Anyone that calls themselves an “anarchist” while believing in self-marginalization and holding corny metaphysical belief systems is nothing but an irrelevancy. Check out Greg Sheehan’s facebook HEALTHY ANARCHY page if you want to read how inconsequential the anarchist political agenda has become.
My ongoing dialogue with Greg Sheehan, who considers himself a “Healthy Anarchist,” has been helpful for me to understand why something as simple as the anarchist principle (the end of government) can be so misunderstood and trivialized. Actually, what Sheehan has done is provide a template for the reason why anarchy has been dead in the water since the days of Emma Goldman. For that he has my gratitude.
My personal politics has been a trajectory begun with my family’s traditional support of the Civil Rights-era Democratic Party. After the independent Presidential candidacy of John Anderson was locked out of the process by both the Democrats and Republicans in 1980, I decided that American politics was a brutal affair that was not interested in letting just anybody into the White House. So I became an Independent, which just meant voting against Reagan and Bush although the Democrats were dead to me.
Then I looked around at the Libertarians for a year or so. I was initially enamored with the writings of Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard, but when I realized that Libertarians were some of the biggest jerks ever unleashed on the internet (the “anarcho-capitalists” who are basically republicans who like to smoke weed and not pay taxes), I decided to move even further left to anarchism, which was fascinating.
I learned read up on characters like William Godwin, Emma Goldman, P.J. Proudhun, J.J. Rousseau, Kropotkin, Baukinin, Benjamin Tucker, Max Striner, Saul Newman, Hakim Bey, Bob Black, etc. There are so many approaches to the anarchist philosophy that it can drive one crazy. Some are driven by humanism, some by desiring the end of capitalism and some by pushing unfettered capitalism. Classical Anarchism is quite a mess, with no practical answers to today’s problems that exist in the 21st century. Which is why I moved on to consider the post-left, post-anarchist viewpoint as a possible answer in humanity reaching equality and oneness.
The post-anarchist perspective goes something like this: the classical anarchist agenda is an antiquated, irrelevant and old-fashioned program, and it cannot answer the new questions being asked today because anarchism has become a parody of itself by becoming nothing more than an academic ivory tower frozen to death with the useless ideas of marching, protesting and revolutionary theorizing which are useless against today’s stateless Corporations, Late-Capitalist Globalization and the elimination of human rights through technology.
What I see is that a One World Government and giving every human being equal money would go a long way in bringing equality to this world. Make no mistake, I am a fan or neither money or government, but like William Godwin, I see that the State and money are necessay evils that must exist for a while until the needs of such are removed forever through the evolution of common sense principle of what is best for all.
Cue up Greg Sheehan’s “Healthy Anarchy.” I was mistaken when I thought anarchism centered around the elimination of the state and religion, mutual collectivism through agreements and equality. Apparently Greg Sheehan’s brand of “anarchy” not only considers it necessary to eat healthy food and avoid booze and drugs (!), but he seriously attached and promotes a weird metaphysical intervention by aliens and an admiration of the Source of existence as “Pure Consciousness.” I shit thee not. Here is the letter Greg Sheehan sent to the members of Healthy Anarchy that set me off (this letter Sheehan sent is long and rambling, so I will place the relevant parts here):
“An answer to the idea that all is “oneness” and that means everything is connected. And that both fo [sic]
I have come across oneness many times in the people i talk with.
I wrote this as a response to something that keeps being said to me online. That everything is oneness and it’s all connected.
I agree that when things are one then there is no conflict, like there is no conflict in truth.
Now god/consciousness, god being the ocean and us being drops from that ocean which are non-different except in scale. Consciousness(our souls) is like a fusion of every possible thing, including truth, and it also holds every positive value of all the things its made of. So because there is no conflict in truth there is also no conflict in consciousness.
However that applies in the spiritual world which is made entirely of consciousness and in which god or the supreme oneness(read the supremem [sic] one) are the oneness and that oneness holds all positive value of all things.
