Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Application of the Hegelian Dialectic to the Political Spectrum

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Dichotomies, Duopolies, and False Choices
3. To Do Philosophy is to Be Hunted by Thought-Spirits
4. Government Failure Exacerbates Philosophical Failure
5. Introduction to the Fichtean-Hegelian Dialectic
6. The Application of the Dialectic Method to Economics
7. Synthesizing Socialism and Capitalism
8. Social Threefolding and Overcoming Trichotomies
9. Creating Antisynthesis Through Negation of the Synthesis
10. Conclusion


Preface     It is my intention and hope that this article will aid those unfamiliar with either the political spectrum or the dialectic method, in coming to understand both; through the lens of how the dialectic may be applied to political and economic issues, and as a way of “graphing” the dialectical method by “projecting” its components (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) onto ideological space.

1. Introduction

     In his song “Rising Sun”, George Harrison wrote, “Every word you've uttered, and every thought you've had, is all inside the files, the good and the bad.” But unlike the printed word, the world is not always so black-and-white.
     Not everything can be easily lumped into the good-vs.-evil dichotomy. As time has gone by, we have learned, more and more, that many things we once thought were polar opposites, actually exist on a spectrum or a continuum.
     That's why, in modern times, we should hope and expect dichotomies, binary opposition, and binary choices, to go the way of the Dodo.

2. Dichotomies, Duopolies, and False Choices

     The Greek word dichotomia refers to a cutting-in-half, and to something being torn asunder. In the two major American political parties, a false dichotomy has arisen.
     Duopoly – distinct from, but not dissimilar to, dichotomy - refers to a state of two sellers. What's being sold is, of course, security, or fear and control (depending on how you look at it). But most importantly, what a politician or a party is trying to sell to you is the truth; their version of what the facts are. What they need is a public who's willing to buy it.
     The two major parties, Democrat and Republican, have been incorrectly characterized as “left” and “right”. The Republicans are farther to the Left than many people think, because they betray conservatives' desire for free markets and limited government; while the Democrats are actually right-of-center, because they betray liberals' and progressives' desire for a viable organized labor movement. During Bernie Sanders's presidential run, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even described herself and the Democratic Party as capitalist; not socialist. Additionally, the extent to which these two parties disagree has been exaggerated, in order to give the impression that, as has been said, they are anything other than the left and right wing of the same fascist, imperialist war-hawk.
     In truth, the leadership of the Democratic Party is comprised of neoliberal corporatists, while the leadership of the Republican Party is comprised of progressive neoconservatives. To anyone outside the Beltway, these political ideologies are virtually indistinguishable. Each values interference in trade, as well as imperialism and a surveillance state. Neither seems to value liberty, equality, constitutional legitimacy, or budgetary solvency. The political ideology that governs America is neoliberal-neocorporatism; this is the country's true political center, which is to the right of absolute political center.
     Contrary to popular opinion, the Democratic Party is not actually on the Left; in reality, both parties self-describe as capitalist, and are thus on the Right. If the Democratic Party truly represented the “Left”, then those who feel that the Democrats do not represent their ideals, would not flock towards progressivism, the Green Party, socialism, communism, and left-wing anarchism. If the Republican Party truly represented the “Right”, then those disappointed by the Republicans would not be drawn to ultra-nationalism, constitutional conservatism, libertarianism, and market-anarchism.
     The controllers of the two wings of this jointly-wielded duopoly – the former heads of each major party, through the “corporate personage” of the Commission on Presidential Debates – has come to control even the very rules for debate and inclusion themselves. Complicity with that commission's wresting of control of that process from the League of Women Voters in the 1990s – as well as complicity with the basic mode of American governance outlined in the Constitution (in particular, the “first-past-the-post” system and the Electoral College) – have assisted both major parties in creating an illusion of disagreement and difference.
     The fact that each major party wants to reign-in the other, is downplayed. That each major party practices “gate-keeping” tactics, is kept hidden. Thus, few members of the public ever find out that each party wants to keep the other in-line as its “controlled opposition”, and wants to vet their candidates to ensure that their positions lie within the narrow “Overton Window”, the range of opinions which is endorsed and approved by government and the business community.
     In 1962, John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” And the only way to make peaceful revolution possible is to leave people free to engage in peaceful, respectful discourse. However, that type of real debate is, more or less, impossible, under the current conditions. Fortunately, some people have woken up to that fact.
     But the important thing for our controllers is that a false dichotomy has been created in the minds of the majority. There exists an illusion of disagreement, alongside an illusion of agreement. The appearance of disagreement makes us look weak, and emboldens our enemies. On the other hand, the illusion of agreement is manufactured (through vetting to within the range of acceptable choices), in order to make political compromise continue. This is essential to upholding the power and apparent legitimacy of the state, because that compromise can be made to appear as though it were preventing the nation from falling apart. What's being compromised, unfortunately, is not usually the things we're most willing to give up in negotiation; instead, we're allowing the things we value most, to be compromised-away in the name of progress.
     What matters to our controllers is that we keep perceiving our government as, at once, united and divided; united in the name of progress, while divided formally and constitutionally into a separation of powers. That's because, if it were ever revealed how monistic and monolithic government is, and how different people and parties are, then our controllers' whole narrative would collapse; exposed as a brittle, dead, unyielding shell, which is propped-up under the pretense that what actually upholds it is a living, breathing document.
     And with that collapse would come the collapse of their control systems (the media and the educational system), as well as the legitimacy of their control, and even of the legitimacy of the political ideologies which shape those control systems.
     A “binary choice” is no true choice. A binary choice is nothing more than an ultimatum; it's a false choice between “my way or the highway”, or “your money or your life”. To present a binary choice is to take away all other viable alternatives for no reason, and to contrast what you want, with a fabricated strawman argument that sounds terrible. This is the illusion of choice, which should never pretend to serve as a rightful substitute for real choice and real freedom. That's why it's essential to call-out elections as rigged when voters are faced with two (or more) terrible, strikingly similar alternatives.
     To call these elections as shams, and to call-out these ultimatums for what they are – examples manipulation by politically well-connected pathological narcissists - are essential to preserving a real multiplicity of choices. Democracy and markets can neither thrive, nor create conditions of freedom and openness, unless the people can prevent choices from being taken and withheld from them without cause.

