Three Things Anarchists Know Historians Will Look Back on With Disgust
Most people look back on history with surprise, shock, and disgust. They know their forebears committed immoral acts and atrocities or were victims of these acts. Some groups are intimately acquainted with the brutality of history: black people know of their enslavement, and the neo-pagan witch knows her ancestors were burned alive. Men of the Enlightenment were also persecuted for presenting scientific truths. Mayan and Aztec civilizations sacrificed tribe members for metaphysical delusions and entertainment. The list of abhorrent behavior is endless.
The upsetting thing about these incidents is that they were considered culturally and morally acceptable by the majority. They were legitimized and praised by many people living during those times. These bits of barbarism were assumed to be necessary and righteous.
Presently, if anyone looks back on these acts, they know instinctively that they were unjust and wicked. People condemn them with every ounce of their being. No sane person studies history and says, “oh, they had slavery, maybe we should have slaves again.” Past evils are seen for what they are: intolerable acts of inhumanity—pockmarks on the face of humankind.
Nonetheless, people should know that if humans previously legitimized murder, human sacrifice, and slavery, then humans are likely making similar mistakes. But in an amazing act of denial, few people acknowledge the culturally legitimized evils happening today. They are blind to them.
Luckily, anarchists and voluntaryists are telling people what culturally insane ideas they are defending and what unjust actions they are taking. Anarchists are outlining all of the atrocities that future humans and historians will look back on with disdain and shock, in the same manner everyone currently views witch burning or human sacrifice.
The Three Culturally Sanctioned Evils
These are three fundamental ideas and actions that future generations will be disgusted and shocked about when they peer back:
Government has been around since time immemorial. It seems like a benign and necessary institution, a natural byproduct of living together. For most people, government is merely the way people cooperate and arbitrate disputes. But the anarchist knows better. Government has been the most detrimental and destructive force known to mankind. The men of government have been the perpetrators of almost all previous historical atrocities.
Government is usually defined as “the group of people who control and make decisions for a country, state, etc.”
This definition is vague and incomplete, though. A government is a small group of men who possess a monopoly on the initiation of force over a geographical region, and tell other people how to live and exist on threat of violence.Government is the mechanism by which evil men and sociopaths hurt other people.
All the Hitler’s, Mao’s, and Pol Pot’s of the world have wielded governmental power to destroy countless lives. The statistics on democide, or the number of citizens that have been murdered by their own governments number in the billions. The University of Hawaii conducted research on democide. This is what they said:
“Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century.”
With knowledge about the truth of government, people will look back on it as one of the worst ideas men have ever entertained. They will see it as an abomination, as the greatest institutional incarnation of violence and depravity known, next to the church of old. They will be bewildered and stupefied that people advocated it for so long.
2) Drug War
It is surprising that so many people still view the drug war as necessary, since it looks and feels like a modern inquisition. The only difference is that instead of going after people for their beliefs, personality characteristics, or class—authorities now hunt people for selling and using drugs. Of course, it should be pointed out that the drug war is just another symptom of the disease known as government. The drug war is another government-mandated war against people.
As a result, historians and educated folks will look back on the drug war and wonder what people were thinking. They will wonder why people were so cruel and authoritarian. As a result of the the drug war and other prohibitions, many people have been killed or locked in cages. It is probably the single most heinous and unnecessary atrocity of the modern age.
There is nothing morally wrong or unconscionable about a person choosing to smoke a plant or take a pill. That is their choice. If it happens to be a bad choice or it hurts them, that is also their repercussion. Obviously, trying to police the globe and hallucinate that all drugs can be eradicated is infantile thinking at best. People will look back on this depredation as tantamount to utter villainy and delusional insanity.
Yet, because so many people lack perception, they cannot see the parallels between the drug war and witch hunting, so they continue to champion the cultural edict that drug users are monsters that should be taken off the streets.
