The radical nature of love. (Part 2/2)

Because control is so pervasive as a principle, and non-coercion is rejected in the political arena, love appears like a radical outlook. Indeed, many have interpreted the story of Jesus as a man persecuted for preaching the law of love. While this is rather debatable, one can no doubt say that the Gospels are the closest thing Christianity has to the law of love (especially since the rest of the Bible is soaked in war and atrocities).

The main problem is that the Gospels talk about love but do not tell us why we should love, just like the rest of the Bible which dictates all sorts of moralities without giving a single piece of reasoning. Because love is so marginalized in our society- it’s supposed to be either something quaint or something you can only have with one other person in your life- it is vitally important to identify why we need love (because love is the only way out, and control only engenders more control), and why it must be so radical (because the immoral premise of control is near-universal).

Because it is preoccupied with controlling others, preferably without them knowing it, the control mindset is very cruel, clinical, calculating, utilitarian, even displaying a pragmatic affectation in its rationalizations despite being completely unworkable (control requires a great deal of energy and resources, and cannot survive or expand without great brutality and self-destruction). And because projection is a universal collectivist tactic, statists inevitably accuse Anarchists of being all of these things, and argue that the State is the source of all charity, compassion and security. Their reasoning, as always, is an exact reversal of the truth.

The State is a control apparatus. Its goal is to gain mastery over its subjects through fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to redistribute their resources at will.

Nowhere do we see the State’s nature of pure control than during war: no other period sees so much indoctrination, curtailing of freedom, and physical domination. The ideal wartime citizen is someone who cheers, works and kills without a word of doubt, which is to say, a puppet controlled by his imperialist masters. You can be quite sure that, although they may have cherished people in their personal lives, there was not one ounce of love or compassion in Abraham Lincoln’s or Harry Truman’s body. They are justly seen by Anarchists as cold-hearted killers.

Because the State concentrates most of the wealth in its host society through its crimes and steals manpower by indoctrination and physical domination, in short through control, and needs that wealth and manpower to wage large-scale warfare, Anarchy necessarily eliminates the possibility of large-scale warfare. As a general principle, inequality, which is fostered by the State, necessarily engenders first the possibility, then the existence, then the furtherance, of control.

All concentrations of power within a system of exploitation, whatever its specific nature or supported beliefs, twist people’s incentives. And I am also including its victims: it’s very easy for the victims of power to preach love and peace, but when they themselves take power, they follow the incentives like everyone else. This is proven by pretty much all revolutions in the history of the world. Once the victims wrestle power away from the former ruling class, they become even more cruel and oppressive than their predecessors. So any such pretense of seeking peace must be seen as the political manipulation that it is.

To come back to the subject of love, we can point out certain specific properties of love that are radical in nature, apart from being anti-coercion. For instance, love is egalitarian. When you love something, you draw it on the same level as you. Inequalities don’t factor in the desire because love is the recognition of value, and value exists regardless of inequality (it can however pose a barrier to it, such as social pressure). Indeed, the story of two lovers who seek each other despite being on different social levels is so well-known that it is a cliche by now. Love, by inducing the desire to be close to the object of love, makes us seek to breaks down barriers. This means that love is necessarily a force opposite to anything that seeks to put barriers between people (whether they be religious, political, class, age, etc). These are features of a radical ideology.

There is also the fact that not only love cannot entail force, but it itself cannot be enforced. You can indoctrinate people into feeling belonging, you can use force to kidnap them if they refuse to express a feeling, but you cannot force anyone to love anyone or anything else. Love can only be brought about by the recognition of values.

As a consequence of all this, we can say that Anarchy is the only alternative based on the law of love. Anarchy is a system of non-coercion, based on recognizing the inherent value of every individual and the moral equality of all individuals. Unlike all top-down ideologies based on control, Anarchy is a bottom-up ideology: it recognizes that social institutions must be based on the values of the people, their users, not on the values of any ruling class. It recognizes that all systems based on control must be eliminated before social peace and true prosperity (one based on the people’s values, not on democratic or capitalistic aims) can be achieved.

Thus we Anarchists must be careful of what we advocate. Anyone who advocates any collectivist system, therefore any system not based on the living values of the people, be it capitalist, socialist or communist, must be corrected. It is very clear that, for Anarchists to adequately represent the radical ideology of Anarchy, we must be equally radical in our approach. We must preach loud and clear that love, not control, is what we seek.

5 thoughts on “The radical nature of love. (Part 2/2)

  1. Joe August 16, 2008 at 22:50

    Great couple of posts. Really enjoyed them. While I don’t identify with Anarchism, per se, this write-up definitely puts straight a few things about it’s values that were previously unknown to me.

    Keep up the great work.


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  4. Lisa July 3, 2011 at 16:12

    Correction: The State is a control apparatus. Its goal is to gain mastery over its subjects through fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to redistribute *OUR resources at *IT’S will.

    • Francois Tremblay July 4, 2011 at 00:19

      Well, that’s what I meant by that sentence.

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