3. To Do Philosophy is to Be Hunted by Thought-Spirits

     It is only natural that the lumbering, faltering dinosaur, which we call the modern bourgeois Westphalian nation-state, should fall prey to the mass delusion that there is no such thing as “grey area” (I think of it as sort of a selective color-blindness). And so, these dichotomies and duopolies are to be expected in partisan politics.
     In “All I Really Want to Do”, Bob Dylan wrote, “I ain't lookin' to... simplify you, classify you... analyze you, categorize you, finalize you, or advertise you.” Indeed, this is the approach we should take to ideas. We should wish to merely make friends with them, rather than to categorize them and put them into a system, lest we fall victim to the same delusions which, through thought, we are trying to avoid.
     And so, we think, like Howard Beale in Network: “At least we are safe in our philosophy; at least we are safe in our minds.” However, although ideas and thoughts have no real body - and cannot “chase us down”, as it were – we mustn't be so foolish as to believe we can run away from ideas. Remember: “What is dead may never die, but rises again harder and stronger.”
     As Max Stirner wrote, “In the time of spirits[,] thoughts grew [until] they overtopped my head, whose offspring they yet were; they hovered about me and convulsed like fever-phantasies – an awful power. The thoughts has become corporeal on their own account, were ghosts, such as God, Emperor, Pope, Fatherland, etc. If I destroy their corporeity, then I take them back into mine, and say: [']I alone am corporeal.[']”
     We must approach people as we approach thoughts and ideas; just as the tiger approaches Stirner, “to rend... or befriend”. Another person, a foreign thought, a new idea: each is a geist (ghost, spirit, phantasm, spook) which may come, just like the tiger, to hunt us down and devour us. This is to say that we must treat others, and their ideas, as realities equal to ourselves and our own (that is, our own reality), with which we must contend, and from which we might be able to learn. Unless we do that, then we cannot decisively confront the issue at hand. Thus, we become frustrated, and confused about whether to keep our weltanschauung (world-view) open or closed, and if so, how.
     That is when the truth becomes veiled with clouds; and confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, and obscurantism set in, even evolving into consideration as full-fledged philosophies in and of themselves. This is a breeding ground for nihilism and self-doubt, but even these can be overcome (or sublated) as long as they're used as tools for self-critique and for maintaining neutrality. This holds true as long as the fog of cognitive dissonance can be penetrated; with a wide beam of interrogating light, shone onto the cracked-mirror disco-ball of understanding. Being that fracture, factionalism, feud, difference, and discord are hard truths of life; sometimes yielding to them is not only easier than fighting or resisting them, but also wiser.
     Still, it's only natural for a person to desire to reclaim one's reality – one's own world-view - as one's own property, and to challenge and defeat mere idées fixe and “ideas-as-we-know-them”. However, ideas are so sacrosanct to some, that the punishment which is meted out for their destruction, is the destruction of the very person who who challenged it; albeit a person who destroyed nothing except our delusions, who simply tore-away the outermost layer of the onion. Hence, it seems that to destroy an idea is to risk destroying yourself. However, this punishment mechanism exists through control and by design; it is only the desire of our controllers that we continue to perceive this risk-reward relationship as natural and inevitable.

