Monday, September 28, 2015

How Ignorance of Language Corrupts Understanding

  Language is important.  It is the means by which we transmit our ideas to others.  The improper or imprecise use of language while engaging outgroups will lead to bad results, this is especially true if those in communication hold positions of influence within their respective ingroups.  In many instances of history, physical conflicts were precipitated by miscommunication--by faulty language skills.

  Brian Patrick Mitchell's post on Christian Anarchists falls into the category of the above description.  I think he simply does not thoroughly understanding the language of his study.  Mitchell's work has previously been favorably received by both Justin Raimondo and Tom Woods even if Woods voiced some reservation of his book.

  Mitchell spends a great deal of his article detailing the history of two root words: arche and kratos.  I have no issue with his treatment of these roots and his discussion of them is easily followed( credit to him )and easy to understand.  In the following section, Mitchell develops some theological views of the relationship between the Father and the Son--again he does a nice job of writing clearly so as to make his point easy to understand.  I am not entirely convinced by his theological argument but at the same time I do not find it offensive.  I am not here going to discuss this part of the article as I find it rather a personal take and not what is at issue for me.

Here I turn to his treatment of anarchist.  He refers to an anarchist as:

  "is a rebel who respects no one as his head and looks to no one as his guide. He believes himself a free spirit, unbeholden to any originating archē and therefore unbound by any governing person, principle, tradition, or order—free to define for himself the nature of reality, choosing his own name, his own rules, even his own gender."

  Anarchists certainly can be the above but more importantly the above quote strikes me as a good description of a citizen of any modern Western democracy-not anarchists.  An anarchist will, more chances than not, hold himself up as a member of a community, responsible to his neighbors, his kinsman, his family.  An anarchist is simply opposed to the initiation of force and institutions that maintain monopolies on the initiation of force.  Modern democracy, the most recent incarnation of the state, is the destroyer of hierarchy, of order, of peaceful/voluntary interaction, and of the transmission of traditional social and cultural values.

  Anarchy embraces individuality, as does Orthodoxy, and it wholly rejects egalitarianism--radically.

    "Both insist on the self as the point of origin and reference for all definitions of goodness, truth, and justice, in effect replacing the First Person of the Holy Trinity with the selfish first person—the singular “I” in the case of individualism, the plural “we” in the case of egalitarianism."

  I think Mitchell may misunderstand that an anarchist can voluntarily decide to submit to the rule and authority of God and his Church the same way a statist would.  I am unclear how he cannot see this. The only way is by completely misunderstanding the language of his topic--anarchist.  As an anarchist( actually I am a Christian first ), I voluntarily accept the authority of God.  There is no contradiction here. I am opposed to the initiation of force---be it by one person or by a group of persons. Simply because a large number of persons tell me to surrender my property does not change the moral calculus of the theft.  If anything I have a difficult but not impossible time seeing Mitchell the statist as a Christian.

    "  Anarchism is thus the exact opposite of the Christian way of relating. It is not actually a way of relating but a way of not relating. Its response to all others is rebellion or abandonment, attack or escape. Its model is Lucifer, the Arch Anarchist. Christians who take his name, identifying themselves as “anarchists,” do so thoughtlessly and irresponsibly, and they should stop."

  Anarchism and Christianity are not in opposition but, if anything, the Non-Aggression Principle and the Golden Rule are in agreement.  Contrary to Mitchell's assertion that anarchism is Lucifer's model, states will ultimately always pervert the law against those it exercises power over--all the while reassuring its citizens that it has their best interests at heart.  This is the evil.  I identify myself as an Orthodox Christian anarchist always.  I would suggest to Mr Mitchell the following for reference:

  The Foundations of Bioethics by H. Tristram Engelhardt

  A Realistic Libertarianism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

  On Democracy, De-Civilization, and the Quest for a New Counterculture by Hans-Hermann Hoppe


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