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  •  Thank you, again, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen

    for your thoughtful reply.

    I agree that we are here because of a particularly unique path of history and genetics.  It is a truly marvel.

    Does our uniqueness of being translate to any particular "Right" -- moral, political or otherwise?  I don't know, myself, but suspect not.  In western society we rather worship the concept of individuality, but elsewhere one's socio-politico-religious role is certainly subordinate to a collective concept.

    So ... do we have a "right" to exist? ... or alternatively do we simply exist by fact of randomness without moral, religious, political implication.  In this conception, we have no power, other than what we each can assert -- individually or collectively.  

    I will grant my inclination is much more stark and dis-empowering (in reality) than yours.  These are deep questions that simply cannot be resolved betwixt us in blog format.  The exchange though is meaningful.

    •  But there is no true collectivity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu

      unless we do so freely as individuals. Hence the concept of free association. If we aren't interrelating as free individuals, then one is above, the other below.

      The only way to proceed is without coercion, associating because we want to, not because we are forced to. Thus, there is no true socialism with hierarchy, and without respect for individuality.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:42:18 AM PDT

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      •  What a critical point ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        coercion.

        It is as fundamental to life as anything else, I submit.  We are all subject to it ... in each our own jungle.  There exists no universe without some form of coercion -- even such universally accepted physical properties as gravity.

        If coercion is truly a ubiquitous and unavoidable reality in multi-variant forms... what does that speak of our unique power through beingness?  I try not to be overly cynical about this, but only posit the question as honestly as I can ... and as you clearly accept on its own terms for consideration.

    •  If we don't embrace the right to exist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ancblu, Onomastic

      ...to live as beings interconnected with the biosphere, as a social agreement, we are in big trouble... that is the entire problem in a nutshell. Because without this basic agreement, then we all end up subject to the worst forms of authoritarianism and brutality. By agreeing to egalitarianism, we create a reciprocal relationship which is mutually beneficial. It is an ethic which serves everyone. Everyone wins.

      "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

      by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 03:49:02 AM PDT

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      •  Agreed, fully in principle ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZhenRen

        in practice, how though do you obtain sufficient buy-in?  Self-interest would seem, in my experience, to most always trump a unified concern for the collective -- even if all of us individually could even agree what is in the best interest of the collective.

        Within the somewhat historically ordered randomness of our current times ... we have the example of semi-dominant western concepts of individual liberty in which your precept of egalitarianism might work with a sufficient majority of empowered and informed individuals ... but historically this has never worked because of the natural order of hierarchical power. We are all unequal -- in fact, though agreed not in right by reason alone.

        If my view is correct, we still might survive without extreme authoritarianism -- which I see as too brittle and inflexible to survive basic social demands.  Durable political systems incorporate the means to adjust policy based on changing needs -- however slowly.

        •  We are not equal (0+ / 0-)

          in ability, and each are unique individuals. But we must be considered to be equal socially as human beings, if we are to have freedom from unequal power relationships. Once we begin to assign unequal power according to inequality, then some special few (how are these selected?) must decide who is superior to others. We all know where such concepts lead. Just look at some of the horrors of history.

          Our abilities compliment each other. It is because of our differences that equality is necessary. It is the only context in which individual differences and liberty can reach full expression.

          Here's how anarcho-socialist theorists put it in the Anarchist FAQ:

          http://en.wikibooks.org/...

          For anarchists, the "concepts" of "equality" as "equality of outcome" or "equality of endowment" are meaningless. However, in a hierarchical society, "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome" are related. Under capitalism, for example, the opportunities each generation face are dependent on the outcomes of the previous ones. This means that under capitalism "equality of opportunity" without a rough "equality of outcome" (in the sense of income and resources) becomes meaningless, as there is no real equality of opportunity for the off-spring of a millionaire and that of a road sweeper. Those who argue for "equality of opportunity" while ignoring the barriers created by previous outcomes indicate that they do not know what they are talking about -- opportunity in a hierarchical society depends not only on an open road but also upon an equal start. >From this obvious fact springs the misconception that anarchists desire "equality of outcome" -- but this applies to a hierarchical system, in a free society this would not the case (as we will see).

          Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes:

             

          "once equality has triumphed and is well established, will various individuals' abilities and their levels of energy cease to differ? Some will exist, perhaps not so many as now, but certainly some will always exist. It is proverbial that the same tree never bears two identical leaves, and this will probably be always be true. And it is even more truer with regard to human beings, who are much more complex than leaves. But this diversity is hardly an evil. On the contrary. . . it is a resource of the human race. Thanks to this diversity, humanity is a collective whole in which the one individual complements all the others and needs them. As a result, this infinite diversity of human individuals is the fundamental cause and the very basis of their solidarity. It is all-powerful argument for equality." [4]
          Equality for anarchists means social equality, or, to use Murray Bookchin's term, the "equality of unequals" (some like Malatesta used the term "equality of conditions" to express the same idea). By this he means that an anarchist society recognises the differences in ability and need of individuals but does not allow these differences to be turned into power. Individual differences, in other words, "would be of no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution." [5]

          If hierarchical social relationships, and the forces that create them, are abolished in favour of ones that encourage participation and are based on the principle of "one person, one vote" then natural differences would not be able to be turned into hierarchical power. For example, without capitalist property rights there would not be means by which a minority could monopolise the means of life (machinery and land) and enrich themselves by the work of others via the wages system and usury (profits, rent and interest). Similarly, if workers manage their own work, there is no class of capitalists to grow rich off their labour.

          As to what our biological natures are, in terms of self-interest, there is evidence that we are social animals who have evolved with traits of cooperation and mutual aid. Humans seek to be with other humans, and work with a joint effort to survive. There are countless examples of how social species use cooperation to be more efficient.

          "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

          by ZhenRen on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 12:30:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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