The “No True Anarchist” Fallacy

I think the most entertaining aspect about anarchism is the fragmentation that exists within the philosophy. Such fragmentation isn’t unusual. No philosophy that I’m aware of has remained united. But anarchism, as a philosophy I personally identify with, is more entertaining to write about than most other philosophies.

There are many heated debates within anarchist communities. My favorite debate at the moment is whether or not anarcho-capitalists are real anarchists. For the sake of transparency I will note that my path to anarchism started in libertarianism and move towards anarcho-capitalism. While I now identify primarily with discordianism, I feel that I’m still marginally qualified to speak on matters involving anarcho-capitalism. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the argument.

The reason this is currently my favorite argument is because it’s quite clear that traditional anarchists, who identify with socialism, don’t like the term anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-capitalists don’t care what traditional anarchists like or don’t like. Traditional anarchists are spending a great deal of their time and energy explaining why anarcho-capitalists aren’t real anarchists and anarcho-capitalists are saying “We don’t care. Have fun with your semantic argument.” If you participate in any online anarchist communities you quickly learn that traditional anarchists have a tendency to isolate themselves from anarcho-capitalists. This isolation has two effects. First, it creates an echo chamber where ideological dissent is crushed. Crushing ideological dissent is the most effective way to ensure your movement never advances. Second, it leaves anarcho-capitalists free to go about their business unfettered. While traditional anarchists are telling anybody who will listen, which is only other traditional anarchists, that anarcho-capitalists aren’t real anarchists, anarcho-capitalists are expanding their philosophy and proselytizing to gain more memebers.

What’s even funnier is the common justification traditional anarchists give for spending so much time declaring anarcho-capitalists heathens. Their reason is that they are trying to prevent the term anarchism from being hijacked. Considering the majority of the world believes anarchism is synonymous with molotov-cocktail-throwing-asshole-who-wants-to-bring-death-and-destruction-down-upon-all I believe it’s accurate to say that the term has already been hijacked. The definition of anarchism used by traditional anarchists is a minority definition compared to the definition used by most people. At this point traditional anarchists can only claim to be trying to reclaim the term. If I were going to reclaim the term anarchism I would start by trying to change the common vernacular definition.

As for me, I don’t care. One of the reasons I identify with discordianism is because it encourages schisms and cabals. You don’t have to worry about philosophical arguments about who is a real discordian because the philosophy itself encourages everybody to define the term however they want. That frees me from worthless semantic arguments and allows to go focus on what I love: promoting the idea of freedom.