Drawing more radicalist connections.


The graph which forms the basis of this entry.

I decided to write this entry based on observations about advocates of various radical ideologies. We tend to be very insular. With the exception of anti-capitalism, there isn’t really any cause that is widely embraced: we usually keep to our one hierarchy and promote destroying it as the one solution.

I hope that writing about many different positions on this blog has spared me this attitude. I have spent a great deal of time writing about at least five of these. My objective here is not to change anyone’s mind but for me to explain my reasoning on why I think these issues are connected.

I have previously described the connection between antinatalism and radical feminism, and between antinatalism and the pro-abortion position. I have also touched on various other connections, but not in a systemic way. In this entry, I want to make more explicit what I see as the various connections between the radical ideologies I’ve written about on this blog.

I admit the nature and number of connections is more or less arbitrary; each position could be subdivided or expanded as desired. I tried to use the concepts and labels that are most used. The one exception is my replacement of the word “anarchism” with “self-government,” as I thought it was more descriptive and more fitting to what anarchism actually is about. Anarchism is supposed to be an ideology against all hierarchies, but anarchists generally seem to have little concern with actually abolishing all hierarchies (religion, government, capitalism… eh, let’s call it a day), as many feminists have learned in their attempts to join anarchist movements.

These ideologies I’ve put on the graph are all radical ideologies, but I haven’t really defined what that means. To me, an ideology is radical if it follows the following principles:

1. It offers a systemic analysis of an issue, showing its structure and cause/effect relationships.
2. It strikes at the root of some issue, identifies a hierarchy or other basic source generating the problems about that issue.
3. It presents a solution: debunking the false beliefs generated by the identified source, presenting the truths that result from the systemic analysis, acting in accordance with those truths.

As a result, these ideologies generally present us with a view of what’s right and what’s wrong. In general, coercion is wrong and freedom is right, hierarchies are wrong and egalitarianism is right, dogma is wrong and critical thinking is right, and so on.

The specifics of course vary depending on the issue addressed, but there is definitely a radicalist mindset. I know that if I talk to a radical, I will tend to be on a similar wavelength, and if I talk to a liberal (I don’t talk to conservatives so don’t even think about it), we’re unlikely to see eye to eye ethically or politically.

In contrast, a “moderate” or mainstream ideology usually follow these principles:

1. It offers an individualized analysis of an issue, reducing everything to agency, consent, and other individual-centric concepts.
2. It offers a superficial analysis which relies on popular beliefs, assumptions, political narratives, etc.
3. It presents a solution which entails working within the system to effect change, without challenging any fundamental premise of that system.

The general ethical corollary to these ideologies is that there’s no such thing as objective right and wrong and that moral evaluations are inherently subjective and arrogant. The whole “values are passé” attitude should probably partially be blamed on post-modernism, but either way it’s a very convenient position for a “moderate” ideology to take. Religious or other dogmatic ideologies hide their subjectivism behind a veneer of idealistic certainty.

So let me go through every connection, giving what I think is the justification for each of them. Keep in mind that these connections do not describe the ideologies in their entirety (e.g. there’s a lot more to children’s rights than just the consequences of procreation).

I also want to point out beforehand that I am not stating every advocate of one side must necessarily be an advocate of the other; I’m making a statement about what I think are the causal relations between them. If you disagree, that’s fine, although I would welcome further comments.

For those wondering, I didn’t include anti-racism because I know very little about race theory (although I do intend to remedy that lacuna).

***

antinatalism / children’s rights: Antinatalists are concerned not only with procreation being wrong, but also to the deleterious effects of procreation. Natalists hold, for the most part, that procreation is always permissible no matter the consequences to the resulting child. This is an attack on human rights, made acceptable only because it is made against children.

antinatalism / pro-abortion: This connection, I think, is pretty obvious: if one believes that procreation is wrong then abortion, as a means to prevent procreation, is not only permissible but desirable. Contraception is very fallible, and discouraging PIV is unlikely to be successful in a pornography-driven society.

antinatalism / radical feminism: I’ve written about this before. My basic point here is that natalism subsists on the back of women, and natalist arguments always assume (mostly by omission) the exploitation of women’s bodies and labor. Therefore a radical feminist approach, in standing against this assumption, debunks the natalist position and provides justification for antinatalism.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the reduction of harm to women entails lower reproductive rates, because a lot of procreation, especially in countries where genderism is more prevalent, is driven by male entitlement to PIV and the validation of having children.

antinatalism / radical environmentalism: One line of reasoning on procreation being wrong is that humans, for whatever reason, can’t create a liveable environment: crime, poverty, corruption and war seem to be constants of “human civilization.” Environmental destruction and degradation is an increasingly important part of that. Humans are making this planet unliveable and are bringing about the conditions of their own destruction. The dominant economic system does not take into account the well-being of future generations.

