“You used to believe X!”

There is a peculiar kind of bullying done by Anarchists to their fellow Anarchists whom they consider “not good enough.” This bullying consists of dredging their past, find out what belief systems they used to identify with, and berate them on that basis or accuse them of still holding to those belief systems. I’ve felt particularly victim to this form of bullying, although it’s used against a lot of people.

At first glance, this seems rather bizarre. After all, most people are indoctrinated in some statist belief system when they grow up. I don’t know any Anarchist who was always an Anarchist. So this criticism in fact applies to pretty much everyone in the movement. So why apply it only to some people? If taken to its logical conclusion, it would merely lead to the No True Scostman argument, and deny the existence of any Anarchist ideology whatsoever.

Actually, I believe that this has more to do with what dbzer0 identifies as the political path of the freethinker. “Empathetics” hate “Individualistics,” and “Individualistics” hate “Empathetics,” and both sides will do everything they can to humiliate the other. I think it’s very ego-driven, with people on both sides feeling as if their particular path is the “right one,” which gives them the correct values and attitudes, and the people on the other side are incomplete somehow because they come from the wrong ideologies, even though the starting points of both sides, Social Democratism and Minarchist Capitalism, are equally ridiculously false and immoral.

Let me make this clear: everyone’s past political ideas are absurd, mine as well as everyone else’s. Of course I don’t like to admit it any more than anyone else. But if you can’t admit the basic truth that’s right in front of your eyes, you’re absolutely worthless as a human being. This is why I think these accusations are absolute garbage.

I am absolutely not interested in discussing politics with people who piss on each other based on what they used to believe. Such people, Anarchists or not, are absolutely useless to the movement or the evolution of ideas. In fact, they are the enemy of any such evolution, since they refuse to grant people the right to admit they were wrong. Refusing to grant people such a right is as irrational as refusing to grant the sky the right to become dark at night. Such people are insane and not worthy of rational discourse.

I realize saying this will make me no new friends, and will just piss off my opponents, but I did not start this blog to make friends. I don’t actually care about how many people read it: when I started it, my tagline was “you probably shouldn’t be here.” I am all alone in this thing and it’s the only way I can speak the truth without being attacked. I’m very happy to have the readership that I have, but I will keep saying what I think is the truth, rather than spouting whatever lies the Anarchist community wants me to spout to make them my friends.

5 thoughts on ““You used to believe X!”

  1. Roderick T. Long May 16, 2010 at 11:45

    I think some of the criticisms you’ve encountered are less about the mere fact that you used to hold views you now reject (that would indeed be a silly criticism) and more about the fact that you used to hold views whose proponents you now angrily and intolerantly denounce as dishonest and ill-intentioned — which suggests that either you’re denouncing your past self as dishonest and ill-intentioned, or else that you’re exempting yourself from the standards you apply to others.

  2. Francois Tremblay May 16, 2010 at 14:06

    Funny, I’ve NEVER heard anyone argue this. They always argue that I’m wrong because I used to be X. Nothing about being dishonest or ill-intentioned. You’re just rationalizing.

  3. Cosh May 17, 2010 at 16:10

    A specious argument, easily dismissed.
    ‘You used to believe in x’
    Sure. And I used to believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy too. So what?
    This is an ad hominem argument, and merely shows the weakness of the person’s point of view who uses it. Make a joke of it.
    ‘Not only did I believe x, but I did not change my socks or bathe regularly either. What do you think about the issue I just raised?’
    RT Long presents a possibility that should not be casually dismissed. ARE you being negatively dismissive of ideas to which you once adhered? Or is it that your critics perceive that you are still working within the model you have intellectually rejected?
    No right or wrong here, just something to ponder.

    • Francois Tremblay May 17, 2010 at 16:33

      Of course I am being negatively dismissive of ideas to which I once adhered. I feel bitter at having held them. Who doesn’t?

  4. Peter May 29, 2010 at 21:13

    I thought being an anarchist is about realizing that people are constantly changing in effect from their social relationships. We continue to develop, and realize this, that’s why we don’t believe in an ideology.

    Anarchists live in the present, not the past. The living should rule the dead, not vice versa. The same could be said of past beliefs.


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