“Anarchist” Misused in Recent Column

Oliver Bok, Editor in Chief

To the Editors:

I’m writing to object to Sean Para’s use of the word “anarchist” in his column last week absolving the United States government of its crimes and general incompetence (“Recent Events Have Defined Our Government’s Limits,” The Oberlin Review , Nov. 1, 2013).

He wrote, “These recent debacles, as well as the many long-held problems of our state, simply give reason to having more government, not less. Anarchists — and their prominent conservative analogues in government — are wrong.”

First of all, the “conservative analogue” of an anarchist is an anarcho-capitalist, and there are no anarcho-capitalists in our government. An anarchist politician would be like a vegan working in a slaughterhouse. It’s simply nonsense.

I understand Mr. Para was trying to tar the Tea Party as anarcho-capitalists, but I think sacrificing the rich and varied philosophy of anarchism for the sake of a rhetorical flourish is a pretty sad thing to do. The Tea Party strongly believes in the necessity of government: They want a government which protects their property, deports immigrants and imprisons as many black men as possible. There’s nothing anarchist about any of that.

Secondly, I don’t think most anarchists are in favor of immediately abolishing the government. Anarchists look to build a society with no government, a society of shared property and abundant cooperation. Obviously it will take time to transition to this new society, and in the meantime the federal government’s efforts to protect citizens from the vicissitudes of modern capitalism should be strengthened, not weakened.

For true freedom to enter the world, the state and the corporation must end like Gollum and the One Ring: They must fall into the fiery pit together!