Friday, June 24, 2011

Anarchy and Anarchism

The English language is rich in words and complex in structure. Pay any attention at all to this richness and complexity and it is a more than adequate medium of expression.

Sadly, in the age of bullet points, run-on sentences, and tweets, this richness and complexity is either lost on, or completely baffles, the average writer.

Often it is with pairs of words that the careless writer has problems. Is it “shall” or “will”? Never mind, I’ll cover my indecision with an apostrophe.

There seems to be an epidemic merging of “valid” with “true” so that we feel free to use one for the other with little understanding of their difference. Validity is a characteristic of arguments; truth is a characteristic of propositions. Consider the following argument:

All celestial bodies are made of cream cheese,

The moon is a celestial body

Therefore the moon is made of cream cheese.

This is a formally valid argument, yet it is false that the moon is made of cream cheese because the major premise is false.

Well, this distinction probably makes no fine difference in the twitter-verse since we all, like, understand one another anyway. By the way, the subjunctive mood is essentially least amongst the I wouldn’t worry about that either, if I was you.

Many of the technical terms of political discourse that appear in comment threads are used for little more than an acquired emotional tone. Marxist! Communist! Socialist! Fascist! are epithets thrown at opponents to indicate our disapproval of them. As readers we often wonder whether the commenter understands what they mean, or whether he understands his opponent’s position.

Now, consider “anarchy” and “Anarchism.”

Anarchy (with a small “a”) is the confusion and lack of order that follows on the failure or breakdown of law and government; or it’s confusion or lack of order of any kind.

Anarchism, on the other hand is a philosophy of social organization. There is a confusing wealth of “anarchisms,” however the the core belief of all is that government is a form of tyranny that must be destroyed.

But anarchists are not fools; they recognize that that modern society is complex and that mechanisms for the exchange of goods and services must be established. The Anarcho-Syndicalists, who flourished during the Spanish Civil War, conceived of a society organized from the bottom up through an integrated system of trade unions.

To learn a bit more about this form of anarchism look at this:

Cross-posted from The Data Port

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