Vintage Brunette: What Anarchism Means to Me

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You guessed it, Brunette here again. πŸ˜‰

Vin’s a writer, and (not that I have to tell any of you!) a pretty darn good one — I was a fan long before we ever met. But he’s not a blogger at heart … nor am I. He’s encouraged me to post here more often, and I hope he won’t regret it! — mostly I’ve felt reluctant to do so, it’s his blog after all.

Online, I’ve always been Cat — it’s a pen name, not my “real” one, but I prefer it. Because of that, and the fact that I’m a bit of a hermit by nature, Vin long ago dubbed me “the Brunette” — which suits me just fine. Many of you won’t know that for a time (in what feels like a previous life now) I did some writing too. Even had a website, which I created with some help from friends … but life happened, as it has a way of doing, and when a couple years ago I went to update my contact info I discovered that the site host is utterly non-responsive. So now my site exists in a frozen limbo — I can’t access it, period. Perhaps someday I’ll recreate the site from scratch — start over with a new, more reliable web host. But, for now, rather than see my old work totally lost to the shifting sands of time and cyberspace, I’ll re-post an old favorite here. Perhaps with more to come, over time, if there’s sufficient interest.

Here it is — I’ll resist the pesky urge to revise, and post it in its original form (warts and all.)

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What Anarchism Means To Me

Anarchism is my declaration of peace with you. It is a repudiation of the use of coercive power to achieve my own ends, or to abet the domination of any man by his fellows, or over his fellows. It is a renunciation of the use and support of structures that function to create discord and disparity among men and between nations, and peddle mayhem and mischief under the aegis of security and protection, and carnage as an acceptable cost — not of survival, but of satiety.

Anarchism is my declaration of independence from corrupt and debauched systems which institutionalize the dominance and submission of the mind and conscience, pillaging the property of the peaceful and raping the human spirit. Authority is a form of privilege. There is one kind of wealth that one can only gain at the expense of another, and that is privilege; money may follow privilege, but it may only buy privilege when there exists a warehousing authority to assign it.

Anarchism is my statement of intention to mind my own business, and not to interest myself in yours beyond what is welcome, mannerly, and appropriate to our relationship, because I expect the same courtesy from you. We will only care about each other when our relationship is peaceful, and it is not a peaceful act to care to the extent of violating another person’s boundaries.

Anarchism is my vote of confidence in you. It is not in the interest of any neighbor to harm his neighbor. As neighbors and peers we may not always get along, but we’re as unlikely to do each other violence as we are to do it to ourselves, since the former is simply an indirect means of doing the latter — like committing suicide by cop. As long as neighbors don’t carry badges conveying immunity from making rash judgments, we won’t hear of too many “suicides by neighbor”.

Anarchism is my conscientious objection to the tyranny of other people’s visions, opinions, schemes, fixations, and priorities. We don’t need to understand each other’s motivations, wants, or concerns, but it is essential to extend to others the same respect we expect from them. What we share willingly is a gift or a loan; what we are forced to share is a stolen item; and that is why free trade brings peace among people: it creates the fewest debtors, and rewards the fewest thieves.

Anarchism means many things to many people, but to me it is a state of grace. The stars in the sky do not appoint rulers to tend to their hierarchy; nor do the birds have political dynasties, or the fish in the sea erect thrones for the whales. Natural law and order is not pandemonium; it took man to create pandemonium out of natural law and order, and I’m a nature lover.

Anarchism is my bill of rights; written by the finger of the benign life-force which forged time and space, day and night, male and female, and signed by those who believe that we are all worthy to draw in the same perpetual and impartial breath of the universe. Man can only bring about inequality, by defining equality in terms which persuade us it was never ours to begin with. We are only as equal as we perceive ourselves to be. To consider yourself my equal is to accord me the respect of being yours as well.

Anarchism is my profession of faith in the brotherhood of man. The fact that we are different is a fact that is honored among brothers, and a source of delight to those who are willing to learn from one another. We honor our differences with people we respect; they do not ask our approval or we theirs, yet behold, we get along with them. Mutual respect is an affirmation of shared humanity, and it speaks in a universal tongue.

Anarchism is socially responsible; it doesn’t pollute the environment, has no incentive to create factory farms, or engage in nefarious back room conspiracies. It takes a corporatized government, or a politicized corporation, to do those things, because no other institution can long rationalize — much less profit from — such short-sighted and damaging behavior.

Anarchism is not a utopian scheme, because if we’re all able to create our own little interlocking utopias, then no two will be alike. There is no one-size-fits-all paradise, and one person’s heaven may indeed be another’s hell; to force your heaven upon someone else is as atrocious an act as creating a hell for him. Good intentions are no excuse for making prisoners and hostages of people who have less political clout than you do.

Anarchism does not divide us into partisan systems; it unites us through the realization that if we do not function as part of a sublime and inter-related network of lives, we’re pulling against the tide when it’s much less strenuous — and infinitely more enjoyable and rewarding — to drift along with it.

Anarchism does not pay lip service to diversity. Anarchism is sincere belief in diversity put to the test in practice, and a guarantee that diversity will thrive. If you honestly value diversity, yet believe that it must be administered or doled out by a central authority, you anticipate that the one thing which is most capable of killing diversity, and also has the best incentive to destroy it, will magically act to preserve it. Giving diversity a limited range of acceptable ways in which it can manifest doesn’t honor it any more than protest zones honor the right to free speech; that’s just another way to quarantine the healthy elements of society against infecting the diseased ones.

