On Amoralist Anarchism


I’ve been a part of numerous online social networks or general social groups online that contains some amoralist anarchists, who either are former libertarian anarchists who have come to reject libertarianism or they are anarchists who rejected libertarianism from the get-go and reached the conclusion of anarchism from a completely different conceptual framework.
On the most personal level, the youtuber D4Shawn and the persona formerly known as Stodles (who now runs this website) are the two amoralist anarchists that I’ve interacted with most. D4Shawn used to be a libertarian anarchist, and made a separate channel one day trying to approach anarchism from a more utilitarian or relativistic perspective, which has recently devolved into an ethical nihilism. Stodles never was a libertarian, he jumped straight from white nationalism to anarchism, which created some confusion about his position along the way.Both Stodles and D4Shawn philosophically reject libertarianism while still prefering anarchism. D4Shawn effectively claims that ethics is completely useless metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, and thinks that we should be speaking in purely preferential terms. Stodles even appears to go so far as to imply that any conception of ethics inherently leads to rulership. On the other hand, both of them practically take positions that may very well tend towards libertarian anarchism, but it is functionally a mere statement of preferance from their perspective. This starts to hint at the complications that leads me to see this approach as silly.

While these amoralists may philosophicaly reject libertarianism, they essentially practically support it and they cannot completely avoid value-laden terminology. So while they may loudly proclaim their opposition to ethical principles and rights-concepts until they are blue in the face, they ultimately would like to live their lives in a way consistent with certain ethical principles and rights-concepts. While, unlike Stefan Molyneux, I am not arguing that this by itself proves those ethical principles and rights-concepts, it certainly gives reason for pause when comparing one’s behavior to one’s philosophy and may hint at a need to reanalyze the moral-practical dichotomy.

Anarchism is indistinguishable from anomie if there is an ethical vacuum. There is no such thing as a society in an ethical vacuum. Even if one concedes to the existence of some kind of subjectivity, I don’t think it logically follows that ethics is completely useless and irrelevant. An anarchist society either cannot conceptually be an anarchist society to begin with or will not last as an anarchist society for long if its philosophical and cultural norms deliberately undermine it. So it doesn’t make sense to act like anarchism is compatible with any set of values or to act as if all values are equal.

Various ethical principles can undermine anarchism, help foster it and widen its scope. Furthermore, merely having an ethical principle, whether it’s sensible or not, doesn’t necessarily lead to the use of violence to enforce it. Questions of the use of violence inherently are ethical questions themselves, and the behavior of an individual doesn’t always align with their philosophy. There really is no such thing as a person who has no ethical considerations, and this includes self-proclaimed ethical nihilists and various post-modernists. No one can really divorce themselves from goals, reasons for goals and means towards goals.

Such things almost always have a reason. It makes no sense to proclaim that you favor a society in which rulership is normatively shunned, and then say you have no real reason for it other than preference  To borrow Molyneuxian terminology, that reduces it to the level of “I like ice cream”. Surely, a cause such as anarchism is not at the level of “I like ice cream”. If one is putting forward anarchism as a goal, surely one must explain why it is your goal beyond a mere appeal to the fact that your do favor the goal. It makes no sense to have a goal, and then proclaim neutrality as soon as the question of its foundation and application comes up.

So, by the very least, this ethical nihilism is highly impractical. If taken to its extremes, one is simply advocating anomie. If one is more practical about it, one is nonetheless sort of advocating both anarchy and anomie at once. On one hand, I think there’s a sense in which this ethical nihilism is harmless, since the ethical nihilist may practically take a libertarian type of position anyways and most people aren’t going to practically take ethical nihilism seriously. Sometimes they even bring up some interesting points. On the other hand, it poses a threat to libertarian anarchism to the extent that it encourages people to either think that anarchism is a pandora’s box compatible with any set of values or to ultimately reject libertarian values in the name of putting on a facade of neutrality.

♦EMn: I have to say I feel as if amoralism or nihilism is right, or could be a starting point from which to reference, but I also know its impossible as we make choices and most of us have some set of Ideals. Is left-libertarianism closer to that amoral ideal? How do we get objectivity or is it possible?

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