4. Government Failure Exacerbates Philosophical Failure

     It is no surprise that philosophy has evaded the state. Nor is it any surprise that our masters have failed to consider even the most basic rational and logical points about how to run an efficient man-devouring mechanical tiger, which we have been foolish enough to call “the economy”. But freedom-lovers still want to believe that if the state, or democracy, or markets fail, then the people will fill-in the gaps.
     However, the state's untruths, and propagandist distortions, have become so pervasive, that they have begun to poison the well of philosophy itself. This confounds our tongues, changes our semiotics, and reduces the various schools and tendencies of political thought into a mutually-incomprehensible Tower of Babel. I'm speaking, of course, about the perpetual disagreements between the Left and Right concerning the meanings of words like “property”, “private”, “public”, “socialist”, “capitalist”, “free market”, etc.. As if speech and debate were not already closed and unfree enough, gag orders, rejections of F.O.I.A. requests, and conspiracies of silence make communication more difficult in general, and philosophic discourse and education on political and economic topics practically impossible.
     Today, thanks to modern conceptions and laws concerning intellectual property rights, people who have made no discoveries are termed “innovators”, even if all they have done was to merely apply laws of physics to already existing inventions. So too do we apply the word “idealist” to most if not all thinkers, even though they may solely challenge or re-combine existing ideas, yet formulate no original thoughts of their own. Rather than applying the term “idealists” to people who continuously seek to perform the impossible task of rebuilding the world in their own images, we have chosen to call them “realists”. This fact ought to help demonstrate that those who challenge the system with philosophy, all too often fall victim to its lies, even if all they are trying to do is describe (rather than proscribe) human nature.
     This is why it is so unnerving when our ideological philosophy – our very ways and methods of looking at, thinking about, and applying our own ways of systematizing and categorizing political, social, economic, and cultural arrangements – falters in the same manner as the state.
     The cause of this is overzealousness. First, an overzealous desire to systematize and categorize – a desire to make a thought-friend into a thought-girlfriend - in the first place. Continuing along this line of “reasoning” – and to be perfectly crass - ideological philosophy is an attempt by the thought-cucked to escape the thought-friendzone. It is to attempt to find not just an idea, but a system of ideation, with which we can mate for life, and through this union, formulate lots of little baby ideas.
     For some people, the affairs of a distant government are so far from their minds, that refraining from allowing oneself to worry about them, gives one at least the illusion of freedom. Indeed, “freedom from worry” was one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's “Four Freedoms”. Moreover, to some, political ideas and theories seem unreachable, unattainable, even lofty and poetic. However, as Marshall McLuhan reasoned, people must be able to understand how the law affects them on a day-to-day basis - in their normal, everyday lives - if problems are to be confronted and solved.
     This is a perfectly practical and practicable idea, which McLuhan called “making the political personal”. Unfortunately, the second cause of philosophical failure, has been the overzealous desire to apply that idea everywhere. This has resulted in a distortion of the concept, such that politicizing the personal is the order of the day, rather than personalizing the political, which is quite the opposite.
     That is why we must set out a course by which, through philosophy, we can make the political personal, without accidentally politicizing human beings, and everything else, in the process. To fail to do this is to risk normalizing arrest and brutal treatment of people suspected of even the most minor and trivial, and often victimless, crimes. As they say in Harvard Law School, “Don't support a law unless you're willing to kill in order to enforce it.”