Libertarian Robert Higgs had some piercing thoughts on the consequences of the drug war:
“Democrats and Republicans alike support the “War on Drugs.” Federal, state, and local police make more than a million drug arrests yearly. Drug cases clog the courts. More than 60% of federal prison cells and about 30% of state prison cells hold drug offenders. No-knock drug raiders nullify the Fourth Amendment every day. Yet illicit drugs continue to pour onto the market, and they are readily available throughout the land. Looks like another failed policy. But politicians say more money will win the war. For fiscal 1996, President Clinton has requested a record $14.6 billion for this exercise in futility. State and local government will also spend huge sums. Who benefits? Posturing politicians and puritanical zealots, of course, but also the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service, Coast Guard, FBI, and the rest of the drug warriors. Police love the drug war, because the forfeiture laws it inspired allow them to seize and keep private property with impunity. Corrupt cops get fabulous bribes, and corruption therefore runs rampant.”
It is not surprising that corruption within the drug war runs deep. This is just another evil aspect of modern culture. People will view it with confusion and contempt. They will remember the drug war as the second major inquisition But tragically, there are arguably worse things than the drug war—like aggression toward children.
3) Aggression Towards Children
Historians will certainly reflect on the vile manner children have been treated over the years. It is currently culturally acceptable for people to hit and abuse children. This abuse is merely rationalized under euphemisms like “spanking.” If a person hits a kid on the buttocks or extremities with the intent to alter behavior, it is called acceptable punishment. The fact that spanking is a method intended to cause pain and humiliate the child is not even considered.
In every other human relationship on earth, hitting to correct behavior is unacceptable. If a husband hits his wife with the intent to make her a better, more behaved wife, he will be condemned. If a State worker hits a mentally disturbed person with the purpose of making them mind, that state worker will get fired and have criminal charges pressed against him. However, children do not have any of these rights. If they get hit, it is for their own good.
Children are one of the few classes of individuals who have not received their rights, which is tragic because they are the most important. They represent the future, yet they are still treated with indignity and malice.
There is a growing body of work within the controversial field of psychohistory that has started to expose how horribly children have been treated over the years. Lloyd deMause, the founder of psychohistory, has written extensively on how various time-periods have treated children. In a speech called, “The History of Child Abuse,” he said this:
“My conclusion from a lifetime of psychohistorical study of childhood and society is that the history of humanity is founded upon the abuse of children. Just as family therapists today find that child abuse often functions to hold families together as a way of solving their emotional problems, so, too, the routine assault of children has been society’s most effective way of maintaining its collective emotional homeostasis.”
It is true that children are not as abused and neglected as they were in times past, but social guidelines and mores still give parents permission to hurt their children in order to maintain this collective homeostasis. And certainly, this atrocious treatment of children is something that people will look back on with regret and sadness. It will be condemned for its puerile brutishness.
The Tragedy of History
All three of the aforementioned areas are modern monstrosities. But even though most people acknowledge the rampant murder and victimization done to past peoples, they fail to contemplate the nastiness of their own era. They do not introspect on things they support and acts they commit that will be looked back on with disgust. They fall victim to cultural trends and popular memes.
If they took the time to look at the parallels between old atrocities and new, they would realize that these modern horrors are mistakes being repeated in slightly different ways, in a slightly different garb. There is nothing more embarrassing than unthinkingly decrying slavery and witch burning, and then turning around and promoting government and the drug war. Anarchists should constantly address these inconsistencies in order to dispel all cultural sorcery.
The biggest tragedy of history is being a victim of the present; it is being led around by the cultural noose and not questioning current trends in order to appease social engineers, politicians, police, and mom. Everyone must snap out of their malaise, and tune into things and concepts that their descendants will look back on with reprobation. It is time to time to end the vicious cycle. It is time to employ history appropriately, as a tool for reasoning morally and critically. It is time to help people see their mishaps and disenchant their illusions.
Abolish government. End drug prohibition. Stop hurting children. Everyone should want to be on the right side of history.
Sterlin Lujan is a professional writer, editor, research assistant, and aspiring counseling psychologist and journalist. He runs the psychologic-anarchist.com and writes for The Art of Not Being Governed. He has written a peer reviewed article for the International Journal of Reality Therapy. Sterlin is interested in individualist anarchism, the link between neuroscience and anarchism, and anarchist psychotherapy.