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+2 votes
Who is more attracted to Anarchism, intellectuals or ordinary people
by (560 points)

""I think it would make for a more desirable world if people who under int. stopped that shit than if everything was dumbed down to where everyone else can understand it".

Mighty compassionate. Why not just line them up against a wall, bang, bang. If schooling is dumbing down, can the students help but being dumb?"

while ill admit "stop that shit" was an oversimplification that ignores individuals strengths and weaknesses, as intelligence isn't everyone's strength, I was more trying to say what others are getting at here, that it isn't everyone's responsibility to dumb things down, its either you can get it with additional studies and using your noodle or you cant.

If you knew anything about Harrison Bergeron, you would know that I think killing all dumb people so everyone is smart is equally as great a tragedy as outfitting the strongest and smartest among us with devices to lower them to everyone else.

"What if they have little time due to the demands of their job, family commitments, or whatever?

Then Option 2 is probably their best choice."

Option 2 was: "don't participate in the discussion". That seems to me too exclusive, too cold and unwelcoming. What I was getting at is, why not have a simple overview, not dumbing down as some put it, just straight talking language. Why does Anarchism need an expansive intricate philosophy?

"Perhaps people want to join in a discussion to understand more, but the arrogance of your reply may in fact be very off putting.

If you're feeling put off, I'm perfectly fine with that. I'm not here to "convert" you."

I'm getting used to your sharp tongue, implicit put downs and the like. I know you're not here to convert, but sometimes it seems like territorial pissing.

"What is the purpose of Anarchy 101 Q&A if not for those who want answers to submit questions.

This is actually one area in which I kind of agree with you. Not to step on the toes of anyone who maintains this website, but I think that the title of Anarchy101 is a wee bit misleading."

The answer here I like, not just for content but for its humanity. A statement, but not laying down the law, and yeah, lacking arrogance laugh.

"A few seem to have way too many rules by which everyone should abide by.

How is your own lack of familiarity with a particular topic a "rule" that other people are imposing on you? You're the one who decided to jump into a debate that I was having with edclear and, when it became obvious that you were in over your head, you make me out to be the bad guy for not going easy on you. How does that even make sense?"

It doesn't make sense as I wasn't necessarily firing a shot at you, guilty conscience? I've been reading through much material here, some going back years, and there seems to be a recurring trend of closing down those who do not seem to agree!

And not so. I never felt out of my depth, just what you were saying was half irrelevant, and/or extreme, blunt, as I said before to you. So don't take this too personal.

We touched upon the the "ineffability of communication". I'm left wondering if we can ever develop a clear means of exchange with the written word.

What I was getting at is, why not have a simple overview, not dumbing down as some put it, just straight talking language. Why does Anarchism need an expansive intricate philosophy?

Here you go:


Cool, nice site. I'll spend a lot of time there. Even dictionary definitions for a dumbass like me laugh. Genuinely, thanks.

I would say sometimes anarchism can be overly complicated and can be a bit too abstract for me sometimes. Regarding if it's too "intellectualirized," I'd say no and one doesn't need to be an intellectual to grasp the basic ideas of it.

3 Answers

0 votes
perhaps, and I am basing this on the P-leftist idea that people are uninterested in anarchy for the same reason they don't vote or follow state politics. The ideological and intellectual discourse is, or atleast seems irrelevant, boring. and alienated from their daily lives. which I think is the basis for the PL emphasis on lived experience over ideology.

edit: as much as I hate to say it, and love to read dot and others words, many people are just too dumb to understand, to apathetic to care, or too lazy to read/not literate enough.
by (890 points)
DD, while you're certainly correct that there are plenty of intellectually lazy people in the world, i find that as a response to any particular thing (why more people aren't interested in anarchy for one off-the-top-of-my-head example) it's intellectually lazy itself. the anarchist version of "they hate us for our freedoms" (what bush said after 9/11 as a catch all reason for why anyone might hate americans). it's better for me personally (and the conversations i'm interested in) to be more challenging about why people do what they do (or don't do what they don't do, i guess). msr and frere dupont texts are really good examples of this.
and ingrate, i reject you calling novatore, et al non-intellectuals. they were absolutely intellectuals (a silly subjective definition of intellectual is anyone who reads and understands nietzsche... ;) ), and intellectual and academic MUST be separated. because fuck academia, obviously. but maybe you have some other association/definition going on that you could clue me in on?
you are saying that, blaming uniterest entirely on people being to lazy to read or learn was a bit lazy, and hasty of an answer when it is probably much more nuanced? checks out

indeed! ;)
–3 votes

Dot didn't write: "[Anarchism is] intellectually lazy itself."

Absolutely. As unfortunate as it is to admit, there is a strong current of populist anti-intellectualism within the anarchist milieu itself. The irony is that this same tendency can be seen within Donald Trump's core base of supporters, who have stylized themselves as these "John Q. Everyman, Working Class Hero" types who are taking on the globalist corporate fat cats who want to ship their jobs overseas. While I would agree that institutionalized academia definitely needs to be critiqued, critiquing it on the grounds that it's "too intellectual" is just code for saying "I'm too stupid to understand what those ivory academics are talking about." It's certainly a valid critique to say that academia as a bureaucratic institution reflects the capitalist mental/manual division of labour and, as such, reduces "the Intellectual" to a 'specialist' or 'expert' in intellectual activity. It also isn't entirely inaccurate to say that universities have, to a significant extent, become havens for self-righteous left-activist PC police who want to cram their sensibilities down everyone else's throats. 