5. Introduction to the Fichtean-Hegelian Dialectic

     If - in the course of developing each of our own unique, personalized ideological philosophies - it is impossible to avoid systematically and methodically categorizing ideas, then the categorization system should at least make sense; should be neither too grandiose, nor too simplistic.
     People living in wealthy, industrialized market economies may be familiar with the term “affluenza”, which refers to the feeling of being burdened by privilege. One way to experience affluenza is to suffer from "choice overload" - also known as "overchoice" or "analysis paralysis" - the feeling of being overwhelmed with choices while trying to decide what to buy. However, having “too many choices” is not a real problem; it's an example of what some call “white people problems”. The real issue with choice overload is not that there are too many choices, but too many similar choices (e.g., Hershey's vs. Ovaltine vs. Nestlé Qwik).
     Just as we should not be satisfied with one or two “choices”, we should also not be satisfied with a multiplicity of choices when all the choices are virtually the same. As Jesse Ventura said, “I love that we have two parties in America, that's one more than they have in Communist China.” So at least we can say that the American people are not overwhelmed with political choices.
     In geometry and physics, in order to create a line or a line segment, it is necessary to connect at least two points. However, as we have seen, two is too simplistic; too reductionist, too black-and-white. Just as not everything is good or evil, not everything fits easily into the false dichotomy between the Left and Right, which originated in modern times in the French National Assembly. This “Left-vs.-Right” thinking is, pure and simple, one-dimensional thinking.
     Creating a plane, however, is more complex than creating a line. In order to create a plane, you need to connect no fewer than three points. Thus, connecting, comparing, and contrasting three ideas, is the smallest number necessary to perform what we shall call “two-dimensional thinking”. The works of Fichte, Hegel, Rudolf Steiner, and Hannah Arendt, all exemplify radically self-aware attempts to overcome dichotomies through philosophical reasoning, leading to the creation of a third solution or proposition, and even additional ones.
     Probably the most famous of these methods of reasoning, is the so-called “Hegelian dialectic”, named for German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is known for having employed in his writing a “dialectical method” which was developed by earlier (and equally German) philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte.
     Dialectic - which refers to “talking, speaking, or conversing, across or between” - is a method of philosophical discourse. Its objective is to expose a contradiction (or apparent contradiction) between ideas, and hopefully merging, resolving, or otherwise transcending that contradiction. The dialectical method has been successfully used by many philosophers as a tool for overcoming false dichotomies.
     Fichte coined the series of terms “thesis, antithesis, synthesis” (these, antithese, synthese). The thesis and antithesis are two ideas which form a binary pair. The antithesis “sublates” (or overcomes) the thesis, while the antithesis is itself sublated by the synthesis. The goal of the dialectic is a sort of alchemy; it is to create an idea which simultaneously preserves yet abolishes the thesis and the antithesis, in order to overcome the false dichotomy. It is to destroy an idea as we know it, while leaving the original idea untouched.
     It's almost like pirating copyrighted material. Pirating, is, of course, distinct from stealing or theft. If the “thief” has left the original copy alone and undisturbed, then how may we rightfully claim that any such “theft” (or, in this case, destruction) has occurred? How, in any real, tangible sense, can an idea be stolen, when it is no concrete object; when it cannot be physically moved nor removed?
     To abolish an idea, or to change the way we perceive it, results in no real loss, nor takings of fairly earned property. True, it may result in a loss of potential; that is, a loss of the right to exclude others from their natural freedom to borrow ideas they've heard about, and to re-combine and tweek them in order to keep them useful. To prohibit people from doing so, is to let good ideas go to waste, as history eventually proves parts of them to be less useful and less valid than others.

