Too much comfort and abstraction will kill you

I know this post is rather spontaneous, and I don’t plan on writing about the Gods and Radicals stuff for too long, or at least unless something major happens, but it seems that Rhyd Wildermuth’s article about anarchism just yesterday received a response on that very same website written by Christopher Scott Thompson, an anarchist and contributing author. The article, titled “We Are What We Always Were: A Response To “What Happened To Anarchism”“, is a sincere challenge to Wildermuth’s arguments against anarchist anti-fascism and I find that it put some real, heartfelt perspective to what Wildermuth strives to complain about, as well exposing his lies.

But, the article itself is not the main subject of this post, though the perspective it provides is a big part of what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is some reflections and perspective that was inspired by Thompson’s response.

Probably the most important point to consider from the article is about conflict, more specifically Thompson’s response to Rhyd’s points about the tactics used by anti-fascists. In response to Rhyd’s point about how it was ironic that anarchist websites got banned from Patreon and Facebook after Antifa groups “led the call” for far-right groups getting banned, Thompson argued, pretty convincingly, that even their own groups getting censored was, while bad for them, worth the risk to take out the far-right. His point was that a tactic in itself doesn’t become bad just because it can be turned against you, because the same applies for every tactic, in that there is no tactic that isn’t in some ways a double-edged sword. According to Thompson, everyone knew that this would happen, and accepted the risk on the grounds that it was worth taking the hit if it meant preventing harm being done. While I tend to be skeptical of deplatforming and definitely opposed to censorship on principle, when it comes to doxxing fascists who are about to do violence on others and bully others into committing suicide, it almost seems like there’s no reason to oppose that. I mean it’s just as Thompson says, which is more ethical? Is it more ethical to let fascists on 8chan “troll storm” Sophie Labelle into committing suicide because they didn’t like the fact that a trans person was creating comics that offended them, or is it more ethical to stop those fascists from doing that? If Thompson is right, the 8chan fascists seemed to stop harassing Sophie Labelle only after anti-fascists doxxed the people involved. I can’t help but think back to what happened to Near, the emulator developer who was bullied into suicide because they were trans and autistic, and wonder if perhaps the people at KiwiFarms might have backed off if they had the feeling that, perhaps, they would face the consequences of what they were doing? Would Near still be alive?

The perspective that Thompson offers is like a lightning bolt, it thrusts something important, but often forgotten, to the center of consciousness. From the perspective of Thompson, and the active, on-the-ground anti-fascist movement of which he is a part, it’s all about conflict, because theirs is a struggle in a real and visceral sense, one that is violent in nature in response to violence against the marginalized. For liberals, conservatives, vulgar libertarians (as opposed to radical, socialist ones), and apparently for people like Rhyd Wildermuth too, this is all just a conversation of ideas and opinions that can be hashed out intellectually. That’s in stark contrast to the anti-fascists fighting on the streets: for them, this is war.

Struggle, conflict, war, these are things that are lost to people who live in comfort and abstraction. Rhyd Wildermuth lives in the Ardennes, far away from anything happening in the United States that was once his home. Angie, his friend, is a middle class online socialite from London. Her friend, Aimee Terese is the rich daughter of a Lebanese capitalist living all the way in Australia, all the while doing nothing but incoherently rambling about the politics of a land whose people she has no real connection to. There’s all sorts of people who live, if not in comfort, then certainly in isolation from the struggle that persists at the center of the present. But if you live in relative security, comfort, alienation from struggle, it’s easy to think what you do about people who actually live in struggle and conflict, and make it their business to claw their way out rather than try to talk their way out of everything forever. And sometimes, just as is the case for the bourgeoisie, if you have comfort you’ll stoop to anything to protect it, even becoming a grotesque reactionary. I once met a guy who lived in the happiest country in the world and for him everything was about how to win debates and resolve the issues of “wokeness” to make socialism electable. The last time I saw him, he had fully embraced white nationalism. That’s what becomes of these people, because the truth is, if they’re not trying to hold on to their pre-existing biases, they have no skin in the game, and have no respect for those who do have skin in the game. Besides, all they like to do is get offended about everything and then complain about their rivals supposedly being like that. That is weakness.

Here’s something important to take away, consider it a lesson in life: never allow your struggle to be reduced to an intellectual quandary. If you do, then you’ll spend too much time trying to figure out how to solve the quandary, but all that means in practice is creating a set of rationalisations to justify yourself to others in a way that you hope your enemies will be satisfied with. They won’t be satisfied, because they never are, because that was never the point for them. Their real goal has never been to achieve resolution through reason, but instead to dominate you, gaslight you, and create insurmountable obstacles for your goals that can only be overcome on their terms, and while you never win they sit comfortably knowing that their victory is forever assured. Meanwhile the war, if it hasn’t already been ceded through intellectual compromise, is still going on all around you and your friends are dying or being brutalized, and figuring out how to rationalize yourself intellectually has solved nothing.

What has the working class ever gained by arguing that they have the right to equitable and humane living conditions, instead of fighting for those very conditions? What would Stonewall have ever gotten for the LGBT community if not for the riots of 1969? People talk about the American Founding Fathers to use them as a stamp of authority on behalf of their own positions, often for conservative goals, but you would never be able to do that if they didn’t wage revolutionary war against the British crown. Why do trans people have to debate their existence and their rights and endure the suffering of marginalization while their enemies get all the social protection and every benefit of the doubt?

