The Anarchist Township

Fight the war, fuck the norm!

Month: April 2011

Blog Roll Call for the week of 4/11/11

Not many blogs this week, my main source of blogs, anarchoblogs, didn’t really have anything to post…

Free Association

Sheldon Richman has something for Randian IP advocates to think about.

The Emptiness

Mike’s got a recent post about tax day

Announcements

Some interesting things that I’ve been looking at that I’d like to share. Hopefully this makes up for the lack of blog posts:

While I don’t always follow CATO I did find this talk very interesting. It’s a talk about the Hayekian ideas of imperfect knowledge and how they may apply to the critiques of classical liberalism by the Rawlsians, egalitarians, communitarian and more.

Speaking of communitarians, I was watching an interesting video yesterday and read a few interesting articles:

First the video here is about a political theorist named Robert Nisbit who probably isn’t well known in libertarian circles but is talked about quite a bit in this video.

Now I recommend the video because it brings up the interesting idea of a “communitarian libertarian” and while that may seem oxymoronic to some, I think this article does a good job of trying to synthesize the ideologies.

And finally Roderick Long has an excellent recent paper called How to Reach the Left which I highly recommend.

Closing statements

Again, apologies about the lack of material this week, I’ll be posting up a new essay next week however and I’ve got some projects in mind for future use so keep an eye out for those as well!

“The Ends Justify the Means” (Paper #7)

Glad I could finally post this, my next one will be on propaganda and its use in contemporary media, that should be out before the end of the month.

Nick Ford
HIS 201
2/18/11
“The Ends Justify the Means”

The idea of morality is that it is a constant that continues throughout all of our actions; inconsistencies in our actions not only show problems with our thought pattern but our basic principles. Contrary to this idea is the dubious notion that somehow the “ends justify the means”, or, that as long as the ends are good the means will be as well despite them sometimes being morally questionable. People who agree with this premise might say that those who want the means and the ends to both be good are just “moral purists” and want to see a fantasy land. However this objection misses what happens when we actually object to this notion of “the ends justify the means”. Not only do we think the means can only match the ends but I believe as Gandhi said, “Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action…They say the means are after all just means. I would say means are after all everything. As the means, so the end….If we take care of the means we are bound of reach the end sooner or later.” And so when we say that the ends never justify the means we simply say that the means help allow the good ends take care of themselves. And conversely if you’re using bad means only negative ends will eventually follow.
To exemplify this principle let’s take the rampant imperialism that started spreading around in the United States at the same time that big industries were constantly being monopolized to put down labor’s power. Of course it’s no surprise that the state aided capitalist markets needed to expand in other foreign countries and used politicians as mouth pieces to justify the expansion based on asinine notions of “owning spheres of the world”. These “spheres of influence” somehow made the land of others belong more to the people who wanted them and were willing to use violence and thievery to get them then the people who actually lived there and labored on the land. One of the biggest examples of this imperialism was the taking of several islands near Japan that would serve as crucial parts to World War 2 and fighting the Japanese. Even some who would not accept that the action was not justifiable based on it being a good tactical move forgets that the event of Pearl Harbor was set into motion by events in trade that happened prior to the 1940s. These trade decisions (made by the US government) forced the western culture and goods on the Japanese and boiled up a resentment among the Japanese. Imperialism naturally needs more enemies to make itself thrive more and more and so war becomes (if it was not already) the health of the state and the expander of market places for exploiting capitalists.
However the question still remains unanswered, was the act justifiable? According to the theory laid out by Gandhi there’s no way it could be morally supported, but what about practically? Perhaps, then acts can be immoral just for a brief time for the sake of practicality and realism, after all we don’t want to enter the fantasy land of “moral purism” do we? But again this criticism misses some vital points about morality and practicality, namely that both are interlocked and that neither can be used just for the sake of time preference. The act was made with no reference to the later Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor nor would they have been necessary at all if imperialism wasn’t happening to begin with. Even if it had been done in reference to that, the act of stealing thousands of people’s land for the purpose of better defending an empire only makes you more enemies and eventually more and more land is needed. And so this “ends justify the means” idea not only can justify imperialism, but a mass land grab of other people’s property and freedoms. This was done during the Manifest Destiny campaign where God was the slogan and the gun a spokesperson against the Native Americans. It’s not a big surprise then when the Natives started trying to fight back and attacking people and so it should not be a surprise that “the ends justify the means” lead to Pearl Harbor and many other horrific events. The idea that “the ends justify the means” leaves not only practicality but morality itself in a temporary and convenient place that makes both concepts strained and able for use whenever it suits the individual.

Blog Roll Call for 3/28/11

Apologies about not posting last week Agora I/O kept me pretty busy and as a result I didn’t have much time to upload anything.

Free Association

Sheldon Richman asks some questions about his confusion with the intervention in Libya.

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

Kevin does a review of Thaddeus Russel’s book A renegade history of the US.

Rad Geek People’s Daily

RG has some to share as well as some historical info.

Also some some wonderful news about the Market Anarchist series and more!

The Emptiness

Mike tells you why Star Trek is just another state-socialist utopian show.

Special announcements

My talks at the Agora I/O are here and here.

And my Lightning Talk is here.

There are many talks I recommend but basically check out the archives section and decide for yourself what you want to watch.

In other news:

The New York City Anarchist Book Fair is next week!

Here’s some info if you don’t know too much about it:

The official website for the book fair.

The official Facebook event page for the book fair.

The AltOrgs trips to the book fair.

Also, I’d like to congratulate Brad Spangler, the director of C4SS for getting all of the needed money for their fundraiser!

Concluding remarks

That’s it for this week, hopefully I’ll be able to post up a short paper from history class about ends and means and eventually a philosophy paper on why utilitarianism (or specifically John Stuart Mill) would have opposed the current intervention in Libya.

Who knows, maybe once the school semester is over and things aren’t too busy I can start writing a new series.

Time will tell…

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