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Non-Aggression And The Goddamn Primmies

May 15, 2010

Incidentally I think that Primitivism offers the perfect counterpoint to the thin-libertarian crowd’s singleminded focus on nonaggression.  Freedom is not purely voluntarism.  We can imagine a child born into chains and left there.  They are not coerced, all the pertinent actions are voluntary, but they are decidedly less free than they could be.

Material conditions matter.  And are, in fact, inextricably bound up with societal considerations.  The simple truth is that I have more options, more capacity to do things in a technologically advanced society than I do in a primitive society.

A culture that turns against information technology for example or destroys antibiotics seriously impedes me in comparison to our own.  It’s not necessarily true that I could develop such on my own (or with whatever circle of likeminded folk I might have access to).  And a world in which mortal disease is rampant because of cultural prohibitions is quite obviously and intuitively less-free.  The decision by a great many people to internally suppress, turn away from and refuse to participate in the struggle for material developments is not by any sense an aggression (they didn’t invent or distribute the pre-existing plague), but not living past 17 is still pretty goddamn oppressive.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 5:05 pm

    Yes, this echoes the classic anarchist position on positive freedom. The freedom to starve or die from infectious disease ain’t what I’m struggling for.

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