Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

I have an anarchist friend who thinks that guilt is a good thing.

+2 votes
i think he means that it motivates him.  
are you or other anarchists you know motivated by guilt? does guilt seem like an acceptable motivation? if not, what's wrong with it? what other motivations do you have?
asked Jun 14, 2010 by anonymous
That's awful.  Your friend should feel ashamed of themself.

1 Answer

+1 vote
To help a little with this, I'd start by saying that it's a case by case thing. However here are some examples of how guilt might not help.  

Example: white guilt isn't really helping anyone. It stifles action and in my opinion is just creating an over turned pyramid. However acknowledging that there is privilage in this world and questioning how that effects your life and others should be what motivates you.

Another example: let's say that someone is working a shitty job that's not paying well, is putting this person in horrible environments, etc. One could suggest that they could organize with their fellow employees. However let's saythatthis person reads the news a lot and is pretty informed about global capitalism, the WTO, etc. And thus is guilted into thinking that their struggle is not worth fighting for because there are thousands of other people in worse conditions than themselves.

Both these example can show why guilt might not always be the best of tactics in regards of motivation.

Again that's not to say that guilt shouldn't and can't be used. But personally I've seen it do more damage that aid
answered Jun 20, 2010 by Sleeper (140 points)
with the OP, i also know an anarchist who doesn't reject guilt as a motivation, but i can only think of reasons why guilt is a bad motivator.
primarily because it keeps people wrapped up in a monologue that is self-referential, but also because it can never be resolved. guilt is never really assuaged, it is a way of being in the world based on questions of worth. maybe more to the point, in my experience it makes people reactive and shallow.
sleeper, do you have examples of when it would be, or has been, good?
...