I think a number of readers get a bit uncomfortable when we wander off the diet, health, conditioning and other closely related subjects on this blog. On the other hand, isn’t the Paleosphere replete with blogs and other resources devoted exclusively to diet, to recipes, to workouts, or some combination?
I never wanted to specialize, and the primary reason for that is because my own great leap forward in health has been so multi-faceted, and too, I hate feeling boxed in. I have often related that hand-in-hand with the brief intense workouts and paleo-like diet, that I also got off the cable news addiction, talk radio addiction, financial news addiction, and hand-wringing-over-politics addiction.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. — H.L. Mencken
And then I began sleeping like a baby again — and guiltlessly so, in great splendor. So: isn’t that another piece of the overall Paleo puzzle?
But why cherry pick, since I’m also not going to go "live like a cave man?" Because "Paleo" is in some sense a philosophy; or, rather, a framework of knowledge & principles whereby one assembles a foundation from whence a modern philosophy might be built, and we want that: modernity, advancement, improvement. The last thing I want Paleo to represent is static stagnation, or primitivism, squalor, separatism. And while so many of us have done marvelously in constructing a modern approach to food choices, exercise choices and entertainment, fun and relaxation, how many of us have extrapolated some of that deep evolutionary understanding of our own humanity to how we might best conduct ourselves as free animals in a modern society?
It’s too bad I have to deal in labels that don’t quite clearly convey what I mean. …And there’s probably no word in the world more loaded, more misunderstood, more confused, more bi-polar, than: anarchy. I mean, for most people, it’s hard to even see the word without finishing the phrase: "& chaos." Much was made of Lierre Keith’s recent assault at the hands of "anarchists." But was that an essential description or would "bullies" might have sufficed and been more accurate? Ok, ok, let’s answer the implicit question: what kind of "anarchists?" Well, none at all, from my perch. They were really just your run of the mill communists & deep socialists (redundancy alert!) and all applicable varieties therein. I’m not going to belabor the point here. More accurately, they’re nihilists.
Let me explain. Suppose there were some in our society who had a problem giving up the fun & jolly Santa Claus myth by around age five or so. Such a condition might motivate the formation of "asantaists" as some epistemological position (or ethical and political if "santaism" went along far enough). So what is an "asantaist?" How about a group that wishes to destroy by force, if "necessary," all vestiges of the jolly old man with a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly? Sure, they’re "asantaists" alright, but aren’t they more importantly bullies, nihilists, spoilsports, party-poopers and…vegans? And how do they compare with the down-to-reality "asantaists" who just want to talk sense? Or, those who wish simply to admonish you — but only if you’ll listen — that willingness to entertain fantasy in one area might carry over to others and end in real harm? We’re talking about a bi-polar condition surrounding the same concept: brutality & force vs. peaceful persuasion and freedom of association; opposites, in fact. But even so, they are to some extent both still "asantaists."
So there’s a one-paragraph metaphor that I think pretty much describes the essential problem with the word "anarchy."
Are you interested in where this is going? I hope so. If not, that’s cool and there’ll be more Food Porn or Dietitian Ridicule or SatFatGood soon enough. But if so, do you have 10-15 minutes to inform yourself in some radical, but eminently peaceful, political philosophy that might make the rest of this far more valuable in terms of considering alternatives to the political and social status quo? From a seemingly unlikely source: an old friend; a realtor in Phenix, AZ, with a pretty deep background in things classical, Hellenic, and Greek. Greg Swann; SplendorQuest: A real-estate professionals’ guide to anarchy in the USA.
If you would, please go read it and return so the quotes I use will make more complete sense. Now that we’ve dismissed the nihilist anarchists as, essentially, mostly engaged in nihilism, how about the next branch? These guys — and I used to be one of them — are super "free-marketeers." They’re so super-free-market that when they noticed that governments exist by force & coercion, preventing competition in governance — a monopoly of force, coercion…destruction — that they drew the natural & obvious conclusion: the problem is with monopoly. We need a lot more force & coercion — competition over it — which, by virtue of "market forces," will somehow result in not more but…less destruction. Yep. Don’t like the government you have? Fine. Hire another and go to war with the former. That’ll be peaceful.
I know I’m glossing over finer points but it’s only as a means to get to where I want to be. First, here’s Greg outlining the foregoing in his way.
In general, advocates of free-market anarchism will insist that the polities they envision will be entirely voluntary. I dispute this claim. The two best known defenders of free-market anarchism — David Friedman (son of Milton Friedman) and Murray Rothbard — both envision free-market police forces that would engage in violent trespass onto private property and forceful coercion of individuals suspected of having injured other members of the polity. I think this is simply thoughtlessness — the failure to have thought through the unwillingness of each member of the polity to volunteer for this kind of abuse. But, to my knowledge, Janioism is the only argument for free-market anarchism that foreswears system coercion both of members of the polity and of strangers who might find themselves subject to the dispute resolution systems of a Janioist polity.
Sorry; as I said, you’ll need to read his post to decode some of that.
So let’s get back to the Paleolithic. How did we get here? What were we like? What sort of social framework did we evolve in? Modern society is certainly far different, but is that advancement, or something else?
If it’s something else and I think surely it is, then it’s that we’ve conditioned ourselves to be slaves, but slaves of the worst possible kind: slaves who live in the fantasy that they’re really free. Moreover, and get ready: modern "social food" is cannibal food. When someone says "socialism," I immediately think: "cannibalism." But no one could dispute that cannibal isn’t Paleo, so what gives? Do I jest, much? Well, what does give? Isn’t that a vestige of primitive savagery — cannibalism — that we could put aside — at fucking least, please! — instead of figuring out loopholes?
I think it’s an interesting parallel that rather than slaughter certain animals for their meat, we domesticated them so we could milk them and derive far more value over a lifetime. I have no idea how widespread human cannibalism may have been in the Paleolithic and beyond, but did agricultural civilization represent, essentially, a trade — even an unconscious, evolutionary one — of cannibalism for slavery? "Don’t worry, we’re not going to take your fingers & toes — or bleed you outright & eat your liver. Instead, you get to be a citizen. And hey, in a few thousand years, you’ll even get to vote!!! (oh joy). But wait! There’s more. You’ll also get this combination spaghetti pot, clam steamer…and, you’ll get to vote to live at everyone else’s expense! Now how much of your freedom will you give up?"
And so we come full circle, from real cannibals at times to metaphorical cannibals who get to vote on it: who goes into the pot & who gets to feast.
But let’s get back to the question. How did we get here? Who are we? Where can we go from here? Greg, again:
Almost everyone is sane and normal. Few people understand egoism as I defend it, but that’s simply because the forces of evil in our civilization do everything they can think of to smear ideas like egoism, individualism, capitalism, anarchism, etc. Their dominance games will not work without your active, continual surrender, so they indoctrinate you from childbirth to submit to their authority, to fear and resist your own desires, to yield to them in any conflict, to be their perfect little slave at all times. And it works, too. Not only do you sacrifice fifty percent or more of every dollar you produce, you will defend with righteous indignation your glorious servitude.
So until Part II, you glorious slaves! I’ll write about how we could be and how best we might engage in political activism of sorts, towards breaking the chains. There are distinctions to make.