The trouble with “oneness” is that when applied in the material world you get people saying “everything is one and everything is fine. When here there is obviously conflict and seperation.
There is massive hypocrasiy [sic] and contraditicions, like alot of the seperation.
There is massive hypocrasiy and contraditicions, like alot of the seperation is caused by attatchments to the material world, ironic.
As far as i know when you practise being transcendental you literally are elevating yourself to the spiritual world. Which is called Vaikuntha, “vai” menaing “free from” and “kuntha” meaning “anxiety”.
As you change your consciousness to the “on” position you can literally part the material world and open up a consciousness pocket within it. This stuff actually exists in infinite expanse beyond the material world already, and this is also the stuff we are made of, not our bodys or our minds which are just other forms of possesion but the lifesource of our soul.”
Sheehan goes on and on about the “spirit world” and “consciousnes.” To this piece of well-intentioned “metaphysical reasoning,” I responded with:
“Greg: Well, I would suggest that “oneness” by itself is not sufficient to address the problems witrh the world. Considering Equality AND oneness is where I’d begin, because we’re already “one” – that as human beings scuttling across the face of the earth in various stages of survival mode. However, we are obviously not “equal” in terms of everyone having the same starting point of the ability to “purchase their survival.” Purchasing survival in the form of economic Evolution needs to be addressed first, as this is consciousness’ “answer” to survival. With a friend like consciousness, who needs enemies?” Sheehan responded with inchoherancies like,
“Consciousness is pure positivty so in a battle against negativity I would think positivity in its purest form would be the perfect ally.”
“Someone said “but everyone is too greedy” and I answered that people are greedy for the wrong false unhealthy things, if people are greedy for true value/health/positivty that is real selfishness which is good because the self is consciousness. So greed is the cure for greed as if you only allow in positive value that value will overflow into those things and people who are around you.”
“Consciousness is the source and the source of the source is god consciousness. We are the drops of that ocean god is the whole ocean.”
“In pure consciousness in the spiritual world there is no death only life hence no survival need.”
Are you are asking yourself what does this gooey, flowerhat metaphysics have to do with anarchism? I sure did. I asked Sheehan and his response was more of the same. I tried to corral the discussion in terms of practical effectiveness removed from “the sea of consciousness.”
Darryl Thomas at 6:24pm July 7
This is an interesting denial of the physical when we start saying that the Spiirit/Consciousness (something nobody has ever seen or proven to exist), is “more real.”
We are one and equal to who we are as what we do.
We certainly are not equal to our words because we lie all the time, so we can’t even lay claim to possessing the Living Word. The consciousness of human beings is what is wrong with human beings. The consciousness of human beings has created a world where ecological systems are breaking down. The consciousness of human beings is where we create ideas of love and beauty while giving each one abuse and death. Do not extol consciousness’ virtues. It has none that I can see.
Greg Sheehan at 6:39pm July 7
ok you voiced your concern about starving children, one aspect of god consciousness is to extend your scope of protection. Most people protect the life/health of themselves, then family then friends etc etc all the way up to country. One aspect of god consciousness is to realise that every living thing has a soul and to treat it accordingly and to extend your protection beyond all of those me/family/friends/country/planet boundaries to all life as all lifeforms have souls/consciousness. Anyway if you are really concerened about feeding people I would expect you to be acting on those concerns and growing food, if you are doing that then we are in agreement because I am also doing that, im writing alot less these days because im mostly in the garden which i have created to produce as much as it can.
I wrote about the 3 most important things(food water shelter) and how everyone should be pouring all their energy into those things, are you putting all your energy into those things?
Darryl Thomas at 10:58pm July 7
…your attitude towards my concern over the poverty of the millions of beings in this world is one I have seen before. It’s shockingly dishonest, both intellectually and “spiritually,” as if you are moved in the least to what I do about facing the crap in this world. As if you would ever base your future actions on what I am doing. As if you are saying, “Hey, if you aren’t doing anything about this, why should I?” As if you couldn’t see what needs to be done and do it on your own, but rather wait and see if somebody else does.