Anarchism, at its finest, is an expression of unconditional love. It doesn’t bind the hands, or shackle the feet; it doesn’t presume to have superior authority or better wisdom; it doesn’t constrain speech or prohibit choices, even for your own good. It knows that the decision regarding what is good for you must rest with you, because only by being responsible for ourselves can we fulfill our obligation to ourselves, and grow into something beyond ourselves. We’re capable of it; why settle for anything less?

11 Comments to “Vintage Brunette: What Anarchism Means to Me”

  1. MamaLiberty Says:

    Oh Cat, that’s is wonderful and beautiful. Why don’t I remember that?

    I’d love to republish it at my own blog, and will link to it in several fora I visit or administer. I’ve never seen a more definitive description of anarchy, nor a more beautiful outline of a truly free world.


  2. Brunette Says:

    Dear Mama, of course! — feel free to republish, or link to it … just please link back here to, rather than (the site’s still up, just worse than useless at this point.)

    That was an early piece originally published at STR around 2003 … I’d have to say it was probably my all-time favorite, and that’s why I’ve re-posted it here.

    Thanks for the encouragement … that made my night, and I have much to be grateful for. πŸ™‚

  3. MamaLiberty Says:

    Wonderful, I’ll get it up right away. Still can’t believe I don’t remember it. I was still managing editor at ST in 2003… Oh well. This getting old stuff… πŸ™‚

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I’d love to see you write more!!

  4. What Anarchism Means To Me | The Price of Liberty Says:

    […] [Republished with permission from the blog of Vin Suprynowicz] […]

  5. Bob Says:

    Brunette, I can’t say I am an anarchist. I can’t even say I understand the concept. I did enjoy this post, though, and would second the notion that more from you would be good. Bob

  6. Brunette Says:

    Bob, thanks for the kind words! πŸ™‚

    I suppose if I continue to post “vintage” pieces, I’ll create a new topic category (such as “Vintage Brunette” or “Brunette’s rants”) to make them easier to find. Not that I intend to post too much or too often here … as I sure wouldn’t want to alienate or annoy Vin’s regular readers. We’re grateful for them! πŸ˜‰

  7. MamaLiberty Says:

    Annoy the readers? Not a chance. Vin only posts about once a month at best, and other posts by you would certainly make it more pleasant to visit here in the meantime. Make that sub category, however, and stuff it full of your work. I’d love to read them again. πŸ™‚

  8. Brunette Says:

    Mama, that means a lot to me. You mean a lot to me, too. πŸ™‚

    I don’t know if there’s a way to set up a semi-private page or sub-section for my old writings here … there probably is, WordPress is wonderfully versatile — if only I were more adept at using it. What I really ought to do is find a new host and rebuild my old site, but considering the effort and expense involved (plus the fact that I feel a bit snake-bit regarding hosting) it’s hard to justify, based solely on old writings (not all of which are worth reviving) … I guess that’ll happen when and if I have enough new writing to make it all worthwhile.

    Meanwhile, Vin has a new book to promote … and he’s been posting more often; I had hoped to help. But as Vin and I joke (we have very helpful cats!) help is after all a four letter word. I didn’t mean to be the wrong sort of help, if you know what I mean. πŸ˜‰ The coming days will be busy for us, we may be offline for a bit, but more (at least privately) soon. πŸ™‚

  9. Tom Blanton Says:

    What an incredible piece! I was not expecting to read anything quite so profound when I clicked on the link at Claire Wolfe’s blog. This approaches the sort of divine revelation that is the Tao and applies it to the current world we live in. I hope lots of people can read this piece and then read it again.

  10. Ron Johnson Says:

    Beautiful. I will share this with my college-aged son. He and I have gotten into a number of deep discussions about social justice, micro-aggressions, Black Lives Matter, and a number of other hot topics on campus. I have taken the approach that I am beyond these discussions having long ago given up the idea of changing the world. My son, very much interested in ridding the world of hurt feelings and all things bad, defends the Social Justice Warrior positions, though he finds them tedious at times. So we clash, in a kindly way.

    During one discussion in which I was not buying his reasoning for curtailing speech, he asked me “Dad, what kind of world do you want to live in?” I thought it was a great question because I had not expressed a particular world view.

    I said, “I want to live in a world where there is a Nazi on my right, a Black nationalist on my left, a Born Again Christian behind me, and a couple of lesbians across the street. We would wave, be friendly, shovel each other’s driveways, maybe even have conversations about our differences, but otherwise we’d leave each other alone.”

  11. Brunette Says:

    Tom, thank you! πŸ™‚ — I do think perhaps this is the most inspired of my writings.

    You sound to me like someone who might truly enjoy the Ringing Cedars series — I’m just about halfway through, and have found the books to be wonderfully thought provoking (to put it mildly!)

    Even though I’d love to see everyone read the series, I would not recommend them to just anyone … but I’d encourage you to start with the first one, “Anastasia,” if it sounds interesting to you. The books can be found here (NFI on our part):

    Ron, many thanks. I like your response to your son! πŸ™‚ This morning I was listening to Catherine Austin Fitts, talking about the space based economy — a great talk by a fascinating woman, here: where she talks about entrainment technology. Well worth a listen!

    It does seem as though something is affecting the thinking, and causing overwrought emotions to wreak havoc among the young. I hope your son proves receptive to your more mature and live-and-let-live perspective, if not my essay. πŸ˜‰