However, it is nothing less than a celebration of idiocy to conclude from all this that anarchists need to be "less intellectual." If anything, it's an argument for highjacking the intellectual tools that universities make available and using them for our own purposes. It would also be a mistake to say that this anti-intellectual streak is the sole province of the 'leftist' contingent of the anarchist milieu because I've seen it expressed among certain segments of the 'anti-civ' tendency as well. Without mentioning any names, it is particularly common among those who refuse to even engage with certain concepts and theorists because they're deemed to be too 'Postmodern,' too 'elitist,' too 'esoteric,' etc. This attitude is particularly common among those for whom anthropology is considered to be the Holy Grail of the social sciences. ;) So, no, I don't buy the idea that anarchists are "too intellectual." If anything, they aren't intellectual enough and need to seriously ratchet up their intellectual game.

by (840 points)
edited by

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced that thoughts and feelings can be so easily separated. The thoughts that a person chooses to have are, to a large extent, selected on the basis of feeling. That being the case, the idea that something can contradict what you feel but not what you think doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Like you, I also trust my feelings and instincts, but part of trusting my feelings and instincts is a willingness to admit to myself when they might be causing me to see things unclearly.

regarding the feelings not matching the thoughts....and in my discussion here, i mean to keep relating this back to the desire for anarchy vs. authority.....

for example, many people think that school, jobs, money, government will make them feel happier, safer, secure, etc......but the feelings they often get from those concepts - pain, fear, frustration, anxiety - contradict those thoughts....yet the thoughts of wanting to keep those concepts alive persist, despite the feelings.

for me to understand you better, perhaps you could give me an example where you radically changed your thoughts/perspective on something that was not initiated by emotions and feelings. and i'd find it interesting to know why you changed (or even had the desire to change) that perspective.

in my life, i came to read about anarchy once i really started giving more attention to the pain i felt from authority...something i did often as a young person (i tried to escape first grade during my first week, i skipped almost every class in my second year of high school, i ran away from home, briefly, at 16), but then i gave in for a while to the dominant thoughts of authority and control. once i began to acknowledge those feelings again (and they began mounting one on top of the other as i rolled into my early 30's), i started seeking out people and writing that also expressed those feelings, and i read stuff that delved into how these thought patterns came about, how they persist and get reinforced, and used that to deconstruct the language of hierarchy, to find ways to talk about it, and to act on those feelings. had i not given my senses and emotions that attention, i doubt i'd be on an anarchy site spilling my thoughts into cyberspace right now. :)

"for me to understand you better, perhaps you could give me an example where you radically changed your thoughts/perspective on something that was not initiated by emotions and feelings."

I'm not saying that emotions should be sacrificed in favour of intelligence. Quite the opposite, actually. I'm saying that there is no binary choice between intelligence and emotion. To choose intelligence over emotion would be no more intelligent than choosing emotion over intelligence. What you call "feeling," I would describe as intuition. To me, Intellect and Intuition are not opposed to each other but are, instead, complementary aspects of one and the same process - i.e. "Thinking" itself. Valuing one aspect over the other would quite literally be valuing one hemisphere of the brain over the other.

When I said in my previous comment that "part of trusting my feelings and instincts is a willingness to admit to myself when they might be causing me to see things unclearly," this doesn't mean that I can't use those very feelings and instincts to help me discern the lack of clarity and how I might overcome it. However, I can only accomplish this if I make use of an intelligent intuition rather than choosing one over the other. This false opposition is precisely what so-called "Enlightenment" rationalism got wrong - and it is long overdue for Intellect and Intuition to be placed on complementary rather than oppositional footing.

i didn't say there was a binary choice between emotions and thoughts, or that they are opposed to each other. that's your interpretation of what i wrote, but far from my meaning.

i don't sense we're much closer to understanding each other here, or that you're interpreting my comments in the way i've intended them.. it seems like we're having our own separate conversation about different i'll bow out for now.
I think this is what you'd call a two-sided miscommunication. But, yeah, I think you're probably right that we're talking about completely different things. No worries, it happens.
+2 votes

i do not think the fundamental concepts that constitute the basis for anarchist thought are in any way complicated or require any particularly intellectual skills or approaches to grasp.

i do think that many of the writings (and often discussions) that attempt to express and elaborate on (or in far too many cases, "define") these concepts can be over-intellectualized. i think of that as a "feature" of the education/academic institutions that this system/society relies on for its own perpetuation. and of course just the differences in individual makeup, desires, etc.

i often refer to a good friend and neighbor of mine, who had a 6th grade "education", and a very rough life. he was considered (by the more educated/academically inclined) illiterate and stupid. my friend and i had many, many hours of interesting discussions with him, particularly around the concepts of anarchy and how the government, capitalism and mass society relate to them. he had absolutely no problem understanding everything we talked about, and needless to say, he had strong anarchistic tendencies. in fact, to this day i have never met anyone who embodied the phrase "live and let live" more than him. RIP greg.

by (13.4k points)