I then wrestled the discussion to the possibility of a One World Government and Equal Money for All. The Equal Money component so far has been completely ignored, which is fascinating. The One World Government idea however, has predictably drawn the most flack. Sheehan of course, takes the classical hardline anarchist approach, which is nevertheless somewhat surprising given the CandyLand metaphysics he’s infused into his politics.
Greg Sheehan at 4:23pm July 12
Government is like parenting, autoritarian governments [sic] who tell people to do so just because they say so only breed blind dumb obidiant [sic] humans who will follow whatever college lecturer, boss, president, group leader says. Becuase [sic] from a young age they were told by an autoritarian partent to do so not because of reason or value but because the autoritry [sic] said so, even if the authority could not explain the reason/value if their life depended on it because they dont know/understand.
So is more authoritarianism and blind obediance [sic] what we need, that just retards the devlopment of people. Best example is traffic area that had all the signs and rules removed as a test in a city area. It was anarchy, but people started to EXCERCISE [sic] their once retarded better judgement (?) and drove without confusion and with more care. Accidents went down in huge numbers. Governments might be there because of retardation but they also create retardation.
That will teach me to try and have an argument with someone. Buried within the flurry of misspelled words, incomplete clauses and sentence fragments, there is a concrete, recognizable anarchist perspective waiting to see the light of day. GOVERNMENT IS BAD AND MAKES PEOPLE STOOPID. PERIOD. Sheehan goes on to disparage my view that a One World Government agenda is an evolutionary step that is a necessary evil until it can be done away with by posting his admiration for Ayn Rand and then saying: “You think people need to be weened off it and I think we need a bit of “cold turkey”. Do some research on addiction of retarding substances like heroin or other drugs, weaning off does not work. The smallest amount of heroin will ruin a cold turkey and mean the addict has to start all over again.
And government is addictive, it lifts responsibility away magically just like heroin or other addictive development retarding things… Give people room to grow and they will grow like plants , tie them too tightly and bind them to rules and you will confuse and retard them.”
I replied with:
Beginning with a One World Government so we can stop the wars and regional conflicts and then moving on to equal money for all to be given to children when they are born – enough so that it guarantees and provides equal education and living status. Then over time we can dispense with both forms of tyrany. Practicality goes a long way in meeting the needs of the people.
As for Ayn Rand, she was a charlatan and neoliberal hack.
Greg: …fine make your one world government, just another government that will need disbanding. Healthy anarchy is an idea of the best way to live as humans. Im not saying it will be implemeted tomorrow, although it would be possible to impliment it tomorrow if everyone studied enough to understand it and voluntarily choose to live by it. Not saying thats gonna happen tomorrow im just saying it would be false of me to say its impossible. Tomooorow may be logistically im possible tho due to communication limitations but maybe a few very good weeks.
Okay, so now I know what I am up against: a childlike conception of what is possible in the world do to strict dietary rules (NO MEAT OR BOOZE) that will magically become the anarchist and healthy “choice” for the billions of human beings living on the Earth… that could take place in “maybe a few very good weeks.” Sheesh.
When I asked Sheehan what he would propose How do you propose to practically stop giving their power to the government,” he responded: Dont participate, dont vote , dont support the idea in conversations like it has any. An example of why not to vote would be the EU lisbon treaty, If Ireland passes it we could have our laws superceded by the EU. So we could have mandatory(forced) vaccinations if swine flu occurred. Now I wouldn’t want that, so do i vote to try to not get vaccinated? Well if i lose the vote then it would seem I accepted the possibility of a loss by participating. Giving them a vote means giving them power. I shouldnt have to play a vote gambling game with the majority to see if someone can come and forcefully inject something into my arm which i can not verify myself. Non compliance is a good way to remove their power.
