. If someone gets mugged everyday, does it matter if it's a different mugger everytime. Furthermore, does a feudal state constantly and without interruption subordinate its citizens? I wouldn't say so, but subordination does go on, and subordination is always a component of a hierarchy, it can't exist outside of one.
Francois Tremblay wrote:Yes, of course. But you seemed to be saying that ALL violence is hierarchical. That was my problem.
And it is, if you fight off a murderer, I'd say you were justified in doing so, but it doesn't change the fact that you had to subordinate him first. If you violently recover stolen goods, you must first subordinate the thief in order to take them back.
Francois Tremblay wrote:Then I'm afraid I don't count as a "reasonable" Anarchist.
No, I feel you do, I think this is more a disagreement of perception more than principle.
Francois Tremblay wrote:There is no such thing as a "necessary evil." Necessary implies that no other course of action can be taken. Evil implies acting counter to our values. But there is always a way to act in accordance with our values. Good actions are always available to us.
But no matter how carefully you construct your value system, there are always going to be times when you must obey one principle over another (i.e: 'How do I do no harm yet protect my family yet uphold my ideal of 'do no harm' ?")