So it’s wrong to bring new people into this world when they may very well think this world is not good enough to be born into. Furthermore, it’s been demonstrated that the very worst thing any person can do to attack the environment is to have children: given that fact, it’s hard to understand why anyone committed to the environment would choose to have children or would consider procreation anything but ethically wrong (if not universally, then at least right now).

radical feminism / radical environmentalism: Feminism and environmentalism have a connection in that they are both concerned with the Other: women as objectified, natural life as objectified, women and natural life as targets of exploitation. In fact, women are sometimes objectified by being associated with natural life. But most important is the theoretical framework which underlies both patriarchal exploitation and capitalist exploitation. It’s no coincidence that they use the same language to speak of both (rape, pillage, destroy) and the same arguments of necessity and natural superiority.

radical feminism / anti-capitalism: I have not met any radical feminist who isn’t anti-capitalism, and for good reason: inherent in capitalism’s “may the strongest win” ideology is the perpetuation of structural inequality, women being one of those groups which has always been made unequal. It is impossible to “reform” capitalism because it will always seek to exploit the weaker elements of society: if it’s not women or POC, it’ll be somebody else.

radical environmentalism / anti-capitalism: I think this is a no-brainer, since it is the rise of industrial capitalism which has led to the current environmental crisis. The capitalistic ideology of “expanding at all costs” combined with globalization inevitably leads to environmental destruction on a worldwide scale. To the radical environmentalist, all life is inherently valuable, or at least there’s no reasonable criterion by which we could separate “valuable” from “non-valuable” life; to the entrepreneur, life is only valuable if it can be turned into a resource, which means the destruction, pillage, suffocation of nature.

anti-capitalism / determinism: The rejection of the free will/choice/agency doctrine and the acceptance of determinism implies a number of things about ethics. The most important change is that there is no place for blame in a deterministic worldview. This means that the justification of capitalist inequality through blame becomes indefensible, and ultimately it seems to me that all defenses of inequality reduce themselves to some form of blame (“people get what they deserve,” “they should work harder,” “they were born in the wrong country,” “some of us are born better than others,” and so on). If I am correct in my position that determinism is profoundly anti-inequality, then it is highly incompatible with capitalism.

Another area where eliminating blame entails a great deal of ethical change is our confrontational justice system based on revenge. From a deterministic standpoint, revenge, while a natural human emotion, has no place whatsoever in public policy. The confrontational nature of the justice system is what makes it favor corporations and the power elite over the rights of the individuals.

anti-capitalism / self-government: Another no-brainer there I think, as self-government is by definition the antithesis of all hierarchies, including capital-democracy. Self-government basically means that decision-making and management are made by the individuals concerned by those decisions and management, and decisions are taken in a small-scale, direct and egalitarian way. Every single principle of self-government contradicts representative democracy, workplace hierarchies, public education, the legal system, and so on.

19 thoughts on “Drawing more radicalist connections.

  1. Brian L March 12, 2015 at 09:13 Reply

    Very nice explanation of the connections between radical ideologies. This should be kept at the top as an introduction to the blog.

    I want you to know that, before I came to your blog, I never once considered myself a radical at all. That I wasn’t happy with the status quo was all I knew. I was one of many who, at the very least, was misguided or ignorant. I’d would have never read anything on feminism, because liberal feminism was all I knew, and I knew I disliked it. Not so with the radical form. The same goes for all the other concerns, in their liberal forms. And I believed hat a proper application of regulation in a capitalist system ie. mixed economy, could overcome, at least in small measure, it’s warts. But it’s just a leaking bandage on a sucking chest wound. And my antinatalism, brought on by all that is wrong with this life-system, made me, in my own mind, not a radical, but a loner and outcast.