6. The Application of the Dialectic Method to Economics

     To understand the dialectical method of discourse, it will help to explain thesis, antithesis, and synthesis a bit more clearly, and to use a real-life example of how the components of a thesis-and-antithesis pair interact.
     The thesis is the beginning proposition, while the antithesis is the negation of that thesis. The negation may be absolute, and completely polar, in its opposition to the original thesis. However, the antithesis might simply be an “almost-opposite”, which has been popularly assumed, wrongly, to be an exact opposite of the thesis. This gives rise to the false dichotomy between them. Sadly, this falsehood often quashes hope for reconciliation, and makes compromise (or even neutrality) seem impossible.
     In the synthesis, the two conflicting ideas are reconciled and resolved, possibly through some degree of merging, to form a new proposition. Hegel called this interaction between thesis and antithesis aufheben or aufhebung, usually translated as “sublation”. Through their various translations and interpretations, these terms have also been explained as signifying an “abolishing”, “canceling”, or “suspending” of the thesis and antithesis, but also as a “preserving” of both.
     Aufhebung has also been described as a “lifting-up” or “picking-up”. Alternatively, as an act of moving; in order to either put away, or else put somewhere else. I think of it as a sort of “picking up the pieces”; picking out the “good” (read: “desirable”) parts of the thesis and antithesis, in order to build a synthesis from those parts. Most importantly, sublation is a “transcending” of the supposed opposition of the thesis and antithesis.
     Perhaps it will be helpful to perceive of capitalism as the thesis, and socialism or communism as the antithesis; capitalism as the socio-economic mode to which we have become accustomed (to the point of ceasing to question what lies beyond, as in a goldfish in a fish-bowl), while socialism is defined, more or less, as whatever is not capitalism.
     However, defining something in terms of its opposite, however, is no logical way to proceed about creating a reliable definition. And so, we may, just as well, conceive of thesis and antithesis in the opposite fashion; with socialism as the primeval mode of socioeconomic organization, which has followed mankind through most of its evolution. And if a form of socialism or communism is the thesis - that is, a socialism or communism in which land is viewed as part of the Commons - then the antithesis of socialism is capitalism (with its weakly-founded private property ownership rights claims, which are so difficult to protect without either a state or else unanimous popular support).
     Whether we take socialism or capitalism as the thesis, the two systems comprise a binary pairing, and whichever is not the thesis, we shall call the antithesis. It is out of these two ideas that the synthesis will emerge.

