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Forum Post: Anarchism & self-interest

Posted 9 years ago on Aug. 1, 2012, 1:28 a.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
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I've heard it said that someone like an anarchist lawyer (or anarchist politician) is an oxymoron, but of course the irony of this statement should be readily apparent. It's basis is the idea that under an anarchist system, professions like politics & law become redundant (and unnecessary), which is of course true, but the same is true for countless other professions, and this assumes something that anarchists (generally speaking) deny i.e. people are motivated solely by self-interest, and are incapable of acting against short term interests for egalitarian reasons.

In other words, it's a self-defeating argument. If people who benefit from our current system cannot empathize with anarchism, or find affinity with anarchism, this basically states that anarchism can only find affinity among a small class of intellectuals, and the most downtrodden in our society. The logical implication is that our society must completely break down in order to reach a critical mass of enough people who will accrue a sufficient self-interest in anarchic philosophy, in order for there to be any hope for anarchism.

But it gets even more convoluted. Pierre Proudhon (the forerunner of modern anarchist thought) was himself a legal scholar, John Stuart Mill (William Godwin was in Mills' fathers circle of friends) a onetime member of Parliament ...

Pietro Gori (14 August 1865 - 8 January 1911) was an Italian lawyer, journalist, intellectual and anarchist poet. He is known for his political activities,[1] and as author of some of the most famous anarchist songs of the late 19th century, including Addio a Lugano ("Farewell to Lugano"), Stornelli d'esilio ("Exile Songs"), Ballata per Sante Caserio ("Ballad for Sante Geronimo Caserio").




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