“Here is what I'm saying it comes down to- Do you matter, ingrate? I think you do. Don't I? Don't we as people matter? Don't we have worth, in and of ourselves, and not just in how much the "greater good" or the "common good" can sacrifice us for?”
Do I matter or do you matter? I don’t know. I am a collection of carbon, water and minerals, with some electricity making me go. There is nothing else. No soul. No spirit. I don’t matter any more than any other being (and definitions of who is and isn’t included get real murky really quick), except in how I relate to those around me. If I keep myself and my “property” separate from those with whom I’m close, with whom I am trying to live and build something other than the mediated capitalist bullshit we experience today, then I’m probably not worth very much, And to be frank, IRL I am not nearly so good at living up to my ethics (either the communal side or the confrontational side) as my writing might otherwise make it appear. We do still live in (and are products of) a completely fucked system. As individuals, we don’t need to sacrifice to the common good, it is fine to not do so. In fact, I would posit that the lowest common denominator in decision making for any anarchist should be themselves – their desires and well being; but to choose to not consider group dynamics has the potential of isolating the individual from the collective, and in most cases, people desire relations with that collective. If we are not trying to have relations based on lording stuff over others, then mutual aid seems like the logical, ethical, and, based on the anthropological record, normal (I know this is loaded) way of doing so.
“If I'm living a peaceful life, even if it's one you don't agree with, whoever comes in and tries to govern my actions through the use or threat of force, THAT person I must as an Anarchist oppose even to my death.”
What life is peaceful? None of us, from the grocery shopper to the omnivorous small scale farmer to myself as a vegan lives a peaceful life, or a life not predicated on violence towards others. Top argue otherwise is just, plain and simple, bullshit. Do you eat food? Where does it come from? Who was it? Whose home did you plow up to grow it? What is your coat made of? Leather? How did the cow feel about that? Wool? Was that sheep allowed to live without fences? Cedar bark? Do you think the tree grew bark just for you to strip it? My point in all this is not to say you shouldn’t have any of those particular coats, but that to speak of living peacefully iws to not acknowledge the violence inherent to life. Sure you should oppose others trying to govern your life, and if you live in a little house on the prairie, and if you get your apples, and your coats, and your toys, and your pretty things by your own hands (and those of your child and wife and whoever else lives with you) , fine. However, again, if your apple tree has some apples, and I wander past, see an apple, and feel hungry, what is to stop me from taking it from the tree? You? You don’t own it (if anything the tree owns it). What happens if I do take it? Will you come tell me to leave? Will you throw rocks at me? Build a fence? Shoot at me?
And what if I am starving and knock on your door asking for food? You can certainly choose to turn me away, but I can just as soon choose to rob you of some apples (or a coat, or toy, or a pretty thing). There are no inherent rights to anything. Rights are some enlightenment era bullshit.
“And if the number of a man's apples or coats becomes enough for you to threaten his life, it's time to step back and remember the principles for which we became Anarchists in the first place- because no person or group of people have the right to dictate our actions.”
I think it is presumptuous to assume we became anarchists for the same reasons. Yes, no person has the right to dictate our actions, but there are certain people, people who have most of the coats, and the apples, and the toys, and the pretty things while many others have none of, or not enough of them. A part of why I became an anarchist was that I saw that this was fucked. Over time, I studied different ways of living, and I found that this disparity was not the case for 99% of human existence, and while I don’t identify as an anarcho-primitivist, I do think that there is a way to reclaim that, but that it means rejecting a whole lot tht we have been taught to take for granted. And while I am leary of advocating a return to hunter-gatherer societies (not that I oppose such a return, but I am unwilling to offer a particular roadmap), I do think there is much to be learned from the ways in which people relate in societies that ae based on face-to-face interactions, who rely on each other for survival, and who generally (and with some big caveats) live with very little social stratification. Why and how I became an anarchist is a story I’ve told elsewhere, and that I will likely tell again, but a comment on Anarchy101 hardly seems the place to hold forth on it yet again. In summation, don’t assume, because I’m already an ass, and what does that leave for you to be?
“You're free to dislike my number of coats. You're even free to insist to me on a rational basis that I give them to you for a mutually agreed upon compensation. But it is.. always.. government or individual.. the person who refuses to Live and let live, who can not deal with disagreements by civil means.. who is the aggressor and the self appointed governer over others. It is such a person that Anarchy does and must oppose.”
What you propose sounds incredibly similar to the current state of things. The rich and powerful have way more than they need to live, and by and large, these things were acquired not by personal initiative,or because they are more deserving, but by a really messy confluence of privileges (many of which manifest as what we are taught should be read as more deserving and likely by their own initiative. If you have coats you don’t need and my family, friends and loved ones are freezing, you can sure as hell bet that I will dislike or resent you. If we have asked for the coats to keep us from freezing to death and you refuse, then the time for civility is, from our perspective, done. Live and let live is fine, but none of us exist in a vacuum (as Dot and others have pointed out elsewhere on this forum and in related threads). I am fine letting youlive, but if letting you live proghibits my life, you’d better bet that I will act out.
JaysThoughts, I expect that much of what I’ve written will fail to resonate with you. I gather, from your posts that you are a person who values private property in a way I don’t (or perhaps, more accurately that I don’t think is ultimately beneficial to anyone). I have no interest in engaging with libertarians (er, anarcho-capitalists), but I am answering you at length because you are clearly doing more than trolling, and while I don’t agree with what you put forward, I feel like I can engage with you here in relative earnestness. If nothing else, it is good mental calisthenics. I do think we could live in the same world, and probably could even live in the same general area. Perhaps our differing perspectives would keep each other in check and honest, but just as possible, they would bring us in to direct conflict. What makes me an anarchist isn’[t avoiding that conflict, what makes me an anarchist is my unwillingness to call the cops or raise and army to enforce my will on others.