7. Synthesizing Socialism and Capitalism

     The difficulty of synthesizing socialism and capitalism lies in the difficulty of “picking-up” the pieces. That's because this need impels us to ask ourselves: Which pieces are we to pick up? That is, which things about socialism and capitalism do we like best? Perhaps just as importantly, which socialist ideas are likely to mesh well with which capitalist ideas? Should we synthesize based on our individual preferences, or based on an objective analysis of how socialism and capitalism work best together? It could very well be that an objective analysis is impossible, and a subjective analysis impractical; only the course of history and the bearing-out of facts will guide us on this matter.
     It would seem logical that a synthesis of socialism and capitalism should involve either a reconciliation on economic issues, or a moderate or centrist stance, or some kind of compromise. If not that, then it should at least involve a commitment to neutrality, or even nihilism, on those issues. It could even involve the development of an “anti-economics” - that is, a system (or anti-system) which values negation of the importance of economics and Left-vs.-Right issues altogether – one which might treat economic tendencies and bias as useless or even deviant.
     A person applying the dialectical method to these economic systems, might come up with either tyranny or freedom as their synthesis. If the person views freedom as the desirable feature which both systems share, then that person's synthesis will reflect a tendency to love and favor liberty, freedom, and anarchy. If the person views control, stability, or social order, as the desirable shared feature, then their synthesis will likely tend towards power, authority, and Fascism. But does this mean that tyranny and freedom are each rightful syntheses of socialism and capitalism? That is a difficult question to answer.
     Efforts to craft a “Third Position” which overcomes the thesis and antithesis of capitalism and socialism, have, thus far, only served to justify economic protectionism, and all types of isolationism, emboldening ultra-nationalists and racists, and giving credence to the fascistic tendencies in both major parties. So too has the “Third Way” “triangulation” strategy between Bill Clinton and congressional Republicans in the 1990s, only served to solidify the dichotomous neoliberal-neoconservative power structure, and its control over our bodies and our thoughts.
     Insurrection, and even peaceful resistance, have been maligned to such an extent that nearly everyone who resists, questions, and challenges this unauthorized “authority” (read: “domination”), are labeled “anarchists”, or even “terrorists”. Moreover, their actions are cited as a reason why the collapse of the state would lead to a power vacuum where anarchy and fascism would somehow flourish together.
     But is anarchy really “one step away” from fascism or tyranny, as some suspect? Will they work together when the “centrist” (read: amoral) state collapses? The disdain which anarchists and fascists feel towards completely embracing one economic system or the other, would certainly seem to point in that direction. Especially in light of some misogynistic, petit-nationalist, and even anti-Semitic statements made by prominent anarchist and left-libertarian theorists (namely, Marx, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Makhno).
     Perhaps the best answer to these questions, at least for now, is that the philosopher usually stops synthesizing before the synthesis has been fully completed.

8. Social Threefolding and Overcoming Trichotomies

     Rudolf Steiner (not to be confused with Max Stirner) proposed a sociological theory called “social threefolding”. The theory supports independence of political, economic, and socio-cultural institutions, alongside freedom, equality, and human rights. Social threefolding aims to foster cooperation between these types of institutions, but with minimal interference between them, and without domination by any of them. In my opinion, it is precisely because of this interference (this blending-together of politics, economics, and society and culture), and the domination of one over the others, that false dichotomies and binary “almost-oppositions” remain so prevalent.
     The modern, two-dimensional, square political spectrum is modeled after the Pournelle political chart, which resembles the Punnett square, a tool in genetic science. It has only an economic dimension (Left and Right) and a politico-socio-cultural dimension (up and down). The structure of the political spectrum – especially evidenced in the manner in which the dimensions of the Nolan chart are labeled – demonstrate not only the problem of false dichotomies, but also the need to develop three-dimensional models. To fail to do so is to fail to separate the political from the socio-cultural, and to fail to utilize all three dimensions (the X-, Y-, and Z- axes).
     On the other hand, to use all three is to exemplify three-dimensional thinking. Although this is undoubtedly an improvement over the overly-simplistic Left-vs.-Right continuum, the most basic three-dimensional object is a pyramid. In geometry, a pyramid requires the connection of four points; in philosophy, this corresponds to the need to connect at least four ideas in order to provide a full “picture”; at that, a spatial “picture”.
     Unfortunately, neither Steiner's nor Hegel's works have succeeded in creating an easy model by which to facilitate the interplay of four ideas. But they do make room for a third idea; and in that regard, we should be appreciative, and take what we can get. However, we must not forget to build on that model. Hence, our new goal now becomes utilizing that space, originally cleared for the third idea, to making room for the fourth. The fourth “point” (in more senses of the word than one) may serve as either another point on the same plane as the other three; or it could transcend those three points, by rising to a higher level, and utilizing an axis which had previously been empty and wasted. To fail to give that point a boost upward, risks allowing yourself to remain on the same plane as the other points; allowing yourself to “stoop to their level”.
     It's fine to overcome a dichotomy, but if you're only going to replace it with a trichotomy that is equally false, or with an incomplete “three-fold truth”, then you're only going to end up with a little more than half of the picture. Simply put, don't replace a false dichotomy with a false trichotomy, or else you'll give yourself a lobotomy. Nazis, communists, and anarchists don't belong to the Democratic and Republican parties, but that doesn't mean we can lump them all together as one.