Then someone with the improbable name of “Patrick Jibby Jabrone Watt” posted:
“In order to have a One World Government
1. Many people have to be killed
2. Much land has to be destroyed
3. Those in power now would have even more power
On the other hand, though, if the world was in better hands, then yes obviously a One World Uniting would be very beneficial for everyone, if everyone agreed to it. Now, this is very fictional in our society today, but if enough people awaken to a higher sate of consciousness level in time, then I see nothing but beautiful things in a One World Unity.
Now, with 12-21-2012 a little more than 3 years away, it is close to impossible for the U.S. Government to take control of the entire world in so little time, so I don’t think we have much to worry about. By 2012, I think that this world will be quite different, whether it be majorly shook up by the coming solar flares, aliens making first contact and helping us out in whatever way they must or all of us rising to that crucial level to bypass all the negative stuff…”
Let’s take your 3 opinions and see if these are valid points:
1. Many people have to be killed
Why would many people “have to be killed?” For what reason? ? Who would order such a thing? How do you know this? What amount of people would qualify as “many?” Why would murder on a vast scale accompliph more than common sense?
2. Much land has to be destroyed
Why? Why would land “have to be destroyed?” What purpose woukd be served by destroying “much land?” Who would give the order and who would follow it out and why?
3. Those in power now would have even more power
Why would we have the same assholes in power when we already know what kind of job they’ll do?Why can’t we place people who are trustworthy (I realize there’s not that many, but I’m willing to look them up).
And now we come to the part of the screenplay where our Hero comes to the rescue! And it is 2012 riding the waves of Higher Consciousness! Woo Hoo! Who knew that it was only MAGIC that would solve our problems? Well, I suggest a few things. Stop marginalizing yourself politically and get out there and be effective, and give up the namby-pamby, Pie-In-he-Sky, CandyLand Metaphysical bullshit. The only thing that wil happen at the end of 2012 is that things will be a LOT WORSE than you can imagine. I PROMISE you that! No aliens will come down and save us. I PROMISE YOU THAT.
Healthy Anarchy has all the answers! What will sort out the problems of this world? 2012 and ALIENS coming to the rescue!!! Woo hoo! That’s great news! How to direct the political agenda in this world? DON’T PARTICIPATE! That’s brilliant stuff, isn’t it?
I mean, if anarchy has fallen to such deplorable intellectual depths, maybe it would better to kill it and put it out of it’s misery.
What anarchists like Greg Sheehan don’t get is that their misguided spitiualism fatally infects, disables freezzes their agenda to the point of irrelevancy. Sheehan goes on and on about “choice” and “positive thinking” and how “negativity in any form will “warp you,” and not seeing how that human being has been programmed and brainwashed into predictable behavioral patterns (life-styles) to the point of free will being removed, perhaps permenently, and then accept what Saul Newman would call a “moral hygiene” (like Sheehan’s insipid “Healthy” moralisms) that is just another form of domination of the System and not a serious attempt to consider what would be the best for all as Life.
Which begs the question: what would be the best for all as Life? Wouldn’t be an equal consideration for all and the removal or inequality? Wouldn’t be the institution of equality through equal money and education for all? Wouldn’t removing the principle of purchasing your own survival be a great starting point in making sure children all over the world will be born here without having to entertain the dreary prospect of working themselves to death in a sweat shop or an athletic footwear factory just so I can wear cool shoes and enjoy my life while they suffer? Because that’s what it all comes down to: our enjoyment is fueled by other’s suffering. Greg Sheehan’s Healthy Anarchy cannot answer any of these questions with its pedantic “All Government is Bad/Positive Thinking/Spirituality” rhetorical, boring-ass bullshit. But it is invaluable in revealing how empty and irrelevant the impractical can be. For that, I suppose we should give thanks. And then get to work in providing relevant answers that will sort this world out.