    Whether I go beyond beyond my antinatalism and become an active radical is up in the air. I’m already so tired of life that I just want to fade away. But it won’t be from a lack of unstanding now. And so I thank you, sincerely.

    • Francois Tremblay March 12, 2015 at 13:27 Reply

      Yes, I’ve had the same experience with liberal feminism and mainstream environmentalism as well. I could tell they were bullshit but didn’t know there were alternatives, or didn’t come into contact with the theory behind them. Thanks to the Internet, I eventually did stumble on both. Same for atheism, when I was younger.

      • Brian L March 12, 2015 at 16:43 Reply

        The Internet is certainly a blessing, for lack of a better term, in being exposed to alternative modes of thinking, and finding commonality with others.

        I was lucky growing up in terms of atheism. My parents, nominally Anglican, never forced any of us into religious belief structures, but let us decide that, at least, for ourselves. But all the other belief structures were decided for us, as for them. They didn’t know any better.

  2. Brian L March 12, 2015 at 14:53 Reply

    I was going to write something else, but a thought stopped me. If all these things came to pass, and the life-system bettered, would it be enough to satisfy my antinatalism? I do know the consent issue would remain, as well as suffering. The human condition would remain the same; fear, loss, pain, death….

    • Francois Tremblay March 12, 2015 at 17:21 Reply

      Yes, there are arguments which are true regardless of the condition of life. Still, I admit antinatalism wouldn’t be such an issue for most of us, yea. I guess I wouldn’t complain that much if life was wonderful and full of pleasure and as free as possible (but for that to be true, we’d need to be far, far, far fewer people than we are right now anyway).

    • Francois Tremblay March 12, 2015 at 17:22 Reply

      By the way, your gravatar looks like a giant dick. Just saying.

  3. Brian L March 12, 2015 at 18:48 Reply

    Lol, it does, doesn’t it? But just like life, I didn’t choose it…. Personally, I was hoping it looked more like one of those inane, smiling, dancing daisys I sometimes see on a car dashboard. Those things always get me giggling, looking hopelessly optimistic. :D

    Okay, yeah, there’s the occasional joy lol

    • Francois Tremblay March 12, 2015 at 18:49 Reply

      Yea, it does look like some kind of flower too. A dickish flower.

      • Brian L March 12, 2015 at 20:35 Reply

        Perhaps I should change it. Do I need to have an account to do this?

        • Francois Tremblay March 12, 2015 at 20:48 Reply

          You can only trade it for your own avatar. And yes, I think you need an account… I’m not sure how this works. I think it’s tied in with WordPress itself.

      • Heretic March 16, 2015 at 16:18 Reply

        LMAO!

        • Francois Tremblay March 16, 2015 at 16:20 Reply

          On the other hand, flowers are also yonic, so that’s a little confusing. Maybe it’s a trans flower. We need to be considerate for its need for flower-only bathrooms.

          • Heretic March 16, 2015 at 16:44 Reply

            The flower hasn’t said anything to me. I think I need to read up on the language of trans-flower theory, and check my human privilege.

        • Francois Tremblay March 16, 2015 at 16:57 Reply

          Check your sapiens privilege (I would say homo privilege, but that would sound too much like homosexuality privilege, which is more adequately covered by “monosexist privilege”). MALE FLOWERS CAN HAVE PISTILS TOO!!!! DIE SAPIENT SCUM!!!!

        • Brian L March 16, 2015 at 17:50 Reply

          I get the humour, but this is why I lean closer to the closed side of the two antinatalisms. If a thumbnail icon I didn’t get to choose (and can’t change without a signing up for a WordPress account I don’t want) is a bigger deal than what I have to say, nothing in this world will really get better.

          • Heretic March 17, 2015 at 15:03 Reply

            This is why I love this blog and reading the comments.

          • Brian L March 17, 2015 at 17:53 Reply

            *Burp*….

          • Francois Tremblay March 18, 2015 at 01:31 Reply

            Now you look like a creature with a huge nose.

          • Brian L March 18, 2015 at 12:15 Reply

            Ha! *Snort*

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