9. Creating Antisynthesis Through Negation of the Synthesis

     On the political compass, socialism is positioned on the left, and capitalism on the right, while tyranny and authority are “on top” (or “up”), and anarchy and freedom are “on the bottom” (or “down”). Tyranny and anarchy are positioned opposite one-another, just like socialism and capitalism, yet they both appear to be valid syntheses of the two economic systems. How is this possible? Truth be told, it's as simple as “forgetting to carry the '1'”; as simple as forgetting to make room for a fourth idea.
     The final step of the dialectical method is not synthesis, but anti-synthesis (or antisynthese). Just as the thesis must be anathematized to show the antithesis (and create a synthesis), so too must the synthesis be anathematized (and overcome, or transcended) in order to give rise to a fourth idea and the “four-fold truth”. Simply put, if you haven't negated your synthesis, then you're not done synthesizing yet.
     If anarchy and tyranny are your syntheses, and they're opposites - or, at least, opposites in many or most ways - then it's possible that one is an antisynthesis of the other. Fascism – just like anarchism, and, indeed, most political ideologies - was born out of a desire to reconcile disputes over land and economic issues. Unlike anarchism, however, the goal of Fascism has been to unite the features shared by socialism and capitalism which the Fascists admired; namely, power. In particular, the command-and-control system of economics, which usually features price controls and rationing. Even today, scholars are still grappling with the question of whether fascists, Nazis, and the like, more closely resemble historical or modern capitalism or socialism.
     However, to reject command-and-control economics, and other fascist policies, as the least desirable things which socialism and capitalism sometimes have in common, is to negate the synthesis which these control freaks have fabricated. To negate the fascist synthesis to embrace a wide range of equally freeing potential antisyntheses; for example, “anarchism without adjectives”, the Georgist and Mutualist schools of economic thought, free and anarchist communism, libertarian socialism, and many others. Taken together, these tendencies comprise what is known as, appropriately, "synthesis anarchism".
     To pursue “Bottom Unity” (that is, cooperation among all the anarchist and liberty-loving tendencies and schools), and to seek antisyntheses of fascism among the theorists of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, is to send a clear message to the fascists. That message is that justice is not merely what Thrasymachus argued; “the advantage of the stronger”. It is to say that we shall not admire, nor judge, a political ideology (nor party, nor candidate) solely on its ability to cling to power and throw its weight around.
     If a spirit of moderation (or even, lacking that, neutrality) can foster an open and peaceful discourse - and make room for third, fourth, and even more alternatives – then it is possible that each position may be more fully and accurately represented, and possible that we might achieve that multiplicity of choices which is essential for true freedom to flourish. As long as anarchism can avoid the same pitfalls which led its critics to decry it as akin to fascism, then anarchism can provide a framework for such discourse.
     It may well be that anarchism will have to forge a new path ahead, in order to prevent itself from being perceived as populated by “scabs” (due to its seemingly halfhearted embrace of socialism). To fail to chart any path forward, or even to “Walk Straight Down the Middle”, could risk that anarchists be criticized for “kicking the can down the road”, avoiding taking a stance on economic issues. And to fail to chart the appropriate path forward, is to risk making free speech, open debate, and free choice, all but impossible. That's where the Popperian question of whether to tolerate intolerance comes in. To fail to answer the Paradox of Tolerance is to consider criticizing Nazis on their own terms, rather than by any objective criterion.
     On the other hand, to succeed – if that “success” must involve some degree of synthetic nationalism - could very well serve but to enable fascist synthesists; those who believe that nationalism as it is commonly practiced (that is, the ultra-nationalism of the bourgeois Westphalian nation-state) is the only right way forward. That's why it will likely be necessary for anarchists to wholly refrain from chasing any form of petit-nationalism - such as “organic nationalism”, “social nationalism”, and “national syndicalism” - because that course might bring them to the very same coordinates of control which they virulently oppose.
     Another quandary with which the pensive anarchist must contend, is whether to submit to the very same sorts of contractual agreements to which we currently submit under the state; under conditions of coercion and pressure. If we believe that all interaction with government must be voluntary - yet we rely on societal pressure, peer pressure, and ostracism to pressure people into signing contracts as a condition of belonging to a political community - then how can we claim that anyone has real choice in the matter? Is that not the very same type of coercion from which we are attempting to flee in opposing the state?
     Or is that the bare minimum amount of vetting and security which are necessary to take precautions, protect the safety of the community, and offset potential risks thereto? If nobody agrees on morality, much less the very definitions of the words we use to debate, then how can a voluntary civil society exist without philosophy? That is, if people do not accept, nor even understand, the norms by which they should still abide, even with the state gone? Are we to expect that all criminal suspects will simply voluntarily submit to arrest? And if so, to whom?
     If we fail to conceptualize, and teach and transmit, a voluntary basis for the acceptance of what should be widespread social norms - intended to keep civil society from falling apart under conditions of total consent – then our ideology (anarchism) dies, and begins to look even less feasible than it already is.