Never forget what Heraclitus said, “war is common, strife is justice, and all things happen according to strife and necessity”. Struggle is real, it animates the transformation of things and of society, because Nature consists of cyclical growth and change, and therefore transformation. Life strives, therefore it fights. Therefore, the world turns. Change, justice, power, emancipation, these grow out of the barrel of a gun or the clash of a blade, or the smash of a brick, or the light of a flame. That’s also the only reason capitalism exists: it won the battle of the brutal transformation of the social order – that is what Marxists call the dialectic of history, and, I assure you, I’m convinced lately that the implications of dialectical transformation contain a grain of brutality to them. It’s also the only reason that losers get to evangelize about the greatness of civilization and progress, because they live off the fat of historic victory, turning that victory into the law of the land, and are eager to avoid losing their place.

Remember the struggle that matters, matters to you, because that knowledge at least might as well be sacred. If you lose it, you lose yourself.

Life Is A Struggle by Gustav Klimt (1903)

Zeitgeist: The Scam

In 2007, a man by the name of Peter Joseph set out make a conspiracy documentary movie about Christianity, 9/11, and the Federal Reserve (which are not related subjects), titled Zeitgeist: The Movie. A year later, he released a sequel titled Zeitgeist: Addendum, which continues to cover the Federal Reserve, but also lays out Jacque Fresco’s utopian vision called The Venus Project, which tries to create a “resource-based economy” based on social cooperation and scientific methodology. In 2011, a third movie got released, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, which lays out the project more, as well as discussing human nature.

Now that the history is out the way, let me tell why this is all a sham.

Sure it was convincing when I watched the movies in 2010, and shocking enough, but it’s a mess thinking about it now.

The first movie’s first assertion is that Christianity is a cult based around Jesus being a sun god, based on the false assumption that “God’s Son” is a homophone of Sun, even though the English  language wasn’t around at the time of the Roman Empire when Christianity was born, or when Jesus was even supposed to be alive. Why is that important? Because son and sun are only homophones in the English language, and they had different words in the languages that came before it. Furthermore, it tries to assert that Jesus was a direct rip-off of other saviour gods, most notably Horus. He asserts that Horus, and other deities (such as Mithras and Krishna, freaking Krishna) had by and large the same background as Jesus, though none of them were crucified or were born on December 25 (and that’s not counting the fact that Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25th to begin with) and most of them did not have virgin mothers. It tries to assert Christianity as a rip-off of pagan beliefs simply by nature of coincidental similarities, some of which might as well have been pulled out of his ass.

The second is just one long 9/11 conspiracy bit. If this was just a 9/11 truth movie, I’d be fine with it. But this is dealing with 9/11 after dealing with Christianity, so the real problem is not 9/11 conspiracies, but rather the progression, as the ideas are unrelated.

The third assertion is that the Federal Reserve runs everything; again, after 9/11 and Christianity, forming a string of unrelated topics. I used to believe that, but now, I doubt it. They also believe that World War 1, World War 2, and Vietnam, were provoked by a 9/11-esque conspiracy, all of them involving the sinking of maritime vessels, and were aimed at feeding money to central banking. The movie also decontextualizes quotes, sources, and the movie Network.

The other two movies serve primarily to promote the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement, the end of the second movie blatantly giving tips on how to be part of it. While Moving Forward was actually the most entertaining movie of the three (you gotta love the animations), it’s not much. I find it ironic that Peter Joseph in the movie tries to debunk the notion that his movement is not communist or Marxist, while the Venus Project actually comes very close. I mean think, society is run by what is effectively a giant computer, and he honestly believes people will look after the system of their own free will because he believes the system will take care of them, and he also advocates a kind of sharing where you don’t truly own anything. Sounds like communism to me, a kind of futuristic, holistic, utopian, communism, and it doesn’t sound good to me.

Speaking of Peter Joseph, and the Zeitgeist Movement, all the Zeitgeist Movement ever was is just a self-proclaimed activist wing for the Venus Project, and Joseph himself is little more than a conspiracy theorist and a charismatic figurehead who silences dissenting opinion on his forums. Doesn’t that sound like a cult to you? He rarely talks about 9/11, but will openly ban anyone who attempts to debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories, while not banning anyone who promotes them, all while claiming his movement is not about 9/11. He calls everyone “kids” to seem superior, calls everyone who disagrees with him insanse or mentally ill, and silences dissenting opinion on his forums. A user named peterpan posted a slightly dissenting opinion on the forum, and later got his post deleted, topic locked, and he himself later got banned.

Ex-members will notice a growing cult of personality around Peter Joseph. In the movement, his word is law, whether anyone in the movement likes to admit it or not, and he acts unilaterally to forbid members from talking to outsiders and banning members who post on their forums who aren’t glorifying him.

To conclude, the movie has one good intention: teaching you not to obey the establishment. Unfortunately, he wants you to follow his word instead. All in all, I’m glad I never joined the movement.