10. Conclusion

     In political speech, “the public sector” and “the private sector” are all too often discussed as a binary opposition. That's why many people think that every mode of running a company, or a government program, or a charity, or resources, must fall into one of these two categories. However, the existence of private clubs and club goods, the distinctions which Pierre-Joseph Proudhon made between personal possessions and private property, the idea that land and raw natural resources all fall under “the Commons”, and the existence and pervasiveness of “private-public partnerships” between government and businesses, show that this “public-vs.-private” dichotomy is nothing more than another contrivance.
     So too is the dichotomy between universalism and monism, as far as cultural, civic, and ethnic sociology is concerned. Multiculturalism is the third proposition, while pluralism is the fourth. Similarly, the supposed opposition of statism to chaos, have given rise to the notions that anarchism is not about chaos, and that federalism (whose meaning has basically flipped since the Founding of the nation) is not about centralized control. Additionally, this false opposition has been synthesized and antisynthesized into the ideas of minarchism, libertarianism, decentralization, polycentric and diffused power, power-sharing, henocentrism, and ambiarchy
     The application of the dialectic method to class theory has advanced the philosophies of discourse, politics, and economics. Notably, by Karl Marx, in his suggestion that capitalism is the synthesis of the thesis-antithesis pair of feudalism and socialism. Additionally, by Wally Conger, in his synthesis of Marxism with free-market ideology, in his book Agorist Class Theory. Another book on the distinctions and commonalities between Marxism and free markets - Agorism Contra Marxism - written by the late Samuel E. Konkin III, was unfinished, yet published.
     But political philosophy is not the only discipline which may benefit from the application of this full dialectical method which I have outlined here. While the applications of the dialectic to economics, sociology, and culture, have been broadly hinted-at here, other fields of study such as psychology, theology, and even hard sciences, could benefit just as much from discourse and antisynthesis.
     Even if we lack or abhor a schema by which to categorize and systematize our modes of thinking about these concepts, all that is necessary to do this is to apply a discursive or scientific method to itself. This is to say that if we apply a field's traditional methods of doubt and verification to itself – for example, using the scientific method to cast doubt upon the ontological validity of the scientific method itself – then we may force what we once believed to be “the hard truth” to face itself in the mirror. Only then can we discover which synthesis is “the real synthesis”; that is, which witch is which.
     The only thing left to do then, is to figure out which one is which, and which one we're supposed to shoot.

Originally Written on January 8th and 9th, 2018
Originally Published on January 10th, 2018
Edited and Expanded on January 9th, 10th, and 12th, 2018

Edited on January 11th, 2018


  1. Thought provokingly chewy. May i propose the term 'quadralectic'? Ive been searching for a method to thinking beyond the usual suspects and their duopoly. For a while i was considering the Hunter-Gatherer Party as an alternative to the standard options and alternatives. 😅